One Year Later: Evaluating ZineQuest 3

I’ve participated – as a consumer and fan – in ZineQuest for two years running. This year, there is no ZineQuest, but there is Zine Month, a creator-centric, platform-independent website for promoting zines.

As I think about backing a few new zines for 2022, I decided to look back on how 2021 went.

2021 Strategy

In 2020, I went primarily digital for my zines. The cost was lower and thus, so was my risk. In 2020, I backed four zines (three digital, one print) all of which delivered. Those zines were Sunlands: A Hexcrawl ZineDungeon DelveDELVE: A Solo Game of Digging Too Deep, and The Ioun Codex (Zine of Wondrous Power 03). I spent approximately $25 on four zines.

In 2021, I went bigger. Also, because I regretted not getting physical copies of the zines I backed, in 2021 I got almost everything in print. My total cost was approximately $125 for eight zines.

2021 Results

Of the eight zines I backed:

  • Four delivered PDF and print products.
  • Two delivered PDF products, with a print copy theoretically on the way in Spring 2022.
  • Two went silent and seem unlikely to deliver.

I’m pleased with the overall results. 75% of the zines delivered on their Kickstarters. Of the two remaining, one failed for entirely understandable and unavoidable reasons (the primary creator died shortly after the Kickstarter concluded). That leaves only one of the eight that completely failed, which is better than I was expecting. Heck, given the nature of the zines and people’s inexperience with producing them, I wouldn’t have been surprised if only half had delivered.

The Zines

Agents of BAMF

The slickest of the zines that I backed, Agents of BAMF is about the team that shows up to deal with super-powered incidents when superheroes aren’t around. It’s a glossy covered, 8.5×11″ zine fulfilled through DriveThruRPG’s print-on-demand service. I’m not running a supers game right now, but it’s an enjoyable read.

Thru-Hiker: A Journaling Game of Long-Distance Hiking

One of the first zines I received, this is a beautiful looking zine that provided welcome inspiration for my then-upcoming trip to Philmont. I’ve done one thru-hike using the book, and found it a relaxing endeavor.

Hope is Not a Plan

Described as “a solo journaling RPG about the existential dread of professional project management”, I received this zine but never played it. I love the concept, but 2021 was a stressful year, and the subject matter of this zine hit a little too close to home. It’s still sitting on my shelf, waiting for a calmer day … but it does look great.

The Vast in the Dark

The Vast in the Dark‘s elevator pitch is “a zine about exploring the dark and alien megastructures of an infinite realm.”‘ and it’s every bit as atmospheric as I’d hoped for. I will definitely be used for some weird, doomed side universe in a future campaign. I have no idea when or what game system but it’s too good not to use. I received the print copy on time.

Last Orders: Craft Ales for Fantasy RPGs

A collection of ales and ciders, each with their own write-up and adventure hooks. I backed this one at the PDF level (not sure why I did that; only 2021 me knows and he’s not telling).

Glimmer’s Rim

Weird fantasy on an island at the edge of everything. It’s got gonzo art and a great hexcrawl vibe. I received the PDF; still waiting on the print version.

The Void of Thrantar

“A post-apocalyptic science fantasy RPG ‘zine”, I backed The Void of Thrantar because 1) it looked cool and 2) I was looking forward to plundering some of its content for my lunchtime science fantasy campaign. Unfortunately, and tragically, the creative force behind the zine died shortly after the Kickstarter was successfully funded. The campaign’s been silent ever since, and I doubt we’ll ever see anything out of it.

E.V.O.L.V.E.

This is the most disappointing of the Kickstarter’s I backed, in that it has a great premise (take on the role of an A.I. growing its way toward world domination) but has seen few updates and seems unlikely to ever reach fruition (let alone the aforementioned world domination).

Featured Image Meta

Cover Art for Thru-Hiker, The Vast in the Dark, and Hope Is Not A Plan.

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