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"Why I'm wary of committing to Kickstarters" Topic


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1,616 hits since 1 Sep 2016
©1994-2017 Bill Armintrout
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Baranovich Supporting Member of TMP01 Sep 2016 11:04 a.m. PST

As the title says.

I have reservations committing money to miniatures Kickstarters. I am sure that there have been successful ones that delivered on their promises to fulfill product pledges and orders.

However, I have seen many that simply folded after the Kickstarter had been partially or fully funded.

In addition, I have seen many, MANY more that do something else which to me is waaaay more concerning and troubling. They start new campaigns for new projects even though they are horribly behind schedule for existing campaigns. Behind as in like a year or more behind. And their campaigns pile up and get backed up and months and months goes by without the first ones being fulfilled.

My question to anyone running a Kickstarter for miniatures is this:

Why would you continually add new campaigns and begin a whole new series of pledges when you are so far behind on existing campaigns and have not fulfilled orders to the backers of that first campaign?

Understand, I am not saying that it's necessarily dishonesty or fraud. I am sure that for the most part most Kickstarter projects are sincere and do intend to ship real products in return for pledges.

But the problem is that I see months and months go by, sometimes a year or more go by, without any product being shipped for a particular campaign. And then you go on their site and you see NEW campaigns and new rounds of pledges being started!

All I'm saying is, it makes me nervous when I see delays that long and no product shipped.

The issue also comes up in Kickstarters for PC game campaigns. A delay in release of a year or two years from the original predicted release date. Again, doesn't mean that the Kickstarter isn't sincere. But I have reservations to back a new and exciting miniature or PC game Kickstarter when I see these kinds of massive delays in production and shipment.

Without directly naming names, there are currently two Kickstarters that I have been following closely for a year and a half or more because of my interest in what they are producing. One is for a new range of halfling miniatures, and the other is for a single-player medieval simulation, RPG game.

I absolutely love both of these Kickstarters and am very excited to being able to actually purchase their products from their websites at some point.

But in both cases, one was fully funded over a year ago, and the other over eight months ago – and not a single piece of product related to that particular campaign has shipped yet to a backer, let alone having the product available for general purchase on their websites. And one of them continually starts up new pledges for new campaigns which are backing up behind the earlier ones.

Any time you go to their Kickstarter sites for updates, everything seems "just about ready to happen", but seems like it never does.

Just my two cents on this.

Terrement Supporting Member of TMP01 Sep 2016 11:35 a.m. PST

DELETED

Personal logo BrigadeGames Sponsoring Member of TMP01 Sep 2016 11:56 a.m. PST

I thought the KS rules specifically forbid starting a new one before the previous is completely filled. I could swear I read that (and it requires your agreement) before submitting a campaign.

If this is the case then shame on KS for allowing a new one to proceed as they have to approve each one.

Steve01 Sep 2016 11:57 a.m. PST

I used to be pretty excited about Kickstarters, but now I'm content to just wait until they become available to the general public. I also find that sometimes I don't really want to buy them after all.

Steve

Personal logo BrigadeGames Sponsoring Member of TMP01 Sep 2016 11:58 a.m. PST

Oh, and as someone who has done programming, it is way too easy to fake things.

Maybe PC type games are one of those KS items you just need to steer clear of then looking at projects?

Baranovich Supporting Member of TMP01 Sep 2016 12:38 p.m. PST

Thanks for the responses.

Well, since I'm about to give them some positive exposure and some endorsement the PC game Kickstarter I was referring to is Warhorse Studio's "Kingdom Come: Deliverance".

Here's their Kickstarter and game webpage:

link
https://www.kingdomcomerpg.com

NOW, the thing is there is no question these guys are for real and that this game is the real deal! I've been following the development of this game since 2014. The entire gaming world is abuzz over this game, it is considered to be a ground-breaking game in 1st person single player RPG-historical games.

This team of guys is amazing. They are out of Europe and you can tell right from the start that they are making this game because of their sincere love of the history and immersion in games. The level of detail they are bringing to this medieval-period game is staggering.

So there is no question that this is a real project being done by sincere people genuinely trying to bring the highest possible quality game to market that they can. I have no doubt the game will be amazing.

The one thing though that I have a problem with is the game is not scheduled to be released until LATE in 2017. That's nearly a year and a half from now. Originally the game was scheduled to be released in mid-2016.

Now, I fully appreciate that PC and console games can run into any number of delays for release, and delays for computer games tend to be very long because the problems end up tending to be things that takes months to sort out if not longer. So the delay in release doesn't bother me.

What is weird however, is that if you go on their site you will see that you can already purchase the beta version of the game, and you can also purchase the full version of the game NOW, which will be shipped to you at the end of 2017. The standard game is like $49.99 USD.

But even weirder is that they already have set up purchase links for the Collectors Editions and Limited Edition versions of the games, with prices ranging from $149.99 USD-$499.99(comes with a replica sword I believe)!!!

I just find it strange to be selling a game that isn't out yet, with a release date so far off, and taking money from customers as if the game was actually available now.

As much as I am looking forward to playing this game, there is no way I would commit $149.99 USD for a collectors edition of a game that is technically still being developed and could technically (if unlikely) still collapse as a project.

Dynaman878901 Sep 2016 12:39 p.m. PST

> Maybe PC type games are one of those KS items you just need to steer clear of then looking at projects?

YES. PC games can be written with a minimum of capital outlay. If someone has a working game engine and needs graphics I might make an exception for that.

For me it was bad enough buying games before I read a review – got burned a couple times and swore never again. Not a chance in heck I'm backing a kickstarter for a PC game.

Personal logo Weasel Supporting Member of TMP01 Sep 2016 12:41 p.m. PST

I've seen a few kickstarters burn out ironically from being too successful.

A group starts out with something they can make themselves in the garage, expecting a hundred backers.

Then it gets shared on some site and they get 2000.

Now its far too big for them to manage themselves,but too small to get priority with a big printer or manufacturer leading to endless delays.

Shipping costs for bonus awards have eaten up a few I've seen too, especially if they get desperate and begin shipping things out piecemeal.

bc174501 Sep 2016 12:46 p.m. PST

PSC ran two back to back, both successful funded kick starters this year so not sure what the rules say…..

The Gray Ghost01 Sep 2016 1:12 p.m. PST

Any time you go to their Kickstarter sites for updates, everything seems "just about ready to happen", but seems like it never does.

this is why I have given up on kickstarters, if they can ever get it into their stores I will buy it.

wminsing Inactive Member01 Sep 2016 1:25 p.m. PST

So as a counterpoint, I've backed 3 PC game Kickstarters and 2 have delivered (1 is still in development) and have both been excellent. It's the same as any other KS; you need to gauge whether you think the goal seems reasonable and the team seems trustworthy.

As for the 'massive pre-order offers a year before the game has shipped' thing, that is an industry trend I don't understand but isn't related to Kickstarter per se; I see lots of other non-KS funded games doing it.

-Will

Personal logo Ed the Two Hour Wargames guy Sponsoring Member of TMP01 Sep 2016 2:08 p.m. PST

Just because you have a great idea doesn't mean you have the business sense to do a Kickstarter successfully.

It's like people that open a restaurant becasue they can cook.

Mithmee Supporting Member of TMP In the TMP Dawghouse01 Sep 2016 2:23 p.m. PST

I have backed 8 kickstarters now and so far only one had a glitch (Mantic Games Dungeon Saga) but still received everything.

Oh and I back one Nickstarter from North Star Miniatures for Frostgrave (everything delivered).

Mantic Games:

Dungeon Saga – Companion Book was incorrect
Kings of War 2nd Edition – Received everything
Warpath 2nd Edtion – Still in work

Cool Mini or Not:

Massive Darkness – Still in the early stages

Others:

Battletech – Received the initial stuff, game is still in work but from the initial vidoes looks good.
Gloomhaven – In work and for see no problems
Scythe – Received everything
Sentinels of the Multiverse – Still in work

The thing about Kickstarters is that you really need to focus on the ones that are being done by companies that have done them before.

So Cool Mini or Not I would totally back them. I hate myself for missing out on the Zombicide: Black Plague kickstarter since their miniatures are great as is the game.

After I backed their Massive Darkness Kickstarter I went out and picked up the Zombicide: Black Plague game plus several of the other box sets.

I also missed out on their Blood Rage game kickstarter as well but do plan to back Rising Sun when it comes out early next year.

You just need to pick the right ones to back.

Personal logo Murphy Sponsoring Member of TMP01 Sep 2016 2:38 p.m. PST

You only have to google the name "Ken Whitman" and you will understand why I am very wary of kickstarters….

Ivan DBA01 Sep 2016 8:44 p.m. PST

Nothing like assuming a couple anecdotes you've heard of are representative of the whole.

Shadowcat20 Inactive Member02 Sep 2016 9:42 a.m. PST

Backed 2 now…first was a bit late but they sent the core game months in advance in time for X-mas so that worked (Zombicide Black Plague)…second one is progressing along on time it seems. But then I only get involved with a well established company (Cool Minis or not)

Zematus02 Sep 2016 12:24 p.m. PST

I've backed 45(!), the vast majority of them are gaming related. 9 of them are currently actively "in-progress", and I'm waiting on fulfillment. Of those 9, 5 of them are late. Of the 5 late, 3 of them are late by over a year. Of the late ones, 2 of them have already delivered part of the product (eg, wave 1), and the delay is for the rest (wave 2).

For the rest of them, 36 or so, I received my pledged goods. Almost all of the ones that involved miniatures (more than half) were late, and usually by a year or more. Especially if it was the first KS a company has run.

In several cases, I backed successive projects from the same company, and in every case they learned from their first project such that their second (and third) projects were FAR more accurate in terms of delivery date than the first. If the first KS was late, then their second one was on time.

I'd only consider 2 of them "bad experiences", such that I will not likely back further projects from them:

One was a case where the owner didn't communicate *at all* during a year long delay caused by manufacturing struggles and personal setbacks (becoming unemployed and having to look for a new day-job, etc.) It got so bad that people were searching for his home address to try to see if he was literally still alive. However, ultimately the product was delivered.

Another infamous one (Robotech) delivered half of the product almost 2 years late, and then it's been another year+ and still no concrete word on when (or if) wave 2 will show up. I'm happy with what I got so far and give it 50/50 odds of the rest showing up. But then I wasn't very confident in Palladium anyway, and only really backed it due to their partnering with Ninja Division (who, ironically, parted ways shortly after it was funded).


By and large, I've been happy with my experiences.. but it does require a bit of patience, and buyer-beware. Any KS that involves having things made over-seas, expect to have delays. If it's a company's first attempt, expect even more delays. If it's a complex set of pledges, add-ons, stretch goals… expect delays.

It's not surprising but the more experienced and reputable the company, the better things tend to go, so keep that in mind when you choose a project.

Similarly, if it's a project run by a single person, it is more susceptible to getting stalled as personal budget and personal events have a greater impact compared to a project that is run by, and financed by, a larger team/company.

Ottoathome03 Sep 2016 3:02 p.m. PST

Dear Barnovich

I am in agreement with you. I don't see why I should capitalize someone's business for them, interest free. it always seemed to me to be like the Old Mickey Rooney Movies where they want to save Nice ol' Mr. Applegates candy store and someone hits on the idea "Hey kids!!! Let's put on a show."

If you don't believe in your product well enough to take a mortgage on the house or a loan from the bank, why should I?

Shadowcat20 Inactive Member03 Sep 2016 10:01 p.m. PST

That is why they have Stretch goals…If you trust them and support them then you get extra content no one else gets.

Nothing irks me off more then someone coming along after release and griping it is not fair they do not get the exclusives also. There is a reward for your risk, no risk, no reward and all I have to say to the whiners is tough, check for em on E-bay.

No reason for us to take the risk, wait a year or so, and then have someone else come in and expect to get the same rewards for no effort. But then there are a lot of people out there who just expect that…rewards for someone elses risks.

ced110604 Sep 2016 1:41 a.m. PST

> Why would you continually add new campaigns and begin a whole new series of pledges when you are so far behind on existing campaigns and have not fulfilled orders to the backers of that first campaign?

Because backers fund them?

For small companies, yeah, don't do this. It's possible that the previous KS was mismanaged and didn't generate enough money to cover costs. So the new KS is doing this.

For large companies (eg. CMON), they're just another retail company with multiple projects. You can't exactly expect the sculptor or games designer to be in the warehouse packing boxes.

> I absolutely love both of these Kickstarters and am very excited to being able to actually purchase their products from their websites at some point.

Sounds like you're looking at a small company, since they don't have product sold through retail stores and only sold through their webstore. I'm going to guess that your concerns are of this company, so I think *for this company* you've actually made the right decision.

I still wouldn't paint KS with such a large brush, as your title suggests.

Baranovich Supporting Member of TMP06 Sep 2016 6:02 a.m. PST

A lot of really great insights from everyone.

It would seem that from a business perspective, what happens in a good number of Kickstarters that run into trouble is that they don't anticipate the actual cost of getting something produced at the time they launch the campaign. That or circumstances change and an unexpected set of costs show up that the pledges don't cover.

As was said above, a lack of business experience would account for that.

As I said in my original post, I think Kickstarters are the most part legitimate and well-intentioned enterprises. But then too much work is taken on at one time, and the whole thing fragments and collapses.

I spent some time last night looking through several blogs about the infamous Ken Whitman. The ironic thing about him is that it appears that did a good deal of legitimate and recognized work in the RPG gaming industry.

It also seems like he has some really ingenious ideas for RPG aids, like the dice pencil and the dice card deck. I also think that he does have a genuine love for roleplaying worlds and now for producing video and film productions of those roleplaying worlds.

Short of calling him an outright fraud, as many of his backers (which is completely understandable from their perspective).

I would say more likely Ken was someone that had big ideas and big visions of the things he wanted to do, and the result was he launched six Kickstarter campaigns, of which he's shipped virtually ZERO product. These are projects some of which started as early as mid-2014. Several of his campaigns were fully funded, and then he asked for additional money from backers to help speed up production and get the product made.

NOW, that doesn't necessarily equate to deliberate fraud – I would say it's more someone who got in way over his head with too many things, and they all ended up on the unfinished pile. To make things worse, he began to generate generic update postings and began a regular routine of bumping out expected shipping dates, etc. and failing to deliver on a single one of them.

But more ominous however is that he has several Facebook pages, none of which allow for any real clear communication with him. He starts up pages and then shuts them down. Seems to be more about evading questions than truly answering them.

And still worse, the way he handles backers criticism of him and the way he lashes out as if it's everyone else's fault. That and the copious amount of personal information he adds to his updates to justify the constant delays in production.

Some are calling him a sociopath. Short of that, I WOULD say that he displays some sociopathic-like behaviors. Justifying his failure to meet promised obligations by trying to show the world how busy he is because of his genius. He seems to be saying to his backers he can't help but be behind, since his projects are so good and so brilliant, they take more time to produce. Therefore anyone who doesn't buy that argument is "against him", even those who have given him the money to make these projects possible in the first place.

BUT – the bottom line to all this – is that as I said in my original post – this is why I'm wary of Kickstarters. Not because of outright fraud or theft. But more because of people like Ken who have a grand vision at the beginning and collect all kinds of money from people – and then find themselves with a collection of unfinished stuff that never reaches the customer.

Bosco05 Inactive Member07 Sep 2016 2:58 a.m. PST

A kickstarter is a financial bet – ypur betting that the discount you get on the product offsets the increased risk of delivery. You don't get a discount without taking a form of completion risk.

The one thing Kickstarter makes very clear is that outside of basic identity verification they don't really vet the capability of the people who sponsor kick starters. That risk is passed onto the backers. That means there are a larger number of "good idea" / Bad execution events that slip through.

RudyNelson07 Sep 2016 4:29 p.m. PST

As a player, I do not plan to invest in a KS.
As a game designer, I have been asked why I do not go that way with my projects. The same with my business plan that was considered for a recycle source material based terrain company.
I did the KS a little different back in 1981. I sold bonds with a guarantee of a 10% investment return. It worked out well and would be the route I would use in the future as well.

ced110615 Sep 2016 1:27 a.m. PST

> But then too much work is taken on at one time, and the whole thing fragments and collapses.

I should mention that the projects which best fit KS are the ones which need a huge sum of money up front. For miniatures, this means miniature boardgames. Miniature boardgames use plastic, and the metal plastic injection molds cost 5K+ apiece. And, of course, miniature boardgames often have several different sculptures, meaning that they need *a lot* of money upfront for the molds.

Plastic miniatures also don't suffer from a huge workload like metals and resins do. That is, once the molds have been made, plastic injection machines don't have the manpower requirements metal and resin does.

ScottWashburn Sponsoring Member of TMP16 Sep 2016 3:45 a.m. PST

I think some of the allure for kickstarters (from the developer's viewpoint) is to see if there really is a market for their idea. Simply floating the idea publicly is of no value. I've had people beg me to come out with a particular product and so I put in the time and effort to create it and then the people who begged me for it don't buy. Pretty frustrating. Getting people to shell out money up front, before I go to the effort of creating anything, is very attractive.

SCAdian27 Sep 2016 4:11 p.m. PST

I've pledged on 13 different Kickstarters, all but one of them miniatures related, two of them cancelled by the makers, and two I have pulled support from before the ending.

One of the biggest things I pay attention to is the updates and any answers the maker gives to people. If anything seems dodgy, I pull my backing. At the end of the day, it's my money and my responsibility what I do with that money.

So far the only time I feel that I was "burned" was one that included a custom "design by me" miniature that, quite frankly, I don't like at all. But, I do see this as at least partly my own fault for not speaking up a bit louder about the way it looked in the pictures when I had an opportunity to do so.

I was surprised that no one mentioned Reaper and their very successful KS.

TheKing30 Supporting Member of TMP01 Oct 2016 9:57 a.m. PST

Whenever you're tempted to back a Kickstarter, think "All Quiet on the Martian Front"….

If you're willing to chance losing the money with nothing to show for it, then go for it! The rewards may outweigh the risk!

ced110625 Oct 2016 10:58 p.m. PST

> If you're willing to chance losing the money with nothing to show for it, then go for it!

If you can't tell the difference between an established company using KS and a First Created project by a creator with no track record, then, yes, you are correct.

Hopefully, not everyone who backs is unable to tell the difference, but empirical evidence suggests otherwise.

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