So, how 'bout them Kickstarters?
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Thread: So, how 'bout them Kickstarters?

  1. #1

    Default So, how 'bout them Kickstarters?

    So, I decided to do a bit of snooping around on KS to see if there was anything worth putting monies into. CMONers have been great about posting news on fantastic looking Kickstarter minis- but I've always waited because either 1) The deals would give a ton of figures I'm not interested in addition to the ones I want or B) I did not think the cost/ time/ quality was worth it.
    Anyways, in browsing the word Miniature in KS, I've gotten a lot of projects. Luckily, most of them have to do with figures and not Miniature Poodle breeders or whatnot. One thing I noticed from my background into Graphic/Advertising Design that grates on my nerves is that most do not have anything related directly to their product on the small intro screen from the search feature. Yes, you've got talented artists doing your stuff.. what am I getting into? I realize you may not have products finished, but show concept art or something!
    Anyhoo, here's some highs and lows I thought I'd share-
    Flying Assault Butts Yeah, you read that right. Worst of all, this is a fully funded project... I guess some kid just HAS to have a squad of flatulent death for WH40K
    Tin Man Miniatures It's too bad I didn't hear about this sooner, or I'd be in. I've read almost all the John Carter of Mars series and these are by far the best representations from the book I've seen... they may be the only ones, but still the quality is very good in my opinion. Luckily, if you're a die-hard sci-fi Rice Burroughs guy like I am, the company has them for sale on their site: Lost Worlds minis by Tin Man Also a kewl Rocketeer, Tarzan, and Cave girl there.
    Imbrian Arts These guys are funded as well and also look pretty good. To me it's not only a preference to see actually sculpted minis vs computer sculpted but it helps immensely when you've got a good sculptor doing your work like this!
    Dominion of the Gods KS another unsuccessfully funded project that I thought looked good sculpt-wise. Maybe too many people want to make their own game and that has more challenges than simply putting out minis. Oh, well- the Cyclops is available on their site, but I wish some of the others were, too.

    Well, that's what I saw that stood out to me- amazing that most of the ones that get put up on CMON get funded in the first few days (if not hours). But when you're Reaper minis and tell everyone about it, it's no surprise. Let's be considerate to the little guys though and get the word out to them that CMON is probably a good choice to advertise on!
    (Chrispy is not affiliated with any of the above mini companies and sometimes refers to himself in third person.)

  2. #2

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    It's the only pitfall of the KS'. Fragmentation of the market. Look what happened with Hanger 18's Pinups KS. That one was sweet and I hope they relaunch soon. And though I'm sure I'll be virtually stoned for supporting GW, but none of this would even be possible if GW hadn't gotten us all addicted in the first place. Let's face it; they are the gateway drug of tabletop gaming and mini painting - even to this day.
    "Remember, you can't spell paint without a little pain."

    Blog: almostperftec.blogspot.ca
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  3. #3

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    When I buy stuff I want to:
    - buy the items I want and not a shed load of other stuff, regardless of how cheap they are
    - know what I'm buying, what it looks like, what the quality is like
    - get the stuff now, after reasonable shipping time, and not in six months or a year
    - be able to get quality issues dealt with swiftly and not after six months or a year not knowing exactly what was promised in the first place

    There are plenty of companies and good sculptors selling products that actually exist. I think that is a much healthier way of doing business.
    Combibo vestri peniculus quod fio a melior pictor.
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  4. #4

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    I'd like to see a whitelist of smaller companies who deliver their product on time, don't run a second KS until after completing the first one, etc. I'm reading too many threads about small company delays and other problems that are pushing towards skipping them altogether.

  5. #5

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    Yeah, but it seems like delays are just part of the kickstarter process. If you're a small company and you have a successful kickstarter (bring in much more than your goal) it means all of a sudden you have to produce a lot more product that you were planning. Tough to deliver that on time without factoring in all the outside people you have to deal with and delays that might not directly be your fault. When I sign on to a KS (and I've done quite a few), I generally assume I'll get my minis/game/etc within 1-2 months of the estimated date. But really, as long as they deliver a high quality product, I can live with almost any delay. We've all got piles of unpainted figures to work on. I can just paint something else while I wait.

    By the way, I'm not saying people don't have a right to be angry if projects are delayed. I'm just saying if you do, expect to be frustrated by 80-90% of the kickstarters that are out there.


    Oh, and just to add to Chrispy's list here are some of my favorites:
    Arena Rex - A mix of history, mythology, and fantasy with really fantastic sculpts. I'm amazed at how closely some of the 3-D versions match the 2-D concept art. It's delayed but with the quality they're showing I don't mind.
    Morland Studios - Figures based on the art of Howard Dave Johnson, so female figures with a mythology/fairy tale theme. This one just barely made it but managed to deliver early (almost unheard of from a kickstarter!)
    Red Box Games - Very cool fantasy figures with a lot of character to them. This is a company that's had some rocky times with early kickstarters but it looks like he finally got most of the issues worked out with this last one. I'd expect more from them in the future.
    Journey - Another game but with some very cool eastern themed figures. This one is still going and I'm looking forward to seeing what else they add to the project
    and
    Kingdom Death - This one is definitely different. Odds are you'll love it or you'll hate it. Another project that hit a delay but with a huge core of loyal fans no one is complaining very loudly.

  6. #6

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    Im very fascinated with Kickstarters. The only problem i forsee with a new company, is that a lot of time and financial resources have to go into the project before its even launched. If you have a sculptor working for free with the understanding that they will be paid in full when the Kickstarter is successful, or if you are a sculptor doing the sculptures yourself, i see it being pulled off on a virtually non-existent budget. But without that, all you would be able to show is 2D concept designs, without an actual finished product.

    I can understand people being hesitant to fund something without knowing what the finished product is going to look like.

  7. #7

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    I'm not surprised Kingdom Death slipped. When you ask for $35,000 and get $2,000,000+, the scope is so hugely different than originally anticipated that delays are pretty much guaranteed.

  8. #8

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    - delays hardly come as a surprise when companies (particularly new and/or small ones) have a lot more success than they expect - just as an example (and on a personal bias since I was part of the sculpting team for Fenris Games who did the figures for it ), Cthulhu Wars http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/...0/cthulhu-wars by Green Eye Games did way better than their small venture expected - $40,000 goal, $1,403,981 actually brought in!
    From what I understand they were hoping to produce a single prototype of the game to take to prospective investors: the excess that came in essentially allowed them the opportunity to fully produce the game - meaning that they had to go from the scope of a single product, to sudden mass-production, with all the additional costs and processes involved thereby having to be taken on board and likewise accounted for in terms of time. Not least of this was the commissioning of many more miniatures, which of course added more time to the intended deadline - so not surprisingly this will all amount to delays on the finish/delivery date.
    Part of the problem is the entitlement-culture that has sprung up around crowdfunders, with an expectation for more 'free stuff' as and when the project goes above and beyond its goals, such that the folks running the things feel compelled to give out more items/tokens/etc. with every stretch goal achieved. There were an awful lot of comments on the CW project along the lines of " - I think Green Eye Games should definitely be able to give us more (of whatever, for free) considering how much extra they made on the goal-amount"
    It's an unfortunate, but I suppose understandable side-effect...
    Last edited by snuurg, sculptor; 12-23-2013 at 12:10 PM.
    ...I am the thing that darkness fears...

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by snuurg, sculptor View Post
    Part of the problem is the entitlement-culture that has sprung up around crowdfunders, with an expectation for more 'free stuff' as and when the project goes above and beyond its goals, such that the folks running the things feel compelled to give out more items/tokens/etc. with every stretch goal achieved. There were an awful lot of comments on the CW project along the lines of " - I think Green Eye Games should definitely be able to give us more (of whatever, for free) considering how much extra they made on the goal-amount"
    It's an unfortunate, but I suppose understandable side-effect...
    I think this is due to the attitudes of most Americans nowadays.. Like giving out little league trophies even if your team didn't win one game. But I also think that if you're going to go ahead and change your production from what was originally intended, the backers should have some kind of notification, which seems to be one of the problems with KS's after they're done. Heck, from some of the feedback messages from the CMON KS's to some people it feels like companies are taking your money and running.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chrispy View Post
    Heck, from some of the feedback messages from the CMON KS's to some people it feels like companies are taking your money and running.
    - well yeah, with some of the monies being generated it must be a temptation to those involved, and likewise a source of worry for the backers :/
    ...I am the thing that darkness fears...

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by snuurg, sculptor View Post
    There were an awful lot of comments on the CW project along the lines of " - I think Green Eye Games should definitely be able to give us more (of whatever, for free) considering how much extra they made on the goal-amount"
    It's an unfortunate, but I suppose understandable side-effect...
    I've seen this on quite a few kickstarters. Don't get me wrong, I love free stuff just like everyone else. But all that 'extra' money also has to produce the extra items ordered plus pay for setup of whatever new figures or goals they have. If the amount of money a kickstarter brings in doubles, you can be pretty sure the number of games/figures/whatever they have to produce also doubles.

    Because people are paying months before they get the product and are taking a certain amount of risk that the creator will deliver what is promised, most kickstarters give backers a discount along with the occasional free item and perhaps exclusive items as well. That seems fair. But people see all this money that's being raised and don't realize how much of it is going to actually make the product. There are lots of people to pay... artists, manufacturers, KS and paypal take their cut, plus all that 'free' shipping. Seems like a lot of project creators are lucky to just break even by the end of it all. There's a limit to just how much they can give away for free.

  12. #12

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    I am having trouble with my pledge at reaper bonus 2

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bailey03 View Post
    There are lots of people to pay... artists, manufacturers, KS and paypal take their cut, plus all that 'free' shipping. Seems like a lot of project creators are lucky to just break even by the end of it all. There's a limit to just how much they can give away for free.
    Exactly! By the sounds of it Kingdom Death should be lucky to break even and (at best) will just come out with a small profit. This will most likely be re-invested back into the project anyway. When you consider that the mould costs for their Dragon King sprue will be upwards of $60,000 (as I recall) it's no surprise. When they've made $2m on a Kickstarter they haven't quite walked away with $2m, they've just had $2m worth of orders to fulfill! Rather them than me, sounds like a lotta work!
    Quote Originally Posted by A Luna View Post
    Consider yourself quoted!

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by moonmin82 View Post
    Exactly! By the sounds of it Kingdom Death should be lucky to break even and (at best) will just come out with a small profit. This will most likely be re-invested back into the project anyway. When you consider that the mould costs for their Dragon King sprue will be upwards of $60,000 (as I recall) it's no surprise. When they've made $2m on a Kickstarter they haven't quite walked away with $2m, they've just had $2m worth of orders to fulfill! Rather them than me, sounds like a lotta work!
    don't get me wrong here i do understand the logic put across about the 2 million dollars of orders but they do also still have 2 million dollars i'm not saying that is all profit but lets not forget the benefits to a company having a large working capital at start up if that 2 million had just been on the basic game only then yes they would have made a much higher profit as the workaround would be much simpler than what they have gone on to do some of these projects like kingdom death already had a lot of design already taken care of before the project started and just needed retooling to change from resin/metal minis to plastic yes this still costs money but not the same as designing a new mini from scratch and nor will each new mold cost 60k either

    that said regardless of whether every customer bought 1 of every mini or just one mini all the molds still need to be made and x amount of each mold needs to be cast up by y date along with all the printed stuff too like packaging and then there is the logistics of mailing all that stuff on a global scale too i am far from saying it is an easy feat especially as has been pointed out with projects that have grown way beyond their creators expectations i don't honestly think the size of the company has anything to do with the delays from my experience with kickstarters either the smaller companies if anything seem more committed to meeting their deadlines rather than face the backlash despite the impact it can take on their lives i saw an fb post recently from one kickstarter creator that was just a couple of weeks late on fulfilling shipping on his project purely because he was a one man operation when it came to the packing side and why did the delays happen? his step son had to go through two surgeries because of crohn's disease and even with that it was still only a 2-3 week delay sorry but if something like that had happened to me during a project i'm pretty sure the delay would have been much bigger he didn't even use it as an excuse he said nothing about it until the last order had shipped because it was the difference between personal and business life granted the two can't always be seperate but all respect to them for keeping it together through all that as a small business then you look at cool mini or not's projects yes by their estimation they are still a small company but by that of your average kickstarter they are a full fledged corporation with tried and tested staff and methods and these are the projects with the delays of a year or longer rather than just 2 or 3 weeks and rather than the lack of communication being about real life unexpected problems but end up seeming completely unprofessional like with the relic knights debacle all those updates saying about expected delivery dates seemed completely pointless more so the ones saying they fully expect the product to be leaving their warehouse at the end of december back in november only to release one part way through december saying they are just about to start production err yeah as a customer i don't feel like i have had smoke blown up my arse for months on end

    it is understandable that with the growth of a project delays will happen but being up front about them is going to cause less problems something kingdom death has done well compared to the cmon projects mr poots' transparency about his project has helped to calm the waters no end

    sorry went off on a bit of a tangent there but going back to the money and to recap yes it is 2 million of orders but there is still 2 million cash no it isn't all profit and no it likely won't be much profit if any at the point of shipping but is that really surprising? it is crowd source funding it is the equivalent of a bank loan are businesses profitable the moment they have recieved a bank loan? no are they profiting the moment they have fulfilled orders to the amount of the initial loan? no business just doesn't work that way so why do it? that 2 million has bought x amount of molds packaging etc produces y number of games miniatures and their ilk and created demand from z customers that doesn't mean much i am sure but they now don't have to worry about selling y number of minis to pay of the cost x number of molds by predicting what the response of z will be without over reaching they have transparency themselves they can see the costs the returns and have everything set out clearly for them there they can also at the same time use that inital funding to future proof their company part of the reason for stretch goals to not just add new products to a line as many companies as we have seen with kickstarters will hold back production lines for after the kickstarter to continue revenues something that has been more than evident with relic knights and even kingdom death these would be much harder to do without those large working capitals that have come from kickstarters as it adds more to the equation it is no longer as simple as having to sell y number of minis to z customers to pay for x molds but you now need to sell more of them to fund the production and design of new molds for new products too it can take a lot longer to do that if a mold is 60k and the mini is selling for $60 dollars say that is 1000 sales needed to pay for that mold not counting cost of materials packaging logistics and then add in the retailers cut out of the retail price too lets say it takes double to do that that is 2000 sales to get to a break even point on that one mold that doesn't pay for the next mold or it's production run design or packaging logistics and retailer cut that last mold at that point is profitable now though it is paid for

    i'm sure this still doesn't mean much to many but from a business point of view before that next product is designed that mold is making them money now at just the cost of materials and logistics (transport retailer cut) so x can come out of the equation and it is just y minis being sold to z customers that is what a kickstarter has done it has given the creators the chance to work things out without over complicating the initial productions with one side heavy equations that need balancing if kingdom death monsters for example out of that 2 million has made even a little profit that is awesome because they have at the moment of release a huge product line a staunch customer base and a large number of ready produced minis ready to ship to retailers too it isn't just 2 million dollars worth of orders or a 2 million working capital it is a 2 million investment in the future we don't know what the companies operation costs are for a year it is none of our business after all nor do we know what they will be in future years but for an example in 1976 apple inc received funding of 250k in their first year an eighth of what kingdom death got from the kickstarter and they were only producing one product back then 37 years later they have 80,000 staff with an equity of near 124 billion

    to make light of that 2 million because they aren't making much profit now is short sighted i'd be more worried if a company claimed they were making a profit straight out of a kickstarter as that isn't the point of them they are a starting point for future profits not a retail outfit i know to us customers we see them as a pre-order system at the moment but to a company it is a whole different kettle of fish

    as for the freebies er you are paying for them nothing is free if you have to give money to get it, it's just a discounted rate calling it free is just a marketing gimmick as the word attracts more people in than discount does if they offered a discount across the board on all products they wouldn't sell nearly as many of each as they would if they said so many out of those over all products were free if you spend x amount i didn't work it out for kingdom death but with relic knights it was something like $5 per mini (including the larger ones) average price if you bought one of all the minis available when retail price on a character in metal was something like $10 a mini so it was atleast a 50% discount on current at the time retail price where as if you counted the free minis you got for that out of the total number of minis you got it was only something like 30% again only if you bought on of everything if you did the smaller pledges with minimum free stuff it was something like 15% but discount was still about 40% off rrp and the values of the free minis were much lower than that of the ones you were buying anyway so i can't say it makes a difference much in whether there are more freebies or not as the company knows they need x investment before that discount is feasible the ratios seem to balnce out though between mini kickstarters it is usually one freebie for every 2 paid for upgrades (there is that 50% discount again if you look close) some again just choose to manage their freebies better than others in marketing the amount of free pieces of cardboard with zombicide season 2 was immense yes i am going to give you all this money extra for exclusive minis and then you give me more free cardboard :/ then you look at prodos's avp kickstarter where there was still free cardboard but even the basic boxed game backers (£75) ended up with atleast £65 in free miniatures added to that by the end of the campaign none of which were core set upgrades i.e. what was in the box at the beginning of the kickstarter was pretty much the same at the end of the kickstarter it does irk me a little seeing many boxed game kickstarters suddenly adding this "extra" thing to a boxed game as a stretch goal something cmon did more than a few times with daft stretch goals like upgraded cardstock or swapping card counters for plastic ones these are a priority of investment of the customers money honest we didn't think they were essential to the game when we didn't have your money and chances are as a customer you will never see the difference in this upgrade as it hasn't cost you any more we just couldn't think of a better stretch goal for you and can't think of better ways to spend your money on our product despite all of you giving your input to us on things like extortionate postage costs

    that $165 dollar postage for international customers buying one of everything on relic knights becomes more and more of a sore point when you look at other companies being able to do postage for just as big a package for just $15 cheers cmon

  15. #15

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    Holy crap, cyber - did you lose your comma and full stop keys or what? The English teacher in me is curled up in a ball, quietly sobbing...
    "Facts are the impregnable bulwark that stands between us and the insidious evil of bullsh*t." - Pikey, over on Nagoyahammer

  16. #16

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    i'm sure the english teacher in you really thought "awesome that saves me having to write a comprehension exercise out".

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