#RPGaDay 2015: Day Two – The Power of Kickstarter

Since I’m writing two posts today to catch up, I’ll keep this brief: our topic today is ‘Kickstarted game most pleased you backed’, which is somewhat of a challenge for me as only one RPG that I’ve backed has arrived at this point (the others aren’t off schedule, just taking their time). So…I guess it would be the second edition of ‘Witch Hunter: the Invisible World’ for RPGs. If I can say any game at all? The Marrying Mr Darcy Emma expansion (with the original game in my reward tier). I missed Marrying Mr Darcy first time around, but it’s one of the best games I’ve ever played, and by the sound of it, might never have come out if it wasn’t for Kickstarter. Regency romance with robust mechanics and enjoyable snark? Count me in!

marrying mr darcyKickstarter is a phenomenon that, it is often observed, is a mixed blessing. However, it has been an unparalleled success for tabletop gamers. RPGs, wargames and board and card games are not cheap to produce unless they only exist in pdf and they have a very niche market that requires a great deal of Internet word of mouth to get any traction. Kickstarter is fascinating because suddenly companies and individuals can pursue projects that can escape a lot of the corporate rules that restrain high-risk projects. Sure, they need to be able to prove their business acumen to backers and deliver on the product, and as Kickstarter grows it becomes more difficult to sort through the dross, but things that gamers never thought we would see are emerging from the woodwork. Blue Rose is getting a second edition. Witch Hunter: the Invisible World continues to be supported. Mantic Games, an early adopter of Kickstarter, have produced some really exciting wargames from crowdfunding, and of course Reaper Bones have been a ridiculous juggernaut of success. Possibly most exciting of all, the Fabled Lands books may now be completed.

Let that sink in: a 20-year-old game book series that was mourned by many fans as an eternal disappointment MAY NOW BE COMPLETED. That’s awesome, it really is. Imagine if the fans who loved (for instance) Firefly so passionately could have signed up to be part of its resurrection for as little as $1.

On top of that, there are now countless RPGs out there that have earned out their cost before they are completed. The expensive moulds for wargaming models can be factored into the Kickstarter goal, since the figures themselves cost comparatively little to manufacture once the setup cost has been provided. It’s definitely not all wine and roses, and many people have fallen foul of the whole process (as well as the question of whether established companies should be using Kickstarter or leaving it for the little startups with big ideas) but it seems like a force for good, because it allows smaller projects to connect directly with the people who want to buy them.

The thing I want to see from Kickstarter now is a gaming magazine that is non-system-specific, basically Arcane. Get on that, someone.

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