New to ACKS - confused by pre-order/pledge system


I recently purchased the pdf of the ACKS rules, and I have to say I’m impressed. I started with the Holmes “blue book” way back when, and have often thought of running through the old classic modules - ACKS looks like a great way to do it, with some interesting new additions to the comfortable old framework.

However, I’m a little confused about what to do about the Players Companion, and what a pledge of “kickstarter” (?) support would get me in terms of future products such as the Auran Empire books. If there’s a FAQ or info page on the website, I’m afraid I missed it. Any hints?



Kickstarter is simply an online crowdsource funding mechanism that allows creators to market a product vision to “backers” or supporters. They are generally timed and have a set targer $ amount with additional increments leading to more and more product benefits/goodies.

The players companion kickstarter page can be seen here:

The Players Companion Kickstarter is over and (very successfully)funded. It appears that the Bonus #4 sneak peek into a future Auran Empire setting book was not met.

Thanks! So it seems my current options are to wait until the Companion becomes generally available, and then wait until a new kickstarter is posted for other material?

Correct. You could also maybe send an email to Alex or Tavis and see if they might squeeze you into the kickstarter via the donate/backer upgrade button below. There is a chance you could get your hands on the working .doc file that will eventually become the Players Companion. All backers have gotten access to that at some point I believe. It’s very good. I think the PDF is scheduled to be released this summer and I have no idea about when the Auran setting book will be complete. My guess would be that it’s months away at the very least. I could be wrong. Perhaps one of the principals could correct anything I’ve said that is incorrect if they stop by.

We just had a conference call, and some of the things we touched on were distinguishing Kickstarter from pre-orders, and updating the product info on the site.

Here's a quick rundown:

- Kickstarter backers pledge money before we're even sure we'll do a project. If it raises enough money, we then commit to doing it. Once the Kickstarter ends, their funding system closes and we can't add people; what we can do is take payment outside of Kickstarter, which should properly be called a pre-order.

- Pre-orders are available from us through Game Salute - see - and are just like buying it normally (same price, etc) ahead of time.

Both backers and pre-orders help us a lot. Any time folks buy direct from us (which is what you're doing when you back a Kickstarter or order through Game Salute) that is a big benefit to a publisher. (Buying at your friendly local game store is also a big benefit; stores are great allies in reaching new players and supporting actual play.) And having money ahead of time instead of after we've already run up costs helps us be more ambitious and less hampered by cash flow. 

Some backer rewards, like specifying an art order, will be available only during Kickstarter because it's so early in the game; we'll take pre-orders right up until the books are released, which is too late for new art orders. We talk about crediting our backers in the Kickstarter, but with ACKS we also credited the pre-orders as a way of saying thanks for paying now and receiving later!

I don't see any reason not to give the drafts to both backers and pre-orders. Both are trusting in us to deliver, so one way we can repay that trust is by sharing the goods, and the more feedback we can get during development the gooder they'll be. We are working on making this an automatic download through Game Salute pre-orders; for now, though, forward your pre-order receipt to and we'll send you download info from our site.

We generally don't give the bonus goal rewards to pre-orders when they're separate things, like the Domains of War PDF that was a bonus for the ACKS Kickstarter. Other bonus goals, like adding classes to the Player's Companion, benefit everyone.

The Player's Companion will be available in PDF in June. (The original target date was May, and the original scope of the book is done in time for that date, but so many bonus goals were funded that adding the promised extras is taking extra time).

So you could:

- pre-order the PDF of the Player's Companion from Game Salute now and get the Word drafts by sending your receipt to, and then get the final PDF in June when it's released

- wait to order the PDF from or Game Salute when it's ready in June

- pre-order the print copy, or get the PDF and then apply its discount to the print copy; you'll get the drafts if you pre-order before it's in stores.

Very informative reply. Thanks a ton Tavis! (This is why these folks are so awesome)

Thanks for all the information! I’m off to pre-order the Companion and will forward the receipt.

As an aside … a couple years back I started to look into old D&D classics that I had missed the first time around, and eventually decided to try and fit the Caverns of Thracia into the Grand Duchy of Karameikos, playing with the idea that beastmen (led by and weres) were an age-old enemy of man and were on the way back. Add to that my background in classical archaeology and a wargaming interest in the Late Roman Empire, and as you can see I’m really looking forward to the Auran Empire setting!