Tag Archives: Kickstarter

Kings of War 2nd Edition Kickstarter


Mantic games have launched yet another Kickstarter, this time for their highly acclaimed Warhammer wanna-be Kings of War. You can choose to either grab the rulebook ($50 nets you a full hardback one that includes the rules and all the current army lists as well as a smaller format one for taking out with you in your army case). Or, for the princely sum of $150 you can get the rules and your choose of 2 starter army sets or one mega army.

I must say that I’m tempted by the mega army, as I’ve been looking at the Abyssal Dwarves for a long time and I’ve only ever heard good things about the system. The new Abyssals look like they could be fun. The only criticisms I have is why Mantic can’t just release stuff like a normal company, everything has to be Kickstarted? Also, why are they running this in November with the funding cycle set to end in December when Amazon will then automatically hoover money out of accounts.

Surely it’s the worst time of year to do that with Christmas being right around the corner and barely over a month away at this point! I even made a statement of that on the forums. Then, someone rather helpful suggested why not back it fort $1 and then up the pledge when it comes time to submit what you want off the surveys.

So I did.

Highway to the Deadzone


Ahhhh, the heady aroma of mercilessly butchering 80’s rock ballads! I originally started a draft blog post regarding Deadzone at the start of December when a rather large box arrived on my doorstep, but, as I was feeling like a puppy kicked off the side of a mountain, I never got around to finishing it. It seems a little silly, after all this time, to go back and try to pick up the threads I’d started there, so I figured I’d just start up a new post. Especially since I’ve actually been able to play the game since then!

We might even get to play another game, although, I imagine that Gribblin wants to flop his wad of Nids on the table first.

Deadzone was the first kickstarter that I really threw down some serious cash on. I was lucky enough to get in on the ground floor with one of the Early Bird Strike Team pledges and after seeing how much stuff was crammed into Dreadball I thought this seemed a wise decision as Kickstarter would let me back out later on if I needed to. I’m very glad that I didn’t. My $141 got me 5 faction starters, twice the amount of terrain normally included, some extra dice, an extra playmat (so we can actually have two games going at the same time) and all the Mercenaries available at release. I bolted on a few extras, like a printed version of the campaign book, the acrylic tokens and a Rebs faction booster. There really was a lot of stuff in the box when I unwrapped it all. You can see it all in the picture I posted when it turned up.

So, the real important things are what you’re waiting for, how are the minis and what is the game like?

Let’s start with the miniatures.

This is the first time I’ve had my hands on Mantic’s stuff. I remember when they first started I saw their Elf line and thought it was terrible. I still think their Elves are terrible, but the stuff I saw on the Kickstarter was obviously enough to get me excited. As someone who is more used to the universal posable nature of GW kits the Mantic stuff does leave a little something to be desired. The sculpts are good and they do go together very easily, some don’t even need glue with the way the tabs fit together, but you’re not going to be getting away with the kind of poses you can do for GW, but then, this is a smaller game where you’re not going to be repeating the “same” models over and over gain. Also, Mantic have some issues with how they split their molds, often with mold lines going through major areas of detail, like the middle of a face. As the plastic that I am used to is GW’s obviously I’ve gotten used to what is, without doubt, the best in the business, therefore the Mantic stuff feels much harder to work with and tougher to clean up. That being said it’s not that hard of a process really but as it’s not what I am used to I thought I’d make mention of it.

Overall though I’m impressed. The models are crisp and well detailed, any bends you find (the material is softer than GW plastic) can be fixed with the traditional hot/cold bath method. There are some fiddly pieces (I’m looking at you Zee and Goblin heads), one of which I thought I’d lost until I found it lodged in the lining of my slippers, but no worse than you’d see anywhere else. As these models are much cheaper than what you pay for from GW I can forgive the (small) shortcomings I’ve come across, also, GW themselves seem to be moving towards mono-pose models. I know from the new Dark Elf stuff I have they are all labelled with numbered parts that cannot be mixed and matched as in days of yore.

Considering the success of Kickstarter we got a whole bunch of extra basic figures too. I’ll be getting the 5th faction (Asterians) sometime this year but in the meantime I’ve got my Rebs, Marauders and Plague to sort (I gave the Enforcers to a friend that fancied them and he bought a few add-ons himself). Most things are now built with a few Plague and some Marauders being left over.

What I would recommend is investing in some card protectors for the vast array of cards that the game uses. I did and put them into a snazzy deck box to keep them all safe. Even though I’ve done that there still isn’t enough room in it for all the cards you get in the box. I’ll have to get another one for the Asterians and I’d given a whole faction away so you can see you really do end up with a huge amount of stuff. The acrylic tokens are also a take it or leave it option. I find them quite nice but the card tokens are more than adequate for use in the game and you’ll be using quite a few to represent various things.

Overall I’d be giving the models a rating of 7/10. Good, not outstanding, but certainly fit for purpose, even if they do take a bit of getting used to after a lifetime of GW plastic.

You really cannot comment on the models without also factoring in the terrain. The terrain is a really large part of this game, so first off the bad. You don’t get enough connectors. Seriously, with the amount of terrain you get in the box a single connector sprue is about half of what you realistically need if you want to open up the full range of options that should be on offer. Luckily you can now buy single sprues for £2.50 a go which I think is more than fair value. I got 2 connector sprues to go with then 20 or so other terrain sprues. Also, don’t count on reconfiguring your terrain every game using the tiles and connectors to push together something new. The fit is very snug and popping them in and out is going to lead to some damage. I’ve already got a few snapped pins that I am going to superglue into place. I’ve got enough terrain to provide two full tables so I’ll have the option for what to use on each one that I’m not too fussed about the immutability of what I have.

The tiles are nicely detailed and also have in-game effects. It is possible to create some really nice multi-tiered pieces but you’re going to have to be either very frugal with those connecting pieces or grab some extra ones to make sure that your creations can come to life.

There are some really nice pictures on the Mantic forums of what folks have come up with and I’m really tempted to grab some more terrain when the second kickstarter survey drops at the end of the month. Overall I’d say it’s worth an 8/10.

That just leaves us to talk about how the game plays. Which I’ll deal with in a separate post.

Entering the Deadzone


As may have been noticed from the picture that I posted yesterday I am in possession of the first wave of Deadzone stuff from the Kickstarter I backed earlier in the year. Since popping my proverbial Kickstarter cherry I’ve backed two other projects, one that was funded and that I am waiting on my loot and another that is still on its way but is hitting stretch goals left, right and centre.

To say that the 4.9 Kg box is a bit full would be an understatement and while folks may be wanting more pictures of just how things turned out, I’m afraid that you’re going to have to wait. I spent the better part of three hours last night just going through all the plastic baggies looking at what models they looked like they contained as well as getting my head around all the other stuff that came in the box. I’ve since sorted the factions out and know what I’ve got in each. There was just so much stuff that it really does need to be methodically pored over to understand what arrived.

There was of course the main Deadzone box itself, however, this really did contain only a small portion of the goodies I received for my Strike Team pledge level. I was surprised to get the paper gaming mat as well as the cloth one unlocked through the stretch goals. As Deadzone is a 2 player game this works out well as I’ll be able to have two games on the go at the same time. This is also made possible by the fact that I received two sets of the terrain, the one that is present for everyone in the main game box itself, plus a complete second set due to the stretch goals of the Kickstarter. What this will mean for me is that I can actually do a nice range of buildings, some larger, some smaller, in order to vary the terrain in each game and make use of the vast customisability that Mantic have built into their terrain system.

Currently everything is still more or less packaged up. I got a good start on reading the rules (I did get the digital download but there is nothing that really compares to having a book in your hand and being able to flick through it) and things look promising. I like the way in which the 3D space is used and the nice range of actions available. With all 4 starter factions and a 5th on its way next year I’ve got plenty to sink my teeth into. Hopefully over the weekend I’m going to be able to take a much better look and maybe even get some more (and better) photos online.

Watch this space.

Kickstarter – Almost there!


 

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.

 

Kickstarter – Or, is that really your business plan?


In a break from our regularly scheduled anticipation of DropZone Commander I thought I’d take a look at one of the latest trends that I see sweeping through the gaming fraternity (what do you mean there are girls in this hobby?). Now, it’s no surprise to anyone that most gamers have tried their hand at creating their own game. After all, gaming is what we love doing and we are generally quite critical of the flaws in any system we play. We therefore look to create our own rules influenced from our own experiences to try to make something that we think would be the holy grail of tabletop gaming. There are even a few people who are lucky enough to have the contacts that have allowed them to make this a reality and are therefore “living the dream” of running their own gaming company.

One of the recent trends I’ve been seeing is for an increasing number of gaming outfits putting development projects up on a website called Kickstarter. What this allows you to do is to set up various levels of “donation” and then also attach a reward associated with that level of donation. This is a way of allowing the people who are already interested in, or are already committed to your system to send you cash to spend on whatever it is you asked them to send it in for. The image at the beginning of this post pretty accurately sums up what I think about this practice. Let’s go into why I feel that way. Stand by to receive my opinion on this, I know it won’t be the same for everybody so you might not like what I write.

I’m really not sure why people do this. Sure I understand it’s about getting cash in, but isn’t that what your business plan is for? I hope that people didn’t create a game, go to market with it and only then work out if they can make it profitable and make a go of it? I would have thought you’d look at things like your overheads, how much stuff will cost off the shelf, your margin of profit and how much of that you can reinvest. With gaming being a pretty niche market this make even less sense to me. Let’s consider some of the things I have seen going on.

Generally you invest a certain amount of money for something and then you get that thing free as a thank you for donating. This donation may also be higher than what the RRP of that product would be when it hits the store shelves. So, all that happens in my eyes is that people who are already interested in the game (or whatever it might be) now stump up their cash early for something that they can’t actually get yet. When it’s made then they get their copy of it just as they would have done if they’d have bought it from a store later on and potentially they paid more for it.

Now, I’m not saying their isn’t merit in giving over your cash to help out struggling companies as some of these products might not have come to market without that initial investment. For one-off items I find this OK, however, for games that already have an established fan base bringing new items to market and needing the cash to develop them up front suggests to me that the people behind the scenes are not running an effective business model. Yes they’ll get the cash they need but if they’re offering their product as a part of that offering then what other sales are going to come later? Sure you might end up with a few units sold due to people buying on a whim but if the core people are the ones that are already supporting your game are the ones donating as well you’re not really going to be growing your business as much as might be possible had you gone a more traditional route.

Perhaps doing a Kickstarter means that you can get out stuff you wanted to do earlier than would otherwise be possible on a tight margin? However that doesn’t stifle the original issues that come with this kind of venture. If you are doing this because you’re not making enough money to stick to your normal development timetable then this isn’t going to be the magic bullet that fixes that. This is my major issue with this, it just seems to me like people are trying to jump the gun and do a cash grab to do stuff that they want to do without necessarily thinking that this might not be a long-term solution to a viable continuous business. Unless of course people just want to try to make a sudden burst of cash and not have their products have the longevity that might provide a better revenue stream. Personally I’d like a continuous flow of money rather than a sudden burst.

I don’t know, maybe I’m looking at this wrong? I’ve seen quite a few of these recently and it seems rather nonsensical. You get your money, you make your stuff, you might get a few extra sales depending on what happens. It just seems to me to be a rather risky way of trying to do business.