Thursday 17 September 2015

Gloom of Kilforth - Inane Ramblings About Kickstarter

To quote a very famous song: "A dream is a wish your heart makes, when you're fast asleep."

True enough. But nobody ever fulfilled their dreams sleeping in on Sunday mornings.

I learned early that in this life, you tend to have to make your own dreams come true while you're wide awake.

I decided I wanted to become a writer when I was 12 years old, and I wrote my first novel (it was terrible) when I was 15 years old.

I don't remember a time when I didn't want to write.

I do remember being very young and speaking to my school guidance counselor about my future career. I remember telling her I wanted to be a writer.

I remember her telling me I needed a more sensible career to pursue.

Many years ago, one of the largest publishing houses in the UK read The Wing Warrior, the first book in The Legend Riders trilogy, They loved it. They said it was going to be huge. I went to London and met with Very Important People.

Everything was magical. And I, being wide-eyed and innocent, didn't notice the other shoe dropping until it hit me in the head.

About a year after my meeting in London with those Very Important People, I received a letter telling me that the company accountants had decided publishing my book was too much of a financial risk in the current market.

And that was that.

I realised I was going to have to do this myself...

In the intervening years twixt then and now, I became the editor of a magazine, wrote two adult thrillers, became a freelance writer and editor, won several commissions to ghostwrite novels for other people, and published The Legend Riders trilogy and a horror novel called Roots through Kindle.

Sometimes I even post on this blog.

I am a writer.

Sure, I am no J.K. Rowling. I am not fending of movie executives with a broom and dining at the Ritz.

But I'm wide awake and dreaming.

So why am I telling you all this? What has this got to do with board games?

Nothing, really.

And everything.

You see, recently, Tristan Hall, who many people on BoardgameGeek know as Ninjadorg, launched a Kickstarter campaign for his fantasy adventure board game, Gloom of Kilforth.

As I understand it, Tristan has been developing the game for eight years, honing it, crafting it, making the game he always wanted to play but could never find in stores. I believe the game was even in the hands of a publisher for a while, before the publisher decided not to pursue the project.

I can relate to that.

With no publisher behind him, Tristan turned to Kickstarter.

He turned to us.

Now, I don't know Tristan. I have never met him. Never even spoken to him. We have exchanged a few words in an Internet forum.

But I feel like I know him.

I know his determination, his commitment, his dedication, his desire, his self-belief.

I know his dream.

Gloom of Kilforth is a passion project: an epic fantasy adventure board game for one to four players set in a world that is gradually succumbing to an ancient evil. It has character progression, missions, monsters, skills, special equipment... Everything you expect from a highly thematic adventure game.

And I'm not even going to mention the artwork. So many people on BoardgameGeek and in the comments of the Kickstarter campaign go on about the artwork it's starting to sound like misdirection, and their is a risk people are going to dismiss the game as all style and no substance.

It's bloody good artwork though. And recent updates have revealed fantastic graphic design that enhances that artwork dramatically.

And the game looks bloody good too. It's a hybrid of concepts and ideas, swirled together with a dose of ingenuity: It's all the great bits from good games with a dollop of Tristan on the top.

Actually... Forget I said that... That sounds awful.

Just from watching video playthroughs I see the influence of Arkham Horror, Forbidden Island, Return of the Heroes, and Talisman. I see what happens when someone who loves games makes a game he loves.

And maybe, just maybe, that is enough for everyone else to love it too.

So, why should you back Gloom of Kilforth?

Well, to be honest, I can't really answer that question. I have never played the game. I have only seen what everyone else who has visited the Kickstarter page has seen. I have no guarantees that the game is going to be incredible.

But I know Tristan is determined to make the best game possible.

And I know it's a game I want in my collection.

It might be a game you want to.

And here's the kicker... If this game doesn't fund, you'll never get to see it. This is the last roll of the dice. Tristan needs the funds from this campaign to buy the artwork, produce the game, and ship it all around the world.

If people wait for retail, they may be waiting forever.

And maybe a dream dies.

To back Gloom of Kilforth costs £48. That may seem quite steep for a board game. But for making someone's dream come true?

It's a steal.

Check out this link to find out more, watch some videos, and make a pledge.

UPDATE: So, turns out this game ended up funding, which is a little bit special really. I am delighted for Tristan (in the way that anyone is delighted for anyone who has achieved something impressive (i.e., I am seething with barely contained envy)).

It is genuinely heart-warming to see "the little guy" succeed, and I hope the game turns out as good as it looked during the campaign. Backing anything on Kickstarter is a roll of the dice, but hey... we're gamers. Rolling dice is what we do.

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