Saturday, June 4, 2011

The new hotness

There's been a lot going on since my last blog post. The main has been Kickstarter. Over the last couple months, before I noticed it was going on, a few game designers have adopted Kickstarter as a method of raising funds and gauging interest in their upcoming games.

The first I noticed, which was a while ago (though I didn't see the explosion then), was Daniel Solis's game Happy Birthday, Robot!. I thought the game had merit and I really liked the focus he had for it, that of being something to get children into playing story games at a young age. The tie to teachers and classrooms hooked me. So, I pledged as a backer. Then I went about my life.

Recently I saw he had another game up on Kickstarter, Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple. It's one of those games I had been tracking for a log while all though his design process. I was fascinated and knew I would have to get a copy when it finally came out. And, here was my chance. The announcement on Twitter that he was seeking funding grabbed me. I wasn't going to let it not get published.

Then it happened.

Kickstarter exploded! Over the last month I have been able to help Daniel with his game in addition to Brennan Taylor (Bulldogs!), Eloy Lasanta (Part-Time Gods), and Jeremy Keller (Technoir). All of these guys have a track history of coming up with really cool games that hit me the right way.

Since these guys started using Kickstarter there has been discussion on blogs and on Twitter about the merits of the site. Why does it work the way it does? How does one build a campaign for their project and make it successful? And, what exactly makes people want to back a game designer?

I've been thinking about this. Sure I've seen what everyone else says about the tool. Some I believe and some I don't. All I can give you here is why I chose to back the projects that I have.

To me, games are important. They are a way to learn, a way to spend your time and most importantly something to do with a bunch of friends. Because of this I follow a bunch of game designers. Their next design could be just that thing that scratches my gamer itch.

So, why these particular games? Why these game designers? Because they are ones who have a track history of well thought out games. They design things and share them. Not only that. They don't design in the dark. They design games with their friends just as if the process of designing were a game itself. Their process is transparent. I get to see all the passion and inspiration that go into one of their projects. This passion transfers into the final result to give me (just an everyday gamer) something to socialize with in a gaming group.

They give me the awesome I crave!

That's why I took the opportunity to back each one of them.

If you want to find more out about them visit their blogs or catch them on Twitter:

Daniel Solis: or @danielsolis
Brennan Taylor: or @brennanrtaylor
Eloy Lasanta: or @thirdeyegames
Jeremy Keller: or @jeremyjkeller


Canageek said...

My big problem with kickstarter is that most projects charge you $25 or more for the final product, which means I am effectively buying it sight-unseen. There are a lot of really terrible RPG products out there: I normally at least read a copy of reviews of the product or download and skim a copy before buys, and I can't do that with kickstarter. I have a *very* hard time justifying to myself shelling out my (rather limited) funds for a book I've never seen and can't read a review of.

Victor Wyatt said...

That's why I leaned on past history with most of them when I backed games. I either have played or own their previous games.

I've got Happy Birthday, Robot! from Daniel Solis, Mortal Coil and How We Came To Live Here by Brennan Taylor and Chronica Feudalis by Jeremy Keller. They are all excellent games and I would expect their new ones to be as well done.

I have not played or bought Eloy Lasanta's other games but I did hear him recently on GMS Magazine and in the past on All Games Considered. His enthusiasm for his games and what the interviewers thought of his previous stuff was what convinced me to back Part-Time Gods.

I couldn't back someone cold turkey unless they knocked it clean out of the park with their Kickstarter page and any other web site they run.