Saturday, October 26, 2013

Kickstarter Tempations and Idle Musings

As of this writing, Bones 2, a Reaper Kickstarter to make more miniatures in their special plastic, is on it's last day. It's doing fantastic. It remains to be seen if it does better than the previous one, but by almost any measure outside of that, it's doing great.

I myself am not THAT impressed with Reaper though. Mind you, it's not that they didn't deliver, but they had a lot of the same problems other companies did with their KS.

1. Poor communication when things weren't going perfectly. At one point they told the backers outside US that they didn't have to ship them their products. WTF Reaper.

2. Metal miniatures have died. In my gut, I knew this was going to happen. I paid for the Metal for a Year after specifically asking, "So with all the Bones Plastic stuff coming out, are you going to be able to handle making metal miniatures still? "Oh yeah, no problem. 12-15 a month per normal." Nada for many months. I'm hopeful that metal miniatures will make a comeback during the "China is working on this part of it" phase but now that Reaper has at least one machine in their own factory, someone's got to man that sucker too right?

3. Bones are not for everyone. Reaper oversold a few of the points of Bones like the detail. Several figures were pulled for Q&A issues. Many more simply don't have the details in them that the metal versions do. There is also the bendy weapon or part issue. There is also the "hey, my paint isn't adhering to the miniature" or "my primer is wet and sticky three days later." Minor issues but when you're selling something that's supposed to be paint and play right outside the box with no primer and with the same detail as metal for a fraction of the cost? Yeah, potential problems.

4. The cases had problems. I didn't have the glue issue that a lot of people had, but they were way too damn small. It's like Reaper said, "Hey, miniatures are still true 25mm right?" Thankfully I have a lot of miniatures that are either old or small, like bugs, goblins, and giant rats, so they went into those boxes.

5. Miscellaneous. People may not be happy with the selection, people may not think they're getting as good a deal as last year, people may still have figures from last KS that they haven't even looked at, etc... etc... etc...

Now, having said all of that, I'm down with it. The figures are very affordable and provide you a chance to dabble in genres you might not normally do so. In addition, there are a lot of NEW figures and until Reaper picks up their metal again, if they ever do, well, this is a quick way to get them.

Now supporting this KS? That in and of itself is a problem.

You see, there are other Kickstarters I'd like to be down with as well. And honestly, a lot of people told the companies, "Hey, Reaper is doing Bones 2 about now. You should wait." and for the most part, the response was something like, "Well, there's always going to be another Kickstarter around the corner."

And to be fair, there is a certain amount of truth in that statement. For example, Darklands by Mierce Miniatures just finished up. That took in over $100K, more like $150K with conversion in there. Mars Attacks is another one out there right now. 

Another one, Jounrey:Wrath of Demons, is a board game with some awesome looking figures. It's doing fantastic.

But having said that, NONE of them are sucking the air out of the room like Reaper is. If you're a smaller fringe company whose figures are going to be competing with Reaper for say, Fantasy stylings, you wait. End of discussion. Well, end of discussion if you're really on the fringe and haven't blown past your previous Kickstarters with huge strides eh?

For those I'd like to support...I'd love to support ShadowSea. It's based on the Song of Blades and Heroes engine and I've had previous editions and a lot of the miniatures. I've supported previous Kickstarters and unlike some companies, the guys here are pretty clear in the communications and get things done in a fairly timely manner. But... ah, the dreaded but... It's no huge bargain at the base prices. It's not that the prices are terrible. This is especially true considering the great detail and high quality of the sculpts. It's that well, it's expensive. This is where doing it later would have benefited them. I can't say that the totals have been directly effected by Reaper's KS but I'd be willing to bet money on it.

Another one, Elven Adventurers, is by a company that did two previous KickStarters and did a fantastic job with them. I'd like to support them but... well, I'm not 'feeling' it. The elves are a little goofy and they've throw in all sorts of weird mini-stretch goals that are popular, but aren't necessarily my cup of tea. They're funded too so I don't feel too bad about it.

The other problem in terms of money, is well, the real world sometimes has stuff on sale!  For example, Fantization is one of my "to go to" shops when I need something. They are carrying Scale 75 paint. I like the paint line. They are having a 20% sale. Well, bam, there goes some money. Money that could have went to another Kickstarter.

It's why I'm amused when people talk about not budgeting for Kickstarters. Yeah, you can not budget to pay the rent either. See how far that gets you. I'm not saying you have to spend X amount or Y amount, but if you don't know how much you're spending and aren't keeping track of things, it's an easy way to get into trouble.

Me? It looks like Reaper is allowing you to add to your pledge up to December 20th so I may go with just the Vampire level and try to support Shadowsea, but even so, it's going to be a close one.

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