Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Kickstarter Burnout?

It seems over recent months the whole Kickstarter phenomena, as it relates to the miniatures game has started to quiet down a little bit. There are still regular new Kickstarters but the hype that surrounded the vehicle early in the year appears to have died down.

Are we seeing some Kickstarter burnout? And if so, is this coming from the manufacturers or the customers?

It is hard not to get the impression that a lot of offerings that went to Kickstarter were in fact Business as Usual looking for some pre-sales to provide the working capital. I certainly would place the first Mierce Miniatures and the Reaper Bomes in this category. And you'd definitely place all the Mantic Kickstarters there. All these ranges were scheduled for production at some time but used Kicjstarter to accelerate the process.

That's not to say that this was always the case. I think that the Secret Weapons Miniatures "Tablescapes" is a good example of a project that wouldn't have occurred without Kickstarter.

But now we have the hangover. A lot of manufacturers have their design and manufacturing capacity taken up for the foreseeable future. And they have a customer base who expects large dollops of free miniatures as the cost if their support.

It is interesting that a lot of the heat has gone out of the sector as manufacturers have scaled back the freebies and stretch goals to something more realistic. A good example is the difference between the first and second Darklands offerings from Mierce. Both supported but I certainly think the first had more buzz because it offered the customer more.

The good thing is that we haven't seen a failure of a big Kickstarter. I have supported three - Mierce, Secret Weapon and Deadzone (terrain) - and they provide regular updates on progress. Mierce has delivered over 80% of what I've ordered and the rest is following their timeline. Expecting Tablescapes and Deadzone in the next few months.

As an observer I think there has been a lot of dross delivered under the Kickstarter e.g. Bones and pretty much the majority of the Mantic stuff but the purchasers got this at a decent price.

What will be interesting is to see what 2014 delivers and whether we ever hit a failure to deliver on a major Kickstarter.

I do think we are seeing signs of burnout in the vehicle as people reassess whether the 2013 model is sustainable.


  1. There has been one failure that I am aware of that had real potential as a game and that is rick Priestley's sci fi game that he as trying to get up off the ground called "Beyond the Gates of Antares". It got withdrawn with 2 weeks to go in its Kickstarter and wasn't even funded a third of what was needed. The minis that they showed all looked amazing, but it was based on a realistic what it would cost to fund the development of the full game rather than what CMoN, Wyrd, Mantic and others all do which is to develop a product to almost done level and then Kickstarter it.

    The other failure that I am aware of that is gaming related but not strictly speaking miniature creation related was Blue Table Paintings one.

    1. Yep, that was pretty much my understanding as well.

      The BTP Kickstarter was bizarre. It was to fund them to buy stock to have on hand to sell effectively for painting credits at little or no discount. The "upside" to the supporters (but not limited to them) was quicker turnaround times. Essentially it was an interest free loan that converted into work credits as far as I could see. Not surprised it failed.

    2. Pretty sure there was that big blow up on Tabletop Gaming News and Dakka about it as well. Mainly about the practices of BTP about the hiring of staff and taxes, so negative intonations about the business as a whole.

  2. Based on the amount the aliens vs predators kickstarter had flung at it, gamers will probably fling money at anything. Must be the manufacturers who are tired.

  3. There's a bit too much coming out which is rather matchy-matchy, so it does get kind of hard to get excited over yet another laser cut mdf scenery kickstarter. But some cool small companies are getting a boost which is always good to see and those smaller projects are what KS is designed for.

    I fully disagree on the dross call of Mantic's stuff thou Pete. Yes the new stuff does have its ups and downs but overall the Kings of War and Dreadball miniature ranges are pretty solid and the game systems are very, very good. And hard to complain when an army box costs less than a 10 model GW unit.

  4. So day after post, Tablescapes announces delays.

    KoW is very hit and miss IMO

  5. Check this out Pete quarter of a mil in one day!

    1. I have the original and the boys used to play it.

      Can't see myself supporting a Kickstarter for it. Also a little concerned about delays due to potential legal problems.

    2. And Heroquest KS suspended pending IP investigation