State of the Kickstarter

Is there anything more depressing than really looking at the state of the Kickstarter campaigns you’ve contributed to?

Look at all that red. Ugh!

Some stuff has gotten closed out but certainly not enough and barely any of it on time.  I mean, the results of Swords & Wizardy are great, but dang: they showed up five months late? Zpocalypse turned up a full six months late.

I’ve got high confidence about some stuff: W20 (very surprised to realize it’s several months late), the sundry LotFP campaigns will be worth the wait and will show up eventually. They keep posting stuff to 1650, though Sigmar only knows when I’ll have it in my hands.

Other stuff I’m less confident about: I fully expect the Jorno portable folding keyboard is vaporware at this point, and that Scott Starrett has ripped a bunch of people off. I’ve been pissy about Tectonic Crafts for a while. In fact, mid-post, I realized that we’re fast approaching a full year since the campaign funded without any sign of shipping… so I requested a refund. (I requested a refund for the Jorno as well, but it sounds like people are actually getting them from ArchyDan while Starrett has gone as quiet as Maliszewski but without the tragic context.)

It’s shocking that I still go anywhere near Kickstarter: I threw in for Hell Dorado (which I honestly have low expectations for, given that the only thing I can think of when it comes to Cipher and Hell Dorado is how badly they screwed up in bringing it over), and I’m eyeballing Sails of Glory (which is something I might play with my father, once).

Is it unfair that I really, desperately need Reaper to ship my Bones this week? I very, very much want them to break the cycle. They’re shipping stuff now. If it doesn’t get here this week, it’ll probably be less than a month late. For crowdfunding, “less than a month late” is exemplary punctuality… but man, I want a green row to break up all that red.

  • Wow. I had no idea things were that bad on Kickstarter (love your nickname for it lol). I mean I don’t have a full grasp on how Kickstarter fully works, like how long they have to bring their projects to fruition or when they’re supposed to ship, but I guess I was under the impression that it was supposed to be a fairly quick process. It’s sad to hear that you’ve had to ask for refunds and are close to doing it with other Kickstarters too. I love the idea behind Kickstarter (I did spend $150 on a modified Vampire-level set of minis from Reaper) but this makes me hesitant to spend more money there.

    • Well, I’m sure you’re broadly familiar with how it works, then: someone has an idea and they need money to realize it, so people give it to them in expectation of getting something out of it.

      They need to provide an estimated delivery date for that stuff. They’re obligated to make a good faith effort to hit that date, and it behoves them to assert a reasonable date. I’ve got a Kickstarter that doesn’t deliver until late 2014. Kingdom Death has a date over a year out from closing. That’s cool: set expectations to reasonable and then hit them.

      There’s got to be some flexibility, though: shit happens even with projects that aren’t crowdfunded. I’m okay with rolling with the punches. Reaper said March; if it hits April, I won’t be upset. But a lot of these are run by people who are, to be blunt, fucking amateurs. They start from a point of poor estimation and things just get worse from there.

      If they don’t hit those dates… well, people are still trying to figure out how that works. What that means, and how to respond to them. How long is it fair for them to ask us to wait before requesting refunds? What do we do when they miss them? What do we do when they miss them by a lot? What do we do when it’s unambiguous they’re not going to deliver?

      If you want to be discouraged from crowdfunding, google up “They Became Flesh” or “Dwimmermount” both are collossal disasters (though for very different reasons).

      • Sean Parker

        Dwimmermount is looking to be heading in the right direction now. The funds have finally been transferred back to Autarch and they are in the process of getting the IP rights from JMal. While its been a colossal pile of FAIL on the part of JMal, Autarch has tried to do the right thing by the supporters. It’s going to be seriously late, but it will see the light of day. Autarch is still a great company in my book, and will continue to get my support. ACKs is probably one of my favorite RPGs atm, definitely my favorite OSR B/X derivative.

        • Sean Parker

          I think one of the biggest problems with projects on Kickstarter, is that half the time the projects aren’t even close to being done, or hell, haven’t even started yet when they start the funding… Once they raise the money, things take longer than expected and their release times get blowed up… People start to get angry when it isn’t on their doorstep yesterday…
          Project starters really need to wait until the project is most done before they start asking for money..

          • I’m actually okay with project not being complete when the KS is started. I get that it’s a worthwhile tool to use to fund those.

            But expectations NEED to be properly calibrated. If it’s going to take you a year, then say so! Don’t say it’ll take six months if it’s going to take nine!

            I think that gets back to folks being amateurs, though, and not really appreciating schedule & scope. That’s why I’m much more interested in campaigns run by folks with actual experience doing this stuff.

        • I’m inclined to give Maliszewski the benefit of the doubt. It’s a bad scene all around, but I was glad to read that it’s back on track. Definitely sympathetic to Autarch’s situation; he’s definitely come across like an okay guy.

      • Sean Parker

        Like the new site by the way!

        • Thanks!

          It’s still coming together. I need work to slack off so I can make more headway on it.

  • Brannen

    I wonder if it’s more of an industry thing than a Kickstarter thing? I’ve heard a lot of complaints about games from Kickstarter (the boardgame I’ve backed is now months late – the videogames have many months to go), but most of my Kickstarter follies go to music and art projects. Those have tended to be delivered on time, and often with extra goodies.

    • Possibly. Probably.

      Mini Kickstarters seem to get bogged down because they’re all sourcing their production through the same company. They make their estimates without accounting for the fact that there’s a queue of similar Kickstarters (as far as I can tell).

      Boardgame Kickstarters need to figure out that if they’re going to have stuff manufactured in China, they need to account for it.

      RPG kickstarters: it’s got to be endemic. Even the most professional of shops is, like, a quarter behind schedule.

  • Don’t let it get you down–and don’t let it stop your obsessive compulsion to fund all of them. The only way I find out about upcoming Kickstarter projects is by reading your Twitter feed!

    • That’s tragic!

      And also misleading, ’cause I’ve gotten into a cycle of pledging to a Kickstarter, thinking about it, then backing out. :)

      Also, it’s a shame because I didn’t talk about Hell Dorado nearly enough. :)

      • Sad, but true. I don’t frequent kickstarter (I’ve only invested in two to date), but I keep abreast of all of the new gaming releases by watching your feed. While you may not invest in all of them, you seem to mention quite a few interesting ones. I agree about Helldorado though. I’ve liked some of their “wormpile” type figs in the past, and didn’t give it enough priority when you posted so I missed out on that. is
        another one I never saw you mention that looked interesting, but alas I missed that as well.

        • I passed on Loka. I’m not much of a chess player, and I’ve been… unimpressed by the Mantic minis I’ve gotten. :/