A Kickstarter That's About to Be a Year Late: Quantum Roleplaying System
Look at that. Another "holy shit it's really late" RPG Kickstarter.
Now, you have to give credit where credit is due, this one tried to go to eleven! Last fall, with Quantum already months late, they tried to fund a city setting book for the as yet still unreleased RPG. Needless to say, that went over like a ton of bricks and didnt fund. Just imagine the fun we'd be having if it had...
Anyhow, last month Josh, the main man behind Quantum decided to address the "elephant in the room" - refunds!
I've held off long enough on this topic, time to address it.
I've had two (unfortunately very public) requests for refunds on the Quantum RPG Kickstarter project. I haven't responded yet for two reasons: the requests didn't make sense to me and I needed to read and study the issue to determine an answer.
The Quantum RPG Kickstarter project has 580 backers. Two of those backers want a refund. That's .3% of backers. I only include the math because the two individuals asking for a refund are doing so in a manner that's freaking out some of the other backers in other circles ("People are asking for refunds! Is the project dead!?").
While I appreciate their requests and absolutely understand their frustration, Kickstarter projects are not the same as buying a product in a store. Even Kickstarter themselves said as much recently in a blog post titled Kickstarter is Not a Store.
Additionally, anyone who backs a Kickstarter project should first review the Terms of Service. In the ToS is this line:
Kickstarter does not offer refunds. A Project Creator is not required to grant a Backer’s request for a refund unless the Project Creator is unable or unwilling to fulfill the reward.
I am able and willing to fulfill the reward. The project exceeded it's Estimated Delivery Date and that's all. (by a fucking year, but who's counting?)
I'd also like to point out another blog post recently on the Kickstarter blog titled Is lateness failure?
Specifically, I want to note (from that post) that only 25% of projects are completed on time (again, a year late IS NOT common) and just 3.6% of projects failed to deliver their rewards. Then there's this section in the blog post:
The focus on lateness within Kickstarter brings three problems.
First, it incentivizes creators to take shortcuts to hit their deadlines. As legendary game designer Shigeru Miyamoto recently said, "A delayed game is eventually good, but a rushed game is forever bad.”
Second, it ignores what makes Kickstarter so unique: getting to watch a project come to life. The opportunity to see how something is made and to have a hand in its creation is a special thing. If a creator turns the creative process into a story they share with backers, delays don't have to be bad news.
Third, it presumes that Kickstarter is a store. Sure, it's unacceptable for a store to ship something late.
But Kickstarter is not a store. The Estimated Delivery Date is the creator’s best guess at how things will go, and it’s made at a very early stage in the project’s life.
I'm not willing to shortcut the quality of the project in order to push it out. It'll be done once I have all of the art in, once the chapters are fully written, fully edited (twice), and fully laid out. The day I ship the files to the printer is the day I'll be able to announce a release date. Personally, I think Kickstarter makes a huge mistake forcing project creators to put an Estimated Delivery Date on their projects and, now, they're having to post on their blog to address the grumbling about late projects since they didn't make a clear enough point (to backers) that Kickstarter is about watching the creative process on projects you like (and then getting a reward for your backing) and not about shopping in an e-store.
Two final thoughts:
1. I owe you a game and weekly updates about the game as it's being worked on. You'll get what I owe you.
2. If you truly do not want your rewards when the game is finished and being shipped out to backers, I will refund your money then. I'm not a monster. (so, if the game never finishes...)
One more final final thought:
I'm just a guy, okay? It's just me. I'm human, I'm not perfect, I have personal life issues like everyone else, and this project has become something far larger than what was intended. I love this project. I love my backers. If you feel I've been short, angry, quiet, disheartened, or rude, it seriously makes me sad to hear it. It's never been my intent to be any of those things, especially toward my backers, and I would encourage everyone to not infer emotion via the written word. Emotion is impossible to determine sometimes online without dozens of emoticons ;-) :-) :-O :-P.
I'm working. Hugo is working. The project moves closer to completion every day. Let me get it there, let me update you weekly about it, and I believe you'll love the results. Every day I see things in the game that make me excited. My enthusiasm for this project has only grown since the beginning.
I owe this project to you, the backers. I owe it to you in the sense that you are owed your rewards, but also in the sense that without you, I wouldn't have been able to work on it at all at the levels Hugo and I (and Blake and Colleen and Reid and Drew and Kyle) have been able to.
Thank you for backing the project.
Seriously, I love you guys. #Cartman
(the only project I've backed that's running later than this is Far West)
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