Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Kickstarter April Edition

Ramble ramble ramble...

Kickstarter for me has turned into a place where money goes either to die or enter into a state of hibernation like Ripley in the Aliens movie where she misses her pickup by such a long time that when she wakes up her kid is dead of old age.

I know, we're "supporting the arts!" but I have to tell you, for that, we're getting some of the lamest updates I've ever seen when talking about 'behind the scenes! "Man, I had a head cold you wouldn't believe! Nothing updated. Sorry dog! Can't help you."

Here's the thing for me at least. A lot of the ones I initially backed were for role playing games. If you can't get some previews, some art, some discussion about your research into the product, where your inspiration is coming from, what made you select some artists, or any number of useful things, don't come to me as a backer with "you're supporting the process!" because most of these process posts are so incredibly lame that if you approached a project manager with them you'd be fired on the spot.

With the advent of the Internet, with YouTube, twitter, and so many other social media options, the fact that most of the ones I've backed hide from their backers and only respond to individual posts instead of, you know, updating the Kickstarter itself? Your doing it wrong.

Onto the late projects!

28mm Demons & Devils: While it's only now officially 'late', remember, no one PROMISED anything would be done in March. That was only an estimate dude. You can't be holding anyone to that stuff. And in the meantime, they haven't sent out the old pledge backing so you know, we can actually order what we've paid for. Then again, I went in for their Facebook exclusive miniature which was done after their Kickstarter so yeah, good work Joe.

1650s Rulebook: Supposedly printed. Will see it in American shores... soonish?

Imbrian Arts Miniatures is now late. Miniatures were supposed to start flowing in Feb and follow up the rest of the year for people who were at a certain level. Turns out Jody isn't going to do that method he initially was in Trollcast due to timing issues. Some have said there's a lot more going on behind the stages and Ed needs to step up and clear his name so to speak. Between this and Red Box I'll be very curious to see how Assimiliation by Ed goes. I'm also curious to see how the Cthulhu Mythos I'm backing, also using Ed, goes. Good luck to everyone involved here. From an outside perspective, it seems a mess.

Reaper Miniatures Bones:Okay, not really late, but late for me as I'm one of the people that backed at a higher level so no generic level and that means more stuff to pack later. One day I will understand the mentality's of the Kickstarter worker. "This person has spent more than 90% of my other customers. I will ship his shit dead last. Screw this guy for supporting me at this level. Dumb bastard!" No, seriously, I get that there are complexities involved in dealing with orders that are not standard or normal, but often, in that dreaded 'real world', when you put in a large or deluxe order with a 'real' business, you generally get taken care of BEFORE the people who are ordering one or two offs. This whole methodology will probably never happen but a man can dream.

Red Box Games: Love Tre's figures but man this has turned into a disaster for the guy. Not only this Kickstarter but the one that followed. Seems to be 'bad blood' between Tre and Ed now in terms of whose responsible for the fiasco.

Note in the comments Tre mentioning one of the things I pegged almost at the start. That if you're a business doing small batches for large orders, you and the person you are serving are screwed. Everyone has to put in more man hours to make it work. If you have an order for 800 broken up into one hundred separate orders instead of one order, or any number under that total number, more trips to the post office, more time packing, more packing supplies consumed, and so forth and so on. It's an ugly situation to be in. This doesn't include things beyond your control like say, a postal hike.

It's one of the reasons why where I work, the large orders are preferred in terms of 'getting the work out' because its more productive to 'touch' a bin once for one hundred pieces then it is to touch that same bin one hundred times for one piece each time. Oh well. Looking forward to seeing it whenever it hits.

Tectonic Craft Studios: Going on a year late. In the meanwhile, he's been doing conventions, setting up trade with internet stores, and selling stuff online. While one can understand the need to do these things, telling the customer in the meanwhile how lucky they are to be getting such great deals didn't fly over to well and I'm actually not the worst jerk in this supporting faction now. People getting tired of reasons and wanting to see their goods. I myself find that its going to be an uphill struggle for him because of things I've mentioned in the past. Comparitive prices to Games Workshop terrain for example.

Tentacles & Eyeballs: The dude here has taken, what for him, was a bone breaking punch to the jaw, got up and said, "Win!". He's turned some of the material that was taken out from the C&D into some fantastic monsters with some great paint jobs.  He made more than he should have and then allowed people to buy in at kickstarter prices. While it's late, he's keep everyone in the loop, no one's had to hunt him down for information, he's provided pieces as they were being done, and has gone above and beyond in my opinion.

Dwimmermount:More drama than your favorite soap opera. I'm glad that the guys have got the rights they need to take care of things. Tavis has been class act here while James deals with a terrible situation. Should have been done months ago in my opinion but hey, people don't want to intrude on such a terrible scene and I can't blame them.

It Came From the Stars: Supposedly on its way. Looking forward to seeing the end result as I'm actually having time on the weekends to do things. Painting and role playing may make a comeback in this life yet!

Midgard Tales: Honestly have no clue what's going on there. I'm actually not worried about it NOT coming out and not really interested in the project any longer. Too few updates, not a lot of clarity for my dumb ass as to what's going on and well, it's something I wish I'd just waited on and maybe bought in the store.

Pathfinder Online: Not late but there were levels with rewards that included PDFs that already exist. They were deliberately put into a special level to encourage people that even if you weren't doing the game, you'd be getting a good value. Those should have already been sent out and maybe it has, but this is another one where I'm not digging through comments and other things to see where things stand in terms of the pledge manager.

Steampunk Musha: Hasn't been updated in months. The game site for Fat Goblin Games, last time I checked, was down. The company has a web presence but hasn't made mention of this game yet. Dead?

In terms of "new" Kickstarters, I've let a ton go. There were MANY miniature ones I wanted to back and a few RPGs. The only one I have backed recently is Wicked Fantasy by John Wick. I like some of the ideas we've seen and he's been good about updating the page with you know, the actual material that will be going into the book. Oh, maybe Fate too? Didn't know if I mentioned that one.

John's I backed because I like a lot of his work. I might pick it up in the store. Fate I backed because it was a fantastic deal and it looks 'fun'. There appears to be community build up around it.

For the most part, I'm done with Kickstarters until I see and hear a rapid improvement. As I've heard things the opposite though, I don't think that will be an issue. For example, let's take Nystul's Infinite Dungeon. I did not back this one at the time. I already had a mega dungeon and more on the way. However, look at who recommends backing it..

"Support this Kickstarter. I'm sure you won't be sorry. Mike's incredibly creative."

- Monte Cook

"For all you gamers wrapped up in the old-school revival, you don't get more old-school than Mike Nystul. How many other gamers were around early enough to get a D&D spell named after them? How many designers were writing sourcebooks about demons back when TSR had banned the word from the game? Let Mike haul you back into the dungeons that thrilled you as a kid and remind you why you were afraid to go in there in the first place!"

- Matt Forbeck

"Mike Nystul is a brilliant designer and the best DM I ever played with. Imagine someone with the ability to peer right into why you play D&D in the first place, who can then create a game with the perfect balance of challenge and reward -- that's the work of Mike Nystul."

- Aaron Loeb

How do you then look at anything these guys say in the future about a Kickstarter? Couldn't Monte have given Nystul a copy of his book on running Kickstarters? The whole thing, from an outsider prospective, looks a mess and it's one that was supported by many industry insiders. I don't think that any of these guys are going to take a direct hit on their rep, but then again, if you backed one of these projects because you were like, "Man, Monte Cook says I will not be sorry! Awesome!" Anyone know if Monte is stepping up with free PDF's of his latest game for those backers?

Anyway, that's enough rambling.