I’d say this post is comprised of two elements. The first being some things that caught my eye and those which I backed; the second being Kickstarter’s continued handling of ZineQuest.
First up, let’s lead off with the good. Here’s some ZQ2022 stuff that caught my eye and snared my wallet:
Inn to the Deep is a zine package featuring low-prep or no-prep adventures for B/X D&D using Old-School Essentials. The author is Bill Edmunds, whose The Bone Age book is one of my favorite ZQ treasures of years past. Backed!
Crepuscular #2 is the long-awaited sequel to Joshua Burnett’s Crepuscular #1: Sanctum of the Snail. The afterlife, undead player characters, a DCC sort of sense of humor, WoW influences, and Josh’s wonderful art filling out a comic-size zine. Backed!
Big Sword #1: Graves & Groves is a densely-packed, stylish zine that I fell in love with immediately after hearing about it on the Goodman Games ZQ stream. Vampires, treefolk, rangers, a hexcrawl – it doesn’t get more up my alley than this. Backed!
Chthonic Crawl #1 is a booklet of weird and wondrous magical items for your DCC game but designed theme-forward so they can be easily adapted to systems of your choosing. The art is just ridiculously good. Couldn’t say no. Instantly backed!
The Lands of Loor is a Polish (English language!) game and campaign setting. It was another love at first sight thing. This could be played by wearing d4s as sandals and I’d still get it. Gorgeous, thematically waaaaay up my alley, and super unique. I was an unbelievably easy mark. Backed!
The Scourge of the Northland is super cool. It feels inspired by B2 or the A-series, or maybe the Wilderlands. It follows on several other successful projects and really won my attention with its lovely maps and desire to present the game bits in table-friendly ways. I am not super hype about the AI art but truthfully I was hooked before I noticed it. Backed!
Not Backed, Maybe Though!
Big Eye Chungus is a zine entirely about not-Beholders-if-you’re-a-lawyer, by the wonderfully weird folks at Planet X Games Co. Have a bunch of their other stuff and it’s all terrific. You take a look at those drawings and layouts and tell me this isn’t a work of love.
The Beast of Borgenwold is one of those very rare RPG objects that truly evokes the medieval bestiaries and accounts that inform so much of the collective legend and myth that we share today. Immensely taken by the artwork and the basic idea.
Gary’s Appendix is a supplement containing articles, ideas, classes, and bits and bobs derived from close reads of the AD&D Dungeon Master’s Guide and the processes and thoughts of Gary Gygax. I like zines as informative, variety fare, so this is up my alley.
The Average Trooper is a wild skeleton role-playing game that seems inspired by the best parts of rock and roll. Who doesn’t love skeletons? Not sure I’ll sign on, but definitely intrigued – this kicks ass.
One of the first ZQ2022 projects that caught my eye, Get Me The Juice! is as Mutant Crawl Classics module and it looks like it checks every single box perfectly.
Into the Spaceworm is the first adventure published for the Scornlands/Meatlandia universe by Wind Lothamer. If you’ve been following along with those projects, this may snatch your dollars!
Notorious is like the RPG version of the amazing fiction/artbook Burzok’s Mercenary Handbook. Go out as a badass space bounty hunter like Boba Fett or IG-88 and grab your target while dealing with the consequences. The idea and the art and style of the book are awesome, but I don’t know that I have the time to spend with it. Awesome stuff though.
One Breath Left is a solo journaling role-playing game about exploring a dangerous sci-fi ship like in Alien or Space Hulk. Looks awesome, and I really meant to give solo gaming a go this year but 2022 has gotten out of my control quickly. Might still jump on, maybe?
Last Sabbath looks incredible and seems really cool. Again, another solo game that I really ought to get with. Amazing art and theme, really stand-out work. Even just as an art object I may yet back this.
The other thing I want to touch on is the utter cock-up that is ZineQuest 2022.
I’m not sure what bedeviled logic allowed “let’s move this to fall on the same month as GenCon” to pass through whatever meeting it was pitched in, but I hope they realize that it was a truly daft move. It makes absolutely no real sense to position a crowdfunding month in a given hobby in direct competition to that hobby’s biggest industry convention. It makes no sense to split your market’s budgets like that. It makes no sense to make your creators scream themselves hoarse to be heard over the din of major market movers and shakers loudly trumpeting their news at GenCon. It makes no sense to upend years of reliable annual placement that creators planned on exploiting and customers planned on earmarking dollars for. It is just one of the stupidest things to ever emerge from committee. I recently saw that in 2023 it will return to February. First, good, you silly dumb-dumbs. Second, that means ZQ2023 is less than six months away which I am sure will impact creator timelines and crunch and buyer budgets.
I am also not sure why Kickstarter’s front page isn’t featuring ZQ2022 a little more prominently. Even on a big screen I had to scroll past some stuff to see the ZineQuest banner – the order of things on their front page is a little baffling, to be honest. Why is October’s special event getting higher page presence and billing than a currently-ongoing, four-years-running event that is generating traffic right now? The only reason I even know to keep scrolling to find that ZineQuest banner is because I am a mark (read: superbacker) and I am aware that ZQ is occurring and I am already trained to expect so little of Kickstarter as to presume they’ve done this in a silly order.
And lastly, I feel like they’re still feeling out the best sweet spot for the ZineQuest rules and stipulations, and I think they’re getting closer to “just right”. I actually get the reasons behind the restrictions – it wasn’t really “useful” or on-brand with the zine DIY ethos to have ZQ co-opted by big projects and stuff that grew wildly out of proportion and took forever or mutated into strange things far removed from zines altogether. I get it and I appreciate that. I am glad that we can have larger windows for backing decisions than the rushed two-week maximum I remember from last year – or was it the year before? Either way, I think they’re actually dialing this in to the benefit of the event, the customer base, and the creators, and I think that’s a really rare sign of listening to feedback and earning a W for Kickstarter.
Anyway, that wraps up the half-way point of ZineQuest 2022, the fourth of its name, at least from my perspective. I hope it helps someone out there find something cool, and if not, I hope it helps someone at Kickstarter remember never to listen to the person who suggested the August move – ever again.