Kingdom Death Becomes Highest Funding Gaming Project On Kickstarter

By Polar_Bear
In Board Games
Jan 4th, 2017

There’s just a couple days left to get in on the Kingdom Death Kickstarter campaign. Though, chances are, you’ve already done so. How do I know? Because there’s over 16k backers that have raised over $9 million, making it the highest funding gaming project on Kickstarter, beating out Exploding Kittens.

From the campaign:

So these two are not quite ready for prime time, but its just so thematically appropriate I can’t help myself!

Today I am picking the roll, instead of rolling. We are going with the Gold #15, which is another 2 for 1!

Introducing THE WHITE LION GUYS! (Don’t worry, I’ll fully flesh em out after the campaign, they are simply not final right now!)


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  • odinsgrandson

    I think we all saw this coming after the crazy start the KS got, but before that, I really wouldn’t have thought it could have gotten that big.

    In the latest update he announced delays due to high volume- I’ve never seen a KS do that before (or announce that the last wave of shipping won’t go out for another three years).

    The game is amazing, though, so it is totally earned.

  • NotActuallyHere

    I’m surprised THIS of all things has blown away so many other games to become the reigning number one, if only because of the massive investment required to even fit the damn thing on a table.

    • ZeeLobby

      Personally I know a lot of tabletop wargamers who picked it up, and it’s really not that bad when you’re used to playing games on a 4’x6′

      • odinsgrandson

        Yeah- KDM takes up way less space than a 4×6 wargame. But it is still more than most minis board games.

        But there are a lot of reasons why Kingdom Death shouldn’t be number one.

        From what I can tell, Poots just ignored market research and made the game that he would love the most- figuring this is the only chance he’d ever get to produce a full game.

        It features a price tag that’s out of control, some fairly intense assembly for board games, body horror monster designs, a setting that looks nothing like standard fantasy, a twenty-ish session campaign, and gameplay that doesn’t quite fit into any standard genre.

        Oh- and the last kickstarter delivered epic level late (not just the normal kind of late).

        SO- the question is- why did this game get to be so big when it should be alienating huge swaths of gamers?

        Because the game and components are actually good enough to justify the insane price tag.

        • ZeeLobby

          It’s a solid game. That definitely helps. I also think the novelties you listed above has draw though. I never thought I’d be into horror monster designs til I found these. It’s definitely not something my group has ever expressed a desire for either.

          THen you also have the ton of bandwagoners that simply jumped on a hot kickstarter.

          • odinsgrandson

            Don’t hate on “bandwagoning.” What’s happening is the game got a lot of visibility from the upshooting kickstarter.

            With such a high buy in, I’d expect that most of those people did some research before pledging. There’s a ton of information available.

            It is worth noting that the game got about 20,000 backers. That’s comparable to Zombicide Black Plague or Dark Souls. Kingdom Death people just spend more.

          • ZeeLobby

            I’d argue there’s a difference between bandwagoning and making an informed purchase. Considering there is frequently those in the comment section asking for clarification on what they actually bought or what is included in what, I would say there is a fair amount of people who boarded the hype train.

            I don’t think any of that is a bad thing, I’d argue a majority of supporters have never even played the game before. It’s just something to note. Just like I’m sure plenty of people will be upset when they finally realize that their pledge included the 1.5 update, and not the total game.

          • odinsgrandson

            Yeah- I really hope there aren’t so many people grabbing the update instead of the game. That’d be sad.

            But for me, I just need the update, so…

          • ced1106

            KS thrives on FOMO (and exclusives), so, while KD:M is a “good game” with boutique miniatures, not every hobby gamer likes all “good games”.

            Of course, that Jobs fella didn’t use market research when developing that fruity computer, although who knows what will happen NeXT? 😀

        • ced1106

          I think miniature painters are far more willing to plunk down more money for good miniatures than boardgamers are willing to pay for a game. Much like Magic and Warhammer 40K, KD:M is a “lifestyle” game, demanding time, money, and an additional activity (collecting for Magic, and painting for Warhammer 40K and KD:M). Most boardgames are not lifestyle games, so when a boardgamer assumes KD:M is just like another hobby boardgame, they don’t understand KD:M any more than when someone who’s watched Saturday morning cartoons watches adult anime, or someone who reads the Sunday comics strips pick up a mature comic.

  • I have to admit I don’t get this. I have read a lot of reviews on the game and it doesn’t fit me (and coming in 2020??) Seems like there is a lot of randomness to the game that can set you back to start without any recourse. I hope those that get it really love it but I’ll pass.

    • The base game will come out in relatively short order. It’s only some of the expansion material that is slated to come out in 2020. And at least they’re straightforward about that date right at the beginning. Yes, it’s 3 years from now, but better to say, “You know what, it’s going to take us a long time to get this done to the level that we want it” than say, “Yeah… sure… we can get it to you by Christmas… right…” but honestly have no feeling that they could come close to that.

      As for the “why this game?” part of things? Having not played it, myself, I can’t really answer that.

    • ZeeLobby

      Eh. The randomness can be mitigated through experienced play though. It’s meant to be brutal, but eventually you learn how to avoid/counter the harsh events. While the first couple games may end after only several game years, most people who’ve played multiple times end up making it to the endgame (where you still might die). It’s definitely a challenge, but I feel like a lot of co-op games really lack that.

      • odinsgrandson

        Yeah- that’s an issue with loads of co-op games for me. They aren’t very tough, and our group almost never loses.

        I do agree that the randomness can be mitigated by player choices. The random elements are largely about risk management and giving you unplanned for situations to react to.

        • ZeeLobby

          Yeah. The number of times I’ve seen people make poor choices for a slim chance of glory, lol.

    • hvedhrungr

      There’s a learning curve for this game that’s both longer and steeper than most “conventional” board games. But it’s what a lot of backers are looking for: A challenge. It’s certainly not as bad as video games like Dark Souls, where dying is part of the process even well into the game, but failure is involved.
      Think of it as a kind of X-COM on steroids, with a totally different setting and also the miniature hobby angle to boot.

      The first kickstarter was horrendously late to deliver. Poots kept the backers in the loop, though, and the final product is stellar.
      The fact that he posted a very comfortable timeline and might actually deliver early on some things is something I see as a sign of maturity and respect.

      • odinsgrandson

        Yeah- the timeline like he’s being more honest than any other kickstarters I’ve seen.

        Heck, he even said that the overfunding would cause delays- DURING THE KICKSTARTER!

        I mean, right now I’m in on four late kickstarters that I’m waiting on, and others that I’ve backed are sure to run into delays. A lot of them wait until the projected delivery date, or past it, before they let us know that “Hey, things might be late.”

        I’ve only backed one kickstarter that delivered on time, ever. So to me, all of that seems like honesty.

  • Davos Seaworth

    It kind of begs the question: Have we reached “peak mini” on Kickstarter? Is this the inflection point where we see gradually diminishing returns on KS minis games? The boardgaming craze is getting a bit long in the tooth, and the world only needs so many iterations of Zombicide. Time will tell.

    • crazytuco

      That reminds me, aren’t we about due for another Zombicide season?

      • Davos Seaworth

        Highly likely. Probably new Black Plague expansions until that cash-cow runs dry. Then it’s Space Zombicide: A Sci-Fi adventure!

        • Brutus Motor

          Conan Zombiecide anyone?

          • crazytuco

            Well, the first season of Black Plague had an add-on that included a Conan-in-everything-but-name character.

    • hvedhrungr

      I actually, wholeheartedly agree that, if we haven’t reached it yet, we’re fast approaching the tipping point.

      Don’t get me wrong: I still think board games will do fine for a couple of years. Maybe, *maybe* the niche has even solidified itself. Essen Spiel is still growing, but it’s more lateral growth than vertical – there’s not so much a surge in new companies and strategies than it is variations and advancements along familiar themes.

      And that’s not a bad thing, to be honest. Doing something new for the sake of doing something new rarely works out. Kingdom Death, to a large part, did as well as it did because it’s Adam Pooth’s heart’s blood and brainchild, and he was largely uncompromising in the development and fulfillment on the first kickstarter.
      Yes, that game was tremedously, horrifically late to deliver, but the quality is second to none.

      What I’m expecting in the near future is the kind of coalescing of the industry that we’re already seeing at the fringes: Properties will be concentrated with larger companies, FF, AEG, Queen Games, IELLO, etc. Some of these companies, like Heidelberger, are already feeling the pain of overestending and overinvesting, and are correcting course.

      That leaves room for smaller, more focused, more specialised companies, like Mercs and Stonemaier Games, to publish what used to be specialist games. But the beauty of the publicity and momentum that board games have gotten of late is that these aren’t real specialist games anymore. They’re reaching a wider audience; people who never thought of going into a FLGS are now buying things there, playing these games, and getting into the hobby.

      • odinsgrandson

        Since before the start of Kickstarter, the game industry has been growing (at least in North America- we have ICv2 numbers for that).

        This past year showed the most growth- because it was the first year that they included Kickstarter sales in their numbers.

        The audience has definitely broadened in the past few years.

        I suspect that we haven’t hit peak mini just yet. And I think that Crowd Funding will effectively keep the indies in the industry- so long as they can handle their post kickstarter financials.

        I mean- imagine Kickstarter were around in the ’90s. Do you think TSR would have sold D&D to Wizards/Hasbro- or do you think they could have gone to crowd funding and kept the brand going?

      • ced1106

        Eurazeo is the investment group behind Asmodee, and they only see Asmodee as a small part of their portfolio, and certainly do not have knowledge or interest of the hobby game industry, much as Hasbro had no interest in WotC properties other than Pokemon. If you like comics and business, read Comic Wars, where Marvel comics were (and still are) owned by owners who don’t read the comics. Me, I prefer industries where the owners of the major players in it care about the product they own!

    • ced1106

      Speaking of Zombicide, I’m reading posts by flippers that CMON games aren’t making the returns they used to. Some conventional retail companies were hit by overpublication because they assumed KS demand numbers for pre-order numbers. They’re not. Seems like, just as KS naysayers said too early that we’re closer to the point where anyone who wants a copy of the game backs the game on KS. I don’t yet see non-miniature boardgames in this situation, because they don’t have the exclusives miniature boardgames, pretty much synonymous with CMON, have. As for KD:M, I’ve read posts of backers about reselling the sprues, and I think it’s an easy call that KD:M KS2 reselling won’t have the returns that KD:M KS1 had. KD:M is a dedicated market, but I can’t see it being *that* large. Articles talk about money, but it’s the number of backers that matter, imo. KD:M had 19K backers vs. CMON’s Massive Darkness with 22K backers and Z:BP with 21K backers.

  • odinsgrandson

    KDM 1.5 started out with the Gambler’s Chest as its forefront product. At the start, it was a mystery box for $100.

    He actually overfunded with “Here’s this box for $100. I promise you’ll want what’s inside.”

    Guy has really built up his ethos (and he was right about the Gambler’s chest- I do want what’s inside).