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The Biggest TTRPG Kickstarter Creators: Free League Is King!

They say you can't make a million in tabletop RPGs. With 26 successful campaigns totaling nearly $8,000,000, Swedish company Free League is one of the big heavyweights of tabletop roleplaying Kickstarters. Their latest offering, Ruins of Symbaroum, has already joined that streak of killer Kickstarter campaigns with over three weeks still to go.

Free League currently tops the chart (boosted by its recent $2M The One Ring campaign), but Monte Cook Games is right behind them.

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Everybody has heard of the giant $1M+ Kickstarter successes (Matt Colville, John Wick's 7th Sea, The One Ring, Coyote & Crow, Twisted Taverns, and Humblewood). I've already compiled that list. This list, on the other hand, is a look at the totals raised by various Kickstarter creators over all their projects which add up to $1M or more. These totals were correct at the time of posting. If you're reading this in the future, they're probably outdated!


It's a work in progress, so if I've missed any obvious contenders, let me know. I only included creators who were primarily doing tabletop RPGs on the platform, but I didn't audit every project, so the totals will include any other things they've done. I also stuck to Kickstarter for the sake of my own sanity; several other crowdfunding platforms are available!

Company/Creator​
Projects​
Known For​
Biggest Campaign
Total Funded​
1Free League
25​
Tales from the Loop, The One RingTHE ONE RING Roleplaying Game, Second Edition$7,839,651*
2Richard Thomas (Onyx Path)
45​
World/Chronicles of DarknessDeluxe Exalted 3rd Edition$7,264,672
3Monte Cook Games
19​
Numenera, Cypher SystemNumenera 2: Discovery and Destiny$6,671,520
4Hit Point Press
7​
HumblewoodThe Deck of Many Animated Spells, Tarot, and More for 5E$3,865,801
5Shane Hensley (PEG)
25​
Savage WorldsDeadlands: the Weird West$3,569,108
6Matt Colville
2​
Strongholds & StreamingStrongholds & Streaming$3,494,150
7Kobold Press
18​
Midgard, 5E hardcoversVault of Magic for 5th Edition$2,867,580
8Jim Searcy (Studio Agate)
11​
EsterenEncyclopedia: Lore Books & Toolbox for your 5E Campaign$2,254,420
9Eldermancy
2​
The Seeker's Guide to Twisted TavernsThe Seeker's Guide to Twisted Taverns$1,990,428
10Evil Hat Productions
16​
FateThe Dresden Files Cooperative Card Game$1,969,348
11Frog God Games
28​
Swords & Wizardy, Tome of HorrorsRappan Athuk$1,906,713
12Ghostfire Gaming
3​
Grim Hollow (5E setting)Grim Hollow: The Monster Grimoire$2,373,990*
13Loot Tavern
3​
Heliana's Guide to Monster HuntingHeliana's Guide to Monster Hunting$1,874.061
14Goodman Games
30​
Dungeon Crawl ClassicsDCC RPG 4th Printing$1,756,612
15John Wick
8​
7th Sea7th Sea: 2nd Edition$1,640,153
16Ulisses Spiel
14​
Fading Suns, Dark EyeTorg Eternity$1,621,113
17Modiphius Entertainment
7​
Conan, Star Trek, many other licensed 2d20 gamesRobert E. Howard's Conan Roleplaying Game$1,618,550*
18RiotMinds
12​
TrudvangTrudvang Chronicles$1,461,447*
19Russ Charles
3​
Animal Adventures (5E setting)Animal Adventures: Tales of Dungeons and Doggies$1,413,286
20Warchief Gaming
1​
Auroborous (5E setting)Auroborous: Coils of the Serpent$1,260,863
21Morrus (EN Publishing)
25​
5E products, Judge Dredd, WOIN, ACE!Judge Dredd & The Worlds of 2000 AD Roleplaying Game$1,142,648*
22Connor Alexander
1​
Coyote & CrowCoyote & Crow the Role Playing Game$1,073,453

*converted to USD
 
Last edited:

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Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey

Zehnseiter

Villager
I mentioned that in the article. But it took me hours as it was, so I'm just going to stick with the one platform. If anybody else wants to do the research, I'd be happy to include it.
Probably true as kickstarter is by far the biggest platform for this.

Although Ulisses Spiele might be the exception that makes a look at gameontabletop worth it just because of the high numbers involved. They use the platform as a pledge manager for most of the games that are already on your list so the are included in the gameontabletop numbers. And they do a lot of German language crowdfunding projects (and some of the later Torg Eternity ones) on gameontabletop only.

I did a quick count and ended up with 50 projects worth roughly 5,6M Us dollars. That puts them in the top rankings of your list.
 

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Toriel

Explorer
Literally just squeezed on! I guess I'm a tortoise rather than a hare! :)

It's not because you're at the end of this list that you're behind. How many companies are there that have not yet reached the million? I'd say you're part of the peloton at the front.
 

univoxs

That's my dog, Walter
Supporter
The name Free League appeals to Americans, I bet the biggest market in the world. Originally, the company was Fria Ligan in Sweden, and the Symbaroum IP Kickstarter was via acquisition Jaringen (though it was called a merger, the brand name says otherwise)
Thats silly. I don't care what the companies name is.
 

babi_gog

Villager
I mentioned that in the article. But it took me hours as it was, so I'm just going to stick with the one platform. If anybody else wants to do the research, I'd be happy to include it.
Yep can understand the sanity issue, and trying to get more info leads to lots of rabbit holes. I know from looking at the Ulisses Spiel info they have some that are funding for translations into languages other than English for existing things. So again makes the figures more complex.

Though this does make interesting reading, and to see how many different firms are making the list.
 



Ethawyn

Explorer
Wow. The One Ring was a $2M Kickstarter and Free League has had a total of $7.8M, so TOR was over 25% of their total earned from 25 projects. Though even without it they would still have been #2.
 


John Wick's other problem is that his game just wasn't very good. The interest in his new games plummeted after people read the final version of the second edition of 7th Sea. The reception, was uhm, mixed. The Khitai Kickstarter after did a fraction of the business and he couldn't get his 7th Sea board game crowdfunded even after two tries.
John's used at least 3 different names, each now essentially defunct, for his own works. John Wick Presents, Wicked Press, and, jointly with Jared Sorenson, Wicked Dead Brewing Company.

John's games are on the edges of the design envelope.... Houses of the Blooded was brilliant, as was its samurai flavor, Blood and Honor... but they are very hard for some players, as they're very untraditional. If I hadn't run B&H, I'd have had no idea how 7th Sea was supposed to work -- John needs an editor with an iron fist, or he forgets to include key details. John needs a layout guy paid by the needed iron-fisted editor rather than John.

I, and a few friends of mine, hopped on the KS not for 7th Sea 2e, but the complete collection of 1E PDFs. I'm not likely to run 2E, and cannot actually read it in the PDF; I am unwilling to suffer through my tablet reading it to me.
 

Wow. The One Ring was a $2M Kickstarter and Free League has had a total of $7.8M, so TOR was over 25% of their total earned from 25 projects. Though even without it they would still have been #2.
Don't forget also the various late backer options, either, via Backerkit... which is likely to pull even more.

Hell, Twilight 2K had a significant backerkit bump, coming in at 5.5M SEK, over $600K. For a largely dead game set in what is now a past that (thankfully) didn't happen the way it was envisaged as Sci-Fi in the 80's.
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
Don't forget also the various late backer options, either, via Backerkit... which is likely to pull even more.
Well, we can only measure what's on Kickstarter. We don't know what they did in game stores, or their own online store, or on DTRPG, or on Backerkit, or at conventions. This chart is about Kickstarter only.

Companies like Modiphius who do a lot of licensed stuff can't use Kickstarter for much of it (Star Trek for example, or Cubicle 7's Doctor Who, or FFG and Star Wars... or non-licensed stuff not on KS like D&D). This is just a list of Kickstarter totals.
 

Eyes of Nine

Everything's Fine
They say you can't make a million in tabletop RPGs. With 26 successful campaigns totaling nearly $8,000,000, Swedish company Free League is one of the big heavyweights of tabletop roleplaying Kickstarters. Their latest offering, Ruins of Symbaroum, has already joined that streak of killer Kickstarter campaigns with over three weeks still to go.

Free League currently tops the chart (boosted by its recent $2M The One Ring campaign), but Monte Cook Games is right behind them.

View attachment 135494

Everybody has heard of the giant $1M+ Kickstarter successes (Matt Colville, John Wick's 7th Sea, The One Ring, Coyote & Crow, Twisted Taverns, and Humblewood). I've already compiled that list. This list, on the other hand, is a look at the totals raised by various Kickstarter creators over all their projects which add up to $1M or more. These totals were correct at the time of posting. If you're reading this in the future, they're probably outdated!


It's a work in progress, so if I've missed any obvious contenders, let me know. I only included creators who were primarily doing tabletop RPGs on the platform, but I didn't audit every project, so the totals will include any other things they've done. I also stuck to Kickstarter for the sake of my own sanity; several other crowdfunding platforms are available!

Company/Creator
Projects​
Known ForTotal Funded
Free League
25​
Tales from the Loop, The One Ring$7,839,651
Monte Cook Games
19​
Numenera, Cypher System$6,671,520
Richard Thomas (Onyx Path)
43​
World/Chronicles of Darkness$4,800,696
Hit Point Press
7​
Humblewood$3,865,801
Shane Hensley (PEG)
25​
Savage Worlds$3,569,108
Matt Colville
2​
Strongholds & Streaming$3,494,150
Kobold Press
18​
Midgard, 5E hardcovers$2,867,580
Jim Searcy (Studio Agate)
11​
Esteren$2,254,420
Eldermancy
2​
The Seeker's Guide to Twisted Taverns$1,990,428
Evil Hat Productions
16​
Fate$1,969,348
Frog God Games
28​
Swords & Wizardy, Tome of Horrors$1,906,713
Goodman Games
30​
Dungeon Crawl Classics$1,756,612
John Wick
8​
7th Sea$1,640,153
Ulisses Spiel
14​
Fading Suns, Dark Eye$1,621,113
Modiphius Entertainment
7​
Conan, Star Trek, many other licensed 2d20 games$1,618,550
RiotMinds
12​
Trudvang$1,461,447
Russ Charles
3​
Animal Adventures (5E setting)$1,413,286
Connor Alexander
1​
Coyote & Crow$1,073,453
Morrus (EN Publishing)
20​
5E products, Judge Dredd, WOIN$1,001,449

Added a column: Average per kickstarter. (sorry @Morrus still in last place)
ProjectsKnown ForTotal FundedAverage per KS
Matt Colville2Strongholds & Streaming$ 3,494,150.00
$1,747,075.00​
Connor Alexander1Coyote & Crow$ 1,073,453.00
$1,073,453.00​
Eldermancy2The Seeker's Guide to Twisted Taverns$ 1,990,428.00
$995,214.00​
Hit Point Press7Humblewood$ 3,865,801.00
$552,257.29​
Russ Charles3Animal Adventures (5E setting)$ 1,413,286.00
$471,095.33​
Monte Cook Games19Numenera, Cypher System$ 6,671,520.00
$351,132.63​
Free League25Tales from the Loop, The One Ring$ 7,839,651.00
$313,586.04​
Modiphius Entertainment7Conan, Star Trek, many other licensed 2d20 games$ 1,618,550.00
$231,221.43​
John Wick87th Sea$ 1,640,153.00
$205,019.13​
Jim Searcy (Studio Agate)11Esteren$ 2,254,420.00
$204,947.27​
Kobold Press18Midgard, 5E hardcovers$ 2,867,580.00
$159,310.00​
Shane Hensley (PEG)25Savage Worlds$ 3,569,108.00
$142,764.32​
Evil Hat Productions16Fate$ 1,969,348.00
$123,084.25​
RiotMinds12Trudvang$ 1,461,447.00
$121,787.25​
Ulisses Spiel14Fading Suns, Dark Eye$ 1,621,113.00
$115,793.79​
Richard Thomas (Onyx Path)43World/Chronicles of Darkness$ 4,800,696.00
$111,644.09​
Frog God Games28Swords & Wizardy, Tome of Horrors$ 1,906,713.00
$68,096.89​
Goodman Games30Dungeon Crawl Classics$ 1,756,612.00
$58,553.73​
Morrus (EN Publishing)205E products, Judge Dredd, WOIN$ 1,001,449.00
$50,072.45​
 

Jaeger

That someone better.
John Wick's other problem is that his game just wasn't very good. The interest in his new games plummeted after people read the final version of the second edition of 7th Sea. The reception, was uhm, mixed. The Khitai Kickstarter after did a fraction of the business and he couldn't get his 7th Sea board game crowdfunded even after two tries.

Wick’s other problem was that his customer’s wanted a cleaned up and mechanically fixed version of the 7th sea they fell in love with.

And he went and made the game he wanted to play.

However artistically fulfilling that decision might have been, the financial endgame showed how out of touch with the core 7th sea fan base that he needed to attract he had become.
 

imagineGod

Legend
Wick’s other problem was that his customer’s wanted a cleaned up and mechanically fixed version of the 7th sea they fell in love with.

And he went and made the game he wanted to play.

However artistically fulfilling that decision might have been, the financial endgame showed how out of touch with the core 7th sea fan base that he needed to attract he had become.
So 7th Sea 2nd Edition needs a Snyder fan cut, is that the fix to re-invigorate the IP?
 


eyeheartawk

Works 60% of the time, every time
So 7th Sea 2nd Edition needs a Snyder fan cut, is that the fix to re-invigorate the IP?
I think we'll see that. Chaosium bought it all up, after all. Once Wick releases all the things he owes from his two Kickstarters (which will take awhile), my expectation is that we'll see a third edition, with you know, real rules. This is Chaosium after all, I expect them to make a real version that people want that sells. Not some "narrative" game that is about 30 years out of touch with how those games actually function nowadays. Why else buy the property with all these outstanding obligations?
 


Jaeger

That someone better.
So 7th Sea 2nd Edition needs a Snyder fan cut, is that the fix to re-invigorate the IP?

At this point yes. Wick read his market wrong.

The problem here is that there are people who actually like 2nd edition who are still owed stuff from the kickstarter...

I think we'll see that. Chaosium bought it all up, after all. Once Wick releases all the things he owes from his two Kickstarters (which will take awhile), my expectation is that we'll see a third edition, with you know, real rules. This is Chaosium after all, I expect them to make a real version that people want that sells. Not some "narrative" game that is about 30 years out of touch with how those games actually function nowadays. Why else buy the property with all these outstanding obligations?

If I were Chaosium, I would not wait for Wick.

Go straight to a "3rd edition" is the way to go.

I would try to come to a deal with the Kickstarter people - up to and including refunds...

However, I am not privy to Chaosium financials. Such a move may be utterly impossible.

So 7th sea fans may be in for a long wait...
 

Eyes of Nine

Everything's Fine
Yeah, lots of mini-quick starters will do that. And I will expect my average to go down as I do more of them.
What we don't know and won't even know is the level of effort/cost that goes into each KS. I mean, theoretically Russ you may be getting the most cash out of your KS; while Fria Liga is running deep in the red every month.
 

Psikosis

Explorer
Not a clinker in the bunch! Really excited about Coyote and Crow. It's one of the most original things I've seen in awhile. Free League and MCG just keep churning out good stuff. I've backed a lot of Free League's efforts and never even been a smidgeon disappointed. The have earned that spot!
 

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