Failed Kickstarters
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Post Posted: Wed Oct 15, 2014 6:30 am 
 

I have been quite lucky with the projects I have backed on Kickstarter, but I guess as with anyone who has backed quite a lot of projects, there are bound to be failures (probably enough of us have this experience to devote a thread to it). Sometimes, the managers indicate they can't do it, which in my book is fine, if they refund and / or are fair to their backers. What irks me is the ones that go completely silent.

Does anyone have experience with this and are there any suggestions for recourse?

  

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Post Posted: Wed Oct 15, 2014 9:46 am 
 

I've backed only around 10-12 at this point... so far, only 2 are really late.  One project has frequent updates and is late for an understandable reason, the other... well, nothing for months now.  luckily it was a $12 reward.

I think I've been lucky (after hearing some of the horror stories around the internet).

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Last edited by throwi on Thu Oct 16, 2014 8:58 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Post Posted: Wed Oct 15, 2014 8:49 pm 
 

I must be the dream supporter for kickstarter projects.  I see something I like, choose a pledge level, get heartily sick of the many many updates (why am I still getting updates from kickstarters that ended a year ago?  Just to promote a friend's kickstarter or their next kickstarter?  Ugh.) and then I forget all about it.  Then I get home from work one day to find a mysterious parcel on my front porch.  It's like Christmas!  I don't think any kickstarters I have been a part of were a scheme to steal money.  Sometimes people overextend themselves, and sometimes life happens.  I am just happy to have given someone a chance to fund a dream, and very often to receive a surprise package. If it doesn't happen, not much I can do about it.


If all else fails, immortality can always be assured by spectacular error. - John Kenneth Galbraith

  

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Post Posted: Wed Oct 15, 2014 10:59 pm 
 

I don't have much faith in Kickstarter projects anymore and try not to back any of them but still get sucked back in every once in a while.

Failed projects I supported:

Champions of Zed
Nystul's Infinite Dungeon

Still maybe holding out hope to get something but not much.

Horror on the Orient Express (Chaosium) is another one which is now overdue by a year+

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Post Posted: Wed Oct 15, 2014 11:10 pm 
 

I've backed 20 Kickstarters to-date.  Eight have completed successfully.  Three are still on target.  Nine are late, some of them as much as 2+ years!  Some of those might never be fulfilled.

Needless to say, I've backed off on supporting them.  I really do enjoy most of the content produced, but the Kickstarter model doesn't do enough to keep people responsible, or help them to be more business savvy.

  


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Post Posted: Thu Oct 16, 2014 8:02 am 
 

Actually, I've backed ... wait for it ... 111 projects that funded successfully (nowhere near as many as Brette). Of those, 41 have delivered, 70 are pending. Of the 70 pending 25 have partially delivered. Of the 45 yet to deliver, 5 have gone silent.

Actually, I don't mind if they've failed. None of them were big investments. That is part of the ride of Kickstarter I suppose. It's sort of a question of when you write them off. The people probably walked away months ago and I am still sending messages to ask if the project is still going on. Like a scene out of an old slapstick comedy movie - talking to someone you think is there but isn't!

I must admit. I think it's high time, though, I got over my Kickstarter habit and started back on high end RPG collectibles!

  

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Post Posted: Thu Oct 16, 2014 1:40 pm 
 

dbartman wrote in Failed Kickstarters: Needless to say, I've backed off on supporting them.  I really do enjoy most of the content produced, but the Kickstarter model doesn't do enough to keep people responsible, or help them to be more business savvy.


Sigh.

I am actually launching my 2nd project tonight and this view, though not unexpected, is deflating. No matter how much effort and work individuals put in it is almost impossible to unpoison a well.

Kickstarter has some responsibility, creators have more and human nature is probably the most culpable in bringing everything back down to earth. Kickstarter should have implemented caps on funding for first time creators or forbid launching projects while current ones remained unfulfilled. Creators, myself included, needed to have a sober assessment of costs along with realistic ideas of time contraints. Human nature needed to ditch that whole irrational exuberance thing :)

That said the whole process is improved after a shakeup. Backers get more selective and creators are forced to put up more than glorified ideas when asking for money. The difficulty for expensive projects (like mine) is finding enough backers who haven't given up already.

Time will tell. For me in exactly 35 days.

lucyjoyce wrote in Failed Kickstarters:I must be the dream supporter for kickstarter projects.


You are :)

Zach



  

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Post Posted: Thu Oct 16, 2014 11:45 pm 
 

IIRC, I'm 3/3.

But they've all been PC games from pros with a history of producing.

  

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Post Posted: Fri Oct 17, 2014 1:26 am 
 

Mars wrote in Failed Kickstarters:Horror on the Orient Express (Chaosium) is another one which is now overdue by a year+


True, but delayed and failed aren't the same thing.  That one is going to happen.


Areas of interest/knowledge: Harn, Pendragon, WFRP, Ars Magica, anything BRP based, CoC, Runequest

Planning: BRP/Harn

  


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Post Posted: Fri Oct 17, 2014 1:53 am 
 

Nogrod wrote in Failed Kickstarters:
I am actually launching my 2nd project tonight ...


Didn't mean for this to be so negative actually. My overall experience with Kickstarter is pretty positive. It really is fun to support entrepreneurship.

Just wondered how to deal with the odd project where people seem to have walked away and have no intention of telling their backers even whether it has failed or not. I should have perhaps been more specific in labelling this thread (I.e 'Kickstarters where launchers have walked away')

I try to back most Acaeum members' projects ... and most have been very well managed (some are late, but I am sure all will deliver!). I didn't back yours (but really wanted to!) because I wasn't clear on my country move and wasn't sure if I could get physical goods in my new location. I have now tested the postal service here and it works well (though is painfully expensive!)

But yes. I think like some comments above, Kickstarter is a learning experience for all of us. I went in gung-ho, but am now better able to judge which projects are more likely to succeed. I can see from projects I have backed that many people that put up projects often underestimate the level of work they have committed themselves to, especially if they go much higher than expected and lots of stretch goals are added.

I do feel very comfortable though, backing Kickstarters by people who already have run successful projects on which they have delivered. I think backers have become more savvy too in this respect.

I look forward to seeing your new project. The way you ran your last one, I don't believe you have much to worry about  :)

  

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Post Posted: Fri Oct 17, 2014 11:56 am 
 

TheHistorian wrote in Failed Kickstarters:
Mars wrote in Failed Kickstarters:Horror on the Orient Express (Chaosium) is another one which is now overdue by a year+


True, but delayed and failed aren't the same thing.  That one is going to happen.


TheHistorian wrote in Failed Kickstarters:
Mars wrote in Failed Kickstarters:Horror on the Orient Express (Chaosium) is another one which is now overdue by a year+


True, but delayed and failed aren't the same thing.  That one is going to happen.


Then technically, the others I mentioned have not "failed" yet either.  I list the ones that seem to have fallen into the tragic cycle:

1) Sorry guys, had some problems, <insert from table of problems>, the book will be late but I have a plan so will get it out by ... blah
2) Goto 1)

Table of Problems
* took all the money and tried to start a company but it failed
* had some personal problems and need the money to pay for bills
* had to move and needed to pay the movers, rent, food
* stressed out from writing so went on vacation and all the money is gone
* stressed out from spending all the money so all the money is gone
* the artists cost more than expected so all the money is gone
* the printing cost more than expected so all the money is gone
* the editing cost more than expected so all the money is gone
* the shipping cost more than expected so all the money is gone
* the paper cost more than expected so all the money is gone
* the ink cost more than expected so all the money is gone
* all the money is gone so I can't pay for artists
* all the money is gone so I can't print the book
* all the money is gone so I can't ship the book
* I was going to have the book completed but didn't like the printer so had to find a new printer
...

Email from Mike Nystul back in Aug: "D3 Adventures is no longer going to be publishing this project. ... I have to decide what to do now. ... I have a plan.".
* project now 2+ years late

Email from Chaosium yesterday: "it will take us a few weeks longer than expected to get backer copies sent out ... were dissatisfied with that first printer and in July made arrangements with
a second."
* project currently 1 year 2 months late - expected date of delivery now pushed back until Jan 2015?

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Post Posted: Sat Oct 18, 2014 3:58 pm 
 

Mars wrote in Failed Kickstarters:Then technically, the others I mentioned have not "failed" yet either.


I'm not saying that Chaosium massively underestimated the time needed for a project of this size, with so many components.  But I have high confidence that I will get everything form them that I paid for.

On the other hand, I have virtually no confidence that I will ever see anything from Nystul, and don't much care at this point.


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Planning: BRP/Harn

  

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Post Posted: Sat Oct 18, 2014 4:35 pm 
 

HermitFromPluto wrote in Failed Kickstarters:Didn't mean for this to be so negative actually. My overall experience with Kickstarter is pretty positive. It really is fun to support entrepreneurship.

Just wondered how to deal with the odd project where people seem to have walked away and have no intention of telling their backers even whether it has failed or not. I should have perhaps been more specific in labelling this thread (I.e 'Kickstarters where launchers have walked away')


I actually do not think you were being negative, I thought you were being honest. Every new market or opportunity goes through its "Gold Rush" phase, a few people make money, lots of people try to make money and then the unready/unprepared/bad element arrives. Then poof! The late movers suffer and Kickstarter & Amazon get rich. Which is fine, I don't begrudge riches, but I find KS's socially conscious shtick borderline revolting. Many people have had their lives ruined(marriages, partnerships, business etc.) because KS has an interest in making it easy to do so by obliterating the barriers to entry. Business is business but the successes they highlight are seldom the projects they actually need to see funded.

HermitFromPluto wrote in Failed Kickstarters: I can see from projects I have backed that many people that put up projects often underestimate the level of work they have committed themselves to, especially if they go much higher than expected and lots of stretch goals are added.


This is 100% correct. For me it wasn't the expense of extras that was unexpected (I did a TON of research) but the weight they added to the packages. Live & learn but greed is a powerful motivator toward the end of any project.

HermitFromPluto wrote in Failed Kickstarters:I look forward to seeing your new project. The way you ran your last one, I don't believe you have much to worry about  :)


I will have a write-up in the KS thread today. Thank you though, I worked very hard of Whisper & Venom to prove that it could be done on time. How much that helps me time will tell...exactly 31 days.



  


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Post Posted: Sun Oct 19, 2014 10:17 am 
 

So far, I have backed 2 and both were fulfilled as described.
I suppose it helped a lot that they were projects by reputable names in the industry.

("Ogre - Designer's Edition" by Steve Jackson Games and "Numenera" by Monte Cook)

:-)

  

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Post Posted: Mon Oct 20, 2014 8:35 pm 
 

I've backed eight, received two and backed their sequels (Reaper bones and Dwarven forge) , I am confident that I will receive the two from Goodman games, then there are a couple I have waited a year or two (I won't mention them just now), and am still waiting for.  

It seems a shame that the larger companies (*that don't need the capital as much) truly deliver, and the small publishers, when they become infused with thousands of dollars, instead of creating monsters or adventures, start creating excuses...

  

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Post Posted: Mon Oct 20, 2014 9:34 pm 
 

Joe Franke wrote in Failed Kickstarters: It seems a shame that the larger companies (*that don't need the capital as much) truly deliver, and the small publishers, when they become infused with thousands of dollars, instead of creating monsters or adventures, start creating excuses...


As a small publisher I could list pages of reasons why delivery becomes delayed. I was able to deliver a box set on time, but only because time is what I had. The biggest reason, by far, smaller companies do not deliver is they vastly underestimate how much time is involved. Even now, 2 years into this, I start a task, believing with all my heart, that it will take 2-3 hours and by the time it wraps up it is closer to 10 hours. Those are uninterrupted hours as well- interruptions, of even the smallest variety, kills tasks dead. Especially when your immediate family doesn't see any real value to what you are doing.

A close second is estimating costs. I did a ton of research before my first KS and would have sworn I had the costs down cold. I didn't, but they were not far off on any one item. Whisper & Venom had 70 items. Standard costs, ones that are considered to be understood between parties in business transactions, are everywhere. From buying ISBNs to Die Cuts for boxes they hit you everywhere. Add to that the fact that every vendor has an interest in securing your business.  Pointing out every hidden cost puts a dent in their sales pitch thus keeping fees hidden or unexplained. Set-up fees on box manufacturing or miniature molding are examples of this. The $50 molding fee doesn't seem like a lot until you do it 28 times; its even worse with resin units.

Plus, the more involved and deep into a project you get 'good enough' seldom satisfies anyone. Even with a completely reasonable goal, say like making a PDF, the time differential between a workable PDF and a professional looking one is exponential. Change the professional-looking to just professional and the order of magnitude of time increases again. Professional tools are expensive and have a learning curve, but are absolutely required to make polished products.

I agree in many ways regarding larger companies and Kickstarter, especially in light of how Kickstarter sells itself. However, when we talk about our hobby, off the top of my head I can think of only 3 large companies (Hasbro, Paizo and GW) that meet the do not need as much capital criteria. Reaper is well-known but I hardly consider them a business that a bank is going to look at and say, sure you can borrow money to make more elves (or whatever). Steve Jackson games certainly was not going broke but they would never have made OGRE in its final form without being able to gauge demand in the way Kickstarter let them.

Having run a Kickstarter was, and is, huge life-changing process for me. I cannot say enough good things about it or my backers, but starting a project or pledging for one is fraught with risks (peril? :) ). I have backed over 100 and am about 9/10 delivered, 7/10 delivered and impressive enough to remember. Not bad, close to my average in any purchase really. It would be a shame though for people like myself, and small game projects in general, if a tipping point was reached and self-funding became the only option available.

None of this applies to outright frauds of course, but they are rare and are a lot harder to pull off now.

My two cents and worth exactly that. :)

Zach



  

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Post Posted: Mon Oct 20, 2014 11:02 pm 
 

I think I am currently around 4/9 and expect 2 of the outstanding kickstarters to come through - many backed as both a retailer and special edition versions so for projects like Nystul, I am waiting on 5 copies, etc.  Even if it gets published, at this point who will want it and what kind of quality will the print job be.

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Post Posted: Tue Oct 21, 2014 1:00 pm 
 

Joe Franke wrote in Failed Kickstarters:I've backed eight, received two and backed their sequels (Reaper bones and Dwarven forge) , I am confident that I will receive the two from Goodman games, then there are a couple I have waited a year or two (I won't mention them just now), and am still waiting for.  

It seems a shame that the larger companies (*that don't need the capital as much) truly deliver, and the small publishers, when they become infused with thousands of dollars, instead of creating monsters or adventures, start creating excuses...


I've backed both Dwarven Forge Kickstarters and will back every one they make from here on out. They are the perfect example of how a KS should be run, timed, considered, everything. I can't say enough good things about Stefan and his crew. :)

Zenfinite

  

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Post Posted: Tue Oct 21, 2014 2:23 pm 
 

Zenfinite wrote in Failed Kickstarters:
I've backed both Dwarven Forge Kickstarters and will back every one they make from here on out. They are the perfect example of how a KS should be run, timed, considered, everything. I can't say enough good things about Stefan and his crew. :)

Zenfinite


I backed the 2nd one by them (only for $1 as I have no room for everything I wanted) and I agree about how they run one. The seem like genuinely nice guys who exuded competence during the whole process. I love their stuff and will back again and actually pick something up.

Zach



  

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Post Posted: Tue Oct 21, 2014 2:27 pm 
 

Nogrod wrote in Failed Kickstarters:
Joe Franke wrote in Failed Kickstarters: It seems a shame that the larger companies (*that don't need the capital as much) truly deliver, and the small publishers, when they become infused with thousands of dollars, instead of creating monsters or adventures, start creating excuses...


As a small publisher I could list pages of reasons why delivery becomes delayed. I was able to deliver a box set on time, but only because time is what I had. The biggest reason, by far, smaller companies do not deliver is they vastly underestimate how much time is involved. Even now, 2 years into this, I start a task, believing with all my heart, that it will take 2-3 hours and by the time it wraps up it is closer to 10 hours. Those are uninterrupted hours as well- interruptions, of even the smallest variety, kills tasks dead. Especially when your immediate family doesn't see any real value to what you are doing.


I'm not going to repeat Zach - his points are dead on, especially with respect to time and energy and the immediate family support (I'm sure we could share those stories).

I started TSRS because it's what I love to do.  Sharing it with others is my new passion, and while PDF copies of all the guidelines and mods are free to download, I just want to see a few of them printed... enter KS.  It works for the small publisher.  I really can't afford to print the number of copies that makes it cost effective per book without crowdfunding... If i print the minimum number of books and pay for it up front, a $15 book nearly doubles in price.  I try to pass on the value to the buyer by setting my KS goal to the right number of books to print.

I also firmly believe in doing all the work up front before starting the KS project.  For example, I finished writing, editing, maps, and paid for all the art in False Promises before launching the project.  This way, backers know that I just have to print and ship the book when the project ends.  To me, that's important (and I back every other publisher who does the same thing).  I tend to shy away from the projects that will start writing *if* funded.  I think people should write because they love to do it as opposed to writing only for cash.

I hate that KS has taken a bit of trust hit recently.  Everyone thinks that they can build a project and make money (but then get in way over their head) - I just want to print my stuff.  :-)

Thom (throwi)

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