This week saw the launch of two major tabletop RPG Kickstarters, both of which surpassed $1 million in a matter of days. The tabletop RPG publishing industry is booming, as evidenced by the number of major Kickstarters reaching seven figures within days of launch. This week, two more TTRPG projects joined the million-plus club, as Flee, Mortals! from MCDM Productions! and Monte Cook Games‘ role-playing game Old Gods of Appalachia both broke the $1 million funding mark within days of their launch. Both Kickstarters launched on April 12, with Flee, mortals! raise over $1.269 million and Old Gods of Appalachia Roleplaying Game raising over $1.076 million. Both Kickstarters have plenty of time to raise even more money, as both will remain open to backers until early May.
Tabletop games are one of the most successful categories on Kickstarter, but tabletop RPGs have historically had only a fraction of the success of traditional board games on the platform. Only fourteen TTRPG Kickstarters have surpassed $1 million in pledges on the platform. However, ten of these Kickstarters have launched in 2021, indicating that a growing number of publishers are turning to the platform to raise funds for their projects. In particular, both Flee, mortals! and Ancient Appalachian Gods largely avoid using thumbnails to help support promises – Flee, mortals! offers an optional thumbnail, while Ancient Appalachian Gods does not have thumbnails but uses a premium edition of the game instead.
Of course, both Flee, mortals! and Old Gods of Appalachia Roleplaying Game benefit from being recognizable names with built-in fanbases. Flee, mortals! is linked to Matt Colville, a game designer and YouTube personality with a large fan base who used previous Kickstarters to launch his publishing business. Colville notably hired veteran TTRPG designer James Introcaso as his company’s lead designer, which brought a lot of design and project know-how to his team. Meanwhile, Old Gods of Appalachia Roleplaying Game is based on the Ancient Appalachian Gods podcast, an award-winning horror anthology program that has a huge fan base.
TTRPGs are seen as a growing part of the tabletop industry, and we’ll likely see more great projects hitting Kickstarter over the next few months. One question that remains is whether there is a limit to the number of large projects the TTRPG industry can maintain at once, or whether different fanbases, different IPs, and different publishers will prevent different projects to compete for donor funds.