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Kickstarter is surprisingly addictive


Kickstarter is one of those magic websites. The kind where the more time you spend on it, the more you get into it. The recent addition of a feature that lets you follow your friends’ backing activity only adds to the site’s potency.

I’ve blogged about Kickstarter a couple of times already. The first project I backed, zombie mobster card game Deadfellas, has just arrived in my letterbox. The second, Shakespearean-themed roleplaying game The Play’s the Thing, will be in the post in the next week or so. So far I’m very happy with the results of both projects I’ve backed, and it’s encouraging me to back some more.

As eager as what I’ve said above may make me sound, I don’t back every project that tickles my fancy. I am currently saving some money for GenCon, so can’t spend it all now. What this means is I have to be a little more picky with my support. For instance, if a project interests me but it’s already reached its funding goal, then I probably won’t back it. Unless, of course, one of the backing rewards or stretch goals is something I really would like. On the other hand, if the project hasn’t reached its goal I’m much more likely to support it – especially if the rewards are enticing.

Here are a couple of examples.

I recently pledged some money to a roleplaying game called Mermaid Adventures by Third Eye Games. This may not sound like my sort of thing, but this is a case of the idea behind the project drawing me in. Basically, the game allows the players to portray different types of mer-folk (fish, eel, octopus, and shark) and is designed to accommodate younger players, while still having enough to keep adults interested. In short, an RPG for the whole family. In fact, the designer is even getting his kids to playtest the game with him, and his 8-year-old daughter appears in a video update talking about what she likes about the game.

It also helps that I am familiar with the work of the designer, Eloy Lasanta, the creator of Apocalypse Prevention Inc, Wu Xing, and Part Time Gods (all available from the company’s site). Eloy has gotten into Kickstarter in a big way, with Mermaid Adventures being the fourth book he has released with help from the site. Each project has been an outstanding success, and it looks like this may become his preferred method for getting books funded.

Eloy also hosts his own podcast, Rolling 20s, and recently talked about Kickstarter with two other game designers. It’s an interesting look behind the curtain that gives you a better idea of what it is like to use the site to raise money. Well worth a listen if you’re interested in starting up your own project.

Artwork from Blackwater Gulch

The second project is for a skirmish wargame set in the Old West called Blackwater Gulch by Gangfight Games. The purpose of this project is to fund the sculpting of a range of miniatures for use with the existing rules, which are available as a free PDF download. This project is going great guns, having already reached over 200% of its funding goal. This is where things start to get good. Initially, the project was only going to cover the release of two faction starter boxes: Outlaws and the Town Vigilance Committee. Now, Gangfight are adding a Native American starter set to the line up as well as some specially branded dice. If the projects raises another US$100, a Mexican Bandito starter will join the roster. With 18 days to go, things are looking good for this project.

What has contributed to the success of this project, I think, are the rewards. For US$30 you get a starter set of your choice, as well as your name in the rulebook, but for only US$15 more you also get a Wild West building kit from GameCraft. There are photos of the buildings on the project page and they look pretty damn good. Sadly, all the building-related rewards have already been taken, but I can live with that. There are a few companies out there making similar kits, so coming up with enough for a game shouldn’t be too hard. I haven’t backed the project yet, but I think I’ll be going for the ‘free starter pack’ options. I just need to figure out which one I want.

I haven’t given the rules a good read yet, but from what I’ve seen they appear pretty straightforward. Somewhat different to Games Workshop’s Legends of the Old West, while still retaining the feel of the setting. It is also nice to see another company releasing their rules as a free PDF, even if they are only a quick-start set. It’s a great way to get people interested in the game, and I hope it brings them much more success in the future.

Have you seen any Kickstarter projects that have tickled your fancy? Share them in the comments below.


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