Since the begining of the pandemic many in the Kickstarter world have learned about the shipping crisis the world is currently facing. With shipping costing more and more for games and many games having delays due to shipping over the past year less people are looking at Kickstarter to buy games. However, one trend that has grown to combat this; The Print & Play boardgame.
Last November Postmark Games from Matthew Dunstan and Rory Muldoon launched a campaign to fund Voyages, a game that requires a few dice and an A4 sheet to play. Postmark Games decided to run the campaign where backers don’t receive any physical rewards, they get access to a digital file which they can then print off at home. It was by no means the first print & play campaign on Kickstarter but it was the first that caught my eye for the amount of traction it got. Designed by Dunstan, a Spiel des Jahres nominated designer, it quickly got a lot of backers and eventually ended with over twelve thousand. Since the success of Voyages, there have also been many other successful print and play campaigns such as Sunshine City by Peter C. Hayward and Aquamarine once again from Postmark Games, both raising over $25000.
The two campaigns from Postmark Games and Sunshine City all highlight how environmentally friendly this approach is. There is no energy or resources spent manufacturing the games components (How many dice does someone actually need to own anyway?). The game is also not manufactured in one place and then loaded onto ships and trains and trucks to be delivered all over the world. Sunshine City even encourage players to not print the game and just load the file onto your tablet or computer and play it digitally.
This model doesn’t only save the environment though, it also saves money. There is no longer any production cost or distribution cost. You simply make a digital file, upload it online and then give your customers access to the file. For consumers this is also hugely beneficial, you no longer need to wait for the game to be produced and then delivered to your door you simply just get it the instant it is ready from the publisher. With all of this most of these games are offered at an incredibly reduced price, most ranging from $5 to $10 and for those who primarily shop on Kickstarter there is 0 VAT and 0 shipping costs to be paid.
I can only see this becoming more and more popular, especially as Postmark Games seem committed to bringing more Print & Play games in the future. Right now on there are also 4 other live print and play Kickstarters. All have reached their target goal and all have in excess of 100 backers. If you are a game designer and all the work of production and logistics seem overwhelming then I would definitely reccommend looking into running a print and play campaign, after all who needs shipping when we have the internet?