Tag Archives: Kickstarter

Mint Works PnP Alt Text

Mint Works: I know what I’m doing this weekend.

I know what I’ll be doing this weekend. I have my PnP copy of Mint Works and I’ll be playtesting some solo variant rules. The first stab at the rules looks interesting. How to compete against an opponent with infinite resources should be interesting. First to 7 points still applies. I’m eager to give this a shot.

Justin at Five24 Labs is doing a great job with the Kickstarter. Great communication. Great interaction with the backers. Very open to suggestions. The backers are actually informing some of the decisions by way of voting and polls. I do have one concern about one of the existing polls.

One of the stretch goals is for upgraded components (compon-mints? eh? eh? no?) .. okay, sorry. 🙂 So one of the stretch goals is for wooden or plastic “mint” tokens. Last I checked wood was winning the day. I get the appeal of wood, especially coming from a guy who spent hours in his dad’s woodshop growing up. But there are potential problems with the material.

I backed a project where you build trees for little tree spirit dudes to live in. I don’t want to mention the name because the company did a great job with the Kickstarter and it’s an alright little game. One of the component upgrades on that game was wooden disk tokens, which would be very similar to the size of the mints in Mint Works. These wooden disks had a pretty high rate of defect. Notches out of the wood. Shaved flat edges. General unevenness. Some reported getting tokens already broken in half. Quality control wasn’t there.

In the game I mentioned, these wooden tokens were just scoring tokens. Tokens that you were supposed to apply a sticker to. As you can imagine, uneven surfaces mean that the stickers don’t stay on for long. In any case, Mint Works wouldn’t require stickers but it would involve a much greater amount of handling. To that end, I believe plastic to be the much better solution.

Time will tell whether or not plastic or wood wins the vote, but Justin may find himself in the unenviable position of having to take a decision back from the backers and taking matters into his own hands for the good of his game.

What has this got to do with playtesting? Absolutely nothing. Does it dampen my enthusiasm at all? Not even a little. Everything I’ve seen leads me to think that Mint Works stands to be a great little introductory worker placement game that plays in no time at all. It is perfectly priced and I am very eager to see the end result of this campaign.

Crowdfunding and the Indie Author

Kickstarter and Indiegogo are two very prominent crowdfunding websites. If you’re unfamiliar with crowdfunding; the basic idea is that you lay out an idea for a project or product and basically ask folks to contribute financially to seeing the project through from concept to realization.

Fans of point-and-click adventure gaming are probably familiar with Tim Schafer’s work (Day of the Tentacle, Full Throttle, Grim Fandango). That particular style of game has become something of a niche these days, but Tim decided to test the vocal few who said they’d still buy one. He went to Kickstarter and asked for $400,000. The fans showed up and supported him. 87,142 people, in fact. They gave him the $400,000 he asked for and then an extra 2.9 million just to be sure.

Do you see? He asked for $400,000 and got $3,336,371 dollars.

I can tell I’m losing you. That’s great for video gamers, you’re thinking. How does this relate to books?

There is a young woman from Canada name Blake Northcott. She writes super hero type books. I enjoyed her first two books, Vs. Reality and Vs. Reality: Relapse. If you like super hero books with a little bit of an edgy twist, and you don’t mind a bit of salty language, you’ll probably really enjoy Blake’s books.

Apparently, you wouldn’t be alone.

Blake has a strong social media presence. Her @ComicBookGrrl twitter account has 23k+ followers. Her facebook page has a modest 1,337 likes and her Google+ page boasts 1,575 fans. Not bad, right?

If you noticed Blake’s twitter handle, you’d notice she’s also a fan of comic books. She got an idea to write a book about a superhero equivalent of The Hunger Games. That’s my summary of the concept, not hers.

In any event, she got the idea to write this book about super humans who come to compete in a death match. And then she thought, wouldn’t this book be even cooler if I could get some famous artists to do character drawings in my book? In order to get the level of talent she wanted, it was going to cost $6,500. That’s quite a budget for an Indie author.

So she took her idea to Kickstarter.

Blake asked for $6,500 and her readers came forward and handed her $35,353.

I have to believe these results are extraordinarily atypical. She got big name talent that folks familiar with comic books, and graphic novels, and even cartoons, would be familiar with. Their name, undoubtedly, helped elevate her own. Their names helped sell hers. But now she’s the girl that worked on this project with these folks who drew Batman, Spider-Man, Wolverine, X-Men and Superman.

She dreamed big. She knocked it out of the park.

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If money wasn’t an option, is there anything you would do with your writing that you haven’t done yet?

Being heard with our wallets…

I’ve never seen Veronica Mars, but I’ve heard great things about it. The guy who created the show, that ran 3 seasons BTW, decided to raise money on Kickstarter to do a movie. His goal was to raise 2 million in a month. He did it in a day. A single day. And the money is still pouring in. I’m excited for fans of the show.

Tim Schafer (of Double Fine Adventure Kickstarter fame) said it best:

“If you’ve ever been told that you are part of a niche market, when you were a kid and you had your favorite TV show cancelled or you hear about your favorite band being dropped by the label for not selling enough and you’ve just been like “Why does a big company get to choose what music I listed to or what movies I watch or TV shows I watch or what game I get to play?” Now you know, they can’t do that anymore. You can choose.”

That’s a pretty exciting position of power to be in. Crowdsourcing is a fantastic means by which to support the products and projects that we love. Hollyweird is a business, and so there is some risk in funding something that has the potential to bomb. That’s why we have 1,000 police shows, and 10,000 “reality” shows.

But the fans of Veronica Mars, and projects just like it, are literally extending their wallets (or purses) and begging SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY. Studios would be borderline brain dead to turn them away. With 29 days remaining, The Veronica Mars movie already has $2.6 million dollars in the “startup fund”.

Two point six million reasons to listen to reason. And that number is growing by the minute.

Are you intrigued by the possibilities? I sure am.

Now someone tell Joss Whedon to quit that Avengers TV show nonsense and get on making another Firefly movie. Or Netflix series. Or anything that gives us the further adventures of Mal, Zoe, Jayne, River, etc. Hell, I’ll take a Firefly novel written/co-written by Joss and writers from the show.. but I digress.

Mr. Fillion, I am a big fan of the show Castle. But I will accept your resignation if it’ll place you back onboard your beloved firefly class transport, Serenity.

So congratulations fans of Veronica Mars. It looks like your movie is a sure thing.

I think I can speak for all Browncoats when I say:

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What about you? What cancelled show would you crowd fund?