Friday, March 13, 2015

The Banishment of Type III - IV - V and VI Kickstarters

It was two and a half years ago when I dropped a friendly plug for the Center Stage Miniatures Demon and Devil Kickstarter.   The entry points for pledges seemed low and the opportunity to get Julie Guthrie figs was a plus.  Not having the funds nor the interest for such a line, I forgot about it and it faded into obscurity.  

That is, until today, when an onimous thread in TMP came up.  Instead of summerizing, I'll just drop the timeline.

October 2012 - Demon and Devils blows the goal out of the water.  March 2013 expected fulfillment

March 2013 - D&D is initially scheduled to be delivered (but without reading the comments, delays are announced and largely unavoidable on the minis project, another Kickstarter is launched with a June 2013 delivery date.  Still reach 4x it's original goal.

May 2013 - Still no KS 1 or KS 2 in sight, instead another giant project with a December release date.  Makes 8x it's initial goal.

October 2013 - It appears that some of the Demon and Devils is trickling out the door, and most of the smaller ($4k) second Kickstarter is processing.

March 2014 - A year and a half after the first Kickstarter was successfully funded, a fourth campaign is successfully conducted, WITH PRODUCT STILL OWED ON THE FIRST ONE!.  It reaches 4x it's original goal.  December 2014 Release.

March 2015 - News swirls that the owner of Center Stage Miniatures is in the process of filing for bankruptcy.  After 30 months and over $210,000 raised, there is nothing to show for it.

I've read through the some comments on Kickstarter and other sites, and beyond the normal troubles and tribulations of a company robbing Paul's second kickstarter to pay for Peter's first, I have one thought.

The pledges on KS III and IV are freakin' morons.   Pledging $100 to a brand-new company with no track record and thousands of promises for KS I is sheer lunacy.  Even a company like Reaper has issues during their Bones drive, but had the finances and infrastructure to weather.   Some random dude with some nice sculpts?  Guaranteed to be unreliable.

By the time you get to the 3rd and 4th campaigns, unless you're one of the lucky ones who physically received some of your rewards, why would you pledge one red cent for more, much less hundreds of dollars.  I feel zero sympathy for people claiming they lost three, four, or even eight hundred dollars. 

When the Scavengers Kickstarter finishes this weekend, I have supported eight campaigns with pledges over $1, and I have only spent $270.   My Reaper and RAFM debacles aside, the only one that I question if it may show up is the Lost Pyramid RPG book, and that campaign just ended last week and have had solid progress updates.

When it comes to campaigns, one run by a well-established company with significant delays(Palladium, Steve Jackson, RAFM, and Reaper) you know you are going to receive something, and when you do, it was well worth the wait.   There is often a disconnect between the old-school business model and new school techniques needing to get the product out.

I am disturbed by how many of these fly-by-knight third tier organizations can't even spell out their expenses on the project, and how the few that do are so pie-in-the-sky that I can only giggle.

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