Lessons learned from KS 2?

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razormage
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Lessons learned from KS 2?

Postby razormage » Mon Oct 14, 2013 3:49 pm

This is a thread for discussion of lessons that were learned from the second Kickstarter. Please, let's be negative on here, rather than the Kickstarter thread!
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Re: Lessons learned from KS 2?

Postby AndyP » Mon Oct 14, 2013 5:37 pm

Good idea Ryan.
The biggest thing I think is the price of the miniatures. Not that they are expensive for high quality resin pieces, quite the opposite, but I think if you look at any of the kickstarter projects that use hand cast resin to create high detail, well sculpted minis, none reach the dizzying heights of Bones, Zombicide, Dreadball et all. Combine this with the unwarranted perception a lot of people have about Mierce due to the Maelstrom issue, which in turn leads to an unwillingness of some major news sites to help advertise the project and the fact that it is a UK company dealing in GBP not Dollars, so the exchange rate is less than favourable, really stunts its chances of major success. Personally I think that this KS is a great success as it is, loads of new minis to get your teeth into, full rulebook and art book. With a total over 100K and set to more than likely hit 130K ish and some new faces in the pledgers Mierce can be very happy with how this has gone. I realise that if placed next to Bones2 this will pale in comparison as regards monetary success but the game and product line is still relatively in its infancy, it can only grow from here and if they stick with an annual kickstarter i 'm confident that it will grow with each year.
The only point that they could have changed on this, which might have helped, would have been to use the infantry units, one kindred at a time, as the major stretch goals every 10K and the generals, commanders and sorcerers as the mid-point 5K boosters with the option to pledge for 1,2.3.4 or however many units you want, giving a sliding discount for the more you choose. I know there are problems with this method too but from the comments it seemed like people wanted 2 or 3 kindreds of infantry rather than more officers. It makes no difference to me as I will be getting nearly all of the unlocks anyway as well as the nobles pledge and to reiterate, I think Mierce is on to a winner with these minis and this game. No need for negativity regarding this KS's success.
As I always say. At the end of the day.................it goes dark :-)
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Re: Lessons learned from KS 2?

Postby razormage » Mon Oct 14, 2013 6:08 pm

I'll probably just put any significant criticism I have into an e-mail, because there's no point complaining about a lot of it.
External factors that I think have played a factor:
* US Government Shutdown. This leads to a lot of people being unwilling to throw money at it.
* Concurrance with Bones II. People who only want to support one at a time are going to throw their money after the one that gives them hundreds of mediocre/average models.
* Certain sites being unwilling to link to/advertise Mierce due to the past. People seem to forget CMoN's history.
* The strength of the pound against the dollar.

Internal factors:
* I fear the Kickstarters was a bit rushed. Some of the concept art wasn't fully ready, and the video did not appear until the last week. I know Mierce have a ton of stuff going on, but hopefully that stuff is done ahead of time for KS 3.

What they did right:
* Stretch goals through 100k at the outset.
* Amazing models.
* Teases through the Comments thread to reward milestones that weren't stretch goals
* Allowing the Militia free reign to spread the word, and willingness to incorporate that free volunteer effort into official stuff!
* Clearly explained shipping costs. We, the backers, hate having to pay for separate waves, but now we know what those waves are, and Mierce doesn't lose their shirts on shipping costs.

I shall add more as I think about it...
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Re: Lessons learned from KS 2?

Postby asoshnev » Mon Oct 14, 2013 6:42 pm

I fear the Kickstarters was a bit rushed

That is exactly my feeling. That said though, I am happy they didn't delay it by another week, because who knows what's going to happen with USD/GBP exchange rate on Thursday :)

hundreds of mediocre/average models

never understood why, why do people do that...
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Re: Lessons learned from KS 2?

Postby razormage » Mon Oct 14, 2013 6:56 pm

asoshnev wrote:
I fear the Kickstarters was a bit rushed

That is exactly my feeling. That said though, I am happy they didn't delay it by another week, because who knows what's going to happen with USD/GBP exchange rate on Thursday :)

Actually, that might have had a lot to do with scheduling it when it did. This way, if the market collapses because of the debt ceiling, at least we'll have already finished the Kickstarter!
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Re: Lessons learned from KS 2?

Postby grefven » Mon Oct 14, 2013 7:47 pm

The KS is currently at £106,000! And I am sure it will be higher in a few days.

I do not agree that it's rushed. Yes, some of the art isn't finished, but I don't want to contribute to a project that is all finished up. What's the point then? Then it'll just be a pre-order system. Here we actually got the chance of helping Darklands develop and grow. I am totally fine with half-finished art, because it show progress during the KS, which is what this is all about.

My hat off to the Mierce Team for yet another great KS campaign.
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Re: Lessons learned from KS 2?

Postby OrlandotheTech » Tue Oct 15, 2013 9:27 am

First off I think the KS has done well for a small company selling high end resin miniatures, with a 'difficult past', working in a currency that the majority of KS users (Americans) find a bit confusing/worrying.

Compare this KS ($175K as I write) with a comparable US based project Arena Rex ($226K), a new company but working with the same high end sculptors, an American company (and there is significant pressure to 'buy American' in the USA), working in dollars and via Amazon payments so no need to put a CC on another internet site (a complaint I've seen a lot when people have been talking about KS UK)

This approximate funding level may just be what this type of project can bring in: a lot of people on KS are really only there for deals and discounts

point the second

While a lot of the gamers would have liked infantry units up first

A lot of the painters/collectors (like me) are going to be happy to have the variety of different sculpts that the 'nobles' provided.

Only Mierce will know (once this KS cash is spent by us) whether enough people are really buying large units of infantry to think that a focus on them would have driven greater uptake (personally I suspect they way things were organised was the right one)

hmmmm third

The rule book was probably a negative (yes I know that sounds like a contradiction as that's what the whole KS was about), some were upset that they 'had' to get something they wouldn't use in order to get in on the potential freebies (Danillo at £150+ was a good answer to this, but many will have looked once early on and not come back).

I don't think it's something that could be helped, the rules HAD to be done, but future KS projects without them (or with them as a potential add in) will be more appealing to a wider audience

moving on fourth

Bad timing, really bad timing.

They had to launch now in order to sign up the high quality sculptors we want (who are booked up long in advance) amongst other things, but this is the busiest period I've seen in the KS mini/games category since I started using KS. 2 huge project vacuuming up the 'value/casual' backers as well as 4 or 5 other smaller ones all competing for peoples time and money (I ended up dropping a couple of them to concentrate on this, others will have dropped this to concentrate elsewhere). The US government shutdown has clearly has a negative impact too
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Re: Lessons learned from KS 2?

Postby zedmeister » Tue Oct 15, 2013 3:55 pm

My thoughts?

Bad timing. Definitely bad timing - As Orlando says, lots of competing KS with 2 companies (Bones and MA) sucking up lots of the casual backers.

Also the shorter period hamstrung me somewhat. The KS starts after my payday and ends before my next one making it very difficult to have funds ready (yes I could have saved, but pregnant wives tend to like spending all available money on baby stuff for some reason!). I suspect other backers have had the same problem.


Recommendations for the future?
Demo packs have to be high on the list - either print on demand or a package bundle. A demo pack could be a stack of the quickstarter rules, a few posters, flyers maybe a campaign chart. Whatever it is, something that allows a local shop (for local people) to organise a Darklands campaign or demo games as well as give the retailer the ability to gage whether to stock the range

For Next KS - a retailer level of some sort is recommended - allow retailers to receive Kickstarter funded miniatures at the same time as backers with options for promotional posters, Quickstarter rule bundles and kickstarter exclusive minis for Competition giveaways.

Front page definitely needs more miniature piccies. Think of making a few staged "In battle" shots as promotional pictures. Concept art is stunning, but think of using existing mini piccies as the draw. Especially if you use things like The Terror vs some lowly troops or the Gorgonars fighting off Talos...
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Re: Lessons learned from KS 2?

Postby AndyP » Wed Oct 16, 2013 10:20 am

We didn't burn him!!
As I always say. At the end of the day.................it goes dark :-)
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Re: Lessons learned from KS 2?

Postby zedmeister » Wed Oct 16, 2013 10:39 am

Another thing that they could do for KS3 is to showcase the stages of development of one model from the previous Kickstarter. One thing people complain about is KS pre-orders. This is something that Mierce just don't do. Watching the progress through updates and comments is very engaging as well as help bring kudos to the sculptors (Roberto watching the comments while working on his latest Darklands piece for instance). It brings a "We help made this" feeling to it and generates a good feeling that we all contributed in our way to achieve this. A good feeling

Call it a "How our previous KS worked and how you help us develop our ideas". Here's an example

Stage one - concepts. Show roughs through to the finished art

Image

Stage two - sculpting. Show the sculptors progress. This is something not often seen and it's nice to watch a concept realised by the sculptor

Image
Image
Image

Stage three - casting. Have Tim do a few "Casting Stages" photos

Stage four - painting. Have something similar. Commission Seb to work his magic on the "Flagship" mini of one of the previous KS (like Penda). Have them do a stage by stage progress similar to the sculpting progress

Image

Stage five - to battle! Have a few ingame shots of that model battling it out
Last edited by zedmeister on Wed Oct 16, 2013 10:55 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Lessons learned from KS 2?

Postby Phil Winstanley » Wed Oct 16, 2013 10:44 am

I actually love that idea Zed, great to see the greens and processes that you just don't get with other KS campaigns
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Re: Lessons learned from KS 2?

Postby wrinklestiltskin » Wed Oct 16, 2013 11:08 am

I'd like to add my two cents to the conversation. I agree with what's been said about the timing, to add something else:
One thing that I think could improve is the communication of the kickstarter. I visit the Mierce mainsite and this forum regularly, yet I missed the beginning of the kickstarter. I became aware of it because someone took the initiative to post up a link on the Herdstone forum.
There should be a link or communication on the front of the site. (disclaimer: If I missed it, there should be a bigger one :lol: )

I'm not saying there are no good deals in this kickstarter, BUT.....
I think one of the main draws of a kickstarter is the freebies, not just the discount. Looking at the encouter host level deals of the first kickstarter, there are three (character) models in it for free. In the second kickstarter there is only one. Again I don't mean that the deals of the second kickstarter are bad, it's just that the carrot is not as large as with the first.
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Re: Lessons learned from KS 2?

Postby bloodwars » Thu Oct 17, 2013 8:43 pm

I sent a pm to mierce when they asked, but here a few new points: (again, loyal customer, please take this as constructive, as that's how it's meant and this was a successful KS).



KICKSTARTER ISSUES
-you should have added about 5-7 more hours. ending at 2pm on a thursday when people in the US are working can cut off some easy money, especially in the last day.
-don't complain about other companies the comments! you're representing you company and at the end of the day BoW gave you some run on the last day and mantic is a backer. thank them for the support personally! be supportive of other kickstarters, cause at the end of the day, more people that buy bones means more potential customers. reaper has a great program for getting people into plastic toys - that should be encouraged. I understand you wish you could pull in that kind of money (as does everyone else), but whining about it doesn't make reaper look small (hint hint) or help your totals, so don't do it! I know it's hard, but you got over 20% growth with higher prices this time through, so that's not nothing.
-on that note (more for backers), don't comment on yo-yo'ing KS monetary or backer totals. focus on the positive and don't spread any kind of panic. rob and tim will message the wayward backers and they'll either come back or they won't. just keep spreading the word and welcome the guys that want to be there.

WEBSITE ISSUES
-the website didn't really mention the new KS (but still had links to the old one).
-you need a community blog with batreps, articles, etc separate from the website. you can reblog things like ryan's scale shots, preview WIPs and new models, link videos, painting tips, and also mirror it onto a facebook page for mierce. if you want to grow the brand you need to go where people are and give them content to aggregate for you. you don't need to jump on twitter and talk about what kind of muffins you ate this morning, but you have a lot of people willing to help you spread the word and create content, so you might as well let them spend their time doing it for you. every hour of oversight can be 10-20 hours of hard work you didn't have to do.



TOO MUCH INFORMATION / BAD PRESENTATION:
-paralysis by analysis - too many options, too many commanders, should i take the 30gbp book and add? should i take the sweet spot even though it costs more money? which hosts can i actually choose? did we unlock that yet? why is so much info buried under 300 comments?
---I'd suggest a single running graphic of all your stretch goals that took up a bit less space per model with the number needed to unlock and the price for "others", "books", and "noble" (inc desc). instead of having big graphics with lots of white space and repeated info, you'd have an aligned chart and you could click on the models for full size blow ups (the chart image would be 80-90% of current home page size). as a table of images, it'd be easy to mark things achieved or throw new goals onto the bottom.

-not keeping stretch goal chart up to date is bad. having massive amounts of unreadable small text in pictures is bad. (see above)
-not having the artwork ready in time is bad. you need to assume 150k next KS and if you don't get to something, eat the cost and understand i't'll be ready for the next run.
-the last couple updates helped a lot. before that information was scattershot and buried in comments. the 20% off thing was something that people kept asking about, which means it wasn't very clear from the outset.



PRICING ISSUES:
-I don't know the financials of this, but i think your monstrous commanders are too expensive. I just can't possibly justify $200 for 4 models (30GBP each). If they were 20GBP i'd buy 3-4 of them right now, today. if they were 25GBP i might get 1 or 2. (Secchus, new troll jarl, brugg, mountain troll). I'm actually kind of sorry i got trolls last KS, cause i could have gotten the new shiny one instead of eirik and kjartan, but I don't need more trolls and getting him by himself just seems too expensive. so you have 2 models i really do want, but they're at least 5GBP too high to consider. I'd be interested to know how well the monstrous commanders sold as add-ons, cause i'd suspect sales are below actual interest due to the pricing. mounted commanders were the same way, till you threw the foot guys in (and now i'll be getting 2).

-i don't think americans feel a lot of pressure to buy american, but sterling is definitely more confusing (or rather takes longer to relate) than $$ for us. americans do however spend more time looking for deals (whereas brits i think are more willing to accept that things cost what they cost)... and as far as this kickstarter went, i don't know that it really did a great job of selling a good deal. there was no free miniature at 150k for 80GBP+ pledges to try and tempt the book buyers up. concept art and unlocks are nice, but if they don't add value, they don't really convince people that the trade up is worth it on it's own.
--you don't need to give away free miniatures necessarily either. there are other (cheaper) things you can add, like art prints or signed prints of the main darklands (troll invasion) image or unlocking resin base inserts and giving a discount based on KS total, making a special hand mold for krull limited to that KS's backers that's holding a sword instead of an axe and allowing it as a replacement or purchase, or a sprue of gubbins to use with models, like skulls and daggers etc to hang from their belts. people like free things, even if they're not expensive to make! MOAR FREE THINGS!

- the fact that there was no pledge between 30 and 700 at the beginning was a mistake, and even the jump from 30 to 150 is huge, since the average kickstarter pledge for a miniatures project is generally $100. Having $45 and $225 options left a big gap in the market.

-price point hurts, getting into the "basic" encounter host pledge gets you 1-2 units for $130-$145, whereas the market average is closer to $40 (dropzone 2 player ($80) + rules etc, GW aobr/dv 2 player ($80), WMH starter boxes). those others give you 3 units per side (vs 1-2) at under 33% of the investment. I don't know that 2 $130 hosts really gives you the full feel of the game either as it seems like a 15-40 model affair. If you can get a 5 bow drune + carrowek vs vithar + 5 holumen at 66GBP or so, that might help as an intro item to drag out for events of cons.




LOOKING FORWARD: (not 100% KS related but important)
-I am reluctant to buy items without a sculptor named. that's why i'm still a bit uneasy about the legionaries (and the females in the rank and file) and seza (and why i was asking). for new sculptors, it might be a good idea to commission them to do a piece ahead of time (like hardy could have done agathae for example) so people can see their work on a mierce project with mierce art and briefs and feel safer pledging sight unseen. I know anything chaudon/simon/JAG/AC/cockersell make are worth buying based of the art alone, but their are some others i'd like to check out beforehand, and non-mierce projects are hard to compare apples to apples.

--unit differentiation - right now it seems like most of the units basically have 1 of 2 stat lines, 30mm or 60mm. obviously there are some differences and i'm over simplifying a bit, but it'd be nice to have real differences between some armies and playstyles beyond kindred unit X gets +1 parry for +6 points. the norse have grimmin that gives you a 60mm guy with fast flight, allowing him to go hunt archers or seers, which is cool. byzantii will get scorpion war machines for long range fire support and heavy cavalry, but for KS3 i'd appreciate if that was one of the tenets. i know you're still filling out some holes, and things like ogres will give you an anti-magic aura, which is cool, but things like giving legionaries a stong one shot javelin toss and bonuses when they go into a defensive mode (vikings too), i think that'll add a lot more character to some of the interactions.

when you think of a new unit are questions like "what function does this unit serve in the army?" "is this kindred supposed to have this ability and to this degree?" "is his purpose unique or different to what already exists or can he be replaced with other parts?" part of the design process currently?
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Re: Lessons learned from KS 2?

Postby bloodwars » Thu Oct 17, 2013 8:51 pm

again, sorry. apparently i only write in novels.
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Re: Lessons learned from KS 2?

Postby OrlandotheTech » Thu Oct 17, 2013 10:40 pm

No problem,

This thread is for just that, giving all the feedback you want (and very valid it is too)

The one point I would probably disagree (or rather say it's more complicated than that) about is the ending time :

3 hours more would have been easy for the UK and Europe to take (not sure if it would have made a lot of difference for the USA)

5 hours more would have taken it to midnight in the UK or 1 am in Europe which would have made it tricky for some/impossible for others,

7 hours more would have probably ruled out most UK/European backers being round for the end

it's always going to be tricky and only Rob (with his list of where previous backers came from) would know where most of his money came from
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Re: Lessons learned from KS 2?

Postby Rob Lane » Thu Oct 17, 2013 11:15 pm

Right... I'll warn you now, I'm not going to pull any punches in my response - but I do apologise if this offends. However, I think it's important you take on board my responses, because I do feel you've been a little unfair in many areas. To be honest I'm bloody exhausted right now, and probably not in the best frame of mind to look at such an exhaustive list of issues - especially when I've spent the last three weeks flogging my guts out, losing sleep and putting off playing with the kids.

bloodwars wrote:-you should have added about 5-7 more hours. ending at 2pm on a thursday when people in the US are working can cut off some easy money, especially in the last day.


Wherever people are in the world, some will lose out because of the time difference. Adding 5-7 hours to this Kickstarter would have meant that it ends at 2am in the morning here. It's not going to happen dude. 7pm covers the USA and Australia/New Zealand (well mostly). It's also a good time for us here in Europe. So I think we've done pretty well with that to be honest.

bloodwars wrote:-don't complain about other companies the comments! you're representing you company and at the end of the day BoW gave you some run on the last day and mantic is a backer. thank them for the support personally! be supportive of other kickstarters, cause at the end of the day, more people that buy bones means more potential customers. reaper has a great program for getting people into plastic toys - that should be encouraged. I understand you wish you could pull in that kind of money (as does everyone else), but whining about it doesn't make reaper look small (hint hint) or help your totals, so don't do it! I know it's hard, but you got over 20% growth with higher prices this time through, so that's not nothing.


A fair point, and one I am entirely guilty of, for which I apologise to any that are offended; but I still have a right to have an opinion on what they are producing whether I am a creator or not. I am a person, a real person with feelings, not a corporate machine with doublespeak on auto. You get the heart of me in Darklands, and that's what makes Darklands what it is. So I will always bemoan the fact that such companies produce rubbish miniatures I'm afraid, because I personally don't see the point - with that money behind them, they could produce awesome miniatures if they wanted.

But to tell the truth, it's not really their fault, and this is something I acknowledge; they've got an audience for their miniatures. Doesn't mean I have to like their miniatures nor their decisions though.

bloodwars wrote:-on that note (more for backers), don't comment on yo-yo'ing KS monetary or backer totals. focus on the positive and don't spread any kind of panic. rob and tim will message the wayward backers and they'll either come back or they won't. just keep spreading the word and welcome the guys that want to be there.


I am firmly in agreement here; it's something I'm guilty of too to an extent, for which I apologise. Yo-yo-ing is a part of Kickstarters, although I do believe I've brought around thirty cancelled backers, er, back - and there's a lesson right there for all of us. Treat your cancelled backers with the same respect as backers, and they respond.

bloodwars wrote:-the website didn't really mention the new KS (but still had links to the old one).


That's down to time I'm afraid. There's only me that can do the website, and the other guys are production-based. I'm afraid there are only so many hours in the day, and I have business stuff to do, I answer all messages and e-mails personally and I also have a partner and kids to look after and a home to go back to.

bloodwars wrote:-you need a community blog with batreps, articles, etc separate from the website. you can reblog things like ryan's scale shots, preview WIPs and new models, link videos, painting tips, and also mirror it onto a facebook page for mierce. if you want to grow the brand you need to go where people are and give them content to aggregate for you. you don't need to jump on twitter and talk about what kind of muffins you ate this morning, but you have a lot of people willing to help you spread the word and create content, so you might as well let them spend their time doing it for you. every hour of oversight can be 10-20 hours of hard work you didn't have to do.


Bloody hell. That's time again, as in I don't have any, and let's not force it down people's throats either - communities grow better slowly in my opinion anyway.

bloodwars wrote:-paralysis by analysis - too many options, too many commanders, should i take the 30gbp book and add? should i take the sweet spot even though it costs more money? which hosts can i actually choose? did we unlock that yet? why is so much info buried under 300 comments?


Too many commanders is something I'm definitely guilty of; that won't happen again. However, I did what I thought was right at the time.

There were four major reasons for focussing on generals and commanders first and infantry second.

1 - Available artwork. I decided to use much of what I already had, rather than commission more. That, of course, saved money.

2 - Hosts need generals and commanders. The Brythoniaid and Norse out of the existing kindreds were sorely lacking them, and the new kindreds obviously needed them. Without generals and commanders, you cannot play games of Darklands.

3 - Making single characters rather than infantry units is more "accessible" for those outside of Darklands, i.e., for those who don't want to play Darklands and want to collect them or use them in a different game.

4 - Making single miniatures is much cheaper, of course, than making units of infantry; and thus stretch goals could be spaced much less further apart initially, ensuring the Kickstarter got off to a good start.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing, and maybe if I'd concentrated on units first things would have been different, but those ideas dominated my thinking beforehand. Perhaps I should have dropped one set of commanders, perhaps the Sorcerers or the Commanders (the Female Commanders would always have made it), and gone for units earlier; but again, that's hindsight talking.

Regarding too many options, it's very easy to over-complicate a Kickstarter and it's another lesson for me; that has happened in this one. I did try to uncomplicate it, but people wanted freebies, hosts and so forth. So in a lot of ways that complication was added in after it began. Again, my fault - should have seen it. Didn't.

bloodwars wrote:---I'd suggest a single running graphic of all your stretch goals that took up a bit less space per model with the number needed to unlock and the price for "others", "books", and "noble" (inc desc). instead of having big graphics with lots of white space and repeated info, you'd have an aligned chart and you could click on the models for full size blow ups (the chart image would be 80-90% of current home page size). as a table of images, it'd be easy to mark things achieved or throw new goals onto the bottom.


That's a lot of work. Time again I'm afraid. The stretch goals map was all I could do, and that was a struggle.

bloodwars wrote:-not keeping stretch goal chart up to date is bad. having massive amounts of unreadable small text in pictures is bad. (see above)


Time again.

bloodwars wrote:-not having the artwork ready in time is bad. you need to assume 150k next KS and if you don't get to something, eat the cost and understand i't'll be ready for the next run.


This I take issue with. Artists have let me down, which is something I cannot control, and there is ALWAYS an element of fly-by-night with Kickstarter projects. (Sometimes ideas work better that way anyway). Additionally, it's money. You are talking perfect world here - in business, that just does not happen. We don't have a great deal of disposable income and I do make mistakes, very simply put. A few months ago we were doing this Kickstarter quite differently and changed it to this format. I'm glad I did.

bloodwars wrote:-the last couple updates helped a lot. before that information was scattershot and buried in comments.


What information do you mean? Ryan's scale thingummy was only done last week I think, and Zed's calculator the same; and again, there's only so many hours in the day for me to collate things. I did my best.

bloodwars wrote:-the 20% off thing was something that people kept asking about, which means it wasn't very clear from the outset.


That's because I didn't want to, because I was - still am really - worried about the 20% off in terms of how Kickstarter would look at it. If it had become a major selling point of the Kickstarter, it may have annoyed Kickstarter (remember, they have a problem with vouchers and coupons), and then *bam!* project gone. So I tried not to play on it if I'm honest, and slip it in through the back door.

bloodwars wrote:-I don't know the financials of this, but i think your monstrous commanders are too expensive. I just can't possibly justify $200 for 4 models (30GBP each). If they were 20GBP i'd buy 3-4 of them right now, today. if they were 25GBP i might get 1 or 2. (Secchus, new troll jarl, brugg, mountain troll). I'm actually kind of sorry i got trolls last KS, cause i could have gotten the new shiny one instead of eirik and kjartan, but I don't need more trolls and getting him by himself just seems too expensive. so you have 2 models i really do want, but they're at least 5GBP too high to consider. I'd be interested to know how well the monstrous commanders sold as add-ons, cause i'd suspect sales are below actual interest due to the pricing. mounted commanders were the same way, till you threw the foot guys in (and now i'll be getting 2).


I'm afraid we gave away models in the last Kickstarter and was burned by it, if I'm honest. The prices are right for us this time around. Resin casting is an expensive business. Resin itself is expensive. Hand crafting them is expensive. They're expensive because they need to be. We know they're expensive, but that's not going to change - and that will of course limit our audience, we know that. Equally, it means people get fantastic miniatures.

I'll put it another way; if this Kickstarter gave you miniatures at the same prices as last time, Mierce Miniatures would cease to exist later on in 2014.

bloodwars wrote:-i don't think americans feel a lot of pressure to buy american, but sterling is definitely more confusing (or rather takes longer to relate) than $$ for us. americans do however spend more time looking for deals (whereas brits i think are more willing to accept that things cost what they cost)... and as far as this kickstarter went, i don't know that it really did a great job of selling a good deal. there was no free miniature at 150k for 80GBP+ pledges to try and tempt the book buyers up. concept art and unlocks are nice, but if they don't add value, they don't really convince people that the trade up is worth it on it's own.


Again, it's all about expense - and there's no way we'd do a US-based Kickstarter. One, we're a British business and setting up a business in the US is far too complicated a thing for me to contemplate (and there's no way I'd get into bed with certain companies). Two, we give people estimates in US dollars anyway. Three, again, resin miniatures are expensive and freebies need to be added carefully. Otherwise, again, Mierce Miniatures would cease to exist.

Plus, I do believe the deals were there in many instances. Maybe they weren't visible enough.

bloodwars wrote:--you don't need to give away free miniatures necessarily either. there are other (cheaper) things you can add, like art prints or signed prints of the main darklands (troll invasion) image or unlocking resin base inserts and giving a discount based on KS total, making a special hand mold for krull limited to that KS's backers that's holding a sword instead of an axe and allowing it as a replacement or purchase, or a sprue of gubbins to use with models, like skulls and daggers etc to hang from their belts. people like free things, even if they're not expensive to make! MOAR FREE THINGS!


I completely disagree. More free things sounds great, and then the reality kicks in. Again, no Mierce Miniatures in 2014.

Regarding giving other stuff away as you mention, that's not something we're very keen on to be honest. Gubbins such as prints and so forth sound all right, but immediately they become a diversion from creating a wargame and creating miniatures. Suddenly, while I've been concentrating on base inserts, art prints, hand moulds or sprues of gubbins, the rules aren't done and people are screaming for them and I've not even thought about the future miniatures.

That's why we've kept this to miniatures and a couple of books for a reason.

Look, we're good at making miniatures. Why focus on other things that don't need to be done, that (in my opinion) would not drive the Kickstarter forward? In the last Kickstarter we gave dice and tokens away, for free, and very quickly realised how much they cost and swore that we wouldn't do that again.

bloodwars wrote:- the fact that there was no pledge between 30 and 700 at the beginning was a mistake, and even the jump from 30 to 150 is huge, since the average kickstarter pledge for a miniatures project is generally $100. Having $45 and $225 options left a big gap in the market.


There was an £80 pledge right from the start, so I'm not sure what you mean here to be honest?

bloodwars wrote:-price point hurts, getting into the "basic" encounter host pledge gets you 1-2 units for $130-$145, whereas the market average is closer to $40 (dropzone 2 player ($80) + rules etc, GW aobr/dv 2 player ($80), WMH starter boxes). those others give you 3 units per side (vs 1-2) at under 33% of the investment. I don't know that 2 $130 hosts really gives you the full feel of the game either as it seems like a 15-40 model affair. If you can get a 5 bow drune + carrowek vs vithar + 5 holumen at 66GBP or so, that might help as an intro item to drag out for events of cons.


Again - sorry dude, but that would lead to no Mierce Miniatures in 2014. There's deals to be had here, but we'll never, ever be as cheap as most. In return, however, you get awesome miniatures. You get what you pay for. If that means we cut out a lot of potential backers, then I guess that's that; but I refuse to compromise on quality, as much as I can.

bloodwars wrote:-I am reluctant to buy items without a sculptor named. that's why i'm still a bit uneasy about the legionaries (and the females in the rank and file) and seza (and why i was asking). for new sculptors, it might be a good idea to commission them to do a piece ahead of time (like hardy could have done agathae for example) so people can see their work on a mierce project with mierce art and briefs and feel safer pledging sight unseen. I know anything chaudon/simon/JAG/AC/cockersell make are worth buying based of the art alone, but their are some others i'd like to check out beforehand, and non-mierce projects are hard to compare apples to apples.


Assigning sculptors is a tricky business; on the one hand, sure, we could commission sculptors before a project for stuff that happens during the project, perhaps even get them to do a WIP image or two, but equally that would be a business decision akin to ordering a new car in the knowledge that you don't have the money for that yet, but will be if this thing happens... and on the sculptor's side, agreeing to produce a car for you based on a vague promise of money in a few months. It just doesn't work that way. Sculptors are savvy people, they can smell a shyster a mile off because (sad to say) many of them have been burned before; and whilst we have great relationships with our sculptors, if they thought for one second our project wasn't going to come off they'd run a mile - and they'd be right to. So whilst we have an idea in our minds as to who sculptors would be for certain miniatures, it is only when they can see the project will be successful will they confirm - and again, they're right to do that, and we'd be wrong to name them before they confirmed they'd sculpt something.

Regarding the Legionaries, the artwork isn't done yet and no sculptor will sign up to a piece of artwork that isn't done. It's just not going to happen. However, we have a sculptor in mind and we know he'll do an awesome job. Rest assured, the Legionaries will be done and they will be awesome. We have a good track record of producing quality miniatures from the artwork - have faith in that. Sure, it may be tough for people to have that faith, but that's something I can't control dude and equally something that occurs in all miniature Kickstarters.

Regarding commissioning a sculptor to sculpt a piece ahead of time, again I refer you to commissioning sculptors, and of course because doing so depends upon art and money for both the art and the sculpt. So it's money, mostly. We've got Malacant done because Daniel Cockersell has a job and takes time to do something; it was commissioned in January I think and was alread in our plans.

It seems to me here that you want your cake and to eat it, too; there's an element of risk in all Kickstarters and there's very little we can do to fulfil what you are asking for here. However, based on our past Kickstarter, and the customers we've made happy through it, I think you can trust us to bring you awesome miniatures that stick close to the concept art.

bloodwars wrote:--unit differentiation - right now it seems like most of the units basically have 1 of 2 stat lines, 30mm or 60mm. obviously there are some differences and i'm over simplifying a bit, but it'd be nice to have real differences between some armies and playstyles beyond kindred unit X gets +1 parry for +6 points. the norse have grimmin that gives you a 60mm guy with fast flight, allowing him to go hunt archers or seers, which is cool. byzantii will get scorpion war machines for long range fire support and heavy cavalry, but for KS3 i'd appreciate if that was one of the tenets. i know you're still filling out some holes, and things like ogres will give you an anti-magic aura, which is cool, but things like giving legionaries a stong one shot javelin toss and bonuses when they go into a defensive mode (vikings too), i think that'll add a lot more character to some of the interactions.


We are a long, long way away from giving each host "character" in the manner that you mean - in terms of the style of play - and I think you put too much store in making things different for each host in any case. The reality of dark ages warfare was that most armies were virtually the same. We've already added difference to that with sorcery and monstrous beasts and the fantasy element as well as other things. This is NOT - and never will be - Hordes and Warmachine, where each miniature has a special rule and you need to be in that metagame to stand a chance. This is fantasy Dark Age battles where strategy and tactics will take precedence, where those strategies and tactics will work always, not whether human A has this rule and human B has this rule and oh no, human C will have this rule in six months' time. That's fine for some and I salute that, vive la difference; but it's not going to happen in Darklands. In Darklands, human A and B are virtually identical - only motivation, morale and training will have an effect.

I do think you are jumping three or four years ahead here; we're at basic rules level, I'm both writing and learning the game myself as time goes by. Things change naturally in that process, both in my head and on the tabletop through playtesting. This is my first attempt at writing a wargame; you're coming at this from a fully-fledged, fully-realised wargame with plenty of miniatures for each force and a team of writers, playtesters and players. Darklands isn't there.

Additionally, we are, as you say, "filling in holes" with miniatures. Most kindreds need more infantry. Some kindreds aren't even started. This will take time, it's something we need to address over time and I think you're way too far ahead of the curve right now. It will grow naturally. Let it grow - give it room to breathe. Nothing will happen overnight. I've no doubt I'll make a huge number of mistakes, but I'll go so far as to say - come back to me with this argument in five years' time, when we've all had time to get to grips with it, not least myself, and we have loads of miniatures. Then you can state your case.

bloodwars wrote:when you think of a new unit are questions like "what function does this unit serve in the army?" "is this kindred supposed to have this ability and to this degree?" "is his purpose unique or different to what already exists or can he be replaced with other parts?" part of the design process currently?


Of course. Everything that occurs in Darklands, be it miniature style, rules or art is agonised over. That's not to say spontaneity occurs, because it most certainly does, and I'm confident enough to go along with that.



I'll be honest, I think many people - yourself included - think we're somehow bigger than we are. We're not - we're a tiny, tiny company struggling to survive in a very competitive market with not much money behind us. The fact we're surviving (and have done so over the past year despite the issues forced upon us) is because we've been very careful with our money and careful to ensure our customers are happy. A lot of the issues you're seeing with this Kickstarter would be solved by that one thing - money - which is what we don't have a lot of. Money, as well, reduces the time I can spend on things. As a business owner, I have to pay bills and staff, and a lot of decisions have to be based around chasing the pound.

In a lot of ways we're an inchoate business with a nice idea and a few cracking miniatures. We're far, far short of what we could be, and what we *could* be is a company to rival the major manufacturers. I'm not sure I want that in any case, except in quality, but getting to a point near it will take time and money. I don't want Mierce to grow quickly; I want it to grow slowly, feed the community it has gathered, take care of them, nurture them, keep Darklands safe and and its players happy.

So what if we don't do million-pound Kickstarters? Frankly that comes with its own set of problems, as many are finding out.


Anyway - forgive me for being harsh with you here, but I feel you've been a little unfair in places and it has affected me a little. I realise you want to help Darklands grow and I salute that, but equally you must understand certain things. I do hope I've not offended you and I apologise unreservedly if I have.

Right now, we've run a very successful Kickstarter and are very happy with how it's gone. We've got enough to be going on with for a year or so, and then we'll see where we are.

One thing's for sure - you lot will get some awesome miniatures in 2014!
Lochlannon
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Re: Lessons learned from KS 2?

Postby Lochlannon » Fri Oct 18, 2013 2:55 am

Save more money because Rob Lane's ideas eat our wallets alive :P
bloodwars
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Re: Lessons learned from KS 2?

Postby bloodwars » Fri Oct 18, 2013 5:00 am

the first thing, this wasn't/isn't meant to be soul crushing or anything like that. the #1 result here is you've run a 2nd successful kickstarter and will be creating a whole line of new items. again, these are just some things i saw that could be improved (and i don't know everything there is to know about running a miniatures company, obviously). We're all here because we want the same thing - to see your company and it's products succeed.

second, i'm not offended and i do appreciate the honest dialog. I'm sure others who may have had similar question will too.


-I hear you on the timing thing, at the end of the day someone is going to miss out there regardless.

-You're obviously allowed to do things any way you want and be as candid about any subject you feel like, but some companies that give shout outs are less likely if they see that kind of stuff. Reaper had higher end lines for example and found out that's not what their customers wanted, just like WotC moved from chainmail 2003 (which are great $1 metal figures btw) to pre-painted encounters stuff. it's just not your market, but that means they're also not direct competitors or trying to take your share of high end sales. i guess to each his own ;).

-I wasn't suggesting setting up a US business or anything like that, just that americans (in general) try to look for the best deal, and that maybe the explanation of why the sweet spot was such a good deal wasn't as focused or obvious as it could have been. as far as specifics to improve the pitch, i'd honestly have to think about it, a great sales pitch isn't always easy to nail down.

-as to sculptors/artists/timing etc - i understand, thanks for the insight! Are kickstarters going to basically be the plan to fund 80+% of new models? if that's the case then it's easy to see why breaking new guys in with off projects would be pretty difficult among other things. I had thought they were more supplemental in nature, but it looks like that suggestion may have been based on a false assumption. (my bad).

-for the time issues - i was suggesting looking at leveraging volunteers to do some of the things you may not have time for. I'd be more than willing to feed you updated KS graphics as needed if that frees you up to do other things and can keep the home page neater/more compact, or whatever else can be done to make them even more successful. So if you have anything that offloading might help, consider it an open offer. I do IT/CS stuff anyways, so i might not be completely useless (no promises).

-as to jumping the gun - yeah, sorry. MOAR TINGS!!! I NEED MOAR THINGS NOWW!!!!!11!!

--this bit is a bit convoluted--
as far as your totals, 20% growth (backers, ~28% GBP) is good, and this KS was in line with arena rex, which is the most similar in terms of high end resin miniatures. the ones that have exploded have all been plastics as far as I can tell, where the ongoing cost is basically free (and their ability to add ridiculous piles of crap does hurt a bit when KS backers get accustomed to seeing loads of free stuff everywhere). I guess being able to capture the sense of progression is the key thing. for me, once legionaries were unlocked, that was basically it. i got my unit, i got my a couple free guys, peace!

---tangent---
(well, not quite that simple - i did want the gabrax unlocked and i did like seeing new things, and i do like the KS community/comments section, so that's all good. but i personally ran out of reasons to really push and hope for smashing goals pretty early on. I know it was important for noble pledges since they still had freebies thrown in, but most people didn't have a stake beyond getting "their" units. Being able to throw in 10GBP on day 1 and then know you have at least a month AFTER the KS before you even need to think about buying things also reduced the urgency a bit. that unlocked store was a huge surprise in KS1, but in KS2, i think knowing that from day 1 did affect behavior as far as a lower end-of-KS surge and more small value backers. however, it may well result in high post-KS income (more backers, baseline shipping which becomes a better deal when it's spread over a larger purchase, "Look at these WiPs!!", etc). I'd appreciate if you share that with us, or leave the counter up like last time).
---tangent---

anyways, you'll have most of your current backers follow you through your kickstarters in some form regardless, but the two things i'd focus on for attracting new backers is their stake to keep pledging / encourage others (and for some unlocks work, for others they can be hit and miss) and showing the value of what you're buying. I think that's probably the #1 thing that could be improved.

i don't know that i'm 100% representative since i'm only a $400-$800/year backer.

thanks again for a thorough response, we love you.
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SteamHammer
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Re: Lessons learned from KS 2?

Postby SteamHammer » Fri Oct 18, 2013 9:07 am

Congratulations on another great Kickstarter. I like how it is funding new miniatures rather than basically pre-ordering an almost completed box of minis.

I admit it was a bit confusing trying to work out all the options but that only causes a problem if you found out about it an hour before it finished. And being a KS1 backer I knew I could always fling some money at it and then spend it on different things in the shop even if I couldn't work out the exact amount I needed. This was mentioned in the comments but was it on the front page? Or would KS have an issue with it?

The only thing that could really be done to make it simpler would be to have smaller projects more often. Once KS for units, one for commanders, monsters etc. But that will bring it's own problems as people will still want freebies and would always want the other models done first.
2kkendo
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Re: Lessons learned from KS 2?

Postby 2kkendo » Fri Oct 18, 2013 2:15 pm

Reading Rob's comments above, I think there's only one solution - time. Give MM a lot of time to plan and get the artwork/graphics ready before launching the next KS and give us all time to recover from the massive dents in our wallets. :D

I think late May 2014 should be good?
Cincydooley
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Re: Lessons learned from KS 2?

Postby Cincydooley » Fri Oct 18, 2013 3:13 pm

So I'll chime in.

Things a Mierce KS Does Well

1. Communication. Between you and Mr. Poots with Kingdom Death, your ability to communicate to your backers like they're actually investors (and I know this is a shaky concept with KSes in the first place, because backers arent really investors) is second to none. For that very reason, both Mierce and KD have earned me as an unquestioned customer. Falling into a weekly or bi-monthly update like you did on KS1 is the right path to go again, and I have full confidence that will be the case here.

2. Quality Minis for Reasonable Prices - Let's get this out of the way right from the get go: the minis are on the expensive side, but in terms of quality you're getting exactly what you pay for, maybe even more. IMO, a Mierce infantry sized character model is well worth the $12-15 USD we pay for it (and lets be honest with ourselves kids: if these were sold as 'boutique' minis without a game attached, we'd happily pay $20-$25 for them like we do with KD or McVey Resin). The quality of the castings have been top notch on everything I've built save an older Creoda I have (and even then there are just larger gaps to fill in the joints) and the translation from concept to actual is incredible.

3. Response to Critique/Criticism - I think with any small company, it's hard for an owner/operator (Rob in this instance) to take all of the criticism a KS like this is bound to receive well, and I think you've done a really admirable job at it. There are times in the KS comments when it's very clear that you're just a person like everyone else, and I think that's a good thing, because it allows you to stay "grounded," as it were. So kudos to being able to disassociate that, for the most part, because there are some other mainland European KS producers that haven't been able to do the same. I agree that its important to not "negative sell" (its a huge turn off for me from Mantic), but I think you do a mostly good job at curbing that.

4. Timeliness - Man, I think the Mierce KS may be the only KS I've ever backed to consistently hit or exceed all the estimated timelines. So hell yes to you guys for actually knowing your business and understanding your production process.

Things That Could be Better for the next Mierce KS


1. Loss Leading Starter Boxes - I've mentioned this briefly before, but I can't understate the importance of this enough. I know there are fiscal limitations to this, and I know that the method in which Mierce produces their products can be prohibative for this, but I strongly urge ya'll to figure out a way to do a 2P starter box or, better yet, starter boxes that are prepacked for every army that serve as loss leaders. Now obviosly I don't want it to be at the expense of your business, that's never the aim, but soemthing that a player can pick up off the shelf and know it plays right away. And they should probably be diverse in terms of models. I'm going to take some pretty big assumptions coming up(assuming your wholesale cost is around 50% of RRP), so If I'm totally off base with the margins, just call me an idiot ;)

Sample Anelcynn Starter Box:

Penda/Forthegn - 100 Points - $8 Wholesale Cost
5 Duguth - 125 Points - $27 Wholesale Cost
Guthwulf - 120 Points - $20 Wholesale Cost
2 Werwulf - 124 Points - $25 Wholesale Cost
Quickstart Rules
Dice
Counters

So, if my math is even remotely close to the actual wholesale costs, you're looking at around $80 USD for a really diverse nearly 500 point starter. Hell, maybe you swap out a Werwulf for a starter box exclusive Wiglere sculpt? Then, if you've still got room to only break even on the starter boxes, you try and drive this starter box price to as low as you can. I think $50 is way too low for this quality, but if you could get them to a $65-$75 Retail price, It would be incredibly easy to sell them, especially at GenCon with demos. I demoed Infinity this past year, and selling a $40 infinity Starter box was easy, because it answers this very important question with a yes: "Can it really be played out of the box?" That's why everyone hates GW starters. Their answer is no. Again, I have no idea how feasible this is....but man, if ya'll can pull it off, I can't tell you how easy it will be to push it.

2. Money Translation - You already do this, making the USD cost clear next to the GBP cost, but I'd encourage you to try and make it even more prevalent. Sadly, I think you're going to lose a portion of the potential backer pool simply by having that GBP symbol (and I don't think you should chance it) simply because tons of Americans are a little xenophobic about ordering stuff outside the country. Making sure that everytime you list a price having the USD price next to it could potentially help. I don't know that it will, but it could.
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Re: Lessons learned from KS 2?

Postby Funkychef » Fri Oct 18, 2013 4:07 pm

Cincydooley wrote:
Things That Could be Better for the next Mierce KS


1. Loss Leading Starter Boxes - I've mentioned this briefly before, but I can't understate the importance of this enough. I know there are fiscal limitations to this, and I know that the method in which Mierce produces their products can be prohibative for this, but I strongly urge ya'll to figure out a way to do a 2P starter box or, better yet, starter boxes that are prepacked for every army that serve as loss leaders. Now obviosly I don't want it to be at the expense of your business, that's never the aim, but soemthing that a player can pick up off the shelf and know it plays right away. And they should probably be diverse in terms of models. I'm going to take some pretty big assumptions coming up(assuming your wholesale cost is around 50% of RRP), so If I'm totally off base with the margins, just call me an idiot ;)

Sample Anelcynn Starter Box:

Penda/Forthegn - 100 Points - $8 Wholesale Cost
5 Duguth - 125 Points - $27 Wholesale Cost
Guthwulf - 120 Points - $20 Wholesale Cost
2 Werwulf - 124 Points - $25 Wholesale Cost
Quickstart Rules
Dice
Counters

So, if my math is even remotely close to the actual wholesale costs, you're looking at around $80 USD for a really diverse nearly 500 point starter. Hell, maybe you swap out a Werwulf for a starter box exclusive Wiglere sculpt? Then, if you've still got room to only break even on the starter boxes, you try and drive this starter box price to as low as you can. I think $50 is way too low for this quality, but if you could get them to a $65-$75 Retail price, It would be incredibly easy to sell them, especially at GenCon with demos. I demoed Infinity this past year, and selling a $40 infinity Starter box was easy, because it answers this very important question with a yes: "Can it really be played out of the box?" That's why everyone hates GW starters. Their answer is no. Again, I have no idea how feasible this is....but man, if ya'll can pull it off, I can't tell you how easy it will be to push it.


The encounter Host sets already do this, the 5 I could get total points for from the current musters come in between the 460 and 522 gold marks, and I hope to see them become retail offerings down the line, even if only for conventions as you've mentioned

The problem is they are 50% more than you've tried to get the cost down to in your example (which you haven't allowed any productions costs for the dice and tokens, which are still quite a cost for Mierce to buy in) and I don't think Mierce can realisticly strip that much more out of the sales price for (especially as they'd require packaging expenses as well, currently they can just ship in baggies) But I certianly think we should look at using these forces for future demo's to alow particpants to imediately pick up the force they've just played with :)

2. Money Translation - You already do this, making the USD cost clear next to the GBP cost, but I'd encourage you to try and make it even more prevalent. Sadly, I think you're going to lose a portion of the potential backer pool simply by having that GBP symbol (and I don't think you should chance it) simply because tons of Americans are a little xenophobic about ordering stuff outside the country. Making sure that everytime you list a price having the USD price next to it could potentially help. I don't know that it will, but it could.


The problem with having prominant conversions to $ costs is the fluctuating nature of currency exchange (and the hidden charges banks apply to them) which might well cause future complaints when things end up costing people more than they expect :(
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Cincydooley
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Re: Lessons learned from KS 2?

Postby Cincydooley » Fri Oct 18, 2013 4:25 pm

Oh, I'm right with you with the problems with doing the starter boxes. The encounter hosts in the KS don't give QUITE the diversity in unit types that I think you'd want for a "good" starter box that is "playable" right out of the box. Again, I don't know the numbers with how all of it has to work, but I know what it takes for me to sell one post-demo at GenCon. I know what the price point needs to hit and I know that the primary question EVERYONE asks is, "is this really playable out of the box?" Like I said, the starters probably need to be loss leaders that either break even or sell for just under cost.

I'm not saying my example is perfect, but the nice thing about it (IMO) is that not only does it allow for a diverse selection of models, but it also encourages expansion. Including one Werwulf is perfect, because it encourages making the unit larger down the road. You can play the unit as a 1 man unit and use him to shore up a flank, but then once you read the rules, you realize you can expand him out to a 5 man unit with a champ and a banner bearer. Same with the Duguth. Oh cool, here's my basic 5 man duguth warriors box. Whats that you say? I can now expand this out to a badass unit of 20 guys with a champ, a herald, and a banner bearer too? Sweet!

I mean, I'm obviously making a lot of presumptions, but I think it's really, really important to get a good, diverse starter box out there for each Kindred that gets you into the game at around 500 gold that doesn't break the bank. I think you include a starter exclusive model in them to encourage people like us, that have already bought in, to buy them as well. It all boils down to me wanting the game to be a success, but tempering it with how I know people spend their money after a demo at a convention like GenCon. There have to be places, like a starter box, where you're willing to severely cut or elimiate your margin so you eventually get people to buy in at other places.
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Re: Lessons learned from KS 2?

Postby Funkychef » Fri Oct 18, 2013 9:38 pm

Yeah I was thinking about it on my way home and got what you were meaning about unit diversity, but I think the starter sets you are thinking of are at least another KS away so we have basic infantry and monsterous infatry for each kindred to form the uints, currently we only have Ysian's who have models for that, Angelcynn will once the werwulfa are sculpted, Norse and Fomoraic after this KS is fulfiled, Brythoniaid, Khthone, Albainn and Byzantii all need things producing before they can be done :( I think until we get to that point the ecounter hosts are a good place to start from
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Re: Lessons learned from KS 2?

Postby asoshnev » Sat Oct 19, 2013 4:02 pm

I am a person, a real person with feelings, not a corporate machine with doublespeak on auto. You get the heart of me in Darklands, and that's what makes Darklands what it is. So I will always bemoan the fact that such companies produce rubbish miniatures I'm afraid, because I personally don't see the point - with that money behind them, they could produce awesome miniatures if they wanted.


And for this, Mr. Lane, you have my respect.

I think everyone needs to chill a bit and recognize the fact the KS was very successful - and normalizing to the political situation in the US, it was actually REALLY successful. So congrats to all :)

I do agree with bloodwars on many points, but maybe let's give Rob a break here. He did great.
Cincydooley
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Re: Lessons learned from KS 2?

Postby Cincydooley » Sat Oct 19, 2013 4:04 pm

I don't think anyone is upset at all. Just offering (what I hope is) constructive feedback.

Again, I'm more jazzed about this system than I have been about anything in a while.
2kkendo
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Re: Lessons learned from KS 2?

Postby 2kkendo » Sun Oct 20, 2013 9:33 pm

Did anyone mention a Kickstarter exclusive which wont be available to purchase from the webstore?
Funkychef
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Re: Lessons learned from KS 2?

Postby Funkychef » Sun Oct 20, 2013 9:48 pm

2kkendo wrote:Did anyone mention a Kickstarter exclusive which wont be available to purchase from the webstore?


Pretty ure the only KS exclusive this time round was Uhtred which comes with the rulebook pledge :)
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AndyP
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Re: Lessons learned from KS 2?

Postby AndyP » Sun Oct 20, 2013 10:20 pm

Yeah Uhtred is a kickstarter exclusive mini. And they had Urbad and Mounted Penda with Wolf Helm in the first KS
As I always say. At the end of the day.................it goes dark :-)
bloodwars
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Re: Lessons learned from KS 2?

Postby bloodwars » Tue Oct 22, 2013 3:34 am

yeah, just two quick things - as i've stated, this was a very successful KS and i love the stuff i've got and the art and sculpt quality of the mierce line is amazing and diverse ;).

this thread was started at rob's request for feedback on improvements, and that's all it's meant to be. it doesn't mean that this KS campaign wasn't run well, it was - they had a higher price point and still managed to increase both the # of backers and the total GBP pledged. I imagine the post KS sales will be even higher than the 35k or so that KS1 got before it stopped updating. so, that's all good stuff to build on.

I do feel like my posts earlier may give an impression that things weren't done "right" or of being too critical, and that's not the case. If i've overstepped or offended, that's really not the intention or desire at all. I'm just anxious for more... all the time ;).
Phil Winstanley
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Re: Lessons learned from KS 2?

Postby Phil Winstanley » Tue Oct 22, 2013 1:42 pm

I'd fully expect the "pledges" to continue to rise, perhaps even double, especially around Christmas time (or even just after Christmas)

Even more so when folks start seeing the quality of the minis as we go around and post our WIPs etc and start playing the game.
I'm entirely of the opinion that Rob will shake off the Maelstrom stigma if the current business plan, customer service and communication combined with the (very) well run Kickstarter campaigns can continue.

I am also a fan of the fact that Rob has said he doesn't want to explode onto the scene, but rather grow at a reasonable pace with the focus on quality <- This is a winner for me, and I very much get the feeling that most of us are here largely because we appreciate the crazy quality of the minis.

While I agree with a couple of the slight negatives posted above, at the end of the day, respect was earned and two campaigns now have been very well run.
So I say keep going Rob, I know it exhausts you, but you're doing an awesome job. Plus more shinies is more shinies :D

Phil
Endor
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Re: Lessons learned from KS 2?

Postby Endor » Tue Oct 22, 2013 10:40 pm

@bloodwars
I don't think you overstepped at all, I think you offered great constructive feedback, and I am with you on a lot of it.
There are some things we don't know, that obviously Rob knows, which can make certain points less valid. Still, it is good feedback. Anyone who receives this thorough feedback should be immensely grateful, because a lot of time was invested in it, it was given with the best intentions, and it gives Rob and his team an opportunity to improve next time around.

Does it mean we don't think Mierce did a poor job? Certainly not! But everyone should learn from both what went well and what could be improved, and when you are into something with heart and soul, you don't always see the same things as the people around you - so feedback is always good. Doesn't mean you have to act on the things you don't think is valid ;)

We all want Darklands with its fantastic miniatures to grow and last, and to do that Mierce need the support and feedback from us backers.

Cheers
Agelmar
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Re: Lessons learned from KS 2?

Postby Agelmar » Wed Oct 23, 2013 2:13 am

I'll chime in quickly with my thoughts.

There were really only two things I thought could have been better in this kickstarter.
1. I would have liked to have seen The Sweet Spot reward or a similar priced reward from the beginning.
2. I would have liked to see more of a mix of infantry with commanders from the beginning.

Two small points on a very well run kickstarter, and of course, these are just in my opinion.

Thanks for making these great minis.
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EVL HMR
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Re: Lessons learned from KS 2?

Postby EVL HMR » Thu Oct 24, 2013 10:21 am

I was and am very pleased with both kickstarters. Not a lot of things I would change. 1 unlucky thing more than a mistake was the start of Bones ii. Some people want loads of tat, others want art! Bad timing possibly. There are a lot of opinions, not all that constructive, one person seems to have gone a little OTT. I'm happy I got massive bargains in the first kickstarter, but I'd rather pay more to keep Mierce going than have a collection of nice oop miniatures. Ilyad and Rackham ring any bells? you have to pay for quality.
I'm happy and will continue to be Mierce Militia
“Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, or an hour, or a day, or a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it lasts forever.”Lance Armstrong
Lochlannon
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Re: Lessons learned from KS 2?

Postby Lochlannon » Thu Oct 24, 2013 1:14 pm

My take - the "group" deals include only new stuff occasionally. Every time a group deal was coming up I seemed to get doubles and it defeated the purpose (for me).

The "gotta catch um all pledge" - have a small bit of variance a way to switch something out with some standard switches. Or a gotta catch um all - joker level with only four factions that you pick. The lack of variance left you stuck with a lot of stuff you didn't need.

I didn't get in on Mars Attacks I didn't want to, but stretch goals that add to your ability to get add ons. Get stretch goal 1 get X store dollars to spend on add ons if you buy base level 1, 2, or 3. A way where a sweet spot gets a bit better (doesn't have to be much) but it feeds that desire for people to see their pledge grow with their credit card bill doing the same.

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