(Kickstarter) Fear The Living: Coming Soon to a Kickstarter Near You!

Greetings to all of you fine gentlemen, ladies, and folks of non-binary gender persuasions. It's my pleasure to announce that my labor of love, the product of well over 2 years of extensive play testing, writing, rewriting, and all of that fun stuff is finally on the brink of being Kickstarted so that it can become the beautifully illustrated, professionally formatted B&W PDF and (un)dead tree book that it was always meant to be.

Truthfully, this post is one half promotion, and one half honest request for advice and assistance. I'm new to crowdfunding in general and Kickstarter in particular and before I get my feet wet I want to have some idea of what the reception of my game might be. It's gotten good press thus far on RPGnet, and worked quite well in playtests, so I feel confident in sharing it with my fellow storygamers and asking for your honest appraisal of my as-of-yet unborn Kickstarter. It still needs a video before I'm willing to let it hatch:

Here's The Link To My Putative Kickstarter

If what you see on the Kickstarter intrigues you, don't hesitate to share it with your friends, fellow gamers, and strangers on the street who might not mind being told in great detail why my zombie apocalypse RPG is so incredibly awesome that you MUST back it now. By the same token, if you have constructive criticism, questions, mockery (hopefully not too much of that), or general advice I want to hear it. Hearing so many horror stories about failed Kickstarters has imbued me with a sense of growing dread as the launch date grows nearer; not at all unlike the feeling in one's chest as a horde of zombies approaches groaning for brains.

Linked below are the complete survivor creation rules, a list of the default Modus Operandi's available to Survivors to define their role in the story, a breakdown of how Conflicts are handled and what sort of Advantages you can spend successes on in Conflicts, and a kick-ass character sheet courtesy of Foxkit. Assuming the project gets funded, the formatting, font, and character sheet will all be completely redesigned to be simpler, easier to read, and easier to use. Plus, both the PDF and the softcover (un)dead tree edition will be illustrated in glorious B&W by the talented artist Wendy Tigges/The Jackalope. A link to her incredible portfolio is HERE.


Apocalypse and Survivor Creation
List of MOs for Survivors
Conflict Resolution Rules and Advantage List
An Awesome Placeholder Character Sheet Courtesy of Foxkit

I eagerly await your thoughts, opinions, and hopefully (when the Kickstarter goes live) your support. Help me bring my baby to blasphemous flesh-craving life!

Comments

  • I suppose I'll start. These are just the things that immediately jump out at me.

    1) I don't like the negativity of the first two backer levels. I'd drop Survivor down to the first level and move up from their. Calling the people giving you money names seems a little offputting.

    2) You need at least one piece of art for the header, especially if the illustration is going to be part of the sell.

    3) Zombie RPGs aren't exactly a rarity these days. Tell me why I want to look at yours and do it fast. Art would help capture my attention, but so would a good sell that helps me on why I should like THIS rpg.

    4) You have some interesting things to say about system later on, but honestly you kind of lose my attention in the paragraph that begins with "No matter which style of zombie media your game falls into..." There are so many good generic systems out there right now that I sort of want a system that emphasises a style of play.

    5) I love the "What Do I Get Out of It as a Player" section. This sounds like a game I would play. I don't think I would have gotten this far if I was just browsing Kickstarter though. I might seriously consider miving this section up. Maybe consider chopping the intro, moving the first para of "What is Fear the Living" above the bump, chopping the second para and moving the "What Do I Get Out of it as a Player" section to just after that.

    6) The Stretch Goals aren't very interesting. The first one especially doesn't do anything for me.

    7) It may be a matter of personal preference, but the Risks an Challenges section doesn't actually address the Risks and Challenges of the project. I tend to like projects that are franker in this section. I particularly like projects that tell me what the money is going to be spent on.

    Just my two cents. It looks like a great project and I wish you nothing but the best!
  • I suppose I'll start. These are just the things that immediately jump out at me.

    1) I don't like the negativity of the first two backer levels. I'd drop Survivor down to the first level and move up from their. Calling the people giving you money names seems a little offputting. Got it :) . I intended for it to be amusing, but I definitely get where you're coming from. Zombie Food is now Civilian, Victim is now Survivor, Survivor is now Jaded Survivor, and Jaded Survivor is now Group Leader. Hopefully those still capture the flavor of the game without being insulting or boring. What do you think? I was considering "Veteran Survivor" over "Group Leader" but I felt that might be too close to Jaded Survivor and I want to clearly differentiate the different reward levels.

    2) You need at least one piece of art for the header, especially if the illustration is going to be part of the sell. If only I could afford it. As it stands, I'd need to kickstart a kickstarter to provide art for this kickstarter ;). Would putting my artists profile link in a more obvious location help? She's incredibly talented, and maybe making the link to her page more obvious might reassure people who would otherwise go "meh, no art on the kickstarter". What do you think?

    3) Zombie RPGs aren't exactly a rarity these days. Tell me why I want to look at yours and do it fast. Art would help capture my attention, but so would a good sell that helps me on why I should like THIS rpg.

    4) You have some interesting things to say about system later on, but honestly you kind of lose my attention in the paragraph that begins with "No matter which style of zombie media your game falls into..." There are so many good generic systems out there right now that I sort of want a system that emphasises a style of play.

    5) I love the "What Do I Get Out of It as a Player" section. This sounds like a game I would play. I don't think I would have gotten this far if I was just browsing Kickstarter though. I might seriously consider miving this section up. Maybe consider chopping the intro, moving the first para of "What is Fear the Living" above the bump, chopping the second para and moving the "What Do I Get Out of it as a Player" section to just after that. I'm glad you like it. I trimmed out the first sentence of the intro paragraph, so the pitch focuses more on the genre that the game focuses on, and shortened the last paragraph. I feel like I've got to have something up top letting people know generally speaking what the game is about:"Badass, dysfunctional, codependent survivors in a zombie apocalypse you and your friends create." But thank you for helping me focus it a bit more.

    6) The Stretch Goals aren't very interesting. The first one especially doesn't do anything for me. Cool, I'd love more feedback on this. What sort of stretch goals would you like to see, or rather what sort of stretch goals do you find appealing for an tabletop RPG's kickstarter typically? Custom dice? Scenarios? Rules expansions? More artwork? Props? I'm looking for a lot of feedback on this specifically so that I can tailor my stretch goals to what the community wants.

    7) It may be a matter of personal preference, but the Risks an Challenges section doesn't actually address the Risks and Challenges of the project. I tend to like projects that are franker in this section. I particularly like projects that tell me what the money is going to be spent on. I laid out my operating budget under my initial funding goals, accounting for every dollar spent and explaining how I did the math for Kickstarter and Amazon fees. Did that section strike you as not detailed enough, or not clear enough? I've been going back and forth on this for a while my first attempt at an initial funding section broke down things in greater detail (revealing things like printing cost per book, shipping cost per book etc) but I received overwhelming negative feedback on that via Kicksnarker and RPGnet.

    That being said, I welcome a second opinion. To be honest, I found it difficult to come up with Risks and Challenges for this Kickstarter. The folks I've hired to do the work are competent and experienced in their fields, and the game itself is already written and play tested. Perhaps I'm missing something though-like I said I'm completely new to Kickstarter so if there are any hidden dangers that I should be aware of, let me know.


    Just my two cents. It looks like a great project and I wish you nothing but the best!
    Thank you for your wonderful feedback. I'm glad that you like the looks of it thus far, and I look forward to hearing more of your thoughts, especially regarding potential Risks and Challenges facing this project (because I'm probably oblivious to them) and what sort of Stretch Goals would appeal to you as a potential backer.

    Also, feel free to let your friends/family/random people on the street know about it if you think they'd be at all interested. Much like the protagonists of a zombie movie, I'm going to need all the help I can get. :)



    -John
  • I like the renaming of the backer levels.

    As for the stretch goals- I think I would prefer something that actually had a tangible presence for the player. I'm sure the amped up graphic design and the extra illustrations would be cool, but they seem a little "inside baseball". Stuff like figure flats or more PDF supplements would be more interesting to me. Actually the 2nd and 4th goal are fine.

    As for Challenges how about inserting a task outline. Something that lets the reader know that you have a clear agenda going forward. You talk a lot about your strengths, which is good, but letting the supporter know that you understand what happens next is a good thing. Just outlining that the kickstarter will pay for layout, art, shipping, and printing (or whatever) and that you have deadlines for fulfilment to meet would be a good start. I wouldn't go into per unit prices, just a plan of action and a recognition of what you have to do.

    As a general note realize that people who are browsing Kickstarter often don't go beyond the banner and the first few sentences. Just like a newspaper article the lead has to capture enough interest to pull the reader into the rest of the presentation.
  • Mmmm...just off the top of my head would a PDF supplement detailing an optional ruleset for playing zombies with some degree of sentience appeal to you? I myself have had a few people ask me about it, what with Warm Bodies, AAAH! Zombies, Return of The Living Dead III, Zombie Honeymoon, and all of that. I was considering doing something like that in place of the Bloody Bits, but wanted to see what people thought about slicker graphic design vs. a supplement dedicated to helping you play a zombie.

    I actually do lay out what the Kickstarter's budget is, under Initial Funding Goals on the main pager of the Kickstarter. Should I put that closer to the top of the page, or make it more obvious? I did just add an additional mention of the fufillment dates on the main PDF, the softcover version, the fulfillment dates for the Stretch Goal supplementary material, and the reasoning behind those dates.

    Finally, I chopped out the second paragraph of the introduction as you suggested. Upon really looking at it, it does significantly streamline the text and lets potential backers get to the bloody meat of why they'd want to support the production of my game.

    Hopefully that takes care of the most glaring problems with the kickstarter thus far. May I count on your opinion of my project video, when I make one? To be quite honest, that's the step that I'm dreading the most :). Thank you once again Crunch for all of your advice and assistance, and here's hoping that you tell some friends about the game. It's going to be full of crazy-awesome zombie goodness. Also, feel free to make a Survivor using the rules provided and tell me what you think about the experience. It's gotten pretty good press over at RPGnet, but I want to get people's opinions of the system from storygames as well.


    -John
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