30 October 2012

Kickstarter: Part 8 - Retrospective and Updates

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

This part is going to take a look at all of the crowdfunding gaming projects that I have backed over nearly a year. First, let's take a look at some new projects:


Updates

Base Raiders is a FATE-based superpowered dungeon crawling. It is certainly a strange mash-up of genres, but the setting does a little to explain it: those with natural super powers (hero and villain alike) have mysteriously disappeared, leaving behind their fortified bases of operation. A new breed has emerged that have empowered themselves and go hunting for these demesnes and the treasures within. Also the dangers. It is certainly an interesting pitch, but I'm signing up for what could easily be both an interesting take on supers and fantasy dungeon crawling. The versatile nature of FATE makes this pretty compelling in light of that. At $15 for a pdf and print starting at $30, it's not expensive to get in on this. Already funded with nearly a month left, all of the initial stretch goals are ports to different systems - in case the pitch caught your eye, but the system leaves you wanting. The systems include Wild Talents (ORE), Mutants and Masterminds, and Savage Worlds.

Emergence is a sci-fantasy game with lovely art. The setting is our world with access to multiple worlds and the various genres that inhabit them, from sci-fi to fantasy. Character creation has an emphasis on varied powers with some strong flavor behind them, from cybernetics and runes, to tattoo magic and fleshcrafting. With only six days left, their reach seems like it will exceed their grasp; a goal of $20,000 is ambitious (though raising over half that is a respectable showing by any account). Rewards start at $15 for the pdf and the first print option is $50, a full-color hardback. I'd love to see this get made, but the odds are against it at this point.

Hillfolk is Robin D. Laws' most recent project and features his new DramaSystem. The game itself is centered around the brutal lives and relationships of competing Iron Age tribes. That is just one of the offered settings for this system and the unlocked stretch goals continue to add more, including: Hollywoodland, exploring the founding figures of American film; Mad Scientists Anonymous, where former villains struggle against relapse; Moscow Station, drama among cold war espionage; and no less than 36 other settings! All of the books have been upgraded to hardcover and full-color at this point. With pdfs starting at $10 and print at $25, this is a pretty amazing deal. Needless to say, but I will anyway, it is fully funded - though it only has three days left.

Wilderness is the most recent expansion for Houses of the Blooded, by John Wick. For the right group, Houses of the Blooded is an amazing game of intrigue, romance and blood. The domain management is one of the best elements for the long-term strategy and sheer avarice it invokes. This book expands on all of that, including new regions, retainers, resources, orks, and a new House, the Boar. Also within are discussions on exploring wild areas and Trouble, as well as portraying adventuring companies for a more traditional experience. For only $10 you get pdfs of both Wilderness and Houses of the Blooded, which is pretty much a steal, and the physical book starts at $25. This project has already reached its first stretch goal and may very well make the next one prior to closing in 12 days.

Magicians is a high school game set in Korea against the backdrop of traditional Korean mythology and superstition (which has been under-represented). What is truly notable about this game is through playing it and using the magic system, you learn Korean and there is even an app to help with this. Which is pretty amazing to me. Well, that and the awesomely insane setting and mythological underpinnings. Any more description I provide probably won't do this project any justice; check this one out. One of the stretch goals, which is within its grasp, is to provide a hack for learning Japanese. The pdfs start at $10 and the physical book is $25.

The Shadows of Esteren Prologue has also launched and is showing all of the signs of success associated with the previous project. This is a low-fantasy/horror setting with some amazing art and interesting takes on the genre as a whole. Beyond the new book, what is awesome about this project is that it allows anyone who missed the previous Kickstarter to get in on nearly everything made available in the first one, including the limited edition core book (except this is all sold out now - oops) and music. There is also a new screen with new art along with numerous other little things that made the initial project memorable. Print starts at $20 and both books can be had on pdf for the same price (just the prologue is only $5).

Retrospective

It has been about a year since I backed my first project, Always/Never/Now, and I have backed 46 rpg projects in total. Not all of the have succeeded (which my wallet is thankful, but my shelves lament), but there have been some real gems in there. The biggest thing to know when getting into backing projects is that it is far more likely for a timeline to slip than not; being on time is such a rarity it deserves an award. This really is a patronage rather than a direct transaction for product, with all of the attendant delays and risks. None of this has dissuaded me, nor should it anyone else as long as you go into it with eyes wide open, understanding of the perils along the way.

Here is a chronological list (by closing date) of the projects I have backed and a snapshot of the progress. (The last update actually about the project will be what I list in that category.)

Quantum Roleplaying Game
Funded on 30Dec2011
Goal: $13,000
Raised: $42,747
Backers: 580
Status: Late; beta PDF has been issued.
Estimated Delivery: Apr2012.
Last Update: #49, 27Sep2012

Always/Never/Now
Funded on 08Jan2012
Goal: $1,500
Raised: $8,363
Backers: 266
Status: Late.
Estimated Delivery: Apr2012.
Last Update: #26, 24Oct2012

Tephra
Funded on 04Feb2012
Goal: $1,000
Raised: $22,821
Backers: 374
Status: Late: Most rewards have been received (late); still awaiting Adversary Book.
Estimated Delivery: Mar2012.
Last Update: #17, 10Jun2012

Monsterhearts
Funded on 22Feb2012
Goal: $2,500
Raised: $11,715
Backers: 346
Status: All rewards have been received. (Review)
Last Update: #15, Jun2012

School Daze
Funded on 25Mar2012
Goal: $3,000
Raised: $6,440
Backers: 159
Status: Late: All physical rewards have been received (late); still awaiting a bonus Group Project. (Review)
Estimated Delivery: Jul2012
Last Update: #32, 30Sep2012

Parsec
Funded on 14Apr2012
Goal: $3,300
Raised: $12,440
Backers: 415
Status: All rewards have been received on time.
Estimated Delivery: Jun2012
Last Update: #26, 29Jun2012

Hellas: Worlds of Sun and Stone
Funded on 20Apr2012
Goal: $10,500
Raised: $11,907
Backers: 210
Status: PDF has been delivered and project still within delivery schedule.
Estimated Delivery: Nov2012
Last Update: #23, 27Oct2012

Witch Girls: Book of Shadows
Funded on 10May2012
Goal: $2,000
Raised: $8,717
Backers: 167
Status: Still within delivery schedule (will be late due to litigation).
Estimated Delivery: Oct2012
Last Update: #55, 29Oct2012

Candycreeps
Funded on 14May2012
Goal: $700
Raised: $2,020
Backers: 83
Status: All rewards have been received on time. (Review)
Estimated Delivery: Jul2012
Last Update: #8, 27Jul2012

Farewell to Fear
Funded on 20May2012
Goal: $4,000
Raised: $18,696
Backers: 420
Status: Late; some pdfs have been provided.
Estimated Delivery: Aug2012
Last Update: #42, 19Oct2012

Mecha Combiners
Funded on 31May2012
Goal: $2,000
Raised: $3,655
Backers: 108
Status: Late.
Estimated Delivery: Sep2012
Last Update: #24, 10Oct2012

The Book of Jade
Funded on 01Jun2012
Goal: $10,000
Raised: $16,794
Backers: 206
Status: Late; updated shipping timeline indicates it should happen by the end of October.
Estimated Delivery: Jun2012
Last Update: #8, 17Sep2012

Lamentations of the Flame Princess
Funded on 01Jun2012
Goal: $7,500
Raised: $16,240
Backers: 314
Status: Within (new) delivery schedule.
Estimated Delivery: Originally late Oct2012, now Nov2012 (as of 15Oct2012).
Last Update: #21, 17Oct2012

Outlive, Outdead
Funded on 02Jun2012
Goal: $2,000
Raised: $3,814
Backers: 121
Status: All rewards have been received (late).
Estimated Delivery: Jun2012
Last Update: #15, 18Jul2012

curse the darkness
Funded on 06Jun2012
Goal: $5,000
Raised: $11,861
Backers: 288
Status: All physical rewards have been received (late); still awaiting some stretch goals.
Estimated Delivery: Aug2012
Last Update: #39, 29Oct2012.

Blade Raiders
Funded on 14Jun2012
Goal: $5,000
Raised: $8,424
Backers: 223
Status: Within delivery schedule.
Estimated Delivery: Nov2012
Last Update: #14, 22Oct2012

Champions of ZED
Funded on 16Jun2012
Goal: $4,600
Raised: $8,077
Backers: 259
Status: Late.
Estimated Delivery: Aug2012
Last Update: #14, 10Sep2012

Our Last Best Hope
Funded on 17Jun2012
Goal: $3,000
Raised: $12,620
Backers: 360
Status: All initial rewards have been received (dice were late); waiting for stretch goals. (Review)
Estimated Delivery: Aug2012
Last Update: #23, 18Oct2012

Dungeon World
Funded on 30Jun2012
Goal: $4,000
Raised: $82,879
Backers: 2,455
Status: Late; beta PDFs have been provided
Estimated Delivery: Aug2012
Last Update: #28, 29Oct2012

Westward
Funded on 01Jul2012
Goal: $3,000
Raised: $19,227
Backers: 454
Status: Within delivery schedule (technically).
Estimated Delivery: Oct2012
Last Update: #15, 16Oct2012

Last Stand
Funded on 02Jul2012
Goal: $1,500
Raised: $11,206
Backers: 245
Status: Late; some electronic files have been provided.
Estimated Delivery: Jul2012
Last Update: #33, 23Oct2012

Division
Failed Funding on 18Jul2012
Goal: $6,000
Raised: $993
Backers: 44
Status: Back as Act Ten (see below).

Project Panda Ninja Taco
Funded on 22Jul2012
Goal: $12,500
Raised: $14,808
Backers: 386
Status: Within delivery schedule.
Estimated Delivery: Dec2012
Last Update: #9, 28Oct2012

Shadows of Esteren
Funded on 30Jul2012
Goal: $3,000
Raised: $55,608
Backers: 705
Status: All rewards delivered (on time).
Estimated Delivery: Aug2012
Last Update: #35, 16Oct2012

Synnibar
Failed Funding on 31Jul2012
Goal: $55,000
Raised: $4,552
Backers: 74
Status: Still completely insane.

Project: Paradigm
Funded on 02Aug2012
Goal: $2,000
Raised: $4,700
Backers: 69
Status: Within delivery schedule.
Estimated Delivery: Apr2013
Last Update: #10, 25Sep2012

SteamCraft
Funded on 19Aug2012
Goal: $5,500
Raised: $7,091
Backers: 126
Status: PDF has been delivered, within delivery schedule.
Estimated Delivery: Nov2012
Last Update: #17, 25Sep2012

Dungeons Unleashed
Cancelled on 21Aug2012
Goal: $2,500
Raised: $695
Backers: 22
Status: Needed more information about the game.

Better Angels
Funded on 26Aug2012
Goal: $5,000
Raised: $21,593
Backers: 639
Status: Within delivery schedule.
Estimated Delivery: Dec2012
Last Update: #13, 02Oct2012

Tenra Bansho Zero
Funded on 16Sep2012
Goal: $9,000
Raised: $129,640
Backers: 1,704
Status: Within delivery schedule
Estimated Delivery: Feb/Mar2013 (as of most recent update)
Last Update: #27, 28Oct2012

Numenera
Funded on 17Sep2012
Goal: $20,000
Raised: $517,255
Backers: 4,658
Status: Within delivery schedule.
Estimated Delivery: Jul2013
Last Update: #45, 19Oct2012

13 True Ways
Funded on 21Sep2012
Goal: $29,800
Raised: $70,101
Backers: 846
Status: Within delivery schedule.
Estimated Delivery: Apr2013
Last Update: #39, 26Oct2012

tremulous
Funded on 01Oct2012
Goal: $5,000
Raised: $62,753
Backers: 1,555
Status: PDFs have been provided; within delivery schedule.
Estimated Delivery: Jan2013
Last Update: #29, 17Oct2012

The Coriolis Defect
Failed Funding on 11Oct2012
Goal: $20,000
Raised: $4,523
Backers: 116
Status: A more modest goal would have succeeded.

Mechanika
Failed Funding on 11Oct2012
Goal: $10,000
Raised: $1,332
Backers: 48
Status: More modest goal and better presentation.

Akyrema City: Quantum Roleplaying Game
Failed Funding on 18Oct2012
Goal: $30,000
Raised: $7,751
Backers: 120
Status: More modest goal and prove that there is product.

Act Ten
Funded on 28Oct2012
Goal: $1,000
Raised: $2,379
Backers: 170
Status: PDF has been provided; within delivery schedule.
Estimated Delivery: Dec2012
Last Update: #11, 28Oct2012

Outlive Outdead Companion
Project closes on 31Oct2012
Goal: $1,300
Raised: $846
Backers: 23
Status: Ongoing
Estimated Delivery: Dec2012
Last Update: #2, 24Oct2012

Hillfolk
Project closes on 02Nov2012
Goal: $3,000
Raised: $61,421
Backers: 1,543
Status: Ongoing [Funded]
Estimated Delivery: Apr 2013
Last Update: #24, 28Oct2012

Emergence
Project closes on 05Nov2012
Goal: $20,000
Raised: $11,027
Backers: 162
Status: Ongoing
Estimated Delivery: Aug2013
Last Update: #17, 27Oct2012

Sixcess
Project closes on 05Nov2012
Goal: $2,500
Raised: $4,833
Backers: 118
Status: Ongoing [Funded]
Estimated Delivery: Feb2013
Last Update: #14, 25Oct2012

Nova Praxis
Project closes on 10Nov2012
Goal: $10,000
Raised: $19,613
Backers: 415
Status: Ongoing [Funded]
Estimated Delivery: Feb2013
Last Update: #8, 21Oct2012

Wilderness: Houses of the Blooded
Project closes on 11Nov2012
Goal: $3,000
Raised: $7,880
Backers: 162
Status: Ongoing [Funded]
Estimated Delivery: Dec 2012
Last Update: #6, 24Oct2012

Magicians
Project closes on 18Nov2012
Goal: $3,000
Raised: $16,097
Backers: 466
Status: Ongoing [Funded]
Estimated Delivery: Apr 2013
Last Update: #11, 26Oct2012

Base Raiders
Project closes on 24Nov2012
Goal: $6,000
Raised: $6,522
Backers: 175
Status: Ongoing [Funded]
Estimated Delivery: Jul2013
Last Update: #5, 28Oct2012

Shadows of Esteren Prologue
Project closes on 26Nov2012
Goal: $3,000
Raised: $24,754
Backers: 263
Status: Ongoing [Funded]
Estimated Delivery: Mar 2013
Last Update: #5, 28Oct2012

While that is a rather and (hopefully) objective look at where things stand, I really don't begrudge any of the projects that are late, particularly if a stretch goal is what is delaying things. Communication is always going to be important, even if you haven't neared your delivery - most backers want to hear how things are going, it goes along with the patronage model. While direct input should be a reward, updates are an expectation.

Probably the biggest lessons from this are not just what goes into a successful project, but always where unsuccessful ones went wrong. Looking back, it's generally obvious why it was destined to fail (usually a goal that is just too high). My hope is that this is somehow useful to someone, or at least a point of curiosity. I would love to know about others crowdfunding experiences, or if you have any specific questions, leave a comment.