30 April 2013

Kickstarter: Part 11 - Lost Projects

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

As I indicated previously, there were a number of projects that I backed, but never got around to covering. Some of them raised their funding, others did not. While it doesn't help those campaigns specifically, there may still be some useful information here. Perhaps a game to be on the lookout for when it goes to retail, or even some lessons to be learned from a failed project.

Ended Projects

Funded: No [$2,354 of $325,000]

This ambitious project was from FASA, returned from being more than just an IP holding shell. The goal was to fund a world, a steampunk world (though I doubt there are any actual punk themes, just some trappings - I digress). There was a neat premise: British scientists accidentally open a portal to another world, and decide to claim it in the name of the Queen (god save her and all that).

However, the biggest problem with all of this was the sheer scope of what they were trying to accomplish. The N.R.G. project faced something similar earlier (and we haven't seen the last of those writers, see below), where the direction of the project isn't clear - there is just too much going on. In this case, it was an RPG, iPad app and a miniatures game. Also a freakishly large goal. There are not that many games which could make that goal, and if they started there, instead of building towards it, probably even less.

Even when I backed this project, I knew it was going to fail, but I was just too happy to see a new setting come out of FASA. Hopefully we haven't seen the last of this and it can come back just as an RPG.

Funded: Yes [$243,945 of $30,000]

An RPG based on the unique world of the miniatures game, Malifaux. I always enjoyed the setting and unique style of that game, despite not having the inclination towards a minis game anymore. This project was very exciting for me and not only based on the final totals. Pledges started at $60 and only went up, but there is enough of a fan base for this setting that it was hardly a barrier. In fact, that pledge level received by far the lowest number of supporters, with over a thousand pledging over $100, and 451 pledging at least $225. This is a project that really did well with expensive rewards.

Funded: Yes [$433,365 of $3,000]

The initial goal for this project is laughable. Of course it is going to be funded. Even with that, I don't think that anyone could have predicted the final total. That is amazing, the second most successful RPG project ever (right behind Numenera). There isn't much more to be said here; this was less a project and more an event from the fine people at Evil Hat.

Funded: Yes [$8,441 of $2,500]

An update to the original ICONS, a Fate-based superhero game. Since the first edition hit enough things that I like, superheroes, Fate, and a fun random character generation, I don't really think that I can lose on this one.

Funded: Yes [$7,710 of $3,500]

Back with a much more reasonable goal, this was funded. Numerous drafts have been sent out, often with messages that are difficult to decipher at times. When the book is in my hands, expect to hear about this one.

Funded: Yes [$2,433 of $1,000]

The next project from Game Smiths, the people behind N.R.G. and Dragon Star. I have always enjoyed settings based off of Sinbad, and think that it is criminally underused in general. However, it's for Savage Worlds, which is not for me. Even though it is only available in a system that I am not interested in, I supported this because I want to bring back N.R.G. and Dragon Star. Also, backers from that project got a great deal on the electronic rewards.

Funded: Yes [$104,831 of $30,000]

I am an unabashed fan of the new World of Darkness (the old World of Darkness was a little more hit-or-miss for me, which may or may not be blasphemy, but that is neither here, nor there). This is White Wolf's most recent - I'm sorry: Onyx Path's first crowdfunding project, a game of the Deathless. They are immortal entities that wake periodically to serve their judge's will in an unfamiliar world. Honestly, I'm down for any game where you get to have your own cult and I know I can find players for this.

Funded: Yes [$18,749 of $4,500]

This Fate Core-based game is... it's awesome and bizarre in all the right ways. I'm not entirely certain what is going on, but I have always been a sucker for unique settings with good art. There's a size chart of spiders compared to a person! A city on the back of a tortoise! It takes a look at fantasy from a different perspective, and I wanted to know more about that.

Funded: Yes [$26,792 of $5,000]

It's a new edition of the classic Sorcerer game by Ron Edwards, along with all three of the supplements bound into a second book. For whatever reason, I never had the initial releases, so this was my chance to fix all of that.

Funded: Yes [$6,873 of $5,000]

Post-apocalyptic fantasy set in a dystopian city? A moon crashed into the world, huh? Yeah, I was down for that.

Funded: No [$4,636 of $6,000]

To be honest, the fact that this project failed to reach its funding is a little baffling to me. None of the usual suspects are at play here: the art is decent to good, the goal is entirely reasonable, and there is considerable information on what the game is about. Perhaps there is too much information and it unsold people - the system appears on the involved side of things with some fiddly bits. There is probably a good lesson to be learned from here, but I'm not certain what it is.

Funded: Yes [$43,775 of $15,000]

While not a fan of the original Cortex releases (e.g. Serenity), ever since Smallville, they have been making some very interesting things come of that engine. Reaching something of a new zenith with the tragically short run of Marvel Heroic, I was curious to see what other things were cooking with that system. Additionally, one of the stretch goals was Fantasy Heroic, a fantasy hack of Marvel Heroic. There was a lot of different things going into this project, and there was bound to be some absolute gold to be found.

Funded: Yes [24,061 pounds of 3,000 pounds]

Confession time: I don't know how to do the pounds sterling symbol in Blogger - it doesn't like a number of my attempts at doing my own HTML, and the amount of time I spend debugging it just isn't worth trying. So, long story short: this project is funded in British pounds.

There was so much to love in this project. It hit a lot of notes that I enjoy, then mixed them together. Surreal mystery, amnesia, and existentialism. Designed to be run as a mini-series; which is convenient in my old age given time commitments, but I find one-shots difficult to sink my teeth into. Hopefully this game will live up to my hopes when it arrives.

Funded: Yes [$10,081 of $10,000]

Barely funded at the 11th hour. This is a military-based sci-fi game. They say fantasy a lot, but I'm not entirely certain in what context; is it fantasy as in "sci-fi/fantasy", the generic genre (I apologize for that redundancy), or as in "sci-fantasy"? I suppose I will eventually find out.

Time to do a little comparison: This game got funded with significantly less information and art than Kingdom, above. The latter had a more reasonable funding goal as well. Both had .pdf's at the same level ($10). Both had hardcovers at $50, though Kingdom also offered a softcover at $30. Kingdom had some pledge levels that were on the confusing end of the spectrum, but what almost certainly made the difference is with the ultra-high pledges: 4 backers at $250, 2 at $1000 and 1 at $2000. That is half the goal right there.

In the end, there is almost certainly some subtle, but important lessons to be learned in contrasting these two projects.

Funded: No [$1,676 of $3,000]

A dystopian corporate future combined with X-Com. I thought this was going to be a slam dunk. Turns out I was quite wrong. I'm not entirely certain what went wrong here, perhaps something as simple as: the word never got out. The goal was very modest and there was actually some information out there. Tragically, I didn't really have the time to look into it that I would have liked - work and all that. Maybe the answer is in what was made available.