Okay, now that I'm done with that I want to talk to you about a Kickstarter. In this space I've discussed what makes a Kickstarter campaign retail friendly, because this is a space where I get to share my opinions. In my humble (giggle) opinion, the Kickstarter I'm sharing with you today leads the pack in retail friendliness.
(Throughout this hopefully informative and useful piece, please enjoy some Freedom Squadron art from the utterly incomparable Phil Cho, who I'm sure would be happy to take a commission to do the art for your commando in this awesome universe.)
The year is 2051. World War III has caused widespread devastation and a loss of life previously unknown in human history. Retreating Neo-Communist Bloc forces left behind previously hidden 5-Megaton warheads, and detonated them in Brussels, Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Oslo, and Rome. Shocked by the brutality displayed by their side, other Bloc commanders surrendered to the advancing commanders of the Trans-Atlantic Coalition, and helped with the searches for other warheads scattered throughout Europe.
The Treaty of Laurels took shape rapidly after the Bloc sued for peace, and was signed at the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris, and the two sides set to discovering the causes of the war that had raged throughout Europe for six long years.
In the aftermath of the treaty Kimberly McDonald (aka Snapshot) of Worldwide News chases leads throughout the European continent, and beyond. Her journalistic exploits result in the shocking unveiling of VENOM, a criminal organization with sites set on worldwide domination, and the manipulating force behind both sides of World War III. After Snapshot presents this information to the United Nations Security Council, they join together in the unanimous support of Security Council Resolution 5526, the creation of Freedom Squadron, a global fighting force of the world's elite; soldiers, scientists, creators, and investigators. This group is charged with the task of rooting out VENOM wherever it rears its ugly head, and making the world safe for the governments and people of every nation.
Under the leadership of General Abraham Steele, and from their headquarters at Freedom Bastion, the men and women of Freedom Squadron are recruited from every branch, and every country, in the world.
So there's some story. Freedom Squadron is, at its heart, an homage to the cartoon so many of us loved throughout the 1980s. It brings the awesomeness of that cartoon to your tabletop through fantastic storytelling, and a cast of characters that are engaging and fun to "spend time" with.
Working with Sean Patrick Fannon (West End Star Wars, Shaintar, and Savage Rifts) has been a joy I can barely describe, and helping this world take shape, a world that began in the Venom Assault Board Game from Spyglass Games, has brought me great joy. Storytelling as homage can be so much fun, and that fun has been abundant throughout the process, and I hope you'll find that fun here as well.
That's all well and good, but not why I'm talking to you today. Cool products sell, but as the Retail Consultant for Evil Beagle Games and Spyglass Games, it became my task to build a Kickstarter that retailers want to participate in, and I've set out to do that here, so I want to share with you the shape this KS has taken.
If you visit the Kickstarter page, you will see a Merchant Level down the right hand side that only costs you $15 to get it on. I personally despise retailer backer levels that say "Give us $200 (or more) dollars, and a year from now you might have product." It's not even about the money so much as it is about the other things I could do with that money, so we've worked out how to not make that happen here. You back at $15 and you're in.
What does that $15 get you? Nothing. That's not true, I'm just teasing. When you make a $15 pledge to the KS you're committing to purchase of at least $60 when the product is ready to go. You'll place an order, receive an invoice, pay it (minus your $15 deposit), and get stuff.
So, let's talk about the stuff.
First, the stuff that is guaranteed to be available if the KS funds at minimum levels.
(For you retailers reading this, we're not sure what those first three letters will be, we're working with the Hobby Association to get a designation for Evil Beagle Games, but here's the rest of the code info.)
First, the prices listed above are MSRP. As retailer backers you will receive 50% off these prices with your wholesale order.
Some of these products require a little bit of discussion. FS004 and FS008 are Retailer Exclusives. Consumers CAN NOT acquire these from the Kickstarter. They're coming to you and you alone, to help you build a community in your stores for this game. The GM Screen includes a custom adventure tentatively called "Storefront Wars," which is so meta that I giggle with delight thinking about it. If you catch me at GAMA I'll tell you all about it. :)
We also need to discuss FS003, FS004, and FS005 in another context. This entire KS is available to retailers worldwide. We are working with POD locations throughout the globe to supply our distribution partners and our retailer backers in an effort to save money on shipping costs and to prevent the charge of VAT that sometimes encumbers my overseas friends. The three products mentioned above, which are the GM Screen and the two Decks, are at this time ONLY being printed in the United States. We are working to find an overseas printing partner for these products, but at this time I would caution my friends outside of the US that shipping may be cost prohibitive on those products for your stores. I am taking meetings at GAMA and endeavoring to change this, but that is at it stands right now.
Finally, the retail price of FS008 could change. The first retailer stretch goal (when we reach 150 retailers) adds this book to the Kickstarter line as a retail exclusive. At 200, 250, and 300, retail backers, this book gets bigger. This could have an effect on the MSRP, but you'll still be getting your margin on it, so that's not bad, right?
So, for backing this project you get to buy stuff at a pretty standard retail margin, but that's not it.
Retail Backers will receive their product 60 days before street date. (This is an estimation, shipping times can vary. No matter how bad shipment to your location is, you'll be getting a head start on people who didn't back.)
As a retailer backer you will receive PDF copies of every product for your personal use, so you can dig into Freedom Squadron earlier. Also as a retail backer you will receive access to send out these products in their PDF form through the Bits & Mortars website. We have filled out the paperwork with them and are planning on you being able to send PDFs to your customers as they buy the physical books from you. (If you are not a Bits & Mortar retailer I STRONGLY urge you to correct that...post haste.)
Finally, Evil Beagle Games has instituted a unilateral MAP policy. The simple part of this follows. We ask that you do not advertise our products at a discount greater than 20% off the MSRP. If you choose to advertise our products below this price we will choose to no longer sell them to you. I also make this pledge to my retailer friends here, right now. During the KS, and afterwards, we will unilaterally make the decision NOT to work with what we consider 'bad actors' within the industry. It is important to us that you are able to build communities, move this product, and enjoy this game, without the ever-present specter of trolls and parasites sucking the life blood from it. Retailer Information Page at Spyglass Games
Freedom Squadron is one part of something we colloquially refer to as "Project Awesome", and we want every part of this line to thrive in your game stores for years and years to come.
Let's Talk Marketing
Freedom Squadron is already active on Facebook (facebook.com/freedomsquadron) and on Twitter (#FreedomSquadronRPG). On Facebook we're talking about the game, and sharing some of the timeline that has gotten us to where we are in 2051, while on Twitter you can "listen" in as agents travel the world to fight VENOM, or get into shenanigans at home.
Throughout the campaign you'll also see "Freedom Facts," an homage to the old "The More You Know" campaigns that ended those old cartoons you love, and themed for your game stores, cons, and the places we all play these amazing games. You're free to use these anywhere and everywhere you'd like to build excitement for this project in your stores.
I hope that you'll join us on this journey. I hope you'll join the fight for freedom! I hope you'll stop me at GAMA with any questions you may have, or shoot me a message on Facebook or someplace.
The Freedom Squadron Kickstarter launches 10 MAR 2018! I hope to see you all there!