Tabletop is awesome, and @wilwheaton does a fantastic job of making board games presentable and apparently fun (I’ve bought a few games because they’ve appeared on TT)
Yesterday they annouced a fundraiser for Tabletop S3, and that would be great too.
However, Indiegogo’s flexible funding is a perversion of the Kickstarter-style ethos, and entirely breaks it as a funding model, and Indiegogo themselves are terrifying.
The Kickstarter Model is great for projects that need some funding to actually get going. Occulus Rift is a great example of this, and almost all the popular things on Kickstarter are awful ones. The theory is that you need X dollars to make this happen, and Y dollars to make it awesome. Less than X dollars means it doesn’t happen, and more than Y dollars makes it more awesome. It’s really simple, and there lies the basis for a good system.
This means it’s great for things like Tabletop S3, or even the Rift, which will work if there is a market for the things it produces, but if it doesn’t, it will fail. This is fine, because either the money is there, the consumers are willing, the market is stable, or it isn’t. Kickstarter stops you having to invest money in something that Just Won’t Work no matter how much it looks like it should, and as a veteran of several startup companies, I am aware that this is a really useful bit of information.
It also means that if goal X isn’t reached, if the market says “Good, but not worth my cash”, the thing doesn’t get the money. If X is what it needs to happen, there is no point in getting half X, or 85% of X. What happens if they do? If you’re willing to do a crappy version for 85% of X, change your value of X, and make the awesome version a higher goal.
The big difference between IndieGoGo and Kickstarter, as a backer (and I’ll admit I have a Kickstarter Problem) is the Flexible Funding model, where no matter if the project gets 85% of X, half X, or even barely enough to get a cup of coffee, they still get the money.
What’s their responsibility at that point? Are they obliged to deliver on everything they said in the video, only on the coffee-cup budget?
There’s no recourse either, really. The Paypal for an Indiegogo campaign goes directly to the coffers of the funder, so if the project doesn’t reach X, you’d have to petition the project for a refund, who might be a shell company for a Russian company, for example.
And when I say “for example”, I mean “in the example of the Healbe Gobe”, which is a device that can measure your heart rate, calorie burn, and calorie intake, magically.
I say magically, because I can’t find any scientific basis for this, and neither can anyone else, and despite being on track for raising about $1,000,000, IndieGogo have no interest in doing anything about it.
So while I love Tabletop, and love the Kickstarter model of funding, and some of those backer rewards look awesome, I can’t support IndieGoGo and especially anything using their Flexible Funding model.