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Kickstarter Monday: Failure Edition

You know what’s a good way to start a new year? By reflecting on failure! I’m not going to tell you I always bet on the winning horse. This month, let’s check out some of the Kickstarter projects I wanted to back, but not enough to make 'em happen.

It’s a Month Giant Calendar - It’s just a big wall calendar. I don’t really like those, but this one appealed to me and almost 200 other people. Maybe $26k was too big of an ask. 

The Lost Skeleton Walks Among Us - Larry Blamire is the writer, director, and co-star of a series of wonderful pastiche comedies in the style of 50s b-movies. I’d love for him to be able to make more. Maybe $410k was too big of an ask.

Mutant League Football - a silly football game for the Sega Genesis was up for a remake a couple of years ago. I probably backed out of nostalgia. Maybe $750k was too big of an ask. 
(I think they ended up making the game anyway, but I haven’t played it.)

That’s Not Funny - This was a documentary about comedy. I have no idea why I would have backed it. Looking at the page now, I see that some people I know were interviewed. Maybe they filmed a little bit at an open mic I used to go to or something. All I really know about it now is that a) they sent out so much email and b) $50k was definitely too big of an ask. So they did that really suspicious thing where they restart the project for a tiny fraction of the original budget. Having only raised $30k, the second project set a goal of $15k instead of 50k. And it raised...$15k.

This is the third scummiest move you can do in crowdfunding, after faking a disease or having anything to do with indiegogo.

Kickstarter Monday: The Arts

Let’s kickstart this month’s blogging with some more kickstarter projects in review!

221B Baker St - I have a little bit more art than I have the wall space to tastefully display it at the moment. (Lucky me!) I like screen prints of images that I believe are subtle in their geekiness. A beautiful wintery landscape, for instance, with just one little clue that it’s actually about Star Wars. This project was for a not-that-subtle Sherlock Holmes piece by an artist who did some other work I already own. It’s lovely, but it’s mostly just sitting in a tube right now. Alas. 

HERTZFELDT ON BLU-RAY - The collected works of Don Hertzfeldt, as seen previously in: a) his touring Animation Show, b) his DVDs, and c) the collections of internet pirates, all on a brand new disc! This was the disc of It’s Such a Beautiful Day and World of Tomorrow, the first films in a new, longer, even sadder direction. All of the old films are ‘bonus features.’ I feel good about supporting this guy and his work. It’s lovely, and it mostly sits on the shelf all day. 

Bring Back MST3K - Price is Right rules don’t really work out great on Kickstarter, but I gave this project exactly $1. I didn’t feel like I needed any more MST merch in my apartment, I guess. I wasn’t even sure if I wanted any more MST episodes. Not all of the shows come back to life gracefully, you know? On top of that, I wasn’t totally sure that I wouldn’t end up working on it in some way. I’ve worked with Joel before, and in another weird turn I found that I know the new cast.

In the end, I got a lot of email updates and watched around half of the new season, which probably right about average for me. It wasn’t as weird as I thought it was going to be, or at least, not for the reasons I was expecting. I think the industrialized nature of production on the new season hurt the quality somewhat, but the end product was probably a best-case scenario. It sits around on Netflix all day. 

Kickstart the Month: Cthulhiana

Each month, the mild-mannered first Monday ducks into a broom closet and emerges as the mighty Kickstarter Monday, protector of my backlog of movies to be reviewed, defender of my blog running dry!  This month: let's just begin to talk about some Cthulhu.

Lovecrafty things are in a renaissance right now, I think. I found my way in through the board game Arkham Horror - I originally bought it because one of my internet friends told me he and his friends liked to break it out when they got together, so I hoped if I bought it then maybe I would have friends too! Or something. It has a horrible and confusing rule book, which is a shame because it also has a million picky little rules, which is something I would eventually love about the game. Also, it somehow came to pass that just after buying Arkham Horror was the year I had friends. We played dozens of games of Arkham, and I couldn't believe my luck that I found people who were also into this weird hobby. That was a few years ago now, and none of them speak to me anymore, but I'm fairly sure it's unrelated to the game. And more to the point, it opened my eyes to a world of mythos-related merch. 

Littlest Lovecraft: The Dunwich Horror, The Shadow over Innsmouth, the Horror Collection, and the Dreamlands Collection - an important fact to know about the actual Lovecraft stories is that they can be an oblique and difficult read. Some of the references or, ahem, ideas can be woefully out of date, some of it (sorry sorry, imo, of course) just bores you off the page with its embroidered phrasing. So here comes Tro Rex and Eyo Bella with their illustrated, rhyming (faux-)children's books out of Lovecraft's best-known work! Each of these (as well as the Call of Cthulhu, which I picked up after the original campaign) is a delightful retelling in a well-made book, and has been jammed full of extras and bonuses ranging from prints and coins and dice (that aren't so much to my interest, but I like the enthusiasm behind them) to a series of glass tumblers and a t-shirt I quite like. The Littlest Lovecraft team is Kickstarter at its best - bringing creative projects to life for the people who want them by funding artists who know what they're doing and by all accounts love doing it.

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Shadow of the Elder Gods - Arkham Horror isn't just a game of a million rules, it's also a game of a million pieces. There are dozens of characters, several times as many enemies, multiple huge boards, tokens for money, health, sanity, whether or not you have the favor of the cat god Bast, and much more. I brought it in my luggage once to play with a friend in another city and we were taken with the idea of magnetic travel Arkham Horror that you can play on a plane. I backed Shadows of the Elder Gods because it kind of looked like a miniature Arkham. Unfortunately, it's a very confusing game that seems to require more time spent on the rules and youtube demos than actually playing each time we broke it out, and the upshot is that even when you get the hang of it, it's not a lot of fun. But it is small!

Rewards Chart

Call of Cthulhu, 7th Edition - There's going to be a lot of cthulhu-gaming-related entries in the future of these posts, but they all have to start with this. Chaosium's enormous project to crowdfund the new version of their tabletop role-playing game is somehow the best and the worst project. The most and the least successful. At the outset, the plan was to produce a new rulebook, and a new handbook for players. And then the stretch goals started. Improvements to the books, various editions of the books, additional books, tchotchkes, pencils, t-shirts, bumper stickers, mugs, audio cds, decks of cards, boxed sets of previous projects, posters, just so much stuff. It was an exciting project to watch complete as more and more stuff got thrown in. I'm not sure the substantial amount of money I pledged covered shipping it all to me, let alone designing and producing it. In the end (I'm pretty sure it's all finally over) it would nearly break Chaosium, which would change owners before beginning to deliver the goods years after their original estimate. Many of the extra bonus items would be cancelled, but nearly a foot of my bookcase would be filled by about ten books plus the enormous box set of Horror on the Orient Express. It's amazing. I've only managed to get a half-dozen game sessions together so far, but they've been excellent and it's a fond dream to play through the rest. I might just have to take a chance on this having friends thing again some day.

Kickstarter Monday: Apparel

For the first Monday of the month, Media Monday is a Kickstarter Katchup. This month, some projects that let me wear my backing on my sleeve:

A hat that says ‘movies’ on it - You know how sometimes, if you don’t want to buy the actual thing being made or whatever, but you still support the project, you can back at a lower level and just get a thank you, or a bumper sticker or something? I got a t-shirt that says ‘movies’ on it. I'd have understood if it was a shirt that said "A hat that says 'movies' on it" but it doesn't. It says ‘movies.’ I consider backing this project a great success.

Slim 360 Wallet - The wallet I bought from the book store / gift shop when I was visiting colleges was pretty well worn out after a decade and change, so I found a new one on Kickstarter. I went with this one because the campaign was running when I was looking, it must have seemed nicer than the others available at the same time, and it wasn't too expensive. It turned out great, and I backed one of the same creator’s later projects in order to get a gift for my dad, who by all accounts is happy with his new slimmer wallet as well.  

"DARIUSTX vs. the Angels of Goliad" - This is an album by Darius Holbert, who wrote music for my podcast, Better Radio, for free, even though we’d never met. I was very happy to be able to repay him in some small way. I haven’t ever listened to this album, but I wear the t-shirt around a lot. 

I know how officially and all, kickstarter isn't a store, but sometimes it kind of is. It's a little less exciting than an aluminum car or a perpetual motion machine, but backing three simple projects that do exactly what they say is still pretty satisfying.