This week was originally going to be a podcast week, but I caught a cold. Recording a podcast with a cold is less than ideal since I sound weird right now and keep having to blow my nose. So! Instead, I’m going to post about one of the things I was going to include in the podcast: ArchRavels! It’s on Kickstarter, and as of right now, there are 34 hours left before the campaign finishes. It’s over 300% funded, and as of the time I’m writing this, it’s about $3000 away from unlocking the last stretch goal.
ArchRavels is a game that I’ve been interested in since I heard about it at Gen Con this summer, back when it was called ArchRavelry. I’m sure you can guess why I’m interested in it: it’s a game about yarn crafting! It’s like it was made for me, someone who enjoys board games and crafts. The game seems pretty straightforward: Compete against other players to see who can craft the most items before the end of the game. Just like in real life, you have to collect patterns and yarn before you can make things – and also just like in real life, some events can happen that’ll make crafting difficult, like the cat.
Just like in real life, cats can come in and mess with your yarn, causing you to stop, untangle the cat (or in my case, splice ends together because someone decided yarn makes a good chew toy), and lose a turn while you sort things out.
I backed the game pretty quickly after it came out, and the stretch goals added since then have made me even more excited about the game! There are additional characters you can play as, more patterns to make (including the Sci-Fi, Fantasy, and Wizard packs), and even an upgraded insert for keeping game items organized. The last stretch goal is one I hope happens: they’re going to make a Cat meeple you can put in a player’s yarn bowl when you draw the Tangled Cat card if they hit that last goal.
I think I got a little burned out on everything after Gen Con – hence the lack of a post last week. Don’t get me wrong, I tried to get the last of my Gen Con reports put together, and there’s a start to it in the pile of half-finished blog posts I’m accumulating, but I just couldn’t nudge myself towards getting it done. I’ll try to finish it soon, though, as there are some pretty cool vendors and artists I want to share with you all that I discovered at Gen Con.
So that this week’s blog post isn’t all just me being down on myself for not posting last week, I’m going to talk about a Kickstarter whose rewards I’ve been eagerly awaiting for a little while now. Those rewards showed up on my doorstep the other day, and I can’t help but share them with you all, because they’re so beautiful!
Yep, that’s right – the Name of the Wind Art Deck Kickstarter started shipping last month, and I finally got my goodies. They were definitely worth the wait, that’s for sure.
Now, this isn’t the first deck of cards that’s had artwork from Name of the Wind on them – a deck was released a few years ago (also the product of a Kickstarter, if I remember right), with artwork by Shane Tyree depicting the characters we all know and love. I’ve got the Shane Tyree deck as well as the new ones with art by Echo Chernik, and it’s really interesting to see how each artist envisioned the characters.
The coin that I got as part of the rewards is beautiful – and pretty hefty, too! I’d be afraid to flip it and accidentally dent a table with it when it lands, haha.
The prints are beautiful, too – I can’t wait to get them framed. I’ve been especially excited about them, since I love Echo’s work, and it was really exciting to get to meet her at Gen Con. All in all, I’m really happy with the quality of everything – the cards feel great in your hand, and the artwork is absolutely wonderful.
Now I just have to figure out what to do with four decks of Name of the Wind playing cards. 😛
If you’ve been around the internet during the past few years, you’ll at the very least heard of Kickstarter – the crowdfunding platform that allows people with great ideas to get help from others to bring their ideas to fruition. So many awesome things have come out of Kickstarter campaigns – I’ve backed comic books, games, mini figures, and most recently I backed the sixth Dumbing of Age book on Kickstarter, as well as the Tentacle Kitty Little Ones – Earth Colors project. (Because there can never be enough tentacle kitties.)
After I backed the Tentacle Kitty Kickstarter, I poked around my backed projects, to see what I’ve gotten and if there was anything I hadn’t received yet. And, well, there was something alright. One thing to keep in mind about Kickstarter is that backing a project doesn’t guarantee that you’ll actually get something. The Kickstarter FAQ mention it, and mention that if a project doesn’t deliver, it’s on the creator to deliver news, or refunds, or both. The one Kickstarter project I’ve been waiting to receive my rewards for is for what appeared to be an awesome notebook that I’d love to bullet journal in – the Mont Notebook. I backed it last August, it was funded early last September, books were expected to be delivered in October. Seemed pretty straightforward. However, there were printing issues, and the whole run of notebooks had to be sent back, and then they got stuck in customs, and now, nearly eight months after the promised delivery date, there are still no notebooks. The creators disappeared for a while, then posted a short update nearly a month ago saying that they were planning on sending out the books, and that we should update our addresses if we needed to – however, the pledge manager page they were initially referring people to doesn’t exist anymore.
With so much uncertainty involved in backing a project, you might think, “Why do I want to throw money at something that might not exist? Is it worth it to even try?” Well, not all Kickstarter projects are the same – and not all of them are going to end up in lost money and frustration.
I’ve backed Kickstarters that had issues before. My first ever Kickstarter, run by Impact Miniatures for a set of Chibi Dungeon Minis, ended up delayed because one of the project creators ended up in the hospital for weeks. Dressing Your Octopus, a paper doll book made by one of my favorite artists, Brian Kesinger, encountered printing delays, and to make up for those of us who were going to give the book as a holiday gift, a Christmas card was sent out to everyone with a code for a free downloadable version of the book – and the book got to everyone almost two months late, but there was communication. And the Bones II Kickstarter by Reaper Miniatures, oh, that one was fraught with issues. I think the Kickstarter ended in November of 2013, and the minis didn’t start shipping until early 2015.
However, there are also a number of things I’ve backed that wouldn’t exist without a Kickstarter project to get them started, like the Tentacle Kitty Little Ones and my beloved Fidget Cube. Lots of successful companies use Kickstarters as a way to gauge interest in a project or a game, and end up finding out whether or not an idea is a good one – like, for example, Exploding Kittens. It’s one of the most highly backed Kickstarters of all times. Apparently, people really wanted a game by The Oatmeal about kittens making things explode! Others use Kickstarter as a way to handle preorders for something they intend to make anyway, like the Dumbing of Age books that come out every year and get shipped on time, like clockwork – even last year, when the author had newborn twins to take care of. (I swear, David Willis must be part robot.) Despite delays for some projects (like the Chibi Dungeon minis and the Bones minis), I always got what I pledged for, and sometimes a little extra as a thank you. Even if there were delays, there was always communication, like with the bones minis and their weekly updates, or the Dressing Your Octopus one with regular updates and a Christmas card to all backers.
So what do you do if it looks like a Kickstarter you backed isn’t going to pull through?
Don’t panic – there might be an entirely valid reason for delays! There might be production issues with the item, or health issues with the creator or their family, or something else that might end up with a lack of communication on the creator’s part – but the project might still be moving along merrily.
Look at the comments on the Kickstarter – if others have gotten their rewards, then maybe there might just be shipping delays – contact the creator and see what’s up. It’s possible they recently shipped your reward but forgot to notify you.
If there are other complaints of not receiving items, and especially if there are no responses from the creator, like with the Mont notebook, then it’s time to see what recourse you might have. Contacting Kickstarter would be a good place to start.
One thing to keep in mind: not everyone on Kickstarter is out to grab your money and give you nothing in return. Take a look, for example, at this collection of goodies I have that likely wouldn’t exist without Kickstarter.
Yes, there is a bit of a risk with backing projects on Kickstarter – however, in my experience, I’ve almost always gotten the rewards promised for projects I’ve backed, and I’ve helped a lot of people get games, books, and toys from the drawing board into reality. I think the latter part, helping people bring their ideas into reality, is the best thing about Kickstarter – and so even though I’ve been burned by that one pesky notebook, I’m going to keep on backing projects and helping creators out.