Spells of Magic is a Kickstarter-funded TCG created by a Canadian individual known as Christian Weaver. The project launched on January 1st with a modest funding goal of approximately $12,000 CAD. As the months progressed, the game grew increasingly popular and managed to raise more than $230,000 CAD (approximately $178,000 USD) by mid-summer.
Having compared Spells of Magic with the likes of Nostalgix, D-Spirits, Akora, and Otherverse, there is unfortunately no aspect of this game that I find to be noteworthy. Sure, some of the artwork could be considered interesting, but the card design itself is very rudimentary and reminds me of a generic TCG template one would find from Envato Marketplace. Why are the design features so big? Why is the font so oversized? Furthermore, the game has an utter lack of any published lore or apparent backstory substantiating the cards or characters.
This is sadly not an unusual practice in the world of Kickstarter TCGs. Without exception, the modus operandi of “raise as much money as possible and figure out the rest later” has held true for virtually every TCG I have written about. Pokemon can write an entire book about Ash Ketchum alone but a single page of lore is apparently too much to ask for from these creators.
Author’s Note: The above comment is not targeted exclusively at Spells of Magic. It is a general frustration I have with all Kickstarter projects and is something I have written about numerous times before.
Following the initial launch of the Kickstarter, development for Spells of Magic continued to chug along and seemed to mostly be on schedule. However, on August 6th, a surprising announcement was made by Christian Weaver detailing plans to launch a second Kickstarter. While many aspects of the announcement seemed ambiguous, the implication seemed to be that Weaver incurred financial losses from having been hacked and now requires additional funding to finish the project.
According to Weaver, the project required an additional $30,000 in funding for completion.
With the recent downfall of Maelstrom TCG and Polywog TCG, this announcement could not have come at a more hilariously inopportune time. While Maelstrom’s creator simply disappeared with no further explanation, Polywog at least made an effort to explain their financial situation. Just like Spells of Magic, Polywog was also seeking precisely $30,000 to finish the project.
Feedback from the community was mixed. While some were supportive, many were understandably frustrated and confused. How could this happen? How can a project, which exceeded its original funding goal by 20X, all of a sudden be underfunded? In the words a bystander, “why the hell do you need a second Kickstarter just to finish the first one?”
The details are murky. Weaver cites a number of reasons including inflation, worker wages, development costs for proprietary software, and legal fees. Some members of the community have even put forward their own interpretations — with one of them suggesting that the reason for delay is because the cardstock is apparently made in Ukraine.
As critics continued to press on, Weaver eventually banned many dissidents from the community (some were trolls while others were legitimate) and backpedaled on his plans for a second Kickstarter. While no specific details were shared, Weaver suggested that he would secure the funds himself and backers had absolutely nothing to worry about.
What Happened Next
The community seemed largely at peace with Weaver’s assertion that the project remains on schedule and finances are not a concern. This became even more apparent when Weaver surprised us with another announcement: a partner has joined the picture. According to the announcement, the partner has extensive experience with distribution, finance, and the general business-side of trading card games. This partnership would allow Weaver to pursue the core aspects of the game like artwork, gameplay, and lore.
In my opinion, this is probably a wise strategic decision and largely paints a positive outlook for the future of Spells of Magic. As we have seen with TCGs like D-Spirits, distribution can be a complicated process that often requires far more attention than creators are able to provide. In fact, if history is any indication, creators tend to be exceptionally bad at managing logistics and finances.
The Future of Spells of Magic
Despite the aforementioned turbulence, there are some positive things worth noting about Spells of Magic. For starters, the actual gameplay side of the TCG seems to be fairly well developed relative to some other TCGs I have seen. People also seem to be quite happy their promotional cards with some already listed for sale on eBay.
Spells of Magic also seems to have some fairly interesting partnerships on the horizon. For example, it was disclosed by Christian Weaver back in March that the Spells of Magic game would be “partnering with CFB in April”. While I have not been able to find any further information regarding this alleged partnership with Channel Fireball, now would be a good time for this plan to come to fruition.
It was also stated that Rudy from Alpha Investments will be receiving samples of Spells of Magic for review. However, because the booster boxes have not yet been produced, it is likely that this plan is in limbo until further notice.
Author’s Note: As of August 8th, Rudy confirmed in a private forum that he will not be producing any reviews for new Kickstarter projects. This likely implies that there will be no partnership or review between Spells of Magic and Alpha Investments anytime in the foreseeable future.
All in all, hiccups are a natural and expected part of any project. In the words of the famous John W. Holt, “If you’re not making mistakes, you’re not taking risks, and that means you’re not going anywhere.” Spells of Magic seems like a fairly compelling TCG and it will be interesting to see how it unfolds over the next few months. If Weaver plays his cards right, he could end up with an incredibly fun and lucrative media franchise. On the other hand, Spells of Magic could suffer the same fate other overleveraged Kickstarter projects have and end up bankrupt.
Let me know what you guys think below.