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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Kickstarters: Shut up and take my money!

Kickstarter aka "Shut up and take my money!"

The story so far

Creature Caster kicked of the Kickstarter Season 2014
Greetings, folks! For a couple of weeks now awesome crowd-funding campaigns chase each other. The season started with the massively successful Canadian Kickstarter for Creature Caster by Jeremy Glen (324,511 CAD, 1487 backers).

42 hours before the end of her Pinup Kickstarter I told Liliana Troy from Hangar 18 Miniatures that I would be surprised if she would not go over 42,000$ (the Kickstarter had just passed 30,000$ at that point). She thought she reached 46,621$. I informed her that it was 42,000$ + 4,200$ + 420$ +1$. The power of 42 compels you! :D

Not everyone is going for massive amounts of money: For example Ben Jarvis' Etch-Master brass-etch IndieGoGo campaign obliterated their funding goal by 1674%, raising 8,368$ and finding 217 supporters. 

Current Kickstarters: Overview

I am watching the miniature scene every day - but honestly, even for me it is getting tough to keep track of everything that is going on right now. 

Big and small Kickstarters fight for your support and getting involved in all of them means dishing out some serious cash. 

I think it's fair to say that it becomes close to impossible to support everything you want to (at least at max pledge level :D).

So let me give you a quick summary of the current onlsaught of Kickstarters, but let me give you a fair warning first: 

 Rated Tripple-W: Much Want, Such Win, Very Wallet discretion is advised!

Arcane Factories Season 1: 6 days to go

Arcane Factories and the team around Justin Tan from Vancouver have already successfully funded their first season of miniatures. Their Kickstarter currently stands at 15,449CAD with only 6 days to go. 

The team members are all animators and 3D artists and many of their designs have very dynamic poses full of expression.

Next major unlock: 20,000$ Redemption Engine (which I want so much :D)

JoeK Minis: Paul Bonner's Trolls of Trudvang: 11 days to go

Not a game, not masses of miniatures but this time the chance to turn an artwork of legendary artist Paul Bonner into a collectible and paint-able diorama! 

Having raised £3,481 so far, I am sure that Joe wouldn't mind you heading over to his Kickstarter to help him start his business! 

We all know the internet is controlled by trolls. And if you cant pwn them, then you can at least own them.

Own 'em real good!

Legion of the Cow Ltd. - Minx Studios:
14 days to go

OK. First of all a company that is called Legion of the Cow Ltd. deserves your support. That should be reason enough for any nerd. 

But if you would like to see more 'substance' head over to Alex Nemes' Kickstarter and check out his RPG Fantasy Miniatures. He's got some serious skillz and helping him start his company is probably not the worst you could do! 

Who let the cows out? 
Moo, moo, moo, mooo!

Don't Panic Games - Drakerys: 
28 days to go

Our good friend Mohand already has experience with massively successful Kickstarters. Do the words 'Eden' or 'Escape' ring a bell? Yes? Exactly - that's the guy. 

Seriously, a company named "Don't Panic Games"... What's not to like? Other than the fact that I can't use that name for our own line of future games anymore :D

Mohands latest project is Drakerys, a miniature game with lots of everything. No surprise that they were funded within minutes. 

Currently 400 backers have elevated the game to $87,307 and I am certain that this will be a massive success. There will be much mo' hands grabbing these for sure!

You want mo'? Don't Panic! Heeeere....

Scale Games (Scale 75): Fallen Frontiers
This Friday Night, 9pm GMT / 10pm CET / 3pm EST

I'm calling it now: Fallen Frontiers is going to be a MASSIVE success. Having had the pleasure to sneak-peak their Kickstarter page already (unfortunately I can't pledge yet :P), this is exactly my cup of tea, early gray, hot. 

What's so special about this game? All I say is plastic injection molding! I expect stunned silence in the forest of Sherwood.

Beautiful miniatures set in a dense, fluffy atmosphere (I want the trailer video to become a full feature Hollywood movie already!). 

And with painters such as Elias Alonso Herranz, Rafael "Volomir" García Marin and Alfsonso "Banshee" Giraldes this will be HUUUUGE. 

Friday night. Don't miss it. Heeere: Facebook Link 

Are you a backer?

In the comments below let us know which crowd-funding campaigns you backed. 

What do you think about Kickstarters in general? 
What do you like, what don't you like about them?
What are you looking for in a Kickstarter campaign?
What turns you off?

You know what we backers say about crowd-funding campaigns?
"No 'paign, no gain!"



  1. Other the last two or three years I supported quite a few Kickstarter/Indiegogo campaigns, some miniature, some board game related.

    I must admit it's quite tempting, but I become more and more annoyed with the stuff:
    - they are always late (except one), but that's no big problem
    - the communication after the end of the campaign is abysmal (even with larger companies, with a few exceptions)
    - it hurts the local stores
    - more and more companies use it to generate quick sales of existing and not to fund a start-up

    Dust: Operation Babylon => an established company, most of the miniatures already exist
    Helldorado => crappy communications, nearly a year late, quality a little hit and miss
    Defiance Games => no need to talk about that
    Anima (computergame) => no communication, lots of delays, now an "extended" campaign to gather more funds with nearly nothing to show for
    Darklands => three campaigns other the course of 9 months, excellent communication and miniatures, though

    I will support crowdfunding from time to time, but the initial euphoria has really past away (still waiting on Cthulhu Wars, Wrath of Kings, Guild Ball and some others).

    1. It's unfair to say you're "still waiting on" Guild Ball. It wasn't even scheduled for release until December.

    2. Sorry, I didn't meant it in a negative way.
      Just substitute "still waiting on" with "really looking forward to". ;-)

    3. Thanks for your comment, Zweigesicht!

      You mentioned two of my main problems with Kickstarters:
      - it hurts the local stores
      - more and more companies use it to generate quick sales of existing and not to fund a start-up

      Unfortunately, the most successful Kickstarters are nothing but a new sales channel (like Amazon) with a year or more delivery time (unlike Amazon).

  2. "What do you think about Kickstarters in general?"

    I think they're a fantastic opportunity for getting product to market, diversifying the industry, and enabling creativity.

    "What do you like, what don't you like about them?"

    Mainly the all the negativity. The online community could suck the fun out of a blow job. That aside, they do allow companies and individuals with very little experience to get in over their heads There'll undoubtedly be people who'll raise the impact of KS on gaming stores. I've already stated my opinion on this many other times so I'll let it slide here.

    "What are you looking for in a Kickstarter campaign?"

    Primarily it has to be a product that I'd be interested in buying at retail. I will occasionally make a small pledge for a product I'd like to see come to market, like Yannick Hennebo's recent Indiegogo campaign, though even then, it still had to be for a mini I might buy. As you touch on in the post, we're way past the point where it's possible to keep up with every campaign, let alone pledge for anything more than a tiny minority, so the approach has to be one of consumer choice now, rather than just getting carried away in the process.

    "What turns you off?"

    Leaving aside things that would turn me off even if the product wasn't on KS, such as the recent Alternate Civil War KS which was a nice idea poorly executed, I look for red flags that might affect the chances of the campaign fulfilling on its promises. Things like campaigns offering too good to be true discounts, or an industry newbie promising a range of plastic minis.

    1. Yeah, catching the 'red flags' is turning into a hobby of mine. Quite interesting to analyze the success or failure of Kickstarters - a must if you think about doing one yourself.

  3. Ahhhhh the joy of Kickstarter.

    Hello I'm Ed and i'm a Kickstarter addict...we should all start like that. The crowdfunding phenomena is a good thing and a bad thing for our hobby. In hobby i include both miniatures for painters and miniatures for gamers (board games and skirmish games).

    I backed a lot of project during the last 2 years and i must confess i regret 60% of them (and the majority is yet to arrived).

    Like my previous colleague above i can advance the same arguments but i will add some. Our hobby is a little one, with not so much money in. When u r a player, u try to focus on one or two games aso u can develop and discover the whole thing. Now with all these KS projects we have 8 to 10 new games each year. And with all that delay, u will forget u ever backed for them when they arrived.

    I backed 2 games, that i think, will be the biggest failures online, Relic Knight and Monster. Soooooooooo late, and with sooooooooo many problems, i even asked for a refund.

    All and all it's a good thing, u can projects funded who could never have been done without KS.

    Th main problem for me is that too many miniatures will kill the miniatures in the end.

  4. Very VERY interesting comments! Keep 'em comming!

    1. I didn't know FF had injection molded plastic. My excitement just quintupled!

    2. Also, Banshee is painting the display models along with Volomir!!!!

    3. Not Banshee anymore, only Volomir

    4. Apparently Banshee is still involved.

  5. I have 20 minutes before my next appointment, so i will answer the questions.

    What do you like, what don't you like about them?

    I like original projects, projects that would never have seen daylight without KS. Little companies can now create their own games without being looked upon by the banks. But it's also the drawback. The small ones r often not ready for the success (for example Red Box games) and r overwhelmed by their own success, creating a looooong delay.
    It's what i don't like mainly. Unprepared projects. Or not really promotional offers.

    What are you looking for in a Kickstarter campaign?

    Promotional stuff, one of a kind offers, unique miniatures...everything that can make me feel a partner and not just a customer. If we really look at the way now KS is working, it's a presale platform for the companies. CMON doesn't need to raise millions for their games, they would have been a great success anyway, but it's cash money immediately and not after months of sales. And it hits badly the local retailers as well.
    I'm also looking for serious projects not "i want to make money" ones.

    What turns you off?

    Mainly ? Now my conscience who tells me to keep my money and paint what i already have. I didn't back Creature Caster because i know the miniatures will end up on my shelves and get dusted because i already have so much to deal with.
    Projects with stretch goals, which r not real stretch goals but just just more material to buy, or material planned anyway in the boxe.

    I'm now much more reasonable for my pledge for KS, only games that i will actually play or miniatures that i will actually paint.

    And again, too much games and minis will kill our hobby

    1. Yeah, I for one do not back any projects by CMON or Reaper. They suck millions out of a market that is in trouble already as it is - and they don't need it. I only support KS if I like the people behind it. Unfortunately I can't back all of them - for money reasons ;)

      I think too many unpainted minis could kill our hobby, but that's why we at Painting Buddha fight against unpainted minis! (Well, except for me - I hardly find the time to basecoat them these days :P)

  6. @ Edouard I disagree. I think we have reached a point where where the market is begining to flourish. We are at a point where the market has become competitive and companies are being forced to up their game creatively and in terms of quality. I don't think the number of kickstarters will kill the hobby but only the better ones will survive. Consumers are getting wise to the marketing, the value for money and hollistically are becoming better informed about good deals. The risk suck and will always suck but some investments seem safer than others. I think the only thing I really dislike is the waiting but that's just impatience. I know one of the likely risk is that a project will run over schedule. I except this because I have to. I wouldn't hold this against a company if they were transparent but a company that met its proposed deadline would impress the he'll out of me and go a long way towards getting me as a backer again.

    1. To some extend I agree with you, Terry.

      However, 'value for money' is something that can mostly be offered by established companies. Start-ups need every cent they can get and either are considered 'too expensive' or in danger of hurting their bottom line by offering too much 'free stuff'.

      Big companies produce in China, small start-up's don't have the logistics and so on....

      So I am not sure if the 'better' companies will 'survive'. Right now it looks like the big ones get bigger and the small ones stay small. Not to mention the affect KS have on local hobby stores.

  7. I am currently backing JoeK and his Bonner Trolls.
    I have backed 3 Mierce miniatures Darklands Kickstarters so far. The minis are the best around in my opinion. You should look into them!


  8. What do you think about Kickstarters in general?

    They're a great way to get a new range, game or product out into the hands of people without the hassle of having to secure funding through either a publisher, venture capitalists or what have you.

    What do you like, what don't you like about them?

    Smaller companies getting a helping hand in realizing their dreams, niche products getting a chance to see the light of day, etc.
    I dislike the lack of responsibility on the side of the creator, they are not obliged to use the funding as advertised, they are not required to inform people how the funds are being allocated, this means that scams are possible (and will happen), which is damaging for the whole concept of crowdfunding.

    What are you looking for in a Kickstarter campaign?

    It depends, most KS I've backed are games in one form or another (computer, miniature, board-game, etc), and for those I look for interesting mechanics, concepts and models. Quality over quantity, function over form. Something can look gorgeous but if the mechanics do not grab me, then I am not interested. I'd rather have a few beautiful models, than hundreds of low quality ones (Hangar 18 pin-ups vs. Reaper Bones for example). Though that isn't 100% reliable (Sedition Wars looked great, ended up fairly mediocre to put it mildly).

    For non-gaming/model related KS, uniqueness is key, but these are few and far between for me. Only the CST-01 watch (delayed due to material issues) and Infused Maple Syrup (already delivered and delicious) having caught my eye so far.

    In general, great communication is key, I'm quite fortunate that a majority of the KS I've back to date (42!) have been pretty good on the communications front, but it is something that many projects seem to neglect, while it is absolutely key to keep your backers in the loop about events that are going on surrounding the project.

    What turns you off?

    Lack of preparation (always anticipate being more succesful than anticipated, you do not want to be left flailing when your pledge amount suddenly explodes dozens of times faster than you imagined, prepare for the best, that way you can cover all your bases), lacklustre presentation the pitch is everything, if it doesn't grab people you've lost already. Unclear objectives and goals, bad communication during the KS (let's imagine what that'll be like afterwards, looking at you CMON),

    A prime example of this to me was Beyond the Gates of Antares KS, their KS pitch felt like such a cynical cash-grab right from the start, I could not believe they were actually saying the things they were, it basically came down to "look at me, I'm famous designer such and such, now give me all your money, and I might do something cool with it". That really turned me right off, I never bothered, and their project rightfully failed to meet its goal, despite having the potential to do great, their presentation really destroyed their chances.

    The various Darklands KS are basically the polar opposite, essentially coming in with a "you may not know about us, but we make really cool models sculpted by these well known artists, and we'd like your help to make more for this cool setting.
    And here's a pitch for this game we want to make, the mechanics are complex, but easy enough to pick up, we need your help to make this happen". The passion dripping from every aspect of the project, and communications being second to none, we're kept in the loop down to the finest details.

    The same goes for Kingdom Death, Adam is an absolute stickler for quality, and this has delayed the project several times, he wants it to be the very best it could be, and as a result every single person backing that KS is willing to trust Adam with however much time he feels he needs, because he's keeping us informed so well on just about every possible aspect of the project.

    my apologies for the wall of text. :/

    1. 1. No need to apologies for comments on, the home of famously epic walls of text :D
      2. The fact that you are a backer of 42 campaigns says it all. I tip my hat!

      And I totally agree with you. Quality is #1.


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