Wednesday, 27 December 2017
I guess a good place to start is to re-affirm what we set out to achieve. In the first instance, having recognised that the 'market' responded kindly to our products, we realised that we wanted to 'exist' in a greater vein than we did at the time. Secondly to that, we wanted to create a world that was fresh, different and full of possibilities. Coupled with a game that brought successful mechanisms together to give people a familiar yet fresh game to play, that was neither costly if you didn't want it to be but flexible enough so that each game, or experience was different. Finally we wanted to something that had longevity, where we could add new characters, scenarios and approaches to it, so to maintain a 'pulse'. It wasn't supposed to be a box it, play a handful and shelve. It is designed to create a community, where people can talk about their 'load-out', their optimised 'deck' and their reasons behind why they 'run' with whoever they run with.
We also made a very bold statement to ourselves at the start, which said that the kickstarter would be non-profit. It was designed to break-even because we desperately wanted to give value for money.
That's what we wanted to do. So we went to Kickstarter....
The Kickstarter itself was difficult. I can only liken it to watching your favourite sporting team. One minute you are beating your nearest rival 5-0, the next week you lose 3-1 to a 3rd tier team in the cup. Maybe foolishly we set our stool out too early, we figured letting folk know was the right thing, after all we wanted you to part with your hard earned pennies, but more importantly I guess we wanted to be punctual and deliver as we promised and not be fly by night and disappear if things looked less favourable.
We launched at a time when massive games like Star Saga and Deep Madness went live and we noticed the pull of those fantastic products. When one of these launched, we lost a huge amount of followers and well, we never really recovered to that level. We know why of course, and it's not just about value, it's also about trust. We had never done anything like this before, we had no pedigree if you like, so we were risky to some folk.
We thought we were unlucky. Truth be told, we've been told many times since that actually we were very lucky. There were many projects that failed in the wake of these large projects, some more experienced and with a greater history than we did, but yet we succeeded and as we have been told to have funded in amongst that is quite the achievement.
With the kickstarter being a success and funding, we immediately set to work, talking to our backers and letting people know what was going on, what pleases me in particular greatly post completion is the compliments we have had on the communication, we had to make some decisions along the way and well our backers were amazingly understanding
Problems in paradise.
We experienced a few issues along the way that forced us to make changes, or ask backers for some patience or assistance.
In the first instance we didn't get all of the funds in from the kickstarter itself. This wasn't a mistake, just quite a few bounced payments. This is something we didn't consider and perhaps should have done, but if you need a figure to complete something and get less, often it makes it hard.
We offset this by retailing 30 of each item that was made, this allowed us to recover some funds to make sure that the project remained on track at the key points.
Brexit was tough on us, all of a sudden the cost of masters and casts became that bit more expensive. When you talk about a few models its ok, but when you are talking thousands of casts, it's a bit different and the little increases really do make it more painful. This was something unforeseen.
Moloch was very tough on us. We estimated the casting cost and even with experienced hands on board, giving us support and guidance, we all got it wrong and this proved costly.
The box was also an issue. The company that we had lined up got busy all of a sudden and couldn't make the boxes anywhere near the time frames required. This was quite frustrating and we paid a much higher premium for the boxes you got as a result.
There were other, notable problems as well but these aren't worth dwelling on. Ultimately when you think about a small project and how it will run, you look and think, "you know what, we think we have allowed for every eventuality" but actually, in truth, only now do we know where the pinch points can be and what the impact is.
We won't say just how much, but we invested more into Purgatory than we would have liked. We made a promise to deliver this to our backers and come hell or high water we were going to do it, and we did. We had heard of people waiting for months and years with still no sign or any communication on their investment and that wasn't going to be us.
Whats the worst that can happen....
The problems, extra expenses and everything else ultimately led to one thing and one thing only.
I was pretty down about being late. In fact, as this is an honest, laid bare account, I f'ing furious. Which I suspect any backer reading this will be pleased to hear. Honestly, I was so cross. It was down to one organisation just giving us the shaft, which meant that every penny we chucked in to overcome early obstacles was for nought, because control was out of our hands.
Now, it was only recently when a group of kind people pointed out something quite remarkable which was to say that yes we were late. But only by 4 months. Other large companies experience bigger more wholesale delays apparently, which according to our backers is more frustrating. That we have delivered, albeit 4 months late, is apparently not 'that bad' a reflection on our project, especially given our size and our first go at it.
Then we looked at it properly and the numbers looked a whole lot better.
56% of our Kickstarter was delivered early. Which is not something many folk can say.
13% was delivered on time and 31% was late.
It's easy to focus on the negative and forget the good work done before that. But that's a personal thing and it comes from being a perfectionist.
Does Purgatory Exist?
Did we achieve success in our three goals? I think we have. How can I tell? Feedback I guess.
The story that underpins the world itself has been highly praised. To yet, we have not seen or heard any person, organisation or other, criticise the content of the book. We have been told it is immersive and received feedback to say that people can't wait for the next part of the story and want to know what is coming next.
The game works. I have it on good authority that Purgatory was one of the most popular demo tables at Dragonmeet in December 2017, the table was full all day long people thoroughly enjoyed the game, in fact people were even waiting to grab a seat on the next game. For those of you that attended and have been reading what we have been saying, you may have been smart enough to put two and two together to realise that the rest vs. Moloch approach was in fact enlisting guinea pigs to play test on our behalf... we have hinted at a solo or co-op mode after all...
We've also received compliments on people playing the game at other events but more importantly at home, which is really great if you are a game designer. Yes there are a few mistakes (2 at current count) in the rulebook which is acceptable for a first time, but not anything as much as a broken mechanic or unworkable aspect, which is really great.
People have really responded to the mix and match approach of building factions and decks which is great as well and there appears to be a community building slowly on the Fans of Purgatory facebook page, which is great if I am honest. Some lovely models have been painted and showcased by the people buying them and people have excitedly put up their pictures of receiving their pledges which is really great.
One of the comments that really sits nicely with us is that we offered great value. Asking a bunch of strangers for some stuff that isn't quite made yet, is quite tough to do. So you question the value in things, especially when some of the board games cram in so much. But we have to respect our size, liquidity and capability and to hear that people have been pleased or even overwhelmed in some cases with the quality and character of the models has been great, that alongside the content in terms of rules, story and particularly the art helps us to feel that value was offered, something we were worried about from the start.
We think that Purgatory exists as a result of this, which is why we will be going again.
28th February 2018
The Kickstarter was a challenge, but like anything that was hard work, you look back and you feel a true sense of achievement. Not only that, but on a daily, weekly basis I speak to a great many backers who I seek out to meet or vice a versa or contact on social media for all sorts, not all Purgatory related.
Because of the enthusiasm that we have had, we will be going back to Kickstarter in 2018. In fact it's quite early, simply because whatever momentum we do have, we want to make sure it carries, as part of our commitment to not be consigned to the shelf so to speak. We genuinely want Purgatory to become something common place and whilst mainstream might be too much of an ask, we want to it at least be recognised and known. This is part of the reason we invested in Cyan, to release another model into the game which can act as progress towards our goals. Along with the Christmas cards and the other Gods cards we have released.
We made a decision to release the Refugees of Religion and we have listened to our backers as well as other community people, which as formed a change in decision as this faction will have a common theme, they will have a uniformity to them, which is unlike the first two factions and the fourth faction, which will be Gangbangers.
The Kickstarter itself will be very basic on this occasion. It will be two options. Rulebook and Faction or Faction alone. The prices are set. Faction of 7, with inserts and all the cards will be £55. the Rules and faction option will be £65. Simple really.
All of the current models will be available for a less than retail price in the pledge manager as well.
The 'value' is in the stretch goals. But so is the respect for our previous backers. The purpose of the stretch goals is to grant each backer a free model, with each unlock, the 'price per figure' goes down. If you stretch all the way to 14 models, each model will cost you £3.92. Which with the quality of the models is really quite good, I am sure you agree.
We chose the RoR first up, because we respected that most of our previous backers already had St. Peter, Godmother and to a lesser extent, Cyan. So, we decided that as even fewer had Faith, that we would make these model free, alongside that of the other Gangbangers, meaning that for your £55, you aren't paying for something you might already have.
It will be a 2 week thing though, so you might want to get in quick...
We are nice like that....
What else is coming in 2018
In terms of events, we are back at Salute 2018, where we are hoping for a good show. If the Kickstarter goes well and funds, we plan to open the late backers / pledge manager at Salute with some unique offers at the show and online.
We are also hoping of doing our first trip to Essen in Germany, something we are looking into now and hopefully this can be something great for us as of our following, a large portion of it is from the German market.
We will be back at Dragonmeet, SELWG and maybe some new shows as well as we try to get out on the road to play some demo games near you.
Tomes are in progress at the moment. A Tome is a book that details a factions background and will give you the rules for the characters in any faction. It will also have unreleased characters that models don't exist for yet, that will be coming at some point in the future. These will give you much more for you to get your teeth into whilst having a place for all of your characters in one easy to get to book.
These Tomes will be made available in the pledge manager and it is likely that one, maybe even two will be ready by then. We shall see.
The reason why, I guess, we included 2018, the next kickstarter and tomes to this BLOG is because, despite the challenges, the road blocks and the issues experienced along the way, Purgatory does in fact exist. Not only that, it's 'pulse' for want of a better word, is becoming easier to detect with each fresh fulfilment or paint job.
We are now seasoned veterans. We completed our first Kickstarter, with at times, honest and sincere apologies as to our progress, but despite all of that we have one under our belt and whereas 12 months ago if you'd have asked: "would you do it again?" I'd most likely of chased you off, now the skin is thicker, the mind sharpened again and more importantly the energy and willingness to bring the next chapter to you is at the very front our minds.
We owe thanks however to many of our backers that are now very much part of the Purgatory family, some of which in particular just helped in ways that they either do already, or will never know.
We are ready.....
...... are you?
Monday, 5 June 2017
Sunday, 26 February 2017
Firstly it is very important to consider what you are trying to achieve in advance. Purgatory is our world and as a decent painter, but by no means the best, I have to try and push my boundaries each time to bring that wow factor as we want people to be inspired by the characters and the paint job plays a big part in that.
So to 'set the scene'. Mike is a singer of the band. It is no small coincidence that his weapon, also happens to be a Mic (see what we did there?) but he is sometimes the front man, but Barry is the true star so where does that leave Mike? Mike is that edgy guy, the one that looks scruffy but kinda trendy, really following the fashion style of the moment. That moment is the 80's.... now I was quite young at the time and avoided the fashion faux-pas' of the time but I recall enough of denim jeans with holes, leather jackets and boots with buckles and zips.... So when we designed this guy, that Lux knocked out the park as a sculpt on Lorinda's art we considered what he WAS...
So when the model ended up in hand, I knew what and who he was, so it was quite easy to visualise how I wanted him to turn out. Soul Glow glistening afro, mixed race, white shirt, worn leather (that should be fun) jacket with zips and stuff, shiny black shoes to almost carry of that awesome monochrome look and of course, the faded denim. Initially I though about faded black, but with the jacket, shirt, hair and shoes, this was too much and the blue denim would catch the eye.
It sounds a bit laborious but I have learnt that it's best to know where you are headed before you depart, it's very much a method.
The next important part, before I even pick up the 'blade' is source material. I mean, I don't wear leather coats and whilst my jeans are faded, they are certainly not 80's. Have an ipad (or other non brand specific tablet) to hand and search what you are trying to achieve, as a friend of mine would say 'Google provides'. Look at images, study them and see how they 'behave'... ok the points of light and shadow on your model will be very different but it gives you something to think about and may stop you from going the wrong way.
Ok... so now on to the denim itself.
The paints I used are:
GW The Fang
GW Fenrisian Grey
Vallejo Dark Blue
Now the process: (note, you will find MUCH better tutorials with the likes of Ben Komets and Massive Voodoo (actually pretty much everywhere else) )
Step one. I typically use grey primer as a base. I don't have an airbrush, though I keep toying with the idea, I have still not dropped my balls into that basket so to speak, so this is all brush work. I know others swear by black primer and some others do the zenith lighting thing with white and black. For me and it is down to preference, I start with a grey primer. Why? It allows me to see shadow and highlight easier, though this won't be the same for everyone. Equally it allows me to go up in brightness and down in shade to create a depth in the areas without too much work.
Step two. Using a 60/40 Black/Dawnstone I use this semi watered down colour to start adding the depth. I don't always start dark first but it gives me something to glaze over later and gives me some indicators as to where I want the shadows to be. The image below, kind of shows that, you can see some lighter areas on the nearest leg by the knee, backside and top of the back trailing ankle.
You will also see in the image on the left leg (as you look at the image) that a blue shade has been added. this part of the jeans is very much in transition and is not the finished thing. You can see that in the difference between the detail of this and a later image.
The black/dawnstone mix is used around the inside of the legs, around the bottom of the crotch and around areas that 'point' downward and would therefore be shaded from light. This step does some of the zenith light work for you. I use watered down colours and repeat the process, pushing or pulling the paint into the recessed areas, this method grans the pigment and places the concentrated pigment in the darker areas, leaving a lighter 'residue' that can be glazed over for a smooth transition.
This image shows you where I have placed the lightest areas of the jeans. I am effectively with this step choosing where the faded areas of the jeans are going to be. If you look at your own faded, 80's hand me down jeans (or research online of course) you will notice that the areas that are most faded are:
- Bum, backside, buttocks, derierre etc
- Knees in particular and gradually growing darker as you go up the thigh
- Zipper or button fly, specifically the edges where they rub
- Pocket edges or parts of the jeans that rub against something, say keys in a pocket
- Bottom of the legs and the seams
- Water down your paints
- Choose when to glaze
- Know what you want to paint
- Use reference material
- Push the boundaries but have fun and don't stress out
Friday, 13 January 2017
How are you all? Good we hope, recharged, refreshed and ready for the challenges of 2017! We certainly are and today we start the year on two very challenging topics that we have faced whilst making Purgatory. But before we get on to those, lets refresh you as to what has happened recently:
- Katz, Faith, Bobo, Le Vulture, Godmother, Shaquanda and Death's base have been completed
- Small Daniels, Stevie, Marilyn and Ebony are in progress
- The GOTG cards are almost complete, with 80% done
- The rules have been attacked again, they are now reduced by a massive 30 pages since the start, simplifying the rules and reducing alot of the unnecessary text
- Erishkigal, Siren and Jess are the fastest selling models in the Purgatory range, in that order.
- Erishkigal has sold over 130 models
- The women from Purgatory are predominately purchased by women, 58% in fact are by female buyers
- Godmother and Faith were the most sought after models in the design phase
- Erishkigal, Jess, Siren and Hannibal were the only models that featured in the survey for "there can be only one"
Monday, 14 November 2016
Hello and welcome back to the Purgatory BLOG it's been over a month now after kind of went radio silent after the Kickstarter campaign went live. What a good decision that was!
So to maintain the theme and style of a typical Purgatory post let's start with the easy bit... here's the latest from Purgatory...
* In case you have been asleep or have absconded from the interwebs, Purgatory reached funding very early in the campaign and managed to end funded.
* Artists are lined up to bring the world to life.
* Sculptors have been assigned to make the models come to life and on to a battle mat near you, starting already with WIP pictures of Le Vulture.
* The background that accompanies the Rule Book is in the final stages of development.
* Our place at Salute 2017 is confirmed and we can't wait to see you again!
Phew... a small amount of news bit BIG stories to tell...
So how do we feel?
Kickstarting something with as much potential as Purgatory was always going to be intensive. There is so much to offer with out world that often we really don't know where to start.
The obvious and immediate answer is that we are elated to have funded. It means that we are already embarking on the next stage of the process to make our world that little bit more substantial. With rules, cards and the associated gaming equipment alongside a range of 25 models we are now in a place of real substance, if we weren't already.
The support we received during the campaign from Podcasts and from specific individuals was nothing short of humbling. That so many people wanted to see this project take a massive leap could warm the coldest of hearts and if you are reading this we are truly grateful for your support! Thank you!
What went right and wrong?
Some people might say "everything went right, concentrate on the positives" but the truth is very different. The positive as alluded to above is that we funded, what more positive is there?
However we do have some learning points. First and foremost perhaps a rigid and structured launch date is not right for small companies. When we announced our Kickstarter we done so to give existing fans the chance to prepare for the campaign. We genuinely received a number of requests asking if we would hurry up and launch....
... however when we announced we were one of few but by the time of launch we were up against some real titans that secured funding in considerable excess of their requirement.
We would be naive to think this didn't have an impact on us and simply put as a small start up company, perhaps our offer didn't contain as much value as others, though £115 for over £300 of resin might be considered good value.
And it wasn't like we went against one, we weathered the storm of no less than 4 substantial campaigns! We almost feel like we deserve a badge that says "we survived xyz..."
We also learned that no matter how much you try, so many people want different things and perhaps our campaign was too complicated. We received some excellent feedback along the way and we committed each piece of this to record so that we can consider it with the next campaign....
There's a next campaign?
Yes! Of course there is.... we promised you at the start that we wanted longevity for Purgatory and it doesn't stop at 2 factions, we will be bringing the Gangbangers and Refugees to KS in 2017 on very short campaigns. You asked for them, how could we not offer them right?
So what's next?
Alot. In fact, one hell of alot. We now are in the process of creating the pledge manager and giving people access a late backer so that you can get involved in the project and get hold of some of the limited stuff. Real life can get in the way at times and we want to give people the opportunity overcome that and get involved.
After that we will continue to work away, getting cards completed, models sculpted and produced ready for you to receive the game at the earliest possible time.
Will we be on time? Yes. Will we be early? Maybe not, we hoped to be, however a number of people defaulted on payment making our funding total alot less so depending on our progress in the coming months will depend if we can get this to you sooner rather than later but rest assured we will communicate our progress every step of the way.
Well that is all from us this time. We will be back in the coming weeks with more updates from the War for Heaven!
All the very best
Tuesday, 27 September 2016
- The model of Jack is in progress and the basic outline is complete
- Moloch edges closer to completion and will have options for you to choose, enhancing the value of this model
- Mike and Jess are at the manufacturers, waiting patiently to be created ready for the project
- New artwork has been completed for the kickstarter which sees two characters go toe to toe
- Jack gets the royal treatment in some stunning new artwork
- A new faction has been created and will be previewed during the kickstarter to show you what comes afterwards
- Bobby, Siren and St. Peter stat cards have been released along with the card for ‘The Summoned’
Saturday, 20 August 2016
Today we go all reflective as we look back over the last 18 months and see just how far the project has come, but most importantly what we have learnt and applied along the way. But before we do that, let's review the comings and goings of the last 2 weeks in Purgatory.
- We hope that you've seen her, but if not, I am pleased to announce that Jess is complete. And in a first for Purgatory this lady comes with optional heads for her mallet.
- The inbox has been burning bright, with the Apocalypse storming into our laps looking incredible. The concept for these guys really carried forward and if we get far enough, you guys are in for a real treat.
- Literally just in, a version of one of our Devils has emerged!
- The Kickstarter page is on the verge of completion, previews will be up soon.
Traditional vs. Digital - In one of the most difficult decisions, something we have been asked frequently has been about why we went the traditional route. Having just started speaking with a digital sculptor I can safely say that it was down to personal preference. There are supremely talented individuals proficient in both disciplines, but in truth, digital 'masters' are hard to come across in an era of tabletop and board games being exceptionally popular. I am very grateful to the sculptors we have worked with and feel slightly vindicated by the initial choice, if only because I have learnt so much from these people and actually become fast friends.
Something we picked up from Salute was that whilst people liked digital renders as a demonstration of what was to come, people had been 'caught out' in cases where the render was then produced to a low quality en masse. This echoed when people suggested it was refreshing that we as a company were showing people not only what we were doing, but that we were capable of producing high quality models. This was an important moment for us.
That said, we will work with a digital sculptor as our portfolio of characters has some that will truly benefit from this exacting method.
Expectation - It has been remarked of late that in some cases crowd funding can be used as a pre ordering system for well established companies and brands. I don't think this will lead to the market 'downing tools' so to speak but it is being noticed. When we spoke to a number of people in the early days the comment was very much "what do we get for free, like X or Y company offers?"
The answer to that was a hard one. As a small company, funded entirely by a trio of individuals, it was difficult to foresee how this would be possible, it was no small hurdle. However, what we have learnt at Purgatory is that 'free stuff' comes in various guises and at various levels. If you had asked me a year ago what we could give away for free, I am not sure I could have answered. However now, I can confirm that we can and will give things away, including models if we stretch to the appropriate levels. The kickstarter is quite strong and this has been tested against other projects as well as being discussed with a number of experienced backers. We believe there is real value in what we are offering.
Playtesting - I have said it many times. As a creative group, it can be soul destroying to take a broad sword to something you have spent months developing. However you become hardened to it and actually you benefit from it, though you often can only see that upon reflection. Play testing was a considerable amount of fun, watching characters you have created, come to life and do the things you wanted them to do is incredibly satisfying.
The main aim of the game was to apply a new spin on something familiar. No a single familiar thing but a collection of them. The difference, or USP so to speak was to apply something wholly and completely fun, something tongue in cheek and skirting on the boundaries of the mildly risqué. To hear comments like "I am not playing a game without those cards (Gods)" or "The core rules are tight" and "I can picture exactly how this character is supposed to play" are but some of the comments we have had. However in flip of that, complete sections have been removed, reviewed and changed on comments received during play testing. The end result being that the rules are even better and more complete than before.
Listening - Having great ideas, doesn't mean that everyone will or should like it. Listening to peoples feedback is fundamentally important and it is one of the single most things I would recommend to everyone. However you must ensure that you hear what is being said. That rules tweak, change to a pose, adjustment to a character or ability or even the size of the board, they all count and none should be dismissed.
Challenges - We have faced many challenges along the way, but none sterner than the issue of equality and perception. We have a diverse team within Purgatory and actually we had considered this from the very beginning. However 'Pin Ups' have been an area of attention for our project as people have posed questions on certain characters. I would say luckily, but actually, thankfully for us, we considered that whilst the market for pin up characters was prominent, we would not set our stall up around it entirely. By being able to demonstrate this, it has allowed us to mitigate attention with awareness of our range. However, the rise in open criticism on this topic is something the industry has experienced before but perhaps not on this scale.
Why are we telling you all of this?
We are on the cusp of something exciting, in less than 10 weeks we will know if Purgatory will be taking the next step, where you can enjoy games at your local gaming club and at home with friends and with family. A whole fresh wave of new models will be available to paint and play with to hone your skills with the blade.
Equally important however is to openly communicate with our followers. So that you have a true understanding of how we have progressed and the key areas that defined the approach of Purgatory, where learning is shared and improvements embraced at every turn.
Because of this, we are able to offer more models, more content, more opportunities for free items, improved sculpting, options on models, tighter rules and deeper backgrounds for you to fully immerse yourself in what we believe is a truly unique world, unlike anything else created by anyone else and we hope you agree.
Look out for the newsletter coming next week, which if you haven't already you can sign up to on our website. This last edition before Kickstarter launch will be a bumper issue and will include a list of the pledge levels and the some clues as to the stretch goals so that you can plan out exactly what you will be wanting to ensure you get hold of it.
Until then, we look forward to bringing fresh art and background information to you in the weeks leading up to launch!
All the very best.