Crowd Funding seems to be the next big thing. It has already built quite a momentum and somewhere on the line I became a fan of the concept. What is crowd funding? Well, the platforms and Wikipedia have this covered in detail but the idea is simple. You explain the project or product you want to make and instead of having to advance the money to pay the production costs you let the “customers” pay upfront. The main focus of this is naturally on products which don’t have a big company backing them or products which may or may not hit off.
Well, what does this mean for roleplaying? Actually there have already been quite a bunch of crowdfunded RPGs. E.g. Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple, Hellas and so on. The blogs are talking about this project or the other every other week.
Just have a look for yourself. There are a couple of RPG projects at any given time. While they have no category of their own, I believe this search should find most available )on kickstarter): http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/search?term=RPG
Naturally there are a bunch of computer games mixed in this search but even without those there are still some left.
If you are German you can look into this thread on Tanelorn, where they are trying to collect all kickstarter rpg projects: http://tanelorn.net/index.php/topic,73783.0.html
A lot of you will have heard about the V20 Edition Companion by White Wolf which changed the scene quite a bit, at least for RPGs.
Earlier, crowd funded RPGs were little systems by people who loved their game but didn’t have the chance to publish it themselves. A PDF file with simple layout is easily done, of cause, easily enough that it is not impossible to make it for free, but there are games out there which are worthy of more professional layout, illustrations and a printed edition. All these things may be doable with a few friends but not regularily and even when it can be done, is costs too much time to be for free.
Not so White Wolf. I know they had their problems lately and yeah I know that the creation of the V20 Edition was somewhat special. Still it is a gamechanger. If the publishers do start to use crowd funding as a way of publishing settings of which they are not sure that they will make some profit…
Won’t this somehow dilute that special Crowd funding-“we are the Gamers!” feeling?
On the other hand: Do we care? After all it is another book which obviously has a fan base out there.
Myself, I’m getting the somehow irrational feeling of invasion. Projects on Kickstarter and all the other platforms (by the way, concerning German projects I strongly suggest startnext.de) at least featured RPGs by individuals and garage companies. The big players feel like an alien element there.
While we won’t be ruling out using crowd funding for a project of our own somewhere in the future, we can however say that at least the articles this week need no additional funding:
On Tuesday you can read our next What is?- installment. To complement our German-only of last week this time we will explain what a Cerulean Cossack is in English.
On Thursday you can read the German and English version of a Unknown Armies article about Trolls.
To complete our hand, we will continue the Nydele Setting series in German and in English on Saturday.