During the month of August, I am participating in #RPGaDay, an opportunity to talk daily about different topics related to games and gaming, organized by Dave Chapman, designer of Doctor Who: Adventures In Time and Space. I’ve been out of gaming for a while, so this is gonna be an interesting exercise.
Day 2: Kickstarter Game You’re Most Pleased You Backed
Four years ago, I Kickstarted a lot of small games simply because I wanted to support people in the game design trenches, friends and acquaintances many of them. And then I stopped. These days I really don’t go do the Kickstarter thing–it felt like a full-time job keeping track of who had delivered what when–and simply wait for products to become available commercially. So, to write about today’s topic, I have to go back to 2012. I’m also gonna cheat and list two games, to make up for not having a game to mention on Day 1.
First up is Dungeon World. This is a hack-n-slash fantasy take on the Apocalypse World RPG, a love letter to 1st Edition Dungeons & Dragons, a hearkening back to the days of going to the dungeon to kill monsters and take their stuff. I had fond memories of those days, and the buzz was very strong surrounding this game, which is why I backed it. I got the book and a whole bunch of extras maybe a year later, and I loved the atmosphere it invoked, the promise of what games ahead would be like, even if it would be some time before I actually got to play it (and it lived up to the expectations).
The second game is Technoir, Jeremy Keller’s mashup of cyberpunk and Noir detective stories. I love cyberpunk, so I jumped on this Kickstarter from the start and at a decent level (I wanted the t-shirt, which I just recently gave a Viking burial to). I was so pumped about this game. Everything that Jeremy previewed I really liked. The game mechanics were geared towards telling noir stories with the cyberpunk trappings, and the system was powered by grammatical concepts, with actions being called Verbs, and traits being called Adjectives (the English major in me ate it up!). The game had Transmissions (situational settings based around six random tables) and Player’s Guides to alternate expressions of the Technoir universe, like Mechnoir (featuring mecha). And to top it all off, it was gorgeous in design. Jeremy made a work of art (see the website for a glimpse at the style).
I love this game. To this day, I love this game. It also broke my heart. I have never been able to play it, so it taunts me from my bookshelf. In addition, probably overwhelmed by the success of the Kickstarter, the amount of extras unlocked, and his personal life, Jeremy never fully delivered on all the material that was supposed to be created based on the stretch goals achieved during funding (to my knowledge, two new Player’s Guides were never made). Three years later it doesn’t make much of a difference to me, but it was one of the reasons why I stopped doing Kickstarters. Nevertheless, Technoir is probably my #1 game I’m pleased I backed on Kickstarter. It may be almost forgotten now, but I still see it as a gem. In fact, I’m gonna get it down from the bookshelf once more right now.
Amusing factoid to close: I originally backed the Fate Core Kickstarter by Evil Hat, but had to drop out for reasons. Had I stayed in all the way through, the choices above would be different.