About 3 months ago, CMON’s latest Kickstarter campaign wrapped up. This was for their 5th or 6th Zombicide themed game (not counting expansions). Previous iterations have included modern day, fantasy, scifi, and even a licensed horror movie version. But this most recent iteration was the biggest blockbuster. Combining the popular Zombicide gameplay with the Marvel universe was a win for CMON to the tune of $9,000,000 and almost 29,000 backers.
Fast forward almost three months and the pledge manager has finally opened up for backers to complete their order. Yet all is not well in the world of Zombicide as shipping costs have gone through the roof. High shipping costs shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. There have been news reports aplenty of port congestion, container prices, and shipping backlogs. But I’ve yet to see a Kickstarter with costs this high for shipping.
Take the Resistance Pledge, which was the most popular pledge level not including the giant Galactus statue. Backers choosing two wave shipping (getting the core box in October 2022 and the rest of their pledge in June 2023) are looking at close to $115! If you are patient and ok waiting for 1 wave shipping, then your total is around $67. Switching to the All-In pledge level, which includes the giant Galactus statue, comes with a cost of $155 and $200 for single and two wave shipping (respectively). And that’s just for shipping in the USA. Europe and Australia are reporting shipping prices even higher than that! If I wanted the all in pledge with two wave shipping, I’d be looking at a total cost of around $800+.
Needless to say, backers waited no time in storming various forums to lodge their complaints. CMON is defending their prices, stating the rising costs of shipping and containers worldwide. It’s unclear if CMON is simply passing 100% of the shipping costs on to backers or if there is some padding going on. Looking at the numbers, something definitely feels a tad odd. Just getting the base pledge with no addons, it’s about $60 to ship the core game and $50 to ship the stretch goal box. Even factoring in fulfillment costs, $60 to ship one normal sized game box feels pretty steep.
One also could argue that backers are right to be upset about the unusually high shipping prices. The Kickstarter page had clear shipping estimates, and the pledge manager prices are at least 40% higher! This isn’t a case of a campaign that funded 2 years ago being shocked at the rising costs of shipping. The campaign closed not even 3 months ago. You can’t tell me shipping has changed that much in two months. CMON had to know the state of global logistics at the time. The cynic in me thinks that they might have been hoping to lure in backers before socking them with costs in the pledge manager. But there is no evidence of that.
So, what’s a backer to do? Personally, this is where I’ll continue to advocate passing on being a completionist. You don’t need everything. See my post on How Kickstarter Killed the Completionist in Me. The best option for gamers is to just wait for retail. The core game and all expansions, except the Sentinel one, will be in stores. Sure, you’ll miss out on tons of minis here and there. But, frankly, there is plenty of gameplay in these boxes, probably enough to satisfy most gamers. Unless you are the type of person that only buys a couple of games per year and plays them non-stop, you should be quite satisfied with what you get. Buy it from Cool Stuff or Miniature Market at a nice discount and get free shipping to boot. Your wallet will thank you.
And finally, this is a good time to remind you that being a $1 backer is always the best option. If you backed this at a pledge level, you are kind of stuck, unless you want to ask CMON for a refund (which you can do at a 10% fee). But if you were a $1 backer, you only lost a single buck. That’s a much easier pill to swallow.