What Kingdom Death Did to My Marriage

Kingdom Death. There's not much to say, except I'm sure my husband thinks I'm probably having an affair with a man named Adam Poots, considering how many goodies he sends me in the mail. Joking aside, the Kingdom Death Kickstarter that just ended was a big deal for several reasons: Not only did it break a bunch of records and blow the original ask of $100,000 out of the water (we knew it would), but backers pledged a total of $12,393,139. WOW. Just... wow.

The Kickstarter launched on Black Friday, and I initially put myself down for the $50 Black Friday Lantern Upgrade, even though I don't own the core game. I basically just wanted add on pinups and the Gamblers Chest, though the "Add Ons Only" pledge wasn't available at that time. However, as stretch goals and campaign updates were released, and there was a LOT of them, I regretted very dearly that I didn't splurge for the higher pledge that sold out on Black Friday.

When you have Kickstarter Fever (as I now call it), rationality doesn't play into your decisions. Things I thought during the excitement and the last few days of the campaign:

  • Well ____ is getting the $777 pledge PLUS add ons. Why can't I?
  • If I'm going to spend this much on minis, I might as well get the core game.
  • I can afford the $927 pledge. It'll break the bank... but look at ALL THE STUFF I get!

As I wound myself up and stressed about my pledge, I realized I'd talked myself into the "But it's such a good deal" zone– a very dangerous place to be. I was able to snag a Black Friday Gambler's Lantern for $300 later on in the campaign when someone dropped it, and I was still thinking it wasn't enough. I got greedy.

Fast forward to 24 hours before the campaign ends and reality sets in (kind of). I was going to need to tell my guy about this big spend. Now I know everyone has a different agreement with their significant other (or even none at all) but we agreed that for any big spends (over $300), we'd talk to each other about it. Now we're looking to buy a house and have been saving our money like crazy. I have a separate bank account and my own source of income and I technically could buy this without him ever knowing about it (until a flatbed truck showed up in front of our house with 80 lbs of minis) but I had at least a year to figure that out. The only problem was how I was going to bring it up.

I knew he'd disagree with my spending $300 on this Kickstarter, and it would be tough to convince him this was a good idea. Plus, I wanted to spend more on add ons and when I totaled my "wish list" up it came out to $786. Well, ****. Now I fancy myself as a good person and a kick-ass wife, and I've learned a few things along the way– mostly, how not to fight:

What NOT to do:

  • "I buy YOU stuff all the time"
  • "You never get me anything"
  • "It's MY money, you can't tell me what to do with it"
  • Lie.

I even practiced how I would defend it, saying things like:

  • "It's not $300 on minis, it's for the most epic board game of all time!"
  • "Yes, I know we don't have a dedicated group of friends to play games with, but you can play with just two people! Plus, we can make more friends, maybe go to a local game store!"
  • "I don't have to wait until 2020 for it, look at the shipping waves. See?"
  • "If I added up the money I've spent– $50 here and there– it would add up to $___ and this Kickstarter will send me stuff over THREE YEARS."

Instead, I made the mistake of leaving the Kickstarter window open on my laptop. From the other room I hear, "You're spending $786 ON MINIS?!" (cue the Captain Picard Facepalm). As you can imagine, an argument ensued. Now, it wouldn't be so bad, except my husband "has the moral high ground" on this, as you'd say. He doesn't buy himself fancy things– in fact, he barely spends money on himself at all. The Playstation 4 he has? Birthday gift. His game list on steam and his stack of XBOX One and PS4 games he has? I bought for him. He brings his lunch of leftovers to work because "the places around where I work are too expensive" and brews his own coffee at home because "the coffee shop next door charges $4 for black coffee. Ridiculous". So yeah, he's cheap. And I love that about him because then I get to spoil him and not tell him about the price tag, because then he gets upset about it and it ruins the gift-giving joy. Anyway, long story short, we ended it with "we'll talk about this tomorrow".

I woke up at 5am, 11 hours until the Kickstarter ends, and angsted about my choices. I tried to pare it down to the minimal amount of add ons I could (still $500+) and was just an angry, resentful mess. My husband woke up and we had a calm and rational chat about it (finally). After hearing his perspective, I was shocked to realize that he wasn't opposed to the idea of the Kickstarter– just the idea of dropping so much money at once. While he's always been supportive of my hobby/happiness, he'd rather me spend $50 here and there over the course of 3 years, even if I end up spending more overall. That's completely different than how I saw it– I thought it's better to pay up front for a better deal in the long run, but we agreed to disagree.

Instead, we decided to compromise: I wouldn't buy the core game, just the add ons, and I'd keep it under $400 total. Considering the Gambler's Chest was a $150 add on, and shipping was around $89, and here's what I pledged to receive:

  1. Gambler's Chest
  2. Black Knight Armor
  3. Death Armor
  4. Disciple of the Witch
  5. Dung Ball
  6. Dung Beetle Dancer (female)
  7. Gold Smoke Knight Armor
  8. Male Nightmare Ram Armor (this one was ridiculous & fantastic, just like the female pinups!)
  9. Mountain Dungeon Armor
  10. Nightmare Ram Armor & Ramette
  11. Pathfinders of Death (crossover)
  12. Pond Scum Armor
  13. Screaming God Armor
  14. Twilight Deserter Knight

Of course, I would have preferred to buy all the minis, but making sure we're both happy with the outcome was much more rewarding. He and I learned a bit more about each other's more detailed approaches to finances, and I felt better about not lying to him or hiding things from him in order to get my way– I know that would have eroded the trust in our marriage– and I wasn't about to do things that would make him resent me or my beloved hobby. I know many people in this hobby have similar struggles, and I hope you're able to find a healthy balance in both love and finances :)

In the meantime, I'm now more motivated to paint the Kingdom Death models I have now in order to sell them before my new ones arrive!