Well, the second weekend of the Factious Waste campaign has gone past and by now it's pretty evident this has not been the success hoped for. After a really positive start the campaign has been coasting from 50-75% complete for a week.
It's pretty disappointing result given that every spare moment of my time (and pound in my account) has been spent on this project over the last 12 months, especially given all the positive responses the game has had from playtesters and those we've talked to at shows and shown the models to. Nevertheless it is not entirely unexpected given the imminent releases of Necromunda and Fallout (which were nowhere in sight when the campaign was planned back in June), not to mention the several post-apocalyptic skirmish games which have appeared since we first started on this four years ago. With a couple of them either on Kickstarter at the moment or taking to the platform in the next month competition was always going to be tight.
All these games look to be pretty conventional and I do believe there is still room in the market for a narrative-based skirmish which doesn't dispense with tactical elements and has a flexibility and depth which goes against the current trend in miniatures games. Whilst simplicity and speed of play are worthy ambitions in a tabletop game I feel too many systems achieve this by cutting out all the details that help absorb a player in the world. My aim is to balance the kind of modularity and 'complexity' of Laserburn and Confrontation with straightforward mechanics that don't bog the game down in endless referencing.
A lot of thought was given last week as to what to do should the campaign fail. Even if a last-minute push nudges the Kickstarter over the £2000 goal this would only allow the bare bones of what the game could be. The rulebook would have less artwork and no modelling sections (which are something I at least look forward to in a hobby game), the models would have been built for flexibility in equipment but would have to be supplied with limited options, the packaging would be a lot less glossy... I feel this would be a disservice to our backers and to the creative individuals who have put so much work in. We have therefore come up with a 'plan B' which we hope may actually turn out to be beneficial for the future of the game. Before we take any action, however, we would like to put forwards the plan for the comments and feedback of those who have been on the journey with us so far.
The first step would be to cancel the campaign. A cancelled campaign looks better than a failed campaign and in any case the trend of the last 7 days suggests it is unlikely to complete to any degree that would result in a product of satisfactory quality being released.
By mid-November I can have a PDF rulebook available. If you're anything like me then a physical release is a non-negotiable, but as a first step a digital copy would at least allow the game to be played. We would then work towards a print release in the next 6-12 months, possibly through a smaller-scale Kickstarter campaign. Personally I am really excited about the prospect of having Carl Critchlow involved, something we wouldn't be able to do with a 'bare bones' product from a barely-funded campaign.
Miniatures release is something that would have to be done as and when funds became available, beginning by prioritising a 'choice pick' of the sculpts created for the Kickstarter. In any case we are keen to promote Factious Waste as a game system that encourages the use of any models the players like and there is no shortage of post-apocalyptic miniatures around. I appreciate that not everyone likes an old-school, Rogue Trader-y style of miniature.
I have been working on revamping the old Factious Waste playtest community blog into a website for a live 'War 1984' campaign which will go online with the digital rulebook release. This will allow groups of players to link their games into the created world in such a way that their posses and adventures become a part of the growing and developing game background. This process (envisaged as a 3-6 month storyline) will further test and explore the possibilities of the campaign system and help iron out any creases so that the eventual print release is as perfect as possible. I'd love to have as many people as possible playing and contributing so if you'd like to take a look early, join the page and start thinking up your posses you can find it at http://www.factiouswaste.blogspot.com
If you have any comment, suggestions or ideas for how you'd like to see Factious Waste develop as we move ahead I would be very interested to hear them.