Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Kickstarter Thoughts

Everyone has an opinion on Kickstarter and its use in the rpg "world".  You can't go a day and not see some blogger somewhere commenting on Kickstarters, how they suck, how they don't suck, what would make them better, etc.

I don't have many strong feelings about the subject, because my rpg budget is based (almost) solely on the earnings of The Fantasy Cartographic.  Since it has been an extremely slow year, I haven't spent much money on gaming material--kickstarter or otherwise.  I did contribute to the Dwimmermount kickstarter and, while it is behind schedule, I'm okay because Autarch has done a better job of keeping the backers informed of its status.

Overall, my opinion is that, contrary to most of the conventional wisdom in the OSR, it is NOT a pre-order system.  I know that many will consider this blasphemous, but there you go.  (It is probably even more dangerous for me to voice this opinion, considering the fact that I might be pursuing a kickstarter of my own.  These words may be used against me at some future point--oh well.)  If you are using kickstarter as a pre-order system, that is a mindset that you chose of your own accord.  I don't think it fair it get pissed off if that turns out not to be the case, regardless of whatever promotional material a given project is using to sell their wares.

I think Joethelawyer has some good things to say.  I agree with him.


  1. Kickstarters are just a means of gathering capital without having to pay a venture capitalist or go to the bank to fund your business. If you promise certain rewards for certain pledges, you owe it to yourself and the community to make good on those pledges, if you actually fund. To do any less is spineless... and probably shows why you weren't able to get a bank loan in the first place.

  2. I'm working on a Kickstarter myself, and I agree with your points. And, I know for myself that I'm not using it only as a pre-order system... if these things don't fund, then I won't be finishing them (at least insofar as I see them in the Kickstarter). My 128-page rulebook will be stripped down to a 48-page core rules that I'll release as pdf's on RPGNow... I'm genuinely using Kickstarter to gauge interest in the books and raise money to justify the time I'll spend producing them. I have to assume that many others are in the same position.

  3. @Dave - I agree, however, possible backers should be aware of the risks of the kickstarter system and go into a pledge with their eyes open. Perhaps, as joethelawyer says, do a little research on the people that you are/are not funding before you do so.

    @Michael - I think a lot of the kickstarter projects out there are run by people thinking along the same lines as you. The kickstarter is a means to expand upon or increase the quality of a project that you have every intention of completing. The fact that a lot of projects are late does not detract from the artists initial intentions.