Ok, we started Kickstarter Highlights to shine a light on smaller or lesser known projects that we wanted to see shine, or managed by people we love, but occasionally we like to talk about projects that we love that really don’t need the help. Case in point, Critical Role, the series that broke MCM London, a bunch of nerdy-ass voice actors who play Dungeons & Dragons live on the internet for a few hours every week and draw massive viewership and crowds, and have been partially responsible to the exponential boom in popularity of the hobby!
I’ve talked about them before. They’re a good – if inaccurate – representation of the hobby, vastly more entertaining to watch as it’s being played by actual performers, voice actors who know about taking turns when talking so that there’s no cross-talking, who can totally immerse themselves in their character so deeply that we can more clearly envision the action, and who get visibly emotional about the narrative, reacting appropriately to every moment of drama and capable of deftly improvising moments of their own.
So it makes sense for a bunch of actors with characters that they love and live, with connections in the industry who also love D&D, to club together and make a cartoon! One to go alongside the comics written by Matt Colville, and all of the other products, the books, the art, the live appearances… you get the idea they’re doing well.
The project will be supported by the studio Titmouse Inc, famous for shows like Metalocalypse, Venture Bros., Tigtone that I put on my to-do list lately, and Avatar: The Last Airbender, alongside a host of other major projects, so the animation will be in excellent hands. The cast will be played by themselves, with Matt Mercer serving the bulk of the NPCs… or rather those characters who are not the protagonists.
The test will be how well a D&D style narrative can be translated into a linear format, as it rarely crosses well into other formats – at least those that endeavour to capture the spirit of tabletop RP. As this project is dedicating itself more to existent characters and a well developed and explored world, things could be very different.
So, to the campaign itself. The target is $750,000 to fund the actual animation to a high standard, with a projected release of late 2020. Backer rewards do not include access to a digital stream or download of the final result, rather heavily implying that the final product will be available for everyone to enjoy, likely via their (newly independent of Geek & Sundry) YouTube channel and probably Twitch as it is their principle platform.
The rewards backers receive are instead encouraged to pledge for loot, some digital downloads of music uniquely composed for Critical Role, including a piece written and (partially) performed by the cast. Dice, sticker packs, art prints, cuddly toys, accessories for roleplay and memorabilia, and of course the upper echelons include personalised artwork by Titmouse, producer credits, and when you hit a five figure sum you get a studio tour and more.
Those upper echelon rewards? All gone. I would not be surprised to find a lot of D&D executives towards the top of that list, and possibly Matt Colville himself. The campaign? When I started writing it was at about $2.1 million, it’s now approaching $2.4M, and the campaign started less than five hours ago. IGN managed to squeeze out an article last night a few minutes after the project passed $1M, and I won’t be publishing this for another ten hours, who knows how much money might have poured into the pot. Stretch goals are disappearing, and the twenty-two minute animated short will be treble the length before I go to bed, and will be a feature length film by morning unless pledges slow down.
Sam Riegel and Travis Willingham have apparently been talking to producers for a while, and the attachment of the hobby still makes studios reluctant to engage with projects, presumably offers may have been made with limitations or changes. Crowd funding may lack security for the consumer… fairly certain the same group have ripped me off twice now… but it does put creativity in the hands of those passionate about a project. The CR team have proven time and time again that they are capable of producing high quality content. Here’s to another one.
Oh… there goes $2.5 million!
Side note…! Hot damn, 514% funding on Lasers and Liches!! Go check out this awesome project blending sci-fi and D&D, and adds bonus dinosaurs, perfect for anyone wanting to RP their way through Kung Fury or a Shadowrun Rave. You still have a week to get involved, and there are still stretch goals left to reach.
~Text message from Tim~
What do you mean it was made by a “different Chris”?
You may remember a that some time ago we attended UK Games Expo and during that time, we came across quite a few Kickstarter projects that were due to launch this year. Snitch is one of those projects I found, where I was lucky enough to play it with the creators. It’s a fast-paced social-deduction style game, that now has been released on Kickstarter and at time of writing, is well underway to getting funded.
So often board games strive to emulate the rich depth of gameplay enjoyed by role-playing games. Often the result is a thin facsimile or an unwieldy brute of a game, and rarely does role-play enter into the equation, but here we have at least one game in which role play is the whole point. In Role Quest by Hercules Game Studios you assume secret characters, place them opposite one another in locations and situations, and act them out. It is down to your opposing players to guess who you were. Sounds fine. Until you add curses. Speaking in rhyme, singing, impersonating someone, some new complication to add to your efforts.
Best of all the game is limited to two rounds, and a time limit is set on each and every role-play, meaning that it’s a quick game that plunges you straight into a narrative, it’s over quickly to move on to something else, or to get another round in. Locations offer new options to alter the tactics of the game, treasures help twist the flow of the game, and there is a fixed point scoring system, but ultimately it’s a game of improvisational acting skills and character playing that’s great for people who don’t think they’re good at that sort of thing.
I think this is also one I ought to add to the GeekOut Shrewsbury library.
As I write this, the game has surpassed it’s funding goal of £4,500 in the last half hour or so with twenty one days (ending August 9th) left to go to achieve some stretch goals. So let’s take a look at what Hercules Games are going to funding…
There’s very little more to say about the game itself, especially now it’s past the finishing line, so let’s take a look at what Hercules Game Studios can do with just a little more money.
£5,000 At goal + 500 we see our first new location, The Guild. With only three locations, that could prove an essential for replayability.
£5,500 The City Guard is introduced as a new possible character, a classic for every fantasy setting.
£6,000 The Temple is added as another new location, which should also help boost the diversity of the game.
£7,000 A timer for every copy of the game to help keep things moving without the need for breaking out the clock on your phone. Of course supporting apps are ever more popular these days but they can often be poor compromise to having an actual timer to slam onto the table. But I digress.
With a fairly tight cluster of stretch goals and so much time left after hitting the 100% mark, Role-Quest might need to add more goals, and fast. Perhaps more characters and locations, but with a game this simple there is definite scope for expansions. At least one expansion has already been created (more info in the pledge rewards below) but I can think of several directions this game could take with very little thought.
So what do you get for your money?
Pledge £4 or more
Wizard Pledge: For each Wizard pledge, Alex, Phoebos or a guest will roleplay a personality of your choice on video after the end of the campaign (the personality must be appropriate for all audiences)
Interestingly there is no option for a £1 “tip jar”, I like that the most basic option still gives something back. Also, not included here is a retailer specific pledge, but go check out the campaign if you’re a stockist.
Pledge £15 or more
Innkeeper Pledge: One copy of Role Quest: the card game of legendary role-playing
Pledge £18 or more
Blacksmith Pledge: One copy of Role Quest: the card game of legendary role-playing and the mini expansion.
The expansion will be NSFW and for ages 18+, which I feel is a somewhat necessary addition to this game, not because I think the game will need it, but because for the type of people I play with, I will need it.
Pledge £29 or more
Mayor Pledge: Two copies of Role Quest: the card game of legendary role-playing and two copies of the mini expansion.
This may seem odd, but by the time you incorporate shipping – at least within the UK, US, and Germany – you’ve saved a total of £5, and more if shipping elsewhere in the world. It does become worth it to share the burden of your pledge for the sake of £2.50 each.
Pledge £59 or more
Necromancer Pledge: Necromancer’s don’t just play ordinary board games, they get a personalised card with their face and the Role Quest Role-Player’s handbook. Includes: Role Quest base game, NSFW Mini Expansion (ages 18+), Personalised Character Card, Role Quest Role-Player’s Handbook.
Currently about half of these remain, 22 out of 50. If you want a personal and unique touch added to your game then it may be worth looking into this option. I might not go for the whole thing, but I may be tempted by that Role-Player’s Handbook if it’s available separately after the pledges are completed. I’m a sucker for role-playing accessories, and this looks like a quick and easy way to create or adapt characters. The book can help turn Role Quest from a basic board game and turn it into something one might use to actually enact small role-playing games, or incorporate it into existing campaigns to create in-game impact.
I actually ran across the game at UKGE. I was plainly suckered in by the wheel-spin (I won a sticker, I am perfectly find with this) but I talked to the designers and was immediately quite interested. A means of creating short and punchy RP scenarios to play out short vignettes or to draw people into the concept of role-play is right within my wheelhouse. I sincerely wish Hercules Game Studios the best of luck, not just with Role-Quest, but in their future endeavours too.
In the mean time, check out the Kickstarter today.
I’ve expressed an interest in diceless role-playing games for a few years now, but I’ve yet to be involved in a game that is completely without some influence of chance, even the odd playing card based game which wasn’t wholly without dice. Is It A Plane!? by Psychic Cactus Games is something rather different… actually something very different. Now funding on Kickstarter is a role-play about interpretation, and is going to be a must have for those who are quick on the draw. (more…)
GROWL makes an incredibly bold claim, saying “We designed a better werewolf card game for you and your clan!” When I saw this tagline, I honestly couldn’t help but click onto the product and have a look. What I saw appears to be a simple, quick game of Werewolf with some interesting differences. From pure discussion and deception to a card game, is GROWL all bark and no bite? I decided to put my money where my mouth was, as I’ve ordered myself a copy of GROWL – And here’s why.
It’s been a while since we’ve done a Kickstarter article, but here’s one that caught me by the eye and the wallet.
I may have mentioned that I am a fan of Matthew Colville, a writer, DM, and YouTuber and the writer of the Critical Role official comic book. I may have mentioned it repeatedly to anyone who will listen. So when I discover he has a Kickstarter in mind I was all kinds of ready to lay my money on the table, it would inevitably be Dungeons & Dragons oriented, and worth the money.
Strongholds and Streaming is a two-part project:
Do you like Sci-Fi?
Do you like graphic novels?
Well then, Sci-Fi fans rejoice as there’s a brand new graphic novel coming to the market, but it needs your help to make it even bigger and better. If you love to help local projects come to life, help this one raise as much money as it can, but before you go and click the button to back this new story, why not check out what they’re offering us and what the prizes are for the campaign. Join us as we do our first Kickstarter Highlight in a very long time!
It is at this point that I commence squealing like a fangirl in an old fashioned kettle.
For those of you not already aware, Journey Quest is a fantasy comedy series from the same beautiful minds that brought us The Gamers trilogy, my all time favourite RPG comedy series. It follows the story of Superfluous “Perf” a yellow-graded wizard who can cast only a few spells and can only rarely get them right, naturally he’s the chosen one and wields the Legendary Sword of Fighting who does not like him, not one little bit. (more…)
Do you like retro video games?
Do you like new twists to retro styled video games?
Do you just like video games in general?
Then you needn’t look any further, it’s time to take a look at an up and coming video game about all that is super and retro, courtesy of a Kickstarter Highlight.