26 March 2013

Empire of the Dead: Requiem fully funded! thoughts

Wow, it's been a great journey the past 40 days following this kickstarter which also was my very first kickstarter experience. I can see the appeal of KS from both sides, as a backer you really feel involved and enthusiastic to see that amount of pledged money increase and freebie's get added, new stuff being unlocked. As a creator I think, if you do everything right, you make people spend more than they would have under normal circumstances.

It has also been a great way to interact with other fans of the game and the creators and owners of West Wind, Andy and Wendy Cooper. Listening to the Meeples and Miniatures interview with them both makes you understand the nervousness a creator might have starting a project, it's hard to know exactly how popular your product is until you make something like this. And honestly, while I love Empire of the Dead I have had very little knowledge of how successfull it has been and how many potential backers it would end up having. This is also why I think the initial goal was quite modest with £5.000.

Following the kickstarter for 30 days, logging in to check up on it several times a day, has also been an interesting study in kickstarter dynamics. The initial explosion of backers at the beginning rushing to claim the "early bird" specials to get slightly better deals was followed up by a lull for quite a while. The campaign overall confirmed what has been said about many KS campaigns, a lot of people pledge during the very beginning and very end of a project.

It's hard to not to get demoralized during the middle part, and the mood of backers is a fickle thing, it doesn't require a lot to change that wave of enthusiasm and have people starting to drop out. And at a time this campaign really hit a wall and started losing backers and money for a brief period. It was still way over its funding goal so there was never any risk of it never being funded , but we would miss out on a LOT of very cool concepts, units, rules and miniatures. I honestly believe Andy saved it by upping the steam towards the end weeks by revealing increasingly cool and interesting factions and miniatures as an "add-on" option which not only made people spend more but attracted new investors along the way.

And as predicted there were a lot of backers showing up and money thrown in during the last 3 days. And though I think it is safe to assume that none of us believed it possible every single goal ended up being achieved and the project landed on £92.800!

Empire of the Dead has now grown from a game with 4 factions to a game with rules for vehicles of all kinds, Bedlam Brotherhood, Clickers, Order of the Dragon, Peelers, Criminal Gang, Nemo and the Nautilus crew as well as the Chinese Tong added as playable factions which will all have their own rules added to the vastly expanded PDF rulebook (which itself is something many gamers asked about since release). The amount of new characters and random models for the Vampire Wars/Gothic Horror range has also been filled to the brim. Fortunately, for those that ran out of money or couldn't back the KS campaign almost everything will be available in the West Wind store later this summer as soon as the people who supported the KS campaign have received their share of the miniatures. I think both camps (the Victorian Horror and the Steampunk fans) got a fair share of miniatures to satisfy their needs.

In the end it shows the power of Kickstarter, I can think of several smaller manufacturers that would have benefited from Kickstarter when it wasn’t even considered that such a thing would exist and work. And I’m very happy to see KS being used for other stuff that I love as well, I saw several PC game projects that have revived genres long considered lost. The topdown isometric perspective RPG games like Icewind Dale/Baldurs Gate is being brought back with “Project Eternity”, we get another (better) Shadowrun game with “Shadowrun: Returns”, a new Planescape Torment game with “Torment: Tides of Numeria” and a Fallout’esque game in “Wasteland 2”.

Kickstarter really allows for a lot of good projects without big budget backers to get funded by their fans. I can only image what more can be done with this tool, I personally also hope that someone will make a Grim Fandango 2 happen.


  1. It has been an interesting experience. I've also been glad to take part in it.

  2. This was my first kickstarter as well. It was certainly entertaining, but I don't know that it increased the number of EotD players. It received only 623 backers after all. I fear EotD will need a lot more press in order for it to become as popular as it deserves.


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