Kickstarter Campaign Reviews 2017, Part 1

Okay I am horribly late on reporting on my kickstarters. Normally I’d do an annual report in October. Of last year.

Over the past four years I’ve backed 31 projects, all roleplaying related, though I’ve been slowing down in recent years. Which is good since given how long the wait is for stretch goals (and in some cases the main product), just keeping track of what I’ve been promised is getting hard.

So for the next few weeks I am going to delve into each kickstarter campaign and examine how well it did and how well the creators delivered.

Hillfolk

My first kickstarter and one of the first to complete.

Robin Laws’s game of emotional struggle launched in October 2013 and made $93,845 (30 times its original goal) with 2,185. The result was an impressive list of guest authors each supplying their own campaign frames for use with the game system. Despite spawning an entire second book of these ideas the final product was delayed about five months. A series of pitch of the month then ran for another year before I could close the book on this kickstarter.

Throughout the organizers kept us up to date on the progress and with an advanced PDF already in hand, there wasn’t much frustration to be had.

As for the game itself, I’ve reviewed it here.

Mummy: the Curse

Ah, Mummy: the Curse (in more way than one).

One of Onyx Path’s early kickstarters, it began well. In January 2014 it made $104,831 (over 3 times its goal) from 1,767 backers.

While a seven month delay isn’t bad by kickstarter standards it was longer than expected. Much of this was beyond the creator’s control with various snafus in production. But again good communication helped immensely.

Where things seem to have gotten off track is with the stretch goals. Only a short while ago did the final nonfiction book (Cursed Necropolis Rio) finally arrived. There is still an unnamed fiction work due. I will be glad to finally cross this kickstarter off my list.

The other downside is that the line was the last of the 1st edition splats and thus almost immediately became outdated.

I’ve reviewed the main book here.

Telepath Tactics

My one video game kickstarter that I’ve backed, Telepath Tactics was not as satisfying as I hoped. This turn based strategy game seemed right up my alley but ultimately I found it less enjoyable (or maybe just too hard) for my liking.

The kickstarter did well, earning $41,259 (or over twice its goal) with 1,733 backers in April 2013. The stretch goals expanded the game well though the process of constructing the game took much longer than expected turning out be twice as long as planned and a year late.

I’m still glad I contributed even if I did not enjoy the end product as much as I hoped.

Obsidian Portal

In some ways this kickstarter has been very successful for me and in other ways I don’t know if I’ll ever get all that was promised.

The $86,308 raised from 1,692 backers wave over 17 times the original goal and the stretch goals promised became more and more ambitious. After funding in April 2013, they hoped to have much of it in place within a few months. In practice it took much longer and many features have yet to be delivered. Communication has been poor and they don’t post updated on kickstarter but rather their blog. Near as I can tell the last communication was two years ago.

Still the main goal was accomplished. As for myself I got a lifetime membership. A few more years and my pledge will have paid for itself.

Kingdom

From a kickstarter that went off the rails to one of the best I backed.

Ben Robbin’s story game made $30,303 from 1,113 exceeding its goal by an order of magnitude, Final delivery of the physical product was only two months delayed and well worth the wait. Communication was clear and stretch goals kept simple.

Ben has gone on to do two more kickstarters, equally well run. I’ll report on them in future weeks.

RPG Music

One last kickstarter to review for the week.

RPG Music was a great kickstarter: good value, almost immediate returns, and good communication. It was small (making $1,371 on a $500 goal from 201 and backers) but satisfactory. The one thing that went wrong had nothing to do with the kickstarter itself.

The people behind the project tried to run one that was an order of magnitude larger. 10 times the number of songs, 10 times the goal, 10 times the pledge costs. Obviously the last one is what sank it. Even if it meant that the backers were getting the same value, the price of admission went over the threshold that most of us (from the first kickstarter) would contribute.