Reviewing My Kickstarter History

With some Kickstarter campaigns of interest running of late, like the Massively Overpowered funding campaign and the much-talked-about Crowfall campaign, I decided to look back at the projects I had funded to see how the whole Kickstarter thing has treated me.

NOT the official drink of Kickstarter

NOT the official drink of Kickstarter

Fortunately Kickstarter has a nice little page that lists out the campaigns you have supported.  It was then just a matter of figuring out where everything stood.

Successful Campaigns

1 – Campaign: The Jason Scott Documentary Three Pack

  • Date Funded: November 11, 2011
  • Date Promised: December 2015
  • Project Status: Not late yet

My first ever Kickstarter.  Jason Scott, who did the documentaries BBS: The Documentary and Get Lamp had a plan to do three more.  He wanted to cover tape as a recording medium, the 6502 processor, and video game arcades.  What is not to love about those three topics?

I was a little annoyed when he went out and did another documentary after getting funded, but the man is like a force of nature and cannot be controlled.  And I have no doubt I will get all three documentaries.  We’ll see if it happens by December.

2 – Campaign: Defense Grid 2

  • Date Funded: August 14, 2012
  • Date Promised: December 2012
  • Project Status: Delivered January 2013

Hidden Path Entertainment wanted funding to do a sequel to their game Defense Grid: The Awakening.  They only made their initial goal, which was enough to fund an expansion to the original game as opposed to a whole new game.  That got delivered just a month behind schedule, which is pretty good for a Kickstarter so far as I have seen.

Then they went on to get other funding for Defense Grid 2 and eventually everybody who backed the Kickstarter beyond a certain level got a copy of that, including me.

3 – Campaign: Planetary Annihilation – A Next Generation RTS

  • Date Funded: September 14, 2012
  • Date Promised: July 2013
  • Project Status: Delivered September 2014

Here was the promise of a successor to Total Annihilation, one of the three great RTS games of 20th Century, along with StarCraft and Age of Empires II: Age of Kings.

Of course, the project ran long, Uber Entertainment thought it was a good idea to sell pre-orders on Steam for less than the cheapest Kickstarter backer price, and when the game finally showed up I found it kind of blah.  Still, not the worst $20 I ever spent.

4 – Campaign: Project Eternity

  • Date Funded: October 16, 2012
  • Date Promised: April 2014
  • Date Delivered: March 26, 2015

Obsidian Entertainment said that they were going to make a spiritual successor to Baldur’s Gate and a few other great single player RPGs.  What is not to love about that.  And, again, $20, what the hell, right?  And while it is nearly a year late, it got there and I should get my Steam code next week for Pillars of Eternity, as the game has been christened.  We’ll soon see how it turned out.

5 – Campaign: Deluxe Tunnels & Trolls

  • Date Funded: February 5, 2013
  • Date Promised: August 2013
  • Project Status: Soon

Tunnels & Trolls was the first RPG rules set that I spent a lot of time with.  We started with Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, but getting all three books was expensive back then and there was Tunnels & Trolls all in one book at less than half the price of of the TSR tomes.  Also, you could plunder that copy of Risk in the back of the hall closet and have all the dice you needed.  Anyway, I’ll write more about the rule set when I get the new edition.

Getting the new edition though…  The promised date was August 2013, and that was viewed as conservative because they were sure it would be done by July of 2013.  Well, here we are in March of 2015 and they keep sending out updates, but it is still somewhere over the horizon.

6 – Campaign: Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues

  • Date Funded: April 7, 2013
  • Date Promised: October 2014
  • Project Status: Alpha releases available to backers

The Lord British successor to whatever aspect of the Ultima series he is speaking about at the moment.   Clearly optimistic on dates, it is still in an unoptimized alpha state that does not run very well on my CPU.  But it is there and you can poke at it if you want, and it has been in that state for more than a year, improving slowly while trying to raise more money.  I am still waiting for it to get more solid before I devote any real time to it.

7 – Campaign: Camelot Unchained

  • Date Funded: May 2, 2013
  • Date Promised: December 2015
  • Project Status: First alpha just available

At some point Kickstarter became “spiritual successor” central.  Anyway, like the previous entry, I have written a few posts about Camelot Unchained, Mark Jacob’s run at capturing all the good of Dark Age of Camelot in an updated package.  Promised for December of this year, it just had its first alpha last week if I read the update correctly.

8 – Campaign: Planet Money T-shirt

  • Date Funded: May 14, 2013
  • Date Promised: July 2013
  • Project Status: I got a shirt in December 2013

Planet Money is one of the few podcasts I listen to regularly, in part because it covers a wide range of interesting financial topics, and in part because shows tend to run 20 minutes or less so I can listen to a whole episode during my rather short daily commute.  Their Giant Pool of Money episodes on the financial crisis were great stuff.

Anyway, Planet Money decided to do a practical project on how T-shirts are made, starting with the basic materials, raw cotton for example, and ending with people actually getting a shirt.  So there is a series of shows in their backlog about this.  The shirt showed up late, but it is nice.

Men's and women's versions of the shirt

Men’s and women’s versions of the shirt

I wear it around the house on weekends because, while it is soft and I like the graphic, it is a bit snug on me.  I am not sure anybody at the office needs to know that much detail about my body contours.

9 – Campaign: A History of the Great Empires of Eve Online

  • Date Funded: May 25, 2014
  • Date Promised: May 2015
  • Project Status: Still has two months to run.

Andrew Groen’s epic attempt to write the story of the null sec conflicts in EVE Online.  The campaign, which only asked for $12,500, funded in seven hours and hit nearly $100K.  I am not sure we’ll get the books on time, but his monthly updates have covered his progress in some detail.  He is even now up in Iceland, having given a presentation about his work.  But when we do get it, you can be sure I’ll review it here.

Failed Campaigns

And then there were the campaigns I backed but which did not fund.

1 – Storybricks, the storytelling online RPG – May 2012

I am still unclear as to what I was actually getting in exchange for backing this project.  They were working on a development tool, which doesn’t translate well for end users.  Believe me, I know that pain.  I have been working on development tools for the last 17 years.  But Brian Green was part of the project, so I kicked in before the campaign ended.  Eventually Storybricks got in bed with SOE for the whole EverQuest Next project, then the buyout happened, Daybreak ended their contract, and they folded up shop… dropping a final bit of crazy on us on the way out the door.  I am not at all sure what the trajectory would have been had this campaign succeeded.

2 – Project: Gorgon – An Indie MMORPG by Industry Veterans – October 2012

The first Project: Gorgon campaign.  Eric Heimburg wanted $55K, but barely got past the $14K mark.  Too obscure to get the backing it needed, the project soldiered on without it.

3 – Tinker Dice from Project Khopesh – June 2013

Tesh makes some dice.  While this first campaign did not fund, he later went on to have success in subsequent campaigns.

4 – Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen – January 2014

Brad McQuaid decided he was going to get into the whole spiritual successor funding thing with a throw back to EverQuest.  He asked for too much money… at least more than his name and reputation could draw… and spread his focus too wide in my opinion.  The project is theoretically still going, but post-campaign funding has been problematic at best.

5 – Project: Gorgon – A new approach to MMOs – August 2014

The second coming of the Project: Gorgon kickstarter campaign.  By this point there was a solid, playable game to be supported.  Asked for $100K, got just over $23K in pledges.  Eric Heimburg just isn’t a name with much draw, and as has been discussed before, the project name itself isn’t doing him any favors.  The project doesn’t even have a page on Wikipedia.  Still, Project: Gorgon lives and you can go play it right now.

Summary

Overall, Kickstarter has worked out pretty well for me.  I have managed so far to back only projects that have come to fruition. (I don’t count the failed campaigns.)  I like to think that I have chosen wisely, picking only campaigns run by teams with a track record of success.  But it is probably more likely that, in backing just a few projects, I managed to get lucky.

There was clearly a stretch of time where I was more enthusiastic on the whole Kickstarter thing.  That has faded somewhat, and you will no doubt notice some omissions from the list, popular projects I opted to pass on.  There is no Crowfall on my list, as an example.

The only project I have mild regrets about not backing is the Ogre Designer’s Edition campaign from Steve Jackson Games.  I played Ogre and G.E.V. back when they came in a zip-loc bag, so there was a strong nostalgia factor present when the campaign launched.  That said, I am not sure what I would do with the 29 pound box that resulted when the campaign raised nearly a million dollars when they only asked for $20K.  I don’t have anybody to play table top games with and I have more than enough stuff around the house I do not use, so another huge box in a closet probably wasn’t necessary.

So that is my Kickstarter tale.  I am still waiting on some projects to finish, and every single project I have backed has been late to one degree or another, but things have still turned out okay so far.  How have you done with Kickstarter?

10 thoughts on “Reviewing My Kickstarter History

  1. HarbingerZero

    Oddly enough, despite the how badly behind T&T is, I haven’t minded all that much. Maybe just because they have been very good about giving us regular updates and tidbits/PDF’s along the way. Or maybe its just the trust factor that crew has laid up over their decades of work.

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  2. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @HZ – Yeah, it isn’t as though I am upset about the slip. I am not holding up a campaign or something until it arrives. I am more amused at the optimism they started with and how that has played out.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. bhagpuss

    I’ve only backed three and only one has funded.

    I backed Pantheon because I thought it would struggle and I wanted it to get made so I wanted to do my bit, even if my bit was only $50. That was odd because I was fairly confident I’d never have to pay up, which made the whole process seem rather ethereal. Pantheon might happen one day. I doubt my $50 would have made much difference either way.

    Project Gorgon I did think might succeed on the second attempt. It’s already more playable and more fun than some Early Releases and Alphas that are around and doing business. On the other hand, I can play it for free and have been able to for quite a while now. It makes me wonder exactly why I’m doing a KickStarter for it – why doesn’t Eric just go down the now-familiar Founder’s Pack Early Access road instead? I’d buy a $25 or $30 pack just to kick in for ongoing development.

    The one that did fund was MassivelyOP. That’s the weirdest of all. Clearly I could have had everything I got for Kickstarting it for free. Again, I just wanted to Do My Bit. What’s even weirder is that I’m really glad I did chip in and every day when I read the flurry of posts they send to my Feedly I find myself thinking how much I would have missed Massively if it had gone for good.

    So, for me I am pretty sure Kickstarter represents a “Tips” option for things I approve of and want to feel good about supporting. There have been many Kickstarters for things I would quite like to buy when or if they finally appear but I tend to think that that’s exactly what I’ll do – buy them when they are there to be bought.

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  4. SynCaine

    Crowfall at $150, PoE at $20, Massive Chalice at $20, CU at $25, History of EVE at $50.

    All funded, one delivered (Chalice), not worried about the delivery of the others (other than delays).

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  5. Jeromai

    Defence Grid 2, Reaper Mini Kickstarter 1, Reaper Mini Kickstarter 2.

    All successes, if with naturally occurring delays (I expect the delays in a Kickstarter, so not at all disappointed.) The thing that’s kicking me in the teeth right now is international shipping costs for the last one, but well, that has nothing to do with the Kickstarter portions of it.

    I tend to back only proven established companies seeking additional funding to put together something I want and that they’ve done before to some extent, so that I know they’ve already got their act together and produced -something- tangible together before this Kickstarter.

    I would have backed MassivelyOP under the above criteria as an established group of people already consistently producing a product, but then I figured out that I wasn’t utilizing their website on a consistent basis these days and was at most skimming RSS feeds of their headlines without clickthrough, so it wasn’t something I wanted to pay for, nor did their option levels appeal (to me personally.)

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  6. p0tsh0t

    T&T has been quite a disappointment. Like you, I spent a fair amount of time in the T&T rules in days of yore for all the same reasons. After seventy something updates, I’m frankly sick of them. Its one thing to be in development and waiting for a product to be released soon(tm) and another to take backer’s money and give the impression that its just not really a priority to get the damned product out.

    It may be that it wasn’t well thought out or they woefully underestimated the time it would take to get it done, but this isn’t a team of 20 somethings hoping to develop a new and unproven hardware or software project. Its a successor book/rule system to their own successful book/rule system being put together by seasoned pros.

    I’m sure I’ll enjoy it if and when it ever arrives, but I grow increasingly dubious as the days pass. Time kills all projects with a finite budget and quite a bit of time has passed… I hope I’m wrong.

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  7. carrandas

    I’ve backed a lot of games, mostly two years ago. Let’s see:

    Games that are actually out:
    -Divinity Original Sin: Great game, my favourite game from last year
    -Dreamfall chapters: I played the first chapter, it’s quite good
    -Broken Sword: I enjoyed it, nice to have a new Broken Sword game
    -Volgar the Viking: too hardcore for me, I forgot how bad I was at these games
    -Defense Grid 2: Played it, finished it, was OK
    -FTL: Super awesome, probably the best game I’ve backed
    -Guns of Icarus: I didn’t really enjoy the few hours I’ve spent with it.
    -Double Fine Adventure: Played and enjoyed the first part, still waiting for the second part
    -Planetary Annihalation: To play
    -Dead State: To play
    -Wasteland 2: To play

    Games that still have to come out:
    Grim Dawn, Castle Story (I do wonder about the state of that game though), Project Eternity, Torment: TIdes of Numenerra, Parkitect, Maia

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  8. Thomas

    I’ve backed:

    Games Which Have Been Released
    *Dreamfall Chapters – I love this game. It’s one of my all time favourites, I backed it before I’d even played the other 2 Dreamfall games, because this was when it felt lucky to even have people work on story focused PC games. I fell in love with all the Dreamfall game, so it’s ended up working out much better than it should.
    *Wasteland 2 – Its decent, I’m glad it exists, but it’s not really my thing. Even if I didn’t back it, I would have probably bought it on release and discovered the same thing.
    *Unrest – Interesting adventure game. Glad it exists and got a solid playthrough out of it.
    *Windforge – Isn’t really stable enough to play on my computer

    Games Which Are About To Be Released
    *Pillars of Eternity – Can’t wait.
    *Dyscourse – Wait and see
    *The Long Dark – Looks beautiful, not sure how I’ll find the gameplay

    Games Not Yet Released
    *Torment Tides of Numeria – Very optimistic for this one
    *The Mandate – Probably shouldn’t have backed it, but will get an interesting mess out of it minimum.
    *Bloom: Memories – Not sure this will ever be released. Knew I shouldn’t have backed it as soon as I did.

    Other:
    *Unsound Volume 1&2 – Basically a preorder, utterly beautiful and clever comic.
    *Doraleus & Associates – Very fun 12 episodes of a great webseries
    *Loading Ready Run’s Last Season of Sketches – Well worth it

    So kickstarter has worked out fairly well for me. My only real regrets are for the two games I knew I shouldn’t have backed in the first place.

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  9. Pingback: Mr Luvva’s Luv-in #3 | mrluvvaluvva

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