Last day for Otters! And how to run a humble Kickstarter campaign.

Today is the final day for my Otters Kickstarter campaign, so if you haven’t checked it out yet, please go do so! The project is almost 500% funded, which is wonderful and humbling.

Speaking of humbling, I also wrote a blog post on my board game site, Clay Crucible Games, about my experience in running what I’m calling a “humble” Kickstarter campaign. While it’s mainly written from the point of view of a board or card game publisher, it could be relevant for RPG folks as well.

Thanks all!

Michael Iachini

@ClayCrucible on Twitter

Kickstarter projects I’ve backed: Number 11 through 20 (chronologically)

Continuing my series, I’m going through the Kickstarter projects I’ve backed, in chronological order, noting why I backed each project, what level I backed at, and how it turned out. Part 1 of the series, covering the first 10 games I backed on Kickstarter, is here.

11. Roll20 Virtual Tabletop – April 2012

Why I pledged: At the time, I was still running a D&D game online using MapTool. I love MapTool, but Roll20 seemed like a cool attempt at a new, user-friendly virtual tabletop, and I wanted to see it become a reality.

My pledge: $25 for access to the closed beta and input on the development process (although I didn’t actually care about the reward all that much).

How it turned out: is a fantastic virtual tabletop, and I say this even though I don’t run D&D games online any more. I have only personally used Roll20 for playtesting the Substances expansion to Chaos & Alchemy, but the fact that the tool was flexible enough for that sort of thing is amazing.

12. Sentinels of the Multiverse Enhanced Edition – May 2012

Why I pledged: I had heard good things about the game, and it looked like a lot of fun. I also liked that it seemed the creators had put out a good-but-not-great package for their first edition and that this edition would be better.

My pledge: $50 for the new core game (no extra expansions)

How it turned out: Awesome! I was able to pick up my copy of the game at Gen Con 2012, and while I’ve only played it a few times so far, I think it’s a lot of fun.

13. Midgard Bestiary for 4th Edition – July 2012

Why I pledged: Partly because some people I follow online were associated with it, but mainly to show my support for 4th Edition D&D after D&D Next was announced.

My pledge: $10 for a PDF of the book

How it turned out: I received the PDF. I flipped through it a bit but have never actually used it. Still, I showed my support, and it was only $10, so I feel good about backing the project.

14. Project Ninja Panda Taco – July 2012

Why I pledged: Because I love the Jennisodes podcast, and I wanted to support Jenn. I also wanted to support Brian Patterson, the artist for the book who also draws d20 Monkey.

My pledge: $50 for a signed book (plus some bonus doo-dads that I don’t really care about).

How it turned out: Super cool! I read the book cover to cover, and I think it’s adorable. I haven’t actually played the game, and I likely never will, but this was money well spent.

15. Race to Adventure – July 2012

Why I pledged: I like Evil Hat, the game looked like fun, and I wanted to support Daniel Solis’s graphic design work.

My pledge: $40 for a copy of the game, plus some extras.

How it turned out: Ultimately disappointing. Among the extras were PDFs of Spirit of the Century and Dinocalypse Now, both of which were absolutely fantastic and completely unexpected. The game arrived in a timely manner, and it’s really beautiful and professionally produced. Unfortunately, the game is no fun at all. It’s just boring. I ended up giving it to my young niece and nephew, who seem to enjoy it.

16. Dungeon World – June 2012

Why I pledged: Mostly because everyone else was pledging, and heck, it was just five bucks to get the PDF – why not? As a side note, I’m listing the end dates for these campaigns, so even though Dungeon World says June 2012 while number 14 and 15 on my list say July, I actually backed Dungeon World after the other two.

My pledge: $5 for the PDF of the game

How it turned out: I believe I downloaded the preview version of the PDF when it was available. It seemed massive. I never actually read it, nor did I download the final version. But for five bucks, I’m fine with how things turned out.

17. Fantastiqa – August 2012

Why I pledged: I like deckbuilding games, and this one seemed like something that might appeal to more of the people I play with given its lighter theme. I loved the artwork, too.

My pledge: $72 for the game and its expansions

How it turned out: Disappointing. I know that this game generally gets good reviews, and I’ll admit that I’ve only played it a couple of times. But so far, it’s just not much fun. It feels like it has too many moving parts for a game that seems to hold itself out as being a little bit simpler than other deckbuilders. I think it stripped out the complexity that I enjoy in other deckbuilding games while adding complexity (fiddliness) that I don’t enjoy. I plan to find a new home for this one (anyone want to trade it for something cool?).

18. Consequential – August 2012

Why I pledged: I tried a demo of this game at Gen Con and thought it was really, really cool (despite the video stuff, not because of it). Also, I like Asmadi Games in general (particularly Innovation).

My pledge: $42 for a copy of the game

How it turned out: The project was canceled, unfortunately. This was a surprise to me. It also surprised me that they still haven’t re-launched it yet, although a recent BGG post from the designer says that they’ll be re-launching in September 2013. Hm, we’re in October now. Oh well; I’m guessing we’ll see it someday.

19. Viticulture – October 2012

Why I pledged: I love worker placement games. I love wine. And the project seemed really well put together.

My pledge: $49 for a copy of the game.

How it turned out: Awesome! First of all, the game itself is fantastic – one of the best marriages of theme and mechanics I’ve seen in a board game. Seriously, the way wines become more valuable as they age is super-elegant. Second, being involved with this project has led to a great working relationship with Jamey Stegmaier of Stonemaier Games, and it was a blast getting to meet him and his friends at Gen Con 2013.

20. Numenera – September 2012

Why I pledged: This is another one where following the herd played a role. So many people were talking about the game, I figured it was worth getting in for the PDF.

My pledge: $20 for PDFs of the core game and the Player’s Guide.

How it turned out: Honestly, I don’t know. I received an email with a link to download the player’s guide, but not the core book. I don’t care about the player’s guide. I should really follow up with the publisher to get the core book link, but I realized that I don’t actually care enough to track it down. I’m just not that into RPGs these days, and to the degree that I am into them, there are other games that I’m more interested in (at the moment, that’s D&D Next). I do hear good things about Numenera, though, so I’m not going to hold my personal RPG apathy against the game.

Scorecard for projects 11-20 that I backed:

  • Number that were actually funded: 9/10
  • Number that were eventually delivered: 9/9
  • Number that I feel were ultimately worth it in retrospect: 7/9 (the two exceptions being Race to Adventure and Fantastiqa)
  • Total money spent: $321
  • Money spent on not-worth-it projects: $102

What’s next?

I’m still at 49 total backed projects, and I’d like to keep revisiting them in this manner. I can definitely do numbers 21-30 soon, but after that I’ll need to pause to let some of the later-backed projects reach their expected delivery dates. Only three of the projects in the 31-40 range have been delivered, and mostly because I backed them fairly recently – the most recent being in July 2013 – not because of problems with the projects.

I’m still interested in hearing from others who have backed a number of Kickstarter projects – what made you back them, and are you happy with your decision in retrospect?

Michael the OnlineDM

@ClayCrucible on Twitter

Kickstarter projects I’ve backed: Number 1 through 10 (chronologically)

The first time I ever backed a Kickstarter project was nearly two and a half years ago as of this writing – early in 2011. Today, I thought I’d take a look back at the first 10 projects I backed and note what made me want to back it, what level I backed at, and how it turned out. (Part 2 of this series is at this link.)

1. ZEITGEIST Adventure Path from EN World – April 2011

This was the first Kickstarter campaign I ever backed. EN World, where I was an active forum member at the time, was getting ready to publish their ZEITGEIST campaign. I was running their War of the Burning Sky campaign at the time for my online game, and I loved it. Furthermore, I had participated in a loose play-by-forum playtest of the first ZEITGEIST adventure run by its designer, Ryan Nock.

Why I backed it: I loved that play-by-forum taste of the campaign and I wanted to support it.

My pledge: All right, this is a little insane, and I’ve never done anything like this since. I actually ponied up a $500 pledge to participate in a game Ryan would be running at Gen Con 2011.

How it turned out: The campaign didn’t hit its funding goal. That’s probably a good thing for me, since I’ve run a grand total of one adventure in this campaign. I would have felt pretty dumb being out $500 on this in the end.

Interesting side note: EN World came back much later to run a Kickstarter for this adventure path, and I decided not to back it because I thought it was too expensive. Times change!

2. Dungeonmorph Dice – May 2011

Why I backed it: I thought the dice looked really cool, and there was an outside chance I might use them to put together a dungeon map on the fly someday.

My pledge: $20, for a set of five dice.

How it turned out: I eventually received my dice. They look cool. I don’t believe I’ve ever rolled them. Still, I feel fine about the experience.

3. Compact Heroes – June 2011

Why I backed it: I liked the concept of the game (an RPG based on a deck of cards – frankly, a little bit like the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game).

My pledge: $50 for two starter decks.

How it turned out: I received my decks, more or less on time as I recall. I’ll admit that I’ve never played the game. Sigh. On a brighter note, the designer, Rod Waibel, was really helpful when I was trying to figure out how best to print Chaos & Alchemy cards a year later.

4. Mutant Meeples – December 2011

Why I backed it: The game looked like a lot of fun – a cool twist on Ricochet Robots (which I had played years before but did not own). I’ll admit that the video was pretty slick, too.

My pledge: $60 for the game and its expansion

How it turned out: I believe that this holds the record for the longest delay between when the game was supposed to be delivered (February 2012) and when it was actually delivered (December 2012, if I remember right) so far. It’s a pretty cool game, but I’ve only played it once or twice.

Side note: I have no idea why I didn’t back anything between June and December of 2011.

5. Gaming Dice in Chocolate and Sugar – December 2011

Why I backed it: Come on, these are cool! D&D dice that you can eat; awesome. Also, the creator was a fellow Coloradan.

My pledge: $25 for a chocolate set and a sugar set of dice.

How it turned out: Delicious! There were some production delays, but I was very happy with the final product.

6. The Order of the Stick Reprint Drive – February 2012

Why I pledged: I love Order of the Stick, and I hadn’t been able to find a copy of War and XPs anywhere.

My pledge: $45 for a copy of War and XPs (I wanted to pledge $60 for a signed copy, but those went too fast)

How it turned out: Awesome! The book is great.

7. Monster Stock Art and Minis – March 2012

Why I pledged: At the time, I had recently put out my free D&D 4th Edition adventure trilogy The Staff of Suha, and I thought that I might want to have some monster art to use in case I published future adventures like that one. Also, the monster art could be useful for the online games I was running in MapTool.

My pledge: $140 for a license to use all of the art that came out of the project commercially.

How it turned out: Until I started putting this blog post together, there was no way I could have remembered that I spent $140 on this art. I’ve barely used any of it in my MapTool games (which I stopped running in mid-2012 when I moved on to board game design), and I haven’t published any new adventures. Quality art, but a waste of money on my end.

8. Admiral ‘o the High Seas – Naval Adventures from EN World

Why I pledged: Largely to support the ZEITGEIST campaign (see item 1 on this list). I didn’t care much about the naval combat rules themselves.

My pledge: $45 for a PDF of the new supplement and the right to name a character or location in an upcoming ZEITGEIST adventure.

How it turned out: I turned the abbreviation for Online Dungeon Master, ODM, into a word – Odiem – that EN World used as the name of a spooky island location in a ZEITGEIST adventure. Cool. I’m happy with the investment.

9. DoubleFine Adventure

Why I pledged: I’ll admit it; I jumped on the bandwagon. I mean sure, I enjoy this type of game, but I’m really not a big video gamer these days and I wouldn’t have signed on if it weren’t for the “Kickstarter phenomenon” part of this campaign.

My pledge: $15 for a copy of the game.

How it turned out: Well, the game isn’t done yet. I guess this is really the most-delayed project I’ve backed (Mutant Meeples, you’re off the hook). They’ve apparently been putting out videos about the process, but I haven’t bothered to look at any of them (I just don’t care). A waste of money for the most part, but only a $15 waste.

10. Prismatic Art Collection – May 2012

Why I pledged: Mainly because I wanted to support a project that Tracy Hurley and Daniel Solis care about (two people I respect greatly). Also because the art might be useful for any adventures I might release on my site (same rationale as for the Monster Stock Art project).

My pledge: $25 for a thank-you on their web site.

How it turned out: Some art has been released. I haven’t used any of it. But I helped Tracy and Daniel reach their goal, so I’m fine with that.

Scorecard for my first 10 projects:

  • Number that were actually funded: 9/10
  • Number that were eventually delivered: 8/9 (and I think that DoubleFine will eventually come through, too, making this 9/9)
  • Number that I feel were ultimately worth it in retrospect: 6/9 (the three exceptions being Compact Heroes, Monster Stock Art and DoubleFine Adventure)
  • Total money spent: $425
  • Money spent on not-worth-it projects: $205 (sigh)

What’s next?

As of this writing, I’ve backed 49 total projects. I like the idea of going through them 10 at a time, so I’ll probably do 11-20 in the near future. (Edit: Here they are!)

What about you – how many Kickstarter projects have you backed, and how many have been worth it in retrospect?

Michael the OnlineDM

@ClayCrucible on Twitter