“Mecha vs Kaiju” (MvK ) is a role playing game made up of a dashing combination of Japanese anime robots fighting Japanese movie monsters (think Gundam and Evangelion fighting Godzilla and Gamera).
The concept won Johnathan Wright the Green Ronin setting contest back in 2006, as part of their “True20″ system. Now he has updated MvK for the FateCore system and with the successful Kickstarter expects to roll out the tabletop this summer.
Time for a word with Johnathan Wright on his childhood love, an influential wife, and Kickstarter successes.
What uniqueness you are bringing to the table(top)? I have loved this genre since I was a child, and that passion and knowledge shows in my writing. I have created a game setting the incorporates Japanese mythology, history, and every giant monster movie ever made into a setting that not only makes sense, but offers a rich background for players and game masters to craft their games. As for rules, MvK adds a detailed mecha and kaiju creation system that is modular, allowing players and GMs to decide for themselves how complex or simple they want to make their game.
But it’s not all just giant combat set pieces. The player characters will become embroiled in a conspiracy involving deadly ninjas, monstrous ogres, and demonic oni for the future of Japan. That is why I have also added anime archetypes to character creation. In short MvK allows groups to model any kind of anime-inspired action.
Is it your first game developed through Kickstarter? This is my first Kickstarter, but not my first game book. I worked with my friends at Big Finger Games to create a number of sourcebooks for Mutants and Masterminds. But I always imagined MvK as something more. Then in 2006 Green Ronin announced a setting contest for their new “True20″ system. I submitted a proposal and True20’s creator, Chris Pramas, said that when he first read it he knew that it was one of the lead contenders.
MvK was chosen as one of the settings, and I got a license to print the Mecha vs Kaiju sourcebook. Unfortunately True20 never took off the way we all hoped it would, but FateCore is incredibly popular so we have high hopes.
Have a look at the MvK campaign video below.
Why did you decide to start a campaign on a crowd funding platform? Why Kickstarter? Kickstarter has been very good to the tabletop gaming community. The original FateCore was one of the most successful Kickstarters of all time, so when I needed funding to print the book KS was a natural.
What kind of rewards did you come up with? What would be your advice to others regarding the rewards? The game Kickstarters of the past were a great inspiration, so I know the general price points for PDF and print. I had already collaborated with an east coast DJ named Stratos to produce the “Mecha vs Kaiju Soundtrack” when the original game was published, so it was natural to make a download part of the deal.
And FateCore uses special dice, so I decided to work with my good friend Chris Wiler to manufacture our own exclusive MvK dice. For the higher tiers I wanted to provide some personal touches, but figured who would care for MY signature ;) so at $50 I will personalize a copy of the book with a one of a kind stunt tree of cool kung fu moves the player can use. And since anime art is so critical to the entire genre at $75 they get a personal sketch from one of our artists.
I have always had a close relationship with game stores – my friends own the Launchpad in Lodi CA – so I wanted to provide a retail tier of 6 books for $100. And there are people who love to see themselves in print, so I provided the $500 tier, whereby you can have your name and likeness as one of the 7 iconic characters in the book. And wouldn’t you know we got a taker for one of those slots almost immediately!
What would be your advice regarding creating a project on Kickstarter in general? Kickstarter is an exclusively online service, but don’t ignore the real world. I got less than 1/3 of my backers through people searching Kickstarter itself, so most of my business came through pounding the pavement. 23% came through direct links, and that means Twitter. You MUST HAVE A TWITTER PRESENCE! Not just an account, but an active presence. Subscribe to people who share your interests. Talk with them. Comment and retweet the things that are interesting to you and that support your business. Steer clear of controversy – remember, this is a business. 18% came through links on Facebook, so you must also have a strong and established presence there before you begin.
But 15% of my links came through Google. There’s only one reason people were searching for MvK, and that’s because they heard about it from somewhere but did not have the direct link. That’s the real world, people who heard about the game or played it during a demo, then went home to search for it. So you cannot ignore the face to face interaction as well.
Bottom line: if I hadn’t taken the time to set up an online presence AND gotten out there and hustled to get people’s attention, Mecha vs Kaiju would have failed. Making your dream come true is not for the weak ;)
What did you do to promote your Kickstarter campaign? Recap: Started online presence in December, three months before the campaign started. During I was out meeting gamers demoing the game. Also contacted blogs, podcasts, and gaming retailers.
Please share some details about the people involved. MvK is a labor of love. It’s just me writing, though I get my good friends to edit – extra sets of eyes are critical. Art comes from a number of folks, including Marvel Comics artist Butch Mapa, who was the principle artist on the first book. And I hired game creator Clay Gardner, who had a successful Kickstarter himself with the anime inspired OVA game, to do layout.
Please tell us something which isn’t written in your project page which worth mentioning. My wife Christine is also a gamer nerd and has supported me every step of the way. I would be lost without her.
At the time of writing the Mecha vs Kaiju Kickstarter campaign is 104% backed with 97 backers pledging $3,656 and a $3,500 goal.