I am by no means in a financial crisis and I also know I am by no means swimming in money and investments. I am somewhere in the middle, surviving the day to day, slowly paying off my many debts. So it is hard to “keep up with the Joneses” when it comes to board games. I find myself not being able to get the latest hype or back to next big Kickstarter project. I am not a part of the culture of the new and unreleased, it is simply not feasible. I still do my research and look into new games and find the latest news from the Kickstarter world. Every now and then, I find a game (most of the time they are from independent game publishers) I would love to back and support; however, my financial situation does not allow me to fully back every game I find and rarely do I get the privilege of backing games. I resorted to tweeting about projects and possibly writing about projects, trying to popularize them among my followers.
Most campaigns have low pledge levels where people can back games at a minimal cost or minimal or no rewards. In the beginning I use to dismiss the $1 pledge level. The “thank you” for “supporting” our campaign with a single dollar. Power and money are so often intertwined and associated in the United States, it was embarrassing for me that this was the only pledge level I could afford to show my support. Better to not support it all together via a pledge than to admit to the world I cannot afford the full amount. Anyways, what can my single dollar and name do for a campaign?
I think there is a lot of power in a $1 pledge. I know it is often used as a way to “test the waters” and get updates on the project. Maybe when it fully funds or hits enough stretch goals, those people may choose to change their pledge to a higher level. While there is value in fully investigating a project before pledging money, a $1 pledge can be more for the project and less for our individual advantage. Crowd funding is more than simple consumerism – pay money, get product. It is more personal, more interactive, more about supporting and helping a project that might not get made/built/created if not for the individuals pledging.
To go even farther, I would love to see $0 pledges. Let’s be real, not everyone has money and the disparity of income and wealth keeps growing. One dollar might not seem like much to one person but for someone living paycheck to paycheck, one dollar makes a difference and cannot always be spared. Board gaming is a luxury, a hobby I am privileged to be a part of and that I am able to invest in. However, if we are truly talking about equity and inclusion in gaming across identity, socioeconomic status must be in the conversation. In my opinion, as someone who pledges to a campaign not only pledges money, but pledges their support in other ways too – sharing the project, asking questions, play testing, making suggestions, and generally being excited. With a $0, a person pledges their full support (which doesn’t always include money) to the project. While not directly helping a project meet a funding goal, I can see many indirect benefits from gaining other forms of support.
Do you pledge at the $1 level for Kickstarter or other crowd funding platforms? What are your thoughts on this crowd funding thing? What are your thoughts on a $0 pledge level?