Game makers, heart breakers, and failed success

I shared this KS Round Up with my TYL crew a short while back through email. I just pulled a massive list of campaigns through my Gmail search and only picked up on the ones I thought were worth writing about. I share snippet reviews via email all the time but only ones worthy due to an interest or a lesson get a write up on ADLi. This snapshot review might be the last of the old campaigns though. I have now caught up with the Canadian tabletop gaming campaigns on KS and will be posting more timely campaigns.

It’s become a bit of an obsession right now with my games so close to play testing and possibly funding next year. Share you thoughts and ideas with me in the comments below — but please give each campaign page a view before you do out of courtesy to the the creators. Now without further ado, this week’s KS campaign round up. 

War of the Ancients

Game is in early development. This project stood out to me in some way. Though it’s a digital video game, it’s a digital card and tabletop game. The game could clearly be transferred to an analog version which would be fun to play in the same way. I like the concept, the game play is challenging and I find it not difficult to learn. Gets players to play the game without spending an hour reading a manual on rules and regulation. The tactical aspect of this game is also common enough that anyone who’s played a RP tabletop or card game would feel right at home. The designer needed $30K to get this campaign off the ground. They raised $102. What a shame!  Production of this game already seems to be in rolling and I’m sure a ton of time and money might have already been spent. The back story sounds intriguing, the storyboards are nice as well. I was very impressed with their video and page presentation. What was the failing here? Maybe it was awareness, maybe lack of pre-marketing or possibly just not enough interest at the moment.  I’m probably not the only one who’d like to see something like this on Android or iPhone. Hope they get this game developed either way.

MMA Cage Combat

FAILED! Yes, this project is very old but I thought I’d share anyway.
2 backers! Man, I feel for this dude. Not sure what to say here. I’m pretty sure with all the play testing he’s presumed to have, there would be more than 2 people close to him that would support the project. Honestly, his presentation needs work. I get the ‘spur of the moment’, live speech style works for some, but not for all. Though I have to give him credit for jamming a lot of game information in a casual video such as this. A little better than Tai-Jii due to the game mechanics video and intro video but as for backing tiers and written presentation it falls short. I think it’s risky to get your backers to support your campaign if the chance of production and delivery confirmed. From what I’m understanding from his video he’s looking for $25K to;

  • Getting a couple prototypes made
  • Finish developing the game (play testing)
  • Support his family?

Now here’s where I’m a little baffled. Is he looking to raise this money to do everything, from prototype to production? That’s what it sounds like to me. Basically, we’re backing him to;

  1. Build a game that is still in its infancy,
  2. Get it play tested and validate balance,
  3. Then get it produced and shipped

… all in one go? I get that people need time to produce games, and with time comes cost. This kind of mentality seems to stem more from video game developers than tabletop developers. If I can make $25K to develop my game, this cost may include covering costs spent on designing and testing, building and breaking the game, play testing, marketing and presentation, print collateral and other media. Assuming I don’t have a job then part of that money is also going towards paying for work commissioned (artwork, music, media, etc.) and my cost of living. You never really admit you’re going to pocket some of the cash if you’ve come out of pocket before hand. In case you were wondering where the game play video actually is, click on Updates link. The good; It’s actually has a neat game mechanic and has time-based components. Build up your fighters based on how you want to play them by adding cards that aid their fighter type and compete. The bad; Has potential for sure, but like a lot of others I’ve covered here on KS Campaign Round Up this one falls short due to common flaws such as poor pre-marketing, possibly lack of extensive play test which usually attributes to general interest and the promise on delivery (which is super vague) assuming it ever gets out of  play testing. I’m looking forward to something like this but it’s way too early to push it on KS at that level.


CANCELLED! Another oldie.
These chaps brought the noise. I chose this one to show you folks another example of a well oiled KS campaign machine. Now, a game of this magnitude would require a lot of funding and we all know that. Not just for the board but for the miniatures as well. Injection moulding is not cheap and I know they are not doing 10,000 pc run for $12,500. They also need a shit ton of cards printed plus multiple boards. Scope-wise this is huge.  I’d figure they’d shoot for more like $25k minimum. They had 29 backers and though they only raised just over 10% of the money it’s nice to see this game had fairly large interest. I think anything around 20+ backers has been play tested or demoed in front of at least 100 people. Maybe even more. Best of luck to them in the future. After reading through their comments I was informed that due to the CCG nature of the release it deterred people from wanting to back the project. Backers wanted to choose their own cards and miniatures to build their armies. No blind selections. They had some really good media, updated the campaign throughout, wonderful write ups and info. It was even expressed by the designing team that they would cancel the project so they can relaunch it under the LCG model to enrich the players experience and provide a game that their audience has been begging for. And fixed scheduled releases also means new content will always be available.  I’ll give them this — they’ve listed time and time again that they listen closely to their audience and adjust to please. That’s a great habbit to have because at the end of the day you’re designing for them. I visited their Facebook page but there hasn’t been any updates to this or any other campaign by the creator. I had contacted the game developer and he had sent me this message.

“Life kind of got in the way for a lot of us unfortunately. Financial and timing issues caused some obstacles but I’m confident we’ll get back on track eventually. We put too much work in to let it die completely.”

Are they on hiatus… or it’s a wash for RealmClash? Only time will tell.

Ravenous: Biohazard Level 5

CANCELLED! Another oldie from 2013.
Hm. Don’t know what to say about his one. Apparently the video they promised never made it to the campaign page. Shame. The presentation and content is solid, artwork is top notch, game sounds interesting and tiers are varied. An otherwise flawless delivery on what one can only assume was not highly anticipated. With only 19 comments on the campaign page, the game interest of those willing to leave feedback were few. I think it’s a rather cool game too. There are SO MANY zombie themed games out there it’s hard to jump on the wagon and expect a flood of interest, but this one claims to be 100% original. I can believe that. Thought the zombie theme has been flogged to death but I had hope for this one. The project was cancelled before it reached the end, and the project was only up for 8 days before it got cancelled, and the cancellation update was not made public. Only backers could access the final notes by the creator. This must have been something pretty big to pull the plug on something this big so early in the campaign. Oh well.

Touhou Project ft. GS System

I don’t know what happened?! Funding cancelled and they actually met their goal?! Something fishy is going on here or maybe something bigger than they expected? At first glance it threw me off. I figured maybe they got pulled for some legal matter, but here is their official broadcast on the situation:

“We, and Team Shanghai Alice, have concluded that Kickstarter is not an appropriate method regarding production of dōjinshi materials for Touhou Project. The reason for this is because receiving funds before production is considered an investment, and a method like this can not yet be recognized with the production of dōjinshi materials for Touhou Project.”

So to sum that up, they want proper credentials for producing dojin material but can’t do so ethically because they are taking money before work is distributed. At least that’s the way I interpret that. Hm! Moral dilemma cans an otherwise successful campaign. I can live with that… but then again I’m not a backer. I’m pretty sure that if I was I’d disappointed as much as the rest of them were. There we also looking to license the Touhou Project characters/brand/assets for this game and that was also something they were striving to achieve. There are some honest people out there, trying to share with the world and not just line their pockets. The micro card game system that had so much potential has lost all steam, and the same can probably be said about the backers. Either way, a definite blow to the backers of this project who were so amped on getting this really cool game. Game play seems like a standard CCG but the card config and mechanism make this micro card game stand out in a crowd. Hope they can find a way to publish the game without a public investment. Good luck GS System.

Closing Notes

Every once in a while I take the time to contact the creators of these KS campaigns and query whether or not we’ll be seeing these project resurface again. Be it on KS or independently through other internet or brick and mortar establishments. Without investor cashola all of these great (and sometimes terrible) campaigns will never see completion. It’s a sad truth, and one truth that I carry with me as I design, play test and broadcast my games. It’s a tough world out there and the pond is becoming over stocked with fish. 

If you’ve missed the earlier posts for the KS Campaign Round Up, I suggest you continue your read on this and other KS related posts here today at ADLi.

Disclaimer: The purpose of these reviews is to share an first impression critique based on expectation received and presentation provided. It is not to demean, demoralize or flame the creators and/or their games. Just sharing my honest point of view on the project’s success or failure as a fellow game designer.