After writing a post a while ago about my own thoughts regarding the current Internet craze of Kickstarter projects, a post that was not liked by some people I had the pleasure of reading their comments on, I almost caved in and threw some cash at something.
While the pile of unpainted stuff I have continues to amass, despite large-scale sell offs, I keep my eye on things that I like the look of. As a gamer more than a painter that doesn’t stop me from looking at shiny new models and gawking over them. It’s been this way for a while with me with a company called Soda Pop miniatures. I’ve been aware of the company for many years and have followed their releases semi-closely but without actually having purchased anything, despite temptation biting. They produce a line of anime style figures that are absolutely beautiful.
In the past year or so they released their chibi like Super Dungeon Explore which I think has been generally well received. They are following up on this by producing a game for their model line called Relic Knights. As seems to be the case with everything people want to do with mini-games these days, they’ve started a Kickstater project to generate the funding required to bring this to pass. There are scant hours left for this to run and they’ve amassed over half a million dollars after they only actually wanted twenty thousand. I really like the style of stuff they have and yesterday was about a hair’s width from actually signing on and donating some money.
There were a few things that held me back. Firstly was the fact that who would I play this against? Carabus and I really enjoy looking over what’s out there, while long-suffering gribblin and Servitob have to humour us and no doubt roll their eyes when we start talking about yet another game we’ve found. Adding to my collection really isn’t what I want to be doing now. I’ve got Dropzone Commander waiting to be done, then the new 40k box also is begging my attention and that’s before I consider my Dark Eldar and Fantasy Ogres that need to be painted too. I’ve got enough on my plate without succumbing to yet another game and one I’ll not be motivated to paint because of no-one to play with.
OK, I’d have to wait until next year before potentially seeing my models but that’s neither here nor there. It does seem that unless you are a company like GW or Privateer Press that Kickstarter is going to be the norm for drumming up cash. I can see advantages here, you are not beholden to shareholders! The investors in your business know what return they are getting, normally a crap load of models, therefore you know that the money coming in is going towards making stuff and you’re not going to be tied down by a load of people wanting their money back and leaving you unable to run a business the way you want. Games Workshop get a lot of criticism for their business practices and I believe that this comes down purely to the fact they are a PLC and are run by people who want their money out of it rather than gamers who, yes, will want to turn a profit, but might do it in a less “pounding you in the ass” fashion.
When you see the amount of money getting thrown around on Kickstarter it’s simply incredible. What we have yet to see though is the fruits of any labours. Lots of money is being invested but we’re not going to see what happens until probably next year and beyond. People are given expected dates of when they will receive their stuff but what is going to happen when delays are hit? What happens is a company actually folds in the middle of one of these developments? I’ll admit I don’t know the fine print of these transactions but there is a lot of money here that people could lose if things don’t go to plan.
But still my biggest hesitation towards putting my cash in is that in general, for the stuff I want to get I’d be investing more money right now than it would probably cost me when it gets to retail. If we take the Relic Knights as an example. If I went with the Mercenary Charter $50 pledge, that would get me a starter for the stuff I like, Cerci Speed Circuit if you’re wondering, or I could go one higher for the $90, get two starters so I could demo it and get the rulebook too. However, add in the shipping and things are getting a little pricier. The $65 equates to around £40 with current exchange rates. I’m not bothered about the Lithograph at all, but £40 for a starter set is rather pricey when I’m used to stuff being £30 or under. Now the $115 is about £72 and is a much better deal in my mind, it’s almost like getting the rulebook for free. I do consider it a good deal, however, that’s still £72 of my money that I could use on something else or a game I already play and have opponents for.
So, while I can see that Kickstarter has its advantages and it seems like every man and his dog is using this kind of venture to secure funding, I still have my doubts about it and haven’t seen anything yet that would allow me to invest in good conscience. I’d be interested in hearing from anyone that has actually put their money down on how they felt about it, what swayed them and which particular project it was that they supported. I love the idea that so much COULD be coming to market, I just worry about the fact we already have so much choice in what we paint and play that all Kickstarter will do is create one-off projects that are snazzy on day one but lead to a dearth of continuing investment and growing of these product lines.