Beyond the Gates of Antares cancels their Kickstarter campaign

By Polar_Bear
In Crowdfunding
Feb 13th, 2013

Beyond the Gates of Antares has decided to pull the plug on their Kickstarter campaign, as it did not look like it was going to make it to its goal.

From the announcement:

After much consideration we have decided to withdraw our project from Kickstarter.

We’d like to thank you all for believing in us and backing us, GoA will still become a reality but through different means.

We will take the next month to reassess our plans, during this time you will still see us on the forums and we will continue to post updates to our website. Once we have a plan set we will let you all know what it is so that we can continue to build GoA together.

There are a lot of positives to take from this journey and we certainly don’t think of this as a failure, more a change in plans with actual direct feedback from the market, which should help us greatly in the future. One of the best things we’ve done is you guys. We managed to develop a thriving community in a very short time, which is bursting with ideas and support for the project and for that we thank you and we will continue to want and need your help in the future.

There are too many people to thank, but we’d like to take the opportunity to give special thanks to these guys (in no order!): Melcavuk, Krazus, Prototheca, Endtransmission, Karl Pedder, Gylan Hunter, Michael Musson, John Wigley, Des Hanley, Karol Rudyk, Bruno Lavallee, Angelika Rasmus, Andy Gibson (brandnewbadidea), Golem Painting Studios, James Sherriff, Tim Prow, Kev White, Wojtek Fils, Bob Naismith, Andrew Chesney, Paul Sawyer

We’ll talk to you all very soon

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  • blkdymnd

    Unfortunate, but he got good advertising out for this project. I think it has a lot of positives, but needed the greens and concepts they revealed during the Kickstarter to be shown at the beginning. Gameplay looks alright, there’s just too much out there that’s near completion that can be easier funded (like my shameless plug of Godslayer: Rise of Legends that only needs 9k more funding), and most CMON projects that are 99% complete. We live in an nest ant gratification world, no one seems to want to help develop a product on a product developing site. Good luck to Rick and Co. I hope plan B helps get this to the masses.

  • blkdymnd

    *instant gratification (stupid autocorrect)

  • Gamethyme

    I hate it when project creators just give up and cancel.

    If you’re going to fail, then just fail.

    When I’m backing projects, I look at the creator’s past projects. I don’t consider a failed project a black mark. I sometimes consider a cancelled project a black mark (depending on the reasons, of course).

    “Because we weren’t going to make it” is not a good reason to cancel a project.

    • Yes, it is. It shows (or better: it could indicate) that the creators have a realistic view on their success chances within the given format/conditions and are brave enough to say “We will need to tackle this differently if we ever want to succeed”.

      By cancelling a project, they can redirect their energies where they are better needed – all those concept artists and sculptors need to be paid, anyhow, so just waiting for the unavoidable to happen would be the passive choice. I like my entrepreneurs to be active and on top of their projects.

      That way, they also don’t let pledgers cling to unreasonable hopes of success that would lead to bigger frustration the longer the KS ran and the more they were not able to deliver the sufficient greens and text book extracts to the instant gratification crowd.

      So, I can see nothing negative in their move and many positives.

  • deedoublejay

    A lot of former GW names in that list.
    I hope they find some kind of success, maybe another KS after they’ve got some more development. I don’t look at Kickstarter as a product development site. I got to find products I’d like to buy that need funding to produce, and evidently, so do a lot of people.

    • keltheos

      Yup, sadly KS has shifted from what it was intended to be to what you’ve been going to it for. It’s sort of like how eBay was just for folks wanting to sell their stuff to an online mall with storefronts and whatnot. The garage cleanout guy’s not really welcome there any more.

      • grimbergen

        I disagree about ebay. I’m one of those el-cheapos that get all a lot of my minis 2ndhand from evilbay. Well now that kickstarter’s been eating my funds, not as much, but I’ve been able try new games more and more because of the opportunities on ebay.

        • estrus

          keltheos has it totally right. Sure one can find some things, but eBay is an utter shadow of it’s former glory.
          They have become downright hostile to the avg seller.

          • Soulfinger

            I very much agree about eBay. Plus, there are the increasingly prohibitive shipping rates from USPS.

      • If KS “shifted”, can you point me to one successful miniatures gaming crowd-funding project that would qualify as a genuine “pre-sad-shift” one in your eyes?

        Ideally one in the league GoA was shooting for?

      • deedoublejay

        Sorry, when I said I don’t regard it as a development site, I didn’t mean everything should be ready to go, but I think the creators should have a clear idea of what their product is.
        For example, I backed “Through the Breach”, Wyrd’s RPG. It’s not even close to done; in fact, part of the reward is that backers have access to forums to discuss the game’s development. However, Wyrd was very clear about what they wanted to produce and how how the KS would affect the project. I felt GoA had too many details yet too be determined, and therefore something I couldn’t be sure I’d be satisfied with once the product was finally delivered.
        I know Rick Priestley’s a venerable name in miniature gaming, but I haven’t played any of his recent work, and the name alone isn’t enough to get my pledge.

  • keltheos

    Although the amount of $$ they were asking for suggested it would fail from the outset. Far too ambitious, bet that was for setting up a full office, not just getting a product produced.

  • carypearson

    I have to say that I saw this from the beginning… Way too much money was being asked to kickstart something that really needed to be more fleshed out before they went to Kickstarter. They were looking for nearly half a million dollars in funding for the project to be successful. That is considerably more than any other KS I have seen for a table top or board game project that was successful. Yes, the majority have been nothing but cleverly designed pre-sales (SedWars, RelicKnights, Zombiecide) But they also had something clear that you were getting for your backing. And so it was easy to say…Hey if I pay $100 now, I get this cool game as soon as it releases, and maybe some extras. I just didn’t see that hook with this game. In addition, the entire pitch feels like “Hey, come and help us develop this game, but turn over all of your ideas to us…” Was there any mention of a Creative Commons License for all of the player developed units/backstory/ideas for the game? Plus when it started the entire thing was incredibly sparse. I hadn’t looked at it in at least 2 weeks after the initial blurb because no one was saying LOOK AT THIS COOL NEW THING THEY ADDED.

  • phoenixman

    too much stuff going to kickstarter campaigns in my opinion.

    wont give anyone cash up front for anything in life, just a personal point of view. would rather wait and buy it when it comes out and if that means missing out on so called ‘free’ stuff then so be it.

    that said, i wish Rick all the best with the game.

  • Grindar

    Project was too vague to be trying to sell it to customers who by definition don’t know what they’re going to end up with. Much as I hate for Kickstarter to just be used as a preorder platform, this was way too vague to get me to invest.

  • Lord Baltimore

    ^ I’m with this mindset. This project seemed all over the place to me. If I’m going to back a kickstarter or start a new game I do t need grand visions that are a ways off. I need good concepts (preferably greens) and a nice preview of the rules set. As far as fans being a part of the games creation, I feel like an open beta is always the best way to do this. Get your groundwork built up, then let your fans help you do the play test. Worked well for one company 🙂

  • skullking

    I loved the concept for this game, I was sad to see them quit the KS, but I understand why they did. Hopefully they will make more progress on the game, and relaunch a kickstarter down the road.

    A lot of great kickstarters for games up here now. I really wish TGN would post more about the Mierce one though. I’ve found out about so many cool kickstarters thanks to TGN and that one seems awfully under represented here. Which is surprising considering CMON sells the figures for the game they’re trying to launch.

  • Kickstarter is a strange and stressful thing for not only the person(s) running the campaign but often the backers too. I agree with blkdymnd, there is very much an instant gratification mentality within our niche in regards to kickstarter. I don’t think it extends to simply getting a clearly presented physical good asap, but more a feeling that as a backer your pledged money means something… instantly! Not only is it expected that the money get you a discounted physical good, but also that helps improve the overall quality of the experience.

    Improve, is the keyword here. Based purely on past successful kickstarters within the niche, they have all been based around attaining a core experience and then helping improving upon it. Perhaps that is the mental tradeoff we make as a backer. As a backer I realize I am not an investor, but that I am certainly more important then perhaps just a customer. If I can put my $100 into a kickstarter and feel confident I will be getting a game out of it, there is a bonus knowing that my $100 is going towards unlocking a stretch goal which may improve the core experience I initially pledged for.

    But here is the catch with the word improve and that sorta… mentality. The kickstarter campaign would need to be already fully funded. Otherwise your pledge would not be “improving” anything. You be helping simply meeting a funding goal with no real assurance that your money will get you anything in return. It’s true that kickstarter does not charge backers until the end of the campaign and ONLY if the goal was a success. But that is not how it feels. It feels like your spending the money right there and then. Then its purely helping and not improving. We interface with friends and family by helping… not with creators and / or companies. It is simply not natural for the vast majority of any given niche.

    Despite that Kingdom Death : Monster was a hugely successful kickstarter, please take my words here as simply a unique perspective. The playing field that is kickstarter is shifting constantly so its impossible to have any “experts” per say.

    I will add tho, on a personal note I am sad to hear they are pulling the plug on the campaign, but I am glad that they are not giving up despite this.

    • grimbergen

      well said… expresses pretty much my feeling when pledging/watching a KS campaign but wasn’t able to quantify. thanks Adam!

  • Gailbraithe

    It seems to me that, within this niche, what works is projects with low (30k or less, but 5k is better!) initial goals and plenty of material for stretch goals.

    Which means that to successfully use Kickstarter, you really need to have an already finished product, with planned expansions already in the pipeline (concept art finished, sculpts either finished or sculptors already on the job and underway). Then you kickstart with a low goal, showing your base product, with bunches of stretch goals. Which really means that kickstarter is for the last 10% of development funding, not the first 90%. If you want to do a successful kickstarter for this niche, you need to already have the funding to put out a game, not be looking for that funding. Which really breaks the whole point of Kickstarter.

    Gates of Antarres tried to do it within the actual Kickstarter paradigm, seeking that first 90% of funding, and failed because of it. (Well, that and the fact that they were trying to launch something to rival GW and Privateer Press right out of the gate, which is nuts!) I checked it out when it first started up, but all it seemed to have going for it was the promise of a lot of player participation in game design (which is meh proposition at best, since good games are rarely designed by crowds), and the involvement of Rick Priestly. Never looked at it again. I’ll bet that’s true of a lot of people.

  • surprize

    Real shame this one failed, but hopefully it will still see the light of day. They obviously made some mistakes, but I think the gaming community just wasn’t ready to actually crowd source fund a game, and perhaps never will be.

    I totally understand the high goal, yes they might have made that money with a “traditional” very low goal and stretch goals format, but if they hadn’t made that amount, or near it the whole thing falls apart. I reckon if sedition wars had raised $200k (something like 8-10x their goal) they wouldn’t have been able to make the game. The current favoured format relies on market research of how much is likely to be raised to see if KS is viable, and then manipulating the system to raise excitement and get the highest pledge possible. Some KS do this incredibly cynically – Dreadball took about 6-8 “stretch goals” adding stuff to the core box game to actual get to where the box was actually full. I.E. they looked at their game design, took a bunch of stuff out of that box and had them as stretch goals.

    Yes that’s totally fine, but its the same as a “massive sofa sale!” with $$$s off the original price; an original price that was never really offered for sale. Consumers still have a choice, but they are kind of being manipulated, which leaves a bad taste in my mouth for Kickstarters. It just feels a bit like a short con.

  • They should probably split this project into a modest one for the rules development and, once that is financed and way ahead, one for the actual miniature production. 300.000 USD was indeed way too much for a niche that is essentially driven by people who confuse crowdfunding with Amazon pre-order.

    (Unless, of course, you sell sex(ism), then every boy and his grandfather throws money at you.)

    • odinsgrandson

      Only they weren’t asking for $300,000 USD. They were asking for 300,000 British pounds, which is worth a little more than $460,000 right now. They would have had to be one of the larger miniatures game kickstarters out there in order to get their initial funding.

      What they got were pledges amounting to around $150,000 which should be nothing to scoff at, especially since most of what they had going for them was Rick Priestly’s name recognition.

      I can’t help but think that they should have been able to start with a hundred thousand pounds. I wonder what their plan B is.

      On a side note- the guys at Kickstarter seem to think that it is being used properly. The fact is, the farther along any project is (whether or not they’re selling anything) the better it looks to people who want to invest. That’s true of traditional investors too- if you don’t have an impressive track record, then the farther you can get your project without funding, the better.

  • blackfang

    This is good news. Not because I hate Rick Priestley or anything, but if a project this shoddy had succeeded, it would have dragged the standards of the entire hobby industry down.

    Lesson learned. Don’t go fishing for money with a few big names and an idea that you scribbled on a table napkin after dinner one night and expect your customers to fill in the blanks.

    • TomasT

      Way too many of these projects there…