Wednesday, 6 December 2017

What is Kickstarter For?

One of my oldest and best friends, Barrett Stanley, is currently running a Kickstarter to try and fund the second issue of his science-fiction comic, Heartbreak Quadrant. I have, of course, backed the project, because I like the comic, but mostly because I really want to help my friend fulfill his goal of becoming a full-time comic artist. And that, to me, is what Kickstarter is really all about.

A few years ago, I backed my first Kickstarter project, Afterlife from Anvil Industries. I loved the look of their models, and once the Kickstarter had funded, it seemed like cool new models were added every day. It was exciting to watch the pledge levels go up, and I felt like I was winning prizes every time a new level was hit. Six months or so later, I received my figures. They were superb – really, I heartily recommend them, but, the truth was, I was no longer excited by them. My interest in them was six months ago. I had moved on.

I learned a really important lesson from that kickstarter. I am such a wargaming butterfly that I can never predict where my interests will lie in six months (and that’s a pretty quick turn-around for a lot of kickstarters). There really is no point for me in pre-ordering. I’d much rather have the money in my pocket to order something I want and will enjoy right now. Even if this means I end up paying ‘more’, or missing out on a few exclusives, I will still get more value for my money by waiting.

No, for me, Kickstarter only matters if I am truly helping to create something that otherwise will not exist. Without Kickstarter, I doubt my friend would be able to raise the money for his comic book, especially without the marketing power that comes with a Kickstarter. And, it doesn’t matter if the comic comes 3, 6, or 12 months later; I know I will be glad that I was a part of its creation.

I believe that this was the original goal of Kickstarter, to be a force for creative possibility, and, I believe this is still when it is at its best.

Take a look at Barrett's comic and see if it's something you'd like to be a part of making exist. Also, keep an eye out here, as next year Barrett and I will be working together on a project that is likely to be of interest to a lot of wargaming fans.


  1. Some wise words. My (gaming) pledges now fall in two categories:

    1: Boardgames that seems sensibly produced (with or without miniatures) with a clear sense of gameplay. Case in point: Root or Mythic Battles Pantheon. I try to not go all in but just do the basic pledge and perhaps one expansion at most. If it's any fun I can buy the rest of the expansions later.

    2: Generic fantasy or Sci/fi miniatures that I can fit into roleplaying games or games I already play. Case in point: Heroines in sensible shoes.

    Thanks for the headsup about the comic, I will take a look.

    1. I've got to admit. Mythic Battles: Pantheon almost broke my resolve!

    2. Yeah, it was pretty unresistable. I tried, but in vain. But I didn't go all in on it, just a base pledge and two expansions that looked nice. It could have ended up much much much more costly.

      It looks like it will actually deliver on time too!

  2. I see your point. I've got a different spin on it though. I back a lot of stuff through various methods. I get excited about it like you say...but then I forget about it.

    When it finally arrives, it's like a totally new toy. I've still got boxes of miniatures I simply haven't gotten to that I've totally forgotten about. I have no idead that I even have those it's like finding a bonus months later.

    I will say, frequently models are not used for whatever their original intended purpose was, but that's kinda the fun of having so many. If I start something new, my first stop is my vault...where all my forgotten treasures lie. 100% of the time I find all kinds of stuff for the new project in there.

  3. After my experience with Bones III I have to agree 100%

  4. I have given up on Kickstarter(s). So many seem to be larger companies using the platform to get a pre-release market. Now I could be wrong but I do not think it was designed for this. As such I no longer use it at all which is a shame as "Crowd funding" is a joyous idea.

    I do not want to kill the goose that lays the golden egg but until established companies get off of the Crowd funding band wagon I will not be involved.

  5. I agree, but tend to view different Kickstarters on a case by case basis. I hate it when companies use Kickstarter as nothing more than a sales platform. MB Pantheon is an example of this (and yes I went all in). The game looks fantastic, but there is no guarantee that any of the extra expansions will ever be available in retail. So if you don't order everything during the Kickstarter you will either not be able to buy them or end up paying silly money on eBay. Since you don't know how the game will play or which (if any) of the expansions will be any good, the whole thing can be an expensive gamble. My interests also tend to flit from game to game. I try to save my main buying for local shows (and Salute), but the resolve doesn't always hold... I'm still waiting for a dark age fort to deliver (two years late and counting). I've since bought another fort that is made and painted.

  6. Despite there being established companies using Kickstarter its a good marketing tool not only does it give you the reach to people who backed previous kickstarters by the same company it also generates a lot more buzz than a simple pre order system. Not every company has the cash flow there and then to produce an item enmass and relay on the cash dump to be able to get things into production and get the ball rolling.

    I only tend to back smaller quick turn around kickstarters after being disappointed in the final end results of the Empire of the Dead Kickstarter.

  7. I've seen companies using kickstarter that shouldn't be using it, they are simply abusing the system. On the other hand some other companies that really need and even deserve that crowdfunding money, somehow don't get the necessary traction (see Shieldwolf and Corvus Corax Miniatures to name just the first that spring in mind).

    I am out of Kickstarter due to it being fethed up, when it gets better I might be back, but until then they are not seeing a single cent from me.