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Backers of the original Kingdom Death: Monster Kickstarter campaign received news on November 5th via the campaign’s 100th update that the final undelivered expansion, the Lantern Festival, that was originally available for $45 has been cancelled.

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The original pledge of $45 promised quite a bit of content. Even still, that content apparently couldn’t live up to expectations.

As part of the cancellation, hassle-free refunds were automatically processed for everyone who pledged for the Lantern Festival, although the update does explicitly state that Kingdom Death does not support the sale of pledges, and that people who sold their pledges will have to work out the logistics with the person they sold their pledge to themselves. Any backers who pledged for the Lantern Festival that did not already receive a refund are encouraged to contact Kingdom Death support in order to

Everyone is being issued a $45 refund (per pledged lantern festival) via paypal. We are covering the -11% kickstarter fees that we lost from funds collected during the 2012-2013 campaign. If you do not have a paypal account at that email address, you can easily set one up by following the instructions on your refund email from paypal.

WE DO NOT SUPPORT THE SALE OF PLEDGES. If you sold your pledge or bought a pledge from another individual, you must contact them. We can only send the refund to the official email address we have on file.

If you have any issues, need help, would prefer store credit or would simply like us to keep the money and waive your refund, please visit our support page at kingdomdeath.com/support for more information and to contact us.

While sure to be disappointing to backers of the game who have been waiting a very long time for the arrival of the Lantern Festival, the post does go into detail as to why Adam and Anna Poots decided to pull the plug on the Lantern Festival. Ultimately, the reasoning behind the cancellation is that the expansion just wasn’t good enough in it’s current form, and the funds raised weren’t nearly enough to develop it to and deliver it as a satisfactory product.

It all ties back to the essential experiences that make up Kingdom Death: Monster. Overwhelming odds, tactical strategy, evolution, surprises, accessibility, hard developmental choices and building survivor miniatures. Lantern Festival had some, but NOT all of these things.

It was pitched to EXTEND the current timeline, meaning only the small fraction of players who completed the core game could enjoy it, killing its accessibility. Most of our player base has yet to finish playing all the current expansions, which makes extending the main campaign in the way the Lantern Festival was pitched, a less than ideal choice.

Since there were no armor sets (just the twilight cloak), it led to a significant lack of accomplishment and not much evolution. The game felt incomplete when you weren’t chasing a new armor set or making hard decisions about the best gear you could make from a hand of resources. It left Lantern Festival without that feeling of evolution.

KD:M is a series of hard-fought, uphill climbs and moments of respite to recover or push the development of your settlement. Imagine a titan’s staircase. Your gaming group is trying to tackle it. After a vertical climb, you get an easier horizontal walk to recovery and start to plan the next vertical challenge. Lantern Festival lacked those horizontal moments, wherein you made major developmental choices that would affect the overall outcome.

Without all those elements in concert, it could never be a proper encore to the spectacular performance of KD:M.

To be a proper encore It would need to be more like a new core set, with the focus of the settlement shifted to be more macro, dealing with a developing town instead of a small settlement. Since that is not what was pitched, nor is it what we worked toward on its first development cycle, I am refunding everyone instead of releasing content I can’t stand behind. The realization of what this particular part of the Kingdom Death world needed to be, was simply to large in scope for the funds that were raised to create it.

The update also includes some information about the upcoming Kickstarter, painting guides for three miniatures, the link to the digital art book, a new t-shirt to ‘commemorate’ the cancellation, and a sneak peek at an unknown miniature as well as a look at the 1.4 version of the notorious Survival of the Fittest New Life Principle.This isn’t the only change related to Survival of the Fittest for version 1.4 though as Poots told me that having Survival of the Fittest will now save survivors from some instant death results on the hunt event table. All in all, Survival of the Fittest is starting to look like a more viable and attractive option.

An official card pack that contains copies of all of the promotional gameplay items that come with the one-off miniatures was also announced for release early next year with the promise that a more reliable printer will be used in order to keep the size, weight and coloration of the cards consistent with the core set, which has been an issue with some of the promo cards released to date.

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This image, which includes a picture of the 1.4 version of Survival of the Fittest was also posted in the update. There is no word about the miniature, although it looks as if it’s a survivor wearing Phoenix Armor. Could it be the new version of the game will feature dynamic posed armor kits rather than modular kits?

The second Kickstarter for the core game is still planned to go live on November 25th, so keep your eyes peeled if you’ve been waiting to get your hands on a copy, or if you already have one and are looking forward to the new rules updates.


Quick Take

I’ve been anxiously awaiting the Lantern Festival for nearly four years, and I was a bit disappointed with the cancellation as well but, after speaking with Adam Poots about it in length, I’m confident that he made the right decision. There’s a reason that Kingdom Death: Monster was our game of the year for 2015, and it remains my favorite game of all time, and it’s due to the quality of the content. Based on that, the Kingdom Death crew has firmly planted themselves in my good graces and so I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt. I’ve been given an additional peek at some of the upcoming 1.4 content and, for me, there are so many exciting new changes being made to the game that I’m really not upset about having to wait to get my hands on the King, Scribe, Great Game Hunters etc.

What do you think about the Lantern Festival cancellation? Let us know in the comments below.


Travis Williams

Tabletop Editor

Tabletop editor.