Wonderbow Games has recently become a victim of huckstery on a grand scale, with their up-and-coming board game Kelp reportedly being sold online, despite the fact the game won’t be released until October 2024. Naturally, this has prompted a response from Wonderbow owners Laia Gonzalez and Sönke Schmidt, who addressed the situation on their recently ended (and very successful) Kickstarter campaign, and their official website.
Counterfeit Goods in Board Gaming – Not New, But Still Surprising
Both updates warn Kelp fans of the circulating counterfeit copies online, as well as listing the online retailers where they can be found, citing platforms like Amazon, eBay, and Fruugo worldwide specifically.
The studio noted that they made 125 scam listings in the past weeks but are currently finding communication with companies like Amazon difficult. The official website post also shows multiple photographic examples of counterfeit Kelp copies, which will undoubtedly prevent fans from further falling into the scam. For the sake of convenience and reference, we will post the images below:
The provided pictures clearly show a scam Amazon listing, with some pictures showing poor material quality (the back side of the box and the game board), poor replacement pictures (the obvious Lego shark replacement) and many other distinctions.
Suffering From Success
The gaming world is no stranger to counterfeits and bad copies – there are a ton of channels and forums dedicated specifically to the topic. Hucksters tend to target successful franchises and releases, and Wonderbow Games’ 2-player board game is no exception to this rule. It is exactly why Kelp was targeted, with its impressive €1,429,286 backing from 20,818 backers, which surpassed the original €10,000 goal by a landslide. This is even more impressive considering how young of a company Wonderbow Games is.
Consequently, the combination of the company’s youth and the overwhelming Kickstarter success became catalysts for the specific targeting of Kelp even before the official release. Laia and Sönke have kindly asked the fans and backers to report any fraudulent listings in short order, and provide proof of the counterfeit product to their website’s blogspot.
The message further reads: “Retailers who participated in our Kickstarter campaign are cooperating by not publishing the game on their websites until we are close or ready to ship the manufactured games,” further urging fans to buy the game from official sources, which at this time will be the up-and-coming Pledge Manager, which will open later this month.