This was something I was thinking about for the past year, and given positive response from the community I will do in 2018 - limit the number of free t-shirts. Here’s the mandatory explanation of the decision.
First of all, I totally recommend reading Organizing a successful competition that doesn’t scale blog post before going further, if you haven’t yet, as it goes deep into why I even started considering this. If you don’t have that much time, here’s the short version: I received a whole lot of stolen-from-the-Internet games to get a free t-shirt, and then a whole lot of rage emails over the next few months on why the t-shirt haven’t arrived yet.
You know, because the competition over the years was giving free t-shirts, free gadgets, and all that with free shipping worldwide just for the fact that you submitted a game, any game. I knew it will backfire sooner or later, the competition will become so popular that people will try to abuse that, and it happened in 2017.
So, that’s why the change. This will help me fix three things at once though.
First, I won’t have to remove dozens of stolen submissions manually, because only the best ones will get the free swag, so submitting “anything” won’t work anymore. And I think 100 is a solid number given that the year before there was 127 entries, so you really had to have bad luck to not get it.
Second, now I will be able to plan my budget with the printing house, as before that I couldn’t answer the question of how many t-shirts are we going to have, and how much we will have to spend on shipping.
Third, this will lead to an improvement, because I will be able to use the additional funds to cover tracking of the packages. Before that, it was the cheapest postal service possible with absolutely no guarantee of being delivered. Now at least you’ll be able to see that your swag bag is safely sailing in a container ship over the ocean, and that you can wait for it patiently for the next month.
Now, the good news that also comes in threes!
First, thanks to our lovely designer Ewa we already have the look of this year’s t-shirt, which you can see at the beginning of this blog post. Do you like it?
Second, we had various gadgets over the years, like a floppy disk in 2014, pendrive in 2015, and cardboard in 2017. This year I’ll try to bring you a genuine CD (with the games on it, of course), so you can use it as it is suppose to be used nowadays - as a cup coaster / beer mat (or whatever you call this thing under your drink).
Third, by the time the competition will end I will probably have the Shop relaunched, covering more than just US as Amazon Merch did, so you’ll be able to buy it if you happen to not win it, or decided you don’t want to participate, but still want the swag.
So, I do hope it will improve the overall experience of the competition - let me know your thoughts in the comments, thanks!