Good morning everyone! Fresh off my root canal, which has me feeling slightly better than I was last weekend (my jaw is still quite sore, but I can eat again), I am back to our favorite topic: Kickstarter. While there are still quite a few drool-worthy projects out there that I would love to be backing, today I wanted to talk about a project I find to be less than desirable. Normally a prelude like that would lead me to tell all of you about how I don’t even think that such-and-such a project should be on Kickstarter; today I will take a slightly different tactic.
This project is, unfortunately, valid – I just think the world doesn’t need it.
Everyone knows the story of the Emperor’s new clothes. To refresh those of you that haven’t heard it in a decade or two, Wikipedia says the following about it:
A vain Emperor who cares for nothing except wearing and displaying clothes hires two swindlers who promise him the finest, best suit of clothes from a fabric invisible to anyone who is unfit for his position or “hopelessly stupid”. The Emperor’s ministers cannot see the clothing themselves, but pretend that they can for fear of appearing unfit for their positions and the Emperor does the same. Finally the swindlers report that the suit is finished, they mime dressing him and the Emperor marches in procession before his subjects. The townsfolk play along with the pretense not wanting to appear unfit for their positions or stupid. Then a child in the crowd, too young to understand the desirability of keeping up the pretense, blurts out that the Emperor is wearing nothing at all and the cry is taken up by others. The Emperor cringes, suspecting the assertion is true, but continues the procession.
It is in the spirit of that classic story that today I rail against a new project on Kickstarter: The Emperor’s New Clothes.
This project, I believe, is meant to be a clever joke masquerading as a board game. For only $35 ($25 if you get one of the remaining early bird slots) you too can receive:
- 4 Black Wooden Discs
- 30 Blank Wooden Cubes
- 1 Blank Wooden Pawn
- Blank 1 4” Small Board
- 24 Blank Cards
- 4 Blank 6-Sided Dice
- All in a Nice Blank Box
Quite the deal, eh? Before I get to the negative about this project, let me first try to accentuate the positive. Unlike the Death Star and X-Wing joke projects, which were impossible, this is actually a feasible project that will (presumably) be able to fulfill its obligations in the event that it successfully funds. It falls into the same vein as 99 Shades of Grey, a very successful project last year that was even a Staff pick at the time. If people want to throw away money on projects like this, that’s their business.
Me, I think this project is too clever by half. I think it might even outsmart itself. I’ve had the chance to chat with the creator, and a couple of the backers. The general sentiment of those conversations is that this is a fun lighthearted thing, good for pranking friends, (as evinced by some hilarious demo experiences). The moral of the classic fairy tale is almost exactly the opposite to my way of reading though. The project’s pitch, video, and the words of it’s supporters are all putting potential backers in the role of the Emperor’s spineless flunkies. They are all asking you too ooh and ahh the fine artwork and interesting rules; much like the child-gadfly in the story (who also probably took himself way too seriously) I’m just not seeing it. The creator seems like a nice enough guy, with a real passion for board games and crowd funding, and I hope one day he launches a project worthy of his passion, but this isn’t it.