Current Kickstarters 4/15/2017

15 Apr 2017
Posted by jcfiala

I like crowdfunding. Especially Kickstarter.

I love the idea of it. It's hard to make something interesting and cool these days - it costs serious money to make something, even something that's not meant to be pernament, so why not come up with a way to let a lot of folks who are interested put in a little money to help make it happen? If you can't find 1000 fans to put in $10, then maybe you should try something else, and if you can find those thousand people - or two thousand, or five, then something really cool can happen.

I back creators on Patreon, and I've backed projects on Kickstarter since July of 2010, when I backed my first project - The One Page Dungeon Codex, Print Version. One page dungeons are interesting ideas - an entire adventure written up on one 8.5 x 11 page, map, encounters, background, a mix of art and presentation that ranges from the basic map and monsters to works of art depicting flying ships or characters in a mystery. (I've also backed occasional projects on IndieGoGo, but only a few.)

That was kickstarter #1, and I haven't slowed down since. Sure, there's been projects that haven't come through - sadly, these things happen - but I've apparently got enough of a feel for these things that I've not lost much on any project, and I think there's only 10 or so projects that I don't expect to deliver, out of more than 300 backed.

But enough on that - what I thought I'd do is list through some of the kickstarters I'm backing now and why. Maybe they'll be interesting to you!

Amsterdam Coffeeshops - a coffee table book by Andrew Looney - This isn't a book I'm backing, as I'm not really interested in Amsterdam coffeeshops, but Andrew Looney is also the game designer and head of Looney Labs, a game company that puts out some really interesting games, such as Pyramid Arcade, a set that was kickstarted last year. I put a dollar in to keep an eye on the project, which has happily funded. If you're interested in a qwirky book showing off the marijuana coffeeshops of Amsterdam, you could do worse than drop $40 on this, and since Andy Looney's already fulfilled one kickstarter, this one would be a safe one to back.

DCC Lankhmar - DCC is short of Dungeon Crawl Classics, a fantasty roleplaying game with an old-school feel. This project supplies rules and background for playing in Fritz Leiber's class world he used for his stories of Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser... it's something I've been looking forward to. Goodman Games was a bit slow on the last kickstarter by them that I backed, for the core rules and a bunch of free adventures, but what they produced was magnificent, and I'm curious to see what they're going to do next with this kickstarter. I've enjoyed Fritz Leiber's stories, too.

Every once in a while I back something not because I expect to get something from it, but because I think it's something that would be good to have done. The Mana Boardgame Tavern is one of those - I used to live in Pittsburgh, and I think the idea of a boardgame tavern there would be great. Sadly it's not doing very well - they don't seem to be promoting it much, and I don't think my five dollars will be collected. But who knows?

The Solar Grid is a graphic novel about space, and I found out about it from Warren Ellis' newsfeed, which was enough of a recommendation for me to back it. You can read the first three chapters of it online, so take a look! Sadly, this one's underfunded now as well, but there's still 18 days to go to pick up more support. Ganzeer, the creator of the book, is moving to Denver later this year, and I've been slipping him news about various indie comics events happening here.

Gloomhaven is a boardgame kickstarter success story already - the first kickstarter for this game raised $360,104 to print the game, which went on to great reviews (currently #7 on Board Game Geek) and there weren't a lot of copies to go around - 200% markup at least. So this second campaign for the dungeon game has now raised more than two million dollars for a game that's already been produced once. This game combines dungeon crawling action with euro mechanics, using legacy mechanics to show how characters advance through the game. Personally, I'm really excited to see it.

Monkey Minion Press' first kickstarter was for a children's book about scientists who changed the world, which I backed to get for my daughter. She's a little young for it so far, but it's a great book, with interesting art and summaries of the life of 20 different scientsts. Now they're back for Beyond: An Art Book of Mechanical Space Exploration, and I'm happy to back them a second time. This book concentrates on the machines used to explore space (manned and un-manned) such as Curiosity, Voyager, Mercury, Sputnik, and more, along with desriptions of what they did.

I have a weakness for interesting Tarot decks, and Kickstarter has not been helpful with controlling that weakeness. Kayti Welsh is creating her fourth deck through kickstarter, and 78 Tarot Astral is the third one she's created that I've backed. The really interesting thing about her decks isn't that she does a whole deck - instead, she gathers 78 different artists and has each of them do a different tarot card that matches the theme. You'ld think this could come out with a mess of different pictures, but she's really got a good handle on this - I was really fond of her 78 Tarot Carnival deck.

Bill Mantlo's best known creation is probably Rocket Racoon, but another of his creations is Swords of the Swashbucklers, a Marvel graphic novel and 12 issue follow-up series that features teenager Domino Blackthorne Drake who gains a strange power and then she joins an interstallar pirate crew. This reprint not only brings an interesting story back, but it will also help support Bill Mantlo, who was the victim of a tragic hit and run that's left him needing constant care. So, you both get a cracking good story and help support someone who needs it.

And finally there's MST3K - it's not being kickstartered right now, but it's something I supported at the tail end of 2015. Not only has it released the 14 episodes I backed to me, but they've been picked up by Netflix, and (depending on your country) the new episodes are available to subscribers to watch. Go take a look - Joel's said that the more folks who watch it through Netflix, the more likely that Netflix will decide to buy another season.

That's everything I'm backing right now. Take a look - there's a lot of good things here, I think. Later on I'm planning on going into some of my successes and failures when backing kickstarters, as well as a rundown of some of the cool Tarot decks I've collected.