16 July 2013

Kickstarter: Part 14 - New Projects!

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

The projects in this update have been moving pretty slowly as a whole (with one notable exception). A number have high expectations, particularly for creators that don't have successful projects under their belt. That can be important to consider given some of the negative press that has been going around in the RPG circles regarding projects that have been very poorly handled. It seems to me making potential backers a little more careful with the funds.

It is something that I touched on previously and shows that the niche is growing and will be maturing. The desire for accountability from backers is increasing and the understanding of how much add-ons can hurt the bottom line and schedule from those running the project is growing. The signs of a growing community from those that have successfully run projects are offering their advice to others, wanting to make the platform better for everyone.

Their motives may not be entirely altruistic, as the greater trust that the concept has, the more people it can bring into the fold. Advice on how to deal with shipping (especially international) is the most sought-after, and with good reason. The costs and time associated with it are far beyond what you may estimate. Unsurprisingly, the skills that a project manager brings to the table aren't present in most Kickstarter projects - but they are definitely something that can bring long-term value to a Kickstarter "brand". At times I wonder if there will eventually be a service that will run your Kickstarter (project management, advertising, etc.) for you for a cut of what it brings in.

Finally, I missed a project between updates: Becoming, a story game where one player is a Hero, and the others are Fates try to take everything from them. It was funded on 06Jul2013.

New Projects

Reality A

Closes: 17Jul2013
Funded: No

An event caused the contemporary world to fundamentally change, developing magic, psionics, changing into human/animal hybrids, fantastic technology, or becoming cold and resistant to the new changes. On the whole, it sounds light-hearted and fun, though is very unlikely to make it's goal at this point.


Closes: 30Jul2013
Funded: No

Mark Rein*Hagen of World of Darkness fame has returned with I AM ZOMBIE, a game where you play a zombie (they refer to themselves as Toxics) that is trying to make their way on the periphery of society while being hunted by secretive groups. It has a distinctly retro, grindhouse, rock-n-roll feel and takes a unique approach to playing a zombie, similar to what White Wolf did with other supernatural monsters. They are given powers, a society, personality and conflicts. While not funded yet, it isn't in bad shape for making the goal. Definitely worth checking out.


Closes: 01Aug2013
Funded: No

This project presents a system that can be used for a variety of post-apocalyptic scenarios. The scenarios that have been created as examples include: economic collapse, alien invasion, robot uprising, zombie outbreak, nuclear winter and viral epidemic. While versatile, the examples of the system (indicated to be very rough drafts) show quite a bit of complexity, somewhat reminiscent of the 80's. Probably not quite as intense as The Morrow Project.

Closes: 02Aug2013
Funded: No

Do you like Neon Genesis Evangelion? That is the primary source of inspiration for this project, complete with the religious iconography (the robots all look like fallen angels, humans are referred to as saints, etc). The mechanics are straight forward - you roll attribute dice, keep the highest, then add the relevant skill. You have a pool of points that you can spend to improve that roll after the fact called "Ego". Your motivations, Hope, Despair and Relationships, all drive the Ego mechanic, potentially leading to gains and losses as they are brought into play. Another mechanic is Id, which reflects the nature of the robot (saint). Once it reaches a certain point (more than your Ego), the saint can take control and start wrecking things. Basically, it really is a rules light, character driven approach to NGE. If that sounds appealing, then this will likely be up your alley.


Closes: 04Aug2013
Funded: No

A new steampunk game using a class and percentile system. The setting takes a somewhat unique direction and is primarily based around exploration (which is generally associated more with pulp) and derives inspiration from Jules Verne, HG Wells and (of course) HP Lovecraft. Though details are sparse, the premise seems to be that an exploration/colonization expedition to uncharted territories (Antarctica?) goes wrong. Given that these themes aren't normally seen in the steampunk genre, I'm curious to see what they do with them.

Shadows of Esteren - Book 2: Travels

Closes: 11Aug2013
Funded: Yes!

This is the third Shadows of Esteren book to hit Kickstarter and I'm starting to think that they're conspiring against me. Both of the previous projects have been wildly successful, punctual and of fantastic quality. There are pledge levels and add-ons that allow you to get any and all of the previous rewards if you missed out on something limited edition. There is a reason this project was fully funded in under two hours. As for the book itself, it is something of a location guide, detailing more places within the setting, as well as giving some example scenarios and characters and mechanics for travel. Oh yeah, and monsters. There are other physical rewards that you can get to go along with it, such as a box to keep all of your previous (and future) loose rewards, various game aids and a journal. Even if you missed out on the previous projects, now is a great time to get started and pick things up at a discount.

Mechanika: Empires of Blood and Steam

Closes: 13Aug2013
Funded: No

Okay, this is a relaunch of a project that appeared a year ago. Things have changed for the better this time; if nothing else than in the way the project is being presented. This is going to be a little brief because I will be doing a significantly more thorough look at the project next week.

Mechanika is a steampunk game, using what I would describe as a riff on the Fate system. There are two system pieces that catch my eye. One is the magic system, which encourages stringing together various discrete magical effects to create a much more impressive/powerful display. It seems somewhat inspired by Mage, where there broad categories of magic (e.g. earth, fire, etc.), levels of power and then effects at each level. This can only be a good thing. The other piece is the device (referred to as "machina") creation system, which is a pre-requisite to any good steampunk game. It has various disciplines (called "houses") and you can combine effects from those to create your device.

What is most interesting is the setting, which takes some heavy inspiration from H.P. Lovecraft and then builds around that. The origin of the steampunk technology is from the old ones and magic the product of mortal association with their eternal nemeses, the fae. Mechnika does new things with some old classics, and creates an interesting world to explore. Keep an eye out for my review that goes into more depth regarding this game.