November 24, 2013

Kickstarter Report

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The Kickstarter website allows people to pledge money towards the completion of various projects (games, movies, products, or lots of other ideas). Usually the project organisers give something in return and keep in communication with backers. I joined last September specifically to back a certain project (see the first project below). Since then I have backed 10 more projects. My only rule (so far) is never to back a project at a level which includes physical goods – I don’t need more stuff.

It appears to be an emerging tradition to detail the result of backing Kickstarter projects. As I haven’t backed a new project in nearly 3 months, and many have finished, it seemed a good time to reflect on my experiences. In order of when I pledged, my backed projects are:

  • Project Eternity (pledged Sep 12, due Apr 14, ongoing) – Me and nearly 74,000 of my mates backed this little computer RPG. It is one of the more successful Kickstarters, and is the reason I joined the site. It is being built to a similar design and by a similar team to Planescape: Torment – that is enough of a sales pitch for me, I pledged enough to get a copy on release. Since being funded, the project team sends weekly updates on their progress. I am fairly comfortable waiting for this game.
  • Conclave (pledged Sep 12, due Feb 13, delivered) – This project was backed on a a whim when it appeared unlikely it would reach its target. Now I understand that total pledges tend to surge in the final day, as it did in this successful project. It is a HTML5 RPG game where the first 10 missions are free (playable here). The team delivered all they promised, largely on time. I have played through about half the current game and it is a decent enough distraction for a couple of hours. No regrets here.
  • Blackspace (pledged Oct 12, unsuccessful) – The only project I backed that did not reach its funding goal. This is a computer RTS game when the player builds and defends facilities on asteroids. I had a very similar idea and was keen to see how theirs’ looked. Unfortunately, little progress has been made (if any) since the funding failure – a pity.
  • Sir, You Are Being Hunted (pledged Nov 12, due Jul 13, late) – A very cool looking “tweedpunk” FPS game where you are hunted by robots dressed like English country gentlemen. The game is in alpha and available on Steam. It is technically running late, but since the current version is playable and the oversubscribed kickstarter resulted in many stretch goals, I’m not worried.
  • Sui Generis (pledged Nov 12, due May 14, ongoing) – A very impressive and ambitious tech demo for this computer RPG led me to back it. There were a number of original ideas planned for the game and I deemed it worth a try. Since then communication has been sporadic, but gameplay videos show progress. I just doubt this can be finished in the next 6 months, even another year seems like a stretch to me. Hopefully the team won’t run out of money or descope too heavily. Perhaps they could license their engine to other developers.
  • Fate Core (pledged Jan 13, due Feb 13, delivered) – Another massively oversubscribed Kickstarter for a pen & paper RPG. There were so many stretch goals achieved on this one the value for money became too good to pass up, even for people with only a passing interest. Most of the backer rewards have been delivered (a couple of the later stretch goals remain), and the quality seems very high.
  • EN World (pledged Jan 13, due Mar 13, delivered) – Before this Kickstarter I was aware of the EN World website and considering joining to help find local RPG groups (I didn’t join because it turns out Facebook is the way RPG’ers connect in Malaysia). Then the site was hacked and went to raise money to resurrect the site offering a ton of pen & paper RPG rewards for backers. Now the site is back (and I joined, but mainly for the news) and the high-quality rewards distributed (so many I haven’t had the opportunity to go through them all yet!).
  • Jeff Cannata (pledged Mar 13, due Apr 13, delivered) – For many years I watched Jeff Cannata as one of the 3 hosts of The Totally Rad Show. It was a free, fun and informative podcast. When he went to Kickstarter to raise money for a new (although similar) podcast, I felt he deserved some money from me for the hours of entertainment already provided. Even better, my mate Jeff has now delivered the Newest Latest Best podcast. It lacks the chemistry of TRS, but is still very good and I happily watch it.
  • Achtung Cthulhu! (pledged Mar 13, due Aug 13, partially delivered) – Cthulhu mythos adventures during World War 2. This pen & paper RPG was an easy sell to me. The original products from the Kickstarter have been delivered, with the numerous stretch goal rewards still to come. The quality of the books exceeded my expectations – very impressive. I have also started playing in a AC! game and can strongly recommend it.
  • RPG Background Loops (pledged Apr 13, due Aug 13, delivered) – This set of 80 background loops (each 10 minutes long) for RPG games was backed on a whim. They are fine, but I’m not sure when I will get to use them.
  • Weird Wars Rome (pledged Aug 13, due Sep 13, delivered) – Like Achtung Cthulhu, an easy sell with a combination of Cthulhu mythos in an Ancient Rome environment. Unfortunately, I have been unimpressed with the quality of the delivered book – much lower than the other Kickstarters I’ve backed. Disappointing.

So after 10 projects backed successfully, only one is (forgivably) late, one is a concern, and one had a disappointing result. I consider that a good result and wouldn’t be apprehensive about backing more.


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