Miniature Invasion: The Kickstarter Success of Mantic Games

Marcel Helion | 12 Mar 2015 12:00
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Mantic Games is a successful miniatures manufacturer based in the UK. They publish the Kings of War, DreadBall, Warpath, Dungeon Saga, and Deadzone line of miniatures games. They have successfully completed eight Kickstarter campaigns and raised a total of almost $5 million ($4,962,989 to be exact) without a single failure. As they have been unusually successful in this regard and they have a new Kickstarter campaign coming later in March, we decided that Mantic would be the optimal choice for this Kickstarting column. We taked to Chris Palmer, Mantic's Kickstarter and marketing coordinator.

The Escapist: What is the latest Mantic project?

Chris Palmer: The new Kickstarter is Deadzone Infestation. In 2012 we set about creating a project called Deadzone. It was conceived as our second attempt at entering the sci-fi miniatures tabletop market. We'd tried previously back in 2011 with our Warpath game, but we ultimately didn't spend enough money on it. We were in a lull where we couldn't afford to do much hard plastic, so for a bit we made kits in PVC until we hit upon Kickstarter. That lit up our Kings of War game with a load of capital and lots of new miniatures kits for the game. That in turn gave us confidence in the system and so we set about creating DreadBall - a tabletop sports game set in the Warpath universe.

So, when we decided it was time to have another crack at a sci-fi miniatures game, our CEO decided that we would do so on a smaller level, for a number of reasons. For one, cost. Second, we could focus on a specific part of the Warpath universe. One of the most common complaints about our games is the lack of background, so rather than trying to create an entire universe in one go, a smaller game like Deadzone would allow us to focus in one story - in this case, a planet on the outer rim of the galaxy experiencing an alien virus breakout.

Third, we wanted to have hard plastic for Warpath. You need lots of core infantry and vehicles in a mass battle game, and the best way to do that is through hard plastic. Resin Plastic doesn't do infantry well, and would have been unsuitable for vehicles. We needed a lower cost tool-maker to do it justice, one who could do both hard line objects and more organic shapes like faces and hands.

And that's where the scenery came in. Deadzone is a claustrophobic game set in dense scenery, so we came up with a modular system of tiles to construct buildings. Buildings by there nature can be less detailed than infantry figures, and so sci-fi buildings became the test for hard line vehicles, flyers and armoured infantry units.

The Escapist: What is the initial goal and what will that provide supporters?


Palmer: The initial funding goal is $100,000. What we've recognized since the last campaign is our rulebook is a bit difficult to read and find things in. It's inaccessible and that makes it very difficult for new players to get involved. With the funding we'll be revisiting the rulebook, making it easier to read and offer up a gentler learning curve to get into the game. We'll also take the opportunity to rewrite the campaign section and tweak a few of the things that need clarifying. And since we don't want to leave out our previous backers, we'll be providing this new rulebook free as a digital download.

The bulk of the funding will go towards tooling new kits. We're aiming to add an entirely new faction to Deadzone - the Veer-myn. They will get a hard plastic infantry kit, forming the foundation of their Warpath army. We're also creating new soldiers for the Enforcers and we'll be adding to our scenery range. Those that support the project through the main pledge level with get the new rulebook, the new miniatures, the scenery, a newly artworked mat, all of the game aids, and we're also creating a resin figure exclusive to the Kickstarter in order to say thanks to our backers.

We've tried to go for a pledge level value that is affordable and can have lots of stretch goals added to it.

The Escapist: Mantic's past Kickstarters have all considerably exceeded the campaign's initial goal. The initial goal is $100,000, but what level of funding are you actually hoping to hit?

Palmer: I just hope to hit the funding goal! Somewhere between $350,000-$500,000 would be nice because that will give us the base to cover everything we want to develop for this project. But we are planning what we call "mad shit" just in case we go past that value.

The Escapist: How does Mantic decide how far apart the stretch goals should be?

Palmer: There isn't a scientific process to it. In fact, it's very interesting to look at how other people do it. Look at Zombicide 2 as a great example of stretch goal pricing. The last goals on that campaign are over $100,000 for a single plastic model that sits on a tool with the previous seven miniatures they've funded, each at varying degrees of value. And that's very clever, because they're not overstretching themselves.

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