Over the last few weeks or so I've covered an number of crowd funding projects that I quite liked the look of. The truth is these were little more than adverts really for products that I thought looked cool... and that potentially breaches, or crosses a line I don't want to cross on this Blog, and I hold my hands up to the criticism I've received off of some of you via email. I thought it was similar to my reviews, but truth be told my reviews actually contain critique of physical products I've seen, and I give you guys all the information you need to judge for yourselves. While it's been fun for me to write about, and watch these projects become as successful as they all have, I accept it's not up to my normal 'editorial' standards. I was starting to wander myself whether I could be bothered to write more 'crowd funding articles' as really theirs only so much you can write about them. Plus so many people have complained about it I'd be utterly dumb not to listen to you all. As I've explained to those who made the complaints I will be watching those crowd funding projects I've already supported to completion:
Well it's the current hottest property in crowd funding terms right now, or so it seems. Certainly as far as our little hobby goes it's where the buzz is right now. I feel the need to do a little recap of what's happened with this crowd funding project to date:
- Well the project hit the ground running hard! It reached it's funding goal of $20,000US in under six hours. That's $3333.33US per hour, or $55.55US per minute... or if you will $0.93US per second. That's almost as much interest as Banks are currently charging on business loans!!!
- Exactly nine hours later they smashed through their first 'stretch goal', and I use the term stretch very loosely, of $40,000US. Yep in under a day the project was fully funded AND had hit its first stretch goal. So what got added to the project? Well we got two alternate sculpts for the troopers, bringing more variety to the toy soldier goodness, yay!!!
- So where did this crowd funding juggernaut head next? Well at literally just past the 24 hour mark they breezed by 'stretch goal' number two. Yet again I'm going to be using the term 'stretch' very loosely. This time we got given 12 extra Vanguard troopers if we'd pledged at the Biohazard level or higher. Whoop, whoop... or whatever it is you crazy kids say to celebrate nowadays.
- Onwards and upwards. Things started to slow down a little bit here, It took them another day to reach their next 'stretch goal', yeah I'm still using the term lightly. Why? Well I don't think it could have been a very 'streching' target if it was reached in a little over 2 days! The target was $80,000US and the reward for hitting it was that the game plastic chits rather than the card ones that all those other board games come with. Trust me if you play a lot of board games you'll know why that's a good thing.
- Now things started to feel a bit more like a normal crowd funding project. Two days almost passed before the next stretch goal was hit. This time the $100,000US target ensured that another Strain Phase 1 sculpt would make it into the boxed set, adding even more variety. Variety is good... it's the spice of life apparently.
- Again the next stretch goal took a couple of days to reach, it was $120,000US and nabbed yet again more miniatures for those who had pledged at the $100 Biohazard level. This time it was 12 additional gribby Strain models to go with the extra 12 Vangard models that were given out during stretch goal number 2. Top banana I say.
- A few days later the net stretch goal of $140,000US was hit, and this meant that the Cole Train lookalike Barker Zosa was added back into the game box. Bloody brilliant news that was!
- The next stretch goal was a more modest one at $150,000US and that was hit literally two days ago now. It means everyone an extra downloadable campaign setting, that will apparently make use of all the extra miniatures we're getting. I wander what that could be...
So where are they at now I here you fervently ask? Well they're currently sitting at $166,252US, which is just shy of their next stretch goal of $170,000US. If they reach this... no wait, sorry... when they reach this target they'll add 6 extra custom dice to the game. See look here:
Snazzy no? Well lets face it the branded / themed dice were bound to make an appearance at some point weren't they? I mean it would have been rude not to. The campaign does finally appear to be slowing down somewhat, which is inevitable in any campaign like this, as I was always told when trying to get funding "the last penny is always the hardest to get". It's true too, as you near the end of any funding campaign the bizarre truth is that it seems to get harder, not easier to get further funding. Still Sedition Wars is ticking over at a very nice pace right now, and it still has 21 further days to go until its campaign is finished. So it feels at the moment like the campaign is going through a bit of a breather, a pause point before suiting up again and getting ready for the final onslaught. I'm not sure the campaign will reach Zombiecide proportions, simply because Sedition Wars hasn't been picked up by websites and other geeky communities in the same way that campaign was. Still, for a small family run firm from Sheffield it's not doing too badly is it? If you haven't already backed the project then you should seriously consider it, because at the Biohazard level you are getting a hell of a lot of extra stuff. Also I almost forgot, Cool Mini or Not have managed to get a shipment of games diverted to Europe, so that $25US shipping fee will go to pay customs charges etc, so you don't have to worry about that.
And so on to the bad boy of crowd funding, the game that got banned from Kickstarter because it contained one too tentacles... it could only be Tentacle Bento. The original Kickstarter page is still up, and Soda Pop Miniatures is using it to still feed updates to people. The latest update finally told us what the next stretch goal was likely to be, $50,000US if you must know. What do you get if they reach that? Well apparently a Tentacle Bento... erm... Bento Box! Or lunch box to us western types who don't understand Japanese culture. Who gets the Bento Boxes? At what perk level do they get given out? And many more question are yet to be answered because John Caddice at al are still waiting patiently for a quote to come in informing them of just how much it will all cost. So if you're interested you'll just have to keep an eye on their website for more news. In case you're interested though they have managed to reach $44,152US on their own website, which makes me wander wheter
- They'd have reached an even higher sum had Kickstarter not pulled their campaign, because Kickstarter is a recognised intermediary AND has a bigger subscriber base than any other crowd funding site.
- Or would they have reached this much money if there hadn't been the controversy whipped up about it by the likes of Kotaku.
I guess the truth is we will never really know. My own opinion though leans to option number one more though. they'd reached $30,000US before the project was pulled. The cross over time between that and the Insert Coin and Kotaku articles was less than 24 hours, and prior to that they were skirting just below the $28,000US mark. In short shifting the project to their own website certainly saved the project... BUT it clearly harmed it. Any way I'm glad censorship lost out again... sort of.
With 71 hours left to run on this campaign they've managed to reach their first stretch goal. So monster units will be added to the Army Builder at least. The campaign total is currently standing at $3,666US... it's second stretch goal is $5,000US for a Save & Reload function to be added, and the third stretch goal is $8,000US to have army list and print functionality added. Both stretch goals are so pie in the sky it not really worth mentioning them at this point, but hey, I'm a completionist! So it would be remiss of me not to mention the stretch goals in this article, you know just in case you wanted to run a mass marketing campaign on their behalf to get the Gruntz Army Builder you wanted. Is the project still worth backing? If you play Gruntz a lot, then probably yes. However...
I've mentioned before on this Blog how I think this campaign got off to a shaky start by not understanding, or realising that these crowd funding campaigns require you to be giving something 'physical' to actually achieve their targets. People are still far less likely to invest in streams of data alone. So that was mistake number one. Mistake number two was those stretch goals. Many people felt that those 'extra' functions should have been part of the project brief from the start. I had emails from people saying they wanted more information on what the functionality of the software was before they signed up to the campaign. I was all ready to go investigative journalist for you all and email Robin Fitton to get an answer when, he posted the stretch goals. Bam!!! Interest died quicker than a Mayfly. All those functions, as I said, were things people were expecting in the bog standard program. Whoops. So I guess this would be a good learning experience for other campaigns in the future:
- Offer something physical for those people backing your campaign.
- Factor in the cost of these physical items to the total you require for the campaign.
- Give those who back your campaign something unique only they can get by backing the campaign.
- Details, details and more details. Tell people what it is they're getting from the start in miniscule detail and be honest. You're asking people to back you, so tell them what they're backing.
- Do some market research first. Find out what the market actually wants / expects from your product and include it from the offset in your campaign and brief... yes even if it pushes your eventual fiscal target higher.
I'm not too sure if that counts as advice or not, but if it does I'm going to say it's damn good advice. So here is my quandary, I've also had an awful lot of requests to cover further crowd funding projects on my Blog. Firstly I'm flattered people think my Blog has enough 'sway' to be of some use to such campaigns, but sorry I made promises to a lot of people that I wouldn't do anymore crowd funding promotions, and I don't go back on promises. However, I did ask for people to highlight interesting projects for me, and thus those projects I've recieved before I post this article up are linked below with a brief description:
- Exodus Wars: Factured Empire for PC. Yep it sounds like what it is, Membraine Studios, a computer games developer have teamed up with Steel Crown Productions, the guys behind Exodus Wars the Tabletop wargame to... drum roll please... turn it into a computer game. If that sounds like something that floats your boat, or tickles your fancy, hell maybe even both, then head on over and take a look at their campaign. The target goal is $35,000US, they've currently got $1,115US and 42 days left to get the rest.
- Infamy Miniatures. Well I'm always on the look out for cool new miniature firms doing cool new miniatures. These guys seem to be following a bit of a cultural, and indeed industry trend of looking towards steampunk and Victorianna type horror tropes. But hey they seem to be doing it so well, so more power to them.
- Avatars of War Dwarf Army. I have to be honest and say I don't thin this one will get funded. With 18 days left to go on their campaign they're still some way short of their $20,000US target, having only accrued $8,600US so far. Now I'm going to say that surpises me. Anyone who has seen the miniatures Avatars of War produce will know that what they do is utterly superb. Their plastic Dwarf Berserker unit in particular is utterly splendid, so I'm not too sure why this campaign hasn't ignited I guess. There's still hope I guess... but time is ticking out.
- Mantic Kings of War. Now here's a miniatures campaign that has been successful, and truth be told it's done everything wrong! The project seems to have no fixed goal, and is almost being used as a shop window / advertising campaign. Something I don't think crowd funding should be used for. I really like Ronnie and Mantic, but I feel this is about doing something all the cool kids are doing. Clearly the hardback rulebook was always going to be produced, and the stretch goals seem opportunistic... but hey it's actually a really, really good deal. They've raised $70,469US already and smashed their $5,000US target. With 15 days still to go they're likely to just keep on adding to that total, and in a way I'm pleased for them, because Mantic aren't as big as people think they are, and this campaign has certain sped up the development of Kings of War based products.
I won't be covering them further, because I said I wouldn't. There are an impressive number of very worthy crowd funding projects going on right now, and I'm sure there will be many more in the future. That's part of the problem isn't it? If I were to cover them all I'd have to devote my entire life to them and their coverage, not to mention my entire Blog. I'm not willing to do that, and although I could cherry pick just a select few projects I feel it's best to just wind my coverage of this particular social phenomenon down. Peace out!
PS Blackbrunsiwicker where the hell are you? On Wednesday you won a snap competition for the Ax Faction Victorian Darling Kraken Hunter, you can find the details HERE. You have just over 48 hours to claim her though, as on Monday 11th of June 2012, at 12:00 PM GMT I'll be selecting somebody else to win her!!!