Earlier this week Days of Wonder re-launched its Kickstarter campaign for Small World 2. They had made a first attempt at it in January, but despite reaching $90k in pledges they had gotten a lot of feedback and decided to cancel it and rework the reward levels and clarify the project.
Some of the questions raised about the first campaign were due to the mixed nature of the project: was this to raise money for the app or the fancy deluxe physical game? If they were committed to releasing the project on iPad anyway, then why would iPad users want to pledge toward a stretch goal that got it onto Android? What difference does it make to pay toward the Kickstarter to make the app add-ons “free” rather than waiting and just paying for them in-app when they were released?
It looks like Days of Wonder took all of that to heart in this re-launch. Here’s a quick summary, though for all of the details you should just go visit the Kickstarter page:
1. The iPad app is getting a makeover. Multiplayer—both online and off, against human players or AI, accommodating up to 5 players (instead of just 2 in the current app). The new races and powers will be available as add-on purchases. Backers of the Kickstarter get three new races and three new powers specifically designed for this campaign. If you already have the iPad app, you can get all of the add-ons for $8, rather than having to pay for the full app again.
2. The main push for the funding is for Android and Steam. These are versions of Small World that people have asked for, but are not ones that Days of Wonder would develop otherwise. For $15, you can get the full app with bonuses for any platform — Android, Kindle Fire, Steam PC, or iPad.
3. For non-digital board gamers, there’s a bonus physical map for 6 players. You also get this bundled with a digital download, but they’ll make it so you can gift that to somebody else.
4. The $600 high-level tier, which lets you help design a race or mini-expansion for the game, is already sold out.
They’ve moved some of the other things to add-ons. For instance, if you just want cardboard versions of the three extra races, you can get those for $10 and ignore all the digital stuff entirely. Or, if you want the deluxe wooden set of Small World, that’s available for a hefty $320. That’s certainly one for the collectors — it looks gorgeous, but I don’t think I can justify that price tag. (Meanwhile, that little voice in the back of my head is saying “Rationalize it! Rationalize it!”)
I don’t know if this solvesall of the issues from the first campaign — in particular, the still ongoing debate about whether established companies should be using Kickstarter at all — but I think in this case at least it makes a little more sense for them to be running a Kickstarter for something that they might not produce otherwise, rather than having it fund the iPad app which was going to be released no matter what. And clearly the fans like it. In just over two days they’ve already broken the $120k mark and I think they will have no trouble clearing their $150k goal (and then some).
If you’re a fan of Small World, digital or physical, take a look at the project page to see if there are any reward levels that appeal to you!