Apologies for the lack of attention to this blog, I am planning some new stuff soon. However before we get back to our regularly scheduled format I want to talk about Crowdfunding for RPGs and why I am done with it.
Recently I have had a new experience on a crowd funding platform, usually the cycle for any crowd funded project goes something like this.
Promises are Made.
Money is Raised.
Deadline is Missed.
Backers ask for updates.
Creator provides and update and a new deadline.
New Deadline is missed.
Back in 2013 I put some cash towards the new ref book for Lamentations of the Flame Princess, an old school style RPG with a bunch of great art and some really nice things to say about game design and DMing, on Indie GoGo. Since then communication from the creator of this project has been a bit sporadic with the last update being about 3 months ago.
So on Jan 29th 2016 I posted a comment, which I will reproduce here:
“Ok, so it is now the end of January 2016, any chance of an update? I really don’t think that asking for a monthly “this is where things are” post on a project that was funded in 2013 is unreasonable.
I’m trying to be patient but the lack of communication is extremely frustrating.”
I don’t really see anything aggressive or unreasonable here.
I get this response from another commenter:
Yeah, lets take another look at that. I ask for a simple, couple of lines update from the author on a project that was backed in 2013 and we are still waiting for a final delivery date on and that provokes another commenter to call me an ‘entitled shitbag’. Which brings me to…..
Reason Number One why I am done with Crowd Funding
The people, the other backers, the general internet people involved. They are for the most part horrible and I hate dealing with them.
So, ignoring the people, what about the projects? Surely you can get some great swag from backing these campaigns early. Well yes, in theory you can but the campaigns that offer loads of cool extras as part of stretch goals etc are almost always the ones that are late or don’t deliver at all. Hence…
Reason Number Two why I am done with Crowd Funding
A reasonable number of the campaigns I have been involved in have delivered late or not at all and the cool stuff they offer is generally the reason for that. I don’t really care about you offering 26 different kinds of logo’d dice and special leather bookmarks. I just want the game that I backed for.
Now, even if we get a campaign that has reasonable goals and a decent delivery time frame we right into….
Reason Number Three that I am done with Crowd Funding
Lack of communication from the creators and total radio silence when things go wrong. If you look at the idea of how a crowd funding campaign is supposed to work you will see that the contributors are basically investors. The creator is supposed to be talking to us and communicating problems, keeping us in the loop. This hardly ever happens and if things go wrong pretty much the most you can expect is months of total silence followed by them disappearing and ignoring emails.
These 3 factors already mean that backing a crowd funded game is a risky proposition. Now add in all the time you have to spend chasing the creators for updates, pursuing ways to get your money back for if they are of the kind that simply vanish and produce nothing and it is just not worth the money.
Without some kind of system to address these issues I cannot see myself taking the risk on any future crowd funded projects.