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.

Exodus Wars Gameplay Trailer

Membraine Studios have released a new video showcasing some gameplay for Exodus Wars: Fractured Empire. It shows lots of shooty things shooting lots of other shooty things. Shootiness is good.

It’s a work in progress so expect things to get shinier and shooter with time.

Membraine Studios has made the decision to develop EW:FE come what may but the crowd funding page they’re running will help them develop the game much faster and as a full and complete product.

If you want to support the project then click here.

Exodus Wars Competition

Those fine chaps at Membraine Studios are running a couple of competitions on their Indiegogo page for Exodus Wars.

Competition details are as follows:

Competition 1
One random new contributor from the next 70 hours will be selected to receive ALL THE PERKS. Yes—all of them! 🙂

And because it’s not fair to only offer this chance to new backers:

Competition 2
One existing backer will be selected now to be upgraded to receive ALL THE PERKS.

The winners will both be announced at 10:30pm AEST (which is GMT +10) three days from now. Best of luck! 🙂

If you think the game should happen – and I for one think it should – then pledge your support on the Indiegogo page.

Exodus Wars: Fractured Empire

So I’ve stumbled across a noble undertaking by an Australian developer called Membraine Studios who are in the process of developing a turn based strategy game for PC & Mac based on Exodus Wars by Steel Crown Productions.

The jist is this: There are no shortage of RTS games. There are also no shortage of turn based hex/tile strategy games. What there isn’t is a, for want of a better term, a virtual table top wargame.

What’s the point? you may ask, and you’d be forgiven for doing so as the fun of table top gaming is building and painting your toys and then sicking them on your opponent across a hand-made board. However, as Mark Sheppard pointed out in a guest blog post over on Gamasutra, in a modern world we all have a hell of a lot less free time than we use to do anything let alone build, paint and play toy soldiers.

I can certainly vouch for this. I still haven’t built the Contemptor Dreadnoughts I bought at Salute in April. I’m also lucky to game once a month because of the time and faff it can often involve just getting the right people in the room at the same time.  It’s a valid argument but I think there’s a fundamental point that isn’t being acknowledged – which is the same reason why any video game of a wargaming IP gets our community all of a flutter – which is seeing the units that we shuffle around the board tearing the living shit out of each other in beautiful computer animation. THQ’s Space Marine is a prime example. The plot was flimsy, some of the artistic licence was a joke but nothing could distract you from the fun of manging the living shit out of Orks.

There’s also the added benefit of not only playing people you know, but, presumably, other wargamers from local communities or further afield without contending with the ‘wanky gamers’ and the teenage body odour that so often is found in wargaming clubs.

And that’s the point of Exodus Wars. It’s all the hard-core strategy of a turn based, tabletop, wargame with all the shiny animations but without that sense that a unit is just moving from one square to another ala the Civ games or the long forgotten Warhammer 40,000: Rites of War. Which was broken. And shit.

Plus there’s the added bonus of fielding massive armies, without having to worry about the cost, on beautifully presented battlescapes without having to go to the trouble of building them. Granted, for many, that is all part of the fun but few can deny the appeal of having the freedom to create and customise a, theoretically, limitless army and fling it at your opponent. Of course the important thing for Membraine to remember is keeping forces balanced. It’s all well and good having tank divisions at your disposal or titan-esque constructs stomping about the place, but it renders infantry moot – which was a problem that the Command & Conquer games never got the handle of (who can say tank-rush?). Wars are fought and won by the might of combined arms and there in lies the challenge for all game writers – lots of variety but none of it gaming winning on their own.

The point is that Exodus Wars Fractured Empire is the truest recreation of a turn based tabletop wargame that has ever been attempted. All the best bits of a night with The Chaps playing toys but with all the fun of getting to see stuff getting blowed up in real-time. It’s a big challenge especially as the temptation would be to recreate gaming boards as you or I would have them due to budget, our ability to build terrain or allowing for the limitations of the model. Regular players of Warhammer 40,000 will know all about that, especially – ironically – when using GW’s multi part plastic kits.

As well as nice looking – customisable – units it’s really important for games of this nature to take the best from the medium it’s using in the form of convincing, interactive, environments. Especially as it’ll give the game a crucial tactical edge that’s actually very difficult to represent in table top games without lots of mucky rules. And considering the big bastards the game is offering, shown below, something to hide behind is definitely useful.

So it’s all rather splendid then. Yes and no. Yes in that it looks awesome and you can see the boys of Membraine are heading in the right direction. But no in that a super niche product doesn’t have publishers beating at Membraine’s door, – although I might so I can blag a job – so they have come to our extraordinary little community for assistance in making Exodus Wars: Fractured Empire a reality.

There’s no shortage of companies doing Kickstarter or Indiegogo campaigns but I think this is genuinely worth a look and a few quid if you can spare it. Take a look at the videos below and if you think it deserves a shot you can review Membraine’s campaign information here. Just bear in mind it’s far from finished but you’ll get the idea of the potential the game has at this early stage.