I've heard lots of talk recently about Monte Cooks new Kickstarter - Invisible Sun. What I've heard ranges from "It's Monte, it's got to be good!" to "What the fuck is he smoking?"
I suspect the truth lies somewhere in the middle.
Monte is a skilled game creator, of that there is little doubt (and no argument from me). Sometimes his presentation is spot on (Not Thank You Evil comes to mind) and at other times it is nigh unreadable (Numenera with it's God horrible watermarking)
Therein lies part of my issue with Monte's latest project - will I be able to read it easily, or will the watermarking be such a distraction that I'll put it down in the first 3 pages, never to pick it up again? Because at a minimum buy in of $197 (where you get the game but not the campaign and the campaign is the thing) there's a lot riding that "what if"?
That's the other huge issue - price. Folks bitch and moan about the cost of Frog God Games KSs, but they come in at half the price (less if you go for the PDF option - which there is none for this box of tricks).
I suspect, like many RPG purchases, this is aimed more to be placed on the shelf with a "look at me, ain't I cool?" attitude and to riffle through the cool pieces more so than actual play, at least for the $197 version. Why is that? Because you don't get the campaign with the initial buy in and without the campaign you're pretty much holding a choksi.
How much is the version with the campaign? $539
Yeah. If you want the "Full Monte", and really, if you plan on playing Invisible Sun I assume you want the Full Monte, it's $539. Not including shipping costs if you are outside the US.
Anyhow, did I mention stretch goals are NOT included at the basic $197 buy in?
They are at $539
Basically, if you are a fan of Monte without a significant amount of disposable cash to throw at this project, convince your gaming group to chip in. Oh, and Master the Black Cube is $1,475.
Obviously Monte has found a cash cow (as I write this, the project is just short of a quarter of a million dollars in funding). The question will be a long term one - will this project alienate the fans that can't come up with nearly 200 for the crippleware version (or $539 for the Full Monte)? Will it hurt the bottom line more than help? Numenera had over 4,600 backers. Invisible Sun is sitting at just under 900 at the moment. I'm going to guess when all is said and done, Invisible Sun will come in between 1800 and 2000 backers, less than half that of Numenera.