Mantic on Kickstarter for Kings of War!

By Polar_Bear
In Crowdfunding
May 25th, 2012

Mantic Games has a Kickstarter project going for their Kings of War line. It’s been a pretty big day for those today, hasn’t it?

From the project:

Mantic Games is a small company looking to do big things. In June, we’re launching Kings of War – a mass combat fantasy battle game.

We’ve got the game, we’ve got a gorgeous range of miniatures, but you deserve more, so we’ve set up this Kickstarter so we can go about delivering it.
Why Kickstarter?

We want to make collecting big armies as easy as possible and the funds from this Kickstarter will go towards bringing out new miniature kits quicker whilst allowing us to bring you cool rewards like exclusive miniatures, wound counters, unit cards and more – all the things we’ve wanted to do but haven’t been able to… until now!

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  • This is just wrong. Mantic is not a small, indie company. Whats next FFG, GW doing a kickstarter?

    Lets just pre-pay for everything..

    • What’s your definition of “small?”

      • scarletsquig

        Mantic has less than a dozen full-time employees in the company. They are tiny.

      • If you can pay for molds and plastics to be printed, you can afford to print a book

        • Bobofreak

          Lets see KS has a set a guidelines to be a viable to project and Mantic meets those guidelines, so where are they doing something wrong? Double Fine is a much larger company (Though still small but way bigger then Mantic) and they raised over 3 million dollars for there Adventure video game on KS! Did they do something wrong? I really am passionate about our hobby and I guess you could call me a troll as I don’t post much as I see most of the flame threads as misdirected energy and effort (Just my opinion) but things like this get me going. Here is a TABLETOP gaming company that whether you like there miniatures, rules or vibe that is trying to help grow YOUR hobby and your hating on them? We should be supporting our hobby not nitpicking and tearing it down. Like Tuco said further down “Haters Gonna Hate” but that does not mean they will make sense.

    • Mantic is a fledgling company.. They don’t have ANY full ranges.. only what they’ve been able to cobble together. Aside from that.. who said kickstarter was only for small companies? Massive Black is on kickstarter for their zombie playground project and they’re one of the largest conceptual studios on the planet.

      • Also Steve Jackson, Paizo, White Wolf, Mongoose Publishing…

      • Why would a company who can afford it, ask you to pre-pay for a game?

        • Lucas Blackwolf

          Because it’s the most direct form of market research?

        • KelRiever

          Because why not take your money and eliminate risk?

        • Why wouldn’t they?
          Also.. they just had a bunch of stuff go down with a ship… I can’t imagine that was easy for them. I would assume they insured it but I am guessing they still lost money on the labor/shipping/etc for that huge load.

    • KelRiever

      Steve Jackson isn’t a small indie company by terms of the game industry. And they were releasing Ogre for at least the 3rd time.

      Yes, basically I am agreeing with your point.

  • Cherno


    I can’t see nothing wrong with them trying it, it’S up to the gamers to decide if they should support it or not.

  • cama

    I have a Kickstarter now up for my Porsche 911 game – you pay, I play. Sounds great doesn’t it? I am a fledgling company with no employees, no product, and no problem taking all your money! Jump in now! $5000 level of contribution gets their first name initial on my vanity plate! Huzzah!

    • So will this be a car wars type game?

      The hate for Kickstarter sure is amazing.

      • tuco

        Haters gonna hate.

        • cama

          That comment gave you mad street cred, yo.

      • Grindar

        It’s just getting really old really fast. As I write this response there are 4 separate kickstarter stories on the front page here at TGN and an IndieGoGO.

        It’s like traditional investing is being skipped over and companies are going straight to begging at the corner for spare dollars to help make their ideas into stuff.

        • That’s because traditional lending isn’t happening.. The economy doesn’t support it.. not for companies that aren’t established.
          It’s simple.. you don’t like it? Don’t back it!

          • cama

            Done and done! No money from me.

      • cama

        There is NO HATE – I’m not even sure where that came from.

        All I’m saying is, people are throwing ridiculous amounts of money at every Kickstarter that comes along – and I want a 911.

    • KelRiever

      Cama is actually right. Sure, there are legitimate kickstarters. Don’t do it if you don’t want. But the lack of even trying for most kickstarters is amazing.

      Mantic, why shouldn’t they take gamer money if its there? I don’t blame the people wanting to take free money. I blame the suckers.

      But if there is one born every minute, why shouldn’t someone take their money? They were going to waste it anyway.

      • There is no such thing as an illegitimate kickstarter.. You’re making up rules for everyone to follow that don’t exist. Get off your high horse.

        • AKE
          • cama

            4tonmantis FAIL! LOL

          • Oh, man.. you burned me.. however will I live now that some nobody has told me that I have failed at an innocuous statement.

          • cama

            I dunno… hope you pull through. 😉

          • The original context with which I was addressing legitimacy was on the project/company size. If anything, your story shows that perhaps we should ONLY back large and existing companies and avoid obscure companies that nobody’s heard of.

      • KelRiever


        • cama

          Boo-yah! LOL

  • Is not so much hate as I see bigger and bigger companies getting their player base to pre-pay for things.

    This is bad precedent to set.

    • Could you elaborate why it is a bad precedent? The Kickstarter model usually gives those who are willing to support a product at a discounted rate and a earlier than normal as a way to thank theM. I also see it as a way for a company to limit its risks by allowing folks to see what is planned and gauge interest before putting up so much money at risk. I don’t see reducing financial risk as a bad thing in companies big or small. With uncertainty in the economy this is a welcome certainty for companies that want to put out new products and reduce their financial risks while reward early supports.

      • AKE

        The issue is that it effects the competitive market. If you make a huge profit before even releasing your game/project/whatever, then there could be less motivation to make a good product that can compete with the competition. I’ve already made a ton of money! Why risk putting more money into producing something that might not sell?

        In a nutshell, if I’m putting MY money into a game you bet I’m going to make sure it’s the best game ever in order to make my money back plus profit. However if I’m putting YOUR money into a game PLUS I already have it AND I’ve made a profit without yet having to make anything? Meh. Scribble some rules onto some paper and chuck some wooden tokens into a box.

        • That’s a known the risk an early adopter takes. They are basically pitched an idea via kickstarter with some concept art or sculpts along with who’s the creative team. I have a choice to back up that idea early to see it come to life. Like any time of investment I must do my due diligence on the company or person I plan on investing.

          You could put a bad game out there and ask for funding but if you can’t convince me to back you up you won’t see any of that money. There are many projects in Kickstarter that don’t get the backing asked.

    • cannondaddy

      If you don’t like kickstarter just go preorder the rulebook on their website. If you don’t want to preorder then buy it when it comes out!

  • Darsc Zacal

    Just as the internet has changed the way companies advertise and sell their product, it is also changing the way small companies are raising monies. The genie is out of the lamp as they say.

    Hilarious to see Mantic being compared to GW’s and Porsches. Or that wanting to help support a company financially in return for new product is in some way a bad thing.

    Interwebz people is funny. 😉

  • I think there’s a false idea out there of what is considered a small indie company.
    I’m willing to bet that if you walked into the offices of any of the aforementioned companies (outside of WotC or GW), your first thought would be “This is it?!”

    Most game companies do not operate on huge profit margins. A loss from a poorly-received, or, just plain bad, game can be disastrous. So, why not use kickstarter? Not only does it help generate funding, but it also allows a company to gauge market interest. Even ‘bigger’ companies.

    Take Steve Jackson’s Ogre project. In his project video, Steve talked about how the popularity of Munchkin has allowed them to have a little extra money to do this special project and print around 3000 units. However, thanks to kickstarter, they could see just how many people were interested and if they should do more.
    Do you think that they thought in their wildest dreams that they would bring in damn close to 1 million dollars? Obviously, there was a desire for that game that they wouldn’t have had any idea about otherwise.

    Now, in that same scenario, if SJG had gone ahead and taken a loan out to fund say even 10000 copies on a hunch, and it turned out no one really gave a crap about Ogre, and they all sat on retailer’s shelves in a giant dust-covered heap until they were price slashed and gotten rid of. That would have been REALLY bad.

    So, IMHO, I think kickstarter is a great resource for companies, both established and new. But, these are still small companies. I think you need to wait until WotC uses kickstarter to fund their next Magic block or GW wants to fund their next Space Marine vehicle. Then, dear TGN’ers, we will have something to gnash our teeth over, indeed.

  • Sevej

    Does this mean the Kings of War rules will no longer be free? Or the free rules were meant to be test rules?

    • I believe the purpose is to have the rules done properly with better editing, fluff, art, hobby, etc… and then have that available as a print copy. They claim the pdfs will always be free.. but Privateer Press promised a lot of things when they launched Warmachine.. I still have my first edition rulebook from that where they promised you wouldn’t need to buy new rules..

    • Black Nexus

      The core Kings of War rules will remain free to download off the website. All of the background, advanced rules, magic items etc are in the hardback.

  • Haibane

    Much as I ‘nothing’ Mantic for their copy-paste product lines, I see the whole crowd-funding thing as a massively positive concept that’s making games available that wouldn’t otherwise exist at all. You don’t like it? Don’t buy into it.

  • KelRiever

    I am having a kickstarter to kickstart my kickstart. Would you please kickstart me?

    Here’s a picture and my good intentions.

    • Grindar

      That joke’s already been done

      • cama

        I’ve been doing that for some time too. Now, I feel like a tool, because someone drew a stick figure – so they have a real thing, whereas I just have my empty wallet to kickstart.


  • farseer

    For my 2 cents…I worked at GW when they re-released Blood Bowl the last time around. We called all our retailers, indie shops, distributors, etc. We asked for sign up sheets and such to gauge interest in reprinting the game. There was a resounding YES! among the community. So GW went ahead an printed a mass amount of the core sets as well as stocked up on teams and such.
    They re-released it and sold only 10-15% of the print run in the first 6 months. If they had kicked it, they could have made the appropriate amount of product based on those willing to purchase, rather than say they were interested. They also would have gotten exposure to a new group of potential customers.

    I’m just using an example of real world application from your “big” business. I’m sure this will bring out the trolls about how much money GW has or about their business practices, etc. Really? Who cares anymore? The corpse of a dead horse can only be beaten to dust. The GW pro/against argument was beaten to dust 10 years ago…please, move on. (FYI..I hate them too. 🙂 )

    And where does it say Kickstarter is only for new companies/startups. Their own description is:
    “the world’s largest funding platform for creative projects.”
    Who says it has to be new companies. Its for anyone with a concept to use to get that concept to reality. I have absolutely NO problem with who uses Kickstarter. I think the concept will change the way things are marketed across all industries. Right now gamers and musicians seem to be the 2 biggest “kickers”. But as the concept grabs the eyes of other marketing people. you can bet they will try it. Its a safe way to gauge true saleability of a product without having to spend loads of capital.

    Of course when it does becomes mainstream and everyone uses it, all us gamers will hate it for being successful, right? Damn those people who want to make money! 😉

    Sorry for the rant…

  • blkdymnd

    I will proudly support any kickstarter that I have interest in and know I’ll play. I get it for a discount and I usually get some cool freebies as well. And in a very unpredictable gaming world, gaming companies can generate real interest for their product. Kickstarter is actually way overdue in this industry and could have probably saved some really good past games from failing.

  • AKE

    Isn’t Kickstarter for US based businesses/projects only?

    • cybogoblin

      From what I recall, you need to have a US-based credit card or PayPal account for the money to go into. That’s pretty much it. A friend here in NZ was looking at using Kickstarter to fund a movie, and that was the reason he gave for it not being an option.

      • You just need a US Bank Account.

        Indiegogo is also available for non-US creators.

  • keltheos

    Loving this thread. Totally called this coming. Shakespear’s OP nailed it right on the head. Currently, the KS style sites are seen as ‘the little guy’ market. This has to and will change.

    I mean, why shouldn’t the companies that are losing out on your disposable income start adver/promo/preordering themselves on KS as well? That $100 you just gave some “small” company for a game and a bunch of .05 cent ‘upgrades’ is $100 the other companies won’t see between now and when the KS product releases. Heck, if they’re smart they’ll all start doing what Mantic and White Wolf and Steve Jackson are doing. They get the advertising and preordering in one fell swoop.

    Soda Pop has already demonstrated you don’t even need one of the KS sites to get this sort of promotionalism going. Just set up a KS-esque system in your online store and you’re set.

    Even if the money a (perceived) established company might need to produce said product is money they can lay their hands on either through loans or reduction in income or whatever their source for the capital, there’s no reason now for them to make the outlay. Just go for the Kickstart. If you start it at a percentage of the overall investment to produce the product (say you need $20k, just make it a $10k KS, then get the rest through your standard sources) you’re still saving half that capital outlay, grabbing customer money for it ahead of time…it’s a win all around.

  • surprize

    I don’t hate mantic or kickstarter, but I can get on board with people who are feeling a bit disillusioned with the whole format. It’s now being used as a pre-order platform for things that are going to be done anyway purely as a marketing hype tool. I’ve gone to the mantic open days etc, and they were always going to do this book at this time, for about 3 years. It must already be finished and at the printers (or close), so they demonstrably don’t need the kickstarter to make it happen.

    I’m just seeing it as cynical band-wagon jumping. Its just a bit of a shame companies which don’t need their project kick starting are exploiting the platform for pre-orders.

    I’ll hold complete judgement until the end of the kickstarter, but so far everything offered is just a pre-order. No special one-off goodies or anything, even the really big pledges are so unimaginative and generic to give the whole thing the air of something cobbled together.

    • The Rulebook, while being a reward, was not the goal.

      5k -> Female Vampire Sculpt
      7.5k -> Everyone who backed at 100+ gets a copy of the book with their name listed.
      10k -> Werewolves
      15k -> Backers of 100+ get a signed book
      20k -> Ogres
      25k -> Map of Mantic’s world
      35k -> Custom Dice

      On Monday they’ll be adding more Plastic related stretch goals, along with rewards for discounts on Twilight Kin, Abyssal Dwarves, and Goblins.

  • palaeomerus

    Wow. I’m having a hard time believing that people can have such a smoldering grudge against known companies using kick starter to fund projects. The arguments against mantic seeking preorder funding are so shrill, sophistic, silly, petty, and infantile that it’s hard to take it as anything more than paint by numbers trolling. Personally I have little no interest in yet another fantasy system or I probably would have bought into Warlords or just fooled around with some homebrew HoTT stuff. But the rewards are largely stock that they already have to ship like starter sets and 1000 point armies and a few extras like the Vampiress mini and the hardcover of the book. What’s the problem? If you don’t want it then don’t order it. Why do you have to pretend that it’s some kind of a rip off? What’s with this “know nothing” style backlash? If you don’t want this stuff and you’d rather pick it up from your FLGS or some discount online retailer then what’s the problem? And no pompous fortune telling lectures about what’s supposedly good for the industry please. Unless you have a real stake in the industry and are thriving it’s just empty speculation.

    • cama

      I think you used some awesome big words. Nicely written. I am pretty sure I don’t agree, but until I figure out what you said, I can’t be sure. LOL.

      • Black Nexus

        Do be sure to let us all know when you’ve worked it all out 🙂 Everything you have to say is really interesting and I can’t wait to here more of your opinions!


        • cama

          Thanks! I look forward to more fans every day. LOL

  • Gallahad

    That werewolf art looks great. However, from their page, I’m not sure exactly what I am “buying” with my support. How much do the werewolves get moved up in production? Will we be seeing them in two months versus four? Or two months versus two years?

    I have nothing against Mantic using KS to raise capital, I just they were a bit more clear about what project we are backing, and what difference it will make.

  • Osbad

    This is the first kickstarter I have bought into. Normally I don’t do pre-orders of any stripe, and in reality this is all that it is, a jazzy pre-order system. “Large” companies like GW do the whole pre-order thing to death and no-one bats an eyelid, so why the long face here?

    All manufacturing and retail businesses, large or small, have to carefully manage cash flow or it can drastically reduce their opportunities for growth or perhaps in the worst case send them under even when they have a basically profitable business model.

    So why when I normally am quite happy to wait until the moment the product hits the streets before purchasing it, would I support Mantic on this one? Some reasons in no particular order.

    I was going to buy the product anyway, and this is a good discount on new product.
    I like Mantic as a company (even though I am not 100% behind all their aesthetic choices), as I find Ronnie and Alessio’s willingness to engage with “the public” and adapt and improve their product a refreshing change in the area of “ranked up fantasy gaming” companies. Also, crucially, I trust them to keep their word, and be totally on the level of things. The way the company has been run so far gives great confidence.
    I heard about their trouble with a boat load of Veer-myn sinking, and felt their pain.
    I’ve been eagerly awaiting for the “polished” KoW rule book and want it ASAP.

  • Veritas

    I hope the people who dropped $5,000 for the biggest reward realize their reward doesn’t ship for over a YEAR. I’ll pre-order stuff, but ordering stuff that far out, with that much money on the line, is just asking for disappointment in my mind.

    • Osbad

      Twas ever thus with wargames. However at least with Kickstarter there is some come back on the manufacturer with the process. In any case, it is established companies like GW and Rackham (RIP) that are statistically more likely to kill games and leave fans hanging than new companies are (remember Mordheim, Necromunda, Blood Bowl, Confrontation, Battlefleet Gothic, Warmaster, Cadwallon, etc., etc….)

      • Veritas

        But those games, while they did die or get killed, weren’t offered for pre-order a year plus in advance. That’s so far out business-wise that there are too many things that could go wrong. I’m not opposed to pre-ordering something a month or two beforehand. Asking me to give a small game company, a historically unstable business, 5k a year before they can deliver on product? No thanks. You’d need some serious cajones to bet on that.

  • Grim6

    I think this is a great avenue for any company to start or continue a line of products. I wish Wells Expedition had access to something like this to save Arcane Legions (sorry, I really liked that game…) Or Rackham with AT-43. Kickstarter streamlines the market. Instead of a company selling to a distributor who sells to a store, who sells (or doesn’t) to a customer, the company can speak directly to the customer, and vice versa. It allows the company to target their audience more effectively, rather than trying to cast a wide net in hopes of getting some return. And it also eliminates the guess work of trying to figure what customers like or don’t like. You have direct feedback, rather than feedback filtered through layers of resellers.

    Why is this such a terrible thing again?

    • mattjgilbert

      It’s not a terrible thing. It’s a pretty sensible thing for any company to do – engage directly with your customers and reduce marketing expense and gambling on products. This kind of thing will only increase with time and more companies will do it.

      The Mantic KoW project is approaching the $45K mark now and doesn’t currently show any sign of slowdown – in fact people are upping their pledges because Mantic are listening to feedback and giving people what they want. Win-win for everyone.