Let me begin by saying that I hope Zinequest becomes an annual event. I love the sense of entrepreneurship and creativity espoused in Zinequest. Pretty much everything you see on Kickstarter that was created in response to Zinequest was a labor of love, that may or may not earn the person creating it a couple bucks.
There was so much stuff on Zinequest that I simply couldn’t back everything I wanted to. It wasn’t possible. There was fantastic content everywhere. I don’t even think I was able to see all of the projects on Kickstarter that participated.
Last year, the scale of the event was was impressive. This year, it’s really grown. As of this writing, a search on Kickstarter for the Zinequest projects yielded 125 live projects. That doesn’t include anything that funded, or has yet to begin. That’s a lot of gaming material.
I backed several projects, and may back more. Honestly, it’s just a few dollars to buy into these types of games and supplements. That’s peanuts. While I can’t give a formal review of anything, there are some things that stand out.
I’ve seen a few “Solo” games. This is interesting because it really feels like the hobby is growing beyond a group of players sitting around a table making their way through a session of D&D. Tunnels & Trolls has always been noteworthy because of it’s solo adventures, but it was the exception, not the rule. The number of projects designed around solo play could be a sign that games are changing to incorporate rules for GMless, single-player games more widely.
Additionally, there are a lot of zines upping the quality in regards to art, and production values. This is also nice to see. As someone who appreciates a well-made book, seeing people set stretch goals for Kickstarter projects that promise better binding or paper quality is a nice touch.
A final point, shipping stinks for Kickstarter projects. With Zinequest it’s a real obstacle. While backing an individual project might cost between 5-10 dollars, the shipping almost always a deal killer. I would love to have the dead-tree version of these projects, but often the cost of acquiring the finished text is 50% or more of the cost of the finished zine. I personally would like to see people treat this a bit differently in the future. For me personally, I don’t live in the United States, and shipping on some Kickstarter projects is 100% of the cost of backing the project in the first place. That’s a big ask for supporters. At some point, as with quality of production, I’d like to see project creators start establishing “shipping” as a stretch goal to bring down the costs.
All in all, Zinequest is a great idea. I feel like I’m gushing, but it’s just kind of inspiring to see the breadth of people’s imaginations with these projects. This has been a great year, and I’m really looking forward to next year.
PS – I’ll leave reviews for stuff I’ve backed once I get a chance to read through the finished products.