Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Kingdom Death Monster Kickstarter - Risks vs Rewards

 Hi everyone,

Given how much I enjoyed my sculpting and painting project (check the post before this one), I've started to think about getting into something that's a bit less model intense than Warhammer and fits well into a limited schedule. It's also prompted a bit by the new Dark Angel models that will officially hit in a few days but, from leaked pictures, are a bit hit and miss. While I like the idea of getting some of the tasty toys, the prices and styling are making me waver slightly.

Then I saw the preview on Bell of Lost Souls about the Kingdom Death Monster Kickstarter (Previews HERE and HERE, kickstarter HERE) and I started to think about this as a game concept. Kingdom Death first really hit the popular game perception when their Wet Nurse was released - be aware that some links from that BOLS article are NSFW. While I'm not a fan of this particular sculpt, the weird, sexually themed, uncomfortable and warped horror style of the company got me intrigued.

Their website has a mix of horror themed pieces and a lot of them feature the same disturbing and effective style of the Wet Nurse (though few go as far). While I find the sexual stuff not that exciting from a miniature point of view, their horror vibe is interesting and fresh. I like the idea of a place where humans are the bottom of a food chain and trying to survive. There is no great human civilisation or army, just a group of desperate survivors trying to stay alive.

This is the kind of thing that Monster goes with, focusing on the cooperative board game side of things.

Here's a view of the boxed game as it looks right now. 

Bell of Lost Souls got some advance copies of the models and I think these starting survivors are a really nice set and really give you a feel of people struggling and working desperately together in the darkness. 

Kingdom Death aims to give you options to upgrade and assemble models based on the gear you find after killing different monsters and assembling gear in your tribe's settlement. It's touted as a strong mix and match system where you can really make the kind of player you want. These are four models made using the rawhide set.

Here are four more using the Phoenix armour set. 

The monsters are pretty neat too. Here's one called the Watcher and I think it represents the final boss of this game, if you don't buy expansions.

There is also a Phoenix winged beast that is, as you can see, pretty big and nasty looking.

So this all looks pretty neat so far. There are a few more days on the kickstarter and it's almost hit the $1 million mark, which is pretty amazing considering the goal was $35,000. There are new bits and pieces getting added for relatively little money, which is a great incentive for the project backers. It'll be a lot cheaper to be in on the kickstarter than buying into this game later on.

For me there are a few things to worry about though. 
  • The game won't be produced until November 2013, if it doesn't slip further, and I'm not entirely sure what position I'll be in at that time with respect to having gaming groups, the time and ability to play as much as I'd like. If I move to another country to keep teaching, will the game be portable and able to come with me? It's a long time with no product basically.
  • There is no certainty from a kickstarter that things will be done exactly as promised. It's not a legal contract and you are not protected in the same way a purchase would be.
  • For price and time reasons, Kingdom Death are looking to make most of the models from PVC plastic rather than their hand cast resin. You can opt for the resin models but there is a reasonable price premium on some (Generally $10 difference for a normal figure but the big Phoenix figure above is $150 total when bought in resin). The problem is only that the backers have to hope the detail won't be lost too much in the material change.

Here's an example of a resin vs a PVC model. At first glance there isn't so much between them. The resin is a bit sharper for sure but overall it's fairly close. The sword is a bit worrying, especially when I saw the following picture from Bell of Lost Souls.

Now the body, head and cloak look pretty good but those arms look pretty bad and lacking in detail. Now this may just be a bad model but who knows what the quality of the final box contents will be. Will it feel like it's worth the price and investment at that point? That's what has me worried at the moment and is tempering my excitement over and otherwise great looking game.

Thoughts and opinions are very welcome.



  1. I picked up the Experiment of Death set a while back (it comes with the pinup Twilight Knight, who you have pictured in your post, and the Wet Nurse) in PVC. While my copy looks a bit better then the picture in your post, the swords are all wobbly and crooked and still not quite as detailed and crisp as I was expecting for the price tag.

    I tried taking a picture of the pvc knight i got, but I've been having issues with my ancient digital camera, so this was the best of the bunch. The mini is straight from the little bag she came in that rode inside the fancy box, I haven't done any cleanup/work on it at all as I'm not sure how to straighten PVC without damaging it.


  2. Hi Oniakki,

    Thanks for the comment and your thoughts. It doesn't look like the Kingdom death quality will remain quite where we'd like it with the PVC. I guess that some pieces may still work well but overall, it looks a bit uncertain for me.

    Are you planning to invest in the Kickstarter given your experiences thus far?


    PS: I found this thread but it doesn't mention the type of plastic. Probably a safe way to go though, especially if you have a bit of sprue left to test it on.

  3. I've been on the fence with investing in the Kickstarter. On the one hand it looks really neat, but on the other it feels a bit pricey. This might also be due to having invested in the Reaper Bones kickstarter which was an amazingly good deal. Though I guess with only 4 days left I'll have to make up my mind soon. Sorry I can't be of more help. ^.^;

    Thanks for the link, that's the same method used to straighten/fix resin miniatures. It sounds like it might be a general plastic straightening method (which, when I think about it, makes sense.) And I hadn't thought about testing with the sprue, as I do still have some from the wet nurse's arms.

  4. No problem. I'm a bit on the fence too. I think the game looks intriguing, I like the models a lot (at least what we've seen, which are probably resin) and I think it'll make for a great painting experience.

    On the other hand, it involves dropping a hefty amount of cash on something that's not yet certain. I think Reaper got the chance to lower costs because they are a bigger company with a more established base to work from, but who knows.

    Hope the plastic fix works out.