Mantic’s Mars Attacks Kickstarter Backtracks?

Mars Attacks

I had a busy week, and haven’t been able to follow the world of miniature wargaming as closely as I usually do.

When I did, I came across a rather curious sight when I checked in on the final days of Mantic Games’ most recent Kickstarter for a Mars Attacks board game: It seems to be going in reverse?

#1 – Four Rotten Days

Mantic Games Reverse

Looking at the Mars Attacks Kicktraq page, Mantic’s (still) highly successful Mars Attacks Kickstarter appears to have lost backers for 4 days in a row, towards the end of the Kickstarter when many campaigns shift up gears (miraculously so for Golem Arcana recently).

#2 – What’s Happening?

Now, a few backers less won’t break this Kickstarter-campaign. With close to half a Million Dollars in pledges, it’s a great success (and outstrips Mantic’s first Kings of War Kickstarter. It will likely fall short of Deadzone Kickstarter, and possibly the DreadBall Kickstarter, despite being the most professional Mantic Kickstarter yet.

  • Is Mars Attacks not that interesting?

Possibly. Prodos Games appears to have picked up the licensed IP for a sci-fi miniatures game that everyone’s talking about: Aliens vs. Predator. More tongue-in-cheek Martians probably don’t offer the same “serious” sci-fi escapism. Still, it doesn’t really explain Mars Attacks going backwards, with people who were interested enough to pledge now leaving?

  • Is the Mars Attacks Kickstarter too long?

Mars Attacks is Mantic Games’ longest Kickstarter yet with 45 days. By and large, Kickstarter-campaigns tend to work better if they’re short and sweet. Kickstarter themselves even dropped the option for longer Kickstarters (up to 90 days) years ago, simply because they proved to be a recipe. Kickstarter success actually correlates (slightly) with a shorter campaign duration.

Kickstarter Duration vs. SUccess

Is giving people too much time for second thoughts gnawing away at Mars Attacks at the end?

  • Are People Dropping “Placeholder” Pledges

Here’s an interesting theory I heard, though it may be tinfoil theory.

Mantic’s Mars Attacks Kickstarter (like many recent professional Kickstarters) features a slightly more advanced “pledge-structure”.

  • First, there’s a wide selection of “early-birds” for different levels and other limited specialty pledge-leaves, such as the one that was available only on the Comic Con weekend.
  • Second, the Kickstarter doesn’t follow the more straightforward model of a single “sweet-spot” pledge that get’s better and better. Instead, it’s a modular system of “core-pledges”, “boosters”, “add-ons”, etc.. which keep the (subjectively) “ideal” pledge more opaque until the final days.
  • Third, combine the first and second. Multiple “early-bird” variants at various levels whose “fit” for a given interest isn’t readily apparent. The solution? Multiple Kickstarter-clone-accounts that “reserve” different “early-birds” (and other specials) until things become clearer. Now, with the final days, it would be time for people to have those clones drop out (except for one).

#3 – Your Thoughts?

Of course, it’s mostly speculation. Still, I’d love to hear your thoughts on what’s going on there. Kickstarter really remains one of the most interesting windows to the peculiarities of consumer (and salesmanship) dynamics in (not only) miniature wargaming.

Leave a comment!


Image: Top Image of Mars Attacks Miniatures by Mantic Games


I am Zweischneid. Wargame Addict. Hopeless painter and founder of Pins of War. I hope you enjoyed this article. Don't forget to share your favourite miniature pictures and wargaming videos at
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  • belverker

    not sure what happened but i know a lot of backers early on had 2 pledges 1 for an early bird $150 level and another for the $300 level that is an awesome deal (unfortunately i can’t afford that one) and i think they have dropped one or the other, plus mars attacks is pretty niche so when mantic wasn’t throwing in free model after free model some early backers are thinking it isn’t a good deal. To me i am getting what looks to be a really fun game with an ip i love, i may add some extra money to get the dreadball team and the deadzone stat cards so i have models for those games if they take off locally (don’t like the designs of the models from those games)

    • Zweischneid

      Lol. I am tempted by the DreadBall team too. Than again, I already have a gazillion of DreadBall teams still to paint from the DreadBall Kickstarter ;)

      • belverker

        lol i have heard the game is good but none of the models interest me, hence the thought of grabbing the martians.

  • Panzer_Engel

    One thing that does surprise me is that, with bargain-priced modular C20th urban terrain on offer, the WWII and Ultra-modern crowd aren’t all over this.

    (In for post-apoc ruins, US troops. . . . And a few tesla-powered saucers and giant stompy robots for my pulp games)

    • ApokalypseTest

      Problem is: The interesting modular Terrain is just out of reach atm an with the pledges falling right now, I’d rather not sinking money into it and ending up with the unconfirmed ruins only. I would LOVE the terrain – but with the situation as is, its to risky to pledge for a game I don’t really care about just to maybe get the terrain…

      • Panzer_Engel

        Ruined terrain was up to start with, I’m not certain where you got the idea it was ‘unconfirmed’. The stretch is for *intact* terrain – Unless that’s specifically what you were after (And, as stated, I’m here for the ruins)

  • Tania Joyce

    Mantic offered some backers who got in touch the option to pay via paypal at a later date and told them to cancel their KS pledges once they were added to the paypal list. This would definitely explain the drop near the end as a lot of people like myself were not going to be paid in time for the deadline and switche to a later billing date.