‘Marvel United’ – Late Pledges Now Available!

Gaming Kickstarter Tabletop Games
End of the campaign message from CMON and Spin Master. Image by CMON.

That’s all for the Marvel United campaign I’ve been covering for GeekDad, folks. It wrapped up on March 5th with 21,290 backers and the tidy sum of $2,866,168. For those that backed the campaign, the next step will be to fill out the pledge manager when it opens. And if you wish that you’d backed the game during the campaign, don’t fret. Late pledges are available! Just go to the Marvel United Kickstarter page and click on the “late pledge here” button up at the top of the page.

If you’re still on the fence (or just like looking at all the pretty miniatures), here’s a final look at what CMON added to the game on the last day of the campaign.

The Final 24 Hours

The last day of the campaign was somewhat of a blur, as new stretch goals kept getting thrown up and knocked down. First up, Dormammu unlocked, followed quickly by Spider-Woman and The Rhino.

Spider-Woman. Image by CMON.


Rhino. Image by CMON.

Next up was Quicksilver, who unlocked as quickly as his name implies.

Quicksilver. Image by CMON.

And then CMON added a unique set of stretch goals for the final funding goal tied to the three different pledge levels. Nebula would be available for all pledges, Yondu for just the Infinity Pledge and the Ultimate Pledge, and Adam Warlock would only be included for backers of the Ultimate Pledge.

Nebula. Image by CMON.
Yondu. Image by CMON.
Adam Warlock. Image by CMON.

And finally, as an added incentive, CMON introduced one last stretch goal for all pledge levels: a storage box for all the stretch goals that became available during the campaign!

Promos box. Image by CMON.

With that final stretch goal in place, backers pushed over the goal, unlocking those final heroes and the promo box.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this series where I’ve kept you up to date on the progress of the Marvel United Kickstarter. Now that the Kickstarter campaign has ended, the game will go into final development and production and is estimated to ship in March 2021. It’s often a long wait for your pledge reward when backing a Kickstarter game, but so satisfying when that big box of goodies arrives at your door. Look for a review as soon as I have a copy in hand.

I’ll leave you with some pictures of painted versions of some of the later stretch goal miniatures.

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What Are Kickstarter Quick Picks?

Kickstarter Quick Picks are short looks at projects currently on Kickstarter that are of interest to me, and by extension, many of our GeekDad readers. A Quick Pick is not an endorsement of the Kickstarter campaign, nor have I (as yet) received any product copies to review. If you like what you see here, go check out the campaign and decide for yourself if you’d like to back it, or wait until GeekDad has had a chance to go hands-on. As always, caveat emptor—let the buyer beware.

New to Kickstarter? Check out our crowdfunding primer.

What Is Marvel United?

Marvel United is a game from CMON and Spin Master Games that just completed a Kickstarter campaign. You can read more about it here.

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1 thought on “‘Marvel United’ – Late Pledges Now Available!

  1. I’m always amused by that disclaimer where it says “Kickstarter Quick Picks are short looks at projects currently on Kickstarter that are of interest to me, and by extension, many of our GeekDad readers. A Quick Pick is not an endorsement of the Kickstarter campaign, nor have I (as yet) received any product copies to review.”

    Are you sure? Seriously, these articles read like a promo for the product and the fact that the late pledge page for this kickstarter campaign lists its email address as support@geekfunder.com is one hell of a coincidence. Sure, maybe the word ‘geek’ is just popular right now, but if you’d been serious about writing this kind of thing then it would have been more objective. Well, at least not so one-sided subjective like you’re getting a company stooge.

    Let’s start with the undermining of the word success in comparison to some real success stories from CMON. My favourites were the Zombicide ones. What’s Zombicide? Not as well known as Marvel. And that’s a big hint there. The key stats are a good way to do this to determine whether Marvel, a multibillion dollar franchise and brand that sells itself, actually did well here (WARNING: what follows is factual information collected from CMON’s campaign pages. Please do not continue if you are easily offended by evidence based material and statistical analysis extrapolated from this that you might otherwise refer to as ‘fake news’.)

    Black Plague (2015) entry level pledge was US$100. Pledge Goal of US$125K met in just 16 mins. Pledge total of US$4,079,204 with 20,915 backers. Core mini count of 71 plus 5 KS extras and 75 more as SG. For an additional US$355 you got 16 optional buys with a further 94 minis with an option to buy 9 more random things for US$116. Average cost of minis was US$1.41 at Core, US$0.66 with SG, and US$2.33 with all the op buys that had minis.

    Green Horde (2017) entry level pledge was US$120. Pledge Goal of US$300K met in just 7 mins. Pledge total of US$5,004,614 with 27,236 backers. Core mini count of 72 and 66 more as SG. For an additional US$237 you got 8 optional buys with a further 108 minis with an option to buy 6 more random things for US$108. Average cost of minis was US$1.66 at Core, US$0.87 with SG, and US$1.45 with all the op buys that had minis.

    Invader (2018), a truly terrible campaign that crashed and burned like the Stock Market during a global pandemic, had entry level pledge was US$100. Pledge Goal of US$250K met in just 15 mins. Pledge total of US$3,352,208 with 18,486 backers. Core mini count of 72 and 104 more as SG. For an additional US$215 you got 6 optional buys with a further 150 minis with an option to buy 7 more random things for US$105. Average cost of minis was US$1.39 at Core, US$0.57 with SG, and US$0.97 with all the op buys that had minis. If you could afford it, good value for money.

    This was followed by CMON announcing a US$4.1 million loss and 30% drop in share price in 2018, a combination of multiple bad decisions, several really bad campaigns, and (have no doubt) an indifference to the troll culture taking up residence in their shop-front and terrorising any backer who dared to make what said-mob-of-trolls considered to be criticism of their toys. This undermined genuine feedback and led to backers and potential backers deciding to cancel their investment and avoid KS projects run by CMON. What did CMON learn? Not a lot.

    MU (2020). Entry level pledge was just US$60. Pledge Goal of US$150K met in “about half an hour”. Pledge total of US$2,866,168 with 21,290 backers. Core mini count of 8 plus 3 KS extras and 41 more as SG. For an additional US$130 you got 6 optional buys with a further 26 minis plus 5 KS extras with an option to buy 2 more random things for US$45. Average cost of minis was US$7.50 at Core, US$1.16 with SG, and US$2.29 with all the op buys that had minis. Not really value for money there, but end op buy totals equivalent to Black Plague.

    But it’s the campaign itself that reveals what was really happening. The Zombicide campaigns all broke US$1 million on day one. MU? 8 very long days. The US$2 million mark? Go see for yourself. Train wreck. Sure, MU had a lower entry level pledge and op buys tended to be cheaper, but its backer totals should have been way higher, more than enough to compensate. Where were the backers? The didn’t like what they saw. A lot of boxes with very, very little content. Like an evidence brief from the White House for an attack on an enemy of the US. Not convincing.

    And the trolls! Dear Lord! There they were, inflicting their idiocy on anybody that dared post anything criticising MU or the campaign. Dodgy sculpts that didn’t reflect character? Shut your mouth and get lost. You’re not welcome here where we need investors to increase funding and backer totals because this space is owned by the sycophantic fanboys. Seems counterproductive. The kind of business model adopted by Games Workshop, a company that has demonstrated what niche market really means and should be renamed “The Smelly Crack” given the fanaticism of its market. But the criticism was well founded and CMON should have responded better.

    Bucky had a stupid pose and no respirator or gun. Falcon had wings that looked like they were made from ply-board, and no pistols. Spiderverse was a disaster. Spiderpig had no big wooden mallet. Miles had no hoodie or trainers. He, Parker and Gwen looked like they’d suffered some kind of allergy (fat heads) and their poses looked clumsy. Not a classic spider pose amongst them. How did CMON respond? Silence for almost a week, then they fixed one. Parker. That’s it.

    But that wasn’t all. The boxes contained characters that seemed out of place. Some should have been in other boxes. They should have all been in the Core and one or two op buy boxes, and that includes most of the SG. There were no henchmen. Rumlow (aka Crossbones) didn’t even make an appearance while a bunch of “who cares” lesser characters (some who even had their comics cancelled after very, very short runs) showed up.

    Backers did the math. They got the same results as the ones listed above and didn’t like the figures. They calculated the P&H for all those mostly empty boxes (+15 to 20% pledge cost) and wondered where they’d store it all. They sat through an idiotic argument about the size of a playmat and the scripted College Vote outcome that ignored the majority for the greater good logic of making it smaller so everybody could use it.

    It was a surprise US backers even understood the argument at all given it used the globally adopted, very simple base five metric system but, luckily, their contribution to the political discourse was entertaining. Some of them even insisted on US-splainin’ how democracy works and how people not from the US don’t understand anything, blissfully unaware of just how much US content is in our media and how abysmal the US education system is because their democracy has undermined the ideologies of their society and culture by reducing everything, including education, mental health services, human life, etc, to commodities. Bless ’em.

    And here we were. Marvel. A niche culture that served as a safe space for nerds (and countless kids who got bullied at school, abused at home, or both) because Stan Lee decided to influence the world around him by promoting ideologies of diversity, tolerance and acceptance. He provided a voice for all those kids who dreamed of a better world. Then it got mainstreamed and his legacy was doing okay. Then it became the playground for elitism. Content only available on pay television services and overpriced games where the bullies staked out territory and set about undermining everything Stan Lee tried to accomplish. And both Marvel and CMON enabled it.

    Meanwhile, the campaign stumbled about like an infected and contagious Corona victim suffering the worst effects of the virus. SG targets jumped and the campaign stalled. They got dropped and extra content got promoted. Once the funding increased, up went the SG targets until they stalled again. Single-mini SG, and often “meh” ones at that. So it went, up and down, days becalmed, barely moving, and poorly considered, sparse content being pushed until… campaign almost flat-lining.

    In the end, the funding jumped by a whopping 40% in the last few days, the last day mostly. It managed to get just enough to drag the last SG and free bonus-didn’t-make-it-in-because-the- interest-was-so-low SG across the line. Why? Some claim it was people sitting on the sides, watching. Others that it was retailers seeing an opportunity to sell what was going to be a rare commodity. More likely they were ghost pledges made by CMON itself. Pledges that wouldn’t be paid out in the Pledge Manager but make the end figures of the campaign look better.

    So that was it. CMON claiming success the same way some people insist they are a genius or use the term “mission accomplished”. But was it? Some sites insist the whole idea was to get the product noticed and CMON does this. But the expression “any publicity is good publicity” is not really true. At retail, as several people posting comments have noticed, US$60 for 8 minis and a pretty lame card-game won’t sell. Worse when people realise what extras backers got. It’s like stowing a loaded gun down the front of your shorts with the safety off. Not really the best publicity after all.

    You may have noticed the references to the Corona virus throughout this post. It did have an impact. It has hit the Stock Market hard in an economic environment where drought, fire, floods, storms and unemployment in the US, Australia and other places has had a huge influence on what people do with their money. Shops have closed. Hundreds, Big companies have gone down. EB Games one of them. The cost of living, wage slumps, and people struggling to find food money have no disposable income for games like this. The only people with money for games like this are those whose wealth or ignorance insulates them from reality, a good many of which are trolls.

    This could be part of why MU didn’t do well. But that would be making excuses for a crappy product and an even worse campaign. Like the end of Julius Ceaser and any right-wing political party implementing idiotic austerity measures to maintain the wealth of the over-privileged, it’s death by a thousand cuts. The limited content, multiple boxes at additional cost, introduction of better quality content to replace standard for additional cost, haphazard nature of content, lame sculpts, “meh” SG, absence of more popular characters, KSE attitude that prevents their sale at retail, pointless debate on a playmat, trolls, indifference from CMON and their inability to learn from previous errors. It all played a part.

    So the question is, what can we do? What can we do to help CMON and Marvel produce a successful product and campaign? We can provide feedback. Genuine feedback. They can listen and take it on board. They can respond with change and then see how the community responds to that. They can discourage trolls. Try blocking them and removing their comments. Make Marvel a safe place for people who enjoy the Marvelverse. Stop writing subjective drivel that is little more than promotional content that looks, for all intents and purposes, like paid content and fake news.

    A success would be reflected in the backer and funding totals. At 60% the core pledge of the two cheapest Zombicide games, MU should have included 60% as many minis. That’s 40. It had 8. It should have had a better game. Cardboard is for packaging, and backers pay plus 15-20% for that already. Imagine how well the game would have done if they had used a Zombicide format, with hex tiles instead of square ones (to allow models to shoot in any direction), and AIM, HYDRA, frost giant, Chitauri, Outrider, etc henchmen minis.

    This would have been smarter. Find a game that works, combine it with a brand that sells, modify it to make it better, package it in appropriate sets, limit it to a core and just two op buy expansions, include a few multi-mini and extra game-rule-card SG with reasonable SG targets, weed out trolls from the comments section, change your KS rules to advise KSE content is ‘free’ to backers but will now be sold at retail, and see how you go from there.

    And don’t do it during a global pandemic and the Stock Market collapse that follows. Delay it if need be. Better yet, run it a second time. CMON has done that before. They let people jump on a campaign that finished years earlier and was available as a second run. Ooooo, trolls didn’t like that. It’s a business. It’s about expanding its market base, sales and profits. Alienating that market doesn’t accomplish that. That’s not success. What was a success with MU, however, is MU provided yet another opportunity for CMON to learn.

    Let’s hope they get the message this time.

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