Kickstarting and Screaming


33K+ new copies sold. amazing.


So I went to check out my oldest not-fully-fulfilled Kickstarters…

  • Two Guys SpaceVenture: Funded 6/12/2012 Still showing progress
  • The Return of Tom vs. Bruce: Funded 6/28/2012 (They fulfilled the important part, but I’m still awaiting my name on the glorious Founders Wall! Not worried about it, I’m just happy to see the articles! ;-)
  • Timber and Stone: Funded 6/12/2012. Developer worked on it for four years and stepped away in 2016. There’s a somewhat playable alpha seemingly stuck forever in Early Access. Very doubtful it will ever be fully finished, but I got something for my money.
  • Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption: Another Sierra classic sequel, and like SpaceVenture, still in slow development. (Oct. 2013 original delivery target)
  • Shroud of the Avatar: They’ve shipped about 200 test versions. Still in development. Original ETA 10/2014
  • Frontiers: Funded 7/17/2013, still an early access buggy mess. Passion project by the dev, but most updates are about other games they’re doing to try to keep the doors open.

Some other more recent stuff still unfulfilled but still in progress, a lot of stuff was really late (a sous vide device that delivered about 15 months past estimate), etc. But I’ve funded 63 Kickstarter projects and only had two flat out not deliver: Pebble Time 2 (they sent me a refund) and, ironically, a now-apparently-dead interactive graphic novel project from a guy I used to work with (not going to call it out, because I know the guy’s circumstances) that I funded in 2014 and lost $25 bucks on. That’s not a bad overall record.

Reasons not to give up hope:

  • Meriwether, the Lewis and Clark game, actually went 1.0 a month or so ago, a bit past the 11/2013 delivery estimate. It has a horrible start (forced and tedious tutorial) but is a cool concept.


Yeah, I’ve funded around 4x that many projects and had a pretty good track record of fulfillment overall, including some really incredible games like Gloomhaven. Also Sentinels of the Multiverse, Scythe, Shadowrun Returns (Dragonfall more so than the first release but hey), Millenium Blades, Argent, various Battlecons, Pillars of Eternity, Torment: Tides of Numenera, the new edition of Unknown Armies, and many more. There are certainly plenty of projects that sputter out or flame out in more dramatic fashion, but if you do some due diligence it’s not that hard to identify risky projects. Unfortunately, I have also reached the conclusion that most of the time it’s not in my best interests to back random indie videogames because they’re significantly riskier than, say, Obsidian or inXile projects, there’s no real financial incentive given sales etc, and it’s pretty rare that I care enough about the concept at this point that I just must see it exist. Boardgames and tabletop RPGs seem like better bets overall and are a lot more likely to be worth getting into at the Kickstarter phase.


Was just about to post about how tempted I was by the Gloomhaven reprint, but I see I missed the 2-day reminder and it’s all done now. Decision made, I guess.

Oh, well. Not sure if it would have ended up hitting the table enough to justify the cost. If it ever manages to hit retail, I’ll read some reviews and try to get a sense of how fiddly setup and teardown is.


I’m not really keen on so many boardgame publishers now seemingly “relying” on Kickstarter with retail as a place to dump production surplus. Sure, it means they take less risk, but it means I can’t buy anything as it’s all “out of print” a week after being “released”. Instead I have to take a random gamble on their new games, rather than be able to buy games I’ve played and want. (TMG is particularly bad in this regard)

I definitely think the physical nature of things helps here. It’s “less risky” to back a tabletop game because, assuming they actually print something, if they ship a “broken” boardgame you’ve still got a large collection of cardboard you can house-rule into something fun. But if someone farts out a bug ridden video game there’s nothing much you, as a consumer, can do. (Unless you spend 18 years reverse engineering it and adding features)


My experience so far with the video games that fail, they don’t even deliver a bug ridden game. You get pretty much zilch and a sob story, assuming you don’t already know the story since some of these indie’s treat the KS update like a LiveJournal entry. There is a fine line between personable and professional and when projects fall apart it can get… interesting.


I have been quite fortunate that the only Kickstarter that has not delivered was Castle Story. Technically they are working on it but the last time I tried it the game was a horrible buggy mess which had almost no content.

Other than that the only one I am currently waiting on is the Battletech game. Everything else has been delivered. Some of it was quite good (Divinity, Pillars) and much of it has been middling (Torment, Dead State). I have narrowly avoided backing some of the more disastrous projects by sheer luck.


I was really close to backing Castle Story. I wound up doing Stonehearth instead. Stonehearth is definitely getting updates even though it’s pretty… late in terms of being complete. That Which Sleeps… not sure what little drama that dev is doing but it seems like that one might have been an actual scam, hard to say. The only other games I’ve backed are the Divinities which both seem not only well done, 2 so far, but close to schedule actually.

Based on what I’ve read with other projects, and the one issue I’ve encountered my willingness to back software on KS is minimal.


This is really starting to bother me, not least because a buddy of mine got his hands on Gloomhaven and won’t stop talking about how fucking fun it is, but I just couldn’t bring myself to hop onto the KS and now I’ll probably never get a copy at retail prices :-/

Dammit, That Which Sleeps and The Mandate both basically described Ideal Games for my brain to love, and I am reasonably confident neither of them is ever gonna be anything more than dozens of really pretty pictures and very apologetic blog posts.


Solution: play with said buddy.

You guys fail to appreciate that without going direct to consumer for the majority of copies, the retail cost of Gloomhaven would have to be higher (because of the cut distributors take), which would probably make it not feasible to produce the game at all.

Back in the day, the rule of thumb was that the physical cost of goods was supposed to be roughly 1/10th of retail price. No way in hell that game gets made for anything remotely close to that. It could be that hobby distributors are getting less of a cut these days, but I bet it isn’t that much less (of course that is going to vary somewhat with client, but if you aren’t a major company, you get the worst deal).


To be clear, the goal of the reprint Kickstarter for Gloomhaven definitely included printing enough additional copies for a retail presence and there were no exclusives, so you should be able to get it in stores down the road. You will just be paying at least $40 more than the reprint KS pricing and 60-80 more than the original pricing in the first project. And it will still be a bargain for what you get.


Look on the bright side: when people eventually finish the game and start selling second hand copies you’ll be retired and have enough time to play it.


This time around the retail shops might be willing to shell out more for the game too… since it’s proven. We might see some retail stock for that reason too. I think you could order more than one copy.


Haha, as if I’ll ever get to retire :-D


Do any boardgame publishers outside of the wargaming industry use the P# system of funding their games?


Well, kickstarter ;)

I’ve never seen the P# system outside of GMT really. Do others use it?



Multiman Publishing does it, and L2 used to when they existed. It just seems like limiting themselves to the time frame of a kickstarter would hurt. I guess in the case of folks like GMT, and MMP they are already functioning companies so letting something sit on P500 until it hits the goal isn’t as big a deal for them.


Shameless plug for my son’s tabletop RPG supplement Kickstarter. They are taking a cool approach with toolkit adventures. 10 bucks for the PDF. Hardcopy shipped for $25. You can get that plus all their previous supplements (mostly DnD5e but relatively flexible across systems) for $50. They put out really nice stuff.


Not sure i am ready to back another small maybe game, but i am keeping an eye on it for sure.


Though it’s still showing progress am fairly concerned about this. Funding and development started several years before Thimbleweed Park which came out last month (and is fantastic). There’s quite a bit for SpaceVenture to do and still no completion date.