Thon Kickstarter campaign cancelled

By Polar_Bear
In Board Games
Mar 20th, 2013
34 Comments
540 Views

Thon has cancelled their Kickstarter project.

From their Facebook page:

It is with a heavy heart that I cancel funding on THON. The upside is that we will return bigger and better, with this experience behind us.

I have no exact timeframe but please stay tuned to Facebook and the official page.

Thanks to all that backed us, and especially those that hung in there despite the ups and downs.

The game has changed, and we will change with it. This kickstarter is over, but our Spirit remains.

Endure.

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  • blkdymnd

    How did a funded project get to that state? Wow, the kicktraq on it amazingly tragic.

  • Gallahad

    The slow bleeding death of Thon really surprised me. This seemed like a well prepared and genuinely new project. There are fantastic models, original concepts, and some really fantastic art.

    Too many other KS projects? Failure to nail down the exact size of finished models? Too high of a MSRP? Betting on high demand for “exclusives” that are currently only artwork? Trying to sell a rpg/wargame/skirmish game all in one? Combo of all of these? Who knows?

    Personally, I really hope that Thon comes back in full force. The drones and the fireborn in particular look awesome. I really enjoy visions of future combat with lots of robots and drones.

    It is really interesting to me that it seems like there should be this massive demand for alternative large scale sci-fi games, but so far no sci-fi kickstarter with alternative rules has really been able to get off the ground. Dream-Forge games did well, but there aren’t any rules there (as far as I know). Mantic’s Warpath seems to be doing OK, but the system and style appear to just be a re-hash of the game everyone loves to hate and I personally find the models a bit underwhelming. After the way the Dream-Forge’s partnership with Wargames Factory worked out, it seems like there should be people lining up to get sci-fi troops cast in HIPS.

  • n815e

    He pulled the plug on a fully funded project. I don’t know what his actual expectations were, but to cancel the KS when he had more money than he was asking for stinks of something and if I was one of his backers I would seriously reconsider supporting any future endeavors of his.

    • Evan Edwards

      Interesting. I’m much more likely to fund somebody who pulled the plug on a fully funded project before taking anybody’s money. That’s somebody who not only has gained experience, but they operated ethically and were clearly focused on producing a game rather than just getting money.

      • n815e

        I don’t see it that way.
        He asked for 35K. He went up to 52K and then dropped down to 37K. 35K was obviously good enough for him until he got to 52K, suddenly 37K wasn’t good enough.

        I believe in following through with the commitments you make.

        • You do that.

          We don’t.

        • mathieu

          He asked for 35K. He went up to 52K and then dropped down to 37K. 35K was obviously good enough for him until he got to 52K, suddenly 37K wasn’t good enough.

          You might want to check kicktraq on that project. The money had been bleeding at quite a dramatic rate for days and still had 12 days to go before fundings ends date. You see a project that was indeed funded at the point in time it is now frozen, but it is quite obvious that given even just one extra day it would have gone below the $35000 goal.

          • grimbergen

            Yeah but still…see it through. If it means seeing your project drop to $0 in support, at least then you can gauge the actual interest and adjust accordingly.

            I mean this says me he’d rather bail then fail and learn. here’s a potential scenario that I now feel is possible: say it gets funded, and the game goes to retail. However sales go poorly so my only experience is now be’s bailing again letting the line die.

            At least with GPG Chris Taylor immediately went into some pretty deep discussions about his reasoning for pulling out of Wildman. Here we get nothing but a bland inspirational message.

          • mathieu

            I mean this says me he’d rather bail then fail and learn.

            I don’t know the guy, but I have a hard time believing he wasn’t seeing it as a huge failure already when the funding was dropping and threatening to go below the original goal. And from his posts in the comments section of the KS, it seems that he learned quite a bit from this failure.

          • jonbowen234

            Maybe he wasn’t prepared and started getting final pricing on manufacturing. Very easy to have a surprise show up. I’ve had several quotes that companies retract due to a math error. Prices can go up 10-15% easily.

            Sure he was funded but what if $35k just wasn’t enough any more or he low balled the initial goal? Better to cancel it and come back later.

    • Evan Edwards

      Ouch… although looking at the kicktraq, there was clearly something else going on.

      • Soulfinger

        Alternately, keep in mind that it may also have been something like, “Can I still pull this off while driving my wife/daughter/mother two hours each day for medical care or chemotherapy?” That sort of thing happens, which I know from experience.

      • Dahak

        My first thought given the comments on the Kingdom Death: Monster discussion thread was that people might be pulling their pledges to increase their KD:M spend now the pledge manager has started to go live on that.

        That and the Zombicide 2 KS pulling funds.

        Difficult to say if those are what caused it though.

        The Mutant Chronicles KS looks to be going slower than I might expect as well, so there may be a shortage of backers.

        • Soulfinger

          Your scenario is WAY WAY more likely, and that’s likely to be exactly what happened.

          I just wonder sometimes if people ever do consider things like, “Sorry sir, your wife has cancer,” as a causal factor before making comments like “I believe in following through with the commitments you make” or how this “stinks of something.”

        • Veritas

          Yea, I know a lot of people come on and claim that the glut of Kickstarters isn’t a problem and that there’s money to go around as long as the projects are solid, but I think that’s a bit of a joke. I know from my own experience I have to be picky as I don’t have the money to go around. I wanted to pledge Wild West Exodus, Hell Dorado, and Warzone. I wanted to pledge pretty high on all of them, but I really had to juggle what I was going to pledge on what. I think this is just going to get worse as people’s backlogs of waiting for Kickstarters to arrive grows and, you know it will happen, someone thoroughly drops the ball on their KS and fails to deliver. We’ve already seen the issues with delays, but we haven’t had a big failure to deliver yet.

          So, personally, I applaud the guy for canceling if he was foreseeing difficulties with his project. (Which, obviously, there were with the way the KS was bleeding funds and backers.)

          • kaelstra

            I agree. I’ve known people who were running Kickstarters, and abruptly had backers pull funding when something else came out that they were interested in.

  • Nosaj Verush

    I have to agree. This really is troubling. One is asked to stick his neck out with KS, perhaps only for $100 bucks, but that is $100 of hard earned money one could spend on some other game. I would not trust this fellow with my $ now. Sorry.

    • blkdymnd

      But you didn’t lose anything and are free to spend your $100 on anything you want now

      • Redordead

        Exactly! Thank you for some common sense!

        What a bountiful crop of sour grapes. I was all ready to pop my Kickstarter cherry on Thon and will definitely do so when he tries again.

  • mechaace

    To be fair, it wasn’t a guarantee that it would fund, given the amount of money it was losing with something like 11 days left. And for a guy to say well my game it’s possibly funded, but I understand people’s concerns so I’ll make it better, and come back at a future date, to me seems like more like somebody I’d give my money too, rather than a “Well, people are worried about lack of new material etc, but I’ll just take their money anyways.”

  • Gallahad

    I don’t understand the grief about him pulling the plug. He didn’t take any money, and those who pledged can now “spend” the money (that was never charged to their credit cards) on something else. To me it looks like someone committed to offering a quality product who will hopefully be back.

    Also, there is an implicit KS funding mindset where a project must immediately begin hitting stretch goals or it is considered a failure (see Gates of Antares for reference). Since there are real economies of scale in miniatures production (most of the cost is in the molds and sculpting, not the casting), it wouldn’t surprise me if he felt he couldn’t deliver a quality product to only 305 people for 38K. Many of the manufacturers (boxes, packaging, counter, books, etc.) needed for a box set like Thon won’t do small runs.

  • wildger

    I am surprised that the project can go ahead with so little money contributed. I think that the developer makes a wise choice. I feel that there is a good chance for this project to come again.

  • surprize

    I’m reading this in a different way, I think this is a case of following the tried and tested “nickstarter” strategy – set a target you can’t hope to produce the game for (like CMoN and unlike Gates of Antares) in the hope the “stretch” goals off the back of everyone getting really excited about “+1 drone!!” will take you up to the $200k odd you need to actually produce the game.

    It was obvious this game wasn’t going to get there and if he allows the funding to complete then he has $xx and no way to produce the game for that money, hence the project fails. He’s cut his losses as it appears better (as comments ^^ show) to have pulled the plug and “spun” the news as a positive, ethical move rather than have a failed project and be locked out of the kickstarter gravy train for good.

    Not that anyone will be bothered to look it up – but I predicted such a failing of people trying the CMoN model of super-excitable kickstarters with laughable funding targets a few months ago in some comments.

    • grimbergen

      The difference is that with CMON KS projects you were getting what appeared to be a huge value/hoard of stuff even in the initial pledge. Here the basic pledge levels leave a lot to be desired so of course you’re never going to get the momentum.

      To be honest for all of the CMON KSes I would gladly have pledged even if no stretch goals were met.

      And hey, even though you’re just getting “+1 drone” figure stretch goals, when those single zcide promo figures are selling for $50+ on ebay I’d say that’s a pretty good bonus.

      • Veritas

        Those people trying to make investments on the limited editions now are going to be sorely disappointed as the number of backers for CMoN KS’s has exploded. Limited won’t be so limited anymore.

        • kaelstra

          Currently, the Season 2 Kickstarter has 6,020 backers. Realistically in the grand scheme of things, even if every single one of them got Kickstarter Exclusives, that’s only 6,020 exclusives out there, which isn’t really that many in the grand scheme of things.

          • grimbergen

            Although playing devil’s advocate, the number of backers is also not full representative. That is, many pledges are for multiple copies. Also, knowing CMON’s pledge manager now, I add even more pledges for friends who didn’t get in on it earlier – for both zcide and sedwar I added 4 more copies later.

            But in general, I agree, the KS backers are still quite few in number, and even if it’s a better known campaign now, there are still many many people (some on this site) who want the game but refuse to back a KS for whatever “ethical” reasons or that they don’t have the money right now.

          • kaelstra

            That’s true, not all backers are backed at a level to get limited edition exclusives, but even going by that, it’s bare minimum at least 6k people, which still isn’t really a lot at the end of the day. Realistically, it’s probably a much smaller number of backers getting those kinds of goodies, but it’s not like their value will be reduced or anything.

          • odinsgrandson

            A lot of non-limited edition miniatures don’t have production runs as large as six thousand.

            But in the end, they’re going to be worth more if the demand out strips the production line. Zombicide is definitely a large property now, but I expect that most of those people have gotten in on the second Kickstarter.

    • kaelstra

      This brings up a kind of interesting point for me. Sometimes, these little guys (you know, the ones Kickstarter was originally designed for) can’t compete with this bigger established companies in terms of what they can offer for stretch goals–and stretch goals seem to be a big part of the appeal on whether or not someone decides to pledge or not.

      I mean, for example, using myself: I originally had not planned to pledge in on the Zombicide Season 2 Kickstarter. I can was content to wait until retail release to get it.

      Then I wandered over and got a good look at all the “Kickstarter Exclusives!” they were offering, and I remembered I regretted not being able to pledge in the first time they did Zombicide (if I recall correctly, it was badly timed and it would have ended shortly before or after GenCon that year, and GenCon gets all my cash for about 3 months or so around the convention. So I just couldn’t afford to pledge at that point.) I regretted it after the game came out and I saw all the awesome exclusives I’d never get.

      So after they’d already been fully funded and hit loads of stretch goals, I decided to pledge in and grab some of those exclusives. I think there are probably a lot of folks that do it this way, or perhaps would not pledge if it weren’t for all the exclusive stuff they can get their hands on only through the Kickstarter.

      I think smaller companies, or more accurately, the “guy with the idea” type Kickstarters just realistically might not be able to crank out tons of fun exclusives. Some can, sure, and it depends on the product they’re Kicking, but I just worry sometimes that larger companies using it are setting a sort of unrealistic view of how Kickstarter works and expectations that smaller companies and people have to try and compete against or live up to, and that can be rough.

      I just…I dunno. I have a lot of feels about Kickstarter. There are good things coming from it, but I wonder where it’s going in the long run.

      • grimbergen

        Well, technically, CMON was a small company (and prolly still is) until the first zombicide KS. But even with all the success they’ve had with KSes, the high cost of producing huge/heavy boardgames really has me wonder whether they got to keep that much profit. I have no doubt they are highly successful financially, but I seriously would not call them a big player until I hear more news otherwise– just one that knows how to maximize a KS campaign.

  • blkdymnd

    Agreed with surprize. I was having a similar conversation with Torn World on their current Kickstarter, that looks like it’ll fund,but there were questions whether they set their fu ding too high. There were other KS’s with lower funding that were doing better because of that mindset. She said basically the same thing. She quoted three times, and they all said you can produce this game, as promised, for $xx. She told me, sure she could have set the funding level at half that, but then what if my final was only 2/3 of that $xx? Now, I’ve promised the game as shown + whatever kicked in, and I’m automatically in the red and may not even be able to deliver.

    Small companies can’t and shouldn’t be held to the CMON standard of way underfunding a 99% completed project and adding a ton of stretch goals you may never use or see (still waiting on my second wave zombicide promos).

    • grimbergen

      Not sure if you are complaining about the zcide wave 2 waiting time, since at this point they are still on schedule and wave 1 was shipped early. Though Sedwar did have some delays, zcide so far has been on time.

      And again… there’s a difference between what some KS projects are offering as stretch goals and what CMON does. They may be somewhat unoriginal ripoffs of pop culture references, but boy are they fun and truly valuable given their exclusivity.

    • kaelstra

      I agree! CMON (while I love Zombicide a lot, and CMON) has set kind of unrealistic standards for smaller projects, and I hope people realize that smaller companies and projects can’t necessarily crank out all the awesome bonus content that a more established company like CMON can for it’s Kickstarter.

      I like your points about how the people running the Kickstarter are at the mercy of what another party tells them about whether or not they can get a product produced for a certain cost or under a certain time frame. If a person talks to a painter about getting art done for a book, for example, and the painter says “I can have that done by xx” and then they fall through, then the person who is running the Kickstarter is the one that looks bad. Or if you’re trying to get physical goods out, and there’s a problem with the molds, or a sculptor bails on you, etc., it all comes back to the person running it, and it’s not always their fault.