Mark Craddock of Comic Book World, Inc. in Florence and Louisville, Kentucky saw Paul Alexander Butler’s Twitter and RPG column (“The Merchant’s Anvil – The #TTRPG Conversation on Twitter”), and shared his thoughts on the use of Kickstarter by game publishers. , and other topics raised by the column.
I read Paul’s column from June 10, 2022 and wanted to respond to it.
The role-playing game market is much larger than it was 10 years ago, with many companies enjoying strong success on crowdfunding sites. I’m glad that’s the case and really appreciate that long-time, quality-conscious editors like Chaosium (Call of Cthulhu, RuneQuest), Pinnacle Entertainment Group (wild worlds), and ArcDream (Delta Green), as well as newer editors like Modiphius (Star Trek, Dune) and Free League (Blade Runner, alien) are successful.
However, these crowdfunding sites take sales away from us at some point. I’ve always loved RPGs of all kinds and always want to have a wide selection of different RPGs, but in my two markets they rarely sell out. I’m still trying them out and have found some momentum with many of the new starter boxes we’ve seen recently. I have many, many, many Dungeons & Dragons players and when you add the ancillary products from WizKids and Ultra Pro, that’s a good amount of space and inventory.
Moreover, many of these companies do not use crowdfunding sites for their original purpose, which is to offer a risky project to find a market, with as little risk as possible. At this point, all of the companies I mentioned should have gone beyond Kickstarter and focused on supporting distributors and retailers to connect with us, the retailers. But they can’t because Kickstarter works too well and is just too profitable to bypass.
Finally, while Twitter may be informative, it’s filled with frustrating drama and cancel culture.
I appreciate your perspective and I’m continually working to find ways to support publishers and the games they make, but even I sometimes get tired of J&D being the 8000 pound gorilla on the market.
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