In our new Portrait series we’re going to showcase the biggest and most interesting players in the tabletop crowdfunding market.
If you’re keeping up with tabletop gaming projects on Kickstarter, you must have heard about CMON. There’s also a huge chance you’ve seen their games resting on store shelves in a nearby hobby shop.
Singaporean CMON, abbreviated from Cool Mini or Not, has 17 years of history, but their current shape is something much much younger. With 31 projects under their belts and many more released in retail, they stand as the biggest and most powerful player in the Kickstarter tabletop category.
Cool Mini or Not started as a site where figurine painting hobbyists could compare each other’s achievements. Inspiration came from similarly structured services, where people rated selfies.
The site is still up and running, but is nowhere near as important for CMON as it used to be. After rating and selling miniatures for over a decade, owners decided to try their strength and attempt to make their own game. The idea was to create a lighter and shorter equivalent to a wargame.
Make it Big with Zombies
Zombicide debuted in 2012 on Kickstarter. The campaign site looked super basic, which seems funny considering how CMON’s campaigns are the staples of crowdfunding nowadays. Despite that, the game sparked huge interest. Zombicide was created as a co-op game for up to 6 players. It has heavy focus on beautiful miniatures and small, customizable board tiles. The goal is to beat certain scenarios filled with zombie targets.
The amount of money it collected was insane and shocked the creators. They expected something along the lines of 20 000 USD but in the end, Zombicide got to 781 000 USD after a month of funding. The game came out and was received warmly. It ended up as CMON’s number one franchise and right now it’s after its 6th installment (not counting the expansions). There are also fantasy and SF versions available.
Vampires are the Next Big Thing
Second big CMON series is Arcadia Quest, released after Zombicide’s second edition. Instead of cooperating, players have to compete, while defeating monster hordes attacking them. Base game includes 11 playable scenarios leading to the defeat of an evil vampire lord. There are some RPG mechanics, like gaining and spending experience points.
The campaign back in 2015 was really successful and ended at 774 000 USD. First expansion collected 1 710 000 US dollars. Second one was funded few days ago and had an interesting campaign strategy: CMON made it available only for 4 days.
Land of the Rising Sun
CMON’s Rising Sun was funded in April 2017 with over 4 200 000 dollars. There were more than 30 000 backers, which is the highest CMON ever got.
The game was made by former Blood Rage creators and artists. Rising Sun is less action based than the titles we’ve described above. You manage diplomacy, make deals with friends and wage wars with enemies.
There is a ton of flavor here, which feels amazing if you’re interested in japanese history and culture. Feudal Japan is mixed with old shinto legends and beliefs. You can gain favor of the kami and recruit monsters to your own army. Each clan has a different theme from ronin hiring Koi and scheming Lotus to nature loving Bonsai.
Expanding the Portfolio
Since Zombicide, CMON has never slowed down and they keep releasing about half of their projects on Kickstarter. They usually pick figurine heavy ones for crowdfunding. Other huge successes include:
- Massive Darkness – dungeon crawling RPG with customizable locations. The campaign ended at $3 500 000.
- Masmorra: Dungeons of Arcadia – another dungeon crawler set in the world of Arcadia Quest.
- The Others: 7 Sins – game with a rare “one vs all” mechanic, about church organization fighting so called “Sins”.
- Blood Rage – popular strategy game taking place in the world of vikings. Card and miniature based.
The Power of Big Names
Apart from publishing and creating their own games, CMON also managed to get their hands on some really strong IPs. As company grew bigger, more and more famous brands became available to them.
A Song of Ice and Fire is a well known fantasy book series. Many people know it from the TV show “Game of Thrones”. The wargame by CMON includes dozens of beloved characters, although their designs are different from the television series. Fans can try their strength in famous battles and change their dramatic outcomes.
Hate, based on a graphic novel series by Adrian Smith, is a skirmish wargame set in the world of barbarians. Dark, post-apocalyptic setting and brutal atmosphere make the clan wars even more violent. A resource called Savagery let’s you make your warriors stronger and gives you an edge in the endless struggle of your clan.
Other big licenses include the Godfather franchise, Bloodborne video game and recently: Narcos – a TV show about the famous drug empire.
Since their Zombicide successes CMON has expanded into many other directions. In 2016 they joined Hong Kong Stock Exchange and are being publicly traded now. They also have their own CMON Expo event held each year in Atlanta, USA. Visitors are able to play new titles before release, take part in tournaments and painting workshops. They also get a bag filled with CMON games, promos and merchandise.
Cool Mini or Not also cooperates with smaller game stores, provides them with game demos and sponsors tournament rewards. Shops who run these are rewarded with points and can spend them on the games by CMON.
CMON in Numbers
Projects on Kickstarter: 31
Total amount pledged: $43,275,344
Total pledges: 269 880
Average pledge: 160 USD