Wednesday, 22 February 2012

The Trials and Tribulations of Being the New Guy

I am the Warden!!

What's that? Who is the Warden? Hmm, that's a good question, isn't it? In the big scheme of things, I'm nobody. My name only means something to those few who know me and this blog will only be read by a fraction of those friends and backers of Killshot. Aside from one particular post on the old Matrix RPG I was pondering, my best post has garnered 60 views. In the ocean that is the Internet, my ripples are dwarfed by the tidal waves of giants.

That's how it feels sometimes in the struggle to get started and it can be daunting. During the past month as I push and push and push to get as much funding for Killshot as I can, three projects have raised over $1 million and numerous others started by recognized names in the industry and made their goal in 24-48 hours. And we're talking goals in the thousands of dollars. Like I said, tiny ripples.

All that anxiety and disassociation is gone once that glorious email arrives proclaiming the inclusion of yet another backer to the project. Regardless of the amount, it's a herald of victory against all odds because it's a complete stranger taking up the cause. Out of the 26 backers currently slated for contribution, only one of them is a friend or former associate of mine; the remaining 25 are total strangers I could ignorantly pass by on the street.

Let's assume there will be no other backers than these 25 for a moment. Their impact on the future of this game - and the future of the Optional System as a whole - will be monumental because how they came to discover this project and become willing to invest their hard earned money into it will shape how I promote and package this game. During the first two weeks of the project, nearly all of the backers pitched in $75 or $100 (making the average contribution $63 at one point) and it's possibly conceivable if I had offered a higher reward level, someone might have taken that too. So it wasn't enough that the project caught their attention, it grabbed onto their desires and promised them a wild ride they would never regret. What these backers saw in Killshot was so captivating and promising, they were willing to pitch in more than would be needed just to buy a copy of the core rulebook upon its release.

When I stop to think about what it was about my presentation giving reason to these backers to offer so much cash, I start with individual details. Was it the video (which has received numerous compliments)? The theme of the game? The mechanics? Was it all of the above? Or something else I haven't anticipated? That's what I love about Kickstarter; I now have a collection of investors with a keen interest in seeing this project take off and thrive. Many of them have shared links through Twitter and Facebook, one even put out a quick 10-second ad on a podcast. All of it without the benefit of having any text to skim through.

I have a theory, though it's an incredibly biased theory and speculative to the point of insignificance because the size of my project's total bids remains dwarfed by so many others. Is it possible what makes Killshot stand out is that it's not trying to emulate something else in style or mechanics? Does this mean there is an audience eager to play something that's not a licensed RPG or yet another d20-inspired game? Assassins are not the "in thing" right now and there's no box office kingpin to inspire publishers (though there definitely are assassin video games out there and a best selling novel, but none of those dominate social media at the moment). As I said, the slice carved out for Killshot is miniscule compared to so many other projects on the go right now... but the promise is there for this game to make a dent.

I guess we'll find out the answer in six months, won't we?

You can click here to pony up your own dough for Killshot before 5PM EST on Friday, February 24th.