I’m currently backing three projects on Kickstarter: Shadows of Esteren: Tuath, COUNTERBLAST, and World of Twilight: Travels through Anyaral. None of these are mainstream brands, but based on the quality of their products and design alone they should be more well known than they are.
Shadows of Esteren is the most successful of this group. With three very successful Kickstarters under their belt, the Esteren team has built up a reputable brand and can rely on a strong customer base to propel their projects along at this point. I don’t foresee myself ever having time to actually play this RPG, but as an example of artistic design and deeply imaginative world-building, it has few contenders. In many ways it reminds me of the efforts Rackham put into similar products when they were still leaders of the avant-garde in this industry.
COUNTERBLAST. My preferences in miniatures have always been eclectic. I don’t obsess about a particular scale, probably because I rarely game, and I’ve never been particular about a single genre over the others. In recent years, however, I’ve noticed a growing trend toward historicals, pulp, and more old-school flavors. I’ve also started moving away from highly detailed miniatures in favor of models that are simpler in design. Currently, for example, I’m working on some Copplestone Back of Beyond and High Adventure models, a Crusader Miniatures Carthaginian army, Warlord Soviets, Flames of War Soviets, Gripping Beast/Ebob Normans, and Baueda Vikings for DBA. COUNTERBLAST appealed to me in part due to its apparent influence from Star Frontiers, which scratches a nostalgic itch, but also the simple yet characterful designs of the models, something that also distinguishes some of the models noted above.
World of Twilight. I first encountered Mike Thorp’s work when he won a sculpting contest on Frothers for his unique Traveling Court of the Brownie King model. I’ve been following his related Twilight project ever since. I was lucky to get one of the old Twilight starter kits when they were still available from Hasslefree, and have collected the odd model from his range from time to time. The Twilight Kickstarter has rekindled my interest in a big way, and I count myself lucky that I got in at the early bird level.