After putting some money into The Dracula Dossier by Ken Hite (which you can – as of this writing – still back) Kickstarter informed me that this is in fact my tenth backed project. Seems like a nice round number to recount some of my experiences.
Polyvinyl is a small record company in the US. They had some issues with space, so they decided to unload their backlog of CDs through this Kickstarter. The list of CDs had some bands I was aware of, so I thought it might not be a bad idea to get that set, so I put in $90.
Problem I hadn’t thought of: customs. There wasn’t exactly a receipt for the purchases and because the price was so low, the customs officer I dealt with suspected that the CDs might be pirated. Well, honestly, this was more of first world problem, as I managed to dodge the horror stories I’ve heard from other people dealing with customs. She seemed like a professional and I didn’t have to go through any extra hoops. I did pay extra, of course. I can’t remember how much right now, but there has been a certain apprehension with making backing decisions since then.
I used to listen to a lot of Fear the Boot. Its been replaced by other podcasts recently (and I had to check: apparently they are still going strong), but its a fine podcast. At some point, one of their co-hosts (John Grana) decided he wanted to do this project. Didn’t go all that well.
First, there were huge problems with schedules. Grana hadn’t counted on being employed, so he didn’t have much time. It wasn’t a huge project, but it got delayed by well over a year. In the end, I wasn’t even that fond of the product. It was about a clan of goblins. I think the idea was good, but the book felt mostly pretty uninspired.
I guess that’s what you get for $5.
I had completely forgotten about this. I pledged $10. Not much, but I did get the PDFs for that. I guess the primary reason for taking part was the magnificence of Fiasco and this game has the same designer. Again, I don’t remember much, so I suppose everything went pretty well.
Haven’t played this yet, but I probably should.
I pledged $20, which means all the material in a digital form. Although there are problems with the system (although Lauri finds them more of a problem than I do), I really like this approach to horror. Once again, the AWengine rules.
There’s plenty of material, but I’m not sure if its even done. The number of stretch goals was pretty staggering and I know received plenty of them. Just can’t keep up, which I guess is a pretty positive problem to have. I guess they could communicate better… Still, not complaining about this one.
In a way, Hillfolk is a bit misleading, as the DramaSystem is the real key to this product. I pledged $43, which included $10 for postage and $8 for another book. Even without the book, $43 is pretty good for a hardcover book, including the postage.
All the stretch goals were once again great. Again, I’m not sure I’ve received everything, but plenty of the stuff was included in the book, so I probably have. There’s plenty of “series pitches” (basically campaigns) in the book, many of which are very interesting. I ran a one-shot of Moscow Station at RopeCon and although the system isn’t really about one-shots, I think it worked and definitely left wanting more.
My biggest backing of project at $350. Okay, that’s actually three people, but still. A third of that is still bigger than any other project I’ve backed on Kickstarter, especially compared to the other RPG-projects. That bought each of us the Guide to Glorantha, which in itself is a massive book, plus the Argan Argar Atlas, which includes a bunch of maps.
Sure, I was familiar with most of the information in the book, but it was still nice to have it in one book and with plenty of new art. The presentation is good and I’ve been a longtime fan of the world, so despite the cost, I’m very happy with it. I checked the price for the books now, and its $200 + postage.
This took some eight months longer than expected, though.
Once again, I went with a small backing. Only $10. I think here everything went pretty well. They were on schedule and everything. I haven’t done much with the book. I think its a good system, but right now I’d rather use another system instead.
Finally something besides RPGs. This is a Werewolf-like card game. I haven’t managed to play this yet, because it requires seven players to work, but seems pretty good. The guild Christmas party is on Friday, so I’ll try to get people to play there.
I backed this for $15, which was more like a suggested price, and it got me three copies of the game. They took about six months longer than expected.
All in All
I’ve been mostly happy with the projects I’ve backed. Very happy with some. They do tend to go long, but none of the projects have failed thusfar. Although I don’t like it when it seems like all RPG-projects now rely on Kickstarter way too heavily. Personally, I won’t back a project which doesn’t seem to be already in a good stage of being ready. There should at least be a draft of the final product.
Also, I like to support designers and properties I’m already somewhat familiar with. Its just that this reduces the risk of the project failing. These people and games are in the position they are in because they have a history of successful projects (Kickstarter or otherwise) in the past. They can’t afford to fail, because their reputation is their livelihood, whereas Grana could afford to take time off the project to put his life together. This is completely understandable, but it does mean that I’m not as willing to back projects from amateurs in the future.
Also, I think communication is key. The people behind the project should keep the backers aware of what happening behind the scenes. I wasn’t frustrated with the Guide to Glorantha project or the tremulus project at any point, because I was given regular updates on their progress.
If you counted the projects above, you probably found that I have listed eight and of course, the Dracula Dossier. This is because at the same time as the Dossier, I backed Legacy: Life Among the Ruins. It doesn’t really fit into what I normally back, but it was only £6, so I guess I can live with that. Mostly I backed it because it seemed like a new approach to the AWengine this blog is so obsessed with.
I’ll probably continue to back projects intermittently. Now I’ve backed a few projects a year. With all the delays, I don’t think I want to back more. I only want to back the projects I feel like are worth the wait.