The Quest Continues: A Look Back (and Ahead) at Zine Quest

In February 2019, we invited creators to launch their own RPG zines. Here, we shout out some of our favorite projects, and share how you can still participate in our homage to gamers of yore.

Kickstarter
May 28, 2019 · 5 min read
Covers for Jonathan Tweet’s ‘BYOD’ zine

Here on the Kickstarter Games team, we like to inspire creators to make something that they might not otherwise have thought to make. So, every now and then, we give them a challenge. In the era of multi-million dollar game campaigns, we thought it would be fun to ask our community to think a little smaller. Enter the humble RPG zine.

First, some history: Back before nerds could share RPG ideas with each other online, they published paper zines and mailed them to one another. (Some still do, to this very day.) These zines contained comics, articles, or anything else that might inspire or expand what readers thought they knew about RPGs. Some zines even contained entire campaigns, while others gave GMs ways to spice up their D&D nights. These bite-sized nuggets of creativity required authors to edit themselves mercilessly to fit their ideas into a 40-or-so page publication.

Inspired by gamers of yore, Kickstarter invited creators to launch their own RPG-inspired zine projects in February 2019 as part of an initiative we called Zine Quest. Head of Games Luke Crane, who has made plenty of zines in his day, felt it was a way to challenge creators while still keeping the barrier to entry low. It was a big — yet manageably small — idea.

Here, we’ll take a look back at some highlights from the Quest.

Trin Garritano, Kickstarter Games

First, some numbers

  • Creators launched 103 new projects.
    The Games team had our fingers crossed for 50 launched zine projects, but creators blew right past that! You can see all of the projects here.
  • Those projects had a 93% success rate.
    This is way above the average success rate for Kickstarter campaigns across categories.
  • 65% of the creators who took part were new creators.
    This is perhaps the number dearest to our hearts. Seeing so many fresh faces find success alongside seasoned creators meant that we’d reached beyond our immediate community.
  • Backers pledged $429,000 to Zine Quest projects.

And now for the zines

All of the Zine Quest projects were a joy to behold. Here are just a few of the zines that really stood out to us.

Obachan Panic!

By flyaturtle~

A squad of elderly aunties save the world and serve looks.

Blood Chrome Neon

By Sam Sorensen

A simple, hackable, cyberpunk RPG system.

Casket Land

By Marie Enger

Survive this occult western set in a rapidly dying town.

Football Fantasy

By Samuel Ashton Roberts

A zine of rules for American football in fantasy role-playing games.

CATS & CATS

By Dana Cameron

& CATS & CATS AND CAAT.S

The Quest continues

We at the Kickstarter Games would like to leave you Zine Questers with some advice—and an invitation.

If you created a zine for Zine Quest, we suggest that you…

  • Use your money for art and editing. It can be tempting to pack in as many pages as you can, but this is a zine, not a novel. Pump up your art and consider paying someone to edit your words for you.
  • Slow down and read it over one more time. There are some things that spellcheck just won’t pick up. No matter how immersive your content is, a grammatical error can snap a reader back to reality.
  • Play test your zine more time. Hand your zine off to someone new. Watch people interacting with your zine and find out where they might be confused.
  • Submit your zine to your printer by the beginning of July so we can swap zines at Gen Con. And while we’re on the topic…

Meet up with us (and other Zine Questers) at Gen Con

Gen Con, the largest tabletop-game convention in North America, will happen in Indianapolis from Thursday, August 1, to Sunday, August 4. The whole Kickstarter Games team will be there, and maybe you will too.

If so, bring your zines and trade them for other, different zines. Meet Zine Questers from all over the place, have some conversations, and see what percolates.

The day, time, and place are to be determined, but we will have details forthcoming in our Games Newsletter and all over our Twitters. While we’re not sure where we’ll host this event, we are sure that it will include chairs and air conditioning. Come for the zines, stay for a break from the bustling show floor.

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