22 November 2013

Going Overboard: Backing The Strange

Over this past year I've blogged about Monte Cook's tabletop RPG Numenera several times. It's a very cool product. (Alas, I still haven't had the chance to play it, though. We have plans for a campaign, but scheduling has proven a little difficult so far.)

One thing I've been a little sorry about was missing the original Kickstarter campaign for that game. People who backed it got some pretty cool stuff, I gather, and probably a pretty fair price for the entire line of books (many of them still upcoming). (Alas, RPG rulebooks these days aren't exactly cheap.)

So cut to last October. Monte Cook Games announced a Kickstarter campaign for a new game, called The Strange, co-developed by Monte Cook and Bruce Cordell, another industry veteran. The game uses the same original system as Numenera, but features an entirely new, and pretty imaginative setting.

For a while I wasn't entirely sure whether I wanted it or not. For one thing, I still hadn't gotten to play Numenera, something I really want to do. And I wasn't entirely sure about whether the setting was quite my thing, in the same way that Numenera was, and is. But of course owning both takes nothing away from the other. And The Strange won't be out until late summer, plenty of time to get that Numenera game finally off the ground. And at best the products can support each other, being based on the same system.

So I decided yeah, actually, I kinda do want in on this. And the more I read about the game, the more interesting it seemed. (Just like browsing the Numenera website last spring really made me want the game.) But then the question remaining was: how much do I want to spend on it? Like all Kickstarters, there's a ton of different backer levels. I spent days mulling over this question.

Because oh my gosh, they are putting out some cool sh*t! Through the many unlocked stretch goals the game line now features, like, eight books, plus additional loot, from dice to t-shirts. So my options were pretty much to get the core rulebook (plus maybe the rest as PDFs—a pretty good, economical option), or to go totally nuts and go for the full experience.

Perhaps it was partly missing out on the Numenera Kickstarter, and the fact that I've never really gone much beyond the more basic backer levels in any past crowdfunding campaigns I've backed (and also the fact that the people at MCG are really great folks who do things like this), that in the end made me go stark raving bonkers.

What I've purchased (or will have purchased when the campaign ends in a little while) is what they're calling the 'MCG Superfan' package. Which includes all the currently announced books in the game line, in print and PDF, including a motherfrakking Kickstarter exclusive leather-bound deluxe version of the corebook, and tons of additional play aids and merchandise (like dice, t-shirt, signed bookplate and art, even a bookbag, and more). Not only that, but it also includes most Monte Cook Games products scheduled for release between now and The Strange's launch next August, including several Numenera sourcebooks, which I'd already considered buying anyway! So yeah, I'm paying a lot of money for this, but I think I'm easily getting my money's worth of stuff.

And one great thing about this is that, since the products are rolled out over a period of time, I should be getting cool stuff periodically over the next year or two! (If the release schedule is anything like Numenera's, probably well into 2015.)

Does it sound like I'm bragging a bit? Maybe just a little. But remember I am actually paying plenty of money for all this stuff, probably a little more than I really should.

As I'm writing this, the campaign has only nine hours to go. Of course, when you read this, it's likely to be less—or you might be years too late. So anyone interested in The Strange better hurry. Of course the game will eventually be available for retail, but Kickstarters only come once. Anyway, I'm looking forward to what should be an interesting couple of years in tabletop gaming...

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