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Made in us
Mutating Changebringer





Pennsylvania

Please Note: while the purpose of these post mortem reviews is to answer (to the best of my ability) the question “what happened during this campaign?” it would be remiss for me to not point out my great esteem for John Regule and the staff of Spiral Arm Studios. That said, it is my belief that there are specific elements of the Maelstrom’s Edge campaign that negatively impacted the campaign’s success, elements which I will explore below.


"Of each particular thing, ask: What is it in itself? What is its nature?" Marcus Aurelius, by way of Hannibal Lecter.

Proposed: The Maelstrom’s Edge (ME hereafter) campaign underperformed relative to other campaigns of its type, owing to a variety of factors.

Discussion: the discussion will be divided into four parts;
-What’s Going On? Is there an actual problem? What does the data show about how Maelstrom’s Edge performed?
-Aesthetics Uber Alles. Or, Let’s Do The Time Warp Again!
-Make Me One With Everything: the Peril and Promise of Add-Ons.
-Who are you? How can SAS find their market and should they even try to change?

What’s Going On?

The first and most obvious question to ask is: did Maelstrom’s Edge actually underperform?

The answer, of course, depends on what you are comparing it to. As was pointed out during the campaign, Kickstarter has a much better track record as a platform for board games (even when those games are really miniature games in board game drag) as opposed to miniature games. That said, there have been a number of successful table top games, most notably All Quiet on the Martian Front, Wrath of Kings, Relic Knights and Deadzone, as well as more modest games such as Patrick Keith’s COUNTERBLAST and On the Lamb Games’ Endless Fantasy. In such company, the matter quickly becomes clear, as you can see;

Spoiler:


While the total amount of money raised is substantially less than other, seemingly similar games in a high state of development, the distribution of funding during the campaign does not reveal any immediate red flags.

Spoiler:


The Maelstrom’s Edge campaign has a seemingly healthy ratio, with a near ⅓ opening, ⅓ interval and ⅓ closing distribution of funds. So how can we explain the relatively low overall numbers? Two graphs tell the tale;

Spoiler:




What we see above is that the ME campaign seemingly fell short in two different ways: 1) it failed to attract a large backer base, and 2) the base that was attracted had a significantly lower average pledge amount than other, similar campaigns. I will diagnose what I believe underlies these two shortcomings in the next two sections.


Aesthetics Uber Alles! Or, Let’s Do The Time Warp Again!

It is my belief that the single greatest negative for the campaign were the aesthetic choices that defined the product. Previous post mortems have convinced me that nothing is so important in Kickstarter campaigns as being able to arrest the attention of the browser with visuals. In this regard I believe that the fate of the campaign was, in very large part, determined when too many potential backers first looked at the campaign main page and came away saying “looks dated to me,” or some variation thereof.

It’s important to realize what I am saying here is not that there is a lack of quality in the product: quality and aesthetics are entirely separate. A product may have fantastic quality but be staid and uninteresting, and the most flamboyant and visually interesting product may be insultingly cheaply and poorly made.

Instead, it is my contention that there has been a gradual evolution in the field of tabletop games away from the conventions of ‘heroic scale’ 28mm that chiefly characterized miniatures made by Games Workshop (GW) in their Warhammer Fantasy Battle and Warhammer 40,000 games. The conventions of ‘heroic scale’ are by no means the property of GW (though they might protest this in court…), and were nearly ubiquitous in the tabletop market in the early 2000’s and common in the industry even a few years ago. However, improved manufacturing techniques for mass market models, increased proficiency and availability of digital sculpting and a growing sophistication on the part of consumers looking for ‘something different’ have led to a general drift away from heroic scale.

As an example, consider the evolution of a character from the Privateer Press (PP) game Warmachine: the Warcaster Victoria Haley. Haley has existing in Warmachine since the launch (or very nearly) and has three different in-game incarnations and four different sculpts over the course of approximately fifteen years.

Spoiler:


I believe the visual and stylistic evolution is quite clear here. The first sculpt, probably produced around 2000-2001, is very reminiscent of the ‘heroic scale’ aesthetic: blocky and distorted, with a premium paid to game silhouette over sculptural quality. By contrast, the most recent sculpt was only just released this weekend and is an exercise in flowing lines, details and more elegant proportions*. I believe this not only represents increased proficiency with the tools of sculpting, but a growing comfort on the part of the game maker in the consumer’s sophistication: the maker trusts the consumer enough to indulge sculptural elements.

A similar example can be seen in the revisions to the Morat Vanguard unit for the Covus Bell game Infinity;

Spoiler:


Once again we see an evolution away from the exaggerated proportions towards a more ‘naturalistic’ sculpting style.

Now, obviously, there is no single aesthetic that the market is moving towards: rather there is a huge variety of individual styles being explored, from the anime-influenced style of Infinity, the voluptuous but naturalistic body horror of Kingdom Death, the heavy armored realism of Dreamforge Games, the resurgence of chibi-styles in board games like Arcadia Quest and Super Dungeon Explore, and ‘European’ (i.e. Rackham influenced) stylings such as Wrath of Kings and (idiosyncratic) Raging Heroes. The constant in all this is change: a movement away from the satisfied aesthetic ecosystem inhabited by GW (and to a certain extent, Mantic).

With all that said, the question then becomes: what about the styling of the miniatures in ME? I contend that while ME is not identical in style to previous lines, it is very much informed by the ‘heroic scale’ of styling, and reflects the sentiments that underpinned the heroic scale, such as placing a premium on silhouette as opposed to sculptural expressiveness.

Replace, rather than Displace: what I mean by this is that there are miniature lines that are clearly meant to act as a supplement, and others that are meant to act as a complete replacement. Consider, as an illustration, the difference between Dreamforge Games’s Eisenkern line of models and Victoria Miniatures’ Arcadian male and female lines.

Spoiler:


One can, and indeed is intended to, slot Arcadian figures into an existing army composed of GW or GW styled figures: there is no aesthetic break between Arcadian males and females and the corresponding GW lines. There is a shared heroic scale sensibility, even if one is (as I am) inclined to consider the Victoria Miniatures’ models of a superior level of craft and design.

The Dreamforge model, however, cannot be so used: one would not replace a single figure in a GW army with a DFG trooper, nor would one replace a unit of, for example, heavy weapon Space Marine Devastators with a unit of Eisenkern Heavy Support models. There is a clear aesthetic difference between these lines, and it would be visually jarring to have a force composed of a mixture of GW/Victoria models and DFG models.

How then do we judge ME figures? I would argue that they, like Victoria Miniatures, replace rather than displace: one could easily imagine using ME models in a GW army, the Epirian contractors especially.

Spoiler:



Again, this is by no means to be taken as an insult to the quality of the miniatures, only an evaluation of the choices that went into their styling. I must also point out, the Karist Enclave standard troopers are noticeably less heroic scale then the Epirian Contractors. However, this isn’t a great plus, since it creates a situation where the very few human sculpts in the game appear to be following two different aesthetic schemes. This is often seen in established games as the developers change in response to market forces or increased technical ability, but it is jarring to see when both units are in the same box.

All of which leads to an uncomfortable maxim allegedly derived from marketing: “it doesn’t matter how much you try to sell it if the dog just won’t eat the dog food”. Up to now, I’ve been trying to establish that there is a trend in miniature gaming, and that the decisions that ME made ended up locating their miniatures on one particular side of that trend line. But that isn’t the same thing as saying it’s bad: the fact is that GW is, even now, selling far, far more than all of the kickstarter backed games, and indeed all of them plus CB and possibly PP as well.

The problem is that selling, as Victoria Miniatures does, miniatures intended for use in a particular game system, is very different than using miniatures to generate excitement for a brand new game system.

Looking at the graph of average backer pledges (the purple bars), one thing may not be immediately obvious: the average backer of ME had a pledge of $86. This is enormously significant because this is less than the $90 minimum pledge level to get the complete box set. Of the backers of ME that selected reward levels (some did not), only 575 backers selected levels that included miniatures, while 197 (25%!) backers were at levels that had no miniatures.

Consider the comparison between two large, monstrous creatures that were born on Kickstarter: the Karist Angel from Maelstrom's Edge, and the Dragon King from Kingdom Death: Monster. N.B. N.B. I am not claiming these are comparable products: the Dragon King was the centerpiece of a $30 (MSRP $50+) expansion and is comprised of five sprues by himself, while the Angel is a single sprue component of the main ME box

Spoiler:


Large centerpiece models can have a huge amount of aesthetic and emotive weight: just look for a moment at the close-up of the Dragon King and then take stock of how you feel, both about it, and about the universe it would inhabit;

Spoiler:


Again, my point is not ‘the dragon king is better”, but that the Dragon King succeeds in conveying… something. An emotion, a sense of disquiet perhaps, it is evocative. It’s entirely reasonable to say that a figure for a skirmish level tabletop miniature war game shouldn’t be asked to do that, but it does beg the question: when you look at the Karist Angel, what do you think of?

Spoiler:


Personally, I think of liquorice.

Make Me One With Everything: the peril and Promise of Add-Ons.

A second problem is apparent when you compare the graphs of number of backers with the overall totals: why is it that All Quiet on the Martian Front has 25% more backers, but over 400% more total for the campaign? The answer is primarily the presence of Add-Ons. As mentioned above, the average ME backer contributed less than the basic box pledge. The dirty little secret of miniature games on kickstarter is the up-sell: get someone to make basic box or even a nominal pledge, and over the course of the campaign a backer’s $10 pledge may morph into an amazing amount of money. Consider this well laid out menu of additional purchases from Wrath of Kings;

Spoiler:


Whether it is board games of tabletop games, a common element of the most successful kickstarter campaigns is providing, as the campaign progresses, a mixture of pledge incentives and paid add-ons. Pledge incentives are those things that ‘sweeten the deal’, as it were: additional models to the base game pledge, digital art books, improvements to the base game. The purpose of all of these elements is to motivate the casual viewer to regard the campaign as “too good to pass up”, and make a base game pledge. Almost all very successful campaigns share this feature, but the Platonic example may have to be the Bones campaign run by Reaper Miniatures, where the ‘Vampire’ base pledge, well;

Spoiler:


During the ME campaign we saw the use of pledge incentives: Update 13 dramatically increased the contents of the base game box, and there was a steady stream of free additions. This doubtless had an effect on the closing days’ total (48 hours before close the “Remind Me” function brings back people who were interested before, but not motivated to pledge), but, as the incentives are by definition free, don’t help the bottom line save to attract more backers.

To understand the value of add-ons, it’s worth pointing out that if ME’s average backer amount been equal to Wrath of Kings ($191), it would have earned over $155,000 (over $80,000 more than ME), with the same number of backers. Paid add-ons also allow a manner of ‘double-dip’: development costs are covered by the campaign’s general costs, but unlike pledge incentives, add-ons don’t constantly eat into the profit margin. That is, most pledge incentives, such as additional sprues or new model types, increase the cost of the base set, even if only by a marginal amount (a problem that digital incentives do not share, one will note). By contrast, once a price point has been set for a paid add-on, that price point stands.

With all that said, why didn’t ME include paid add-ons? The simplest answer is that for all the benefits of add-ons, there is an underappreciated danger to lots and lots of add-ons: logistics. Selling a single boxed product (as ME did) allows the boxes to all be packed at a single centralized facility. A single box presents the simplest possible solution for shipping, as even a single add-on requires the creation of an entire layer of personnel to sort and pack individual orders. In larger campaigns this is then compounded by the need for Quality Assurance and then Customer Service to sort out the inevitable packing mix-ups.

The math of add-ons greatly favors companies like CMoN; established companies that can use their pre-existing merchant infrastructure to process the additional logistics add-ons generate. As a practical matter it seems that add-ons are something either avoided entirely, or embraced fully.

Who are you? How can SAS find their market and should they even try to change?

Where does all of the above leave us? In my opinion, Maelstrom’s Edge suffers from some very significant deficits for a new game: the single most important deficit being the lack of a clear aesthetic identity.

When I began writing this post mortem, I had planned on addressing what I regarded as the shortcoming and inappropriate nature of the setting. While I may yet do so, I have come to the conclusion that whatever literary shortcomings may be present, they are so insignificant as to be nearly irrelevant.

Like the card game and novels that were added to the boxed set during the campaign, the setting and universe are things that hold, rather than recruit, players: people who are inclined to do so delve deeper into the background and ancillary products.

Trite as the conclusion may be, it is my frank evaluation that ME suffered most from having uninspiring miniatures. Without interesting and attention grabbing miniatures, everything else went for naught: all the well regarded authors and deep background can’t sell a product to someone that never looks past the first page of the campaign.

So what’s the future? Assuming, for the sake of argument, that the current slate of miniatures are the ones that the boxed set will launch with, SAS would seem to have no choice but to sell hard on everything but the miniatures. The situation is analogous to when PP initially began promoting WM/Hordes: the slogan ‘Game like you got a pair’ announced to prospective players that this was a new system, one that was not beholden to the fuzziness of GW’s “beer and pretzel” style of soft rules.

Such a campaign can work again, albeit with a different focus: ME is not intended to target the same audience as WM/Hordes, but… well, there’s the rub.

Who exactly is ME intended to cater to? This is not 2005; there are several tabletop games at the skirmish level on the market. Wrath of Kings is targeted at almost precisely the same 10-50 model per side game level, Infinity and Relic Knights a bit smaller scale even then that and, of course, Warmachine and Hordes are far more entrenched and developed then they were even five years ago.

For the moment, analytics seems to be the task facing SAS: who exactly is ME intended to appeal to? Is there a population out there of people that didn’t know about the campaign, or was there something intrinsic to the campaign that discouraged people from pledging?

I’m sure that there is more that will be said (and probably plenty of typos waiting to be pointed out…), but for the meantime, I do hope that this analysis is of some use to both SAS, and others that are hoping to launch their own crowdfunding campaigns. As ever, I am interested to hear other’s thoughts on my analysis.



*For a closer look at the work of this sculptor (Javier Garcia Ureña), who also produces digital sculpts for Corvus Bell’s Infinity game, see his deviantArt page.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2015/06/09 16:55:26


   
Made in us
Nasty Nob





SoCal

Gotta agree. I disliked the argument people were using that the subpar miniature designs were somehow okay just because this was their first attempt.

The problem is, it would only be okay if it was made a decade ago, and was still competing with miniatures from then. The default sculpting quality expectations have advanced and there's no going back. A fact that has delayed the launch of my own product multiple times.

And stuff like the space chaps, which people argued back and forth about, were more problematic in that they had no extra design applied to the look of them--being just regular cowboy chaps in space--rather than the idea of people wearing some kind of leg protectors in space.

Same problem that the Firefly TV show had. It might have had great story and characters, but the space western aspect was something that turned away more people than it helped gain.

This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 2015/06/09 07:51:33


   
Made in us
40kenthus




Manchester UK

Again, my point is not ‘the dragon king is better”, but that the Dragon King succeeds in conveying… something. An emotion, a sense of disquiet perhaps, it is evocative.


ha haaa no, I don't see that at all. Whilst it is an incredibly well executed mini, it looks like it's trying to eek out a fart to me.

Isn't unfair to compare the two though? Isn't KD a boutique range, like the Infinity Bootleg sets?

...when you look at the Karist Angel, what do you think of?


Sadly, a missed opportunity. It was much hyped during the run up to the SG reveal... That could have been the piece that made people say "YES, this rocks balls!"

re the Bones stuff - yes you get a ton, but they really do look dated... which is the main criticism leveled at ME.

I have to admit, I saw the title of this thread and thought "Oh FFS, give it a rest" but it was really very interesting and whilst I don't agree with every point, I agree with the overall sentiment. Thanks for taking the time to put it together.

Member of the "Awesome Wargaming Dudes"

 
   
Made in jp
Fixture of Dakka





Japan

I agree, with your conclusion, some interesting character add ones would have probably helped, like some major character figures from the books. or even an appetite from things to come.

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Made in de
Longtime Dakkanaut





Germany

Exalted for liquorice.

I like your analysis very much, Buzzsaw. From my point of view you have pretty much nailed it. The one thing you left a little bit hanging there is the last question about the target audience.

While I am not exactly sure if it was the plan (or whether there was a plan at all beyond "well, wargamers, duh!") I can say why it worked for me. So far, I only own GW miniatures. In the current day and age, a lot of you guys probably also have a group or two of infinity miniatures and maybe an army for warmahordes and maybe some less known things, but I guess there are also enough people out there who still own exclusively 40k stuff. However, 40k has a big disadvantage for me: The godawfull rules. I like some of the models and I like the fluff but I hate these clunky, horrible rules. Even all of GWs dickishness aside, their pricing policies, the splitting of required rules over 3 dexes and 10 dataslates and whatnot, one of the main reasons I don't play a lot is simply because I can't be arsed to memorize the differences between Hatred, Rage, Bloodlust, Rampage and a half-dozen other similarly named USRs that I need to keep in mind while... using only 25% of the deamon codex. Not only is this a pain in the ass, it also prolongs the game duration while every other round you have to look up if it was an extra attack on a charge or +1S or whatever it was that this one unit got once per game on a full moon in the fourth turn when facing against Sisters with no heavy support choices on the table.

And while I could have ended up with infinity or bolt action or maybe even warmachine it just so happened that ME came along with what seemed like a good overall package of fluid rules and not too many models to get a game going (I have a huge box of DKoK waiting to be assembled and painted for display purposes, I don't need another horde!). So my guess for the planned TA of ME would be: canibalizing GW sales.

Regarding the add-ons: I probably would have picked up another pack of Karist core infantry. I was toying around with upping my pledge for an extra-60$-reward (the infantry units with no special shinies) but it seemed like a rather bad deal as most of that value would be used up by even more suppression tokens and not actual plastics.

Regarding the model aestetics: I think "generic" is the word here. They look serviceable enough to me, but I certainly see the "doesn't look special" argument. There are still other factions to be revealed and the current ones may yet get much nicer models in the coming years if this ME survives. I wouldn't have pledged though If I allready did own some Infinity models... then again, I probably wouldn't have even if the models were nicer.

This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 2015/06/09 08:59:10


Waaagh an' a 'alf
1500 Pts WIP 
   
Made in au
Incorporating Wet-Blending






Australia

 Jehan-reznor wrote:
I agree, with your conclusion, some interesting character add ones would have probably helped, like some major character figures from the books. or even an appetite from things to come.

Unique characters would potentially not pay for themselves, if people treat them as a 0-1-of kit. People are going to be more willing to buy 10 identical sprues of Kairist Troopers, 10 identical sprues of Scarecrows or 10 identical sprues of building parts than 10 identical sprues of Angels or 10 identical sprues of a character model, because 30 soldiers in identical uniforms and a bit of variety in pose, 10 robots of the same type in a variety of poses or a settlement of 10 buildings made using the same prefab parts will look better with less work than 10 Angels or 10 Commander John Bloggs standing side by side.

"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 au
[MOD]
Cutting stuff up and bunging it back together in new and interesting ways.






Under the couch

While there are some good points raised in here, I think there are also a couple of very large assumptions being made.

The first is that success of a project is related directly to the final dollar figure.

How many times now have we seen projects that raked in the cash, and then struggled to deliver? Particularly when they go into it offering all manner of add ons and extras, massive cash results aren't always a positive thing, both because startup companies often simply don't have the infrastructure to cope with the demand, or because they messed up their calculations at the start and wind up losing money overall when they find that all of those extras actually cost them more than they expected.

Ultimately, the point of a Kickstarter project is to launch a product onto the market. So the marker of success isn't whether or not it makes more money than other projects. It's whether or not the cash raised is actually sufficient to launch the product to market as promised.



The other assumption is that potential backers held off through dislike of the miniatures. And certainly that's going to have been the case for some.

But it's impossible to look at the backer figures and tell anything meaningful there. Yes, as you point out, 25% of backers went for a non-miniatures pledge. A third of those were $1 pledges, which will be from a combination of people who just wanted to show some support despite not being interested in the current offerings, people who wanted to show some support but couldn't afford the starter right now, and people who just want the terrain sprue and had no interest in the game to begin with.

The remaining third are 'rules only' pledges. Again, we can guess that some of these will be people who don't like the miniatures and will use others instead. But some will also be people who want to see the rules before investing more into the game, or people who only want certain miniatures and so rather than shell out for a whole starter set chose to wait for the exact same miniatures to be available individually at retail.

How many people slot in where there is anybody's guess.



There are certainly areas where things could have been done better. SAS admitted that themselves during the campaign. But ultimately, as I said, the sign of success for a Kickstarter is whether or not it results in an actual product. And at the end of the day, the MEdge campaign had a final result that exceeded the amount needed to launch, without blowing their business plan out of the water by fracturing the product off into multiple releases.

Whether or not that will result in a successful retail product, I guess we'll just have to wait and see.

   
Made in gb
[ADMIN]
Da Big Mek






London, UK

It is always entertaining to read your kickstarter postmortems and I always appreciate the thought and angles from which you approach your kickstarter analytics, but it is much more enlightening seeing them from the other side of the fence where we have access to all the analytics, business plans and metrics which drove the campaign I hope you wont take it personally if I say that your dislike of the models and project shows through in your write up in the form of 'I think this way, so it is logical that many do', which certainly could have been made more neutral if you are presenting it as an exploration and robs your work of some of its value in my opinion. Still, it is a reasonable assumption if that is how you frame your perception of the product as a whole which I would likely do if our positions were reversed, though we do have actual data on it which makes the conjecture largely irrelevant.

Certainly I dont dispute we could have done a better job with the kickstarter, and there are three notable mistakes which we made:

1. As you've touched upon, the perceived value at the start was too low (hence the big refresh a week in), though for the mid and end of the project, any reasonable person would not disagree that 39 multipart plastic models for $90 is a very fair deal indeed, let alone all the extra goods like the VIP discount for 2 years, free content, card game, digital copy of the rulebook, etc. That does not stack well in a kickstarter environment filled with PVC models that cost a cent or two each to produce though.
2. We had no up front release or teaser. The product was only deemed 'viable' in February due to risks associated with plastic production delays finally being overcome, and we've always been clear that we are more interested in being reliable and consistent (in this time of KS ripoffs and substandard deliveries) to ensure good long term relations with fans, and so we did not want to build hype without being able to back it up with solid dates, but that was a mistake and we should have been building interest earlier.
3. The lack of an upfront gameplay video was a problem and down to logistical failings on our part due to our highly distributed team.

Despite the above, a large number of million dollar+ kickstarter operators checked out our page in preview mode and were convinced it would do 500K-1M. Our projections were never anything even close to that, but it did stroke our ego and boost confidence in place of pragmatism in the first few days.

There were a few other minor issues which would have helped, but would not have made a huge difference:
1. Poor photography, check out our scale photos to see how very bad the space marine and cadian look to see how much we need to learn on that front. Limited timescales and logistical resources for photography pinched us on that front. Presenting heroic scale miniatures effectively through online images is challenging and requires expertise that we are still developing. Truescale is much more forgiving but has far more flaws as a gaming piece (a debate for elsewhere, but one which we will not be participating in).
2. A marketing plan that was too heavily focused on Dakka - this has paid off, but led to weaknesses.

We were extremely tolerant of critique and negative discussion on Dakka which, being the core of our marketing focus, really did end up having a negative impact. We had split populations to allow neutral testing of this, and those who were exposed to critical comments on the models from the dakka community, compared to those who came in and saw the kickstarter page and models fresh from our marketing literature without seeing the opinion of others first led to a difference of 1 vs 1.7 backers. A pretty major price to pay to ensure Dakka is kept independent even when it would have made significant financial sense for us to be merciless with moderating.

Your comparison leaves out a few very significant factors. First, you are comparing long established companies (mantic, cmon, etc) with a company that only revealed itself 2 weeks before the game went live on kickstarter. I would strongly expect such companies to do dramatically better, especially since their marketing plans are designed around kickstarter and not retail like ours. Notable accomplishments include achieving a higher number of backers than dreamforge and the most recent wild west exodus campaigns, both of which are also (mostly) HIPS plastic.

You fail to note that we did not include shipping, so our raw dollar value is 15% lower than it would be, and we can keep 10% of shipping costs out of Kickstarter's pockets and remove shipping price risk to ourselves which kills other companies, but there is definitely a lot of uncertainty added by having an indefinite price on a kickstarter pledge which would have had a further negative impact on backer numbers.

You correctly identify the benefits to avoiding add-ons, and that it has the largest effect on our raw dollar value. The logistical savings are significant, and we now have notable pent up demand for single model purchases which will buoy the retail market. I'd much sooner see gaming stores getting a cut of the profit and spreading our game and models around than kickstarter taking a slice without putting in any effort.

There is another interesting factor on kickstarter which we noticed. If you are not in the top few projects in your category, the natural KS backer rate is dramatically worse. Sustaining a position at the top (as CMON, etc do), gives massive intertia from casual kickstarter backers, counting at least 35% of the total backer count I would estimate. By dropping down quickly, we lost that benefit. This happened while out attention was diverted and we were exhibiting at Salute, so we lost the opportunity to put into plan some of the earlier marketing thoughts we had and once off that track, it would have taken add-ons to get back on it.

In terms of marketing plans, a very good basis for comparison is the pure wargame 'home raiders' operating at the same time, who spent a lot more on advertising and followed a fairly classic kickstarter plan:
http://www.kicktraq.com/projects/611224377/home-raiders/
A decent, original idea, non-heroic models, plentiful add-ons and promotions, and hit by the ficklness of backers at the low end. We spent very little on marketing, yet sustained interest throughout in a healthy manner which you identify.

Our business plan accounts for the fact that starting a new game with a new company is a VERY big leap, something that you discount by comparing to heavily established outfits. From our detailed analytics and planning, we only expected 25% of viewers to have even a passing interest (with the other 75% being put off by one of more factors) and are pleased to report that we've notably surpassed that in levels of interest. Our Salute table was three people deep at times as loads of people wanted to check out what they'd seen online, or it just caught their eye in passing. As it stands, we have over 800 gamers who will hopefully be very impressed with the quality of product they get, and who will serve as a distributed, international base for the growth of Maelstrom's Edge.

One other fun bit of data for you - the 48 hour remind me button ended up bringing in a mere 26 people, echoing the relatively poor perception we created at the start. The rest of the ks-end boost was the fact that our marketing was heavily timed to be around the end of the project so that time pressure played a factor in people's decisions and they didnt just look and then leave thinking they'd check it out later as mid-point marketing would have done.

Starting a wargame is a much bigger investment than a board game. Doubly so with fiction, etc attached. We are asking for money and time, doubling the resources which people need to put up to get started. As you correctly note, anything that can even be remotely perceived as a board game is a much broader market as a result. Wargamers are a very specific bunch and I dont know about you, but I only look for one or two reasons why I dont like something to not bother investing in it as a game (even if there are the odd models I like), and that is only broken by the inertia of other players picking the game up around them and seeing things in the flesh. I had no interest in Flames of War whatsoever from online content until I saw the models in person and now I have 4 FoW armies for instance.

By our calculations, the market size for Maelstrom's Edge on kickstarter was/is dramatically less than the retail market, with a total upper limit of around 1300 people (compared to way over 5 figures at retail - 40k for reference is about 200K active players as of 2 years ago by our calculations). We managed to get 63% of that market which is not a bad result in our eyes, but perfect marketing (including much higher expense) would have let us get closer to 80% or so.

A forum or small group of people is a terrible place to gauge the reception a model gets due to the echo chamber effect that such discussion. Reception of our models based on our analytics has generally reflected the tastes of our early review teams and so other than the viciousness of some comments (thankfully not on Dakka, but elsewhere for sure, with facebook being the worst offender for aggressively negative feedback), we've not had much in the way of surprises.

Tastes tend to fit into one of the following categories:
passionate dislike / casual dislike / neutral / like / passionate like
with most people moving up the scale towards liking them when they get the models in hand and continued local exposure. This is obviously not something we can do on a forum or kickstarter page, but is why we are very content.

KS fatigue is very, very real too now. Our behind the scenes metrics predicted that the KS traffic/backer rate we were expecting was 5%, but in reality it ended up being 2%. That 5:2 ratio (40% of 2013 peak) turned out to be something repeated in many places. All our data suggested that for every 5 backers someone would have got in 2013, we were seeing 2 backers for the same logic. There's not much public data on the matter, but google has the main bit:
Kickstarter direct access traffic (non referer) is down below 40% of peak: google trends
we were amused to see alignment with this small poll on dakka too in which 60% of ex-kickstarter wargamer users are backing less or have stopped backing (tiny sample size, but still the same ratio).

I'd also advise checking out other wargames operating at the same time as Medge:
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/827575229/war-of-wonders-miniature-game-superheroes-fighting
http://www.kicktraq.com/projects/827575229/war-of-wonders-miniature-game-superheroes-fighting/#chart-daily

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/wordforgegames/the-devils-run-route-666 (minor board game elements too)
http://www.kicktraq.com/projects/wordforgegames/the-devils-run-route-666/#chart-daily

The one I keep coming back to in my mind though, is the defiance games kickstarter. You cant say that the market is not dramatically different now! When known dodgy people with a terrible track record can raise $47K from nearly 700 people for one model, that time, the time in which deadzone and others were operating and pulling in massive numbers, and people backed mainly on excitement and faith, is long gone.

Ultimately, some solid investors are heavily tied to Maelstrom's Edge so we'll be able to keep producing content and models regardless of the size of income streams over the coming years. Plastic is an up front investment, and then generates income for as long as the models are available so our revenue streams will only strengthen, and Maelstrom's Edge will keep growing and getting better. 12+ distinct plastic kits in one boxed set is a big challenge, and one which barely anyone in the industry is capable of doing. We'll keep on growing, keep improving on every front, and thanks to the kickstarter, the hard parts (getting an audience established and initial production volumes in place) are done!

My apologies for the format of this reply, it is a bit of a brain dump rather than a long, measured response, but I wanted to clarify a number of your points with data and our perspective despite having very limited time today. I've tried to be neutral but get excited when talking about Medge and it's numbers so go into programmer mode and dont consider emotional response, so my apologies if anything is rude/dumb/mistyped above. I appreciate your KS posts and continue to enjoy reading them!

Check out our new, fully plastic tabletop wargame - Maelstrom's Edge, made by Dakka!
 
   
Made in de
Longtime Dakkanaut





Germany

Aaaand exalted for honesty and responsivenes. One of the things I really miss with most companies is honest communication and actual replies to critique. I find it makes even dumb descisions much easier to stomach when you get an explanation what has been done and why.

I for one welcome your course of stability - focussing on quality and ensuring the product will be delivered. You have done well so far. Not exceptional - not everyone can pull of a 10M campaign like exploding kittens did - but good enough to get things going. Keep it up.

Waaagh an' a 'alf
1500 Pts WIP 
   
Made in us
[MOD]
Dankhold Troggoth






Shadeglass Maze

Very nice post Buzzsaw (and also legoburner!). I appreciate your taking the time to write this up and do what I think is a pretty fair analysis (as usual for you with these post mortems).

I really agree that the lack of add ons kept the total much lower than it would have been with add ons. I know that choice was intentionally made, and I appreciate SAS' discipline in that - it is hard to pass up extra funding to keep logistics manageable!

I also agree with some of your thoughts about aesthetics, although I think we'll both see some nice aesthetic models from MEdge in the form of the characters that are in-process, and future work - each sculpt has gotten better and better from what I've seen. I'm in love with the robots and quite happy with the models I'm planning to run, but I agree this will be the major point upon which MEdge continues to gain more adoption or fails to do so. As with most wargaming companies, it's all about the miniatures!

Thanks again for your efforts!
   
Made in gb
[DCM]
Decrepit Dakkanaut




UK

Thanks for your analysis Buzzsaw,

and for your response Legoburner

interesting reading

 
   
Made in us
Decrepit Dakkanaut






North of Chicago, IL USA

Excellent review from buzzsaw and rebutal from legoburner. I think both posted many fair points to mull over.

I just have one addition. I think the models are fine and will enjoy painting them.

The main reason I only bought the "sweet spot" pledge was that I already have a ton of painted 40k stuff that I rarely get to play since I moved from my old gaming group. Priorities have since changed: wife, new job, exploring Chicago and the Midwest. If I can get a force painted up before AdeptiCon, then maybe I can play there (Is there enough in the starter box to make a tournament legal list?). But that would be it. I don't see me going to my FLGS to play pick up games of ME. If there isn't some organized play somewhere, then I'm out of luck, and out of time, to be frank. Game time is becoming harder to find. More and more I find my hobby time just reading rule books and codecies, making up lists I'll never model, or reading fiction associated with it (HH novels, etc).

Anyway, that's probably a lot of rambling, but it's my state of gaming and why my pledge was what it was.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2015/06/09 13:26:05


Forgeworld Download Page <-- Here there be cool stuff! DA:70S+G+M+B++I++Pw40k08+D++A++/fWD-R+T(M)DM+
 
   
Made in us
Fixture of Dakka





Runnin up on ya.

I can tell you why I didn't back; human on human box set. In a galaxy so large, somehow only one alien race shows up and then only as an afterthought attached to a human faction. *yawn* I'm glad that I'm not the only one who noticed the scale comparison issue and "wrist-gate" was a serious downer

It's like how GW have gone, "In the grimdarkness of the far future, there is only the IoM fighting against the ravening hordes of the IoM." I want to be inspired to buy the miniatures because they look so incredibly fresh and new; I'm really looking forward to Dreamforge's Shadokesh and Mark is guaranteed to get buckets of loot from me.

Seriously, if I want generic human with no/little armor and laser gun fighting generic human in armor with different color laser gun, I'll buy GW miniatures without the wait time and unknown factor you get with an untested company. If you want me to gamble my money on your fledgling company, show me some miniatures that wow me or are at least noticeably different than anything else out there. The angels could have done it but wound up being so static and looked like a boardgame piece rather than wargame miniature.

Maybe next time, if something interesting comes along and the company decides not to make models for people looking to replace GW minis.

Six mistakes mankind keeps making century after century: Believing that personal gain is made by crushing others; Worrying about things that cannot be changed or corrected; Insisting that a thing is impossible because we cannot accomplish it; Refusing to set aside trivial preferences; Neglecting development and refinement of the mind; Attempting to compel others to believe and live as we do 
   
Made in gb
[SWAP SHOP MOD]
Killer Klaivex







Interesting reading on both accounts. Thank you both for taking the time to hammer out your reasoning.


 
   
Made in us
[MOD]
Madrak Ironhide







 agnosto wrote:
I can tell you why I didn't back; human on human box set. In a galaxy so large, somehow only one alien race shows up and then only as an afterthought attached to a human faction. *yawn* I'm glad that I'm not the only one who noticed the scale comparison issue and "wrist-gate" was a serious downer

It's like how GW have gone, "In the grimdarkness of the far future, there is only the IoM fighting against the ravening hordes of the IoM." I want to be inspired to buy the miniatures because they look so incredibly fresh and new; I'm really looking forward to Dreamforge's Shadokesh and Mark is guaranteed to get buckets of loot from me.

Seriously, if I want generic human with no/little armor and laser gun fighting generic human in armor with different color laser gun, I'll buy GW miniatures without the wait time and unknown factor you get with an untested company. If you want me to gamble my money on your fledgling company, show me some miniatures that wow me or are at least noticeably different than anything else out there. The angels could have done it but wound up being so static and looked like a boardgame piece rather than wargame miniature.

Maybe next time, if something interesting comes along and the company decides not to make models for people looking to replace GW minis.


Eh, I saw it as human on human as humanoid with drones vs. humanoids with aliens.

DR:70+S+G-MB-I+Pwmhd05#+D++A+++/aWD100R++T(S)DM+++
Get your own Dakka Code!

"...he could never understand the sense of a contest in which the two adversaries agreed upon the rules." Gabriel Garcia Marquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude 
   
Made in ca
Grizzled MkII Monster Veteran




Toronto, Ontario

As a regular participant on Kickstarter, I find the behind the scenes analysis and commentary fascinating.

Thank you to all who've spoken thus far, and particularly to legoburner for (imo) respectfully responding to critique with reasoned and proportional responses. Kudos to the Medge team/SAS.

Also, I am one of the $1 backers. I cannot currently justify $90 US (plus shipping) for a miniature game that I likely won't end up playing (I already have two of those), nobody in my group was backing, nor really an interest in the pdf rules. Between some other recent expenses and with Gencon less than 2 months away, even $10-20 Canadian starts adding up.

But I wanted to participate, to see the project unfold in updates automatically, and frankly to bump that backer number up, for whatever little that is/was worth.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2015/06/09 14:20:26


 
   
Made in ca
Buttons Should Be Brass, Not Gold!






Soviet Kanukistan

As a painter, I back KS based on miniature appearance. The ME kickstarter had obvious advantages over many others IN EXECUTION, as it opened with actual models vs digital sculpts, set material in glorious HIPS. This is great news to modelers and painters as WYSIWYG. This is also awesome for backers as it means many of the logistical problems that might hold back the fulfillment of the KS is out of the way. Great!

OK... so this brings us to the appearance of the models. This is now the main deciding factor because everything planning-wise is awesome-sauce. The one thing that killed it for me is the appearance of the Contractors and to an extent the drones. I feel their quality of execution isn't at the same level as the rest. IMHO, if they had less beefy arms and offering guys without the caps would have made a huge difference. I find their overall beefiness extra jarring when compared to their concept art.

Anyhow... I'm sure I'm rehashing stuff that's already been stated. All said, I do wish this project the best.
   
Made in us
Fixture of Dakka





TN/AL/MS state line.

Thank you for the post-morten buzzsaw(as always they are a good read), and the rebuttal lego. This was definitely some interesting reading. Hopefully this keeps up for a few pages!

Spoiler:
Liquorice monster! I fear that may stick... I personally laughed way too hard at it.



Automatically Appended Next Post:
I do wonder how well this campaign would have done with mostly concept art ~two years ago. Relic Knights in particular springs to my mind.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2015/06/09 14:27:32


Black Bases and Grey Plastic Forever:My quaint little hobby blog.

40k- The Kumunga Swarm (more)
Count Mortimer’s Private Security Force/Excavation Team (building)
Kabal of the Grieving Widow (less)

Plus other games- miniature and cardboard both. 
   
Made in us
Sniping Reverend Moira





Cincinnati, Ohio

 legoburner wrote:


1. As you've touched upon, the perceived value at the start was too low (hence the big refresh a week in), though for the mid and end of the project, any reasonable person would not disagree that 39 multipart plastic models for $90 is a very fair deal indeed, let alone all the extra goods like the VIP discount for 2 years, free content, card game, digital copy of the rulebook, etc. That does not stack well in a kickstarter environment filled with PVC models that cost a cent or two each to produce though.
]

And unfortunately, while 39 multipart plastic miniatures for $90 may seem to be a "very fair deal indeed," it doesn't matter how "fair" the deal is when in response to the primary issue Buzzsaw is citing: models that look dated when compared to other similar products being produced in 2015. In fact, it's my opinion that your promotion by Adam Poots of Kingdom Death even solidified that when he described them as "retro." Now, had you been selling a "retro" game like Patrick Keith's Counterblast, it could have certainly benefited from that aesthetic. As is my understanding, ME was marketed as a "next generation" game that, sadly, didn't appear to have "next generation" miniatures.

I think there was a major oversight (or overestimation) on the appeal of HIPS, especially after Wrath of Kings has proved to us that PVC can be done VERY well and Shadows of Brimstone showed us that modern HIPS can be done very poorly. That's not to say I think the technical aspects of the ME HIPS production will be bad--quite the contrary. But because of those two products, and the evolution of what can be done with PVC that, as you said, "cost a cent or two each to produce," there may have been some miscalculation in regards to the importance of getting something in HIPS.


2. We had no up front release or teaser. The product was only deemed 'viable' in February due to risks associated with plastic production delays finally being overcome, and we've always been clear that we are more interested in being reliable and consistent (in this time of KS ripoffs and substandard deliveries) to ensure good long term relations with fans, and so we did not want to build hype without being able to back it up with solid dates, but that was a mistake and we should have been building interest earlier.


Many products don't, and few products have the captive audience in which ME was afforded with Dakka. I'm unconvinced "hype building" prior to a campaign does anything to fix some of the middle campaign or end campaign problems that ME had.


3. The lack of an upfront gameplay video was a problem and down to logistical failings on our part due to our highly distributed team.


This was a huge oversight, IMO. In all honesty, it is for any KS in 2015. I won't even consider backing a gaming KS if it doesn't include, at the very least, full rules or a play through video. And there's really no reason you couldn't have had one. Hell, you could have shot a short one at Salute.


Despite the above, a large number of million dollar+ kickstarter operators checked out our page in preview mode and were convinced it would do 500K-1M. Our projections were never anything even close to that, but it did stroke our ego and boost confidence in place of pragmatism in the first few days.


I'm curious what this was based on?


We were extremely tolerant of critique and negative discussion on Dakka which, being the core of our marketing focus, really did end up having a negative impact. We had split populations to allow neutral testing of this, and those who were exposed to critical comments on the models from the dakka community, compared to those who came in and saw the kickstarter page and models fresh from our marketing literature without seeing the opinion of others first led to a difference of 1 vs 1.7 backers. A pretty major price to pay to ensure Dakka is kept independent even when it would have made significant financial sense for us to be merciless with moderating.


I'm saddened that you even included this commentary. As someone who was wholly put off by the "Dakka's Game" shtick, I can't even imagine the negative impact over moderation would have had on this community, and it's pretty disappointing that you think it's appropriate to make a claim that you were "extremely tolerant." The ME discussion thread received very, very little of the criticism that other KSes, or GW threads for that matter, do. Many who would have criticized normally did so very sparingly, and those that did felt like they had to goose step in order to do so.

Was it ever considered that calling it "Dakka's Game" vs. "A Game from the Team at Dakka" would be a negative? It's entirely possible that it was, and that it was deemed to be a non-issue and that my feather are just easily ruffled, but it rubbed me the wrong way.


Your comparison leaves out a few very significant factors. First, you are comparing long established companies (mantic, cmon, etc) with a company that only revealed itself 2 weeks before the game went live on kickstarter. I would strongly expect such companies to do dramatically better, especially since their marketing plans are designed around kickstarter and not retail like ours. Notable accomplishments include achieving a higher number of backers than dreamforge and the most recent wild west exodus campaigns, both of which are also (mostly) HIPS plastic.


And yet, there are multiple "first time" companies that have, in fact, done significantly better. Marrow Games with Journey comes to immediate mind, but Succubus publishing has over $144K right now with Middara. And honestly, the presumption that "their marketing plans are designed around kickstarter and not retail" is a bit absurd. Zombicide S1 had less than 5000 backers. It's sold well over four times that number of copies. I understand the desire to justify and explain, but to do so that disingenuously is in poor form.


You fail to note that we did not include shipping, so our raw dollar value is 15% lower than it would be, and we can keep 10% of shipping costs out of Kickstarter's pockets and remove shipping price risk to ourselves which kills other companies, but there is definitely a lot of uncertainty added by having an indefinite price on a kickstarter pledge which would have had a further negative impact on backer numbers.


And? Most KSes have learned from the "free shipping bonanza" of early kickstarters. If you're not charging for shipping in 2015, you're foolish. Subsidize it a bit if you want, but failing to charge any shipping costs is a dangerous endeavor.


There is another interesting factor on kickstarter which we noticed. If you are not in the top few projects in your category, the natural KS backer rate is dramatically worse. Sustaining a position at the top (as CMON, etc do), gives massive intertia from casual kickstarter backers, counting at least 35% of the total backer count I would estimate.


Well isn't that your job, then to create said inertia to remain in the "top few projects?" Did you ever consider that running a (too long) 40 day campaign would adversely affect the campaigns ability to remain "in the hotness?" If no, why? And what exactly is your 35% estimate based on?

By dropping down quickly, we lost that benefit. This happened while out attention was diverted and we were exhibiting at Salute


And this is big mistake. Someone should have been assigned to the KS as their only job while it ran. It's things like this that have been discussed on KS threads, right here on Dakka, at great length.


One other fun bit of data for you - the 48 hour remind me button ended up bringing in a mere 26 people, echoing the relatively poor perception we created at the start. The rest of the ks-end boost was the fact that our marketing was heavily timed to be around the end of the project so that time pressure played a factor in people's decisions and they didnt just look and then leave thinking they'd check it out later as mid-point marketing would have done.


I don't understand this rationale. It makes as little sense as the overly long backing period.


Starting a wargame is a much bigger investment than a board game.


Based on what?

Doubly so with fiction, etc attached.


So why do so much of it immediately? Wouldn't these things have been better served to save until later, when there was more establishment of the game and the setting? Hell, it took Privateer nearly 8 years to start releasing "actual" fiction so they could focus on their game...


By our calculations, the market size for Maelstrom's Edge on kickstarter was/is dramatically less than the retail market, with a total upper limit of around 1300 people (compared to way over 5 figures at retail - 40k for reference is about 200K active players as of 2 years ago by our calculations). We managed to get 63% of that market which is not a bad result in our eyes, but perfect marketing (including much higher expense) would have let us get closer to 80% or so.


Where is the estimate that you're able to get "63% of the market" at retail coming from? Your market as it stands is 800 backers. Your hope, now, is that someone in Cincinnati or Cheybogan was one of the 800 people to pick up a pledge on KS and can convince their LGS to carry the game. I'm curious what makes you so confident that will happen?


A forum or small group of people is a terrible place to gauge the reception a model gets due to the echo chamber effect that such discussion.


I disagree wholeheartedly on this assumption.


Reception of our models based on our analytics has generally reflected the tastes of our early review teams and so other than the viciousness of some comments (thankfully not on Dakka, but elsewhere for sure, with facebook being the worst offender for aggressively negative feedback), we've not had much in the way of surprises.


One could contend that some of that "aggressively negative feedback" was curtailed here by virtue of the "echo chamber" effect of positivity in the ME threads coupled with the fear of moderation.


Tastes tend to fit into one of the following categories:
passionate dislike / casual dislike / neutral / like / passionate like
with most people moving up the scale towards liking them when they get the models in hand and continued local exposure. This is obviously not something we can do on a forum or kickstarter page, but is why we are very content.


Dakka has polls. People wouldn't have had them "in hand" but you certainly could have polled the audience.


KS fatigue is very, very real too now.


$1.1M in 20 hours begs to differ. FWIW, there are three other projects on the first page of the Games KS category all well over $100k in funding, as well.


Our behind the scenes metrics predicted that the KS traffic/backer rate we were expecting was 5%, but in reality it ended up being 2%. That 5:2 ratio (40% of 2013 peak) turned out to be something repeated in many places. All our data suggested that for every 5 backers someone would have got in 2013, we were seeing 2 backers for the same logic. There's not much public data on the matter, but google has the main bit:
Kickstarter direct access traffic (non referer) is down below 40% of peak: google trends
we were amused to see alignment with this small poll on dakka too in which 60% of ex-kickstarter wargamer users are backing less or have stopped backing (tiny sample size, but still the same ratio).


And this is the most maddening thing to me: you cite all these "behind the scenes metrics" and "analytics" that were performed, and yet it seems like you've completely ignored your best source of research: this forum. There are mistakes and missteps that were made in this KS that have been discussed in relation to other KS projects RIGHT ON THIS FORUM. You have an in-house library of content and feedback about the construction and running of a KS project, and the campaign would make it appear that you didn't use that resource at all. It blows my mind. Many of the missteps you've admitted to could have been alleviated by reading through one or two threads on this forum.

Overall, I wish ME and SAS the best, but I'll never quite understand the route that was taken with this KS.

 
   
Made in us
Fixture of Dakka





Runnin up on ya.

 malfred wrote:


Eh, I saw it as human on human as humanoid with drones vs. humanoids with aliens.


Fair enough which still places it firmly in an unbelievable galaxy nearly wholly populated by humans which flies in the face of even nowadays projections by scientists. We live in a large playground, in a small, out of the way arm of a spiral galaxy; how can the background go from this reality to "humans everywhere and that's pretty much all there is"? I think even the Angels were set-up to be an enigmatic, unknown race that kind of skirts the edge of the maelstrom. When I read that description, I thought of the "angels" of Titan A.E. the baby angels even kind of look like them.


Six mistakes mankind keeps making century after century: Believing that personal gain is made by crushing others; Worrying about things that cannot be changed or corrected; Insisting that a thing is impossible because we cannot accomplish it; Refusing to set aside trivial preferences; Neglecting development and refinement of the mind; Attempting to compel others to believe and live as we do 
   
Made in ca
[DCM]
Acolyte of Goodwin






Sunny SoCal

Buzzsaw, I think you are pretty spot on for most of it, but I think you had some big misses in your assessment too on a few points. As has been mentioned, I think your personal viewpoint is really coloring the review in specific parts, i.e, very subjective when you are trying to ascribe reasons to data. You don't like the models, therefore the main issue must be hatred of the models. It may well be mind you, but your charts do nothing to support this, you are just filling a gap with a reason for an event when you can only see a result that could have had a million reasons combined and not one main one.

Personally I certainly think that the models were not as strong a draw as they may have been when the game and direction were conceived 3-4 years ago. A lot of things have changed since the process started, and due to the massive inertia of HIPS development, there wasn’t an ability to adjust to realities that only really gained strength within that period. For better or worse, Medge is a heroic game… if, down the line, proportions can be brought towards art-scale, then I would be all for it though!

That being said, heroic scale was a bit of a surprising issue to me, given most people were or are heavily invested in GW, and still buy 15-20 year old sculpts like space marines and cadians in droves… I would think if a Cadian or Spacemarine can be tolerated, when their proportions are (to me) even more distorted than the contractor… but hey what do I know lol… still, the fact you can use a lot of Medge bits for 40k, in theory, one would have thought it would have been a good draw. I agree on the chaps and arms, though of the two only the arms really bug me. But the torsos look pretty darn good to me, as do the heads if you want a ball cap security look.

You make some big assumptions/gap fills as well in terms of saying why they didn’t use more add-on characters. I think the real reason was stated, they wanted to be HIPS only, and did not want to waste time on restic casts, which are more expensive per print but cheaper to mold… but the sculpting process and cost of that was weighed against focusing on the core plastics, and they chose the latter. I too think they would have greatly benefitted from having the characters just to generate buzz for the core content and attract the add-on junkies. I also think showing concepts of longer term things to unlock, even if it was stated, this would be in late 2016 to late 2017 or something, would have been good to.

I personally think the biggest failing of this kickstarter was the too quiet, frank intro of both the company and the product that generated little to no build-up or buzz beforehand. A little razzle-dazzle ahead of time, a build up to a reveal, a bit of ‘ooo what is this they are teasing’ would have, in my opinion, greatly changed the tone. Basically there was no momentum going in, the kickstarter was from what was essentially a cold start. They had to sell the second they introduced, and that can be tough, as by not managing expectations beforehand, they allowed unfettered expectations to create problems in the minds of consumers that could have been alleviated or blunted had they not been ‘disappointed’ by the aspects of the campaign that did not conform to what they currently think a ‘kickstarter’ is. For better or worse, the CMONs and Sedition Wars have defined what people expect out of a miniatures kickstarter, and even though most of us know how problem ridden this kind of horde of options approach yields in delays and/or quality at times, it doesn’t mean that still isn’t ‘the best part’ of participating in a kickstarter for most people. Or the paradigm by which their expectations are set. Basically, SAS appealed to the brain and not the heart with their kickstarter model at the beginning, and only when they upped the ante with great additions and a lot of extra, and perhaps more importantly some more participatory things like the vote for an extra sprue, did the heart come in. The brain recognizes the value of being on time and being reliable. The heart generates the excitement that drives the desire to buy that the brain values can justify. Just being brain side, you know you are justified to buy, but it doesn’t impart an urgent WANT either.

Finally, as I have mentioned elsewhere, allowing 2 threads to be essentially unmoderated and to let a vocal minority of less than 10 (even less than 5 users) usurp the PR and tone of discussion on their home turf, to me, was a mistake. No matter what SAS do, if they ever act on their own behalf, even in the most minor ways, there is a sub-section of the audience here who will leap on them as greedy, fascist over-moderators who are crushing their personal freedoms. They can’t even say they disagree in polite debate without some people calling it moderation. That will not change in my opinion. But to me, you just have to accept that and act with integrity, but the keyword there is ACT. Just because you know some will cause a stink, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do as you would with anyone else, and doesn’t mean it’s a crime to say ‘hey, there is a line still, and if you cross it yes, we will still act, whether you think it is fair or not’. This isn’t to say moderate the hell out of everything, that would be suicide… it just means, have a little faith that enough people will see why you acted, and that so long as you make the boundaries clear and act with integrity, most will agree that your actions are justified. The mods are inherently restrained here, trust me, I know. If you get moderated, chances are you are being a huge douche lol, it is ridiculously rare that moderation happens in a form more than a warning, and it is almost impossible to get banned forever. Whatever people say about the amount of moderation on this site, on my kids, that is the truth of it. Dakka doesn’t ask for much recognition, but I think they should start asking people to recognize what actually happens in some situations, because SAS cannot easily afford to be burdened by the inability to act that Dakka imposes on itself when it comes time to act on its own behalf. The solution will be, ultimately, to encourage users not to white knight, but to simply vouch for the facts they see in front of them when some poison pill is trying to spin a fiction that hurts the company.

I think SAS did a lot right though, and I think once users become more invested through (hopefully) great gameplay, and paint the models themselves and we start seeing all the cool stuff a talented community can do with the materials provided, that a great depth will be discovered. If you get into Maelstrom’s Edge, the rabbit hole will go very deep. You will have a lot to engage with, and a lot to imagine and continue with. By the time another faction or two are introduced, and the game becomes more varied, it should eclipse pretty much any other setting in terms of depth except for 40k itself. I think HIPS will prove worth it, especially when we start seeing Angel conversions with GS, and various other chop ups and kit bashes using the parts. I think that terrain sprue was killer. I think that although it didn’t blow the top off the place, that in the long run, the reliability and honesty of Legoburner will be proven again and again. I think it may take a while, but everyone will see their concerns were heard and great efforts will be made to rectify things if it is within the scope of the project.

Not a huge start for Medge, but not a flop either if fairly assessed. The next huge hurtle is going to be the rules beta, that will be a key moment. Interesting read all the same, as your post-mortems always are Buzz!

   
Made in us
Decrepit Dakkanaut






Baltimore, MD

 kronk wrote:
Excellent review from buzzsaw and rebutal from legoburner. I think both posted many fair points to mull over.

I just have one addition. I think the models are fine and will enjoy painting them.


I don't get anybody have any strong opinions on the models, to be honest. I think they're fine, but nothing I've seen has grabbed me, either in terms of concept, execution, character, or overall look. They're just sort of generic sci-fi troopers that were nicely executed. I think that Buzzsaw's point, while perhaps amplified by his own tastes, is a good one. The models are perfectly fine, but unlike a lot of other kickstarters, there doesn't seem to be visceral reaction to wanting them.


My Painted Armies
: Co. B, 37th Praetorian IG: 11,000pts
Cygnar: 350pts
KOW Ogres: 4500 points
Loyalist Emperor's Children: 2500 points 
   
Made in us
Fixture of Dakka





Runnin up on ya.

 MajorTom11 wrote:

Finally, as I have mentioned elsewhere, allowing 2 threads to be essentially unmoderated and to let a vocal minority of less than 10 (even less than 5 users) usurp the PR and tone of discussion on their home turf, to me, was a mistake. No matter what SAS do, if they ever act on their own behalf, even in the most minor ways, there is a sub-section of the audience here who will leap on them as greedy, fascist over-moderators who are crushing their personal freedoms. They can’t even say they disagree in polite debate without some people calling it moderation. That will not change in my opinion. But to me, you just have to accept that and act with integrity, but the keyword there is ACT. Just because you know some will cause a stink, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do as you would with anyone else, and doesn’t mean it’s a crime to say ‘hey, there is a line still, and if you cross it yes, we will still act, whether you think it is fair or not’. This isn’t to say moderate the hell out of everything, that would be suicide… it just means, have a little faith that enough people will see why you acted, and that so long as you make the boundaries clear and act with integrity, most will agree that your actions are justified. The mods are inherently restrained here, trust me, I know. If you get moderated, chances are you are being a huge douche lol, it is ridiculously rare that moderation happens in a form more than a warning, and it is almost impossible to get banned forever.


I think you may be a bit off here. I am one of the last people that would ever accuse the Mods on Dakka to be draconian in their approach, in general, but I made one comment about the models on the initial N&R thread with a couple of comparison pics and my post was moderated and I was told to take it someplace else. This showed a lack of consistency that I immediately threw at the feet of the Admin since this was their baby and the fact that such discussion occurs in literally every other N&R thread with zero such moderation taking place. I have to say that it left a bad taste in my mouth.


Six mistakes mankind keeps making century after century: Believing that personal gain is made by crushing others; Worrying about things that cannot be changed or corrected; Insisting that a thing is impossible because we cannot accomplish it; Refusing to set aside trivial preferences; Neglecting development and refinement of the mind; Attempting to compel others to believe and live as we do 
   
Made in nl
[MOD]
Indomitable Hell Rider of Glorious Renown






102nd Expeditionary Fleet

As always Buzzsaw, this post mortem has been a joy to read, it also nicely sums up my feelings on the project as well.

Be ash and cinder forevermore!

V - 11 | T - 3 | 敗 - 40

DakkaDakka | Where you thank the mods for baning you! 
   
Made in ca
[DCM]
Acolyte of Goodwin






Sunny SoCal

I did not see that Agnosto, I didn't pay a whole lot of attention at the beginning of the Ks and announce either though... by the time I started reading more their was some shockingly toxic stuff going on from a few posters that was beyond critique IMHO. I at no point personally witnessed action of any kind other than mods just participating in the discussion as regular posters (something some people really dislike, being unable to imagine them not using 'Dad-voice' 100% of the time). The only red text I saw pertaining to creating a discussion thread for focusing on critique of granular detail on individual models (due to 2-3 people re-posting their opinion every 15 minutes or so and preventing others from discussing), after that, it was 100% hands off from what I saw.

My issue was not with critique, I have plenty myself to give, but with the tone and delivery a very few used to deliver it was rude and spammy. When I was a mod, I would have moderated them for spam if anything, in any thread, and I did several times. Yes, even in GW threads. I stopped people from going nuts on ward, but I let them go nuts on his rules. I let people discuss Romeo's business decisions, but not assault his character only, or call names. It's not a free-for-all for anyone, or it wasn't while I was around. I always held the policy for myself that if one or two people are doing every second or third post of a hot thread, simply repeating their viewpoint as fact and badgering people who disagree as if they are idiots, it's spam. It's not that you couldn't have your say, it's just your say should not be echoed throughout time with a 1:1 ratio to any other post made lol...

Anyways, probably a bit off-topic to the purposes of this thread, but I am sure if you talk to the person who spoke to you they may be able to either inform you better as to how they took your posts at the time in a way you may not have realized, or perhaps just admit they pulled the trigger a little eagerly. Talk to them, it should be something you can walk away from being put at ease, and Mods will generally want to have a handshake rather than have you be upset.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2015/06/09 16:21:21


   
Made in us
Sniping Reverend Moira





Cincinnati, Ohio

 MajorTom11 wrote:


My issue was not with critique, I have plenty myself to give, but with the tone and delivery a very few used to deliver it was rude and spammy. When I was a mod, I would have moderated them for spam if anything.


And you would have been wrong to do so.

 
   
Made in ca
[DCM]
Acolyte of Goodwin






Sunny SoCal

That's your opinion and you are entitled to it.

This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 2015/06/09 16:27:56


   
Made in us
Sniping Reverend Moira





Cincinnati, Ohio

 MajorTom11 wrote:
You are entitled to your own opinion, even though you are incapable of expressing it as anything but fact Cincy. Sorry for committing the thought crime of not agreeing with everything you say lol. Here you are again, dictating reality for the rest of us, shocking.


Your opinion of those threads is obviously colored. Multiple people mentioned, in said threads, their fear for posting in those threads due to...what did you call it....oh yes, "spam posts" from overzealous backers that would immediately shut down any negative opinion creating...oh yes...an "echo chamber" that Lego feared would happen with the inverse.

I guess we're all fortunate you're no longer a mod.


Automatically Appended Next Post:
 MajorTom11 wrote:
That's your opinion and you are entitled to it.


Glad I quoted your personal attack for posterity's sake.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2015/06/09 16:28:54


 
   
Made in nl
[MOD]
Indomitable Hell Rider of Glorious Renown






102nd Expeditionary Fleet

Could you guys take that to another thread please?

Be ash and cinder forevermore!

V - 11 | T - 3 | 敗 - 40

DakkaDakka | Where you thank the mods for baning you! 
   
Made in us
Nasty Nob





SoCal

Honestly, despite the troubles, ME is in a very good position to rebound. All they have to do is just deliver on this kicksarter in a reasonable amount of time. That should be easy enough since the molds seem ready.

After that, they take everything they've learned, do some new higher quality designs, and launch a new kickstarter with a proper amount of cool stuff there from the start. Coincide it with a story advancement and expansion book.

The other problem I saw with the kickstarter was that they didn't hit people with the best first impression. They should have launched showing all the stuff they had by the end of the kickstarter, instead of mid-kickstarter previews showing more core units.

   
 
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