Tuesday, June 4, 2013

The Tenkar's Tavern Overdue Kickstarter List - The Worst of the Worst

My love affair with Kickstarter is coming to an end. There seems to be a lot more screwing and a lot less satisfaction than I expected.

Lets look at the projects that had such promise and left me hanging...

Myth & Magic Player's Guide
Goal: $5,000     Total: $24,076     Funded: May 7, 2012
Estimated Ship Date: August 2012     Actual Ship Date: Not Yet Shipped

What can I say that hasn't already been said? Last backers only update on April 17 was brutally honest. At this point, I expect no product. Here's a snippet:

Well, and here comes some brutal truth: The cost of the Player's Handbook Kickstarter was astronomical. Every decision that I made that I thought was a minor decision (like glossy paper in the PG) turned out to be an awfully expensive one. My inexperience and excitement over the success of the campaign collided to turn me into a donkey business man. So, we have officially approached the point where I'm either dipping into GMG funds or self-funding the shipping, printing of the Starter Guides, etc. It's not your problem, and I don't want to make it your problem, but it's the harsh reality of where we are and why things will take so long. 
Awful Note: Things have clearly deteriorated. Myth & Magic is likely doomed now because of my mismanagement of the campaigns and the fact that with my new job, I lost a significant amount of time that I used to happily spend on the game. Goodwill may or may not be salvageable. 
What can I do? I'm not sure. I plan, regardless of public hate, to finish the Kickstarter campaigns and deliver the product. Hopefully, somewhere along the line, things will go from negative to neutral. They may never be positive, but heck, I'll take neutral.
Quantum Roleplaying Game
Goal: $13,000     Total: $47,747     Funded: December 30, 2011
Estimated Ship Date: April, 2012     Actual Ship Date: Not Yet Shipped

14 months late and still no closer to shipping . As per the May 27th update, this is how things stand. Snazzy but depressing.

Far West
Goal: $5,000     Total: $49,324     Funded: August 25, 2011
Estimated Ship Date: December, 2011     Actual Ship Date: Not Shipped (and has missed interim ship dates)

Cubicle 7 is now taking over distribution. Which means it will probably release, but I can't get angry at C7 for being late as usual as Gareth hasn't completed the project to turn it over to them. 18 months late and going strong. Huzzah!

Nystul's Infinite Dungeon
Goal: $2,000     Total: $16,017     Funded: June 3, 2012
Estimated Ship Date: September 2012      ?

Read here for the horror story

Axes & Anvils
Goal: $1,000     Total: $35,000     Funded: August 11, 2012
Estimated Release Date: November, 2012     ? 

Read here for the horror story

Long story short - I am NEVER going to spend my money on ANYTHING associated with Mike Nystul EVER again. Holy shit. The spell Nystul's Magic Aura is aptly named, as all it does it give the impression of magical value to utter shit. Mike did pull off some magic this time around, and these projects MAY actually release at some time, but that is no thanks to him. Money for the projects was spent on a Con failure and building a non existant business. What did he do when he ran out of money? Another crowdfunding attempt. He's like the pyramid scheme of Kickstarter.

Appendix N
Goal: $1,000     Total: $18,893     Funded: July2, 2012
Estimated Ship Date: July, 2012     Actual Ship Date: Not Yet Shipped (New Estimate Late September November December ? 2012  March April Pick a card, any card...)

I hate putting Brave Halfling on the list, as I know it's been a shit year for him on a personal level and he and his family are in my prayers, but this was beyond late even before all that. Next month will mark a year late for any shipped products. Not so sure if I expect them at this point and I'm strangely okay with that.


  1. Wow, I never really looked at the whole "Nystul's Kickstarter Disaster" spell description before, that's just unbelievable.

    I backed Dwimmermount and got a little frustrated with that BUT the guys at Autarch were VERY good about how they managed things and VERY good about how they treated the sponsors (i.e. they handed out lots of excellent freebies to compensate us). I consider them the shining example of how to properly handle the inevitable issues that crop up with small "single point of failure" crowd-funded projects.

    I guess the lesson is to either (a) only sponsor projects done under the auspices of an otherwise successful company (see Autarch) or (b) only sponsor projects that are essentially complete and use crowd funding simply for production, not development (see Adventures Dark and Deep).

    I am not ready to give up on this way of financing things yet, but I can certainly appreciate why you might be done with it. :-/

  2. I can't believe the boatloads of money that people are willing to drop into Kickstarter dreams. It's like a new speculator craze. Meanwhile, some of us are still producing small press material on a regular basis for a few bucks here and there...

  3. A lot of people learning hard lessons the hard way. My current policy is to never back anything unless the author has a complete and available draft. Kickstarting is a hell of a lot harder than it looks from the outside, and going in with a half-complete manuscript is just begging for trouble.

  4. Yeah most of backed project these days are held under heavier scrutiny than I was at first. However I still love Kickstarter and have gotten far more excellent products than disappointment.

    As I have said on Erik's posts before, I got lucky that I almost funded some of these disasters that Erik did, but just couldn't afford it at the time. As of right now I only have 2 projects that are behind, and only 1 I am worried about.

    Am not a strictly OSR guy, but how about that Spears of Dawn kickstarter? Pretty awesome. I am using it heavily for a Dungeon World Game, it is one of my favorite recent projects. And the Golden Sky Stories is looking pretty good as I read the beta.

  5. OK what I don't get is that some of these were 12 to 20 times over their goal yet they can't finish them? How the hell were they planning on doing it if they only just met the KS goal? Seriously I was envious of your ability to fund these and get all this cool stuff but now.. I'm kinda glad I let the KS wave just go on by.

  6. Did Mike Nystul at least give the backers a pdf of the finished product? According to the Kickstarter, all he needed was $1000 to fund Axes & Anvils. That's not a huge amount of money. If that's all it would take to finish it apart from printing then he should just pony up the grand himself and produce a pdf. At least then the backers would have something. How can you fund an RPG book for a mere $1000 anyway? If that were all it took, I's start an RPG company right now. Things don't seem quite right here.

    1. No he has not given anything to any of his backers for ALL THREE PROJECTS. I don't understand why his backers have not called their credit card companies to get their money back. I have done it on two kick starters already and it was glories to know not only did I get my money back but they had to pay a charge pack fee.

  7. Never mind all that - I've only ever backed one Kickstarter, the one I thought was a sure thing - Reaper Miniatures. That was last August AIR, 'shipping March'. It's now June, and no miniatures, no sign of dispatch in the near future, though my friend who got in late and only ordered the Vampire box got hers alright. I guess my natural pessmism just wasn't downbeat enough this time.

  8. Here is one more for your list:

    Machine Age Micro Games (http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/machineage/machine-age-micro-games-mega-project). Last update December 30, 2012. Mind you they had no problem doing another Kickstarter (http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/machineage/apotheosis-drive-x-a-fate-powered-mecha-rpg/posts) and have no problem updating this one.

  9. I dont see Autarch as a shining example of anything. If it taught me so,ething, it was an example of what not to do with someone else's kickstarter.


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