Kickstarter Campaign Reviews 2017, Part 4

This week I’m covering part 4 of 5 of the kickstarter campaigns I’ve pledged to in the past several years. This time the projects funded between January and August 2015. Some proceeded smoothly and on schedule while others have suffered long delays and occasional frustrations. Thankfully there are no disasters or major disappointments to report this time around.

Deluxe Wraith: the Oblivion 20th Anniversary Edition

There is a superstition that the Wraith line is cursed. Maybe so. At least the kickstarter has had its troubles.

Despite this wrinkle I had to back the anniversary edition of this darkly atmospheric game of afterlife set in the World of Darkness.

In January 2015 over two thousand backers helped raise $295,645 (almost 6 times the initial goal) to make it a reality. The stretch goals swelled the book and added several additional products: a map of Stygia, a fiction anthology, the Handbook for the Recently Deceased, and the Book of Oblivion.

I was promised a book in November 2015 but with the normal delays and the curse, I am still waiting. Thankfully the production team has been releasing chapters in progress regularly to the backers along with our monthly updates. Communication is key to keeping contributors happy.

According to the Onyx Path Monday Meeting notes, art direction has yet to be completed and the text is in editing. I think a late 2017 release still possible but I may still be waiting on this in 2018.

World of Darkness Dark Eras Prestige Edition

Some kickstarters do something different from the usual stretch goals or rewarding reaching some level of buzz and backers. This campaign was one of those.

Dark Eras is a Chronicles of Darkness book providing campaign locations for the various game lines across the world in different historical eras and for many different game lines. To encourage interest, the creators allowed the backers to vote for which historical settings to include in the final book(s).

Thanks to that innovation, in February 2015 a book that would really be supplement material raised $128,290 (for a $40,000 goal) from 2,030 backers.

The main book arrived a fairly standard six months late in March 2016. Monthly progress reports got us through the wait. The stretch goals created a supplement which arrived earlier this year, completing the kickstarter while leaving the door open for future books of this sort.

I haven’t yet really digested the full material but the stone age Mage campaign has a lot of potential.

Beast: the Primordial Prestige Edition

This third Onyx Path kickstarter campaign included their standard high level of communication and level of professionalism. It’s a shame that the game itself is somewhat problematic.

The latest gameline for Chronicles of Darkness raised $116,383 (over double its goal) with 1,623 backers in June 2016. The core book was promised for June the following year and arrived only two months late. The supplements have arrived at a reasonable rate with only a Beast Dark Eras historical chapter remaining out of the stretch goals.

As for the game itself, it revolves around people with the souls of monsters who must feed on the fears or flesh of humanity. The game presents them as amoral subversions of the classic hero’s journey. In this game the “heroes” are the bad guys, self-absorbed glory hounds in it for themselves.

The problem with this game I feel mostly come from how the monsters justify themselves.

Beasts must feed on people or their inner monsters will hunt recklessly without them. That feeding can be done by instilling fear and caution in the victims or with violence and gore. In that way it doesn’t differ that much from Vampire.

But the designers/Beast society seem to want to justify things, pretending that victimizing people with the intent of teaching important lessons somehow makes them better.

No.

They are monsters and should just accept that. They don’t need to explain themselves anymore than a Werewolf or Vampire does. They must feed. They can choose to do so carefully or not. But concerning themselves with right and wrong, good and evil, Beasts feel like they are just playing into humanity’s myths.

No Thank You Evil

Let’s look at another well run and unproblematic kickstarter.

No Thank You Evil is a roleplaying game aimed at small children as young as 5. As the father of two (very) small children I consider this an investment in future gaming. Launched by Monte Cook Games, the kickstarter earned $111,750 (over twice the goal) from 1,514 backers in June 2015.

The creators communicated progress well and delivered on all the goods on time in February the following year.

The production values were good and the box itself is pretty. They recently launched a kickstarter for expansion material but I think I’ll wait until I exhaust what I have. I’m still a few years off from using it to introduce my son and daughter to the hobby.

Microscope Explorer

A final well run campaign comes from Ben Robbins, the creator of Microscope and Kingdom.

This book of expansions on his original hit Microscope needed only $2,500 to fund but made $55,629 instead, thanks to 1674 backers. Ben kept the goals reasonable and delivered the book only slightly delayed in February 2016.

As normal the game material is great and the book is visually pleasing. It expands Microscope to include rival groups of time travelers manipulating history, family trees, and seed generators.

Now I just need to work on using it more often.