What I'm Backing on Kickstarter:

What I'm Backing on Kickstarter:
After Winter Dark Campaign Setting

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Weekend R&R: Supers! Revised Edition

My history with the Superhero Genre in RPGs has been considerably more limited compared to Fantasy and Sci-Fi.  I first picked up the Marvel Super Hero Basic set (revised) published by TSR back in 1991 and, subsequently, the Advanced Set in '92.  I broke from my regular AD&D campaign at the time to do Marvel; my group created characters and I created and narrated the scenario for these 'would-be' hereos.  It lasted all of one session.

I liked the game and, along with my friends, we collected and read comic books as teenagers.  However, when players don't really want to play something and just rather continue with what we we doing, it can seriously derail a new game.  We went back to what we were playing and the MSH got shelved.  However, I remember liking the underlying 'FASERIP' system and the charts.

Almost two decades later, I was invited to join a gaming group for their Super Heroes campaign -- a campaign run by Andrew Collas, the editor-in-chief for Zenith Comics.  It was fun and I had a blast.  Over the past few years, I have gamed on and off with this group playing a variety of campaigns ranging from the Super Hero genre, Sci-Fi, and Fantasy.  It always comes back to the Super Hero genre with this group and generally, the heroic motif is a strong one in all of the stories and campaigns.  With a Super Hero game, there are many systems to choose from.  We've played games using the FASERIP system, BASH!, some homebrew rulesets, and just recently, Supers! (revised).

I was first introduced to Supers! prior to the IP changing hands.  It was originally created by Simon Washborne and the game was a rules-lite system that promoted narrative play for a Supers RPG.  It was a simple enough system to grasp but didn't go over the top with a burden of details or crunch.  It suited many a gamer who was looking for a solid basis for a Super Heroes game without raising the bar of accessibility for newcomers.

When the rights to the game were transferred, Hazard Studios, proceeded to develop a revised edition of the game and ran a successful Kickstarter campaign for the project's funding.  A couple talented authors help bring the idea of a revised edition of Supers! to reality and the rest is history!  This new edition tightened the mechanics somewhat, introduced benefits and hindrances to the system, broadened the options, expanded the powers and skills, and presented new options and provided greater detail than the original version ever did. The fan community received the the new edition very well too and after playing it myself, I can wholeheartedly agree that this revised edition of Supers! is a very solid offering.

While I like the simplicity of the original Marvel Super Heroes system (FASERIP), I never embraced it.  The game is very much the same it has been since the late 80's and could use with some refinement.  I took a liking to BASH! or, more specifically, BASH! Ultimate Edition though.  BASH! reminded me of what Marvel Super Heroes under FASERIP could have been like if it got a bit more refinement.  Yeah... the mechanics are different enough but retain a chart where a pair of d6's are rolled instead of percentile dice.  Unlike the original MSH game were you were more or less expected to play established Marvel characters, BASH! was meant to really create and customize your own characters.

Supers! Revised gave me a bit more of what I was looking for, even if I didn't know it at the time.  It has the same sort of flexibility that BASH! but keeps the granular details to a minimum.  That isn't to say that BASH! isn't simple and streamlined in its own right but Supers! manages to keep things a bit easier for the players and GM running the game.  However both BASH! and Supers! are on the same end of the rules-light / streamlined spectrum as opposed to something like the Hero System which is more in-depth.

Character generation is easy -- it is effectively a point-based system (or rather dice) where you will allocate dice between Resistances, Aptitudes, and Powers.  Beyond that, there are specializations for Aptitudes, Boosts and Complications for the Powers, and you can additionally purchase Advantages or get stuff back if you take Disadvantages for character generation.  The amount of dice you get to spend will be determined by the GM based on the campaign being run.  It takes very little time to create a character once you have a concept in mind and a very basic familiarity with the rules.

Mechanically speaking, the system couldn't be simpler.  Resistances, as I mentioned, are very much like the stats found in most other RPGs and are primarily used for the purposes of saves and checks.  Skills and Powers also work in the same way and the system is basically a system that involves opposed checks or target numbers.  What makes this game stand out a bit more is the flexibility of the system at play.  For instance, when an attack is made against your character, you select how you defend.  Do you have armor which will allow you to take a hit?  Do you have a movement power to enable you to get out of the way such as flight or teleportation?  Do you want to counter the attack with one of your own in terms of neutralizing it?  And so on... Supers! allows for a greater narrative on the part of the players as well as a simple flexibility.  Say you use a power to defend, you roll to see if you beat the attack or not.  If you do, then great, no damage but there's a catch: you won't be able to use that same power to attack in the same round.  On the other hand, if you fail, you take damage and unless the attack is specific, this damage will count towards on of your four Resistances (which are like a characters ability scores) and lower them.  If any of them are brought to zero, you character (at least temporarily) is out of the fight.

As for the rest of it, you have a simple system of advancement, some optional rules on top of templates, a roster of characters, a bestiary, and a sampling of vehicles.  Everything you pretty much need to play the game is in the book save for a setting.  The book even provides rules for miniatures and a random character generator!  I find it hard *not* to sing praises for this system.

Is it all good?  Well, despite the age old adage "Don't judge a book by its cover" -- some invariably will.  The book is made available through print on demand which, in itself, is not a bad thing but the color paper quality is not one you would find in a premium product.  As far as the art is concerned, there are a lot of great pieces throughout the book but the quality of artwork isn't consistent in the book.  The font is nice and large size making it easy on the eyes but more work could have been done to tighten up the layout of the text instead of just going with a default 2-column page view with standard full-justification applied.  The end results is a book that falls short of looking like a professional product despite being a very well developed and fantastic game system that rivals some of the best systems the genre has to offer.

If you want a good and rules-lite system and don't care for a super-slick presentation, then you should really consider to give this game a go.  You can find it through OBS services such as RPGNow! (HERE) for an extremely reasonable $10.00.  You won't regret it.


Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Kickstarter Fullfilments and Wedding Invitations

The past few weeks, a lot more time has been taken away from my typical schedule to do things like writing, painting, and my various other projects. I've been doing wedding invites. I've designed and produced all that I need myself and just bought the necessities for the printing and mailing operations.

I realized it would take some time to do and that it wouldn't be a quick matter of an hour or two of work.  I spent many hours just designing all the components which are being mailed out.  I guess that layout and graphic design software I invested in has once again come in handy.  Of course, with all that work out of the way, actually printing, cutting, folding, and stuffing into envelopes has been taking longer than I thought it would.

While doing all of this, I couldn't help and recall of the various kickstarters I had participated in which had more than their fair share of delays.  There are always reasons ... and limited time and resources make the top of the list of excuses.

Fortunately, I don't have thousands or even hundreds of invitations that needed to go out.

My upcoming wedding is my no means small, but it is still a very modest size.  MOST of the invitations went out in the first 7 days and that consisted about 2/3's.  I still have some left to print/cut/fold/stuff but I'm also still hunting down some mailing addresses.  Meanwhile, I am keeping people in the loop as more invites go out and making sure everything goes out in a very timely manner.

It's kind of funny when you think about it, and this is proving more time consuming than I had originally anticipated.

Unlike those problem Kickstarters, my invitation saga will soon come to an end and the balance of invitations (about 1/4 left) should be all sent before the end of the month.  Replies have already started coming in from the very first ones that have gone out so, at least there's that.

Should be able to get back to a routine just in time for April.  Of course, I expect that this too will be derailed before the end of May.



Sunday, March 22, 2015

Kickstarter Reminder: The Storyteller's Dictionary

Just over 24 hours left for this very interesting Kickstarter promising to produce a very useful and specialized dictionary for writers and designers alike.

Produced by Chenault & Gray Publishing, the parent company to Troll Lord Games, this book is meant to be a companion volume to the previously released "Storyteller's Thesaurus" which has earned quite a bit of praise since its release.

This funding campaign up to now has been hugely successful and closing on another stretch goal at $30K. The stretch goals thus far have increased the promised content and expanding the dictionary as well as offering up an extra printed anthology of short stories -- much like the previous thesaurus kickstarter campaign did.

If you want to know more, you can find the Kickstarter campaign going on over HERE.


Friday, March 20, 2015

Weekend R&R: Games & Gears Katana Brush

The Katana Freehand Brush was part of the Games & Gears Ichiban Studios Kickstarter than ran last year.  Now I've had my brushes and have been using them since last summer (I give an initial review of them HERE).  At some point this month, I will revisit these brushes since I've had a lot more time with them and have used them almost exclusively since July 2014.  However, the Katana Freehand Brush was one of those items promised in the Kickstarter (a stretch goal add-on) that is only now being delivered.

So, what is it?

The Katana Brush is a silicone brush meant for freehand work.  Now some people can do freehand with their brushes really well but usually comes through a lot of practice.  Others seem to have a natural knack at it since they were already artistically inclined.  The Katana Brush is really meant to be an aid for those of us wanting to gain more control when trying to do fine lines, edges, or other details.

Now, this isn't the first time I have come across something like this so I was a bit skeptical at how well this could possibly work.  A couple of years back, I picked up a tool to do this same sort of thing.  It was called 'The Incredible Nib'.  Actually it is the 'Original' incredible Nib.  It more or less worked too but instead the tips (a different one at either end) were of some sort of wood fibre which helps hold some of the paint but gives the user very good control.  It didn't prove as useful as I had hoped though in part because the tips were a bit large for the kind of work I normally did.  The idea of a flexible and silicon tip intrigued me though offering a compromise between the rigid pencil feel of the 'Nib' and the flexibility of a brush.

Now, having played with it, it's not all that bad.

The flexibility does take getting used to as well as trying to write anything with it.  Actually, writing with it is not worth the aggravation in my opinion.  The silicon doesn't absorb the paint which is a very good thing and it does seem to cling to it and won't pool which is a great thing to hear.  However, it won't pick up too much paint either and when trying to write, a loaded brush stroke with the Katana may cause 'thicker' strokes as you are trying to write.  In other words ... if you are set to write something with the Katana Brush, try it out a few times to get comfortable.

Of course, that is common sense advice but it bears repeating.  What is worth practicing and experimenting with will be the paints you choose to use.  Depending the paints and their consistency, the quality of what you will get will vary on the paints used, how well they flow, and whether or not you are using some sort of slow-dry medium.  Using Citadel paints and some water, I was constantly dipping my tip into the paint to keep working and some of the paint would invariably dry on the silicone as you work.  If it's dry, it won't transfer to a different surface.  However, unlike a traditional brush, the hairs won't split when trying to do some prevision work along an edge or surface.

The good news is that, once you've figured all of that out and tried the Katana a bit, you can do thin and straight lines with relative ease within minutes of first using the brush.  Curves are equally simple to do and the maintenance is also tremendously simple.  Use water to clean and any paint still on the silicone can easily be scraped off gently with your finger.  It's not a bad tool to have in your brush kit even though it didn't perform as well as I would have liked.  Than again, my expectations for it were very high.

I don't regret getting it but the real question you have to ask yourself is whether or not this thing is worth the £10.00 that Games & Gears is asking for.  At today's exchange rate, we are talking about $14.75 USD (or $18.75 CDN) which is a bit on the high end if you ask me.  If you truly think that you need a new approach to help you with your detailing on the miniatures or your looking at doing a lot, then maybe the Katana Brush will prove to be a great investment.  However, if you already have a handle with the work you do and have gotten along fine without one, then maybe there isn't a reason to invest the money here.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Kickstart Reminder: Victorious RPG

We are down to just under 2 hours left on this thing!

It has met it's initial goal and busted a bunch of stretch goals too!

If you want to get in on it, check it out HERE.

Next stretch goal up is expanded material for "Manifest Destiny" which:

...details the United States of the 1880s and 1890s, giving details both historical and fantastical for heroes and heroines who fight for justice in the Great Republic.

Maybe it's just me, but it sounds like it would be a great supplement that could always use a bit more material.

For those who are additionally curious, I also wrote about "Victorious" a couple of weeks back, HERE.


Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Repackaging, Rebranding, and Recreating.

No matter which way you cut it, it's recycling and while we are taught that recycling is a good thing, when it comes to producing gaming supplements and periodicals for the hobby, it can serve to frustrate some fans.  That doesn't mean the creator's decision to do something like this isn't warranted.  Just that there is a right way and a wrong way and the most important thing you can do is to let the current and past fans know what you are doing and why you are doing without marginalizing anyone in the process.

Of course, this sort of thing can come in many forms and one that many can relate to is the new edition of a rulebook.  Sometimes the reasons for a new edition is to correct problems, errata, and perceived issues with the system in order to make easier, better, or whatever other valid reason there could be.  In some of those cases, these remain compatible to previous editions so there isn't much of an issue.  For example, my copy of the Call of Cthulhu rulebook is the 5th edition version and the newest edition is still perfectly compatible.  Instances where there are 'significant' changes (and there are in 7th edition), they actually tell you how to go about the conversion with regards to older material (it's REALLY simple).  On the other end of the spectrum, you have the migration from AD&D 2nd Edition to 3.x to 4th, and finally to 5th with each being substantially different from the last much to the frustration of many.

Even Troll Lord Games had annoyed some of it's fans since they claim they don't believe in new editions, only new printings.  The fact is these new printings have seen quite a few changes which other publishers and gamers would consider editions.  With the 4th printing of the Players Handbook a few years back, they outright changed the Barbarian class, altered the Monk, added illusionist spells and included healing for illusionists.  But the game is still the same.  However, since this was a new printing, gamers who had purchased the 3rd printing of the PDF had expected an updated version of the Player's Handbook when the 4th printing was made available.  It was not and instead, it was treated as if it was a new edition, and thus, a new product.  I should note that they seemed to have reversed this position since then and my 4th printing PDF has been updated to the 6th PHB printing.  Same goes for the M&T book.

In other cases, it is just as simple as needing a new printing.  For whatever reason, the art is longer suitable or can be used in subsequent printings, or there's a format change like going from a digest-sized product to a full-sized one.   Other times it's a genuine desire to revisit and improve upon something.

To want to improve on something that is great is nothing new.  Whether or not the new version is actually better is a different question entirely -- just consider the wonders and horrors that George Lucas brought about when he touched up Star Wars.  It can be a tricky thing to revisit material and then go about changing and modifying it.  James Raggi with 'Death Frost Doom' did just that and thankfully, the product is all the better for it (I reviewed it HERE).  Anyone who had the old version from RPGNow/Drivethru or the LotFP store got the upgrade!

But then, there are other instances like the Barrowmaze project.

When the first Barrowmaze book came out, I completely missed it but I ended up hearing a lot about it, and with the Barrowmaze II, I happily pledged the money and was able to get a hardcopy of Barrowmaze I and II -- both signed with some goodies part of the pledge level and stretch goals.  I was happy and I love flipping through the books.  Greg (the creator) is a really good guy and the project was certainly a labor of love.  I spent $100 back then to back it and was happy to pay it given the books, maps, dice, and with shipping being included.  As a backer of Barrowmaze II though, I only got a PDF for that and not one for the first book but I figured that I would pick it up when I finally ran it (I like the utility of PDFs for running published adventures).  That was back in 2012.  More recently, a campaign for Barrowmaze Complete happened which combined parts I and II and added a bunch of other material.  There were some really awesome miniatures as well.  When I saw this, I figured that I wouldn't bother with it.  The new cover looked gorgeous and judging by the original books, the new content would have been equally awesome.  The miniatures were also great but overall, I was reluctant to drop another $80 on content I mostly had and, well I have plenty of miniatures that still need painting (thanks Reaper!).  Paying $35 just for the new PDF was silly since I already had the PDF for Barrowmaze II and the the cost for the first PDF was still less.  Anyway, I put it to the back of my mind until a few days ago when I start seeing pictures of people showing off their shiny new books.  I decided to check out the cost of the first PDF I missed out on or see if there is something available for the previous owners of Barrowmaze.  There was nothing.  The old files are not available for purchase and there is no separate supplement either.

This sort of thing is disappointing to see.  I remember the campaign for Barrowmaze Complete the offer for previous backers who would get a couple of extra miniatures if they backed at the $190 level for the book and miniatures.  As awesome as that sounds, to me it was a bit excessive but I understand why it was done that way.  However, I don't understand why the old PDFs are no longer available.  For people who owned the original PDF of either that may want to pick up the other, I don't think it's detrimental to the sale of the new release by keeping the PDFs up.  If anything, it's forcing people who are in a position like me to decide whether or not they want to spend money again on something they own.  At the same time, I understand that it could confuse new buyers who have heard about Barrowmaze and then see multiple titles to choose from.

Naturally, not everyone will agree with me but I know there are those that do.  Right now, there is a Kickstarter campaign running for "Crypts & Things Remastered".  It's pretty much the same rules but with added content and art.  At least the cost is less than other books so people who bought the first printing / edition won't feel burned as much.

Ultimately, people will view all of this in different ways depending on their own opinions and situation.  I can't begin to tell you how many copies of the C&C Player's Handbook I have picked up over the years but usually I find new homes for the older books but don't see me doing the same thing for adventure modules and campaigns.  Also, some of the C&C books and the Barrowmaze books are signed and personalized and this means I'm less likely to part with them or subject them to potential abuse in a gaming environment.

As a fan, I happily support many gaming companies by buying and promoting their products.  However, as a fan, I also appreciate those same gaming companies and creators to take notice from time to time and acknowledge the fact.  It's not that we are looking for freebies -- it's just that, we'd prefer not have to pay for something we buy time and time again, every single time.

Now... what will I do about Barrowmaze? Greg is a good guy so maybe I should just ask him about the original PDF for the first book.


Kickstart This: Storyteller's Dictionary

The Masks of Nyarlathotep Companion has concluded today on Kickstarter, and the crowdfunding campaign for Victorious from Troll Lord Games is in its final days.  If this is the first you're hearing about that, I write about it HERE.  While I tend to be a bit more reserved with Kickstarters than I was a couple of years ago, this is the first time in quite a while where I am backing three projects that were funding around the same time.  I've already mentioned two and the third I want to highlight is the "Storyteller's Dictionary".

Chenault & Grey is the parent company of Troll Lord Games and had previously crowdfunded and released the "Storyteller's Thesaurus" which I originally reviewed back in January of 2014 (found HERE).  It is a great book and not a typical thesaurus.  In keeping with that tradition, the "Storyteller's Dictionary" won't be a typical dictionary.  As opposed to a simple alphabetical listing of words and their definitions, the book will be broken up into subject matter along with a comprehensive index.  So, if you want looking for a word that has to do with building features for a castles, you can find it there.  The intent, like their thesaurus, is to be a tool for writers, game designers, and other enthusiasts of fantasy, science fiction, and the horror genre.

It's also pretty close as you can get to being a sure thing for those who have or feel like they have been burnt on kickstarters before.  It has amassed over $20,000 and busted a variety of stretch goals -- including adding word derivations to the book.  The funding campaign will be complete in just under two weeks.

Production and delivery of the physical copy of the Thesaurus was done in within 6 months probably due to the some of the stretch goal considerations (there was an short story anthology as well).  If the Dictionary sounds intriguing, you can find the campaign HERE.  It'll cost you $25 for a physical AND digital copy of the dictionary and, if you are so inclined, you get get additional copies of either the dictionary or the thesaurus as add-ons if you missed it the first time around.


Monday, March 9, 2015

Mostly Uneventful

Sometimes after a long week of work and doing some running around, you just need to relax.

That's what I did this past weekend which is why there was no usual Weekend R&R posts.  Expect the next one to show up as planned this coming weekend though.

So, one of the things I did was check out my Bones a bit more and sort through some of the models.  While watching a movie on Saturday, I did some drybrushing to highlight the details on the translucent, colored models I hadn't touched yet from both Bones I and Bones II.  Here they are:

I really like drybrushing as a painting technique and working on models like these helps to strengthen and practice the technique.  In each of these colors, I chose a softer version of the color... a baby blue for the blue models a pale orange for the orange models, etc. Since the Bones plastic has a tendency to repel some liquids, I didn't bother trying to do much shading with washes or inks.  In this case, with very minimal effort and time, you get a result that looks pretty awesome.

On Sunday, I ended up playing and we pulled out the classic 'FASERIP' system made popular by TSR's "Marvel Super Heroes RPG".  While an actual adventure was planned... we basically did a combat scenario to test out some house rules variants for combat.  While we all had fun, the decision to continue with a Supers game was made but it looks like were are switching up to BASH!

Aside from the miniatures and light gaming, some TV watching and movies, Day Light Savings time still managed to kick my ass and my Monday was very sluggish.


Thursday, March 5, 2015

Pushing Prices to The Edge

There's a new Kickstarter in town that has gotten people who love miniatures excited.  Then again, when isn't there a great miniature related Kickstarter happening?  They seem to happen pretty regularly.  This one caught my eye earlier on when it was showcased as a preview over at Spikey Bits.  I went over and clicked the video link, checked out some of the pictures and everything I saw look positively awesome.  I didn't care for the game it was for -- I wanted a couple of these to paint and showcase.  But when I first looked, they hadn't released any sort of pricing.

A couple of days before it started, I saw the prices and was a bit heartbroken.

"The Edge" is a project created by Awaken Studios -- a painting studio that is based in the UK and has been operating for the past couple of years.  They do commission work and the work they do is pretty fantastic as far as painting goes.  So, as passionate as they are about miniatures, at some point they decided to create their own line and game.  The models look to be top-notch and anyone who appreciates collecting and painting them is sure to appreciate the detailing on these new models.

Instead of doing a traditional sculpt for these, they were created, rendered, and subsequently printed in 3D and then cast to create the models for backers/buyers.  Very little is said about the rules at this stage of the project but, I figure that most backers are interested in the models themselves.

The problem is that an untested company (beyond being a painting studio) is trying to bring to market what they think is a premium game and product as opposed to what it really is -- an untested one.  The prices they are asking for is on par if not more than what you would expect to pay when buying from Games Workshop.

A starter box faction is £60 but you'll need someone else to pick up a different faction if you want to play -- or you can get a box with the two factions for  £100.  Compare that with Dark Vengeance which comes with Chaos forces and Dark Angels and everything you need to play for a total of  £65.

As for individual models (add-ons)?  Well, some people may thing that the  £35 for the Angel of Death is a 'reasonable' price, it's still a fair bit more expensive that a Venerable Dreadnaught and  £10 more expensive than a Daemon Prince.  On the other hand, some prices aren't so bad when you look at the Holy Knights from the Kickstater -- a £12 gets your three of them in different poses.  The prices are certainly 'Games Workshop' level pricing and I don't think they should be.  For years, people have been complaining at the price gouging that they have been doing so, why should it be OK that a new company is seeking similar revenue and even mention that they are 'special' prices.

Nope... no matter which way you cut it, it is excessive which is a real shame because the models are beautiful.  There is no doubt that the Kickstarter will do well.  It met it's funding objective on the third day and continues to steadily climb.  However, it will be interesting to see how well things go after the Kickstarter as they continue to sell this thing.

If you love models and have money burning a hole in your pocket, the campaign can be found HERE.


Reflections & Inspiration

About a week ago, Leonard Nimoy passed away at the age of 83 due to complications arising from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. And today, is the anniversary of the passing of Gary Gygax.

Both these men have had the most profound impact they could have on a person growing up... they helped spur my imagination.

Like legions of fans of both, I was saddened to hear the news of their passing and it give me a chance to reflect of course.

For Gygax, he brought about a game that influenced so many other creations and these have given me over 25 years of enjoyment and a funnel for my creativity.  I've always love fantasy and mythology and my love of it came at an early age with stories I was fortunate enough to have been exposed to when growing up.  I knew about Conan and Robert E. Howard before I discovered D&D and I knew about the adventures of Frodo and the One Ring since I was a child even if it was Bakshi as opposed to the books themselves.

However, Science Fiction was not something I was immediately drawn to... that is until Star Trek.

I honestly don't remember when I started watching the series but I was still young and, at the time, it was airing on Sunday mornings.  I was still in elementary school so this would have been he early 80s.  I liked it but, at that age, I'm not sure what it was that I liked about it.  I remember that Spock was a character I liked more so than any of the others and, had it not been for that character, I wouldn't have kept watching either.  As I a bit older and also started watching the movies, I began to have a deeper appreciation for the series, the genre, and the eventual spin-offs that would follow.

And I began to look at other examples of science fiction afterwards -- both literary as well as film.

Leonard Nimoy was an actor who portrayed a character in a 60s television series that ended up taking the world by storm.  To me, his role provided me an entry point into the world of Sci-Fi much further served to expand my own creativity.

Live long and prosper and roll for initiative!


Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Mail Call: Bones II and a Few Thoughts...

Just like another 14,963 backers, I was patiently waiting for my shipping from Texas courtesy of Reaper Miniatures.  In what seems like ages ago, I embarked on my hobby of painting miniatures because of the first Bones Kickstarter that Reaper did back in 2012.  In anticipation of those rewards, I picked up a starter set from Games Workshop and painted some goblins.  And then I painted some more... and then, eventually, I got my package in 2013.  As a Canadian backer I was one of the lucky ones as my larger package shouldn't have been sent out as early as it was and, when there were some UPS issues, it slipped under the wire from being effectively recalled.  Or something like that.  I didn't care 'cause I got my stuff!  When the folk at Reaper decided to do another one, I went in again.

The value of the first one was truly tremendous and, frankly, bordered on the ridiculous.  The Vampire pledge gave you a package of miniatures which numbers around 240 or so (I got two).  The add-ons were also priced low (Cthulhu, a $10 add-on, now retails for $40).  As an added bonus?  Shipping was free to Canada as well as the States which is in keeping with their online store policy of free shipping over $35 of purchases.

Bones II was still great value for the money but no where near the value of the original.

The core set features just over 150 miniatures (158 by my count) and, aside from a variety of add-ons, the also had expansion set add-ons which also held a number of miniatures at $50 each.  The first of these contains 39 by my count and the second 22.  So, for $200 you got about 220 miniatures and given that for two vampire pledge levels in the first Kickstarter in yielded more than twice that, it might give someone pause.

Fans are not so easily dissuaded.

In comparison, I have to say that my haul this time around was smaller but I certainly spent more money.  The fact that Canadians were charged shipping and that the cost of shipping is tantamount to highway robbery, having the privilege of paying customs is never amusing.  At least the package was transferred to Canada Post instead of continuing with UPS ... those brokerage fees are even steeper.  Sadly, back in the start of January of last year, the Canadian Dollar and US Dollar were close to being at par with each other but that isn't the case now.  The taxes calculated for customs were approximately 20% higher than they would have been over a year ago when I paid and locked in the order...  So, with shipping and customs, I was hit with close to $150 on top of what I paid for in total for the order and that's a bitter pill to swallow.  I can only imagine that the first Bones Kickstarter would have cost me more in shipping and customs (I dodged a bullet with the first Kickstarter -- I did not have to pay any additional customs fees).

It occurs to me that, despite the saving of participating in the Bones II Kickstarter, the shipping fees and customs does negate a lot of the benefits from participating in the first place.  I don't regret being part of it and, if Reaper Miniatures does a third, I will be tempted and could easily see myself going participating if they did a third one (I don't think the recent CAV one counts).

Despite the extra cash, there are a couple of points worth highlighting.  Reaper learned a few lessons from the first campaign they did.  The orders were quickly sorted out and shipped to backers once they had everything one hand.  Fulfillment on Reaper's side began and finished within a couple of weeks since they began shipping.  From the point they began on February 9th, it took just over two weeks for me to get my package.  I think part of it was because of how they went about doing some of the packaging (each set got it's own box) and there seemed to be fewer separate add-ons as well.  The team at Reaper kept on top of things and were able to quickly adjust when problems came up.  There is a reason I love dealing with Reaper so much and how well this Kickstarter went just highlights all of this.

 My own package included the core set, expansion sets 1 & 2, Khanjira, Dragon's Don't Share, the Thank You Set, and twelve other assorted add-ons.  I did want more but, doing so jumped my shipping costs in a much higher bracket.  There are certainly a few things I'm looking to order once they are made available on their online store.

Not that I need more miniatures at this point.  ;)