So I’m going to list the kickstarters I’ve backed, with a brief summary of how I feel about each at this point.
- Dungeonmorph Dice. The extras far surpassed the very cool basic dice–this was a great investment that is still paying off for me. My son loves to play with the dice, I have made several geomorph-based adventures with it, and the cards are just great.
- Random Dungeon Generator. Again, the extras were way cooler than the base product; the dungeon robber online game is great, I’ve heavily mined the DM notebook, and in general this has given me hours of entertainment and inspiration. The framed poster is in my dining/game room.
- Dwimmermount. A disappointment, and a long period of ridiculous drama. However, I got Devilmount from Jack Shear, and by all indications, the final Dwimmermount project is going to be much cooler than previously expected. I have hope.
- Axes and Anvils. I don’t want to talk about Axes and Anvils.
- Creature & Encounter Card Decks. Joe Wetzel (Inkwell Ideas, also did the Dungeonmorph Dice) shows how to be clever with this. Use the various kickstarters to buy more art, and use that art in further projects. Also, a product gamers will likely use. The main damage here was scope creep, but I was happy to be able to help, Joe is a cool guy, and the cards I got in the mail are really neat. Joe can now use these cards as part of his company’s inventory, a great addition. My favorite cards are the encounter cards (and I didn’t even work on those.) I’m happy about this one.
- Tavern Cards. I mainly backed this one because I appreciate Hannah’s work on Chaotic Shiny, an excellent resource. It is late, and I don’t really care. More of a novelty, really. This project does show that even if you do “extensive math” you are still vulnerable to being really late. I hope that by the time the cards do eventually come out, the backers will still be able to muster some enthusiasm for them. Best I can tell, this one is drifting in “art is slow” limbo with no date projections.
- Rise of the Drow. I think this will be pretty, I think it will have a lot for me to mine, and in general I think it will be pretty cool. A big reason I backed it was to get .pdfs of their “Adventure of the Week” adventures, so I got that, and when the book comes that will be gravy. I’m not in suspense. The adventures were… okay. Still, I like having adventures, and this grows my library in some neat ways.
- Obsidian Portal Reforged. I’m a paying member, and I got extra time subscription and a few extras here. Not a huge extra outlay, not a lot of expectations, and I’m happy to support a service that has been very useful to me.
- Majus. I played a LOT of (heavily house ruled) Chill back in the day, and felt I owed it to myself to back this at a low level to get the .pdf and relive the good old days. Also to see how they did magic (as I did a few systems of my own to work with Chill.) Got it, looked it over, it’s just… too damn complex. This is not something I will use. No regrets on backing, though.
- Domains at War. I am not holding my breath, but I bet this will be cool. I am interested in mass battles, and also I got a coupon because of Dwimmermount. When it’s done, I’ll enjoy it.
In general, I really like kickstarter projects. I think there is a bubble of initial enthusiasm in the game community, and people have been burned enough that that bubble is collapsing. However, I think kickstarter is clever, a great way to get things in front of people and get investments, and a great opportunity for people too jaded to look forward to getting presents at Christmas. The anticipation is part of the fun.
I also think people go WAY overboard with berserk self-righteous demands as backers. But that’s people, you know? Kirin Robinson recently posted a quote, not sure of attribution: bitterness is the ashes of enthusiasm. That encapsulates the response to kickstarters nicely, I think.
People were excited enough to back the project, and the people running kickstarters like to do a lot of communication and promotion before funding. Then it gets quiet, stuff goes wrong, and various disasters unfold. Most of the time, there is still great stuff by the end.
As for me, I am pleased with how my relationship with kickstarters has gone. Some good, some bad, some unexpected opportunity, some unexpected swag. A few bright stars have outshone even the darkest stains of kickstarter, and I continue to think it is a cool way to invest in game projects.