Sunday, December 18, 2016

Holidaze

We are now 50% through our holiday travel schedule.  That's a big deal.  In years past we have made some poor planning choices and drove 1,000 to 1,200 miles in a 10 day period.  That gets old fast.  This year we were able to optimize the route and be there and back with 2 trips totaling about 400 miles.

Likewise, this Fall and the Holiday season (or the Holidaze as I call it) has been much more sane. I've posted a lot about last Fall's schedule - we were home only a couple weekends between Labor Day and Thanksgiving in 2015.  We were on the road a ton, I started the new job, and the period from late August through January was just an eye burning blitz of highways and airports.

This year we strategically declined several invitations, consolidated our vacation plans into a single trip, and for the most part have been home.  With winter finally settling upon us, I'm relatively caught up on yard work at the 10 acres, we've burnt a lot of wood in the fireplace, streamed some classic Christmas movies on Amazon Prime, and actually enjoyed our property. I'm far more relaxed and far less stressed than this time last year.

Game news:
For the past couple weeks, I've been consumed by the spectacle of the Kingdom Death: Monster 1.5 kickstarter.  It grows a healthy bit each day, and may go through $8M today with almost 3 weeks remaining.  It will probably flatline through the holidays but still has potential to knock off Exploding Kittens as the #1 KS board game before it wraps.

Specific to the Kickstarter, there's a little mini-community that's sprung up, with heroes and villians/trolls.  It's an interesting petri dish to watch develop.  For the most part it's a positive vibe - there's a cadre of volunteers that answers questions in the comments as people pass through - while the KD Staff do what they can, with almost 100k comments logged it's impossible for them to answer everything.

There are a handful of very well done fan pages (see Vibrant Lantern and Dobby's Pledge Helper) and google doc pages that help explain exactly what's going on, because the KS campaign is so vast that it's easy to get overwhelmed.

This next week promises to see a lot of activity - the founder has promised to reveal all the remaining Expansion content, but then he's taking a break between Christmas and New Years (and I don't blame him).  Then after the holiday lull, I expect the final week to be a bit nuts.

One of the more interesting evolutions is the group of guys trying to min/max their pledges.  Early in the kickstarter, folks started generating lists of content to try to figure out the "best" pledge level.  They developed elaborate google doc spreadsheets to estimate each pledge level's value based on MSRP, and then cross referenced that against addons that offer "Gamer's Content" vs. visual/cosmetic only perks.  Some of the higher pledges include mostly cosmetic perks, so early on, some of the groupthink/peer pressure was that these pledges didn't add value for "real gamers."  People started dropping these higher pledges as "not worth it" even though there was really no reason to finalize your pledge until the last day or three of the campaign.

But, two things:
1. Not all of the content was revealed.  All of the min/max nerding was premature.
2. Although the higher pledges were limited in availability, the KD staff continued to open more spots, so guys felt comfortable dropping out.  But - the saturation point hit and the staff stopped adding more spots.

As more content became revealed, and more hints about remaining content were dropped, it became apparent that the initial analysis was way-the-fuck-off and now guys that dropped want back in.  Replacement pledge levels have been added at a significant $$ increase, so now the same pledge that they dropped costs more.  Oops.

Anyway, I'll wrap this post here.  One of the things that's been on my mind is that Kingdom Death has a lot of parallels to EVE, i.e. the same reasons EVE appeals to me are the same reasons KD does.  In a future post I may explore that idea bit more.  But for now I need more coffee.


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