Despite exceeding its $35,000 goal by over $10,000, the Pathfinder-themed dice game by Fun to 11 was cancelled on December 20. Was it really necessary given that the project was successfully funded?
Fun to 11 has decided to stop the Pathfinder Dice Arena Kickstarter campaign, and not move forward with production of the game. The reasons are not financial – we’ve more then met our funding goal. We are ending the project based on feedback from the Pathfinder community. While we think the game is excellent and fun to play, it is not the game play experience Pathfinder fans are looking for. It's an interpretation of the Pathfinder characters through the lens of the game mechanics, but the game mechanics themselves just aren't Pathfinder-y enough for a lot of Pathfinder fans.
In a move that echoes the initially successful Thon Kickstarter, it seems feedback from the cancelled pledges was the primary reason for the aborted crowdsourcing effort:
After speaking with lots of those who cancelled, many mentioned the monetary pressures of the holiday season, but much of the feedback from them has been that they realized Pathfinder Dice Arena wasn't the Pathfinder game they were looking for. We took that feedback to heart, and decided we agreed – the game is super fun, but it's not a good fit for Pathfinder.
Fun to 11 cited the fact that they were hemorrhaging backers; although the number increased in each comment he posted, creator Luke Peterschmidt's last word on the matter was:
PDA was different than our previous projects as there were two other super important groups. Paizo, and the entire Pathfinder community. We would be a crappy partner if we did anything that we knew (or at least believed deeply from all the data available) would hurt either of those two groups in a meaningful way. So if we have 600 current backers, and more than 200 folks who cancelled (and that number rising every day), that tells us that it could do meaningful harm. "Meaningful" isn't a "majority" thing in this case. Of course, we could have been totally wrong with the way we read the data from KS and our follow-up emails. There is no way to know for sure in this type of situation, but you have to go with what you got or you risk great regret.
The two issues seem to be that the game was funded during the holidays (when backers realize at the last minute that they have to apply their funds to other resources) and that it was not a Pathfinder-enough game. Kicktraq's projections tells a similar story, with the data indicating that by 12/20 the trend was for the Kickstarter to be unfunded. With the project originally planned to conclude by 12/30, it's quite possible the Pathfinder Dice Arena game would have been unsuccessful before its conclusion. Of course, none of these issues were cited as a Risk or Challenge in the Kickstarter's listing:
All the art is in, all the game design is done. All that's left is production and the associated logistics. We've done this 4 times (2 shipped on time, 2 shipped early!), so we have a good track record when it comes to logistics. That said, we are a micro-company and that does create some risks (if one of us gets hit by a bus, etc.). Then there are the risks that are not exclusive to micro-companies -things like worker strikes in factories, typhoons that stop shipping, random customs delay issues, etc. All that taken into account, we see the risk of late delivery as low here and we hope our track record encourages you to back with confidence!
Backer Craig Johnston summed up the frustration from the remaining backers:
I am extremely disappointed in the decision to cancel this Kickstarter for the reasons you've given. But in the end, I guess it's your company. In saying that, I do think that you've seriously alienated a lot of your potential future backers and done more damage to your image than you seem to think.
It seems "backing with confidence" was the real risk after all.
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