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Tuesday, October 2, 2012

A Kickstarter That Looks Cool - But Will Not Fund - AfterEarth RPG



You know what? AfterEarth looks cool. The art is snappy. The want supporters to be involved in the design process. You can get the PDF for a buck if it funds.

It just won't ever fund.

144 backers. (78 in at a buck)

$4,163 raised

$35,000 goal with 14 days to go. It's also the first Kickstarter from the company.

Raising $4,000+ is no small feat, but needing to hit $35K put's this one out of reach for success.

Realistically, a $10k goal would have been a stretch (but would have allowed for stretch goals). The $1 buy in is great if you want to get updates for supporters only, but it isn't going to help fund the project.

Some bits from the site:

AfterEarth is a fantasy + post-apocalyptic role-playing game that uses playing cards as the primary rules resolution tool. We will open that game up, before we publish, to those who pledge. Pledges will be able to modify, add to, and vote on almost all aspects of the game and see that input in a published product. NPC's, art, monsters, races, roles, weapons, and various other game aspects can be voted on or submitted at different pledge levels and will be incorporated into the massive amount of work already done. We will back those pledges and contributions with professional art, editing, printing, art books, shirts, developer diaries, 1 on 1 contact with the developers, and various other rewards. Most importantly if we succeed even pledges who give a single dollar will get the entire book! Every pledge level includes at least a PDF of the book. This is the completed heart and soul of a group of people who want to share it with others.
The project is already 400+ pages. Once we collected everyones contributions we will combine it with the incredible amount of work that has already been created. It will be a world book, player handbook, game-master book, and monster manual all in one. 

15 comments:

  1. Honestly, it looks like a way too ambitious outing. Soundtracks? Art books? That's the sort of thing that comes later, once the game has been established. But they way they have it currently configured, if they can't have all the flashy bling, they won't get the rules themselves published.

    Plus, I note that they never say what, exactly, the money's for. Editing? Art? Printing costs? Pizza? That's a pet peeve of mine; I want to know exactly why they need my money.

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  2. HI Joseph,

    I am the creator and we do state at the bottom, "Why a Kickstarter" and everything you asked for when it comes to information about the Kickstarter and where the money is going.
    If you have any questions though, feel free to contact us!

    Jeremy Penter

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  3. Joseph,

    I can also clear up a couple of your points about extra items. We have soundtracks, and the artbook, and the shirts, because we have people who have worked on the book for many years with us and we also have some dedicated artists who are allowing us to put their work in an artbook. Some of the people who have worked on the book are also professionals in other fields such as music.
    Not really that amazing when you think about it but it's just that many other Kickstarters with RPG's haven't done that before. Since we had the means to give out the rewards we added them to the Kickstarter. There was no real reason to hold stuff back if giving it out to pledges was possible. In our opinion at least.

    Thank you for the excellent points!

    Jeremy Penter

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  4. Joseph,
    Hello, I am one of the creators of AfterEarth.
    Sorry if this is a double post.

    We have always had a detailed description of where the money is going in the "Why a Kickstarter" section at the bottom. Just so, as you said, everyone knows where every pledge dollar is going. In case you missed it, it is right below the picture of the massive golem getting ready to vaporize the poor traveler:)

    I can also clear up a couple of your points about extra items. We have soundtracks, and the artbook, and the shirts, because we have people who have worked on the book for many years, as we outlined in the Kickstarter, with us and we also have some dedicated artists who are allowing us to put their work in an artbook. Some of the people who have worked on the book are also professionals in other fields such as music. This allowed us to leverage some things that were unique to our group and project.
    Not really that amazing when you think about it but it's just that many other Kickstarters with RPG's haven't done that before. Since we had the means to give out the rewards we added them to the Kickstarter. There was no real reason to hold stuff back if giving it out to pledges was possible. In our opinion at least.

    Thank you for the excellent points!
    Jeremy Penter

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  5. Yeah, I was watching this one with interest because it's got the bells & whistles to grab my attention, but the "card mechanic" kills it the moment that sentence comes up. Call me shallow, I guess.

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  6. @Tori Bergquist - you're shallow - but I like you anyway ;)

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  7. here's the missing comment:

    "Joseph,
    Hello, I am one of the creators of AfterEarth. Sorry if this is a double post. We have always had a detailed description of where the money is going in the "Why a Kickstarter" section at the bottom. Just so, as you said, everyone knows where every pledge dollar is going. In case you missed it, it is right below the picture of the massive golem getting ready to vaporize the poor traveler:)

    I can also clear up a couple of your points about extra items. We have soundtracks, and the artbook, and the shirts, because we have people who have worked on the book for many years, as we outlined in the Kickstarter, with us and we also have some dedicated artists who are allowing us to put their work in an artbook. Some of the people who have worked on the book are also professionals in other fields such as music. This allowed us to leverage some things that were unique to our group and project. Not really that amazing when you think about it but it's just that many other Kickstarters with RPG's haven't done that before. Since we had the means to give out the rewards we added them to the Kickstarter. There was no real reason to hold stuff back if giving it out to pledges was possible. In our opinion at least. Thank you for the excellent points! Jeremy Penter

    ReplyDelete
  8. Thank you Erik for posting my comment. I have switched to my wordpress blog id to correct any issues.

    If anyone has any other questions, concerns, or comments feel free to post here, our website, or the Kickstarter.
    We appreciate all comments both negative and positive.
    Jeremy Penter

    ReplyDelete
  9. I don't want to seem like I'm just hammering these guys with criticism. I've never heard of them or this before today, and certainly hold them no ill will.

    I do feel like if I answer Jeremy's response with some counterpoints, it's going to look like I'm piling on, and that's not my intention at all.

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  10. Joseph, feel free. I haven't seen anything you have written that has been anything above and beyond the normal questions most Kickstarters get. I have seen far worse on some projects:)

    I don't feel like it is burdensome at all.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Very well, with the understanding that there's no axe-grinding at work here, just wanting to impart some of my own ideas and experience regarding Kickstarter. :-)

    In the "Why a Kickstarter" section you mention (which I had seen, but not really processed; and that's a golem? I didn't realize), most of the items listed are more about time than money. After all, you're in control of the time factor. You say the Kickstarter will "allow us to add more of our own contributions", but if you've got more contributions to make, you can do that before launching.

    For those things that do require money (additional art, professional editing), that makes sense, but it's not really called out that that is what the money is for. It's somewhat circular reasoning, the way it's described; you need the Kickstarter to incorporate the ideas that the Kickstarter pledges give you.

    For example; "Create and manage survey input"? You need a Kickstarter campaign for that? The KS campaign seems to be how you're getting the input in the first place. You're saying that you need the KS to manage the KS...

    Also, in a broader sense, by tying pledge levels to input, you're essentially asking people to pay for the privilege of playtesting and editing your rules. Paying to name a creature, or an NPC, or something is one thing. Asking people to pay to give substantive input to the rules, which ultimately helps you (because it makes your game better and ultimately more salable), seems a bit... odd.

    As far as the additional (non-rules) things such as the soundtrack and art book, my point was that they might better have been included as stretch goals. Obviously, the cost of producing them has been baked into your $35k goal. If you had set the goal for the project at (and I'm just tossing numbers out here for the sake of argument) $20k, with the art book and soundtrack as stretch goals, you'd have a much better chance of at least getting the rules themselves published. And the rules are the real goal, right? Everything else is just gravy.

    It's great that you're including them, but I don't agree with the idea that you include the price of producing them with the price of the rules, when they are ultimately separable, and including the extras may mean that the project as a whole doesn't get funded. In which case, the failure to fund the extras cost you the money to fund the rules. You don't need to hold them back (if you meet the stretch goal), but neither do you need to tie them all together inseparably.

    Again, I'm not being negative for the sake of being negative at all. I wish you guys nothing but the best, and just want to share the benefits of my own experience. But I do hope that if this KS campaign doesn't get funded, you might take one or two of my ideas and craft a new campaign that might let you achieve your goals of at least seeing the game in print.

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  12. Thanks! Any kind of input like this means someone thought things through rather than funny 1 liners:)
    Though I can assure you every single KickStarter project does include "time" as a factor inside their pledges, I can see where it may appear odd. Blame that on me for trying to decide how in depth to explain things and how to keep brevity. Which I honestly failed at.

    KickStarter do indeed need the KickStarters process to usually get some of their ideas off the ground. That is pretty normal for KickStarters. In fact many KickStarters have nothing but an idea. Obviously we have more than some other projects due to the time spent on it already. I will say that I have to disagree with you that the "Why a KickStarter" is mostly about time. I see only 1 thing out of all of them that incorporates time more than money and we are pretty clear on that I think. However, if you got that out of the notes than again that is my failure and something I will look to adjust in the next day or so. So I am still not coming to a meeting of the minds with you there. To the editors and myself, it appears to almost be completely about money in that section. Again I will check that out though.

    Your example is sound about "Creating and managing survey input." That is not explained perfectly. What I was trying to explain was, as others have pointed out, keeping submissions in check, resourcing them to artists and professional editors, and then running the voting system and keeping that correct and updated. There is a tremendous amount of work there. We can agree to disagree if that is the right thing to do or not but I every KickStarter creator I talked to seemed to indicate they incorporated even more soft-work than we did. Calculations for exact cost and so forth are spot as far as the accounting firm I used to look into this.

    I do not agree at all about people paying to play-test and edit the rules. That has been done. Completely. Otherwise I would not have allowed the team to move the project to the KickStarter page. Now, will new races, roles, and so forth need some tweaking? Of course. And those who pledge will be able to do that and see content earlier. Something that is par for the course in many RPG's on KickStarter.
    I also see almost every single KickStarter for RPG's have submissions that people can complete such as creatures or NPC's. And all of them that I checked are at double our price and with less additional information created to go with them, and not all are illustrated.


    Concerning stretch goals and rewards. I will leave that up to people to decide. I take full responsibility for setting it up and though the goal number has to be met, we hoped, felt, and see, that to some the rewards are worth it. Totally my fault if it fails. I felt that all together it was worth baking as a package. You see KickStarters can be small, medium, large, or very large projects. We chose very large. We wanted the KickStarter to at the very least garner attention. If it does not succeed. My fault. No one else and I am cool with that as I also fronted a good deal to get art and so forth.
    I will say that to us it is NOT the rules that are our primary goal. It is everything. The world, the rules, everything. Over the years we have had, I can't even count, play-testers, regular gamers, and so forth who have really identified that the two are somewhat inseparable and I have to say I feel the same.

    Joseph, I see no negativity. I see only the typical things that happens with KickStarters. We all have specific ideas and thoughts in mind, and rare is the KickStarter that I have not questioned myself.

    I hope I answered at least a few of your questions here. I am working from a tablet, please excuse any issues with formatting and such.
    Jeremy Penter

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  13. I just want to add that the part about "Creating and Managing Survey input." Will most likely be rewritten. We were told by many Kickstarter creators that they didn't even worry about that level of explanation but I am pretty open with things and want people to get what we have created. Which is another reason I offer the entire book at $1.00. Which I admit I was warned about by many creators but I didn't care. I really wanted people with 1 dollar to get it. I think I failed there. Anyway I will rewrite some of the explanations in the next couple days if I get the chance.
    I will try to spin by here every so often and answer questions but it is easier to get in contact with us on our website than here. Again I will try!

    Thank you Joseph and thank you everyone here for the time!
    Jeremy Penter

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  14. Just FYI, I've written pretty extensively about Kickstarter and managed my own KS campaign earlier this year, so many of the basics you discuss above are already pretty familiar to me. :-)

    I'll just leave this with a last comment on the subject of paying to playtest. If you look at your $13 pledge level, it clearly says "These will be the people selected to play-test any very specific gameplay issues that sorting through and come up with pledge input."

    That leads me to the conclusion that if I pay $13, I'm going to be selected as a playtester. Not sure what else it could mean (although it is rather ambiguous as written).

    Glad you found the input helpful, and best of luck with the KS campaign.

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  15. Joseph,
    First congrats on doing a KickStarter. Mind boggling at times but very exciting to do!
    The 13$ pledge is for access to a specific forums that allows pledges to see unedited submissions, and an insight into our discussions about how the world is changing with the user submissions. That is the arena where people might test the things I mentioned in my post earlier, the little stuff that pops up and those weird issues that may crop up with new submissions.
    I should have broke out the forum and what occurs there in more detail. Thanks for the heads up on that. We have a backer so I can't change it but I have informed the team an if that backer drops we will get in there and flesh out that level higher.

    One thing I am rather happy with is the overwhelming number of people interested in that forum and what is occurring there and the queue that has formed for when it opens.

    I am sure you understand that at some point you just need to pull the trigger on whatever project you put together and let it ride. So I did that so its on me for the confusion.

    You bet I found your input useful! I reached out to so many people before I started, I am sad I did not find you for some added clarity on things.

    Excellent suggestions,

    Jeremy Penter

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