I’m watching the last few hours of the 13th Age in Glorantha Kickstarter. I was not familiar with the 13th Age system until last week, but I found a comprehensive review of many of its mechanics (Icons and the One Unique Thing look really cool), and it sounded well suited to Glorantha’s mythic level of power, and better for my own old school style of gaming than Heroquest.
It met most of my criteria for backing something:
- Already something I am a fan of (Glorantha, especially that rework of the classic RQ 2 map)
- A product I am reasonably sure will finish (from a company that already has published stuff)
- Involves someone I respect from previous work (Jonathan Tweet et. al.)
- Looks like it will be fun!
- Nothing too risky (which is pretty much every computer game I have looked at). Shipping seems to be an area where things go horribly wrong and costs exceed the initial budget.
- Affordable (just, the shipping to New Zealand for a couple of books increases the cost by around 40%).
- Learning about it before the Kickstarter ended (curse you Pathfinder miniatures!)
I do sometimes wonder, if I am backing something to reach stretch goals for content that should have been included in the standard product. More money for more artwork seems reasonable. Money for vanity stuff, like having your name or myth included, sure, if its optional its not my money. Money for extra monsters or enemy organisations … I’m not so sure about that. Money for extra gaming products to go with it, sure that sounds good. This is something I think about, as its possible I will try and crowdsource funding for a boardgame design, so collecting a few ideas for cool stretch goals could be handy.
I backed Sprawl. Not that I really need a cyberpunk system right now, but it is fun to back something your friends have started, and the Dungeon World style is good for paring things down to the basic tropes. This makes it good for convention games … where the sheer complexity of the options in something like Runequest just drowns the story out.
I backed Call of Cthulhu 7th edition. In part this was due to the sheer nostalgia for the epic campaign Shane Murphy run almost 25 years ago, which had a major influence on my life at the time. Its almost complete, and I should have my hands on the leather bound hardcover books before Christmas. I only glanced at the PDF proof of the rules that came through (buying various Bundles of Holding has given me a long backlog of RPG books to read through), but it all seems on track for delivery. I used the quick play version of the rules for Asterix and the Deep Ones, but it was almost too complicated for a 3-4 hour convention game.
Call of Cthulhu has built up a lot of mythos related stuff over the years, so the Kickstarter was able to offer reskins of classic RPG products, t-shirts, hats, fake coins, coffee mugs, pins, cards, dice … having a vast plethora of addons from stretch goals certainly gives people something to watch as the Kickstarter progresses.
The Old Ones got even more money pledged from me for Cthulhu Wars. From the fun game point of view, this was powerfully attractive for the promise of insanely asymmetric faction powers, something I loved in the classic Dune boardgame. I am hoping to have the main game in my hands before Christmas and I intend to bring it to Big Gaming week in Christchurch. It looks like all the supplements will come through in the new year sometime. Probably good for my customs bill that it gets split up like this. I like the look of the rules and have borrowed from them for the next iteration of Housewar. One reason for backing it at a “get one of everything” level was the sheer number of miniatures on offer. I will always have something to pull out for a crawling chaos horror at the FRPG gaming tables.
HeroForge – is now in beta and I had a play with the alpha, building an elf in musketeer style clothing. My feedback was that it needed an “undo” button. Its fine if you have a limited menu of choices, but once you have a large list trying to reselect back to what you just changed out of will be a pain. An option to easily share the images you generate to social media would also be nice.
By way of comparison I took a quick look at Figureprints which has been making World of Warcraft figurines for a while. The price there is US$130 plus shipping for one painted miniature, with a limited menu of options (items earned in game, and still stored on the account, or from a small list of classic weapons and armour). So for HeroForge I am getting six unpainted miniatures for $160, or around $27 each, but I have free range to design what each miniature looks like. HeroForge is something I backed because in part I thought, this is a service the gaming world needs.
One thought I had about 3-D printing of game miniatures. When the price drops, and printers become more available, where does the market for Games Workshop’s expensive propriety miniatures go?
I also backed the Runequest 6 Collectors Edition through crowdsourcing. This was pretty straightforward, no extra kitsch to worry about, just good artwork and packaging. I’m such a fan I got multiple copies, for fear of disasters with cups of coffee.
I have not backed everything I have seen appear on crowdsourcing platforms.
- Cthulhu Invictus modules – I was not actually all that impressed at the quality of the other Cthulhu Invictus modules/scenarios – far too much physical combat, and calling for reinforcements from the local Legion fortress
- Boardgames that just had themes which didn’t appeal to me
- Glorantha world maps at a 5k per hex detail, and Glorantha coffee table books, at the time I was interested in other things and had less spare cash to take a punt with
- OGRE, from Steve Jackson Games, what was on offer was a game that was goldplated and full of a thousand addons that would have broken me for shipping and customs – it simply grew too far away from the simple ten minute game I used to play with friends in the high school library.
I will have to do more research on how these things work, both what helps a project succeed, and what can lead to them failing. I suspect trying to get a boardgame with big plastic space dreadnought miniatures off the ground, without an established reputation, will be a hard slog.