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golemarcanaWhen Jordan Weisman’s Harbrained Schemes first tried to raise money on Kickstarter, the results were ridiculously fantastic. His company raised more than $1.8 million on Kickstarter to revive of the classic Shadowrun role-playing game and develop new versions of the title for tablets and PCs, blowing past the original goal of $400,000.

But funding hasn’t been nearly as easy the second time around on Kickstarter. With five days left on the campaign, Harebrained’s digitally-enhanced board game “Golem Arcana,” is about $150,000 short of its $500,000 goal.

Let’s keep in mind that raising $350,000 for a board game from 1,548 backers on Kickstarter is still pretty damn impressive. And with a late push, raising $500,000 is not out of the question.

But still, it hasn’t caught the fire that Shadowrun Returns did.

Weisman noted a couple of reasons for this. One, Golem Arcana is more expensive than your typical physical tabletop game. Two, it’s a novel way to think about board games — Golem Arcana doesn’t have the history and brand loyalty of something like Shadowrun. The game is very innovative, connecting the tabletop with a Bluetooth-enabled Tabletop Digital Interface Stylus (TDI) to send information wirelessly to a phone or tablet.

Jordan Weisman speaking at GeekWire’s Startup Day 2012.

“They are two different animals,” Weisman told GeekWire. “Shadowrun is a 25-year-old property with a large installed fan base and our Shadowrun Returns Kickstarter was to bring that game back in a format the fans knew and loved. Golem Arcana is a brand new property and a paradigm shifting format that requires the backers to take a little leap of faith.”

Valid points, indeed. But perhaps the decrease in backers for the game points to what could be the beginning of Kickstarter’s demise. Maybe the crowdfunding platform has hit its peak.

Weisman, a serial entrepreneur known for startups like FASA, Virtual World Entertainment, Wizkids, 42 Entertainment, and Smith & Tinker, doesn’t think so.

Harebrained Schemes' thanks Shadowrun fans last year.
Harebrained Schemes’ thanks Shadowrun fans last year.

“I think the crowdfunding audience is a little more cautious then they were a year ago, but that’s a healthy thing overall and the environment is still very vibrant,” he said. “We are approaching $400,000 in backing which for tabletop is a huge number already so I don’t think there is a problem with the concept or the funding platform.”

He added that projects like Golem Arcana “are a better test of the long term viability of crowdfunding because there are only so many old properties to bring back.”

Weisman refrained from saying what would happen if Golem Arcana doesn’t reach its $500,000 mark.

“We are still very hopeful of reaching our goal and entirely focused on that at the moment,” he said.

Shadowrun Returns, meanwhile, hit the app stores a few weeks ago. You can check out the game on iOS, Android or Steam. Shadowrun is the first multi-million dollar crowdfunded video game to ship after crushing its funding goals nearly 18 months ago.

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