Time for another survey of what’s happening in the RPG scene on Kickstarter. Since my last post on the subject over a month ago, campaigns have come and gone, for example the well-regarded OSR SF game, Stars Without Number, funded a full colour revised edition. I also know that at least one reader of this blog went and backed a game, Spire, after reading about it in that post.
So I should remind all readers that inclusion here is not a recommendation. I’m just bringing the games to your attention. I am not equipped to review the games, or, perhaps more importantly to make an assessment on the risk of backing any particular project. I’ve been lucky (and sometimes been the beneficiary of good judgement, I chose not to back Far West for example) – the projects I’ve backed have all delivered, if not on time, then not too late. But I am aware of many projects that have delivered only promises, and people who have written-off the money they contributed.
I hope that Westbound won’t meet the same fate as Far West. This is a genre mash-up like that game, merging the Wild West with the fantasy races of Tolkien and D&D. (I’ll save my rant about how D&D is already a Western for another post.) It features an interesting poker based task resolution system, and its stretch goals seem to be mostly bespoke poker decks for the various character classes. There’s a free basic quickstart available, if you want to play before pledging.
A fun Fate world, Henchmen, offers players the opportunity to play baddies. I know of one GM looking for a campaign like this, so I’ll draw it to his attention. It’s already met its very modest goal, so I wish the producers luck and hope they’ll go on to bigger and better things.
Talking of modesty, alarm bells are ringing over my next project, Superhero 2044. The creator behind this is not modest, seeking $100,000 for a game that appears to be not much more than a concept and some (admittedly nice looking) 3D renders of figures. Lets start there. Plenty of RPGs get more than $100,000, but very few ask for that much. 7th Sea got over $1.3million, but only asked for $30k. Fate Core only sought $3k! Sleeper hit of this year’s Gencon and multiple Ennie award winner, Tales from the Loop, did ask for 100,000 … Swedish Kroner. That’s just $12,000 in your yankee money. “Aha” I hear you retort “but this game comes with figures! Kickstarter company CMON just sought $400,000 for their Rising Sun boardgame.” Yeah, but their first KS project, Zombiecide asked for a mere $12k. Where’s your history of game production success? Actually where is it? I see your history on KS has been three unsuccessful projects. I fear this one will be number four. I have much more I could say about reading this particular campaign ciritally, but is is meant to be a generally positive piece. If anybody want to hear the works, nudge me.
**Update 19/9/8 It seems that the day after I published this post, the creator cancelled the $100,000 campaign, and replaced it with one for a mere $100. It achieved that target quickly. I still have doubts.
Moving on, there are a couple of other brave attempts that I hope won’t dishearten their creators if they fail, but I don’t expect them to succeed: Six Sided System needs more work; Raids should focus on making the core product more compelling, to a wider audience, rather than trying to sell badges, tee-shirts and custom dice to their relatively small audience.
On the other hand, the people behind Sins, seem to have worked hard to get their product developed before bringing it to Kickstarter. The game itself is not my cup of tea, a White Wolf inspired post-apocalyptic, sentient zombies vs hivemind zombies world, but their professionalism seems second to none. Their campaign gives the impression that everything is done – development, playtesting, writing, illustration, layout and pre-production. All they need to deliver in November is printing and distribution. They’ve been rewarded with almost four times their original target already. They say they want this to be just the first release of many. I wish them well in that ambition.
A quick mention of the RPG/boardgame hybrid Vanagard, which looks to be a lovingly produced family game of anthropomophic (furry) Vikings, is all I have time for before putting this post (and myself) to bed. I count six more RPGs I’ve not mentioned, which I hope will feature in my next most on the subject, in a couple of weeks.