7/04/2015

My Thoughts on the Upcoming Reaper Miniatures Kickstarter

My Thoughts on the Upcoming Reaper Miniatures Kickstarter
I'm a little conflicted with the news about the upcoming Reaper Kickstarter in just a few days.

I love the Reaper Bones line....why wouldn't I? They are cheaper & lighter than "regular" minis and through the Kickstarter they are even cheaper.

It might be because I still have about 23,000 minis to paint, but I think it is much more than that. I think I'm about Kickstarted out on RPG items...."about" being the operative word here. If you like the Reaper Bones line and you'd be buying these minis anyway.....you should really go for it, assuming you'd be buying all those minis anyway.

What I want to know is at what point does Reaper's third trip to the Kickstarter table, essentially for the same thing, transition from "crowdsourcing" to "crowd-selling"? When does this whole affair become a way to sell their product in bulk outside the normal distribution channels?

Now I could drive around town and talk to various FLGS (favorite local game store) owners, but I'll admit I don't really have a FLGS...although there is a newer store the next town over I do need to check out. In my case my FLGS moved out of town (I spent the day helping with the move) and another shop took over the space. The new shop was a much prettier game store, but customer service dropped to the point where I just stopped going.......

...anyway I digress a bit.

In my travels I've come to know more than a few awesome game stores I drop by and visit and there are some "other" stores that also sell game items I drop in occasionally since I don't have a FLGS. I've noted that all of them have cut way back on miniatures, or at least way back on Reaper Miniatures. Since this new, cheaper...and in some cases pre-painted minis came out I'd have expected to see more minis in the stores, not less. Heck, at Origins this year I was surprised at the Reaper booth and mini painting area. The booth was smaller than usual and the minis available for painting weren't anything I wanted to take my time with.

I just have to wonder if some of this trend is because Reaper is undercutting the local stores, which in turn leads to less retail sales for Reaper and fuels the cycle of wanting to make more direct sales through Kickstarter.....even if it undercuts their own direct sales at conventions.

The first Kickstarter, IIRC, was to raise funds to enable the company to expand and move the manufacturing process to their shop in Texas. It seemed like the very type of capital investment that Kickstarter was created to fund.....

......I'm not certain that the subsequent round(s) are much more than a sales pitch, and I think this is an important question that needs to be asked. If this is just another sales pitch, is this ultimately a good thing for the consumer and the RPG industry?