My blog about my wargaming activities. I collect a lot of 15mm miniatures for the American War of Independence and so collect a lot of rules for this period. I started miniatures with Napoleonics, so I have a number of armies in 6mm and 15mm figures for skirmishing. I have15mm WW II figures that I use for Flames of War, Memoir '44, and someday, Poor Bloody Infantry. Finally there is my on-again, off-again relationship with paper soldiers that I sometimes write about.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Kickstarter - Force for Good or Evil?

Just kidding about the "evil" part. More a "Force for Hoovering Money from my Wallet" and "Force for Potentially Incurring the Wrath of the Wife of Doom"!

So, I bought into the Up Front kickstarter – probably way too much. This kickstarter project is a "re-release of the highly acclaimed Up Front! fireteam leader card game system. You and your opponent are each in charge of a squad of men who have a specific objective to achieve. Whether you are charged with eliminating a majority of the enemy or you are trying to move a fireteam up close to the enemy without losing too many casualties there are many strategies to victory. The scenario variety of this system is what makes this game so different with every play and with game play under an hour you can fight multiple scenarios in an evening." (Text from the project introduction.)

I loved Up Front back when it came out and played it a lot. I had all of the issues of The General that had any discussion about it, and I read and re-read all of the analysis of the game. My biggest failing with it was trying to convert it to the tabletop with miniatures, but that is just something I always do, being visually-oriented, with games I really like.

I was about to get on eBay and re-purchase the series and found it very expensive, so I decided to go to BoardGameGeek and see if anyone was selling copies cheaper there, and lo and behold, there was information about Up Front being re-released.

I am pretty sure I ripped myself off. When I read the description for M/SGT level, which is what I initially pledged, you got Americans, Germans, Great Britain, France, Italy, Japan, and the Soviet Union – basically the original Up Front game from Avalon Hill and the Banzai and Desert War expansions. I used to have all of those and have "lost" them over the years. But my the time I pledged the project, it had started creating and meeting stretch goals. The more I looked, the more it seemed like I would not get any of those stretch goals as part of my package. Some of those goals are: Norway, FFI, French Army of Africa, French Liberation Army, Vichy France, Canada, Australia, Tito's Partisans, Finland, Greece, Free Greeks, Hungary, Airborne Pack, Romania, Poland, extra tokens, Waffen SS, USMC, Italian Folgore, more tokens, alternate cower cards, Gurkhas, leather-bound rulebook, heavy machine guns, additional AFVs, medics, minesweepers, alternate weapons, Devil's Brigade, mountain action deck, rifle grenades, heavy mortars, and a canvas bag to hold it all.

I didn't look close enough, I guess, because there was a statement that said that if you pledged at PVT level or higher, you would get all of the stretch goals. But, I did not see that, and because the U.S. COMMISARY level was the lowest to specifically mention "copies of all the stretch rewards we reach by campaign end", I upped my pledge to that level. Yes folks, this visually-oriented guy who makes a living finding patterns and paying attention to detail ended up with six copies of everything instead of one because he didn't spot the key phrase right at the beginning!

I guess I will end up on eBay after all, only as a seller. This project is closed, so if you want to purchase a copy of Up Front and did not get in …

Next up is the Small World 2 project. This is to support a new version of Small World for the iPad. I resisted buying both the board game and the iPad version for a long time, but eventually I succumbed to the latter. It was the first iPad game I bought, in fact, and I played a lot of it. I also bought the two in-app purchases which gave you more races and powers, adding to the replayability of it.

Ironically, Days of Wonder has stated that they are going to produce Small World 2, no matter how the kickstarter project turns out. The incentive to pledge is to get the update for "free", but also that if they get enough money they will add more functionality to it that they have been thinking about, but had not planned on investing in all at once. The board game, for example, has a lot more expansions than are available for the iPad, so there is a lot of content that could be added with no real additional game designing required.

When I pledged I looked at it from the viewpoint of how much fun I had derived from the game so far, compared to how much I spent for the apps. I think the current Small World app is incredible value (as is Ticket to Ride, which apparently the board game pays the bills at Days of Wonder), so I pledged at the Halfling level. (You have got to love these names!) I stopped at that level primarily because all of the levels above game you things for the board game, which I do not possess (yet, and am still succeeding in resisting).

The project is ⅓ of the way towards its goal, and is only a few days in, but my understanding of pledges are that there is a spike at the beginning and at the end, so I am not sure this is going to go.

The final kickstarter project I am involved in, and just joined today, is Rivet Wars. As you may know from reading my blog, I like grid-based games and Rivet Wars uses a square grid. Basically it is a alternate World War One board game with miniatures, inspired by (and with elements from) real-time strategy games. The miniatures are caricatures, which if you have seen my Wooden Warriors you know I am partial to, and seem fairly large (about 2" for infantry), so will be interesting to paint.

There are a number of videos, one of which is a 45 minute game walkthrough, which is very instructive on how the game plays. Particularly interesting to grid gamers is how the game handles diagonals.

So, anyone else out there frittering away their money on kickstarter projects?


  1. "Frittering" away money on kickstarter. No frittering here. I need everything I pledge to kickstarter. Fritter. Hah!

    Up Front? Tick. I played this a few time a long time ago and wanted a setr but was hard to find. And I started looking a few years ago at copies but the price was way to much. So I jumped at the chance to pledge on kickstarter. I went with the same level you started at I really was not sure about whether I would get value from the other nationalities. And by reading your post, I see i am getting them anyway! I obviously cannot read either (but to be fair to me, I was not interested as much in the stretch goals - I just wanted the game).

    The other kickstarters for me are:

    Traveller 5th edition (the only RPG I really like and have lots of stuff for already so why not?)

    Ogre: just could not help it - I have been playing this for other 20 years, even if I do prefer HellTank.

    Aarons dice rings: rings with an outer ring with numbers that spins. I like rings. I like dice. But resisted and only got three.

    I am lucky I have never really got into PC/mobile gaming. And I did a lot of multi-player boardgaming in the 80's and 90's and German games passed me by. I don;'t mind them, but am a bit picky on the ones I will play. I have resisted all forms of Small World though. But as I start getting back into FTF gaming, I can see Ticket to Ride etc becoming part of it.

    I think kickstarter will be eating my money for a few more years.

  2. I see that TAG are going to launch a range of 28mm Tudors on Kickstarter which may tempt me.

    I have no idea yet how much it will cost and if it will be a good deal or not. Presumably once the kickstarter is finished thr will just sell the figures as normal?

    I will have to wait and see

  3. I see that my Small World 2 investment just got "refunded" (so to speak). Days of Wonder wisely decided that their campaign was too schizophrenic and decided to "reboot" it. I agree wholeheartedly. I saw no reason to invest beyond $30 because there was nothing compelling beyond that investment level. I don't have and probably won't buy an Android, so going to that platform doesn't matter to me. Same with Steam on PC. I have a Mac (and Steam on the Mac leaves a bit to be desired), so no incentive there. I have been trying to avoid buying the physical game, so the Designer Edition was of no use to me either.

    If the campaign were about converting all of the expansions to the iPad, I would be all over it. As it is, I am glad they pulled the plug until they could come up with a coherent strategy.


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Huachuca City, Arizona, United States
I am 50 yrs old now. I bought a house in Huachuca City, AZ (although I have a townhouse in Houston, TX and a small home in Tucson, AZ) working on a contract for "the next two years" that is going on five years now. To while away the hours I like to wargame -- with wooden, lead, and sometimes paper miniatures -- usually solo. Although I am a 'rules junkie', I almost always use rules of my own (I like to build upon others' ideas, but it seems like there is always something "missing" or "wrong").