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As One Million Dollar Kickstarter Ends, Another Appears!

As you may know, I started keeping track of the Million Dollar TTRPG Kickstarter Club a while back. What I've noticed is the increasing frequency of these Kickstarters which gross a million dollars or more -- we've gone from a position where we'd have one every few years to where they're coming in at a clip of about one every three weeks right now.

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When John Wick made a million dollars with his 7th Sea Kickstarter way back in 2016, it was the biggest news ever. That Kickstarter was the most successful TTRPG Kickstarter campaign in history (at the time) and that million dollars was jaw-dropping. It wasn't until two years later in 2018 that Matt Colville became the second million dollar Kickstarter creator with Strongholds & Streaming, which nearly doubled Wick's success.

Avatar Legends (the biggest TTRPG Kickstarter in history) ended today on nearly $10M with over 80,000 backers. And just two days ago, the Tanares RPG 5e project hit a million in its first day. Dungeons of Drakkenheim ended just a few weeks ago on $1.2M, and Heliana's Guide to Monster Hunting made $1.8M just a few weeks before that. We've reached a point where million dollar tabletop RPG Kickstarter are so common that they're starting to overlap.

The 9 million+dollar Kickstarters so far this year are:
Note that that represents a span of just 6 months. In the 12 years since Kickstarter's creation in 2009 until the start of 2021, 4 TTRPG projects beat the $1M mark. In the six months since March 2021, until the time of writing, a further 9 projects have done so. That's about one every 3 weeks. It's almost becoming not-news!

Of course, this is great news for the hobby. But what do you think the cause of this year's explosion of massive TTRPG Kickstarters is?
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Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey

CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
It's hard to read much into the rising trend of $1M RPG Kickstarters. But at the very least, I think we can infer that (1) TTRPGs are a lot more popular now than they ever have been, (2) there is a larger demand for more (and more varied) RPG content nowadays, and (3) people are more comfortable with crowdfunding projects.

The drivers for these three things are up for debate, but I bet the popular trend of live-streams and actual play shows are largely responsible for the first two.
 
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Marc_C

Solitary Role Playing
It's hard to read much into the rising trend of $1M RPG Kickstarters. But at the very least, I think we can infer that (1) TTRPGs are a lot more popular now than they ever have been, (2) there is a larger demand for more (and more varied) RPG content nowadays, and (3) people are more comfortable with crowdfunding projects.

The drivers for these three things are up for debate, but I bet the popular trend of live-streams and actual play shows are largely responsible for the first two.
I would add being stuck at home because of Covid has made RPGs (with VTT) a good source of participative entertainment. This must contribute to a higher number of pledges.
 

Longspeak

Explorer
Personally, I have never backed a KS though, it seems so strange to be paying for extra features in a PDF let alone pay for a book months or even a year early, and without a review on its quality. Is that stuff usually not written yet?
I see it as an investment. I started with an ArcDream project "help us [print? reprint? Can't remember] this supplement for Godlike." I didn't have it, I wanted it, I backed.

My next was a friend, "Help me publish my game." It was a highly detailed fantasy heartbreaker, and I liked my friend. Then, Monte Cook was all "I have this idea for a new game." Had to go there...

Through them all, I never thought I was pre-ordering (though I've done a few of those). Sure, some larger companies started using the platform, and when they did it started to seem pretty pre-ordery. But mostly it was small companies, or sole publishers. One guy was an laid-off-because-pandemic teacher, posted a sample of his system-free setting, and asked for a few bucks, and I thought, sure, why not. And his thing was pretty nice, certainly for the like $5 I pledged.

((And I have done a few non-RPG pledges, like my daughter's theater group, then an unrelated theater group, then a few novels, even a few board games...but mainly RPG stuff.

I would add being stuck at home because of Covid has made RPGs (with VTT) a good source of participative entertainment. This must contribute to a higher number of pledges.
Very much this. I've been tracking my Kickstarters. Between 2012 and the end of 2019, I backed about 50 projects. Since the beginning of 2020, I've backed about 150. I was lucky enough to be employed throughout, but I wasn't spending my entertainment budget. I... kinda went crazy on KS... though at the same time, 90% of my projects were digital only, smaller pledges so the money spread out more. For the most part.
 

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