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Made in us
Mutating Changebringer





Pennsylvania

Many posters have remarked on the Kickstarter campaign by Wyrd Miniatures for their upcoming RPG title, Through the Breach. Now that the campaign is over, there seem to be potentially valuable lessons to be learned from the comparison of this campaign to other campaigns.

I believe that by looking at other campaigns, the statements by Wyrd and the data (in terms of pledges per day and backers per day), we can make some inferences about the general trends of what works and what does not.

N.B. The point of this thread is not to bash Wyrd or to say that there is a single formula for kickstarter success. Nor is it to imply that this is a rigorously statistical analysis. What it is is an attempt to take what information we do have and see if any conclusions can be drawn.

Premise
That despite making almost a quarter of a million dollars, several errors prevented Wyrd from achieving a much larger success. Even with the final days surge almost 60% of the campaign's total revenue raised was raised in the first 72 hours.

Data:
Through the Breach: A Malifaux Roleplaying Game



Kingdom Death: Monster
Spoiler:




Numenera
Spoiler:



Reaper Miniatures Bones
Spoiler:



The Cool Mini or Not campaigns;


Something Wicked this way comes! Crusader plastic Model (Dreamforge Games)
Spoiler:




Conclusions
Reliance on Fans;
One thing that is immediately noticeable is that some campaigns have a sharp burst of pledges in the initial 1-3 days (TtB, Numenera, KD:M), while others have a much more subdued climb (N.B. That the C'MoN campaigns have very, very slow starts).

The seemingly obvious inference that can be made is that this initial burst corresponds to products that have a built-in fan base. Fans of Monty Cooke, KD and Wyrd found out about these campaigns and pledged immediately, forming a base of what may be called “uncritical backers”.

Uncritical Backers are not backers without standards, but backers that are sufficiently enthusiastic about the projects and their creators that they do not need to be “won over”. They are, by definition, people that were more or less satisfied by the initial conditions of the campaign. In successful campaigns these initial backers form a community: they attempt to evangelize and generally create an atmosphere in the comments section of the campaign that is friendly and enticing for uncommitted backers. They also help the campaign by answering questions of other, less involved backers.

The use of special edition miniatures as rewards also had a strange effect: because the initial, invested backers were far more likely to be fans of Wyrd, they were also prone to dramatically overvaluing the special edition miniatures. One vociferous backer revealed that she had paid over $125 for the Santana Ortega SE! It is no wonder such a fan found it incomprehensible that less committed, wavering backers wondered at the value of this addition.

Moreover, as the campaign for TtB began to stall, a curious and disturbing phenomenon began to occur: the highly invested fans became increasingly defensive of Wyrd and their conduct of the campaign and increasingly hostile towards potential backers. That is, backers who did not consider the existing values sufficient were all too often told “if you don't like it, don't pledge”, and it seems a non-trivial number of those potential backers did just that. That situation created a siege mentality on the comments page of the TtB campaign, where committed backers were increasingly likely to respond sharply and with irritation to questions or criticisms, since of course they had seen these comments many times.

Lack of Company Interaction;
It's also important to not place the blame for this situation on the backers: the situation was allowed to fester because, compared to other campaigns, Wyrd was uniquely hands off in handling their campaign. Simply put, Wyrd decided, rather then have a staffer babysit the campaign, they would instead limit themselves almost exclusively to a daily update, with vanishingly few comments made in response to specific comments. The result? Even now, after their “surge”, TtB has astonishingly few comments for a campaign of it's size (1,259 as of this writing, compared to a much smaller campaign like Imbrian Arts, which has... 1,261).

This had very specific and notable consequences: all of the initial information led people to understand the “multi-pose miniatures” were exactly that: a single miniature, perhaps with a number of bits. It would not be until update #15(!) that the miniatures were revealed to be kits, capable of making up to 3 figures. For two weeks the value of the pledges was substantially underestimated, with no effort made on the part of Wyrd to correct the misunderstanding.

Why Did It Happen?
So, if the above are problems, what caused them?

The simplest, and most disturbing, explanation is that Wyrd has a fundamentally different understanding of what Kickstarter is for compared to many successful campaigns.

Fundamentally, KS should not be looked at as a way to simply rack up pre-orders, but rather a way to fund the creation/conversion of new products, with the goal being the introduction to market. There are, of course, plenty of dissenting views on this.

Wyrd is clearly among them: reading of various statements made by Wyrd staff shows that they were firmly convinced that the purpose of the campaign was not to fund the product, but to sell, with a comfortable profit margin, their product.

The comments of Nathan Caroland exemplifies this problem.
Spoiler:

Your feedback of course is appreciated and welcome, and despite what some folks think, we do listen. That being said, just because its voiced, with fervor or not, doesn't mean its the route that we ourselves want to take with this particular KS.

We didn't start out to do a massive kickstarter to rival the ones everyone keeps tossing up as examples of 'how a kickstarter should be run'. We're doing the work regardless, but this kickstarter and the support offered early really helps us put time and money to it immediately without dragging it out over a long period of time. It also allows us to bring in additional writers and artists which allows us to speed up the process considerably.

Yes there are some wildly successful kickstarters out there giving away gobs and gobs of goodies, but those kickstarters are also victims of their own success in that quite a few of them don't make anywhere near the amount of profit that folks think when it comes down to it and the fervor clears and the excitement turns to actual work. Not all of them, but enough, particularly in our chosen industry.

Every little knick-knack and add on adds cost. It also adds labor and shipping. Not to mention that when you offer umpteen different options and quantities someone is bound to make a mistake and put in the wrong part or quantity of an item or leave it out altogether by accident. Now any reputable company is going to make right on this and go 'hey, sorry about that, lets get you sorted'. And they do, but that adds additional costs as someone needs to input error orders, pull the error order and get it packed up for shipping, and then ship that error order on their own dime because they missed putting a .03 cent part into the package and now have to ship it to the Netherlands for a few bucks.

It's amazing how things like that add up and you find any and all profit has simply gone *poof*.

We're not interested in having you add additional items to your order. Woooah, that's just crazy talk! No, not really. If you've got a few hundred orders that are X and another few hundred orders that are Y and a thousand orders that are XY, its easy to get them sorted quickly, quality checked, and out the door for the price that we've counted on for labor and shipping. If we allow everyone to add and customize their order that is a LOT more work for the folks inputting it into the order system (instead of selecting Package X that has all this, they have to select Package X and then add in whatever was additionally purchased), and the cost for time and labor just shot up, much less the opportunity for mistakes to be made as it was supposed to be three Hanna's included in that box, not two. Whoops, now we have to ship again on our dime. Not to mention there are some folks out there who's enthusiasm will end up turning that package into double or triple the shipping costs and you might as well have given the product away for free at that point as you are doing pennies instead of dollars.

While some may not believe it, we actually have gotten several e-mails from both distributors and retailers thanking us for not going for the kill and trying to get every single bit we can direct to us. Would I like to? Yeah, sure, who wouldn't like an increase in profit! At that same time why should we cut everyone's throat, including our own, when we can also work with others within the industry and at the retailer level and support each other. Believe me, those favorite local stores of yours go away and you'll notice it, and so would we. We would like to see everyone around for a long, long time.

I'm sure there are a few things that I haven't addressed here or made comment on but these few I did want to address and let folks know at least where we ourselves are coming from on this.

Again, thank you for your support and enthusiasm. It is very much appreciated.


It's quite transparent that Mr. Caroland believes that if the campaign were to only cover the costs associated with development and fulfillment... that the campaign would be a failure. That attitude contrasts rather markedly from the attitude expressed by Bryan at Reaper. Reaper clearly sees the fruits of their massive campaign being a) a line of miniatures that can be “sold for years to come” and b) funding to move their production of miniatures in-house.

In other words, Reaper saw their campaign as a way to gain funding for a long-term investment in their company. Wyrd, in contrast, seemed almost obsessed about keeping their own costs down, and the campaign reflected that.

Sell the Sizzle, not the Steak
Related to the effort to keep down costs, Wyrd engaged in a fundamentally flawed method of selling their campaign to backers interested in greater value: in depth exploration of the game itself.

Now, this will seem like an odd complaint: most people, after all, are interested in exactly what the game itself entails! The problem is that Wyrd used insight as a substitute for adding value, and even the way they went about adding information was very poorly done.

People are visual, especially when making snap decisions (such as taking the plunge on a kickstarter campaign). TtB had a total of 33 updates and of those 33, a whopping 22 had no images at all. Even that is rather misleading: of the 11 updates that had images, eight (8) of those updates the images were graphics of charts or the “Ye Old Back-o-Meter One Thousand” (which accounts for 6!). KD:M, by contrast had 61 updates (with the exception of his $1 mil update) each and every one of them with images.

Don't think that makes a difference? Compare the last updates posted while the campaign was still running and trying to hit goals;
Update #32, The engine is billowing, the train is getting ready to leave the station!
Spoiler:
Salutations!
We're rounding the bend, with less than 24 hours to go! I'm not going to sleep well tonight! We're at 827 points total on the Back-O-Meter.
We also broke into the $215k stretch goal! Now anyone who was getting a random multi-pose miniature is getting both! That means the Dining and Game Room levels each get 4 multi-pose mini sprues, and the Living Room level gets both.
Tomorrow is the big day. I'll be starting the Breach Side chat at 2:30pm PST. This special broadcast will be longer, going until after the Kickstarter ends! I'll be running some real-time games with anyone watching so that you can earn more points on the Back-O-Meter.
All the graphics and the main page have been updated, now all that's left is to see you tomorrow on ustream!


Update #60, OMG OMG OMG OMG 1.9 Millions!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Spoiler:
WE HAVE UNLOCKED THE SECRET NEMESIS MONSTER...
The Dreaded Slender Man!

I am afraid to say that even a single glance will instantly end your life. Sadly only the legendary White Speakers know of how to face this dangerous entity. The poor survivors don't stand a chance...

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

LOOK AT YOUR OWN RISK!!!!!!


FYI, The KD:M update has 101 comments, the TtB update... 5.
Now, this is not to say that the chats and design insight have no value: they have loads of value, but they were a very poor way of advertising. The biggest reason why is that when you are looking to buy a product from an established studio like Wyrd, connected with their flagship brand, there is a presumption of quality. Secondarily, by using a video to convey their content, Wyrd missed out on the primary virtue of Kickstarter updates: the immediacy of them and their ability to quickly convey concise information. This is something that KD:M excelled at: KD:M never failed to supply a single graphic that would a) establish what had been added, and b) what was coming up. TtB updates tended to have very little information in the main, far too frequently simply directing people towards another site to consume video content.

Whaaaaa? Why would you do that...?
Some of the decisions made during the campaign are simply inexplicable, and seem to spring from nothing more then not being prepared for a campaign of this magnitude. For example;
During the final week, a promotion was run to generate social media buzz (the “Back-O-Meter” promotion). The entire point of this was to share an image on Facebook and on Twitter. No less then 6 updates are devoted to this promotion, and with two exceptions, in each update they appear to have forgotten to include the relevant information about the images. That is, in updates designed to prompt people to share particular content in social media... the backers had to search through the updates to find the content to share.

Lessons to Take Away
What, if anything, can we take away from how Wyrd's campaign unfolded? How can someone intending to learn from this for purposes of their own campaign avoid their mistakes and replicate their successes? It seems that there are three obvious points to take away;

Point One: Establishing your brand before your campaign allows for a dramatic opening rush. This in turn allows for several stretch goals to be completed quickly, creating the impression of achievement.

Point Two: Stretch goals are vital to building momentum. While both KD:M and TtB opened strong, KD:M would quickly leave TtB in the dust, in no small part because there were clear stretch goals, interestingly presented and paced so that each would be achieved relatively quickly.

Point Three: The hardest part is getting people to pledge. In neither KD:M nor TtB was the lowest level of pledge the most common. People who pledged tended to be interested in spending more money on the project to see stretch goals achieved. Once campaigns have overcome the initial psychological hurdle of getting people into the campaign, the tendency was towards people increasing their pledges. KD:M facilitated this to a magnificent degree, while TtB, with its severely restricted pledge options, was much less successful in this. Finally, having a pledge incentive that would go away right after the initial rush would have a severe impact on recruiting new pledges to TtB: even after dramatically improving the value of the pledges, the fact remains that almost 60% of the value of the campaign was made during the first 72 hours of the opener promotion.

So, if you're still reading, what are your thoughts? Disagree with some of these conclusions? See areas where future kickstarter creators might also draw lessons? Think these conclusions are wildly unsupported by the available data? Have campaigns that you would like to bring into comparison?

Edit:Addendum
It's wonderful to see so many constructive comments here, and I must personally thank Mr. Martin for comments he's been kind enough to make to me personally. With that, I'm going to attempt to address a few issues that he brought up to me and others here have also touched on.

The Early Bird Gets the Worm, the Hesitant Bird Gets the Shaft
One of the most controversial elements of the TtB campaign was the “early backer bonus”, where those that pledged $60 or greater in the opening 72 hours or so would receive the special edition “Miss Terious” miniature. This finds its mirror in the habit of many campaigns (KD:M, Dreadball and many others) of offering “early bird specials”, pledge levels that are exactly the same as the standard pledge levels, but with a discount and a limitation in number. Wyrd's version of this, the Miss T promotion, had some unique properties.

Chiefly, by adding Miss T to pledges based on when the pledges were made, Wyrd added something with a bit more appeal then perhaps $10-20 off of the basic pledge, and an addition that also had the virtue of being very, very cheap to add (the miniature not being original to the campaign, it's unlikely that the cost to Wyrd was even equivalent to $5-10).

The drawbacks of this approach are substantial, however. First, because they chose to have the give-away be a specific item given in a limited in time, they set up a situation where anyone pledging afterward was at the disadvantage of knowing that they would be paying the same pledge amount but getting less then those that were”in the know”. This is a bit of a call-back to the issue of the campaign being reliant on the built-in fanbase, rather then lending itself to appeals to truly new consumers.

It is the case that the people that get into a campaign in the opening days are the people already inclined to pledge anyway: the high information, highly personally invested fans that already get mailings from Wyrd, that already follow Wyrd news on various forums. In other words, the Miss T promotion seems, necessarily, to have ended up as an incentive available to the consumers that were most likely to pledge no matter what, and least likely to need an incentive to continue to hold steady their pledge.

A second issue with the nature of the Miss T promotion is it excludes generating the intensity of attention that comes with limited early backer levels: even in the final hours of KD:M backers would, for whatever reason, have to drop their limited, discounted pledges. The fact that people could get these pledges later led people to constantly pay attention to the campaign, which naturally led people to converse in the comments and otherwise hold the campaign at the forefront of their thoughts.

Most importantly though, early backer rewards that are only a discount generally speaking don't have any real impact on the calculus of later backers. Miss T did: this miniature was constantly brought up as a source of friction, and fostered a sense that the campaign was not intended to bring in people previously unaware of Wyrd or its products, but one designed to cater to the high information consumer (i.e. the existing fanbase).

Of all the elements of Wyrd's TtB campaign, the only one that I am tempted to regard as a complete failure is the Miss T promotion. If for no other reasons then it is the element most likely to leave a sour taste in an observer's mouth, and most likely to be a reason for a potential backer to not back at all. It may be petty, but the psychological impact of knowing that the deal one gets as a later backer is worse then the deal the people “in the know” received is not to be underestimated.

Apples to Oranges to Orangutans
A persistent problem with the analysis of kickstarter campaigns is the fundamental problem that, unlike retail items, each campaign is unique, even within the same niche product category. Is it appropriate to compare TtB to KD:M, to Numenera, and if not, then to what?

Comparing to Numenera has the virtue of being a comparison within the same product niche, but it suffers from the obvious shortcoming of being a) a shorter campaign, and b) during a distinctly different time of year.

Comparing to KD:M has the virtue of being a comparison during an almost entirely overlapping time period, but suffers because these two products are very different niches.

Every comparison has flaws, because even excluding the different time periods, Numenera and TtB ran fundamentally different campaigns. TtB relied, I think it can fairly be said, on the use of physical miniatures to provide additional value beyond that present in the books themselves, but maintained a rigid number of pledge possibilities. Numenera, in contrast, had no less then thirty-four (34!) pledge levels, and a staggering number of add-ons available.
Spoiler:
The following are rewards that you can add on for the listed amounts. These can be added to any reward level of $10 or more. Note, the amounts listed do not necessarily reflect the final retail price of each product, as those have not been determined.
+$3 A copy of the character creator app, for Android, iOS, or PC.
+$7 A pdf copy of the 32-page full color adventure, The Devil's Spine.
+$7 A pdf copy of the 32-page full color adventure, The Mechanized Tomb.
+$7 A pdf copy of the 32-page full color adventure, The Other Side of the Maelstrom.
+$7 A pdf copy of the GM's Screen
+$8 A print copy of the 30 card full-color XP Deck. Shipping included in North America (elsewhere, please add an additional $5).
+$15 A pdf copy of the 160-page full color Ninth World Bestiary.
+$15 A pdf copy of the 160-page full color Sir Arthur's Compendium.
+$18 A pdf copy of the Numenera core book.
+$15 A print copy of the 32-page full color adventure, The Devil's Spine. Shipping included in North America (elsewhere, please add an additional $5).
+$15 A print copy of the 32-page full color adventure, The Mechanized Tomb. Shipping included in North America (elsewhere, please add an additional $5).
+$15 A print copy of the 32-page full color adventure, The Other Side of the Maelstrom. Shipping included in North America (elsewhere, please add an additional $5).
+$20 A print copy of the 64-page full color Numenera Player's Guide. Shipping included in North America (elsewhere, please add an additional $5).
+$20 A Numenera dice set (specialized d20, plus a matching d6 and 2d10). Shipping included in North America (elsewhere, please add an additional $5).
+$20 A print copy of the 120 card full-color Cypher Deck. Shipping included in North America (elsewhere, please add an additional $5).
+$20 A print copy of the 100 card full-color Creature Deck. Shipping included in North America (elsewhere, please add an additional $5).
+$25 Numenera T-Shirt. Shipping included in North America (elsewhere, please add an additional $10).
+$32 A four-panel vinyl GM's screen in landscape format with clear plastic pockets to make it fully customizable (includes the pdf of all the images and charts to use with Numenera). Shipping included in North America (elsewhere, please add an additional $10).
+$40 A print copy of the 160-page full color, hardcover Ninth World Bestiary. Shipping included in North America (elsewhere, please add an additional $10).
+$40 A print copy of the 160-page full color, hardcover Sir Arthur's Compendium. Shipping included in North America (elsewhere, please add an additional $10). (This add-on assumes we reach the $235,000 stretch goal.)
+$40 Upgrade your SIGNED copy of the Numenera corebook to a special edition leatherbound version of the book.
+$50 A print copy of the 200+-page full color, hardcover Ninth World Guidebook. Shipping included in North America (elsewhere, please add an additional $10).
+$50 Numenera Thunderstone deck-building game (special limited edition). Shipping included in the United States (elsewhere please add $20).
+$60 A print copy of the 416-page full color, hardcover Numenera corebook. This is the standard version of the book. Shipping included in North America (elsewhere, please add an additional $10).
+$60 Upgrade your standard copy of the Numenera corebook to a special edition leatherbound version of the book.

Numenera chiefly increased the value of the books by embracing technology, and sold itself primarily as a written product: PDFs were not the extent of the available materials, but also apps and other non-tangible elements. (Incidentally, to give an idea of how different Numenera is, my original draft of this included a copy of the pledge levels and their contents... it was 10 pages long!)

Would a more equitable comparison be to Hillfolk: DramaSystem Roleplaying by Robin D. Laws?
Spoiler:


Hillfolk, however, despite being an RPG, is so fundamentally different I'm utterly at a loss as to how to compare the campaigns: the stretch goals, for example;
Spoiler:
Stretch Goals 
You can easily play DramaSystem games in a wide variety of settings beyond Hillfolk. If your backing gets us over the base funding goal, we will demonstrate this with a series of stretch goals lining up an impressive roster of roleplaying luminaries* from a spectrum of design traditions to create additional settings (called Series Pitches) for the core book. If you're getting the book, in whatever format, you're getting these pitches.

REACHED: $4000: Jason Morningstar’s Hollywoodland, in which you play the founding figures of American film 
REACHED: $5000: Michelle Nephew’s Mad Scientists Anonymous, in which former supervillains fight the urge to relapse 
REACHED: $6000: Kenneth Hite’s Moscow Station, drama against a backdrop of realistic cold war espionage 
REACHED: $7000: Matt Forbeck’s WW2.1: stranded in time, you struggle to return home, while being drawn into the conflagration of WWII 
REACHED: $8500: TS Luikart’s Malice Tarn, which he describes as King Lear meets Watership Down.
REACHED: $12,500: open licensing. DramaSystem will belong to everyone, under a permissive open license. Details to be determined, with backers consulted as stakeholders.
(The reference document will be a stripped-down affair, without the Hillfolk setting, examples, or Series Pitches, so those of you purchasing the PDF of the finished book will still be getting excellent value for your ten smackeroos.)
REACHED: $14,000: Jason L. Blair (Little Fears) brings us monsters in love with Inhuman Desires.
REACHED: $15,500: Chris Pramas (Green Ronin) fixes his bayonets for his Spanish Civil War series, Brigades.
REACHED:: $17,000: Emily Care Boss (Shooting the Moon) takes us to Jupiter and Mars as humanity expands through the solar system in Colony Wars.
REACHED: $18,500: Rob Wieland (Shadowrun, Star Wars Saga Edition) seeing that no game of serialized drama is complete without an organized crime series, invites you to swim with the fishes in Mafia Century.
REACHED: $20,000: Steven S. Long (Hero Games) spins an epic of blood and maize in his Aztec series, 4 Motion.
REACHED: $22,000: Print Upgrade. If we reach this stretch goal, our magic spreadsheet will grant us permission to upgrade:
the standard print edition from softcover to hardcover 
the limited edition from hardcover to faux leather hardcover 
the ultra-limited edition from hardcover with handcrafted embellishments to faux leather hardcover with handcrafted embellishments. 
REACHED: $23,500: Eddy Webb (Vampire & Werewolf 20th Anniversary Editions) goes to the mat with Deadweight: tension and chaos in the world of independent professional wrestling!
REACHED: $25,000: Jesse Bullington (The Sad Tale of the Brothers Grossbart) goes on a moonshine run in The White Dog Runs at Night, in which a family of bootleggers struggles against rivals, prohees, the local preacherman and themselves when their patriarch gets himself arrested. This series, as you desire, comes with or without root magic. 

REACHED: $26,500: Gene Ha (Top 10, Project Superman) commands Witless Minions, featuring a crew of henchmen forced to keep it together after the death of their supervillain boss.

REACHED: $28,000: James Wallis (The Extraordinary Adventures of Baron Munchausen) returns to exquisite verbal gamesmanship with a saga of warring poets and pamphleteers, rival critics and coffee-houses in Augustan London that could only be called Battle of Wits.
REACHED: $29,000: Chris Lackey (The H.P. Podcraft Literary Podcast) goes to his eldritch wheelhouse for The Whateleys: tensions erupt in a family of Cthulhu cultists when the new generation pits its modernizing ways against the ancient traditions of the old.
REACHED: $30,000: John Scott Tynes (Delta Green) presents Horns in the Hill. A colony of ants wracked by war with a rival anthill face a horrific fungal zombification outbreak from within. It's a World War II zombie movie about ants. The Walking Dead meets Phase IV.
REACHED: $31,000: Ryan Macklin (Master Plan podcast, Dresden Files RPG) takes you to Tesseract Slums, Wyoming. Man has gone to the stars—and all you got was left behind...
REACHED: $32,500: Graeme Davis (Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay) hoists the black flag for Pyrates, in which a disparate crew of pirates tries to make a living by fair means or foul.
REACHED: $34,000: Dave Gross (Pathfinder Tales) treads a darkling stage with Shakespeare VA, in which a drama festival bumps up against the strange tempests of a deceptively bucolic rural town. Slings and Arrows meets Twin Peaks.
REACHED:$35,500: Allen Varney (Paranoia XP, Epic Mickey) fires up Bots, in which comedic robotic protagonists struggle for survival in a resource-starved post-organic environment.
REACHED:$37,000: Meguey Baker (1001 Nights) conjures Under Hollow Hills: Political intrigue in the court of the Fairy Queen. Captive humans, magic rings, thousand year old fairy princes, curses and blessings and things that might bite you if you call them by name.
REACHED: $38,500: Sarah Newton (Mindjammer) explores First Contact, as you join the United Nations First Contact Team tasked with establishing communication with a possible extraterrestrial intelligence.
REACHED: $40,000: Kevin Kulp (Owlhoot Trail, EN World) loads his Clockwork Revolver. Western gunslingers face steam-powered abominations on the lonesome prairie. Wild Wild West meets Deadwood.
REACHED: $41,000: Mac Sample (Nightfall) bangs fist to hide breastplate with By This Axe: The only surviving heirs to the Last Orc Warlord vie for his throne and assassination, demagoguery, thuggery and violence will decide the day.
REACHED: $42,000: Jason Pitre (Spark) sneaks up on you with Shuriken in Shadows. Ninja families struggle to serve their honorable masters in old Japan’s Warring States period.
REACHED: $43,000: Wolfgang Baur (Midgard, Dark*Matter) prepares a genteel bit of mayhem in Colonial India during the Raj, as provincial potentates face tigers, sepoy rebellions, and dire breaches of etiquette. White linen meets Kipling-style bravado in Teatime for Elephants.
REACHED: $44,000: Keith Baker (Eberron) investigates Dreamspace. In the future, the only way to reach other worlds is through the underspace of the collective unconscious. You and your fellow oneironauts are the best of the best, but what will you find in the dreams of alien worlds?
REACHED: $45,000: Will Hindmarch (Gameplaywright Press) tests the limits of humanity with Intelligence, in which you play secretly sentient androids in a near future that’s not ready for them.
REACHED: $46,000: CA Suleiman (Mummy: the Curse; Vampire: the Requiem) ventures to the jagged edge of The Green Line. A Palestinian family living in the West Bank faces danger from all sides when their teenage daughter manifests telekinetic powers.
REACHED: $47,000: Rob Heinsoo (Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition, 13th Age) pits a community of natives and escaped slaves against European slavers in the New World with Maroons.

All Series Pitches funded as stretch goals after Maroons will appear not in the core book, which is now full, but in Blood on the Snow: A DramaSystem Companion (see below.) All backers at $10 and up get access to these in at least PDF format.
REACHED: $49,000: Hillfolk theme music by composer James A. Semple (The Eternal Lies Suite) will go to all backers at $10 and above in electronic form. 
Listeners to the Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff podcast will recognize James' stirring work. Here's his Ashen Stars Theme:

REACHED: $50,000: GUMSHOE OPEN LICENSE: We will release GUMSHOE, Robin’s previous game engine for Pelgrane, under an open license with its own GUMSHOE-compatible trademark for products in the English language. Robin will create a stripped-down system reference version of GUMSHOE to support the license. 
Blood on the Snow Stretch Pitches:
REACHED: $51,000: Josh Roby (Smallville Roleplaying) uncovers Shakespeare’s lost sources in Champion of Florence: rival houses at war, mistaken identity, a sorcerous duke and his scheming brother, and of course, star-cross'd lovers.
REACHED: $52,000: Andrew Peregine (Victoriana, Hellcats and Hockeysticks) invites you to attend the Regency social season with Vice and Virtue. Will you be seduced by the decadence of Bath, or manage to find your own Mr Darcy or Elizabeth Bennet?
REACHED: $53,000: James L. Sutter (Pathfinder Tales) mounts The Throne: drama and bloody intrigue in a Heaven abandoned by God.
REACHED: $55,000: Color Interior of the core Hillfolk book for all print editions. Graphic designer Christian Knutsson will enhance his graphic design with the subtle color palette he so desperately craves. Jan’s gorgeous art will remain as it was meant to be seen, in black and white.
REACHED: $56,000: Sean Preston (Tremulus) scrapes off some Rust: In an ancient castle at the edge of a crumbling steampunk empire, the Chosen compete for the Mad King’s crown.
REACHED: $57,500: Lester Smith (2300 AD, Invasion of the Saucer People) gives up the ghost in The Spirit Is Willing: Join the returned dead as you band together in pursuit of goals left unfinished in life.
REACHED: $59,000: David L. Pulver (BESM, Transhuman Space) reports tensions rising in the Pacific Rim as the Japanese Self-Defense Force develop their first super battle mecha in Article 9.
REACHED: $60,500: Kevin Allen Jr (Sweet Agatha, Pickets & Blinds) smuggles his grimoire across No Man's Land in To End All Wars, as a league of wizards serve as WWI spies and saboteurs.
REACHED; $62,000: Greg Stolze (Unknown Armies, Reign) puts you in the shoes of a volunteer firefighter in Winchester, Wisconsin - a community small enough that you recognize the victims of most car crashes, house fires and heart attacks. Cue the Sirens.
REACHED: $63,500: Gareth Hanrahan (The Laundry RPG; Lorefinder) declares you Heroes of the City: The evil archmage is dead, and his tyrannical rule is ended. You saved this city. Now you have to rule it.
REACHED: $65,000: Steve Dempsey (Shotguns v. Cthulhu, Twisted 50s) checks in with Paged: Characters from classic literature escape the British Library and set up together in the same flat, with only each other to rely on in their strange new world.
REACHED: $66,500: Mike Pohjola (Star Wreck Roleplaying Game, The Turku Manifesto) illuminates us with The Shadow of Napoleon - or: Turku by Lamplight in which 19th century students must balance between revolutionary ideas, family traditions and the Czar's oppression.
REACHED:$68,000:John Kovalic (Dork Tower, Munchkin): It's life, laughs and Lovecraft after-hours at the Dagon Bar and Grille, where the cultists go to unwind, and everyone knows your unspeakable name!
REACHED: $70,000 Blood on the Snow print upgrade, to hardcover for standard edition, plus color interior.
REACHED: $71,500: Jeff Richard (Sartar: Kingdom of Heroes) follows a group of Greek mercenaries and intellectuals to The Last Kingdom. Having backed the wrong side in the war between Octavian and Antony, they flee to Greek India—as its final days approach.
REACHED: $73,000: Jennifer Brozek (Serenity, Dragonlance, Shadowrun) brings Transhumanism to the dinner table in Transcend: a family is thrown into crisis when one of their number unexpectedly announces plans to undergo radical gene surgery and leave human morphology behind.
REACHED: $74,500 Wade Rockett (Tales of the Old Margreve, Midgard Preview) reveals The Secret of Warlock Mountain, in which a community of alien castaways in central California must decide whether to hide peacefully among the humans, or use their mental powers to ensure their safety by force.
REACHED: $76,000 Lizard (Excellent Prismatic Spray, D20 Gamma World): A year after the bombs fell in 1962, the survivors in a small town emerge from The Bunker. Will they restore the old world, create a new world, or fall back into war?
REACHED: $77,500 Mark Rein•Hagen (World of Darkness, Vampire: The Masquerade, Werewolf: The Apocalypse, etc) charts a course to a desert island with Endure! During the filming of America's number one, and possibly worst, reality show, a freak Hurricane suddenly appears and devastates the mainland. The contestants and a few crew members are left alone on the island to fend for themselves. Cut off from the world, when no rescue or aid arrives ... that's when things take a turn for the strange.
REACHED: $79,000 Angus Abranson (Chronicle City, Cubicle 7) provides the syllabus for Alma Mater Magica: after years of drifting, divorce and disappointment, former friends who saved the world as teenagers return as faculty members to the tradition-bound boarding school that trained them to be wizards.
REACHED: $80,500 Mark Diaz Truman (The Play's the Thing) joins The Perfect Family: Gattaca meets The Riches when a family of "perfects" has to sell a few spots on the family tree to "imperfects" to avoid insolvency. Now they are all in over their heads, trying to keep the lies from coming unraveled when the genetic police start snooping around...
REACHED: $82,000 Ken Burnside (Attack Vector: Tactical, Squadron Strike) takes you inside the Sephardic Jewish community of Toledo during the Reconquista in Andalusian Nights. In a culture where learning is prized, beset by threatened Christian conquest and Berber intolerance, is it time to use the forbidden knowledge of golem manufacture?
Which takes us to the last pitch before Blood on the Snow fills up, becoming, at 240 pages, as thick as the main Hillfolk book.
REACHED: $83,500: Jon Creffield (Slayers Guide to Dragons, Hell’s Door Opens) takes you down the Road to Appomattox: on the eve of the Civil War one Virginian family fights a battle of its own. Masters, servants, and slaves choose sides as a family, and a whole country, divides.
So what happens now? The Series Pitch of the Month Club!
Every month, starting four weeks after the game ships, all backers at $10 and up will receive a Series Pitch in the standard format (approximately 2,000 words plus illustration) in PDF format.
REACHED: $85,000: John Wick (Legend of the Five Rings, Seventh Sea, Houses of the Blooded) steps into a world of sorcerers, crowded cities, corrupt nobles, eldritch assassins and big payoffs in Honor Among Thieves. In a world where everything is illegal, everything is a crime, and it only pays to be a thief.  
REACHED: $86,000: Sean Patrick Fannon (Shaintar, Star Wars: Edge of Darkness) unleashes the struggles of democracy and free market capitalism in a high fantasy world. Discover the answer amid the greed, passion, and power plays of No Crowns.
REACHED: $87,000: Jesse Scoble (Wizard101, Game of Thrones d20) sings a narcocorrido for you on The Devil's Highway: narco traficantes and border patrol circle each other in the canyons and deserts between North and South.  
REACHED: $88,000: Matthew McFarland's Hold the Chain, in which you are the entertainment in the gladiatorial arena of a steam-powered flying city on the brink of revolution.
REACHED: $89,000: Hal Mangold (Atomic Overmind, Green Ronin) loses your luggage in Terminal X: A fractious circle of modern sorcerers wage a subtle turf war within one of the world’s busiest airports, while fending off  occult forces threatening to erode the very source of their power.
REACHED: $90,000: Rob Wieland (Shadowrun, Star Wars Saga Edition) shows you his jazz hands in Encore, following the dreamers, has-beens and never-will-be's who make up the cast of a touring jukebox musical.
REACHED: $91,000: ASH LAW (The Reliquary) cranks up Iron Tsar: engineers battle zombies in the Imperial court of a magical 1920s Russia.
REACHED: $92,000: Jerome Larre (Qin, Tenga) takes you inside the Sheep’s Clothing of a tranquil bedroom community for cops—as a massive Internal Affairs bust threatens dozens of its key citizens.  
NOW UP FOR GRABS: $93,000: Robin D. Laws: In a post-scarcity economy, there remain only two routes to status: Art and Murder. As guardians of the Great Museum, you struggle to protect the world's cultural patrimony from outside marauders—and your own ambitions.
LOCKED: $94,000: Raven Daegmorgan (Orx) sails the black tides of the cosmos in Niflgap. As the universe dies, you, the fractious Norse gods, set forth in starships from lonesome Midgaard, hoping to find salvation in the void where armies of the hungry dead writhe endless beneath black suns.
LOCKED: $95,000: Caias Ward (Strike Force 7, Noumenon) In a far-future religion based on enlightenment through genetic engineering and organic technology, a squad of young cadets struggles with their commanders, their fellow cadets, the outside universe and crises of faith.
LOCKED: $96,000 John Kovalic (Dork Tower, Munchkin) returns to ink-spattered halcyon days with Campus Desk:  students behind the Daily Forward, newspaper of Wisconsin State University, figure out life, love, and burying the lede.

As one can see, Hillfolk had a massive number of additions, but the value and nature of the campaign is so totally different from either Wyrd or Numenera a point of comparison seems elusive.

TtB seemed to be trapped between the world of miniature campaigns and RPGs: between the very easy to evaluate campaigns with physical pledges and easy to identify expectations, and the free-wheeling RPG world. To a certain extend this is most likely inevitable: Wyrd is, after all, primarily known as a maker of table-top miniatures, and their choice to use the setting of their most popular table top game doubtlessly was intended to capitalize on the existing fan base (which it did).

This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 2013/01/14 06:45:43


   
Made in us
Hallowed Canoness





The Void

I'd strongly agree with your conclusions and add emphasis on creator - backer interaction (especially with images) Mark of Dreamforge Games was active as all hell talking to us, taking our opinions and feed back into account, showing us what he was working on and generally just talking to us, even on this very forum. The interaction and communication sold me even more then the product (which was already pretty cool) and I ended up investing more, giving extensive feedback and volunteering some time to write fluff.

Another solid kickstarter was for a card game system "Become Magi". From the very start there was a detailed explanation and video demo of how the game worked (a rather fascinating play style where you cast magic spells verbally in a duel. An awesome take on a TCG). Many of the high level rewards pulled in customer interaction, but everyone involved was drawn in and encouraged to contribute and a very busy little community began to develop within the groups. Constant feedback, previews of jaw dropping art for the cards, having backers involved with active playtesting. It was all fantastic.

I beg of you sarge let me lead the charge when the battle lines are drawn
Lemme at least leave a good hoof beat they'll remember loud and long

Oorah to ashes

SoB, IG, SM, SW, FoW Germans
DR:90-SG+M+B+I+Pw40k12+ID+++A+++/are/WD-R+++T(S)DM+ 
   
Made in us
Fixture of Dakka






Sacramento, CA

As a Kickstarter creator of 3 Projects, I agree with pretty much everything you say Buzz.

-Emily Whitehouse| On The Lamb Games
 
   
Made in gb
Incorporating Wet-Blending





UK

I think this is the main reason why BtGoA is either going to get through by the skin of its teeth or fail, barring some serious and immediate changes to the manner in which DSC handle it. They've got the "fan" money in the bank, and are now left with a long 1 month+ slog to convince everyone who is on the fence or disinterested.

They don't have much in the way of concept art, and are using a very large amount of words to try and convince people to pledge, a lot of which is repetitive "marketing speak".

This is what they currently have on their KS page for their starting faction:

Drones

These include all kinds of sentient machines including WarDrones. All human factions have type of drones and can have WarDrones, although not all factions have equally effective WarDrones.

N/A - WarDrone Plastic set – plastic multi-posed kits with a choice of weapons and head variants.
20 Credits - CoCom WarDrone armed with plasma carbine – 3 variants
10 Credits - Hunter drones – 2 variants
10 Credits - Targetter drone – 1 variant


Text. Nothing but text. Snore.

Replace that with an uber-awesome set of concepts for those 3 units, stick "Hard Plastic Kit" in big letters on the pic and watch the pledges roll in. A good illustrator could get 3 basic concepts done in a day for around £100.

I know they say they want the fans to determine the final look, but there's no harm in actually having *something* up for initial feedback rather than nothing.


You *need* concept art, and lots of it. Kingdom Death went "whole hog" and had full-colour professional artwork created and ready for everything.

Reaper had the advantage of already sculpted minis for the most part, but still had a full-time artist working on the cool advent calendar graphic.

Mantic put a lot more effort into shiny graphics and having pre-prepared concept art in advance for their second kickstarter, and it paid off with double the $$$ raised despite the product (Dreadball) having a very niche appeal compared to the more generic and well-established Kings of War.

You don't need to have everything already sculpted and tooled, but you sure as hell do need some solid concept art.

I can't believe how companies are still capable of half-assing their KS campaigns in a world where it is so easy to just plain look at what other successful KS campaigns have done and copy that.

This message was edited 12 times. Last update was at 2013/01/12 12:29:10


 
   
Made in us
Old Sourpuss






Lakewood, Ohio

agl;kjagg;ajgaoijgawllkjnahgna NERD RAGE!!!

I liked the fact that you took the time to do this, and set the data up. I agree with all of your points, and I especially think that ANYONE can learn from both Wyrd's "success", their mistakes, and the success of their peers (other gaming kickstarters in the same vein, or ran at the same time.


Nice write up buzz

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Ask me about Brushfire or Endless: Fantasy Tactics 
   
Made in au
Owns Whole Set of Skullz Techpriests






Versteckt in den Schatten deines Geistes.

Hmm... I might send Mack a link to this thread. See what he thinks.

   
Made in us
[DCM]
[***]






Svalarheima, MA

Buzzsaw - thank for posting this well thought out, researched and written piece!
   
Made in us
Longtime Dakkanaut





Chicago

 Alpharius wrote:
Buzzsaw - thank for posting this well thought out, researched and written piece!


agreed very awesome post


DT:80S+++G+++M+B++I+Pw40k00+D++A(WTF)/areWD100R+++++T(T)DM+ 
   
Made in us
Bane Thrall





Something about already established companies using crowdsourcing to release new products irks me for some reason.

GW Rules Interpretation Syndrom. GWRIS. Causes people to second guess a rule in a book because that's what they would have had to do in a GW system.


 SilverMK2 wrote:
"Well, I have epilepsy and was holding a knife when I had a seizure... I couldn't help it! I was just trying to chop the vegetables for dinner!"
 
   
Made in gb
[DCM]
Decrepit Dakkanaut




UK

I think you've covered most of this in you post Buzzsaw

The one little bit I'd add is the potential of Early Bird/Black Friday (call them what you like) discount slots

These don't have to represent huge discounts, 10-20% off the normal price of a pledge will help attract backers

even if they aren't committed to saying put and are 'camping' on the discount, they provide several benefits

1. The campaign looks busy/popular so folk who chance on it are more likely to stop and look

2. Their money pushes you close to funding, and many backers just won't pledge until a KS funds (even though they don't have to pay if it fails, there is psycological risk that some people will avoid)

3. If they do drop out (or move up to a higher pledge tier) their discount slots become available again, this means backers spend more time on the KS page to see if they can grab one of these slots, and the more time you spend on a KS, either lurking or chatting the easier it gets to spend money.

So i'd recommend having a few disounted slots budgeted into your KS, they'll help you out in the long run.

Edit: to tidy it up/fix spelling errors

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2013/01/14 14:22:34


 
   
Made in ca
Grizzled MkII Monster Veteran




Toronto, Ontario

Just read through the OP, and there isn't much I can argue. I think you've hit some of the key issues present over the last month and a half campaign.

Some other random thoughts that I think should be examined further;

- In terms of preparation and dissemination of information, there were some extremely odd choices made. A glaring example of this in my eyes was that the stretch goal list wasn't given during the first 3 days when the initial Early Bird reward was present. What this meant was that instead of seeing a whole string of "Achievements Unlocked!", when the list hit, the backers had already chewed through most of the ones they would see unlocked during the campaign, giving it a severely reduced sense of progression.

Even when you do plow through them super quickly, they're often included with pages and pages of comments, forum threads, and even people talking about them in other venues (god knows I was text-bombing my friends about it, even as it was). Instead, that chatter seemed to amount to people asking what the stretch goals were, when they might be out, etc, etc. While Kickstarter/Amazon don't actually take any money until the drive is over, some people prefer to make informed choices about what they're committing to, and I think leaving that ambiguity hurt them heavily.

- The timing. Having a good third of a long campaign happen across Christmas and New Years may have been problematic. While many people have time off school and work during which they might talk about and promote the event, it also gave them lots of time to watch the forums and comments, and idle hands being the devil's playpen, it let what anger, frustration or confusion was present to occasionally be expressed in less than productive means.

- The reluctance to do add-ons based at least in part on how complicated it can make some of the shipments. I've pondered this aloud with others, and realized that since TtB is aimed to be a Sept release, meaning likely available at Gencon in August, the warehouse (in order to get Backer's their stuff early) will be shipping 1500+ packages out right before one of their busiest shipping seasons of the year, no small feat. However, if that was to be the case, perhaps a different release time needed to be considered. By being limited to 6 tiers (well, 4 tiers + $5 forum access +$500 "Secret Tier"), the only way people could bump up the total was in sizable chunks (+60/71 from Core to a middle tier or +100-111 from the middle to the top tier), whereas options that might've let individuals bump up 10-20 seem to be highly lucrative, even if the end result is the same (where a person might've ended up contributing the same amount as more, but with customizability letting them make tiers their own to suit their needs and desires).

More as I think of them, apologies for a slight ramble present, it was a long day of taping, painting and furniture building.
   
Made in jp
[MOD]
Anti-piracy Officer






Somewhere in southern England.

That is a very good piece of work. The one thing more I would like to see is some validation of the conclusions by research into consumers' attitudes.

With regards to the add ons problem, it seems to me that making a complex and difficult to ship option set is a potential error in terms of basic business, whether you are on Kickstarter or not.

The great advantage of Kickstarter -- that you are taking prepaid preorders -- is still in operation, though.

It would be interesting to know how many Kickstarters so far have taken the pledges and failed to deliver the goods.

Petition to stop ratification of EU Article 13 on Internet Copyright

We're not very big on official rules. Rules lead to people looking for loopholes. What's here is about it. 
   
Made in us
Widowmaker





Virginia

I dunno. I think this kickstarter was a lot more sincere than all the others.

They wanted so much money to start making the books. They got it. They didn't dilute the original vision with tons of nonsense in add-ons that had very little to do with the role playing game they were pushing.

Sure they could have handed out a bunch of minis, but the multi pose ones covered all the bases. What else could a role playing game really offer that would have made sense and not taken away from what they were trying to do?

Sure they could have made more money, yadda yadda, but they obviously weren't in this to make bank, unlike other kick starters I've seen. I believe that they were indeed using this just to 'kickstart' this RPG. In that I applaud and respect them and consider this nothing less than a success.

PS- Comparing this to any mini-based kickstarter is idiotic. Unless you want to start comparing all the video game ones to mini game ones and seeing how those numbers add up.

2012- stopped caring
Nova Open 2011- Orks 8th Seed---(I see a trend)
Adepticon 2011- Mike H. Orks 8th Seed (This was the WTF list of the Final 16)
Adepticon 2011- Combat Patrol Best General 
   
Made in us
Sniping Reverend Moira





Cincinnati, Ohio

Numeria is a RPG Kickstarter. Comparing it to Kingdom Death is incredibly fair since they ran concurrently.

"Not in it to make bank" is, IMO, ignorant. They had people wanting to spend money. The gave them very little opportunity to do so. Thats. Bad business. And then they used "our shippers are incompetent" as an excuse. Bush league.

I'll add that all pfnthendeficiencies at the start of the campaign (and for the next 3 weeks) did two things in my eyes: it spoke to a potential unpreparedness, and 2, it meant they didn't care enough about the project initially to give it the time running one requires. They fixed the second part, in no small part to Mack dragging the KS kicking and screaming forward.

Nice write up buzz.

 
   
Made in au
Terrifying Doombull





Melbourne .au

Great analysis. With good followup posts, particularly by Squig and Orlando.

   
Made in us
[DCM]
Courageous Space Marine Captain





SoCal

 Bat Manuel wrote:
I dunno. I think this kickstarter was a lot more sincere than all the others.

They wanted so much money to start making the books. They got it. They didn't dilute the original vision with tons of nonsense in add-ons that had very little to do with the role playing game they were pushing.

Sure they could have handed out a bunch of minis, but the multi pose ones covered all the bases. What else could a role playing game really offer that would have made sense and not taken away from what they were trying to do?

Sure they could have made more money, yadda yadda, but they obviously weren't in this to make bank, unlike other kick starters I've seen. I believe that they were indeed using this just to 'kickstart' this RPG. In that I applaud and respect them and consider this nothing less than a success.

PS- Comparing this to any mini-based kickstarter is idiotic. Unless you want to start comparing all the video game ones to mini game ones and seeing how those numbers add up.


However, they have seriously hurt their own reputation, at least with casual gamers and non-fans. Was that one of their goals?

   
Made in au
Incorporating Wet-Blending






Australia

 BobtheInquisitor wrote:
However, they have seriously hurt their own reputation, at least with casual gamers and non-fans. Was that one of their goals?

These are the guys who switched to proper plastic to save money and said the best bit was that they weren't going to be more expensive?

"When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up."
-C.S. Lewis 
   
Made in gb
Private First Class



Edinburgh, Scotland

Thanks Buzzsaw that was truly excellent.

I noticed that some projects (Kingdom Death & especially Rivet Wars) start the campaigns with an incomplete box game. extras (enemies, armour etc) are 'added' through stretch goals until the basic game has everything in it as (I presume) originally intended.
Rivet wars demonstrates this very well. Two heroes for $30, the game for $90 or both of these for $150! This more expensive gets most of the stretch goals and looks to already be worth the extra $30, but they were obviously preparing for this and set the price accordingly.

Another aspect is the $/£ goal the project managers set. I see a general pattern. For games which will be made anyway (preorders) its is set low with lots of space made for stretch goals. For those where they need the capital to proceed the target is much more realistic. e.g. Beyond the Gates of Antares - where presumably much of that target is needed to make the figures, or Elite (I know its a pc game, but its a good example) that asked for 1.25 million, and only just got it in its last few days.
   
Made in us
Sniping Reverend Moira





Cincinnati, Ohio

Through the Breech was incomplete when it started at the base funding goal. Rivet wars and kingdom death were not.

Rivet wars, with what was available right at the start, is complete. Heroes aren't required. Additional units aren't required. The same goes for kingdom death. The basic box is completely robust with nearly 50 high quality miniatures and a full game.

Please don't get it twisted: the expansions or additional characters are NOT required.

Contrarily, Beyond the Gates has barely anything finished. There isn't even a finished sculpt to show off.

 
   
Made in us
Old Sourpuss






Lakewood, Ohio

 BobtheInquisitor wrote:

However, they have seriously hurt their own reputation, at least with casual gamers and non-fans. Was that one of their goals?


To be fair, the casual gamer and non-fans tend to stay off the internet in such things. We're fans enough of wargaming to actively seek it outside of our local community.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2013/01/14 01:44:47


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Ask me about Brushfire or Endless: Fantasy Tactics 
   
Made in us
Widowmaker





Virginia

 BobtheInquisitor wrote:
 Bat Manuel wrote:
I dunno. I think this kickstarter was a lot more sincere than all the others.

They wanted so much money to start making the books. They got it. They didn't dilute the original vision with tons of nonsense in add-ons that had very little to do with the role playing game they were pushing.

Sure they could have handed out a bunch of minis, but the multi pose ones covered all the bases. What else could a role playing game really offer that would have made sense and not taken away from what they were trying to do?

Sure they could have made more money, yadda yadda, but they obviously weren't in this to make bank, unlike other kick starters I've seen. I believe that they were indeed using this just to 'kickstart' this RPG. In that I applaud and respect them and consider this nothing less than a success.

PS- Comparing this to any mini-based kickstarter is idiotic. Unless you want to start comparing all the video game ones to mini game ones and seeing how those numbers add up.


However, they have seriously hurt their own reputation, at least with casual gamers and non-fans. Was that one of their goals?
Really?!? Do you have proof of this?

And why would casual games and non-fans even care or know of this? They are casual

This sense of entitlement from kickstarter is getting ridiculous. Right at the start they tell you what get for your pledge and they made their money on day 1 or 2. Could they have made more money by throwing out more freebies? Of course they could have, but that clearly wasn't their goal. They probably wanted to keep it simple and get these books out there. Where's the harm in that? Oh yeah, everyone thinks Wryd owes them something beyond what they initially promise

Yes, good stretch goals mean more money and backers but they are not necessary. Lots of successful kickstarters not run by established businesses have crap stretch goals and you don't see people ranting about them on here. Get over it!

2012- stopped caring
Nova Open 2011- Orks 8th Seed---(I see a trend)
Adepticon 2011- Mike H. Orks 8th Seed (This was the WTF list of the Final 16)
Adepticon 2011- Combat Patrol Best General 
   
Made in us
Sniping Reverend Moira





Cincinnati, Ohio

 Bat Manuel wrote:
 BobtheInquisitor wrote:
 Bat Manuel wrote:
I dunno. I think this kickstarter was a lot more sincere than all the others.

They wanted so much money to start making the books. They got it. They didn't dilute the original vision with tons of nonsense in add-ons that had very little to do with the role playing game they were pushing.

Sure they could have handed out a bunch of minis, but the multi pose ones covered all the bases. What else could a role playing game really offer that would have made sense and not taken away from what they were trying to do?

Sure they could have made more money, yadda yadda, but they obviously weren't in this to make bank, unlike other kick starters I've seen. I believe that they were indeed using this just to 'kickstart' this RPG. In that I applaud and respect them and consider this nothing less than a success.

PS- Comparing this to any mini-based kickstarter is idiotic. Unless you want to start comparing all the video game ones to mini game ones and seeing how those numbers add up.


However, they have seriously hurt their own reputation, at least with casual gamers and non-fans. Was that one of their goals?
Really?!? Do you have proof of this?

And why would casual games and non-fans even care or know of this? They are casual

This sense of entitlement from kickstarter is getting ridiculous. Right at the start they tell you what get for your pledge and they made their money on day 1 or 2. Could they have made more money by throwing out more freebies? Of course they could have, but that clearly wasn't their goal. They probably wanted to keep it simple and get these books out there. Where's the harm in that? Oh yeah, everyone thinks Wryd owes them something beyond what they initially promise

Yes, good stretch goals mean more money and backers but they are not necessary. Lots of successful kickstarters not run by established businesses have crap stretch goals and you don't see people ranting about them on here. Get over it!


Did you follow any of the previous commentary? I think you probably didn't. While they never came out and directly said it, it was pretty clearly the constructive criticism from those that expect more from wyrd that helped drive the funding higher. Was there not any, the Kickstarter may not have changed, would have stagnated, and would have produced an incomplete product. No one think Wyrd "owed" them anything; people did, however, expect a more competently run KS from them.

 
   
Made in us
Expendable Defender Destroid Rookie





Yup, Wyrd even went into the thread where most of the suggestions were taken from and said that they were listening and taking notes. They basically took the list of things they could do to improve the campaign that Buzzsaw wrote and did more than half of it. That saw some immediate and worthwhile improvement. Also, I then had Mack catch a biscuit in his mouth which forced me to dump $125 into the campaign on principle.
   
Made in ca
Grizzled MkII Monster Veteran




Toronto, Ontario

 Bat Manuel wrote:
This sense of entitlement from kickstarter is getting ridiculous. Right at the start they tell you what get for your pledge and they made their money on day 1 or 2.


Incorrect. Mack himself admitted that 30k was just a number plucked from thin air, or so it has been stated repeatedly. If you look at the book stretch goals, would you call what we would've gotten at 30k "complete"? 128 pages each, black and white artwork, lacking some of the writing staff, short 100 pages and untold mechanics and fluff that'd be found within? Not only that, would you still call it a good deal at $60/82? Bluntly, I wouldn't. I own Malifaux books 1.5, 2, 3 and 4, and that's the baseline to which I'd hold then, within some margin of error. 128 pages B&W ain't it.

Could they have made more money by throwing out more freebies? Of course they could have, but that clearly wasn't their goal. They probably wanted to keep it simple and get these books out there. Where's the harm in that? Oh yeah, everyone thinks Wryd owes them something beyond what they initially promise

Yes, good stretch goals mean more money and backers but they are not necessary. Lots of successful kickstarters not run by established businesses have crap stretch goals and you don't see people ranting about them on here. Get over it!


You said it yourself; good stretch goals mean more backers and money. No one is looking for "freebies", let's not kid ourselves, any sensible company is going to set stretches where they take in X and it costs less than X (likely significantly less) to provide that bonus to the dozens or hundreds or thousands of backers who quality. This is compounded because one can pretty safely assume that many of the stretch rewards are things that they'd already sunk finances into while building a massive pile of bulk stock. See: Miss Terious, Santana, the Hanging Tree. Of these, only the third even has an MSRP, and everything I've heard has indicated that when making figures, the most expensive parts involve producing the molds. After that you're popping sprues out for pennies on the dollar in comparison, so ordering 2000 Santanas instead of 200 (purely hypothetical numbers) back when they set up the Henchman rewards happened probably didn't cost 10x as much. Cost goes up but cost per unit goes down. To put it in blunter terms; these were things they already paid for. As long as everything fits in the USPS flat rate boxes they use, these were additions that effectively almost cost them nothing. Hell, I'm not entirely convinced that the hanging trees aren't just eating up floor space at this point, if they were willing to potentially throw 1500+ of them into the wild at no increased cost to backers.

As was pointed out many times in many locales (here, the KS comments page, the Wyrd forums), nobody with a critique was looking for Wyrd to bribe them into participation out of pocket. When they set a goal at 25k I didn't see anyone (anyone reasonable at least) who said "gee, there'd better be 26k in rewards to us backers present!", but at the end of the day people only have so much time and money, so if you want to draw it in, you've gotta be competitive.

Go look at that Kicktraq chart and tell me that isn't indicative of problems with the campaign as they run it. There was a literal week and a half (roughly 1/4 of the run) where they struggled to get past 191-192k, and it wasn't until Santana was teased, then dangled, then outright added and teased some more before things really took off. And yet even then there were ongoing concerns with how their bonus rewards were added; they continued to add them at the top tier and then tease them for lower tiers, but once successfully added to the lower tiers you had a reasonable question of "why would I stay at $225/269 if I can get everything I want minus a pair of books, a deck and a doll?" Had they hit 250k and the Hanging tree made it to the $125/158 tiers, I honestly think things would've gone sideways immediately as people began dropping to lower tiers as the hours and minutes counted down. I already have a buyer lined up for my second copy of the books and I would've been hard pressed not to drop, because that extra $50 or so for the deck and doll wasn't wow'ing me. $50 for the deck, doll and hanging tree, however, were spicy enough to keep me around.

Anyway, as a Gaming Room backer, someone who owns one entire faction (Guild) and roughly a quarter of another (Arcanists), it's not like I'm just flinging mud from the sidelines. I am invested on many levels in the company, the game, the setting, and soon the RPG. I wanted to give them money. I actively sought ways to do so (other than just upping my backering in an act of raw charity based on overwhelming good will), but barring adding another $231 (or would it be 275 to include international S&H? Who knows, it wasn't an official tier, but the listing said nothing about adding S&H if international, just "If you pledge $500 or more, etc".

Do I empathize with Wyrd as a small, young, growing company? Sure. I do! Am I looking forward to the RPG, and the adventures my friends and I will continue to have in that setting with the skirmish game this year? Of course! But if I just blindly give them slobbery kisses in the face of justifiable cause for concern or consternation, I'm doing neither them nor myself a favour. They can only improve if the fans give them feedback, and through the glory of social media I can now tweet, FB message or just rant on a forum with likeminded folks. They are welcome to follow (in part or full) such advice, ignore it outright, or perhaps commission a figure in my likeness which must be burned in effigy before every official tournament. Whatever floats their boats. And I in turn am free to vote with my wallet accordingly. It's not a 50/50 balance, but like Kickstarter campaign runners and backers, it's a symbiotic relationship; they offer products that they think I and others like me will enjoy, and in turn I/we give them money. They've certainly garnered my favor with some exemplary products over the last year of play, but some declarations made on other pages bordered on cultish. It was honestly a little offputting, even as a fan.

This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 2013/01/14 02:53:32


 
   
Made in us
Da Head Honcho Boss Grot




New Jersey, State of Perfection

Not going to lie, I had absolutely no interest in this kickstarter. Ive only started getting interested in malifaux but this really did nothing for me... what DID do something for me was the cool weird burlap doll things they were offering t ONLY the highest pledge level... I wasn't going to pledge for something I didnt want just to get a damned ragdoll, so i messaged them and told them straight up, hey, I would gladly pay 40 to 60 dollars just for the doll, Im sure many others would too. The response was "Not interested, but thanks..." Considering that the dolls are being made by an outside party so its very minimal extra burden to them, you would think they would have gone "huh, theres a lot of money to be made by this, maybe we should offer that up as an extra...". Nope, they didn't, I hope they run their business better than that kickstarter, otherwise they wont last long.

This ain't no pansy GW Armor, son - Digital Sculpting Plog, Now with Heavy Weapon Platforms!
Sympathy for the Devil, or: The Project Log from Hell

Ma55ter_fett wrote:It reads like the ramblings of a Nigerian lobotomized Shakespeare typed into a cellphone with a very aggressive autocomplete function.
 
   
Made in us
[DCM]
Courageous Space Marine Captain





SoCal

 Bat Manuel wrote:
 BobtheInquisitor wrote:


However, they have seriously hurt their own reputation, at least with casual gamers and non-fans. Was that one of their goals?
Really?!? Do you have proof of this?


Just read through the thread. I know I was the big bad of that one, but there were others who said that the KS lowered their interest in the company and that they would wait for the RPG to fail and buy books for pennies on the dollar.

Also, I have it on good authority that Scipio threatened to drop his pledge. :V



And why would casual games and non-fans even care or know of this? They are casual


I am a non-fan of Malifaux in that I was not a fan...yet. I had heard good things about the universe. I had played demo games and enjoyed them. I was excited about a book full of flavor text and some models. Now, I feel pretty cold toward Wyrd.

There are lots of people online on message boards who know of Malifaux's existence, but not much about it. The Kickstarter did not try to engage them at all. Look at KDM, Sedition Wars, Zombicide, etc., etc.. Do you think those kickstarters were successful because they only appealed to die-hard fans? How many of the people who pledged for those do you think had even heard of those companies before the Kickstarter?

Wyrd shot themselves in the foot.



This sense of entitlement from kickstarter is getting ridiculous. Right at the start they tell you what get for your pledge and they made their money on day 1 or 2. Could they have made more money by throwing out more freebies? Of course they could have, but that clearly wasn't their goal. They probably wanted to keep it simple and get these books out there. Where's the harm in that? Oh yeah, everyone thinks Wryd owes them something beyond what they initially promise

Yes, good stretch goals mean more money and backers but they are not necessary. Lots of successful kickstarters not run by established businesses have crap stretch goals and you don't see people ranting about them on here. Get over it!


First of all Wyrd is an established company, and by your logic should have been (and was) expected to act like one.

Second, I reiterate: They met their funding goals, but failed to take advantage of Kickstarter's most powerful abilities, publicity and expansion. They could have done all kinds of wonderful things with the extra cash they could have made. They could have reached a much larger audience and generated whole communities of fans, but they settled for the low hanging fruit. It sounds like you're suggesting that Wyrd should be happy to have run a campaign that was stalled or in negative growth for most of its duration and that speaks volumes about the kinds of people Wyrd courted with this kickstarter. Congratulations, you're part of their problem.

   
Made in us
Lord of the Fleet





Texas

Someone posted a link to this thread on TMP. Interesting argument for Wyrd. Note I dont really interact with wyrd much at all so I have little to no opinion on the matter

http://theminiaturespage.com/boards/msg.mv?id=292602

Thanks for posting the link. Interesting reading.

I think one thing he missed though is Wyrd did run a "traditional" KS for Evil Baby Orphanage – with stretch goals throughout. Most people seemed to consider it a success. Having said that – they have 18 days to deliver on time.

That to me is the chapter that hasn't been written yet. Wyrd has until Sept 2013 to deliver on this KS and I expect they will make it. As a comparison, KD has until November 2013 to deliver on a vastly inflated campaign in terms of stretch goals. Will he make it – wait and see.

I actually get nervous when I see KS that start either giving away or even selling too many stretch goals – I wonder if they have thought the whole thing through.

Look at Ogre – it has slipped from Nov 2012 to "in their warehouse by late May". Does anyone doubt that the stretch goals caused the delay ?

I think Wyrd has it right on this KS. May have annoyed some fans but they had a plan and stuck to it and seemed to have met their goals. They likely could have hit $1 USDM or more with different stretch goals but if doing that costs them $1.01 USDM, was it really worth it ?

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2013/01/14 06:15:21


 
   
Made in au
Terrifying Doombull





Melbourne .au

 BobtheInquisitor wrote:

There are lots of people online on message boards who know of Malifaux's existence, but not much about it.


I'm one of these people. It's like Dark Age or Hell Dorado. Some nice miniatures at a glance, and, well, that's most of what I know. I didn't even have a pledge to drop.

   
Made in de
Longtime Dakkanaut




chaos0xomega wrote:
Not going to lie, I had absolutely no interest in this kickstarter. Ive only started getting interested in malifaux but this really did nothing for me... what DID do something for me was the cool weird burlap doll things they were offering t ONLY the highest pledge level... I wasn't going to pledge for something I didnt want just to get a damned ragdoll, so i messaged them and told them straight up, hey, I would gladly pay 40 to 60 dollars just for the doll, Im sure many others would too. The response was "Not interested, but thanks..." Considering that the dolls are being made by an outside party so its very minimal extra burden to them, you would think they would have gone "huh, theres a lot of money to be made by this, maybe we should offer that up as an extra...". Nope, they didn't, I hope they run their business better than that kickstarter, otherwise they wont last long.


It seems like Wyrd really like their limited exclusive whatevers....

My warmachine batrep & other misc stuff blog
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Made in us
Mutating Changebringer





Pennsylvania

Addendum
It's wonderful to see so many constructive comments here, and I must personally thank Mr. Martin for comments he's been kind enough to make to me personally. With that, I'm going to attempt to address a few issues that he brought up to me and others here have also touched on.

The Early Bird Gets the Worm, the Hesitant Bird Gets the Shaft
One of the most controversial elements of the TtB campaign was the “early backer bonus”, where those that pledged $60 or greater in the opening 72 hours or so would receive the special edition “Miss Terious” miniature. This finds its mirror in the habit of many campaigns (KD:M, Dreadball and many others) of offering “early bird specials”, pledge levels that are exactly the same as the standard pledge levels, but with a discount and a limitation in number. Wyrd's version of this, the Miss T promotion, had some unique properties.

Chiefly, by adding Miss T to pledges based on when the pledges were made, Wyrd added something with a bit more appeal then perhaps $10-20 off of the basic pledge, and an addition that also had the virtue of being very, very cheap to add (the miniature not being original to the campaign, it's unlikely that the cost to Wyrd was even equivalent to $5-10).

The drawbacks of this approach are substantial, however. First, because they chose to have the give-away be a specific item given in a limited in time, they set up a situation where anyone pledging afterward was at the disadvantage of knowing that they would be paying the same pledge amount but getting less then those that were”in the know”. This is a bit of a call-back to the issue of the campaign being reliant on the built-in fanbase, rather then lending itself to appeals to truly new consumers.

It is the case that the people that get into a campaign in the opening days are the people already inclined to pledge anyway: the high information, highly personally invested fans that already get mailings from Wyrd, that already follow Wyrd news on various forums. In other words, the Miss T promotion seems, necessarily, to have ended up as an incentive available to the consumers that were most likely to pledge no matter what, and least likely to need an incentive to continue to hold steady their pledge.

A second issue with the nature of the Miss T promotion is it excludes generating the intensity of attention that comes with limited early backer levels: even in the final hours of KD:M backers would, for whatever reason, have to drop their limited, discounted pledges. The fact that people could get these pledges later led people to constantly pay attention to the campaign, which naturally led people to converse in the comments and otherwise hold the campaign at the forefront of their thoughts.

Most importantly though, early backer rewards that are only a discount generally speaking don't have any real impact on the calculus of later backers. Miss T did: this miniature was constantly brought up as a source of friction, and fostered a sense that the campaign was not intended to bring in people previously unaware of Wyrd or its products, but one designed to cater to the high information consumer (i.e. the existing fanbase).

Of all the elements of Wyrd's TtB campaign, the only one that I am tempted to regard as a complete failure is the Miss T promotion. If for no other reasons then it is the element most likely to leave a sour taste in an observer's mouth, and most likely to be a reason for a potential backer to not back at all. It may be petty, but the psychological impact of knowing that the deal one gets as a later backer is worse then the deal the people “in the know” received is not to be underestimated.

Apples to Oranges to Orangutans
A persistent problem with the analysis of kickstarter campaigns is the fundamental problem that, unlike retail items, each campaign is unique, even within the same niche product category. Is it appropriate to compare TtB to KD:M, to Numenera, and if not, then to what?

Comparing to Numenera has the virtue of being a comparison within the same product niche, but it suffers from the obvious shortcoming of being a) a shorter campaign, and b) during a distinctly different time of year.

Comparing to KD:M has the virtue of being a comparison during an almost entirely overlapping time period, but suffers because these two products are very different niches.

Every comparison has flaws, because even excluding the different time periods, Numenera and TtB ran fundamentally different campaigns. TtB relied, I think it can fairly be said, on the use of physical miniatures to provide additional value beyond that present in the books themselves, but maintained a rigid number of pledge possibilities. Numenera, in contrast, had no less then thirty-four (34!) pledge levels, and a staggering number of add-ons available.
Spoiler:
The following are rewards that you can add on for the listed amounts. These can be added to any reward level of $10 or more. Note, the amounts listed do not necessarily reflect the final retail price of each product, as those have not been determined.
+$3 A copy of the character creator app, for Android, iOS, or PC.
+$7 A pdf copy of the 32-page full color adventure, The Devil's Spine.
+$7 A pdf copy of the 32-page full color adventure, The Mechanized Tomb.
+$7 A pdf copy of the 32-page full color adventure, The Other Side of the Maelstrom.
+$7 A pdf copy of the GM's Screen
+$8 A print copy of the 30 card full-color XP Deck. Shipping included in North America (elsewhere, please add an additional $5).
+$15 A pdf copy of the 160-page full color Ninth World Bestiary.
+$15 A pdf copy of the 160-page full color Sir Arthur's Compendium.
+$18 A pdf copy of the Numenera core book.
+$15 A print copy of the 32-page full color adventure, The Devil's Spine. Shipping included in North America (elsewhere, please add an additional $5).
+$15 A print copy of the 32-page full color adventure, The Mechanized Tomb. Shipping included in North America (elsewhere, please add an additional $5).
+$15 A print copy of the 32-page full color adventure, The Other Side of the Maelstrom. Shipping included in North America (elsewhere, please add an additional $5).
+$20 A print copy of the 64-page full color Numenera Player's Guide. Shipping included in North America (elsewhere, please add an additional $5).
+$20 A Numenera dice set (specialized d20, plus a matching d6 and 2d10). Shipping included in North America (elsewhere, please add an additional $5).
+$20 A print copy of the 120 card full-color Cypher Deck. Shipping included in North America (elsewhere, please add an additional $5).
+$20 A print copy of the 100 card full-color Creature Deck. Shipping included in North America (elsewhere, please add an additional $5).
+$25 Numenera T-Shirt. Shipping included in North America (elsewhere, please add an additional $10).
+$32 A four-panel vinyl GM's screen in landscape format with clear plastic pockets to make it fully customizable (includes the pdf of all the images and charts to use with Numenera). Shipping included in North America (elsewhere, please add an additional $10).
+$40 A print copy of the 160-page full color, hardcover Ninth World Bestiary. Shipping included in North America (elsewhere, please add an additional $10).
+$40 A print copy of the 160-page full color, hardcover Sir Arthur's Compendium. Shipping included in North America (elsewhere, please add an additional $10). (This add-on assumes we reach the $235,000 stretch goal.)
+$40 Upgrade your SIGNED copy of the Numenera corebook to a special edition leatherbound version of the book.
+$50 A print copy of the 200+-page full color, hardcover Ninth World Guidebook. Shipping included in North America (elsewhere, please add an additional $10).
+$50 Numenera Thunderstone deck-building game (special limited edition). Shipping included in the United States (elsewhere please add $20).
+$60 A print copy of the 416-page full color, hardcover Numenera corebook. This is the standard version of the book. Shipping included in North America (elsewhere, please add an additional $10).
+$60 Upgrade your standard copy of the Numenera corebook to a special edition leatherbound version of the book.

Numenera chiefly increased the value of the books by embracing technology, and sold itself primarily as a written product: PDFs were not the extent of the available materials, but also apps and other non-tangible elements. (Incidentally, to give an idea of how different Numenera is, my original draft of this included a copy of the pledge levels and their contents... it was 10 pages long!)

Would a more equitable comparison be to Hillfolk: DramaSystem Roleplaying by Robin D. Laws?
Spoiler:


Hillfolk, however, despite being an RPG, is so fundamentally different I'm utterly at a loss as to how to compare the campaigns: the stretch goals, for example;
Spoiler:
Stretch Goals 
You can easily play DramaSystem games in a wide variety of settings beyond Hillfolk. If your backing gets us over the base funding goal, we will demonstrate this with a series of stretch goals lining up an impressive roster of roleplaying luminaries* from a spectrum of design traditions to create additional settings (called Series Pitches) for the core book. If you're getting the book, in whatever format, you're getting these pitches.

REACHED: $4000: Jason Morningstar’s Hollywoodland, in which you play the founding figures of American film 
REACHED: $5000: Michelle Nephew’s Mad Scientists Anonymous, in which former supervillains fight the urge to relapse 
REACHED: $6000: Kenneth Hite’s Moscow Station, drama against a backdrop of realistic cold war espionage 
REACHED: $7000: Matt Forbeck’s WW2.1: stranded in time, you struggle to return home, while being drawn into the conflagration of WWII 
REACHED: $8500: TS Luikart’s Malice Tarn, which he describes as King Lear meets Watership Down.
REACHED: $12,500: open licensing. DramaSystem will belong to everyone, under a permissive open license. Details to be determined, with backers consulted as stakeholders.
(The reference document will be a stripped-down affair, without the Hillfolk setting, examples, or Series Pitches, so those of you purchasing the PDF of the finished book will still be getting excellent value for your ten smackeroos.)
REACHED: $14,000: Jason L. Blair (Little Fears) brings us monsters in love with Inhuman Desires.
REACHED: $15,500: Chris Pramas (Green Ronin) fixes his bayonets for his Spanish Civil War series, Brigades.
REACHED:: $17,000: Emily Care Boss (Shooting the Moon) takes us to Jupiter and Mars as humanity expands through the solar system in Colony Wars.
REACHED: $18,500: Rob Wieland (Shadowrun, Star Wars Saga Edition) seeing that no game of serialized drama is complete without an organized crime series, invites you to swim with the fishes in Mafia Century.
REACHED: $20,000: Steven S. Long (Hero Games) spins an epic of blood and maize in his Aztec series, 4 Motion.
REACHED: $22,000: Print Upgrade. If we reach this stretch goal, our magic spreadsheet will grant us permission to upgrade:
the standard print edition from softcover to hardcover 
the limited edition from hardcover to faux leather hardcover 
the ultra-limited edition from hardcover with handcrafted embellishments to faux leather hardcover with handcrafted embellishments. 
REACHED: $23,500: Eddy Webb (Vampire & Werewolf 20th Anniversary Editions) goes to the mat with Deadweight: tension and chaos in the world of independent professional wrestling!
REACHED: $25,000: Jesse Bullington (The Sad Tale of the Brothers Grossbart) goes on a moonshine run in The White Dog Runs at Night, in which a family of bootleggers struggles against rivals, prohees, the local preacherman and themselves when their patriarch gets himself arrested. This series, as you desire, comes with or without root magic. 

REACHED: $26,500: Gene Ha (Top 10, Project Superman) commands Witless Minions, featuring a crew of henchmen forced to keep it together after the death of their supervillain boss.

REACHED: $28,000: James Wallis (The Extraordinary Adventures of Baron Munchausen) returns to exquisite verbal gamesmanship with a saga of warring poets and pamphleteers, rival critics and coffee-houses in Augustan London that could only be called Battle of Wits.
REACHED: $29,000: Chris Lackey (The H.P. Podcraft Literary Podcast) goes to his eldritch wheelhouse for The Whateleys: tensions erupt in a family of Cthulhu cultists when the new generation pits its modernizing ways against the ancient traditions of the old.
REACHED: $30,000: John Scott Tynes (Delta Green) presents Horns in the Hill. A colony of ants wracked by war with a rival anthill face a horrific fungal zombification outbreak from within. It's a World War II zombie movie about ants. The Walking Dead meets Phase IV.
REACHED: $31,000: Ryan Macklin (Master Plan podcast, Dresden Files RPG) takes you to Tesseract Slums, Wyoming. Man has gone to the stars—and all you got was left behind...
REACHED: $32,500: Graeme Davis (Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay) hoists the black flag for Pyrates, in which a disparate crew of pirates tries to make a living by fair means or foul.
REACHED: $34,000: Dave Gross (Pathfinder Tales) treads a darkling stage with Shakespeare VA, in which a drama festival bumps up against the strange tempests of a deceptively bucolic rural town. Slings and Arrows meets Twin Peaks.
REACHED:$35,500: Allen Varney (Paranoia XP, Epic Mickey) fires up Bots, in which comedic robotic protagonists struggle for survival in a resource-starved post-organic environment.
REACHED:$37,000: Meguey Baker (1001 Nights) conjures Under Hollow Hills: Political intrigue in the court of the Fairy Queen. Captive humans, magic rings, thousand year old fairy princes, curses and blessings and things that might bite you if you call them by name.
REACHED: $38,500: Sarah Newton (Mindjammer) explores First Contact, as you join the United Nations First Contact Team tasked with establishing communication with a possible extraterrestrial intelligence.
REACHED: $40,000: Kevin Kulp (Owlhoot Trail, EN World) loads his Clockwork Revolver. Western gunslingers face steam-powered abominations on the lonesome prairie. Wild Wild West meets Deadwood.
REACHED: $41,000: Mac Sample (Nightfall) bangs fist to hide breastplate with By This Axe: The only surviving heirs to the Last Orc Warlord vie for his throne and assassination, demagoguery, thuggery and violence will decide the day.
REACHED: $42,000: Jason Pitre (Spark) sneaks up on you with Shuriken in Shadows. Ninja families struggle to serve their honorable masters in old Japan’s Warring States period.
REACHED: $43,000: Wolfgang Baur (Midgard, Dark*Matter) prepares a genteel bit of mayhem in Colonial India during the Raj, as provincial potentates face tigers, sepoy rebellions, and dire breaches of etiquette. White linen meets Kipling-style bravado in Teatime for Elephants.
REACHED: $44,000: Keith Baker (Eberron) investigates Dreamspace. In the future, the only way to reach other worlds is through the underspace of the collective unconscious. You and your fellow oneironauts are the best of the best, but what will you find in the dreams of alien worlds?
REACHED: $45,000: Will Hindmarch (Gameplaywright Press) tests the limits of humanity with Intelligence, in which you play secretly sentient androids in a near future that’s not ready for them.
REACHED: $46,000: CA Suleiman (Mummy: the Curse; Vampire: the Requiem) ventures to the jagged edge of The Green Line. A Palestinian family living in the West Bank faces danger from all sides when their teenage daughter manifests telekinetic powers.
REACHED: $47,000: Rob Heinsoo (Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition, 13th Age) pits a community of natives and escaped slaves against European slavers in the New World with Maroons.

All Series Pitches funded as stretch goals after Maroons will appear not in the core book, which is now full, but in Blood on the Snow: A DramaSystem Companion (see below.) All backers at $10 and up get access to these in at least PDF format.
REACHED: $49,000: Hillfolk theme music by composer James A. Semple (The Eternal Lies Suite) will go to all backers at $10 and above in electronic form. 
Listeners to the Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff podcast will recognize James' stirring work. Here's his Ashen Stars Theme:

REACHED: $50,000: GUMSHOE OPEN LICENSE: We will release GUMSHOE, Robin’s previous game engine for Pelgrane, under an open license with its own GUMSHOE-compatible trademark for products in the English language. Robin will create a stripped-down system reference version of GUMSHOE to support the license. 
Blood on the Snow Stretch Pitches:
REACHED: $51,000: Josh Roby (Smallville Roleplaying) uncovers Shakespeare’s lost sources in Champion of Florence: rival houses at war, mistaken identity, a sorcerous duke and his scheming brother, and of course, star-cross'd lovers.
REACHED: $52,000: Andrew Peregine (Victoriana, Hellcats and Hockeysticks) invites you to attend the Regency social season with Vice and Virtue. Will you be seduced by the decadence of Bath, or manage to find your own Mr Darcy or Elizabeth Bennet?
REACHED: $53,000: James L. Sutter (Pathfinder Tales) mounts The Throne: drama and bloody intrigue in a Heaven abandoned by God.
REACHED: $55,000: Color Interior of the core Hillfolk book for all print editions. Graphic designer Christian Knutsson will enhance his graphic design with the subtle color palette he so desperately craves. Jan’s gorgeous art will remain as it was meant to be seen, in black and white.
REACHED: $56,000: Sean Preston (Tremulus) scrapes off some Rust: In an ancient castle at the edge of a crumbling steampunk empire, the Chosen compete for the Mad King’s crown.
REACHED: $57,500: Lester Smith (2300 AD, Invasion of the Saucer People) gives up the ghost in The Spirit Is Willing: Join the returned dead as you band together in pursuit of goals left unfinished in life.
REACHED: $59,000: David L. Pulver (BESM, Transhuman Space) reports tensions rising in the Pacific Rim as the Japanese Self-Defense Force develop their first super battle mecha in Article 9.
REACHED: $60,500: Kevin Allen Jr (Sweet Agatha, Pickets & Blinds) smuggles his grimoire across No Man's Land in To End All Wars, as a league of wizards serve as WWI spies and saboteurs.
REACHED; $62,000: Greg Stolze (Unknown Armies, Reign) puts you in the shoes of a volunteer firefighter in Winchester, Wisconsin - a community small enough that you recognize the victims of most car crashes, house fires and heart attacks. Cue the Sirens.
REACHED: $63,500: Gareth Hanrahan (The Laundry RPG; Lorefinder) declares you Heroes of the City: The evil archmage is dead, and his tyrannical rule is ended. You saved this city. Now you have to rule it.
REACHED: $65,000: Steve Dempsey (Shotguns v. Cthulhu, Twisted 50s) checks in with Paged: Characters from classic literature escape the British Library and set up together in the same flat, with only each other to rely on in their strange new world.
REACHED: $66,500: Mike Pohjola (Star Wreck Roleplaying Game, The Turku Manifesto) illuminates us with The Shadow of Napoleon - or: Turku by Lamplight in which 19th century students must balance between revolutionary ideas, family traditions and the Czar's oppression.
REACHED:$68,000:John Kovalic (Dork Tower, Munchkin): It's life, laughs and Lovecraft after-hours at the Dagon Bar and Grille, where the cultists go to unwind, and everyone knows your unspeakable name!
REACHED: $70,000 Blood on the Snow print upgrade, to hardcover for standard edition, plus color interior.
REACHED: $71,500: Jeff Richard (Sartar: Kingdom of Heroes) follows a group of Greek mercenaries and intellectuals to The Last Kingdom. Having backed the wrong side in the war between Octavian and Antony, they flee to Greek India—as its final days approach.
REACHED: $73,000: Jennifer Brozek (Serenity, Dragonlance, Shadowrun) brings Transhumanism to the dinner table in Transcend: a family is thrown into crisis when one of their number unexpectedly announces plans to undergo radical gene surgery and leave human morphology behind.
REACHED: $74,500 Wade Rockett (Tales of the Old Margreve, Midgard Preview) reveals The Secret of Warlock Mountain, in which a community of alien castaways in central California must decide whether to hide peacefully among the humans, or use their mental powers to ensure their safety by force.
REACHED: $76,000 Lizard (Excellent Prismatic Spray, D20 Gamma World): A year after the bombs fell in 1962, the survivors in a small town emerge from The Bunker. Will they restore the old world, create a new world, or fall back into war?
REACHED: $77,500 Mark Rein•Hagen (World of Darkness, Vampire: The Masquerade, Werewolf: The Apocalypse, etc) charts a course to a desert island with Endure! During the filming of America's number one, and possibly worst, reality show, a freak Hurricane suddenly appears and devastates the mainland. The contestants and a few crew members are left alone on the island to fend for themselves. Cut off from the world, when no rescue or aid arrives ... that's when things take a turn for the strange.
REACHED: $79,000 Angus Abranson (Chronicle City, Cubicle 7) provides the syllabus for Alma Mater Magica: after years of drifting, divorce and disappointment, former friends who saved the world as teenagers return as faculty members to the tradition-bound boarding school that trained them to be wizards.
REACHED: $80,500 Mark Diaz Truman (The Play's the Thing) joins The Perfect Family: Gattaca meets The Riches when a family of "perfects" has to sell a few spots on the family tree to "imperfects" to avoid insolvency. Now they are all in over their heads, trying to keep the lies from coming unraveled when the genetic police start snooping around...
REACHED: $82,000 Ken Burnside (Attack Vector: Tactical, Squadron Strike) takes you inside the Sephardic Jewish community of Toledo during the Reconquista in Andalusian Nights. In a culture where learning is prized, beset by threatened Christian conquest and Berber intolerance, is it time to use the forbidden knowledge of golem manufacture?
Which takes us to the last pitch before Blood on the Snow fills up, becoming, at 240 pages, as thick as the main Hillfolk book.
REACHED: $83,500: Jon Creffield (Slayers Guide to Dragons, Hell’s Door Opens) takes you down the Road to Appomattox: on the eve of the Civil War one Virginian family fights a battle of its own. Masters, servants, and slaves choose sides as a family, and a whole country, divides.
So what happens now? The Series Pitch of the Month Club!
Every month, starting four weeks after the game ships, all backers at $10 and up will receive a Series Pitch in the standard format (approximately 2,000 words plus illustration) in PDF format.
REACHED: $85,000: John Wick (Legend of the Five Rings, Seventh Sea, Houses of the Blooded) steps into a world of sorcerers, crowded cities, corrupt nobles, eldritch assassins and big payoffs in Honor Among Thieves. In a world where everything is illegal, everything is a crime, and it only pays to be a thief.  
REACHED: $86,000: Sean Patrick Fannon (Shaintar, Star Wars: Edge of Darkness) unleashes the struggles of democracy and free market capitalism in a high fantasy world. Discover the answer amid the greed, passion, and power plays of No Crowns.
REACHED: $87,000: Jesse Scoble (Wizard101, Game of Thrones d20) sings a narcocorrido for you on The Devil's Highway: narco traficantes and border patrol circle each other in the canyons and deserts between North and South.  
REACHED: $88,000: Matthew McFarland's Hold the Chain, in which you are the entertainment in the gladiatorial arena of a steam-powered flying city on the brink of revolution.
REACHED: $89,000: Hal Mangold (Atomic Overmind, Green Ronin) loses your luggage in Terminal X: A fractious circle of modern sorcerers wage a subtle turf war within one of the world’s busiest airports, while fending off  occult forces threatening to erode the very source of their power.
REACHED: $90,000: Rob Wieland (Shadowrun, Star Wars Saga Edition) shows you his jazz hands in Encore, following the dreamers, has-beens and never-will-be's who make up the cast of a touring jukebox musical.
REACHED: $91,000: ASH LAW (The Reliquary) cranks up Iron Tsar: engineers battle zombies in the Imperial court of a magical 1920s Russia.
REACHED: $92,000: Jerome Larre (Qin, Tenga) takes you inside the Sheep’s Clothing of a tranquil bedroom community for cops—as a massive Internal Affairs bust threatens dozens of its key citizens.  
NOW UP FOR GRABS: $93,000: Robin D. Laws: In a post-scarcity economy, there remain only two routes to status: Art and Murder. As guardians of the Great Museum, you struggle to protect the world's cultural patrimony from outside marauders—and your own ambitions.
LOCKED: $94,000: Raven Daegmorgan (Orx) sails the black tides of the cosmos in Niflgap. As the universe dies, you, the fractious Norse gods, set forth in starships from lonesome Midgaard, hoping to find salvation in the void where armies of the hungry dead writhe endless beneath black suns.
LOCKED: $95,000: Caias Ward (Strike Force 7, Noumenon) In a far-future religion based on enlightenment through genetic engineering and organic technology, a squad of young cadets struggles with their commanders, their fellow cadets, the outside universe and crises of faith.
LOCKED: $96,000 John Kovalic (Dork Tower, Munchkin) returns to ink-spattered halcyon days with Campus Desk:  students behind the Daily Forward, newspaper of Wisconsin State University, figure out life, love, and burying the lede.

As one can see, Hillfolk had a massive number of additions, but the value and nature of the campaign is so totally different from either Wyrd or Numenera a point of comparison seems elusive.

TtB seemed to be trapped between the world of miniature campaigns and RPGs: between the very easy to evaluate campaigns with physical pledges and easy to identify expectations, and the free-wheeling RPG world. To a certain extend this is most likely inevitable: Wyrd is, after all, primarily known as a maker of table-top miniatures, and their choice to use the setting of their most popular table top game doubtlessly was intended to capitalize on the existing fan base (which it did).


As always, I appreciate any comments.

   
 
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