New Maki Games Renders

Over on Kickstarter, Maki Games have put up some new renders of their scenery sets. If they don’t make you go all funny in your hobby spot then you’re just not having enough fun with your hobby.
There’s about 56 hours to go (at time of posting) so if you fancy helping them hit the £60k mark then click here.

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Dying Star Oblivion Giveaway

Yesterday I wrote a little bit about the Dying Star Oblivion Kickstarter from Superfluid Industries. Not being one to leave you lot alone with an idea I’ve been a busy bee in an effort to make this game the success it deserves to be.

As such, I’m very excited to announce that, in association with Superfluid Industries and Samsun Lobe I have nothing less than the Dying Star trilogy of novels to give away signed by the man himself.

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And just to sweeten the deal, Samsun, being the thoroughly nice chap that he is, has offered to personalise the signing to which ever lucky bastard wins.

All you need to do to get your hands on this fantastic set of books is answer the following question.

What is the signature solo force for the Merthurian Horde?

The answer can be found on the Dying Star Oblivion Kickstarter page. And heck, if you fancy pledging to get your hands on some pretty sexy toys, then why not?

To enter complete the form below, including your name, email address, Twitter feed if you want, and the answer.

A winner will be announced on Friday the 14th June 2013 so get over to the site and get entering.

Ts & Cs:

All entries must be received by midnight UK time Friday 14th June 2013 after which a single winner will be chosen.

1 entry per person.

1 winner will be chosen and notified by email.

No discussion will be entered into, my decision is final.

The prize may not be exchanged for its cash value or an alternative.

Dying Star Oblivion on Kickstarter

Another a week and another wargaming kickstarter I hear you say. Well yes, but we at The Shell Case don’t showcase any old tat; we have a far more sophisticated palate and so only waggle our searchlight on the shiniest and face mangiest of games.

This time it’s the turn of Dying Star Oblivion from Superfluid Industries based on the fantasy novels by Samsun Lobe.

For the uninitiated here’s the blurb from the first novel:

As the life-giving star, Shu, slowly makes its transition from a white to a black dwarf it changes the ocean planet of Gebshu and its moon beyond all recognition.

We follow Var of the Enki ocean tribe as he is thrust into a world he is struggling to understand. As Var battles against the elements, the unstable Emperor sends his two sons on a treacherous mission. We follow the characters as they encounter strange creatures, ancient races and each other. 

The bloody and violent action unfolds as the prophecy becomes entwined with Var’s destiny. Through his actions he will unknowingly decide the fate of the fading system.

Needless to say much crunching of heads and manging of faces ensues. And best of all you get to do it on a table top now. Huzzah I hear you shout.

Dying Star Oblivion looks so rather sexy. And, more importantly, it seems to be something a bit different. There’s not shortage of skirmish games out at the moment, each offering something unique but at the end of the day how much originality can there be when probability and dice are involved? Sometimes you just have to look at the premise and the toys and say ‘that makes me hot and hard’. DS: O is 28mm Techno Fantasy game and with its hugely differing tech levels and cultures it’s promising some very diverse factions with units and styles of play to match.

The Enki Anchorman

Granted it has the compulsory dwarf like blokes and something that looks a bit like a Chaos warrior, but as it has the bloke above and the critter below, so I’ll forgive it.

Kekken Murmur

Personally I’m really excited about this game. I like that it’s based on a trilogy of books and that the author is supporting it whole heartedly. It’ll only mean a continual enriching of the canon and new and exciting models, scenarios and campaigns which means it won’t stagnate. I like the premise of a far distant future in which technology has been lost, abandoned or forgotten so what little tech remains is jealously guarded or barely understood. I also like the fact that you can, if you so choose, play a small game on a 2×2 foot board or go all out on a 6×4 foot board.

I really think this project has legs so get your muscular butts over to the Dying Star Oblivion Kickstarter page and give them all your money.

An Interview with Maki Games

Yesterday I put up a post talking about the Maki Games kickstarter. A modular scenery system that, frankly, looks freaking awesome. In fact I was so impressed I got in touch with them and ended up doing an interview with the man behind the vision; Emiliano.

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TSC: Emiliano, thank you so much for taking time out to speak with me. For the uninitiated who are Maki Games and what are they all about?

MG: Maki Games is a startup company with a simple idea in mind: to improve the quality of wargaming. This means not only better accessories and terrain elements to expand the ones already available in the market but also innovative gaming paradigms for some projects that are in development. I work in the sciences as a researcher but wargaming has been a hobby for several years. So I decided to combine my skills with my hobby to create something new.

TSC: Science driven wargaming? Love it. The Maki Games terrain system is multipart and modular but what sets it apart from the other terrain systems out there?

MG: The aim of our terrain system is to be modular, for real. Not just modular in the sense that each building can be combined with other buildings from our line, but modular in itself.

Each terrain element has the potential to be assembled in several ways and to be combined with all the other terrain elements, like Lego but far more detailed! Since it won’t need glue it will be possible to assemble it every time in a different way, allowing to have a different battlefield each game. We stretched this concept as far as making double faced terrain. Instead of building elements with details on only one side, as often happens, the double side allows the same terrain element to be assembled as two totally different buildings.

Wargaming is so much more than just playing a game with friends. Wargaming leaves space for creativity and we want to provide our customers with the most flexible product seen so far. Something they can build and rebuild each time they play.

TSC: That sounds incredible. Tell us a little bit about you and your background in wargaming.

MG: The entire team is made up of wargamers, except for our engineer who just started. Personally I have been involved in wargaming for more than 20 years. I used to play Warhammer 40k and participated in several national tournaments in Italy. For a couple of years I managed a gaming club and organized a Qualifier Tournament for Games Workshop in 2000. Then I moved to other games like Warmachine and Infinity, but I play several different wargames and RPGs. In the past 10 years I slowly drifted to collecting rare and painted miniatures. Now I have a decent collection.

My co-founder is a wargamer too. If I recall correctly he won a few national tournaments of Warhammer Fantasy and has been in the wargaming scene for even longer than me.

TSC: There’s some strong credentials there. What prompted you to take the business on to Kickstarter?

MG: A kickstarter is the best way to start a business in this sector. It helps to speed up the production of a full line of terrain elements and gives great visibility to emerging companies. If you have a good product a kickstarter seems the best way to start.

TSC: It’s certainly worked for you guys which is great. With so many companies producing scenery from resin and, more recently, laser-cut MDF, what prompted you to use hard plastics?

MG: As one of the co-founders of Maki Games I think state of the art technology allows for far better scenery elements than the currently available ones. I personally love resin for its detail but I hate working with it as a modeller. We wanted something easy to assemble, easy to convert and very very detailed. I personally converted miniatures in metal, resin and plastic and I have to say plastic is the best. You can do so many different things with it and the effort required to achieve a great result is minimal compared to the other materials.

Plastic scenery will be lighter than their MDF and resin counter parts. The possibility of unassembling them will optimize the space to store them. All considered, except for the high costs to make the moulds, plastic is much better. It is not a case that all the companies are slowly moving to plastic for their miniatures.

TSC: You’re right about resin. Nasty stuff. So, what were some of the challenges you faced in developing your terrain system?

MG: Many different challenges. Building a team of developers able to work efficiently was the first challenge. It sounds easy before you actually start working under pressure, but trust me if I say it is probably the most difficult part of the whole project. Creating a modular system is much more complex than just doing one building at a time. We had to make sure parts from different terrain could be modular with each other. This is a very time-consuming process. I have a background in science and I can tell it is a complex problem needing both global and local optimization steps. Luckily it is not as complex as the problems I currently facing in my scientific research.

TSC: Sounds like you get to grips with it very well. Something so many have tripped on in the past. Your kickstarter is already a success with the project being funded almost twice over. What will the extra funds allow you to do?

MG: The extra funds will allow us to produce several terrain elements at the same time. Without the kickstarter we would have started with one product and we’d have to wait for that product to sell before releasing the next. Now we can market several ones simultaneously. This clearly helps us to increase the quality and quantity of the current and future products.

TSC: It’s great that the kickstarter will make such a difference. I was really impressed with the three sets that will be available, offering something for pretty much all modern and sci-fi gamers. How did you settle on those designs?

MG: As I said I collect basically all the most popular games and as a collector of painted miniatures from world famous painters I developed a taste for quality. We had several different sketches and 3D models for each terrain element. We usually discuss internally the pros and cons of each element until we reach an agreement. For some designs, like the sci-fi elements, I had the final word in order to have something closer to my own vision of the line. For the Gothic theme we relied more on my co-founder who has more experience with that.

TSC: What would you like to do next with Maki Games? Would fantasy scenery be on the cards or would you look to expand on the existing range?

MG: First of all we want to deliver the rewards of this Kickstarter as soon as possible, so we will focus on this for the coming months. After that we have a couple of kickstarters in line and at least one of them won’t be sci-fi.

TSC: Nice. Finally, what one piece of terrain would you love to take a pop at creating if given the chance?

MG: Oh, so many…but having to choose one, I would say an add-on to expand our sci-fi terrain into a city like those described by Philip K. Dick in Blade Runner. By the way…I have plans for that one too!

TSC: That sounds incredible. Might have to get me one of those. Emiliano it’s been a huge pleasure. Good luck with the kickstarter and Maki Games as a whole.

If you want to pledge on the Maki Games kickstarter page it has 13 days left. It’s a fantastic looking enterprise and one that could really shake up gaming boards everywhere.

Maki Games on Kickstarter

I have very mixed feelings about Kicksarter, Indiegogo and crowd funding in general. Mantic and other established companies have been using it as a pre-order system and a cash camel for a while now which is choking off funding for other smaller companies and start-ups that deserve the money but get overshadowed by a ‘sure thing’.

However, there are a few kickstarters that do get noticed and do get the funding they deserve. One such endeavour is Maki Games and their modular scenery kickstarter.

Quite frankly, this stuff looks the absolute, gold-plated, diamond encrusted, tits. Aside from being staggeringly flexible using pinned panels, it looks utterly fantastic.

And I suspect, because it’s build using pinned/pegged plates, you don’t need to glue it which means you can sling it all in a shoe box at the end of the game. Of course it remains to be seen how durable those pins are and how easy they really are to store once they’re painted, but that’s what reviews are for. Impressions are that this stuff could be utterly awesome.

It’s also the first terrain system I’ve seen that allows for ‘indoor’ structures to be built and thus opens up a whole new way of playing games. It’s also going to give the Necromunda die hards a raging hard-on. If I’m honest, I think it’s going to give most gamers that play any kind of 28mm sci-fi wargame a raging hard-on.

The really cool thing is that three distinct styles are available whilst still being cross compatible. So, if you’re feeling cheeky, you could even build a structure with changing design aesthetic to represent the building’s expansion over time. This is, of course, way cool.

It’s a remarkably well-timed move on Maki’s part as Spartan have just released their staggeringly expensive HDF range (with no match 28mm models) and Mantic’s Deadzone game has a modular terrain system that appears to be entirely more fiddly and flimsy. To be honest the Maki range seems a far more impressive and diverse option.

If you haven’t taken a look at their kickstarter page I strongly urge you to do so. It has already been successfully funded but I genuinely feel that Maki brings something original to the wargaming world and so deserves as much support as the community can give it.

They have just 14 days left to raise some extra dosh so, bip over to their page, take a look at the awesome scenery, wipe the dribble from your chin and then pledge your support.

Dark Potential – An Interview with Matthew Glanfield

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Back in December last year I was shown a game by Adam of War More Radio and ODAM fame called Dark Potential. Visiting the sites I visit and knowing the people I do, there aren’t many games that escape my notice. That said, I am but one man.
Adam having told me about, all the while as giddy as a schoolgirl, he told me about the community involvement and the general gritty nature of the background. My interest piqued I went straight over to the website to check it out. Let me say this, 2013 is going to be a good year for our hobby. With games so visually splendid as Thon and Dark Potential around it’s going to be an orgy of lovely looking models and gorgeous artwork.
So taken was I by Dark Potential I sought out the creative minds behind it and that got me in touch with Matthew Glanfield who agreed to have a chat with me about Dark Potential and all it’s…err…potential.
TSC: Matthew I really appreciate you speaking with me, I know what a busy guy you are. So, first of all for those that haven’t heard of Dark Potential, tell us a little bit about the game.
MG: Dark Potential is a post-apocalyptic miniature wargame set in the 2500’s where humanity has been mostly annihilated by an alien species called the X’Lanthos. Both sides lost in the epic X’Lanthos/Human War, leaving X’Lanthos and Humans alike stranded on a mostly deserted planet Earth. Over 99.99% of humanity was wiped out in the war due to a viral weapon created by the X’Lanthos.
TSC: So humanity is a bit buggered then… But what of the game itself?
MG: The miniatures are at the 28mm heroic scale – similar to that of Warhammer or Warmachine – and the game features playable Human, X’Lanthos, Robot and even Animal factions, all fighting for survival and resources.
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TSC: Did you say robot? Interesting… Where did Dark Potential come from?
MG: I’ve always loved the post-apocalyptic genre.  I was a huge fan of the Fallout series.  When I saw the History Channel’s show “Life After People” I finally got the visual image that would set the tone for Dark Potential. Everything else has evolved from that.
TSC: I think I need to watch more History Channel. And speaking of history,crowd funding has changed the way games are brought to market, your own being a prime example. What has it meant for Dark Potential and it’s long-term plans?
MG: Well, first off it means that we can even make the game. Without the help of the community it would have been hard to raise the $90,000 that we got by ourselves. I would guess that we would have taken several years before we could have even tried to do something like this.
TSC: $90,000 is quite an achievement. And it says a lot about the community and the game itself. It’s a huge boon.
MG: Crowd funding definitely allows smaller companies like MiniWarGaming to produce something that would normally be out of their reach.
TSC: Am I right in saying that you invited feedback from the wargaming community during development?
MG: Definitely. In fact, the community has been the driving factor in a lot of the development of Dark Potential from the story line to the science, to the rules. While I have directed the work I would say about 50% of the rules and story line have come from the community.
TSC: That’s awesome. So will the community have similar involvement in future developments?
MG: Most definitely, although it is hard to say how much.  As we grow we’ll be able to hire more people to help which will allow us to do more in house.  Even then we will be looking to the community for the majority of feedback, playtesting, and even new ideas.
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TSC: It’s great to see you getting the community so involved and valuing their ideas and opinions. But what was it like developing the game? Were there any significant high or low points?
MG: It’s been a difficult journey. Almost every step along the way we had set backs that cost us more money than we had anticipated, and cost us a lot more time. The high points were definitely the fundraiser, and finally getting the models out the door this month [January 2013].  Everything in between was quite stressful, but more than worth it in the end.
TSC: The factions all have a very distinct look. What can you tell us about them and their style of play?
MG: We only have three of the planned six factions out right now.
The Petrov-Morales Corporation (or PMC for short) are your main surviving human faction.  They are the rag-tag group that scavengers what they can to survive.  They have access to lower tech weapons, but are generally cheaper points-wise and can be brought in larger numbers.
The X’Lanthos are the main alien race, and play a bit like an elite faction.  The average point cost is higher, but the weaponry is much more advanced, making them a suitable ranged army.
The Reclaimers are the remnants of the surviving human fleet.  They have higher technology, but are very fragile physically as they live in low gravity environments.  Most of them are so weak that they must wear exoskeleton suits just to allow them to walk on Earth.
TSC: So each offers their tactical advantages and disadvantages. What can we expect in terms of game play?
MG: What I am trying to do with the rules is create a fast-paced skirmish game that can be played in under 90 minutes.  Lots of terrain will be essential as all models are quite fragile and easy to kill. There is fun “dark potential” elements to it such as manipulating gravity and other fundamental forces of nature.
TSC: So it Dark Potential has a twist of RPG in there too essentially? Screwing with gravity definitely sounds like fun. And presumably the forces of nature refers to the ‘animal’ faction you mentioned earlier. Now, the toys themselves; ranges for each factions are already available and look ace. Will additional units be made available over time?
MG: We will hopefully release the next few waves this year, depending on how well sales go for the first batch.
TSC: Finally Matt, what can we expect from Dark Potential in the future?
MG: That all depends on how well the community digs into the game. If we do as well as we like, the first three factions should get fully fleshed out by the end of this year, with new factions starting in 2014.  We also hope to complete the rulebook this year.
TSC: It all sounds like it’s got bags of…I was going to say potential… It honestly all looks ace and I can’t wait to see the next wave of models. Matt it’s been a huge pleasure, thank you for taking the time to chat with me.
If you’re interested in finding out more visit their website here, and stay tuned as I will be reviewing some of the models very soon.

Beyond the Gates of Antares – An Interview with Rick Priestly

 

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The other day I posted about the new game by Dark Space Corp – Beyond the Gates of Antares – that’s currently on Kickstarter written by none other than wargaming legend Rick Priestly.

Well in an effort to find out more I got in touch with said legend and asked him a few questions. And this is what he had to say…

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TSC: Rick, thank you so much for agreeing to have a chat. It’s a real privilege. You’re responsible for some of the most well-known games in the wargaming world including Warhammer, Warhammer 40k, Lord of the Ring SBG and Bolt Action (amongst others). What prompted you to set up DSC and launch Beyond Gates of Antares?

RP: Well I’ve been thinking about doing a new game for a while and I’d already got some ideas about the game system. I also had a fair idea about the overall style and feel – so getting away from the Gothic 40k universe – something different. Me and John – big chief of Warlord – knew we’d need more money than the Warlord business could afford to get the game going, let alone make the models, so we’d put it on the shelf whilst I got on with various historical projects – which is Warlord’s main business. We did look at kickstarter at one point – but as far as we could tell it was only used as a promotional tool by companies with existing ranges and games already for launch – and not as a way of generating cash for new ventures. So we dismissed the idea as out of our comfort zone. Then Rik – who I worked with way back when on a video games project – came up with the proposal to create DSC and pool our respective expertise – and it seemed like too good an opportunity to miss!

TSC: Well you must be doing something right as the campaign has been very well received thus far. What are some of the challenges you’ve faced in getting the game and Dark Games Corp off the ground?

RP: Well raising the finance is the only issue we’re concerned with at the moment – and a good chunk of that will come from the kickstarter – so the biggest challenge right now is doing everything on a small budget. Fortunately lots of people have volunteered their efforts for free – come to think of it one of them is me! – so we’ve been able to do a huge amount all things considering.

TSC: From small acorns I guess… For those that haven’t come across the game what can you tell us about the background?

RP: Well it’s a far future setting – and humanity has spread throughout the stars by means of a series of wormholes that all thread through a nexus called the The Gates of Antares – in fact the star Antares which turns out to be a construct. Humans have evolved and changed as a result of transgenic implants to become a varied number of species, some created to fulfil specialist roles such as heat or radiation resistant asteroid miners.

The main force in this future civilisation is the Concord – which is a civilisation whose living inhabitants do nothing they do not wish to do – all work, decision-making, policy and innovation being developed through a process of gestalt intelligence that melds all living humans and all sentient machines by means of a nano-level cloud that permeates the air, food, water, living bodies and so on. This overwhelming utopia absorbs all independent worlds it comes into contact with, its nano-cloud technology simply integrates with other technology, so this happens without any intent – like a virus spreading wealth, happiness and utter passivity throughout space. Needless to say some independent and free-thinking worlds and planets don’t fancy being absorbed into this utopia, and form a loose association of free worlds called the Determinate – but these are in no way united and will happily fight amongst themselves when they get the chance. But they all fear absorption by the Concord.

TSC: The Concord sound like a right bunch of insidious bastards. One of the unique features of BtGaA is the Real Time Dynamic Gaming Universe. Or to put it another way, a living background that changes as gamers submit their results. How free will gamers be to influence the timeline? As they too free would they not have the potential to derail the background or take it in a direction you didn’t foresee?

RP: In principle, we’ll be running a number of campaigns which players can add their results to, and these will determine which of the rival factions captures zones within the campaign, and ultimately which achieves the overall objective. Depending upon the results, we will make available online upgrades – which may be temporary or context specific – some of which will represent tech captures, but others could be intelligence, resources, and so on. When we come to organising our model making schedules we will sculpt the various new technologies with the faction that captured or discovered it in the campaign, and then other factions will have to achieve success in subsequent campaigns to acquire the new tech. The campaigns will also drive the back story itself – so players have the chance to influence events and their forces will become part of the history of Antarean space. In some instances we will actually make models of player’s characters, and write them into the background, so there really is the chance to take part in the universe.

TSC: That sounds brilliant. And I love the idea of unique upgrade packs coming out as factions progress in what, I suppose, will be a community driven narrative. So, what can you tells us about how the game will play and the kind of features gamers can expect?

RP: The game play is based on an activation system where players take turns to activate one unit at a time according to an activation pool – the Combat Intensity Level (CIL). A unit can be activated any number of times, but it’s effectiveness drops if its Combat Status is affected, in which case actions then have to be expended just to keep the unit from becoming exhausted. When units take actions enemy units can make reactions, and in some cases reactions happen automatically – such as firefights and close quarter fighting. This means both players are active all the time, and play proceeds between the two sides quite rapidly. This was one of the things I wanted to get across in the game from the start – constant involvement by both sides.

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TSC: So rapid combat and maximum carnage. Works for me. There’s some pretty diverse factions in the game including some sentient robots and the rather gribbly Vorl. How do the factions differ in terms of background and playing style?

RP: Well – even within the factions there are different ways of honing the force depending on whether you want a high-tech base or a lower one, so exactly what kind of force you have can be adjusted depending upon the scenario. There are out-and-out battle scenarios, but there are also more role-play style skirmishers, raids, and exploratory missions where a heavily equipped military force wouldn’t always be the best option.

TSC: So gamers will essentially have the options of tailoring their faction to the style of game they want to play rather than just the type of scenario. Beyond the Gates of Antares is currently on Kickstarter and has had a very positive response. What would a fully funded campaign mean for the project?

RP: It means everything to the project. And it also means that the hard work will have only just begun.

TSC: So what do you have planned for the future the game? Can we expect more factions?

RP: Oh yes – the Determnate is set up to be infinitely expandable in that way – and you can always add more aliens too.

TSC: Being the game developer of legend that you are, was developing BtGoA any easier to create than Necromunda or the truly awesome Space Marine?

RP: I’ll let you know when it’s done!

TSC: Fair enough. One last thing; there are more than a few gamers out there wanting to put their own game out there. What advice could an oracle such as yourself give?

RP: Games are not about what you put in but what you leave out! Well I always say that – and it’s true – you have to decide what the game is about and focus on that. Otherwise – be open and appreciative of suggestions – listen – and when you’re playtesting just watch the players and don’t correct them – often they will arrive at the right response instinctively and when they do write it down!

TSC: Rick it’s been an absolute delight. Thanks so much for taking the time and good luck with the project.

If you want to support the Beyond of the Gates of Antares project then you can check out the Kickstarter page here.

 

Ichiban Studio Launches Indiegogo Campaign

That’s right ladies and #warmongers, Ichiban Studio has taken the leap into producing wargaming crack, God love em, and has launched an Indiegogo campaign.

Firm friend of The Shell Case and all round top #warmonger Hugo has done a video explaining the method behind his brand of madness which you can view below.

And here’s some info from their page:

Yes yet another indigogo/kickstarter campaing for Wargaming related miniatures and accessories, but unlike many other we aren’t a big lucrative company trying to piggy back on crowed funding just because its cool or because it “free money with no interests. No! We are a real start-up company trying to make it in this world. You must ask your self if you don’t know us already who are those crazy guys? Well let me introduce our selves to you! 

Ichiban studio is a collaboration between Hugo Matte and Dennis Zarnowski.

  • Hugo Matte is an accomplished painter and also youtuber, he won 2 golden demons and also many other famous painting contest. He holds a pretty impressive rating on coolminiornot
  • Dennis Zarnowski is the talented sculpter behinds all the wonderful miniature and accessories we will offer. He’s also holding a very impressive rating on coolminiornot.

Now let’s talk about the real things! Yes why are we using a crowd funding website. The reality of it is pretty easy. Although Hugo and Dennis are working hard developing new products amid the ones that we already have, doing this isn’t first an easy thing and also producing a decent amount of them for you to enjoy is a real challenge.  So we are resorting on crow funding to help us launch the line. Think of this campaign as a pre launch with cool discounts!

  • First with the funds we will collect here we will buy resin! A lot of it to be able to produce the cool minis that you see in the perk section and also for the future models that are in the concept phase.
  • Other things we will acquire with the funds from this campaign are hopefully a 3D printer and also a die cut cutter which will allow use to design more cool products and accessories for wargaming.
  • Last is pretty easy Me and Dennis have to eat 🙂 

If you count yourself amongst the #warmongers and you like what you see then give what you can. You know it’ll be money well spent. And if it wasn’t enough to support an effort set-up by members of our own community, just look at some to the perks on offer…

 

Kick-in-the-face-Starter

Back in June I wrote about Kickstarters and how good it is for the community because wargame development is, for most people, is prohibitively expensive. Kickstart campaigns gives those people the opportunity to pitch their ideas to the community and gain their support. It’s a very very good thing.

However of late I’ve noticed that there are more and more instances of established companies that actually have capital using kickstart campaigns to fund their latest projects. I have a problem with this because businesses are supposed to work on the following principle:

Initial investment

Research

Product Development

Product Launch

Sales

Profit

Investment settlement

Reinvestment

Repeat

Independents that don’t have that initial investment benefit from kickstarter campaigns because otherwise it would require an extraordinary long period of saving or a business loan which, especially in these times of austerity, they probably wouldn’t get.

Established companies have to make money before they develop new projects in the same way as a shop has to make money to buy more stock. It’s called economics. No money, no reinvestment. It’s not right for established companies to use kickstarter campaigns to fund projects when, seeing as they’ve already made money out of the community, they should be using capital.

There’s an argument that pledges equate to pre-orders and this is partly true however for a company to be able to fund the project and give pledges their rewards their paying an inflated cost. Let’s take a look at Mantic as an example. A company that has been kicking around for a while now. Their releasing an ever-expanding range of models for their Warpath game which suggests capital investment, yet they’re holding their hands out for community money for Kings of War and, more recently Dread Ball to the total sum of $562,845. And what do you get for your money? Well not a butt load. $80 gets you a copy of the game. Which won’t cost $80 dollars and it won’t cost $80 to produce. More over, as the retail price already has the cost price built into it you’re actually paying twice. But wait, that’s not all, you get a print of the cover art which costs pennies to produce beyond the salary of the artist, and a digital copy of the rules, which have already been written. Beats working for a living I guess.

Kickstarters for established companies boils down to this – profit. Kickstarter schemes to them are essentially a loan they never had to pay back. It’s free capital. So when the game launches and sells, any money they make goes straight into the bank. More or less anyway, I accept there are distribution costs etc but I’m willing to bet much of that is added into the cost of production.

The difficult thing is that there are lots of very cool kickstarter schemes out there, like Soda Pop’s Relic Knights, and some companies like them, such as Avatars of War, genuinely needed community money to take their development to the next level. There’s an argument that these companies are too super niche and found them in a position they couldn’t get out of but that’s the beauty of kickstarter campaigns; the community decides what’s worth funding and what’s not. And, realistically, like Membraine with their Exodus Wars game, if they hadn’t got any money they would have found the money themselves eventually.

Where crowd funding comes unstuck, however, is when a company can use their reputation and a marketing budget to promote their campaign above struggling independents. The obvious counter point is that free trade is a bitch and it’s a dog eat dog world out there. And that’s true. However, in a niche market where goodwill is as important a currency as the coin of the realm it’s a risky business to be so blatant in their profiteering. The conversation may as well go something like this:

Gaming company: Hey, fancy giving us some money to fund our new game?

Gamer: Don’t you have money of your own?

GC: Oh yes, but if you give us your money then we’ll give you a copy of that game and some other tat and you get to say you helped!

G: Hey that’s a great idea! I buy a game at an inflated price for no real reward.

GC: Yes, and when the game’s out we’ll make sure you get an inconsequential mention and then forget all about you, all the while profiting wildly from a game we had to make zero investment in ourselves.

Yes I’m a cynic but it’s also true.

I have very little hope this is going to change opinions as the fact that Reaper, one of the most established model companies in the world, raised almost $3.5 million for their BONES project. So people are clearly happy pledging. But I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t say something as kickstarter campaigns are meant for those that can’t do it on their own, not for those looking to do things on the cheap.

Last Days of Angels

It’s been brought to my attention that a plucky group of gamers are attempting to build the largest diorama ever depicting the last days of the Blood Angels chapter at the hands of the Tyranids centuries from now, entitled Last Days of the Angels. Personally I think they should drop ‘the’ from the title because it’s more poetic but that’s just me. Now never let it be said that I’m one to discourage the killing Blood Angels I thought I’d tell you all about it. Below is a trailer of the first part of this epic endeavour but to see it come to fruition they need the community’s help so they’ve set up an Indiegogo crowd funding page. Go here for more information.

You can find out more of what the guys have in store over on Ramblings from the Trenches.