Open Topic:
Have you done it?

Oct 14, 2013

You've heard wonders about it. You've heard terrors about it. You have heard of success stories where teams of two or three bring an awesome indie game to life with the funding they receive from people who truly like their idea. But, you've also heard of big name backed projects making lots of money that end up making mistakes, and going nowhere with their plans.

Welcome to Kickstarter.

Whether you like it or not, this 21st century phenomenon is here to stay a while longer, and has been shaping the gaming (and most media) industries in small ways that are growing. Its a concept that didn't get much traction at first, mostly a way so some individuals could fund making a folk music CD for their friends or to go on tour with, or for someone to make the cash to publish a book, and sell copies out of the back of their car, just so you could say (with some true pride), that you were a published author.

However, its gotten bigger than that, and the game industry is one of the biggest indicators of that. Just look at Shadowrun Returns, where a small game company used Kickstarter and Nostalgia for a potent fundraising combination, making nearly two million in crowdfunding. Its become a way of letting individuals that can't get a unique concept through a major developer get their ideas directly to an audience. The potential here is phenomenal.

As great and lofty and 'free spirit' as it sounds, it does have its risks. Besides the risks to the developer, such as eschewing the normal media machine, its a venture that's part fandom, part business investment on the buyer's part...this can lead to huge positives, or some pretty bad letdowns.

For my own history, and as a good example, I've bought Through the Breach: an RPG that's been in development for a long time based in Malifaux, a world created by Wyrd Miniatures. I haven't seen the product yet and I purchased it in January. However, because I bought in at a high level, I've been getting constant updates as to the items being made, gotten sneak peaks of the book art, and even had a chance to play with the beta rules, giving feedback.

Another example, and one less promising, is Z., A really, really cool concept of a zombie card game on paper, and so I bought into it as a Graduation present to myself in the summer of last year. However, it was supposed to be out nearly a year ago now, and from the updates I've recieved, the project keeps being extended as development changes and delays occur. The updates keep me hopeful, but I'm a bit worried this investment didn't pay off.

Another two examples, Myth and Kaosball, are two miniature games that I've funded excitedly, and I can't wait to get the full games in the mail. This is where a small company gives you the chance to invest instead of having to publish through an investor, and will return your investment twofold - Myth alone is going to give me over 100 miniatures for my investment. When it comes in the mail...its like Christmas in the time delay - hey, free game on the doorstep, and a pat on the back for helping a game developer out.

Right now, I'm on the fence about Golem Arcana, and am thumbing my wallet in its final hours. It doesn't have enough to fund...but its a miniatures game from some really big people, and the concepts they are trying to show off are huge - being able to translate a game from reality into the virtual to expand the audience of games and promote ease of play is huge. What it gives is a lot...but do I want to attempt to promote a project that's on thin ice like this?

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Also, I can't say no to giant golems beating each other up.

As of right now, I'm thinking yes - I'm an optimist at heart, and would love to be one of the ones pushing some new ideas in the gaming world.

What do you guys think? Have you ever invested in Kickstarter? Has it been boom or bust for you? Please, share your thoughts with us!

Wyatt Krause

Editor-in-chief, Co-founder