Compared to 20 years ago, the gameplay is only secondary.
This is also not entirely true, even more than 20 years ago there were a lot of games based on the theme, beautiful little pictures and/or beautiful artwork. Why do you think Warhammer (40k) is still so cool decades later, not because it had such good bases… How popular is HeroQuest? How good is this game? (Certainly because nowadays) Don’t forget the FFG mountain games from the beginning of this century with mountains of minifigures?
With a game like Dark Souls BG, you can relatively easily tweak the rules yourself into something you love to play. Is this perfect? No not at all! But modifying the rules is much easier than making all the components of the game yourself, especially the small parts. Although nowadays 3D printing is a lot easier.
The theme and atmosphere are very important to me in games. This is why I support something like Tang Garden. And for games that are mainly based on gameplay, you can buy them after they get a lot of reviews (7 Wonders Duel, Century, etc.). Unless we’re talking about Thunderstone Quest remakes or Star Realms expansions.
In addition, there were a lot of mini-games that gave you a lot of stuff for really little money. Take a look at the mountain of stuff you got for a pledge of £75 – £80. That has changed dramatically in the past two years, production costs have gone up dramatically, transportation costs have gone up dramatically, 21% on KS pledges, etc. It wouldn’t surprise me that KS (crowdfunding) is slowly declining because prices are rising relatively and with it your risk.
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