My favorite Kickstarter to date has run into some problems. I don’t think they are insurmountable, but it will be difficult to get to the end without a lot of upset backers. Catan Boards has run out of money just short of producing the molds for the resource card holder and Seafarers board.
Out of more than dozen Kickstarter projects that I have funded I feel lucky that only a couple have failed — one didn’t achieve its goals and the other delivered a product that didn’t come close (in my opinion) to the claims. The rest have all been late with a few of those over a year late in delivering their rewards.
So while my experience of the Catan Board has been great, with a solid product delivered about two months late, this does reinforce the fact that Kickstarter is not a store. It is a way to support and help someone kickstart a product. There are risks, and rewards, but no guarantees.
I know Bill Trammel has been very honest with the problems and delays in production of the boards, but it is apparent he and his team greatly underestimated the costs associated with producing a working injection mold. This doesn’t surprise me, especially since they chose to produce it all in the US, but it is still disappointing. You can read the entire update here: A Call to Action: Catan Boards Giveaway and Special Kickstarter Discounts. The comments are interesting and generally surprisingly positive, with a sprinkling of negative. The latter bring up valid points about spending money on gaming conventions and producing extras of the existing product instead of completing the other molds. I can say for certain that mistakes were made, as all businesses make mistakes, but I’m certain that none of them were malicious or as significant as the underestimated costs.
Fortunately for Catan Board, and eventually the backers, they do have a profitable product in the 4- and 6-player boards in plastic and bamboo. The profits from those sales can be put towards finishing the project and fulfilling the rewards.
So, if you’re interested in the Catan Board, the boards are available on Amazon. The plastic boards are $35 for the 3-4 player, and $45 for the 5-6 players. The bamboo are a lot more expensive at $175 for the reversible 3-4 and 5-6 player board.
I feel strongly that the Catan Board is a great project, and while Kickstarter isn’t a store, Amazon is, and for the money you get a great addition to the game and still help out the Kickstarter. It also ships with Amazon Prime so you can get it in time for your gaming group gathering next week. If you like Settlers of Catan (and the other Catan games), I know you’ll like it.