20 June, 2013

Man-crush crushed.

Well the Mekton Zero Kickstarter has been disheartening.

I was really stoked when it started. Immediately backed at $265. Sat back and waited for the fun. And waited and waited. Very little action by way of comments from the creator and sparse updates. Yes, I was coming off some awesome Kickstarters by Mantic, Palladium/Ninja Division, and Secret Weapon. Active creators that responded to questions and suggestions, and kept us involved with a solid stream of updates, info, ideas, and such.

Mekton Zero was not like this. Stretch goals were slow to be published... usually a day or so after the previous goal was met. Info on the projects and even pics/images of what they would be were few or nonexistent in some respects. The reward structure system seemed wonky... you got less for your money the more you pledged. Odd that. Indeed at my initial pledge level I was basically paying more than I would have at retail for the honor of helping to fund the project of an established company. WTF right?

For my $250 pledge I was looking at receiving:
Overall Value
$10 "backer" level got me:
bumper sticker ($10)
+$0
+15 to "citizen" ($25) level got me:
t-shirt ($15)
PDF copy of the game ($?)
+$0 & free PDF
+$25 to "militia" ($50) level got me:
Hardcopy of the game ($35)
+$10
+$10 to "mekton pilot" ($60) level got me:
KS exclusive Bendari mecha mini ($20)
+$10
+$25 to "veteran" ($75) level got me:
24"x36" poster map ($?)
-$25 & free poster
+$25 to "lieutenant" ($100) level got me:
GM screen ($?)
-$25 & free GM screen
+$25 to "commander" ($125) level got me:
5 Mekton dice ($10)
-$15
+$25 to "battle tactician" ($150) level got me:
KS exclusive 12 page mission ($?)
-$25 & 12 page scenario
+$50 to "ace" ($200) level got me:
Mauler mini ($10)
Vector mini ($10)
-$30

+$50 to "double ace" ($250) level got me:
2 unit patches (2x $5)
-$40

All in all I would be spending and extra $140 in exchange for a 12 page scenario book, a GM screen, a poster, and a PDF copy of the game.

The GM screen was described as being similar to the Mekton Zeta Tactical Display, which includes a 32 page rule addendum and retails for $10. The PDF of the game can't cost more than the hardcopy. And the poster can't be much more than the step grade of $25.  Even with the stretch goals... which upped the Mauler and Vector minis to 5 each ($80 value) and a couple PDF campaigns... my overwhelming conclusion was that I'd be a chump to back at higher than Mekton Pilot level. Considering the clutter of useless stuff (patches, t-shirts, posters, and bumper stickers) there was little gaming meat, and honestly I could do better buying from my local brick-and-mortar store where I get a 20% discount.

I wasn't the only one to notice this. Several backers expressed dismay at not having anything pledge worthy at higher levels, the lack of a merchandise free option (book/GM screen/dice) and the lack of any real discount for supporting the Kickstarter. My agreement with this, went as such:

@Uxxx... I feel you there.
I too am choosing to forego the t-shirt and bumper sticker... that gives me $25. Enough to cover international shipping and fund a set of dice. Definitely want a hardcopy of the book which puts me at Militia level. I'd like a copy of the referee screen, but I have no interest in a paper oversize map that will fill up the table and wear at the folds as we take it out and put it away. Smaller scale map (hand drawn if need be) is more table friendly. So that means I could spend another $50 for something that most likely will be around $20 dollars retail... I'll get it retail. My only real choice is whether or not to sit with Militia or up to Mekton Pilot for the Bendari mech.
I'd originally planned to fund at about 5 times that price point... but after consideration... it just isn't worth it. Sadly. Very, very sadly.

The creator responded a few posts latter about how the GM screen would feature exclusive artwork and a few tables that would not be in the retail release.

To wit me again:

With all due respect, I understand the exclusive edition idea of the referee screen... and if it was an add on I'd jump at it (as it seems would others) but, the alternate artwork doesn't offset the cost for me. And... if the extra charts were more than fluff I'd imagine they wouldn't be denied to the Mekton world at large; what would be the sense of hamstringing the line in order to thank 300 or so backers on Kickstarter, by leaving out game-vital charts/rules?

And then I got a personal address from the man; basically he laid out that it wasn't about me. I could do what I want, buy what I choose, but he didn't want to hear the complaints.

Now keep in mind... I wasn't trying to be a dick, I wasn't trying to tell him he sucked... I was trying to give suggestions and advice that would, perhaps, better resonate with the Mekton fans, like me, who were ponying up the dough for him to relaunch his business. He does not have to take my advice... but I'm not alone in my criticism or disappointment among the backers. I'm a long-time customer, who continually directed other backers to the R Talsorian web shop throughout the Kickstarter's run. He doesn't even have to listen or do what I suggest... it's a SUGGESTION. From a fan... from somebody who's bought every single Mekton and Cyberpunk release thus far. EVERY ONE.

Well until now that is.

There are many better uses on Kickstarter of funds. Indeed I rechannelled the money I had set aside for Mekton to two other projects... got a personal message from the creator of one, thanking me for the support (awesome!), and a freaking assload of miniatures from the other. Better use.

Maybe I'll pick up Mekton Zero at my shop... but quite possibly I won't. We'll have to see how it stacks up with Savage Worlds and the new RPGs. You know, classless systems with advantages, that are quick to play and simple. Maybe Interlock and RTal can transition to the 21st Century, maybe the next Kickstarter will better utilize the social side of crowd sourcing... who knows.