Friday, October 14, 2016

RPG NEWS: Kickstarter Isn’t Accountable, Loves Money, Chump!
Angry Nird
In a timeframe just less than two years a “certain person” was allowed to “complete” eight (8) Kickstarter campaigns under two different entities: Ken Whitman Games & D20 Entertainment. As many in the gaming community well know, these campaigns didn’t generate much beyond a double handful of broken promises and gamer angst.

As far as Kickstarter is concerned (which it doesn’t seem to be) a project is “complete” once it has reached its funding goal. Beyond this and whether the project creator delivers, is not their concern. While I can certainly understand the failure to deliver once or twice, perhaps concerning an overzealous creator. At what point should Kickstarter take some responsibility? Apparently, never. These projects are all small potatoes, but cumulatively they add up. Certainly, the creator must pass some sort of criteria to post more than one or two campaigns?

Also not Kickstarter's concern, is that any failed creator can apparently launch not only one or two or three projects, but eight (8). Eight? Eight projects in less than two years and mind you by Kickstarters own definition these were likely considered successful. Despite the fact the campaigns themselves were absolutely unsuccessful. The comments (at the bottom) sections for each tell a more accurate story; happy backers are few and far between. Not only does Kickstarter not think it’s accountable for these farces, it’s so not accountable that it didn't stop this creator at project five or six. Two additional turds were needed, because as it turns out, eight was enough. (after all)   
In total these (mostly) unfulfilled projects generated over $180k from backers. What is most troubling and which was previously noted by notanotherdime; is that Kickstarter allowed this "certain person" to start many of these campaigns after a handful of the prior campaigns remained (& remain) unfulfilled. It’s not Kickstarter's job to notice whether or not a concurrent project creator is fulfilling his/her previous project obligations. "By all means," says Kickstarter, "start up another and some hapless chump will back it." (Disclaimer: my words/humor; not actually stated by Kickstarter) 

We end this blog post with a chronological list of Kickstarter activity concerning Ken Whitman Games & D20 Entertainment. It’s a good research point. The summary (as many, well know) is that though funded, these projects didn’t meet a satisfactory end. Many bloggers have pointed out the owner of these two business entities is a bad, horrible human being. Whether this is true-is not the focus of this post. What is the focus is that you should be very careful in what you back in regards to Kickstarter, because Kickstarter doesn’t have your back. I can't say it loud enough, so I'll bold it: KICKSTARTER DOESN'T HAVE YOUR BACK! 
A fool and his money are easily parted, don't be a fool. Kickstarter thinks you’re a chump and so far they’ve been spot on. And they’re not afraid to take a percentage of that action. Oh-yeah that’s right Kickstarter isn’t accountable, but it will happily collect its 5% fee and 3%-5% processing fee based on pledge level. What else should it do? Nothing. About the only thing Kickstarter seems accountable for is accounting the pledges, or more adequately taking their cut of the $. Good for them. (no not really; shame on them) What about accountability?

Kickstarter 101 Page that notes Accountability

Kickstarter Basics: Accountability

"Who is responsible for completing a project as promised?
It's the project creator's responsibility to complete their project. Kickstarter is not involved in the development of the projects themselves.

Kickstarter does not guarantee projects or investigate a creator's ability to complete their project. On Kickstarter, backers (you!) ultimately decide the validity and worthiness of a project by whether they decide to fund it."


Second Sentence:Kickstarter is not involved in the development of the projects themselves.”
How is it possible (even factual) that Kickstarter considers funding as not "a" part of development? Especially, since most creators beyond the idea itself, would be hard pressed to say it wasn't the most important part. If raising money is not part of development-would project creators, (looking to get their project funded and in front of as many eyes as possible and did I mention funded, so they can produce said project) say the same? I doubt it. Kickstarter may say whatever, apparently. The truth is another matter.  

According to Kickstarter money has nothing to do with development. It doesn’t matter what is added to the project based on funding beyond the goal, or that Kickstarter encourages project creators to use stretch goals and backer rewards as a means to generate funding. As monetary goals are met, the project gets bigger. True, Kickstarter doesn't control the scope of any project as many have been known to balloon well beyond feasibility, but how is this not about development?
A bit of an aside, but I nearly backed Robotech RPG Tactics. However, after it tripled through its funding goal and eventually raised over $1.4 million I was glad I didn't. Given that Palladium Books is a small company I thought it was going to be an ambitious project. 

The emphasis here is that Kickstarter allowed a project creator to conduct funding for different projects, 8 different times. At some point someone should have realized some of those projects weren't being finished. The project are practically (and some are in fact) on top of each other as well. And for it's part Kickstarter policy takes the stance that they are not accountable?
That is a ridiculous position. I hope I'm not the only one who thinks so. (comments are open) And what say you Kickstarter?
Post Links & Credit

Many bloggers and forum contributors have done good work in order to notify the gaming community of a “certain person” and have blogged about the failure of each of these Kickstarters. I hope that this post will encourage others to take a closer look at Kickstarter itself. Here is a list of those folks, which have kept fighting the good fight. If you know of more that have blogged about this leave them in the comments and I’ll update this post:

BlogSpot Shout Outs! 

Ken Whitman Games & D20 Entertainment Present! (no, not really) 
First to Last Kickstarter Projects: July 2013-April 2015
Kickstarters Launched: 8 (1 suspended); 2 by Ken Whitman Games, 6 by D20 Entertainment
Funding Total: $186,329

Knights Quest Family Card Game

Created By: Ken Whitman Games 
Funding period: Jul 17 2013 - Aug 6 2013 (20 days)
Blurb: Knight's Quest game conjures tales of Dragons, Fair Maidens, Brave Knights, in an easy to learn out of the box family fun! 
Damage Report: 196 backers pledged $9,234 to help bring this project to life.
Comment Status: Some products delivered in various states or presentation. A backer notes being refunded, another notes receiving a package that was smelly…

Knights of the Dinner Table: Live Action Series (KODT:LAS) 

Created By: d20 Entertainment
Funding Period: Dec 8 2013 - Feb 5 2014 (59 days)
Blurb: B.A., Bob, Dave, Brian & Sara are ready to go live - Live Action Series that is! Help make the KoDT Movie a reality!
Damage Report: 795 backers pledged $69,525 to help bring this project to life.
Comment/Delivery Status: Partially delivered, sorta, but unfinished. Most did not receive pledge rewards. Though others have reached out to assist in completing the project it remains uncompleted.

Dice O'Matic (Suspended)

Created By: Ken Whitman Games 
Funding Period: Unsure as it was suspended Date Noted: July 15th 2014
Speculative Reason for Suspension: Not an Original Project and/or concurrent with Spinward
Traveller & D20 Entertainment. 

Spinward Traveller (T.V. Pilot)

Created By: d20 Entertainment
Funding Period: Jun 1 2014 - Jul 15 2014 (44 days)
Blurb: Spinward Traveller is based on the award winning role-playing game. Launch your imagination into the Traveller universe at Jump 6
Damage Report: 827 backers pledged $49,588 to help bring this project to life.
Comment Status: No rewards sent. Pilot remains to be seen.

Castles & Crusades: Beyond the River (T.V. Pilot)

Created By: d20 Entertainment
Funding Period: Oct 3 2014 - Nov 2 2014 (30 days)
Blurb: Based on the RPG Castles & Crusades, this fantasy TV pilot focuses on a retired knight who solves crimes for kings and noblemen.
Damage Report: 125 backers pledged $6,001 to help bring this project to life.
Comment Status: No rewards sent. Pilot remains to be finished.

Pencil Dice

Created By: d20 Entertainment
Funding period: Jan 29 2015 - Feb 28 2015 (30 days)
Interesting Note: “Project We Love,” says Kickstarter.
Blurb: Adding dice pips to a six sided pencil can turn a regular pencil into a valuable game aid! You never know when a game might break out!
Damage Report: 1,351 backers pledged $38,161 to help bring this project to life.
Comment Status: Nothing to see here, move along. Similar to the Dice O'Matic the IP of this idea has already been developed.


Created By: d20 Entertainment
Funding Period: Feb 18 2015 - Mar 10 2015 (20 days)
Blurb: Sometimes Random Stuff happens in a RPG! Be Prepared!                                
Damage Report: 337 backers pledged $8,623 to help bring this project to life.
Comment Status: Nothing to see here, move along. Similar to the Dice O'Matic the IP of this idea has already been developed. What’s the difference between this project and the above?

Deck Dice

Created By: d20 Entertainment
Funding Period: Mar 8 2015 - Apr 7 2015 (30 days)
Blurb: Adding random polyhedral die rolls to a deck of cards can turn a regular deck of playing cards into a valuable game aid!  
Damage Report: 184 backers pledged $5,197 to help bring this project to life.
Comment Status: Nothing to see here, undelivered.


  1. Hey Jeff, your second blogspot shout out has the same link as the first. Good post too, I've been semi-following this Whitman stuff (I'm a social worker with four kids, no funds for Kickstarter from me! :) and appreciate you summarizing it all here. Thanks!

  2. Ronald, thanks for the catch: Edited.

    The best place to get caught up is the notanotherdime blogspot. It's really surprising, the sort of damage a man already bad rep can accomplish.

    Thanks for reading-