Errata. Rant Episode 1 The Kickstarter
Scenario 1. You back an amazing Kickstarter game from a well-known publisher with a good track record of game releases. Rules, components, etc. You wait 6 – 8 months for your prize to come in. You have been tracking the progress of the build the entire time via campaign updates. What you assume is that the publisher has done exhaustive play testing, rules editing, and component review and quality testing. The big day comes. You open the box and with the giddiness of a child on Christmas morning you ogle your newest game addition. You tear open the shrink wrap and gaze over the components. You unfold the map, you scrutinize the counters, you thumb through the rule book. All is grand right? Well…. A week later, after some burn in period and customer play reviews and YouTube blogger posts some cracks start to appear.
After all the testing, proofing, reviews, approvals the product has some issues…. The new game you backed and paid your hard earned money for is flawed.
1. Rules errata are released. Not a new rulebook PDF, but a page if you’re lucky of issues, updates, changes, etc. You know. Errata. What bug’s me the most about this is how easy it would appear to just update the rules PDF and release it.
2. What if a rules PDF is not available, is the customer expected to highlight his/her shiny and only copy of the rules? Why isn’t a PDF available?
3. Recommendation: For Pete’s sake release a PDF version of the rules. Call it living rules, whatever you want, just update it and let people know what the changes are, see 3a.
a. Change log: Coloring the text in blue for changes is fine, however, what’s so hard about doing a changelog? A real change log, not a blurb in the designers notes. A change log that includes the date of the change and the scope of the change. Don’t make the customer rifle through the document looking for blue text. How is the customer going to differentiate difference between blue text between this change date and another?
4. Components. Geez. Give me a break. Rules updates I can live with to an extent. What is the customer going to do about errata on playing cards, maps and player aids. Nothing. What are they expected to do? I have received games that had errata on 52 cards. An entire deck of cards. Sure the vendor released .pdf versions that were suitable for the customer to send to a card printing service, however, why is that on the customer? Maps.. really don’t think I should have to explain that. Counters. What is the deal. If a game is in development for a year then spends 6-8 months’ post KS period in additional development, the counters haven’t been looked at by anyone outside of a small cabal of “trusted” insiders? Again, the vendor releases .pdf or .jpg files for the customer to print. Unsat, also unsat for the user to be expected to purchase a $40 magazine in order to get errata counters. RECOMMENDATION: print a few hundred errata counters and let the customer pay a couple of bucks shipping and get them out! Don’t release 8 games worth of errata counters and include those errata counters in another game? So the customer has to buy another game @ $60 - $ 70 just to get errata counters??
5. Player aids. Come on, this is one of the my biggest pet peeves. Screwed up player aid cards. Again, vendor/publisher posts corrected cards, but where are you going to get a new one created on good stock, folded, etc, etc.... It's just piss poor.
Overall recommendation: Put a little more time and effort into the design/testing/validation of rules and components. Fanboys are fanboys and will not care either way. I look at it as a paying customer. I want value for my dollar. Games today cost too much money to have so many errors and errata on day one. Next Rant Episode will cover the infamous "Reprint"....