Road to Kickstarter Episode #1 - Why would you do THAT?
I’ll start with a little introduction: a couple of my Medium articles have been read on repeat by a small but persistent niche of people. These articles (find them HERE and HERE) document the pre- and post- Kickstarter campaign process for Nostalgia: La Flotta Nomade + MONAD System, funded for the Italian market in 2017.
Somewhere in between, I also wrote other articles covering the practicalities of the month before a crowdfunding campaign — those also are still read years after publication (the series starts HERE, but it’s in Italian only, sorry).
As The World Anvil Publishing, we have decided to fund a new tabletop RPG project on Kickstarter. Finding practical explanations of the whole reasoning behind a campaign is rare — so what the hell, I’ll tell you ours. Over the next few months, I’ll go into as much detail as possible to explain why we are doing what we’re doing, how, and how many times we changed our minds on the way to Day 1. Buckle up, this is gonna be interesting.
What’s this game you’re trying to fund?
First of all, this time, I’m not the author (I was for the games in the previous campaign) — All the real “author work” is done by Alberto Tronchi and Daniel Comerci from Black Box Games, which are collaborating with The World Anvil on this project and most likely for the foreseeable future.
The game name is Evolution Pulse Rebirth (Rinascita, in Italian). If you think you’ve heard of Evolution Pulse before you’d be right, because the BLAME!-inspired FATE-compatible setting was translated into English some time ago.
Evolution Pulse Rebirth, a new project, was first published by The World Anvil on the Italian market in November 2019. It takes place in an alternative version of that sci-fi universe, reimagining what would have happened if the same events took place in an ancient biblical world instead of a Nihei-like dystopia.
Here’s our pitch from the back cover:
There was a time when men were masters of the world, fighting for supremacy and building empires. A time when Alexander the Great made most known kingdoms kneel at his feet. Descendant of Eracles the Divine, and invested by the blood of the Ancient Gods, the holy warlord drove us onwards to the Amon Sanctuary. Here, according to legend, the mysterious Daeeva lived. They were oracles, skilled beyond human comprehension.
After a long journey with hindrances so great as to make any man waver, we arrived in Marsa Maruth where, in the presence of the Daeeva mystics, my king could finally obtain his prophecy. When asked what gods would have blessed his ascension, the Seers with bloodshot-eyes handed Alexander a gift, the Kunuk Surrum, the dark seal of reality. Awed by its power, my king opened the black casket, summoning the True Emperor before our very eyes.
Under a darkening sky, the True Gods were revealed. Resting in the recesses of the Sintum, they were echoes of the destiny of all living beings. The Divine Emperor showed us the supernal essence in all its power and gifted us the Igisum Duga, the Breath of New Life, tied to the power of the Hekath Daru Sanru and bound to vassalage under them.
The world had changed, and through the mouth of the Malku, individuals chosen to be their voice, every land got to know of the power of the Hekath Daru Sanru and their inescapable will.
I too received the honor of being chosen and became the Malku in service of the Sage. Kingdoms crumbled, enemies were annihilated, and the land was strewn with the bodies of the dead. Every known continent underwent a new, dark evolution. So it was, and so it will be in the centuries to come, within the shadow of the eternal kingdom of the Divine Hekath Emperor, towards the rebirth of the whole human race.
– taken from “Memories of Callisthenes, the voice of the Sage and loyal servant of the Emperor.”
TL;DR: Alexander the Great accidentally opens an ancient artifact and invites a bunch of alien entities (the Hekath Daru Sanru) from a place called Sintum. The most powerful among them, the Emperor, marks most of humanity with his boons/curses. In doing so, he first establishes and expands the borders of his Empire, reconfiguring people and lands to his liking. Outside of these borders, there’s the Wild, where various tribes and godlike Myths fight for survival, and to preserve their independence from the Hekath domination.
Why are you doing an English edition, and why on Kickstarter?
Because it’s a good game (most reviews tend to agree). Also, because the Italian market is tiny, and The World Anvil needs to expand its reach or die trying. It’s been a rewarding, expensive hobby thus far, and I want it to become something more. The only way I see to achieve that is by making our games more widely available. While there are options that do not involve crowdfunding, I believe our games have a shot at doing reasonably well on Kickstarter. Since I can’t stand the idea of not giving it a go, Evolution Pulse Rebirth will be our “English test project” on Kickstarter (our previous campaign was just for the Italian market).
This year will also see two of our titles (the MONAD System and Nostalgia: La Flotta Nomade) released in Brazil. Those translations are, however, in the hands of Fabrica Editora, and we’re involved only in regards to providing the original material. But yeah, I’m excited to see how those games will be received by the Portuguese community.
You seem pretty set on this. What are the obstacles on the way?
I’m writing this piece because I want to be as transparent as possible, that’s the whole point of this series. I won’t lie, we have two big problems to solve:
- We don’t have an English-speaking fan base, and our reasonably active Italian follow can already purchase the game in Italian. This is a big fucking problem as we approach Day 1: we need to know we’ll have X people (where X is a number I’ll establish in the next Episode) showing up within the first 48h of the campaign, or things will go sideways quickly.
- Shipping and fulfilling for an international audience is a daunting prospect. Do it wrong, and it can eat all your margins, or worse, it will prevent people from backing. Of all the work ahead of us related to the campaign, this is the one I’m most worried about. This is also a good thing, because I’m aware of it being a potential pain point, and I’m already looking for solutions.
Of course, there’s a bunch of other things we need to get right: launch date, pricing, rewards value, stretch goals, but I’m confident we’ll nail that.
So what’s your plan, Mr. Fancypants?
We have several months to get all our ducks in a row — right now, we’re aiming for a campaign on January 2021. It could be earlier, but I’d rather bide my time. Writing these articles is also part of the strategy, I’m not gonna lie, and of course, we’re continually discussing ideas internally and with other people that had to go through a similar process.
If this first piece got you curious, stay tuned for the next episodes, where I’ll go into details of what we want to do, why, and what are the intended outcomes.
Thanks for reading, and see you on Episode #2.
Want to learn more about Evolution Pulse Rebirth? Sign up HERE and get the Quickstart PDF right away.
I also run a couple of crowdfunding courses focused on games HERE, take a look.
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