Thursday, June 7, 2012

For Your Consideration

I'm sure, by this point, a lot of you are tired of hearing about more crowdfunding campaigns, but, after the success I enjoyed in my own, I feel I have an obligation to do so, especially when I think they're particularly worthy projects. Today, I present you with three, all three of which involve people I consider friends and all-around good guys.

The first is for the second edition of Goblinoid Games's Starships & Spacemen, an old school take on science fiction roleplaying on the Final Frontier (*wink, wink*). The second edition is not only revised and expanded but compatible with Labyrinth Lord, which increases its utility greatly, particularly for referees who like to throw phasers into their dragon's hoards.

The second is for Brave Halfling's Appendix N Adventure Toolkit series of modules in support of Goodman Games's Dungeon Crawl Classics Roleplaying Game. This looks to be a fun collection of adventures for DCC RPG. Plus, John is one of the nicest guys in the hobby and it's always a pleasure to see what he has in store.

The final one is for an unusual project called The Shadow Out of Providence: A Lovecraftian Metatext, which is a fancy way of saying it's a book comprised of two short stories and a play that it focuses on "Lovecraft the writer, the thinker, and the cultural phenomenon, rather than the sliver of his work on which most writers fixate." Old schoolers may find it of interest both because one of the contributors is Tim Hutchings of PlaGMaDA. In addition, the legendary Erol Otus is contributing artwork, two of which I reproduce below.


  1. Hey, when these folks are putting out such great material and, now more than ever, have to compete against the big guys for crowdfunding dollars, there can never be too much plugging. I think I've spent more this year for games via KS and IGG than any other outlet, and I'm not even jumping on half those I wish I could.

  2. No one draws Cthulhoid stuff as well as Erol Otus.

  3.  Now that you say it that way, I think I've also spent more on games via Kickstarter than any other way. That might change if I drop some big bucks on miniatures, but for new RPGs and board games, Kickstarter has actually become a major source for me.

  4. Couple of Starships & Spacemen...I mean, compatible with LL? How? Is that a second edition or are they just making a D&D based space game and call it Starships & Spacemen. The original is very different from LL and Mutant Future.

    Second, is Petty Gods likely to be crowd sourced? That would be very cool.

  5. 1. I'm sure Dan will pop over at some point and explain the changes that have been made to S&S. I suspect it'll have more in common with the original game than the name.

    2. I am not crowd funding anything else anytime soon. Petty Gods will get my attention after the Dwimmermount manuscript is done sometime in the summer. How soon it comes out after that depends on how soon I can wrangle a reliable layout person who'll work for peanuts or how soon I can learn to do it myself.

  6. The Appendix N is going really well, and is a bargain for what you get (and I'm pretty sure you can use the Adventures in any OSR style game with little effort)

    Starships & Spacemen is REALLY tempting, and a heck of a lot more tempting than Traveller5 at the moment (T5 has already met funding goal but I don't think I need any more Traveller games)

    The Shadow out of Providence is something I need to look closer at.  I've met Tim a few times and he brought the project to my attention.  I know i don't need it, just have to decide how much I want it ;)

  7. Backing the Appendix N Adventure Toolkit was a no brainer for me. And I agree, John is a really nice guy.

  8. Other than Gahan Wilson.

  9. I'm pretty excited about the Appendix N toolkit and Starships & Spacemen.  I'm interested in seeing the changes to S&S as I won the original and Star Explorer.

    The "big boys" and "existing brands" coming into KS is a little frustrating.  I am happy to support small houses like Brave Halfling -- been waiting for Delving Deeper for some time though -- and Goblinoid.  I think Goblinoid's choice of IndieGoGo is interesting as they get the money even if they don't make goal, which means they can still release a smaller run.

    Having tread, unsuccessfully on first try, in the Kickstarter waters, I think the venue is good but am really frustrated by those who don't need to use it using it.

  10. I disagree that someone's size should have an impact on whether or not they should use Kickstarter. In my opinion, company size doesn't matter. Some projects, regardless of the size of the group/company behind it, are risks. Kickstarter helps minimize those risks.

  11. Out of curiosity, how big (and "big" in what way? Profitability? Number of employees? Number of owners? Name recognition?) does a company have to be before you become uncomfortable? You see Brave Halfling as OK, obviously, but how about Far Future Enterprises? Steve Jackson Games? White Wolf?

    Similarly, what would you define as an "existing brand"? You're excited about Starships & Spacemen, so it doesn't seem to be a property that has already seen print. Does Ogre count? Traveller? Shadowrun Returns (does a computer game based on an out of print computer game count the same as an in-print tabletop RPG)? Or is it only products that are currently in print (though I am unaware of any products of that sort that are using Kickstarter)?

  12. I'm sorry, but it just seems like Erol Otus has been phoning it in lately. His recent art has lacked the spirit that made his earlier work so great. The above pieces strike me as lackluster, yet people ooh and ah simply because it's EO.

  13. I consider most RPG companies to be "small" and many of their brands to be unknown enough to be huge risks. I cannot imagine that SJG had any idea how much support their OGRE re-release would have, and the market research to find out would be extensive.

    Big in profitability and market share. If Hasbro were to do a KS, I would be skeptical. If FFG were to do one, I would also be skeptical.

    Brand in a business sense is something that has a measurable value beyond the product itself. Neil Gaiman is a brand. D&D is a brand. Starships and Spacemen is not a "brand" it is a forgotten niche product.

    Faoladh -- I'm sorry, but I find your questions -- from a Business School perspective -- to be almost intentionally obtuse. It is as if you are trying to start a fight, and I don't appreciate it.

    On the other hand, I find Phil Reed's clarification to be useful if overly broad. I really don't think a major company -- like GW -- should be using Kickstarter. They should use pre-orders with a limited threshold through their own systems, otherwise they crowd the KS marketplace. They already have a visible and well known presence, and should use that.