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Fist off happening in January with Mythic Battles Ragnarok happening in June.
How about a much closer a look at our plans for Conan: Beyond the Monolith and the upcoming Kickstarter campaign ?
There will be plenty of surprises once we reveal the full campaign, but we wanted to provide our community with much clearer picture of how we’re approaching this before we launch.
It has long been our aim to introduce our Versus system to Robert E. Howard’s vibrant and violent setting: the Hyborian Age. With the 2015 Conan game we offered high adventure with thematic missions and fixed character choices. The game was focused on story and immersion and we did our best to emulate and adapt specific tales of Conan the Cimmerian. Though we will offer more of those thrilling adventures with this project, our primary approach will be inviting players to take on the roles of commanders and warlords, who assemble their forces and crush their enemies beneath their sandaled feet.
Howard’s Conan is the foundation on which Monolith was built. We will call upon him in the months and years to come to expand our series of games, but Beyond the Monolith speaks to a much bigger project—one that will allow players to integrate different universes and themes into a common game system: Beyond The Monolith. Stay tuned as we reveal some of the exciting universes you’ll get to battle in.
What will the Conan BTM Kickstarter campaign offer?
The "Core System" box
This box contains all the essential material to play the new Versus system (rule books, command boards, high and low variance dice, gems, tokens, and player aids). Those who already own the Batman: GCC core game AND its Versus expansion, won’t need to purchase the Core System box as they already have 90% of the material it contains (we will provide the rest for less than $5 and will publish the brand new rules online).
Additionally, for those of our previous Batman: GCC pledgers (both the 2018 or the 2019 campaign) who would still like to get the “Core System” box, we’ll offer you a discount voucher redeemable during the pledge manager (Full details to follow).
To properly introduce the Hyborian Age to the Versus game mode, we start with 4 factions, each of them in the form of a thematic box containing approximately 50 figurines of all sizes, as well as their tiles, tokens, a double-sided map board, and a booklet.
Our working titles for these boxes are "Pirates ‘n’ Privateers", "Dangerous Wilderness", "Demons ‘n' Sorcerers" and "Armies of Aquilonia". We are also creating a "Mercenaries" faction box. These mercenaries can battle beside any faction.
In the future we plan on adding more factions, associated with a specific regions of the Hyborian Age ("Combatants from Kush" or "Mysterious Khitai", for example) or a very particular thematic group (The Black Corsairs, The Red Brotherhood, or the Kozaki).
You don’t have to build forces for every faction. box offers a plethora of options to respond to each scenarios’ unique challenges.
You will no doubt notice that a large portion of the miniatures in these boxes come from the 2015 campaign. However, their quantities and color (related to their faction) have varied greatly. Versus mode didn’t exist in 2014 so we could not have guessed what Vs would require when we were creating miniatures and components for the Adventure Mode game.
We realize some of our fans and supporters will find these repeat offerings to be less exciting, which is fair. But if you previously pledged during either the 2015 or 2017 campaigns, we’ve got a bonus discount voucher to offer you, redeemable during the pledge manager if you just want to bolster your existing game with more of Conan’s adversaries or allies.
Because we are re-using existing molds, we can offer these boxes at an unbeatable price (when compared to similar games), and—for our faithful supporters—an even greater discount.
Monsters from the Monolith-verse.
Finally, during the upcoming campaign, you will be able to pledge for the "Massive Box of Monsters”.
Inside, you will find a sort of Monoliths’ “greatest hits” collection of our big ugly monsters. Each of these massive minis has been appropriately renamed according totheir new status within the Monolilth-verse. Each monster is accompanied by all the components required to seamlessly add them to your Core System Versus games.
Are you a previous Mythic Battles Pantheon or Claustrophobia 1643 backer? Perhaps you just want to add more muscle to your armies , Or unleash a few more Hellhounds! We got you covered with a discount voucher redeemable during the Pledge Manager.
As a bonus, we are including each monster’s respective Mythic Battlesantheon dashboards, troop cards, and activation recruitment cards so you can add them to your MBP army. Prior MBP minis only – the Claustrophobia 1643 demons refused to be drafted into Hades’ army; they serve something far eviler.
Of course, this approach raises questions such as, “Why not redo all the miniatures to coincide with the new gameplay initiative?”
Full disclosure: it’s because of the cost and break-even threshold. Conan BTM is a playable skirmish game for 2 or 4 players (the 4 players version requires 2 Core System boxes and the use of 4 factions). It is therefore aimed at a much smaller audience than our 2015 game. Its commercial ambitions must be more modest. We do not expect the January campaign will become the most backed game of the year. But this is the game we want to produce—one for which we see many exciting possibilities. If this campaign is a success, it will open the door to many other worlds that I cannot wait to talk about.
For previous Monolith pledgers, how will the Discount Voucher work?
We are currently working on implementing a discount system with Pledge Manager. Here is how it’s looking so far (keep in mind that the following is likely to evolve, depending on technical and legal constraints).
. Pledgers of the previous Conan campaigns will receive a code for each of the Faction and Mercenary Boxes. During the Pledge Manager phase, when selecting a faction or mercenary box, they will be asked to enter this code, which will automatically generate a credit toward the purchase of additional items or the payment of shipping fees.
. Pledgers of the previous Batman GCC campaigns will receive a code that can be used to purchase "Core System" boxes. During the Pledge Manager phase, when selecting the Core System box, they will be asked to enter this code, which will automatically generate a credit toward the purchase of additional items or the payment of shipping fees.
. Pledgers of the previous Mythic Battles campaigns will receive a code that can be used to purchase the "Massive Box of Monsters". During the Pledge Manager phase, when selecting Massive Box of Monsters, they will be asked to enter this code, which will automatically generate a credit toward the purchase of additional items or the payment of shipping fees.
. Pledgers of the previous Claustrophobia campaigns will also receive a code that can be used for the purchase of the Monsters Box. During the Pledge Manager phase, when selecting the Monsters Box, they will be asked to enter this code, which will automatically generate a credit toward the purchase of additional items or the payment of shipping fees.
In summary: all those who previously pledged for a Monolith game will be prompted, during the PM, to enter a special code for a particular item or items. This code will automatically generate a credit, redeemable for the purchase of additional items or for the payment of shipping costs. All these credits will be cumulative.
Warning : Each of these codes is totally unique, usable once, and associated with a specific item; however, if the code’s initial owner does not wish to use it, they can easily pass it on to someone else to use, even if this backer has never previously backed a Monolith Kickstarter.
What about the newcomers? What discounts will they receive?
For those who have yet to plunge into the worlds of Monolith the material will be, by definition, totally new. Nevertheless, we assure you that even without discount codes, the prices we offer in January will be the lowest the market can offer. All pledgers should keep in mind that the exceptionally low prices of these awards are due solely to the fact that this will be a special launch of our Beyond The Monolith range. New Monolith-verse boxes would require significantly more new minis, resulting in higher costs so we’d be unable to match these low prices in the future. We are also going to keep this campaign short (probably a week or less) with few ‘frills’. Keeping the “showtime” short helps us reduce expenses and offer such value.
Wait, wait, wait! What about those who want more Adventure Mode? Where are the tales of high adventure?
Though our prime focus with this campaign is launching the Versus system, we won’t leave our Adventure Mode fans with nothing. We will create a new book—similar to the Book of Set— featuring brand new AM scenarios that have been specifically designed to only require the Conan : the Boardgame 2015 Kickstarter core/retail box.
Additionally, all NEW miniatures produced for this campaign will come with tiles and/or hero sheets for Adventure Mode. Players won’t require these new miniatures, but we will provide options for swapping them with miniatures from the core game (similar to how we provided options in Batman).
The components included in the faction boxes only allow for the old Conan minis to be used in the new Core System Versus mode – BUT we have created a low cost addon pack that will contain all the necessary tiles, hero sheets etc. to incorporate those minis into your Conan: The Boardgame AM games.
In addition, in partnership with Modiphius, this pack will offer a set of fully cooperative scenarios using the co-op / solo mode written by Matt John and featured in the Conan Monolith Sourcebook.
We know that’s a lot of information and we thank you for reading and supporting us over these last (almost) five years! Again, we want to provide our faithful fans their due incentive to come back, while also offering tremendous value and excellent gameplay for all. We’ll see you soon with more information on the Conan: Beyond The Monolith campaign. Matt, Chaz, and I are all available to answer your questions.
Frederic Henry and the Monolith Team
The Beyond the Monolith post about how they want to break things up into smaller useable parts and allow people to reuse minis non from monolith in some of the systems (like VS).
Beyond the Monolith… Article n°1
The Beyond Monolith project is a major element of the company's future strategy. Its implementation will begin in January, during the Conan campaign. In the weeks and months ahead, I will provide more information about the exact nature of this project, including specific details.
Beyond the Monolith—what is it?
In a few words, the approach of the Beyond the Monolith project is similar to generic role playing systems that are suitable for a variety of themes and settings, or like home videogame consoles and their games. In this way, we hope to separate the game engine hardware (if you will) from various settings and themes. Simply put, the goal is to provide what we’re tentatively calling an Engine Box, so that gamers will not have to buy an entire system every time, but rather just the material for their chosen theme—sort of like buying another game for your home videogame system, rather than buying a new console. The engine box would provide various dice, 2 Overlord tablets, 4 Hero tablets, colored base rings, a well-written rulebook,various Aids, cards and Tokens. When a new setting/theme becomes available you will already have all these materials, and will only need to buy the associated thematic elements (miniatures, special character sheets, tiles, etc) of your choice. This also means you will only have to learn the rules once, as they will be common across all settings. Today, the hardware components of the engine make up a significant chunk of our game prices. It is therefore time to drastically reduce the bill for our pledgers, starting by not selling them, again and again, the same material. This allows us to reuse the elements, thus saving money and shelf space. I will report back very soon with precise details on the Engine Box (the Console) content, so that you can see how attractive its price will be.
The Beyond the Monolith range will be divided into two product lines: The Second Life Kits and the Universe Boxes.
-The slogan of the Second Life Kits could be "Stop buying new miniatures and play more with the ones you already have".
Second Life is based on the observation that over the last few years, players have been accumulating more and more miniatures, which are seeing less time on the table. As a result, they tend to remain in their boxes, gathering dust, rather than gracing the game boards. In response, Monolith will offer, for excellent price points, VERSUS MODE THS kits * consisting of character tiles, equipment cards, as well as game maps and associated Scenarios. At first, these Kits will concern our proprietary worlds (Mythic Battle Pantheon, Mythical Battle Ragnarök, Claustrophobia), but very soon, they will be accompanied by many other universes, whose licenses are already being discussed and negotiated with other major market publishers. Some of these miniatures and settings from other popular games may already be on your shelf.
I Will be back very soon for announcing some very big partnership about some very successful games, which will become playable with our Engine.
Obviously, we want to reassure fans of Mythic Battles and Claustrophobia, that these two ranges will continue to grow with their own systems. In the future, we hope to bring a similar Second-Life ethos to each of our game systems in the form of Universe Boxes.
The slogan of the "Universe Boxes" line could be summarized as "Play now for less, in your favorite worlds".
Keeping potential slogans in mind, that of the "Universe Boxes" line could be “More Play, Less Pay.
Further, we want to reassure our Adventure Mode fans, that we are not abandoning this game mode. Though our main focus will be launching VERSUS MODE for Conan, We will offer further Adventure Mode content for the upcoming Kickstarter and maybe ever a third gameplay option.
As explained above, a large part of the manufacturing cost of our core-boxes comes from the hardware components that make up the engine. However, until today, not only did you have to pay for said physical material, but also for the license percentage that applies to all the elements in the box. We’ve come to the conclusion that this is not ideal and we decided to change our approach. So we expressed our ambition to our partners and they agreed on our vision.
From now on, we will be able to offer you Core-boxes which include our usual rich and detailed maps, minis, cards and tiles, but for prices much lower prices..
It’s a little too early to reveal which licenses we are perusing and/or in the process of signing. But we are in late negotiations with some very interesting names and products we think will add greatly to our existing game engine. After we resurrect Conan, we will offer universe boxes for other very strong IPs.
Sorry, you’ll have to wait and see about those.
Obviously, owners of Batman GCC will not be left out. Indeed, the existing game will be 100% compatible with the Beyond Monolith line.
I still have a lot to tell you about the future of Monolith. But I am told that long press releases bother readers. So, instead of knocking you out with information today, I'll be back soon, first to talk about the content of the Engine Box (including the dream team now in charge of writing rule booklets) .
Of course, if you have any questions about what has just been revealed, do not hesitate to ask us just here. Matt, Chaz and I will do our best to answer them within the limits of what we are allowed to say. Please know that English is not my first language, but I’m always happy to answer questions and drop hints. Moreover, do not hesitate to give us the names of the Universes you would like to see expand our range of Universe Boxes, or Second Life Kits (these are simple and quick to implement and we can easily build partnerships with our fellow publishers).
But above all, remember: "The membranes of the Multiverse are porous, and the Monoliths are the points of passage." (Zoltan Zenobee, March 2042).
Thank you for your attention,
Fred Henry and the Monolith team
* The THS (Tactical Homeostatic System) is the game system that powers Conan and Batman. Its purpose is to simulate, in an extremely simplified way, the energy cycle. The VERSUS mode, is the part which powers the game in a skirmish-like fashion. Its latest version, that of the Engine Box, pushes this simulation further, while simplifying the use (see article to come, explaining the changes).
This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2019/11/06 17:56:42
I'm still hoping that they provide some way to get the unavailable content from the original - I bought all the KS exclusive stuff, but held off on the retail expansions (as I couldn't afford to go all in) - now those retail boxes are unavailable, and a HUGE amount of the extra content that has been released relies on those add-ons. Now, when I go to play a scenario, I first have to check if I even have the right board and content to play it - for example I cant use a 3rd of the scenarios in the 'Book of Set' missions book. It'll lead to a very fractured player base, who are always going to only be able to use a fraction of published content.
This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2019/11/06 20:53:42
eddieazrael wrote: I'm still hoping that they provide some way to get the unavailable content from the original - I bought all the KS exclusive stuff, but held off on the retail expansions (as I couldn't afford to go all in) - now those retail boxes are unavailable, and a HUGE amount of the extra content that has been released relies on those add-ons. Now, when I go to play a scenario, I first have to check if I even have the right board and content to play it - for example I cant use a 3rd of the scenarios in the 'Book of Set' missions book. It'll lead to a very fractured player base, who are always going to only be able to use a fraction of published content.
They've been a bit vague on this but so far we know lots of the unavailable stuff will be in the new vs boxes. They also have some old stock of the old boxes they they're looking at selling but as for printing new box sets they haven't denied nor confirmed that it will happen.
That being said are going to have new Adventure mode stuff in the KSer that only focuses on the retail box and that they want to do more scenario boxes like the 3 from the first KSer (Red Nails is an example they've stated will happen at some point, just not this KSer).
Hmmm...will be interesting to see the actual project and what it offers. I'm especially curious as to the exact mix of models in each faction box as I would like to have at least one of all new models. I basically have everything from Conan except the Black Ones and the Dragon...easy enough to proxy the Dragon but not the BOs. I don't really want more of the Conan models I already have; hopefully they won't have faction boxes with one new model mixed with a bunch of old ones (so that you have to buy the whole box to get the one model). I also went all-in on the first Batman KS (only getting a few models from the second KS).
They are. From what the comments on Facebook have been most boxes will have a few new models. As to not annoy people that have everything they're offering the discount codes post kickstarter to "make it so you don't feel bad buying things you already have". The focus is the VS mode where you need more models then what the original KSer had and they realize not everyone will be happy with that situation which is again why they've said they're offering the discount code for people that previously backed. We don't know what those prices will be probably till next year.
This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2019/11/06 22:24:46
A bit more from a facebook group Monolith people are in:
Something to consider, folks, is that within these boxes you're going to get all the new VS tiles, brand new minis, minis from Mythic Battles Conan fans may not already have, a new double-sided game board and some additional troops you'll need. Beyond that, yes, you'll get minis you may already have, but you won't find anyone offering similar value.
Now, if a scenario-based Versus mode (even with a 4 player option) isn't your jam, that's fair. But I do recommend trying it out or reaching out to those played Batman vs. I love it, and especially love the idea of now offering a trifecta of game modes. There will be a book of new Adventure Mode scenarios and a solo/co-op campaign.
This game is 5 years old and we have to step back in carefully in a way that offers things for previous fans and newcomers alike.
the factions boxes will contain some new minis and old minis--in many cases you need more units than were included in the original game (you'll need 8 pict archers and 8 pict hunters for example). And again, the prices will make you feel better about having some doubles. There will also be some MB sculpts mixed in that you may not have. I think you'll find the balance of price, new, and old palatable.
On why they won't just sell smaller groups of minis:
we have to include ALL necessary models. You wont have enough of certain units even if you already own everything. We considered offering just the components needed for VS, but the price wouldn't be much better. We're able to offer these for very good prices, in part because we're not using all new sculpts. I'd wait and see about those prices before you make up your mind
you'd only need to buy the engine box (probably 25$) and a faction of your choice, or two if you're supplying everything). If Vs isn't your jam, even when we're going to start adding some very enticing licenses into the mix, then you may just want the new scenario book. We're not offering a new game so much as we're offering a new game mode. The extra minis aren't really upping the price by much, becuase the costs of many of the molds and sculpts have already been paid, but you will need more of them (certain troops). I think the prices will make more sense when you see them.
On reprinting adventure mode content
the aim is to launch VS mode. We've already produced something like 70+adventure mode scenarios and will look more at that mode in the future. As I understand it, to reprint those boxes we need a HUGE demand or we'll lose a tremendous amount of money (don't quote me on this, as I don't deal with that side of things). That said, we may be selling more existing stock of those AM items, so those only interested in that mode may be able to scoop them up that way.
On new adveture box sets
Red Nails is still in the plans as long as we come back successfully. Ideally, Red Nails will offer new minis, maps, and scenarios for all 3 game modes. THAT is what I want to see--new stuff, yes, but more to do with it. Versus mode allows you to get a lot more use out of your minis.
we're offering a book of new scenarios for Adventure Mode and Solo/co-op. That's three different game modes. There are something like 60+ adventure mode scenarios already in circulation. We want to add something new and customizable. But if it's not for you, its not for you. Red Nails will happen down the road if this is a success.
Sounds like a lot of people aren't interested in yet another miniatures skirmish game. Frankly I'm not surprised, I own the core set from the first kickstarter and would have been interested in a follow-up with more minis and more scenarios. I have zero interest in a skirmish wargame, if I did I'd have backed either CROM or that other Conan skirmish game that failed on kickstarter earlier this year.
Frankly I'm surprised anyone at Monolith thought this was a good idea given that two previous kickstarters trying to push the same thing have failed in the past few years.
Difference is Monolith already has the system, Batman has had it for quite some time, so people know what to expect. The minis are going to be way cheaper from the sounds of it too.
I suspect this is happening for three reasons: 1) Drum up interest in a 5 year old game that hasn't had any releases in that same amount of time and see if there's enough interest in Conan for them to make more content for it. I suspect they don't get enough requests from people asking for stuff to be reprinted to make it worth wile to run a 1.5 kickstarter. Part of this is also probably showing Cabinet that people that know what they're doing with the Conan IP can make what others haven't successful so they don't get in the way of Monolith making more content again.
2) Pay bills. Claustrophobia wasn't super popular.
3) Show potential partners there's interest in the VS system so they can finish up the contracts for more of the IP in the Beyond Monolith system which is basically they want people to get more use out of the minis they have and based off of the recent friendliness between Monolith and CMoN I wouldn't be surprised to see a CMoN vs show up where for $25 you get what you need to turn all your various CMoN minis into a skirmish game.
Officially they say this is the game that they want to make right now.
This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 2019/11/07 04:30:07
Writing scenarios (adventure mode) is actually pretty difficult. With Descent 2nd edition (and other 1-vs-many) scenarios, the first scenario is a tutorial designed for the players to win and Game Master to lose. On top of this, FFG only wrote adventures that used the base game with *one* expansion set. A fanmade BGG strategy guide for the Game Master to select his monsters has some strong critiques against some monsters are being much less useful than others. Conan ran into audience criticism that heroes weren't interchangeable, and scenarios required expansion content that ended up not available retail. I do think Monolith *could* return back to the designing board (I'd like the game revised for the errata and the spell cards playtested in English), but Monolith seems to want to do what it wants, and that's what it's doing. (The solo and coop rules, btw, were something of a side result of the Modiphius RPG, which is why it requires components difficult to find at retail, as well.) It may not be marketable, but it's certainly motivated. Monolith could have just left Conan to disappear, but they're clearly doing *something* with it, in a way that will save customers some money.
Now... will it work? Cheapass Games had a line of inexpensive games that didn't include components that most gamers had (eg. dice). But it didn't last long. And RPG'ers already know that you can have one company for the game you're playing (ie. the RPG rules), and other companies the bits and pieces you use for the game (eg. dice, miniatures). But boardgamers don't do this, nor do the post-GW miniature gamers. (Historical wargamers often used rules from one designer, with miniatures made by a different company.)
I think the few fantasy wargamers on The Miniatures Page will be all over this, as well as the occasional RPG'er who wants crowd scenes. Certainly the recent Reaper Bones KS show that hobbyists will buy hundreds of miniatures in bulk. While Monolith assumes we'll use their game system (and at $25, why not), we at least have a company that makes Conan miniatures for whatever ruleset you choose. (Maybe I'll finally find some sun demons for Gloomhaven, but I don't think so.)
In any case, it's an interesting evolution that we shouldn't be surprised to see on KS. It's obvious that the Monolith gamers prefer VS. Now to see if (enough of) their customers do.
Keep up the updates, M!
Assume I wrote, "Yeah, good luck with that" at the end of my post.
Zombicide experience thanks to their upcoming Kickstarter project, Beyond the Monolith.
Beyond the Monolith provides a generic gaming system without miniatures, but with more playable content! It’s designed to be able to handle any game style, including your favorite zombie-hunting action with Zombicide.
Stay tuned for more information about this exciting new system from Monolith!
Automatically Appended Next Post: from facebook about what it means?
more in time but allowing you to mix themes and tiles from various universes is the plan.
When asked about zcide versions it was stated that it should be all iterations of the game but Black Plague, Invader and Classic should be the first.
This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2019/11/07 21:13:20
It's not any worse then the original which had a decent design but horrible execution. But the new one does fit the original description a lot better.
This man was naked except for a loin cloth and high-strapped sandals. He was brown-skinned, with close-cropped black hair and restless black eyes that set off a broad, arrogant face. In girth and breadth he was enormous, with huge limbs on which the great muscles swelled and rippled at each slightest movement. His hands were the largest Conan had ever seen. The assurance of gigantic physical strength colored his every action and inflection.
Slightly taller than Conan and much heavier, Baal-pteor loomed before him, a daunting image of muscular development. His mighty arms were unnaturally long, and his great hands opened and closed, twitching convulsively.
This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 2019/11/13 06:41:54
"Your society's broken, so who should we blame? Should we blame the rich, powerful people who caused it? No, lets blame the people with no power and no money and those immigrants who don't even have the vote. Yea, it must be their fething fault." - Iain M Banks
"The language of modern British politics is meant to sound benign. But words do not mean what they seem to mean. 'Reform' actually means 'cut' or 'end'. 'Flexibility' really means 'exploit'. 'Prudence' really means 'don't invest'. And 'efficient'? That means whatever you want it to mean, usually 'cut'. All really mean 'keep wages low for the masses, taxes low for the rich, profits high for the corporations, and accept the decline in public services and amenities this will cause'." - Robin McAlpine from Common Weal
This was a post by monolith games about kickstarter:
- Why is the Conan: Beyond The Monolith funding level amount set at such a high level? -
It is well known that the funding level amount displayed during major KS campaigns does not reflect the actual financing needs of the project in question.
Marketing and the ability to proclaim that the campaign “funded” in an ever decreasing time period has meant the systemic reduction of funding level amounts to only represent a PROPORTION of the “actual” funds required to pay for the development, illustration, sculpture, manufacture, shipping , and the various taxes and royalties necessary for the completion of the project.
Monolith ourselves are familiar with this artifice as we have become accustomed to its usage.
During the Conan campaign, the funding amount didn’t represent a tenth of the actual financial requirements.
During the Mythic Battles campaign, the funding amount didn’t represent a 15th of requirements and during the Batman campaign, the funding amount represented, at best, a quarter of the actual financial requirements.
This allows publishers (ourselves included) to demonstrate their pride and gratitude and drums up buzz for the campaign.
"Awesome, Funded in less than 5 minutes!" While that feels great to say, behind the curtain, the whole team is crossing their fingers and sweating blood, waiting for the game to finally reach (ideally before the end of the campaign) its true target.
This artifice enables the launch of the Stretch Goal machine, convincing pledgers that these additional gifts are offered thanks to the decrease in unit production cost (irrespective of the fact that the economy of scale effect only starts to become measurable when the KS reaches ten or twenty times the stated funding level).
The problem with this type of subterfuge marketing is that it strongly encourages practitioners to get bogged down in non-financeable projects by clinging to the hypothetical and rarely verified hope of a Pledge Manager that will prove as lucrative as the campaign was hyped to be.
Using this model, publishers run the risk of embarking on a precarious financial reliance on a “ we hope the cavalry arrives during the PM” mentality.
Indeed, publishers collect pledgers' money during the campaign on the assumption that "it is what it is or we’ve got what we’ve got". Only "what it is” is sometimes far from enough, and publishers have absolutely no assurance that the PM will bridge the income gap.
Additionally if the PM doesn’t provide sufficient funds – kickstarter organizers can begin to “rob Peter to pay Paul – diverting funds from the latest Kickstarter to service the debts of previous kickstarters, locking those organizers into a constant need to create new kickstarters to remain afloat.
During the launch of the Beyond The Monolith range, I would like to break with this practice and set, perhaps for the first time, a funding level amount that corresponds to the true financing needs of the project and its future.
-Why set such a funding level amount?-
Because I am long-term planning. Because the Conan BTM campaign launches the Beyond The Monolith product range.
This BTM campaign goes way beyond just the Conan Intellectual property.
Additionally, to succeed in launching the BTM system and placing the Core System box in as many backers hands as possible, we are playing the price point card “hard” by recycling prior miniatures whose molding costs have already been absorbed in their original kickstarters`.
We are betting that these reduced “to the bone” prices will make the Kickstarter attractive to a larger potential backer pool.
So, for the first time ever, we will play the game of "all or nothing" that the KS platform advocates.
Why bother launching a project of this size if it does not receive the support of a sufficient part of our community and our partners’ communities?
So, by setting this realistic funding amount, it stops us from taking pledgers' money until the amount is enough to ensure that, in addition to completing the project itself, we are also able to ensure sustainability (ie to generate sufficient capital to invest in the longevity of the BTM product line).
From this point of view, the Pledge Manager funds will only be considered a "bonus", not a necessary requirement resulting from blindly following an evolutionary practice that perpetuates the dependence on being financially “saved” at the last minute by the PM cavalry.
In the past five years I have spent a great deal of time observing and discussing with my peers the evolution of pledger practices. A significant part of these evolutions are unfortunately only measurable using data visible only to the campaign organizers.
The first strongly visible trend was the explosion in the amount of “unpledge “actions occurring during campaigns—a good indicator of how volatile pledgers were becoming.
These days, you can see campaigns closing with the grand total of 10,000 backers when in reality, 15,000 backers may have pledged during the campaign, however 5,000 have cancelled their pledge.
These variations remain relatively invisible to the public who only have access to the net figures but are a real anguish for the campaign organizers who find themselves facing pledgers who, more and more, flutter from one campaign to another, attracted by a plethora of opportunities and options.
The second strongly visible trend is Late Pledging, which postpones the financial transaction.
We also note that many late pledgers have previously “unpledged” during the campaign and have made the choice to return at a later date.
The late pledge has an advantage both for the backer (payment delay) and the campaign originator (the PM turnover rate is generally lower than that of KS), but also has a major pernicious effect: the lack of true visibility over the final amount that the campaign generates.
These two strong trends contribute to the growing opacity of the actual financial results of campaigns, drastically increasing those financial results “virtual” nature (during the campaign) and “speculative” nature (from closure of the KS to the closure of the PM).
Now, this virtual and speculative nature of the financial results is at the very heart of the risk of waiting for the cavalry.
However, you can’t blame backers—unrealistically low funding amounts have just encouraged these two trends. Indeed, it’s common knowledge amongst backers that Stretch Goals only serve as adjustment variables to the pace of the campaign (the gaps widen when the campaign goes well and tighten when it slows down). In other words and roughly speaking, once the "financing threshold" (sic) has been crossed, the greater or lesser number of backers has, so to speak, only a marginal impact on the final overall product configuration.
Which implies that technically there is no real reason for backers not to shift the timing of payment to the PM instead of the KS.
So, to use an example I'm familiar with, Batman 2018, whether we raised $ 3M or $ 8M, would not have affected the amount of SGs that were unlocked (all the SGs were prepared and had their space allocated in the box) ... and included in the content that backers received.
The challenge posed by transferring the financial transaction to the PM is that campaign organizers with the courage to stop an underfunded campaign, rather than reap the cash, are rare.
Instead, we see the proliferation of multiple extension or multiple re-opened PMs, which never close until the actual funding amount is reached. ... in the hope, hypothetically, that at some point it will.
To me, the simplest solution to remedy this harmful process is the reinstatement of an actual funding level amount: the minimum amount required, without risk to the pledger, for the timely and quality completion of the project.
-Paradoxically, why such a short campaign?-
Because, as with the Claustrophobia 1643 campaign, we will not use the subterfuge of Stretch Goals.
From Day 1 pledger value is maxed out, what you see is what you get.
Any additional content would be detrimental to the profitability of the product on offer.
So, rather than purposely removing some of the game content to put it back during the campaign in the form of Stretch Goals, we think it's healthier that this value is built right into the game and immediately visible.
Therefore, we consider it a poor use of time to artificially prolong such a “value for money” product campaign simply to provide an online show.
(We think that once you see the offer for yourselves, you will agree).
-The Pledgers deal-
During this short campaign (probably a week, -anything more than that and everyone would get bored-), we will offer our pledgers, just for this BTM product line launch, at incredibly low prices – lower than the market standards.
This heavily discounted price point is our “gift” to Kickstarter pledgers.
In return for which, we hope pledgers will help us pass this realistic funding amount during the course of the KS.
Shipping costs will be clearly defined during the Kickstarter campaign to avoid any unpleasant surprises when the PM opens.
-Is this approach too cautious?-
I am perfectly aware of the potentially counterproductive nature, in business terms, of all these incorporated precautions.
But the fact is, that to this day, I have no idea what the BTM product line can generate in terms of results, and I do not wish to put at risk any of those who have put their trust in me.
- Indeed - There are zero 1 VS 1 games included in the top 25 grossing KS (*card games removed, focus on miniature boardgames)
Only two 1 VS ALL games are included (Conan and Batman :wink. Finally, only four Competitive-Multiplayer games are in this list. All the others (19/25 !!!) are Cooperative games.
Conclusion: We haven’t won yet, but deep down isn’t that what makes the risk exciting?
Thank you for taking the time to read this statement, and for your continued support.
Fred Henry and the Monolith team.
Oh no. I think it will be almost impossible to fund a $700k project out of the gates. Fake stretch goals etc. are the lifeblood of a campaign because it gives backers that dopamine hit of accomplishment and reveals of the next goal. Encouraging them to open their wallet by degrees.
Many many people back much more than they would have guessed initially by the end of the campaign.
Hopefully the one off, no retail plans, and cheap prices for this stuff will give people enough FOMO to get them to go for the $300
ya. I was pretty disheartened when I saw this a few weeks ago. I don't see how they'll hit that just due to how people have been conditioned for KSers. Maybe I'm just being negative but it doesn't seam like the average pledge will be more then $100ish at most and this is a skirmish game not a story based game the original is.
I guess they're thinking a more will known IP will do better then an unknown like claustrophobia.
But if you're not going to play the KSer game why be on KSer?
Something else to consider...CMON and Petersen Games both have some skin in the game...it is not impossible to see a large portion of that requirement met by companies "investing" in the KS to make sure it funds.
We have seen that before on numerous projects (Miniature Market) so it is possible that these companies will see this as a way to make their bought and paid for steel molds make more money.
Repackage game contents as Skirmish level forces, etc.
Urusei Yatsura, Cerebus the Aardvark, Machiavelli, Plato and Happy Days. So, how was your childhood?
Monkeysloth wrote: ya. I was pretty disheartened when I saw this a few weeks ago. I don't see how they'll hit that just due to how people have been conditioned for KSers. Maybe I'm just being negative but it doesn't seam like the average pledge will be more then $100ish at most and this is a skirmish game not a story based game the original is.
I guess they're thinking a more will known IP will do better then an unknown like claustrophobia.
But if you're not going to play the KSer game why be on KSer?
Disheartened? I rather respect them for it as I kind of hate the kickstarter model myself heh.
Hmmm, I consider the $700k funding goal objectively, of all their regular KS games none has failed to more than triple that amount. Which would suggest hitting that goal should be a rather easy thing. Claustrophobia, which still made over $700k, was a different type of KS project in that it really didn't offer that much of a discount but supposedly was more like a pre-order where you didn't have the wait of a typical KS project either.
This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2019/12/06 18:32:11
I'm ambivalent about the BTM system itself. I like the idea of energy cubes, but, when it came to the dice, your wanted to roll more bips than your opponent rolled baps. We already have plenty of boardgame and miniature skirmish games with "roll dice better" mechanics. But, as I understand it, while you bring your own miniatures, you still have to purchase cards for your IP-specific units (although this isn't too different from army lists). So it's still more component-specific than generic miniature skirmish rulesets, like Song of Blade and Heroes, and Savage Worlds. Let me know more if I don't quite have it right. I backed the Car Wars 6e KS, and I think that'll do for my dice-rolling table-smack-talking fix.
As for KS itself, they're still sheltering themselves from the retail risk by having their customers pre-order (ObDisclaimer: KS is still not a store), which is, nonetheless, one of the purposes of KS. I think part of the attraction of KS *is* the hype, and retail has it as well. Also, of course, you're always going to have backers who can't make the 7-day window, because they still haven't heard of it, don't have the gaming budget at the time, or have some other reason they can't suddenly drop $150+.
Still, the promise of cheap miniatures will always lure me in and I liked the Conan miniatures for 28mm gaming.
This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2019/12/06 18:32:33
Assume I wrote, "Yeah, good luck with that" at the end of my post.
ced1106 wrote: I'm ambivalent about the BTM system itself. I like the idea of energy cubes, but, when it came to the dice, your wanted to roll more bips than your opponent rolled baps. We already have plenty of boardgame and miniature skirmish games with "roll dice better" mechanics.
I don't have a ton of experience with the Conan game, but the energy cube mechanic is really what sets this apart as a skirmish system for me. Managing the flow of your actions and exhaustion level really makes for a different game experience than the standard "each guy gets three actions, roll dice" setup of other miniature games.