It seems that in just the past few months we’ve entered a Golden Age of Wargaming. Crowdsourcing is the reason – or is it the culprit?
Sites such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo have begun to change every type of entrepreneurial activity from technology, to film, to even wargaming. Now with the collective investing power of the internet anyone with a dream and a youtube video can get funding, and start in on a new business.
Over the last few months, we’ve seen Wargaming Terrain businesses, LEGO based Wargaming, and many many more hit the scene. Just this last week, the Kickstarter to bring back fan-favorite RPG Shadowrun brought in over $650,000 and counting! Smaller outfits like Miniwargaming are throwing their hat in the ring with projects like Dark Potential. It seems you can’t walk two feet before you hear of yet another awesome sounding wargaming project you can throw your hard earned dollars at.
The Golden Age is truly here – or is it?
I’m a realist, and know that the business world is a harsh place – and there are few customers as fickle as wargamers.
The hard truth is that while crowdsourcing has unshackled the lone creator and small visionary garage team from needing to bow before inventment bankers, or schlepp from company to company praying for a backer, you still will need a lot of old fashioned hard work, creativity, business acumen, and a lot of luck to make it. If things like getting the money to make your vision have now been vanquished, knowing how to manage a business, control your cashflow, and hone your negotiation and business strategy skills will be more important than ever.
As consumers, we are about to swamped with a myriad of choices, but I’ll ask you a question you probably know the answer to.
Why haven’t you picked up that cool new game your friend just told you about? You know, that one with the sexy range of about a dozen cool minis and a a 50 page PDF rulebook you can grab for free?
Let me guess – You wont be left high and dry as the only one playing, and want to wait till you see if any one else is playing it before you jump in.
Welcome to the market reality of wargaming. Customers follow success, and shun risk. There is a reason Warhammer continues to dominate even without the best rules out there – Everyone has the minis and that sunk investment is hard for most to just drop cold turkey. Inversely, even with a superior product, its darned hard to reach the critical mass to truly enter the hallowed halls of the wargames that have “made it” like Warhammer 40,000, Fantasy, Warmachine, and Flames of War – the ones we all know are going to be there years from now.
So lets be frank. 95% of all of these Kickstarters are going to be belly up 24 months after their initial funding. Some will be be bad ideas, some good ideas with terrible execution. Others will be killed by the competition, and die alone and starved in the outer dark of wargaming, unable to reach critical mass. Some will take the money and run for the border, never looking back. There will be some amazing successes, and most of these will get bought up by the big studios looking to expand their product offerings.
In the end, yes the Golden Age of Wargaming is here. But dear readers, remember the story of King Midas, and as always … Let the Buyer Beware.
~What’s your take on crowdsourcing and wargaming? Who’s worth of the hype and how do you decide when to open your investment wallet and when to keep it shut?