Kingdom Death: Monster proves that presentation goes a long, long way towards elevating a Kickstarter project to notoriety. The creator of the nightmare horror boardgame asked Kickstarter for a reasonable $35,000 and has raised nearly 20 times that, sitting at over $630,000 with 24 days of kicking left to go. Check out the Kickstarter page and it's easy to see why: the introductory video drops right into Kingdom Death's gloomy world, presenting its story through a whispery narrator and art that hearkens back to the dark fantasy illustrations of Frank Frazetta.
And then you get to see the miniatures.
The small plastic figures are Kingdom Death: Monster's primary draw. "Small" actually does them a disservice; for miniatures, they're large and fabulously detailed, sculpted and lifelike even without being painted. The artistry should come as no surprise given the young but established pedigree of Kingdom Death.
Wired talked to Kingdom Death: Monster's creator, Adam Poots, who has been designing dark fantasy miniatures since 2008. The first figures Poots designed were actually 3D printed on a system with vertical resolution of .0025 mm, or 2.5 microns--a crazy amount of detail compared to the MakerBot Replicator 2's already impressive 100 microns.
Most of the figures created for the Kingdom Death Brand are still hand-sculpted, but the day of the 3D printer draws ever closer. The Kickstarter project knows its audience--backers can kick in more money to get more detailed resin figures rather than the machine-cast plastic figures that facilitate easier mass production. Still, a comparison of the two shows virtually no loss of detail--the figures are impressive in both materials.
Poots has been working on the rules of his game for years, honing it into a six player cooperative "boss rush" against overpowered enemies. The design offers a cool mixture of classic D&D-style character sheets and dice rolling with a video game-like upgrade system. As players upgrade a settlement of ragtag human survivors, they can craft new and better gear, which is sculpted just like the figures and designed to be interchangeable among the various miniatures.
Get some leather armor, and you can stick it on your character. Slay a boss and gain the resources to make lion armor? Swap it out.
Like other miniature-heavy Kickstarter boardgames, Kingdom Death's tiers net its backers a whole slew of figures, and optional expansion levels let them pick and choose which extras they want. They're not cheap--some of the miniatures cost $15 or $40 a pop--but that should be familiar pricing for anyone who's played a tabletop game before.
Fans have put together a great graphic of which Kingdom Death figures come in each tier and optional expansion. For $100, the base set is remarkably packed with figures, and we suspect it will continue to grow as the project hits higher stretch goals. We'll just be staring at those figures for a while, imagining we could print such amazing pieces on the MakerBot.