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Kickstarter’s Zine Quest is moving back to February, and the change will be permanent

The 2022 event will still be held in August

Key art for Zine Quest 4 shows a knight fighting a dragon with a character sheet in the background. Image: Kwanchai Moriya/Kickstarter
Charlie Hall is Polygon’s tabletop editor. In 10-plus years as a journalist & photographer, he has covered simulation, strategy, and spacefaring games, as well as public policy.

In January 2022, Kickstarter chose to move its popular Zine Quest event from February to August. The move sparked outrage among its tightknit community of independent role-playing game developers, who depend on the annual event to boost their income in the lean winter months. Now, Kickstarter tells Polygon that in 2023 it will move the event back to February, and this time it says the change will be permanent.

“We recognize many creators prefer to launch Zine Quest projects in February,” senior director of communications Kate Bernyk told Polygon in an email. “So, in 2023, we will be moving this prompt back to its usual time of year, and will continue to host it each February going forward.”

The decision to move the event to August, said Kickstarter’s then-director of games Anya Combs, was to coincide with Gen Con. (Combs is now the tabletop account manager at Kickstarter’s newest competitor, Backerkit.) But the unilateral decision — announced with less than one month’s notice — rubbed many the wrong way, especially on the heels of Kickstarter’s other unilateral decision regarding the adoption of blockchain technology. (The company has since slowed, but not stopped, that transition.) The tumult was so severe that indie developers banded together to create Zine Month, an alternative event with the goal to move the entire indie RPG community away from Kickstarter. The two events will now seemingly compete against each other in 2023.

Zine Quest has historically been a tremendously successful event. In 2021, Kickstarter’s own data shows that 383 projects were funded successfully, with more than $1.7 million pledged.