Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Exploding Kittens - A Follow-up

Shortly after my blog posting about Explosive Kittens, I got a LOT of great discussions in Twitter about the topic. I also found that I was unclear in the point I was making, and I'm here to clarify some of the misconceptions that arose from my opinionated blog article about this KS anomaly.

First and foremost, I'm a fan of The Oatmeal. Also, know that before I did my blog post yesterday, I followed The Oatmeal and clicked the "Remind me" star in the Exploding Kittens Kickstarter page.

My Stance as A "Worried" Gamer

To be clear, the only thing I was worried about was the game designers Elan Lee and Shane Small being in Matthew Inman's artistic shadow. It's great they have him doing the artwork, but I had a small concern that the art would completely eclipse the card game entirely. I guess I'll own this up to a "fatherly" concern as a general gamer.

I have nothing against Inman's artwork at all in this card game (or ANY game, for that matter). But I like to see games shine for what they are. Today, it's Exploding Kittens, but tomorrow? If they design a game and Inman's not there to provide artwork, will it earn any followers? Again, "fatherly" concern.


Both of these were never a concern in my book. The board games industry won't take a hit from something like this, and the boom that's occurring on this Kickstarter...well, more on that later.

The only concern I really expressed in yesterday's post was that of the consumers' expectations of a card game. Again, this stems from game design worry for the creators. But again, people have reminded me that most of these people probably won't even play the game; that they'll just purchase the game solely for the artwork. And THAT'S OKAY.

My gamer heart may cry out that the card game may not get the playtime it deserves, but as an Oatmeal fan, you're getting a bunch of cards with Inman's artwork. Backers are funding this with the mindset that they're getting something more than a deck of playing cards - they're getting another fan product. And, again, that's okay!

As for the exposure it's getting compared to other board game projects? Apples to oranges. When you boil down to it, you're comparing cartoonists to game designers - two completely different fields. Inman  interacts with his audience through his comics that appear often and frequent on his The Oatmeal site every year. That level of exposure is scores more than what game designers reveal, often working on perhaps 2-3 projects a year in the background, with lots of playtesting.

Really, the board game industry and Kickstarter have nothing to worry about.

Matthew Inman Is a Swell Guy

He is, really. And none of my opinions were meant to convey otherwise. And @InsertStrawHere reminded me just how charitable Inman is:

He also wrote an awesomely long info-comic about Nikola Tesla, and propelled a fundraiser to save his old laboratory to be made into a Tesla museum. With his comics ranging from informative to outright bizarre (in the most glorious sense), a wide range of people have enjoyed Inman's The Oatmeal content for years.

One thing I certainly admire from the Exploding Kittens Kickstarter is how the NSFW deck is separate from the base game, allowing people to keep the game kid-friendly! Good on you, Matthew!

Fans Are Getting It Because It's The Oatmeal

Which...I get it. And again, that's fine! That's just my gamer mentality missing the point that there are A LOT of The Oatmeal fans funding this project solely for that fact alone. What got my goat (not from the card game) was that it's touted as a card game. If it was, however, a Kickstarter to support The Oatmeal, with the card game as a stretch goal, then the surge of support would make more sense. Most of my article from yesterday was me trying to make sense of the rapid rise from the standpoint of the card game, not from The Oatmeal's fanbase.

Which rolls back to what I said in the beginning about checking the "remind me" button. I did say I was not funding this project...but as a gamer. As a fan, however...I maaaaaaaaay change my mind.

In Closing...

I hope this clears up any other ambiguity I left dangling after yesterday's opinion piece. Thanks to all who I've had great lengths in discussion about the topic! I'm also glad to have inspired others to write about this Kickstarter project. If you want to read another opinion piece, I direct you to The Minotaur Illusionist's article here.

[As of this article posting, Exploding Kittens Kickstarter has passed $2.3 million, and nearly 60k backers. Thanks to everyone I've chatted with about this! @InsertStrawHere, @EvenWeirderMove, @64ozGames, @piquergaming, @RollandGroove, @PhantomNimbus, @CardcoreGamer, @Dan_NinjaStar, and @MinoIllusionist]
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