Warmachine and Kickstarter: The Unexpected Flavor Combo

Today marks a new day in the expansion of the Privateer Press empire, partnering with WhiteMoon Dreams and under the newly formed Privateer Press Interactive flag, we stand before the Kickstarter Launch of Warmachine Tactics.  Today we embark to discuss what Kickstarter is, what you can expect and how to pledge you support.  Warmachine: Tactics may come up once or twice as well.

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“Now then, what is Kickstarter?”,  you may have found yourself asking over the last few days since the announcement of this project.  Simply stated Kickstarter is crowd funding for ideas for new products.  You may jump to compare it to a pre-order of a product and that is perhaps the closest analogy that is acceptable, however it is deeper than that.  A pre-order is for a widget that is coming to market already and you are simply reserving your copy of that widget.  A Kickstarter is funding the ability of the project to exist anywhere at all but dreams of its creators and as such typically means we’re ground floor in the process.  While different projects may be in different stages of completion, prototyping, play-testing, etc, they all share the need to get that initial funding to get off the ground and get their widgets to production and off to market.   Using Kickstarter bypasses the typically funding methods of pitching your ideas to investors to handle those costs in exchange for a portion of your profit and, at times, a portion of the creative control. This means it can be home to uncompromising creative vision, whether good or bad, but it also means that if a project is funded there was a market for it, regardless of what the investors may think.  It is instead up to you to decide   Click here for the official explanation if you wish.

“Well what does this mean for me?”, is likely your next question as you debate the idea of putting your money against something you can’t see for at least a year.  And a good question this is, because ultimately whats in it for you is what gets it funded.  The simplest reward is the project itself, without the funding it would never see market and you’d have get to have it.  By putting your funding toward it you are bringing it that closer to existing.  In addition to this there you will often find some awesome exclusive items you can get by being a backer of the project.

“This sounds like Utopia! There’s now downdside!” you exclaim as you frantically start to look for a way to throw dollars through your monitor.  But slow down friend for this is the real world and it comes at a price.  The biggest question you will often see is, will this get made?  If they don’t get their full requested funding, no it will not, but you also will not be charged.  You may think that if they do get their funding that of course it will, however there is no guarantee.  The real world is not a nice place and it does not make such promises.  While it isn’t likely that a major project would have this occur, you should always keep in mind that you are effectively investing your money with a return of the product, not buying the product.

How do backers know if a project will follow through?

Launching a Kickstarter is a very public act, and creators put their reputations at risk when they do.

Backers should look for creators who share a clear plan for how their project will be completed and who have a history of doing so. Creators are encouraged to share links and as much background information as possible so backers can make informed decisions about the projects they support.

If a creator has no demonstrable experience in doing something like their project or doesn’t share key information, backers should take that into consideration. Does the creator include links to any websites that show work related to the project, or past projects? Does the creator appear in the video? Have they connected via Facebook?

Don’t hesitate to request information from a creator. You can always reach out before pledging via the “Contact me” button on the project page.”

Any investment is a gamble and can be lost.   The other downside is the bane of all projects for all time, deadlines.  You may look at the estimated delivery and be excited to see your shiny new widget that day.  However you will likely be disappointed if you take this at face value and that will likely make you sad when real world shows back up.  The truth of the matter is that a project on Kickstarter is not done, in some cases all they have is a prototype, and that means they are trying to assess and guess at how long every aspect of the production and manufacture of the widget will be and how likely there are to be issues.  Take these estimates as the wishful thinking of people who want to play with the widget as bad as you, but do not take them as fact.

“So…now I’m scared, what do I do?” is probably flashing through you head right under the neon panic sign.  Take out your towel, lie down with your head between your knees and don’t panic.

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All you need to do is asses the risk versus the reward like you should be doing anywhere else in your life and decide if you want to put your money up to see a project completed.  If you trust the name, trust the vision and trust the information you’ve been given there’s no reason to walk away.  Just don’t give them more than you’re willing to lose and don’t set your heart on a date to start playing with it.  Sit back and enjoy the ride, you’ll get to play with your widget soon enough.

“Alright, I’m in.  Let’s do this thing.”, you say with a twinkle in your eye and your hand on your wallet.  But sometimes it can be hard to navigate the world of Kickstarter and make that happen.  Here’s some information that may help you along the way.

Pledge Levels:  You’ll find these along the right side of the page and they will show you a dollar value along with a description of the rewards.  Clicking on one of these will bring you to the screen to pledge your money to the Kickstarter.  Nothing is charged to you at this time, you are simply authorizing them to charge you the expiration of the campaign if the funding target is reached.  It is possible to pledge more than needed and still select that tier.  You can adjust your pledge at any time until the project is closed on Kickstarter.

Stretch Goals:  So a project has a specific funding goal, to use Warmachine: Tactics, they hope to reach $550,000 to fund development and distribution of the game.  This is the minimum they need.  The stretch goals in a project will describe what can be added to the project if they can go above and beyond this initial goal.  In the case of Warmachine: Tactics they will be adding two additional playable factions if they reach $650,000 in funding and this is just the beginning of their stretch goals.

Updates:  Once you pledge your funds and become a backer you will start to receive emails with updates on the project.  These will give updates on new stretch goals and funding progress.  After the funding is complete you will usually see updates on the progress to fulfill the actual project up until it is in your hands.  The frequency is dependent on the company behind the project however, and some are better at communication than others.

Add-Ons:  This is the trickiest item in any campaign on Kickstarter.  Add-ons are items you can pledge additional money to receive that are not available in your base pledge level.  To revisit Warmachine: Tactics, the campaign has add-ons of exclusive models for $20.  If you wanted to get these alone with the $20 pledge rewards you would have to pledge a total of $40 and select the $20 pledge level.  For two $20 model add-ons you would have to pledge $60 and still select the $20 pledge level.  This can be confusing for two reasons.  The first is some pledge levels may have the add-ons included already so you should read them carefully and completely to get the right level for what you want.  The second is that it will not ask you why you are pledging the extra funds.  That part comes after the campaign is over.  Once a campaign is over and reaches a point where all funds are accounted for and all rewards determined.  The organizer will send out a survey or a pledge management page that will let you select your add-ons with the additional funds you have pledged.  Do not panic if you cannot figure out how to tell them what you want when you pledge.

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So then, what about this new Warmachine video game project?  I could keep typing but I believe the best information has already been put to digital page.  From the project:

“Imagine wading into battle with a squad of skilled warriors at your command, a cadre of ten-ton robots that obey your every thought, and the power of a thunderstorm in the palm of your hand.

That’s what we want you to experience in WARMACHINE: Tactics, the turn-based tactics game that, with your help, will bring the award-winning WARMACHINE miniatures game from the tabletop to your desktop PC or Mac.

Privateer Press Interactive and video game developer WhiteMoon Dreams have joined forces to bring WARMACHINE to life. Inspired by the predecessors of this hallowed genre like Valkyria Chronicles, Final Fantasy Tactics, and the X-COM franchise, WARMACHINE: Tactics seeks to break new ground for turn-based tactics games by delivering a never-before-seen level of dynamic battlefield combat.

As you’ll see in the video, the development team has worked around the clock for several months to prove we have the experience and the ability to turn WARMACHINE into an incredible video game worthy of your pledge. Kickstarter has provided the opportunity to realize this vision, and with you on our side, we can make it a reality.”

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Hopefully this helps and is not just the ramblings of a mad man drunk on Kickstarter.

Author: Redscare

I've been playing Khador for the last few years along with dabbling in the world of Circle, Menoth, Mercs and Cryx. I also play a great deal of boardgames and enjoy trying to new systems for roleplaying games. You can find me posting on the Muse and PP boards as Redscare and on http://www.reddit.com/r/Warmachine/ as RedscareMN.

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