Two $1M+ Tabletop RPG Kickstarters At The Same Time!

Up until now, there have been three tabletop roleplaying Kickstarters which have broken the $1M barrier. Now there are TWO about to do so at the same time!

tav.jpg


The Seeker's Guide to Twisted Taverns has 7 days to go and is at about $1.1M at the time of writing.

The One Ring 2nd Edition has 5 days to go and is at about $1.4M at the time of writing.


tor.jpg


So who are the three previous $1M+ Kickstarters? Counting only tabletop RPG Kickstarters (so not video games, or Critical Role's $10M+ for its animated show) the leading contenders were Matt Colville (twice one with $2.1M and one with $1.4M!) and John Wick's 7th Sea (with $1.3M).

The One Ring is currently now in 2nd place. The question is whether Twisted Taverns can pull into 3rd place?
 
Last edited:

log in or register to remove this ad

Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey

Henry

Autoexreginated
He and Colville have Youtube channels. Runesmith has over 300k subscribers plus Patreon. Colville has 371k. Both love RPGs and offer directly what thousands of gamers want. They also get to know other writers, artists, designers, and creators which both helps them offer attractive kickstarter products and gives them free word of mouth from other RPG creators.

The One Ring is a combo of Free League and Lord of the Rings. Although Free League uses Youtube as well they only have 4700+ subscribers. But they are also a well known company with a great kickstarter track record. And there is LotR combined with a 2nd edition of a popular RPG for LotR.
I feel like track record is the lesson; in Runesmith’s case, they already kickstarted a previous product (Stibble’s Codex of Companions) which they fulfilled on schedule and was apparently a pretty well-received product with promised reward accessories. Once you have not only a fan base, but a good rep, it’s MUCH more likely you‘lol have successful kickstarters.

what blows me away is that Runesmith hit $1 million with 11,000 backers; that means that the majority of their backers hit around the $100 pledge level - that’s pretty fantastic.
 
Last edited:

log in or register to remove this ad


imagineGod

Legend
Also a rising tide DOES lift other boats. Next time someone argues against it point to these Kickstarters.
Firstly, I will pay due respect to two successful Kickstarters of Twisted Taverns and The One Ring 2nd Ed. Not for my long depressing rant.

I am not sure the rising tide is really lifting enough niche boats. The oxygen for truly innovative games is being sucked out by either D&D 5th or in this case, Tolkein fans.

Case in point: The Everway Silver Anniversary Kickstarter.
It is Jonathan Tweet's masterpiece of innovation and creative art, and Jonathan Tweet has that Wizards of the Coast heritage, and yes, that probably helped fund Everway in four hours.

Not to detract from "Twisted Taverns" but creatively, it is not way out there. On the other hand, Everyway is, and yet, it seems thousands of gamers rather sit round yet another fantasy tavern than engage with something truly creative like Everway's Tarot and Fortunes.

Not being cynical, but role playing games are collaborative social spaces, and if we look just about 600 people worldwide interested in Everway, the picture is pretty depressing for finding new players. Obviously, there will still be retail sales outside Kickstarter, but then you get that announcement of Magic the Gathering also adding Lords of the Rings to its menu, and many a hobby shop offering public play space is already swamped with MtG fans. Of those, many are not bothered with RPGs, not even D&D's Ravnica could drag enough from card play into the RPG space.

And creative cards are not the key either, look at Everway's cards. No, they have to be Magic the Gathering cards, so obviously LoTR cards will outsell niche card games.

So yes, watching Everway 's creative design being dwarfed by yet even more fantasy tavern tropes for 5e is not a win for creativity. Everway's $80,000,no matter how successful, has nothing on $1M for that tired trope of fantasy taverns or more LoTR.

1614420850765.png
 

imagineGod

Legend
This one is almost there.....

At least this one offers something new, with smart artificially intelligence building dynamic maps. So welcome to the millionaires club. Though$30 for lifetime A.I. licensing is so cheap, I wonder if sustainable, talking of server costs, etc.

1614421528565.png
 

imagineGod

Legend
Also, if we consider the nearly, 20,000 people (mostly GMs) backing Dungeon Alchemist, most likely that is for more fantasy room exploration crawlers, so again, D&D and Pathfinder and not
something radical like Everway.

The figures leaning towards D&D style play as just so high. Only the right sort of board get lifted high.
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
So yes, watching Everway 's creative design being dwarfed by yet even more fantasy tavern tropes for 5e is not a win for creativity. Everway's $80,000,no matter how successful, has nothing on $1M for that tired trope of fantasy taverns or more LoTR.
It's not a zero-sum game though. The awesome success of these two massive Kickstarters in no way diminishes the awesome success of Everway. I think the existence of these giant Kickstarters can distort perspective a little; those are outliers. Everway has done great!
 

RollAndPlayPress

Sam (Roll & Play Press)
Facebook ads. It looks impressive, but the margins are slim. You spend a lot of that money on the ads. Also they have a big online following already.
This is so true. We were very fortunate to have our first Kickstarter make over £200,000 last year – quite a lot more than our initial £1,000 goal. But there’s also a downside of having revenue so visible, as it doesn’t paint the full picture. Taxes, shipping, advertising, costs of products all take a hefty slice of the pie.

Facebook ads are another interesting one. They had a big impact on our last campaign (we started using them about halfway through, with the help of BackerKit, who are a really great team). But with the recent iOS 14 update and the feud between Facebook and Apple, we’ve found that Facebook ads are less effective, and we’ve had to think outside the box a bit more for getting the word out on our current Kickstarter. Working with people in the community through collaborations and sponsorships is something we want to do more of, as it also means we’re supporting other creators. Also seems like it's potentially more sustainable!
 

Rowan

Explorer
It's not a zero-sum game though. The awesome success of these two massive Kickstarters in no way diminishes the awesome success of Everway. I think the existence of these giant Kickstarters can distort perspective a little; those are outliers. Everway has done great!
As one of the principals of The Everway Company, I will chime in that I also think we've done great. We limited our ad spend to ~$2k over the last 6 months, including during the campaign. We probably could have reached higher total with more ad spend, but we would have been losing money on it overall. It is easy to get distracted by the big numbers raked in by 5e and Pathfinder projects, but consider that our average pledge is $138 and we should break into the top 10% funded of all tabletop games of ALL TIME on Kickstarter, and I'm pretty pleased with our success. Would it be great to be more? Sure, but I'm just delighted we have enough to print it and get started on the next products, especially for a product as expensive to produce as Everway is. We still have a decent shot of cracking $100k, which historically has been mostly unthinkable for an indie game like Everway.
 


Marc_C

Solitary Role Playing
The One Ring is a combo of Free League and Lord of the Rings. Although Free League uses Youtube as well they only have 4700+ subscribers. But they are also a well known company with a great kickstarter track record. And there is LotR combined with a 2nd edition of a popular RPG for LotR.
LOTR and Free League was the winning combination. I haven't backed a KS in years. Got burned baldly by a half-assed war-game rules campaign.
 


BRayne

Adventurer
He and Colville have Youtube channels. Runesmith has over 300k subscribers plus Patreon. Colville has 371k. Both love RPGs and offer directly what thousands of gamers want. They also get to know other writers, artists, designers, and creators which both helps them offer attractive kickstarter products and gives them free word of mouth from other RPG creators.

The One Ring is a combo of Free League and Lord of the Rings. Although Free League uses Youtube as well they only have 4700+ subscribers. But they are also a well known company with a great kickstarter track record. And there is LotR combined with a 2nd edition of a popular RPG for LotR.

I feel like the names Runesmith got to collab on the trailer help too. Jocat (lead animator) has 790k Youtube subs and Annapantsu (vocalist) has 1.06m.
 

MatthewJHanson

Registered Ninja
Publisher
I am not sure the rising tide is really lifting enough niche boats. The oxygen for truly innovative games is being sucked out by either D&D 5th or in this case, Tolkein fans.
A rising tide lifting all boats does not mean that that all Kickstarters are going to do equally well. D&D is by far the most popular system, so D&D books are more likely to raise more money that an indie book.

The question we really want to ask is whether indie books now are doing better off than they were previously. I think this is a very hard question to tease out, and I have no data to back it up, but my suspicion is that its better to be an indie designer today than it was 10 years ago.
 

darjr

I crit!
I think Johnathan Tweet is every bit a genius game designer as Monte Cook and I wish him and this kickstarter well. I loved this game so very much. I think it's one of the games every game designer should play or run or mod. Every DM too for that matter. I also think this kickstarter will deliver successfully. The comments below are about funding and advertising and marketing it and it as a your example alone.

But I do think it's a poor example to use as a counter to the all ships thing.

I'm amazed and pleasantly surprised this kickstarter funded.

A. Everway IS a niche of a niche of a niche. It’s probably one of THE most boutique of RPGs out there. I think any old timers that would have gotten Everway already have. And if you see the comments it IS mostly folks who already own it.

Second, before this kickstarter you could get a brand new in shrink wrap box of Everway on ebay for less than the complete pledge here.

iii. This is the organizers FIRST kickstarter. That alone can be a problem for a kickstarter to get momentum. I don't know why they didn't start with smaller kickstarters first and build up to this one. I think it was a huge mistake. Russ's example is a wonderful one, especially if you are new to kickstarter or running your first kickstarters.

Finally, "other reasons" i won't bring up here, but they hurt word of mouth and wider promotion.

I think Johnathan Tweet is every bit a genius game designer as Monte Cook and I wish him and this kickstarter well. I loved this game so very much. I think it's one of the games every game designer should play or run or mod. Every DM too for that matter.

 


I am not sure the rising tide is really lifting enough niche boats. The oxygen for truly innovative games is being sucked out by either D&D 5th or in this case, Tolkein fans.

Case in point: The Everway Silver Anniversary Kickstarter.
It is Jonathan Tweet's masterpiece of innovation and creative art, and Jonathan Tweet has that Wizards of the Coast heritage, and yes, that probably helped fund Everway in four hours.
I'm sorry, I don't follow. Their success isn't helping other projects succeed, and your proof is ... a project that succeeded in four hours?

I back more projects on Kickstarter than I care to admit and just backed several ZineQuest books which are, almost by definition, the smallest and nichiest projects around. I've backed a (truly terrible) RPG for kids, published by a dad with more enthusiasm than proof-reading skills. I've backed a spiral-bound notebook full of random tables that, honestly, I could make myself, but which I was delighted not to, especially since the guy making it is a lovely page designer and the product looks and feels like a million bucks. I've only backed one project that I would consider failed, but the folks behind it pivoted to getting everyone game codes from the company that was supposed to adapt their RPG for mobile platforms.

And that's not even considering all the money I've dropped on Etsy for dice and dice bags. (Seriously, if you haven't looked there, you're missing out.)

This is arguably the moment in history when more indie publishers of games and game-related materials are succeeding in the market than any other. (I bought a dice bag for my son for Christmas from a housewife in St. Petersburg!)

Some projects don't succeed, but that's always been true. But creators can now bypass the former gatekeepers of big publishers and distribution outlets to sell directly to the public. "Niche" isn't an obstacle to success on the Internet, where you can find an audience for, let me check my dice bag, dice that feature the Black Knight from Monty Python and the Holy Grail with a decreasing number of appendages on each side or a die where the pips are icons from videogame RPGs.
 
Last edited:


imagineGod

Legend
I'm sorry, I don't follow. Their success isn't helping other projects succeed, and your proof is ... a project that succeeded in four hours?
...
Do the numbers. Everway is a work of creative genius that brings something fresh.

Not saying throwing millions at taverns is not good for the hobby. Just saying the fastest and highest rising boats are basically either more 5rh Edition or tools and accessories for 5th Edition. Sort of like the Hollywood movie sequels/reboots formula. The blockbusters do not often bring fresh ideas compared to the money thrown at them. And yes, just like Indie games, Indie movies have more opportunities to be made nowadays due to the ubiquitous nature of technology lowering barriers to entry and finding niche audiences.

Still it is not a shining example of creativity when many of the successful RPG projects are basically children of D&D (a dg at Children of Due, here).

Anyway rant over. Got lost watching the millions tick over on page refreshes that I lost sight that various RPGs have saved people during lockdown. So good on all.
 



Visit Our Sponsor

Dungeon Delver's Guide

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top