ZineQuest 5, or “Goodbye bank account!”

It is once again ZineQuest on Kickstarter, and I am not let down. It’s probable that I say something like this every year. However, there really is a fantastic collection of stuff I’m excited about.

ZineQuest is great for multiple reasons. Before I begin, I hope this isn’t interpreted as me being opposed to larger publishers or products. I’m sure those people exist, but I’m not one of them. Zinequest is just a cool initiative.

First of all, the stuff on here is often creative. It’s almost as if people used zines as a medium. There are parameters, albeit loosely defined, that creators work within. This could be page count, materials, size of the finished product, colour vs. black and white, and so on. The result then yields a particular type of RPG product that is less, for lack of a better word, “traditional”.

Second, this is a spotlight on individuals and tiny publishers. It’s an opportunity for people to shine on their own. While I have no objective data on who works for what company or so on, I’m 100% positive that there are competent people filling out the ranks at well-known companies. ZineQuest is their turn to take center stage.

Third, I have a lot of books at home. I don’t necessarily need another 200 to 300 (or longer!) text for my gaming needs. I’m doing very well in this regard. Zinequest offers products that complement these larger releases extremely well. Why? The typically smaller nature of the “zine” rpg products is laser-focused because of the constraints people impose on themselves for these projects. As such, it’s very easy to incorporate these materials into a larger game.

Fourth, you can’t beat the price. Almost everything in Zinequest is very affordable, especially the PDF-only options. For a few dollars you can have an innovative product that is easy to read and use. What’s not to love?

Like every year since this event has begun I am following along, and spending my RPG budget on Zinequest products. So far I’ve back two, but I have a few more I’m on the fence about.

The projects I parted money with are Dead Air, Pride and Preju-dice, and Daggers and Ditches and Dangerous Things. I’m looking forward to all of them.

There were a few more small ones as well, things that were a fiver or less, but I liked what I saw. A few projects had to be set aside, sadly. Creativity was in abundance this year, as every year. However, I noticed something I didn’t care for. Costly projects. A zine is a little do-it-yourself magazine. I saw stuff that appeared to be full-colour board games. One of the projects I saw, which I won’t name, ran for something like $70. For a zine! There was another that, if I recall correctly was maybe $40. There are cool products, but they aren’t zines.

I hope this isn’t the start of a trend of people co-opting ZineQuest to sell/promote products that don’t really fit the event. That would be a shame, but it was probably only a matter of time before it happened. Even if this becomes a common issue, and it likely will, there’s no reason why ZineQuest shouldn’t continue.

It’s a great initiative and every year I’m impressed and inspired by the stuff I see created. Some of the games are just fantastic, and over the years I’ve accumulated a fun collection of zines from the the annual event. I look forward to the next ZineQuest, and hope that the tradition that has been growing around it continues.





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