Some time ago I wrote about a Kickstarter I was backing Mass Transit IV Maps and More. I was really excited following the project, seeing him reach his goal and the stretch goals. Once the project was funded Christopher West was terrific with his updates and soon backers began to receive the digital copies of the maps in PDF.
I was very pleased to be a backer. The ship, variants, and other tiles in digital form alone made it worth it. Then about a month ago I got the package in the mail. About a week later I opened the envelope and explored the content… Why a week later? Believe me it was NOT a comment on the quality. The fact that I had seen the files in digital form alleviated some of the anxiety, but I was simply too busy with RL to stop and enjoy the maps.
When I finally did I was NOT disappointed. I backed the project at a level where I got the Mass Transit IV map, the Deck Space poster map with tiles, the Alien Starship tile set, the Railway Station tiles and a pair of dice. You can see in the picture the whole content in the envelope. They were well protected and arrived in pristine condition.
The tiles and maps were of excellent quality, and offer great combinations to set up various setting for your sci-fi game. The main attraction the Nova Eclipse looks great and is an awesome ship to use as a transport for a group of adventurers. The ship would be perfect for any game from Star Wars, to Traveller to Savage Worlds. I am itching to use it. A plus, the map’s docking port side matches up with the artist’s other maps to create a giant docking port. What can I say? Got to have them all!
My one complaint is that the maps and tiles are not laminated. I was aware of this when I pledged to support the project and I am not complaining because of quality. The maps and tiles are glossy and durable, I accidentally placed my map on a wet table, noticed right away and wiped it clean and the map was undamaged. I won’t recommend getting it wet but the material is durable. I just wish they were laminated like the Paizo Flip-Mats. Even if they were a little more expensive, I would love to be able to write on the map with markers. Mr. West, take my money! That notwithstanding, I am really happy with the maps and tiles. If you like anything you see in this post they are available at the Maps of Mystery store.
I must admit that there is one thing that baffles me about the maps, the color border on some of the squares. Some are red, others yellow, and I have tried to figure if they signify what squares you can and cannot cross, or maybe the color is selected so the borders of each square can be defined. Maybe it’s a miniature game thing. I do not mind the lines; I just have NO idea what it means! Anybody know?
Kickstarter and other crowdfunding platforms have become quite popular recently. A lot of RPG publishers and designers have adopted Kickstarter and other crowdfunding services to raise money for their products. I have backed a couple of projects on both Kickstarter and IndieGoGo and overall I am quite happy how things turned out so far.
But alas where there is light there’s also darkness. Some time ago I had a post called “How not to run a Kickstarter to fund your RPG”, where I gave some examples of what I consider big no-noes. You also might have heard about the problems the people behind the upcoming iOS/Android game “Star Command”. After paying for the backer rewards and taxes they basically had not much money left to actually make the game. It looks like they managed to get back on track after all, but there’s some real risk that a badly planned crowdfunding effort might stop a project instead of actually kickstart it.
Another problem I’ve seen is that there are sometimes issues with fulfilling the promises made. What we backers often forget is that there’s always a risk involved when be back a project. If the project starter fails to fulfill his or her promises or takes the money and runs, we can’t do much about it. Especially when it comes to bonus goals things can become frustrating quickly. I know of one Kickstarter project that has ended almost a year ago where people are still waiting for the stuff promised when the bonus goals have been reached. A lack of recent updates isn’t making thing easier either.
But not getting some bonus stuff promised is not as bad as when over the year after the fundraiser has ended people are still waiting for the release of the game they helped to fund even though it was supposedly done (aside from layout and printing) when the crowdfunding started.
Of course we never know what went wrong in these cases. In most cases it’s probably not ill will of the people involved but just bad planning, personal issues or health issues that got in the way or what we would call “force majeure”. But with every Kickstarter you support there’s a certain risk that even if it meets its goals the backers might not get what they hoped for.
That’s something we should always keep in mind when putting our hard-earned money on the table. Don’t get me wrong, I totally love the idea of crowdfunding but we have to keep in mind that there’s always risk involved. It’s not as if you have a legally binding contract with the project starter. You basically donate money to a cause with limited to no influence on the outcome.
A couple of days ago I first heard about New Fire, a pen & paper RPG project on Kickstarter. That in itself is nothing special, because raising money on Kickstarter to fund your RPG has become quite common lately. What sets New Fire apart is its unique setting.
Jason Carminsky has created a fantasy RPG inspired by the history and mythology of the great Mesoamerican civilizations. The game is actually done and will be about 300 pages long. But one vital component is still missing: artwork. The goal of the Kickstarter projectis to raise enough money for artwork for New Fire. Luckily the goal of $3000 has been reached already and now the stretch goal is set at $6000 which are needed to commission color artwork.
I asked Jason if he was interested in answering a couple of questions for us and he was more than happy to do so.
Continue reading New Fire Interview