Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Kickstarter Redux

I've been using Kickstarter for about a year and a half, now.  And I have to say: So far, I've been pretty happ with it (with a handful of exceptions).

To date, I have successfully backed 26 projects, spending $1,235 since June of 2010.  Of those 26 projects, I have fully received ten of them. There are three which have reportedly shipped (but have not yet arrived).  There are three which have sent me digital copies, but the print copies are still not here. So I have received about 50% of my backed projects so far.

Two of the projects which have not sent me finished digital or print have sent partial or bonus items.

Of those 26 projects, only two of them were not game-related.

So what are my thoughts on what I have so far?

Mostly good, actually.  Most of the people to whom I have given money seem to be making an honest effort to provide the product to me in a reasonable amount of time.

It doesn't seem to matter if a project is from a first-time producer or if it's an old pro - some will be fast, and some will take their sweet time getting out.

I've backed three Hellas books, for example. Jerry Grayson is (by now) experienced at how the industry works, so he has been very fast at getting the product out and in my hands.  

The Children of Fire RPG was in my hands in near-record time - and it was from a first-time designer. The game had been a free PDF for years, but the new edition cleaned a few things up and changed the layout. It was in my hands about two months after it funded.

By contrast, Powerchords (by an experienced team) is the oldest project on my list for which I have received nothing but updates. It funded October 1, 2010. I have received nearly weekly updates, which generally consist of "Here's two pages of flavor text," or "There will be a chapter in the book about X."  But - a year and a half later - there is still no PDF, much less a print copy.

Some games looked really cool, but fell kinda flat when I actually tried to play them.  Pizza Theory is fun, but it's pretty much filler.  Miskatonic School for Girls is beautiful. The art toes is both whimsical and flavorful, the theme is solid ... but the game is very random, starts slowly, and seems to end very suddenly and abruptly.

A few games have hit my house, but have so far missed the table - Mob Ties looks a lot like Mall of Horror, and I look forward to taking it for a spin.  Kingdom of Solomon looks entertaining, as does Empires of the Void, but neither of these has yet reached the table.

A few of the games have been really really good.  Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple, for example, is really amusingly fun. And it's very kit-friendly. I have been recommending this to friends for a while.

And a few projects have kept me entertained in other ways.  Far West released an anthology that added a few authors to my wish list, and Gareth-Michael Skarka has posted previews of the system as well as the setting.

So what I'm trying to say here is this:

Kickstarting projects is a gamble. Some projects are less awesome than the originally appeared. Some projects are flirting with vaporware. But some projects will leave you talking about them for years to come.

Just don't expect them right away.

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