Friday, November 30, 2012

62. Kickstarter Goodness

I've been sucked in to the Kickstarter mystique, in a big way, to the detriment of my bank account.

The first was the OGRE Kickstarter from Steve Jackson Games.  This made all the Internet news rounds, because of it's unexpectedly large amount.  We always told Evil Stevie we wanted him to re-do OGRE, and he never believed us....

I know there is a LOT of angst out there over how this game has been delayed (now into next year, which is months beyond the originally promised date), and the components being used ("cardboard and not plastic, hmmph!") but I was so excited about it I bought into the game to help get it made.  I am confident in it's eventual arrival and expected awesomeness.  I know SJGames is not going to abscond with my money.  SJG has been very good about keeping us informed of the delays and reasons why.

This was the first Kickstarter that I backed.  And here is the first thing from that Kickstarter that I've received.  In fact, it is the first thing of any of the Kickstarters that I've received:
An "I Made Steve Jackson Work on Car Wars" t-shirt, as part of a promise extracted during the OGRE Kickstarter that SJ will do a Car Wars Kickstarter next year.  Score!
As much as I love OGRE (and I do have many fond memories of that game) I love Car Wars even more.  Car Wars and AD&D 1st Edition made up the genesis of my gaming life.  However, apparently not everyone agrees, and Trolls lurk under many bridges.  After I made this innocuous remark on this topic on TMP, someone "stifled" me.  I don't know who, but I consider them a dick.  Really, you're going to stifle me for liking something you don't?

So then I started looking around at other Kickstarters going on/starting soon.  I came across a space combat game originally called StarFire Command by Forgecraft Games.  It has since been renamed Quantum Expanse.  This was a much more reasonable buy-in amount for me.  The game was only slightly delayed beyond its originally promised date, but it is quite nice for an "independent studio" production.  What attracted me to it was some of the unique aspects of the rules, in particular the Factions and the stealth capability.  The game will be for sale on its own soon, so check it out.

I got a minimal amount of ships, just enough for a very small two player game (very small), but they are nice resin ships with not much flash.  My only dislike is that the ships are rather the same.  However, I think with good paint jobs they will be aesthetically pleasing.  And in "reality" they probably look a lot like what "real" spaceships would look like:  functional and utilitarian.  They are designed to be used with or without stands so they sit flat on the table (did not come with stands).  They are specifically designed to be used in conjunction with the rules, so it would be difficult to substitute other space combat games' ships in their places.  I am still waiting for some resin planetary scenery to arrive, and it should be here soon.

I have yet to play it, but I am well pleased so far.  The designer (Brad Stephens) has been very good about keeping the backers informed of his progress.

Here's what I got:
The contents of the box upon opening.
The ships, from largest to smallest.  One Stealth Counter (of a lot).  The d20 is there for scale.
The rulebook, a compact size full-color book.
The ship cards, detailing their abilities.
The Faction cards.  Each faction lends certain special abilities to its fleet.

Next was a game called Goalsystem Delves:  Dungeon Skirmish Role-Play by Four Color Studios, makers of the fun and simple "Chaos in...." series of games (Chaos in Carpathia, Chaos in Chronos, Chaos in Cairo) as well as "Blasters & Bulkheads" and "SuperSystem."

This was an even easier buy-in for me, as I just wanted the physical hard-bound book + PDF.  The book just arrived the other day (only a very short delay from the originally promised date) and the author (Scott Pyle) has been very proactive in keeping the backers informed of his progress in getting the book ready.

Here it is:
The book, with its cool cinematic cover.
The inside front cover, with its cool retro artwork.
A sample page on the inside.  The size of the book is small, but the font is very readable.
The back inside-cover.
The book is available (or will be soon) for $39.99 on the Four Color Studios website.  Scott was going for an "old-school feel" and, having read the PDF prior to the hardback arriving, I have to say I think he's done a great job.  I am quite satisfied.

And last on the backing list is the little itty bitty Kickstarter that just barely made it's money:  the Reaper Bones Kickstarter by Reaper Miniatures.  Yes, $3.4 million out of $30,000 goal.  It was a veritable Internet gamer feeding frenzy.  It coincided with GenCon, so there was enormous buzz going on about it all the time.  I personally got 4 other friends to back it too.

Alas, for this Kickstarter, I have nothing to show yet.  But I have full confidence in Reaper that they will deliver the goods (plus, if they don't, they only live about 30 minutes from my house, so I'll just go yell at them). 

And now for on-going Kickstarters in which I'm involved (and you should be too!).

If you like Western miniatures, you should definitely check out the Blackwater Gulch:  Rebels & Reinforcements Kickstarter by Springboard...powered by Game Salute.  I'm a sucker for novelty, and Western figures really benefit from novelty, IMO.  Plus you can use many Western figures even in certain modern or Pulp era games.

The novelty here, for me, are the not-"Firefly" figures, as well as not- John Wayne, Clint Eastwood, Indiana Jones, and Doc and McFly from "Back to the Future."

As of this writing, we're 5 days out and $421 shy of the "Tranquility" crew getting unlocked.  Come on, people, get me those figures!  We need a lot more of you if we're going to unlock Clint, Doc and McFly.  Help me feed my addiction!  You know you want them too!

These will be delivered, scheduled, in July 2013.

Another I'm thinking about is the Zombie Plague Miniatures Kickstarter by Brian Roe of Rsquaredcomics.  This is a much less ambitious project:  just 4 "survivor" miniatures for a particular zombie board game.  They are nice, generic, everyday characterizations.  My only hesitation is it would be $30 for 4  28mm miniatures.  That's a bit steep for me.  Still thinking....

There is also Indiegogo as an alternative to Kickstarter.  I don't spend as much time looking there, but recently there was the Frebooter's Fate Legends Miniatures Set by Werner Klocke.  I did not participate in it, but if anyone has the limited version of Calamit√® Balfour they don't want, please get in contact with me.  She was the only sculpt that really caught my eye, and maybe we can make a deal.

The thing I like most about Kickstarter is that I'm able to help "the little guy" gaming companies.  Most miniatures manufacturers are not Hasbro or Milton Bradley in terms of finances.  Even SJG and Reaper are small fish compared to "real" game companies.

So that's how I've been spending my time.  Happy Kickstarting!


  1. A simple way to make spaceships identifiable as to faction is to use color.

    Not every ship needs to be white or grey. I use red, green, yellow and blue for my spaceships (for a different game system) and they look great on the table top.

    -- Jeff

  2. I agree that Zombie Plague Miniatures Kickstarter by Brian Roe is pretty steep for 4 figures but I did it anyway and now there is a stretch goal so I am assuming the zombie will be included for free. But overall I have passed on quite a few because they dont offer me anything when they charge more than the stuff will probably retail for, I might add that junk like t-shirts and other cheap stuff doesnt interest me just rules and minis.