04 October 2012

Kickstarter: Part 7 - Updates

This is the seventh part in an ongoing series about crowdfunding. Overview and Index.

It has been well over a month since my last crowdfunding update. It seemed that the time had come for this entry when a project closed that I had yet to discuss. Let's take a look at some of the projects that have ended:

Monte Cook's project, Numenera, proved that name recognition can take you very far in the business as long as it is being plugged to the right market. His post-post-post apocalyptic sci-fi game finished as the most successful RPG Kickstarter to date, finishing at over $500,000. With Tenra Bansho Zero we found that good things come to those that wait. Many years in translation, this Japanese game raised just shy of $130,000 and has paved the way for what I hope will be more translations in the future. 13 True Ways, an expansion for a game that hasn't even been released yet, pulled in just over $70,000. A number of enticing stretch goals brought in a lot of last minute funding, but still not enough to get the undead capital written by Robin D. Laws (this is my sad face).

The project that opened and closed between these updates is tremulus, a game of Lovecraftian horror powered by the Apocalypse Engine (from Apocalypse World, but also adapted for Monsterhearts, Monster of the Week, and Dungeon World). It completed 10 stretch goals (raising $60,000), which included 36 extra playbooks and 3 extra playsets (Frozen Wasteland, Journey and Innsmouth). The popularity of Apocalypse Engine supported games is undeniable at this time.

During this time, a few physical rewards have been arriving. An entire playset full of stuff for curse the darkness, by Matt McFarland, arrived. Laminated mats, decks of cards, bags of tokens, and (somewhere in there) a book. The book and dice for School Daze arrived, and the dice have been deemed "super cute", so they are not for play, just admiration. Hopefully a session for this will be coming together soon, so look out for that. Last, but certainly not least, the physical rewards for Shadows of Esteren came (extremely promptly I might add) and they did not disappoint. They are absolutely stunning. I am hoping to be able to devote some time to Shadows of Esteren and produce a comprehensive review, though it won't be anytime soon - it is dense.

New Projects

Act Ten, which I covered previously, has come back with a more modest goal ($1000 instead of $6000) that has already been met. The setting from the initial project (Division) is missing, but it is already starting to make a reappearance in the stretch goals. At $1 for the full pdf and $15 for the softcover book, it is hard to go wrong.

Akyrema City, Quantum's Core, is an expansion for Quantum, another project I backed nearly a year ago which has not actually been printed yet. The significant materials released so far have fantastic production values, and look interesting to say the least. Quantum is billed as a "science-fantasy" game and it has some interesting elements. There are four races (human, azi, mutant and automaton) and a number of classes (called Paradigms), such as Progenitor, Valkyrie and Warlock. It can be backed as a pdf for $20, or hardcover for $45. Any pledge can also include +$45 to receive the Quantum Core Rulebook, or $35 total for both books as pdfs. Additional swag, such as dice, shirts and direct input, are available for greater pledges. The page actually does a good job of laying out all of the rewards. Stretch goals include a poster of the cover art and a poster-sized map of the city, as well as up to three adventures. Those pledging $90 or more will get the adventures in print (if the stretch goals are met). The original project raised over $40,000, and this one is looking for $30,000. This funding goal could be an issue because sourcebooks don't sell as well as core books and the core book isn't even available at this time. The ability to get in on the actual Quantum Core Rulebook if you missed it the first time around will hopefully help this project out.

In The Coriolis Defect, you play a character that can rewind (or "loop") time, allowing some interesting story effects. Time travel is typically the bane of any media that it touches, and with good reason. That being said, it seems that this game has largely taken time manipulation and the issues involved into account and placed some limitations on it; including that it is draining to do, but as well that small things can go wrong (called "quirks") and those can start to build. As well, the ability to "reload" to a certain point means that groups can engage in some serious shenanigans, and the GM as well. There are a number of little ideas here that make me want to know more about this project and what stories I can tell with it. The basic structure of the game changes the underlying narrative in interesting ways, and I like that a lot. The pdf is on the expensive side, starting at $20, but the print option is pretty standard at $30.

Mechanika is a cinematic fantasy steampunk game that... well, let's be honest, with 8 days left and $1200 pledged of a $10,000 goal, it probably isn't going to make it. There might be a good game here, but the way the pitch is written you will never know. It spends too much time talking in general terms. For example, it uses a Fate system, but it isn't clear how it is related to the popular FATE system; even after reading the demo I am not certain, though it does use FUDGE dice. 

**Update** There is a new Mechanika project out there and I will be covering it in significantly more detail soon.

Nova Praxis is the setting for which the Strands of FATE rules were written. For those that don't know, Strands of FATE is a FATE derivative designed to be a generic system. It is also probably the most different take on FATE, the others cleaving much closer to the varieties put out by Evil Hat. The setting is transhuman sci-fi, described as "hard", and focuses primarily on action and intrigue between the various factions. There is quite a bit reminiscent of Eclipse Phase and Shadowrun, against a less crunchy system and a setting that has less horror themes. Visually, it looks pretty amazing and the previewed layout is attractive as well. In just a few days it has already reached the $10,000 goal. The pdfs start at $15 and color, hardcover books at $45 - there are no softcover options. Stretch goals include supplements and adventures, and the $100 level gives print versions of each stretch goal.

The Outlive Outdead Companion is a series of settings/adventures for the core game, Outlive Outdead, by WJ MacGuffin. Outlive Outdead is a zombie survival game that allows for players who have died to take on the role of zombies and try to murder turn their companions so everyone will be "living" happily together. If you are a fan of the zombie genre, it is a solid entry that does some new and neat things. It is great for short-term play and lays out some clear choices to make each game different (such as how far into the zombie apocalypse are you, how is infection spread, and how do you kill a zombie). The settings offered, including Cro-Magnon zombies , Arthurian, and Prohibition-era, each has an adventure and some rule modifications to make them unique. The author, WJ MacGuffin, is a pretty awesome guy - when I had a interestingly bound copy of Outlive Outdead arrive, he replaced it no problems. The pdf of each setting is $8 (two of them for $4), softcovers for $20, and hardcovers for $34. In the first Kickstarter, there were a few different rewards you could get, such as a vial of "infected blood", which turned out very cute (yes, the vial of infected blood was cute). This is no different, and there are number of similar rewards you can pick up. If, like me, you wanted some of those, but also a hardcover book, the author has indicated you can just add $15 to your pledge to upgrade to a hardcover.

Sixcess is a generic d6 based dice pool game that seems to share some ground with Savage Worlds. The mechanic seems to be simple and versatile; there are actual examples provided in the pitch (this is actually pretty rare, strangely enough). I'm going to be honest, I am not 100% clear what exactly a "DISk" and why I want to pay extra for them. They seem to be important to the game and are explicitly mentioned, but not with much clarity. There are number of settings that have been detailed (even Promised Sands), each is at least somewhat unique in scope. The pdf can still be had for $10, but those are limited to ten more and they will be $15 when those are gone, and softcovers are $30. It has under $1000 left to reach the modest goal of $2500 and over a month left, so the odds are very good that this one is going to make it.

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