Kickstarter, RPG Zine Quest, and Luke "Burning Wheel" Crane
  • Kickstarter, RPG Zine Quest, and Luke "Burning Wheel" Crane


    Kickstarter’s February initiative, Zine Quest, promises to feature a variety of RPG zines to crowdfund. Since its announcement, we’ve been gathering requirements, talking to publishers about the projects they’ve planned for February, and written the first in a series of articles to raise awareness. To that end, we spoke with the project’s originator, Luke Crane, Head of Games @Kickstarter and owner of the Burning Wheel, a tabletop gaming publisher responsible for the Mouse Guard RPG, Dungeon World, and, of course, Burning Wheel. We asked Luke a variety of questions about the initiative and what he hopes to accomplish with the project.



    Egg Embry & Sean Hillman (ENW): Getting right into it, do you have a sense of the size of the publisher pool that plans to participate in Zine Quest?
    Luke Crane (LC): I’ve talked to a lot of folks who are interested, but it’s hard to say who will launch projects. I have seen some very exciting previews though.

    ENW: What actions do publishers need to take to drive their RPG zine's to succeed?
    LC
    : This initiative is meant to be an easy pitch. Zines take some work, but not as much work as a full-color RPG hardback. You know? I hope to see modest goals of between $1000-$2000 with rewards set around $10. Publishers should make this one easy on themselves!

    ENW: Is this part of a larger program to bring in even more RPG business to Kickstarter?
    LC
    : I’ve been personally tracking and tagging RPGs on Kickstarter for over six years. According to my research, there have been over 1,500 RPG projects, to which backers have pledged more than $65 million. These projects have an incredible 78% funding success rate. So, it is more to acknowledge the already amazing RPG community that exists on the platform.

    ENW: Are there specific types of RPG zines that you hope to see?
    LC
    : I hope to see a good range, everything from complete games to articles, from comics about RPGs to bestiaries. I hope folks take the chance to do some weird stuff.

    ENW: Is there a threshold that would mark this as a successful initiative for you?
    LC
    : My threshold is if I get to support a few creators making weird stuff, and to add some RPG ephemera to my collection.

    ENW: On our open call article, EN World forum user, callinostros, asked if this initiative would only apply to print material? Would PDF-only or PODs count for this initiative?
    LC
    : Digital rewards count, but they still have to be in the format of a zine (no cheating with color interior art!).

    ENW: Where did the inspiration come from for this initiative?
    LC
    : I love the games community on Kickstarter. I wanted to find something that acknowledged the creative energy of the backers and creators, without asking for everyone to do too much work. Zine-format projects seemed like the sweet spot there.

    ENW: Do you have a favorite fanzine either from today or from back in the 80s or 90s?
    LC
    : It’s not quite old-school cool, but Vincent Baker’s Kill Puppies for Satan is a landmark achievement in zine-format RPGs.

    ENW: Is there a specific word or phrase Zine Quest participants need to add to their project so it can be "counted"?
    LC
    : Folks should send their project links to games@kickstarter.com. We’ll tag them with #zinequest so they’re all added to the Zine Quest page.

    EN WORLD (ENW): Are there any resources for publishers that you’d like to point out?
    LC
    : If folks are looking for a good zine printer, I’ve used SmartPress in the past. Lots of options for cover stocks and very reasonable prices.

    ENW: Any chance of a Burning Wheel zine?
    LC
    : Would that I had time.

    Writer’s Note: If you plan to publish an RPG zine for Kickstarter’s Zine Quest, please contact Sean (here) or Egg (here) to share any details about your zine so we can help spread the word in February.

    If you like what we do here at EN World (the Forums, Columns, News, ENnies, etc) and would like to help support us to bring you MORE please consider supporting our Patreon. Even a single dollar helps! This article was contributed by Sean Hillman (SMHWorlds) and Egg Embry as part of EN World's Columnist (ENWC) program.
    Comments 15 Comments
    1. AriochQ's Avatar
      AriochQ -
      Two articles so far, and I am still not sure what this is about. I really want to understand, maybe I am missing something.

      AFAIK, Zines were fan created content in the form of newsletters that had sign up lists and were distributed through the mail. Pre-internet, it was one of the few ways an individual could interact with their particular community (the other being conventions). The submission standards tended to be pretty low, so you got a lot of community content for the particular topic.

      The advent of the internet and ease of self-publishing have pretty much replaced the need for zines. Besides nostalgia, what else is this offering that we don't already have?
    1. Egg Embry's Avatar
      Egg Embry -
      Quote Originally Posted by AriochQ View Post
      Two articles so far, and I am still not sure what this is about. I really want to understand, maybe I am missing something.

      AFAIK, Zines were fan created content in the form of newsletters that had sign up lists and were distributed through the mail. Pre-internet, it was one of the few ways an individual could interact with their particular community (the other being conventions). The submission standards tended to be pretty low, so you got a lot of community content for the particular topic.

      The advent of the internet and ease of self-publishing have pretty much replaced the need for zines. Besides nostalgia, what else is this offering that we don't already have?
      AriochQ,

      These are good questions and I appreciate you asking them. As you stated, doing a month of RPG zines is largely nostalgia driven. I have a place in my heart for zines so I'm excited about it! :-)

      Why are publishers planning to do RPG zines? There's a variety of reasons: The cost of production is low enough that it encourages some first-time publishers to join in, the zine rules give "permission" to some high-end publishers to experiment with a simpler format, for others it's a chance to create a love letter to this format that, again, as you stated, did take a hit when technology fostered the internet. There's more but that's a fair sampling.

      In February, I foresee a lot of interesting content shared through some enjoyable zines that will be available in print and PDF at reasonable prices. I'm eager to see what comes of Kickstarter's initiative! :-)

      Thanks,

      Egg Embry, Wanna-lancer
      If you're a publisher that would like to share an RPG-related job opportunity in a future article or discuss your RPG crowdfunding project,please contact me here.
    1. dave2008's Avatar
      dave2008 -
      Quote Originally Posted by AriochQ View Post
      Two articles so far, and I am still not sure what this is about. I really want to understand, maybe I am missing something.

      AFAIK, Zines were fan created content in the form of newsletters that had sign up lists and were distributed through the mail. Pre-internet, it was one of the few ways an individual could interact with their particular community (the other being conventions). The submission standards tended to be pretty low, so you got a lot of community content for the particular topic.

      The advent of the internet and ease of self-publishing have pretty much replaced the need for zines. Besides nostalgia, what else is this offering that we don't already have?
      I can't speak for others, but as I am contemplating winding down my architectural career I have also been thinking about starting up a 2nd career / hobby in RPG design. This kickstarter effort has prompted me to file with my State and Federal governments to register a gaming company to actually produce a zine under this promotion. It was just the kick in the pants I needed. I see it as an way to dip my toe into RPG publishing that is low cost and frankly, lower standard. I can make a zine that will satisfy me much quicker and less expensive than I can / am willing to do for a full clor book / PDF that is to be consumed by the mass market. My standard for a "book" is much higher than what I would expect for a zine. I just don't have the time and money to meet that standard at this time, but I think I can do a zine.

      I hope it will enable me to get familiar with the self-publishing opportunities available and start to get my name out there as something slightly more legit than a reddit and enworld poster
    1. MatthewJHanson's Avatar
      MatthewJHanson -
      I agree with @AriochQ, that this seems to really be about nostalgia, and unfortunately some of the requirements makes me feel like it looks it confuses the trappings of zines for the spirit of zines. I don't zine makers of old chose to use only one color ink or make their books 5.5 x 8.5 because it was part of their creative vision, I think it's because that's what they had available at the time. These days it's easy to put out a full color PDF for less than cost of printing an old-school zine.

      I think it would been more interested if Zine Quest had focused more on what I think are more the core of zines, that they are small fan-focused publications that come out regularly (rather than a single book). They could even focus on the periodical nature as a way to promote Drip.
    1. Egg Embry's Avatar
      Egg Embry -
      Quote Originally Posted by dave2008 View Post
      I can't speak for others, but as I am contemplating winding down my architectural career I have also been thinking about starting up a 2nd career / hobby in RPG design. This kickstarter effort has prompted me to file with my State and Federal governments to register a gaming company to actually produce a zine under this promotion. It was just the kick in the pants I needed. I see it as an way to dip my toe into RPG publishing that is low cost and frankly, lower standard. I can make a zine that will satisfy me much quicker and less expensive than I can / am willing to do for a full clor book / PDF that is to be consumed by the mass market. My standard for a "book" is much higher than what I would expect for a zine. I just don't have the time and money to meet that standard at this time, but I think I can do a zine.

      I hope it will enable me to get familiar with the self-publishing opportunities available and start to get my name out there as something slightly more legit than a reddit and enworld poster
      dave2008,

      Sean Hillman and I want to ask you about your zine and share it with the [EN] World. Please contact us Sean (here) or Egg (here).

      [Side note. It just occurred to me to use the "share it with the [EN] World" joke... I gotta sharpen my dad jokes game!]

      Thanks,

      Egg Embry, Wanna-lancer
      If you're a publisher that would like to share an RPG-related job opportunity in a future article or discuss your RPG crowdfunding project, please contact me here.
    1. dave2008's Avatar
      dave2008 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Egg Embry View Post
      dave2008,

      Sean Hillman and I want to ask you about your zine and share it with the [EN] World. Please contact us Sean (here) or Egg (here).
      Will do! I am just not 100% finalized on my plans yet. But I will keep you posted!
    1. dave2008's Avatar
      dave2008 -
      Quote Originally Posted by MatthewJHanson View Post
      I think it would been more interested if Zine Quest had focused more on what I think are more the core of zines, that they are small fan-focused publications that come out regularly (rather than a single book). They could even focus on the periodical nature as a way to promote Drip.
      The periodical nature of a zine is a major reason I want to do one and am looking to submit to Zine Quest. However, the focus on monotone is really a time / money saver for me too. I will not steal art for a product I want to publish. So if I want to add art I have to do it myself or pay someone to do it. It is quicker and/or cheaper to legally acquire black and white art than color art.

      Furthermore, I was holding off self publishing my content because I didn't have the time or money to get art of the quality of art I would require for typical / standard publication. However, the lower standard for a zine's art has inspired my to get off the couch and finally produce something!
    1. Bill Edmunds's Avatar
      Bill Edmunds -
      Is the advantage of this venture that zine designers/creators will have "built in" promotion for their work? Otherwise, what is the difference between doing this and running your own KS independently?
    1. dave2008's Avatar
      dave2008 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Bill Edmunds View Post
      Is the advantage of this venture that zine designers/creators will have "built in" promotion for their work? Otherwise, what is the difference between doing this and running your own KS independently?
      That is how I'm looking at it.
    1. Egg Embry's Avatar
      Egg Embry -
      Quote Originally Posted by Bill Edmunds View Post
      Is the advantage of this venture that zine designers/creators will have "built in" promotion for their work? Otherwise, what is the difference between doing this and running your own KS independently?
      Bill,

      Yes, that's it exactly! :-) Kickstarter will give an additional promotional push, sites like EN World will write articles that share your work, and there will be more focus on RPG zines as a product during that time period.

      Thanks,

      Egg Embry, Wanna-lancer
      If you're a publisher that would like to share an RPG-related job opportunity in a future article or discuss your RPG crowdfunding project, please contact me here.
    1. Bill Edmunds's Avatar
      Bill Edmunds -
      Quote Originally Posted by Egg Embry View Post
      Yes, that's it exactly! :-) Kickstarter will give an additional promotional push, sites like EN World will write articles that share your work, and there will be more focus on RPG zines as a product during that time period.
      Can you explain what you mean when you say "Kickstarter will give an additional promotional push?" I've got a project I think will be perfect for this!
    1. MatthewJHanson's Avatar
      MatthewJHanson -
      Quote Originally Posted by dave2008 View Post
      The periodical nature of a zine is a major reason I want to do one and am looking to submit to Zine Quest. However, the focus on monotone is really a time / money saver for me too. I will not steal art for a product I want to publish. So if I want to add art I have to do it myself or pay someone to do it. It is quicker and/or cheaper to legally acquire black and white art than color art.!
      If you want to commission art then yes black and white is cheaper, but if I were starting a zine, I wouldn't do that. There are plenty of ways you can get free or inexpensive art that you can legally use in your publication. Sites like Wikimedia Commons have a ton of public domain art, DriveThruRPG has a ton of quality stock art that you can use for a few dollars each, and if you wanted to do a D&D Zine that you distribute through DM's Guild they have a ton of art from old WOTC books that you can use for free. If I were to start a Zine in this day and age, these are the types of resources I'd use.
    1. Egg Embry's Avatar
      Egg Embry -
      Quote Originally Posted by Bill Edmunds View Post
      Can you explain what you mean when you say "Kickstarter will give an additional promotional push?" I've got a project I think will be perfect for this!
      Bill,

      Luke Crane shared this, "We’ll tag them with #zinequest so they're all added to the Zine Quest page." The initiative as a whole will be shared via Kickstarter on their social media and the like.

      If you plan on doing an RPG zine in February, please contact us Sean (here) or Egg (here) so we can share it via EN World. :-)

      Thanks,

      Egg Embry, Wanna-lancer
      If you're a publisher that would like to share an RPG-related job opportunity in a future article or discuss your RPG crowdfunding project, please contact me here.
    1. dave2008's Avatar
      dave2008 -
      Quote Originally Posted by MatthewJHanson View Post
      If you want to commission art then yes black and white is cheaper, but if I were starting a zine, I wouldn't do that. There are plenty of ways you can get free or inexpensive art that you can legally use in your publication. Sites like Wikimedia Commons have a ton of public domain art, DriveThruRPG has a ton of quality stock art that you can use for a few dollars each, and if you wanted to do a D&D Zine that you distribute through DM's Guild they have a ton of art from old WOTC books that you can use for free. If I were to start a Zine in this day and age, these are the types of resources I'd use.
      That is fine for you, but it not how I want to go about it. I can't speak for all the free / low cost options, but I have looked into it quite a bit over the years and I have not been satisfied with the quality and or content (not what I need). Now I was previously looking for a more polished product, so I will revisit these options, but that is also my point. The zine format has opened my eyes to the possibility of using the lower quality free products or producing my own. That is something I couldn't really do for a full book and be happy with it. With a zine I do not feel bound by the need to commission art - though I still might.

      For example, when I looked into it more seriously about 1-2 yrs ago I figured I would need $10,000 min and more likely $20,000 of art to get a book product I would be satisfied with (I actually had goal of $50,000). I think I can get a years worth of zines out for less than $2000 in art, probably significantly less. It is really a whole different mindset for me.
    1. dave2008's Avatar
      dave2008 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Egg Embry View Post
      dave2008,

      Sean Hillman and I want to ask you about your zine and share it with the [EN] World. Please contact us Sean (here) or Egg (here).

      [Side note. It just occurred to me to use the "share it with the [EN] World" joke... I gotta sharpen my dad jokes game!]

      Thanks,

      Egg Embry, Wanna-lancer
      If you're a publisher that would like to share an RPG-related job opportunity in a future article or discuss your RPG crowdfunding project, please contact me here.
      Egg and Sean,
      I sent you both an update at the links you provided. Feel free to get in touch anytime and I will update you as I move forward. Thank you!
    Comments Leave Comment