Kickstarter tells Wonders of the First team to cancel controversial $1.4m campaign over NFT use

Wonders of the First, a contentious collectible card game project which has raised more than $1.4m since launching on Kickstarter last week, has been told by the crowdfunding platform to pull the campaign for its inclusion of cards which can be redeemed for NFTs.

Kickstarter confirmed to BoardGame Wire that it has given Wonders of the First 48 hours to voluntarily cancel the project, or the crowdfunding site will suspend the campaign itself, saying the NFT-related rewards violate the platform’s rules. A spokesperson added that “The creator is allowed to relaunch the project without NFTs”.

Wonders of the First had already attracted criticism for its widespread use of AI art throughout the project, while there has also been scepticism over how the relatively unknown company managed to reach $1m within 24 hours of the project’s launch.

More than $400,000 was quickly pledged to the project by around 50 backers of its top-tier “Supernova” reward level, each parting with over $8,000 – leading to suggestions the project had been inundated with speculators.

Over 2,200 backers have now pledged about $1.46m to the project, mostly at the $195 tier – although those orders will all be cancelled if the campaign is pulled from Kickstarter.

Project lead Jeff French, who previously created NFT-based digital collectible trading card company Blokpax, posted on the game’s offical discord yesterday to tell backers about the Kickstarter ultimatum, writing, “We will not remove the campaign. Kickstarter can kick rocks and boot us.”

He questioned why the platform had both allowed the project to get through its pre-review process and highlighted it as a “Project We Love”, before going on to blame unspecified critics of AI art and blockchain technology for the situation.

He wrote, “A very vocal angry mob doesn’t want Wonders to exist.  Primarily because of AI-assisted art and secondarily that they believe these are just game pieces and should be reprinted into oblivion.

“We don’t have to guess at this, they have made it quite public. You all have likely seen them. We have seen similar mobs bring many big companies to their knees. This is nothing new.”

He also pointed out that Kickstarter’s rules do not specifically prohibit NFTs, although a Kickstarter spokesperson has confirmed to BoardGameWire that NFTs are not allowed on the platform.

That spokesperson told BoardGameWire that the decision has “nothing to do with AI”, which it says was properly disclosed and consistent with its AI policy, adding “Our action is based on the inclusion of NFTs as a reward”.

They said that Kickstarter reviews all projects before they go live, but given the large volumes of submissions and the emerging nature of campaigns, the review process is an ongoing one, adding that in the case of Wonders of the First, “continued monitoring and review processes later identified a violation”.

The spokesperson said, “We take these subsequent reviews seriously to ensure all projects comply with our guidelines. It’s a reflection of our commitment to maintaining the integrity of our platform.”

French had also complained that “other TCGs with various blockchain components have been funded on KS” – although these all appear to be from before 2022, when Kickstarter ended a disastrous attempt to pivot to integrating blockchain technology into its service.

A blog post from the crowdfunding platform in February of that year said it understood concerns about blockchain technology, specifically the “environmental issues, scams, speculation, and risks”, and Kate Bernyk, Kickstarter’s then senior director of communications, told Dicebreaker it had “no plans to allow NFTs on the platform at this time”.


  1. Thanks for the interesting story on the intersection of many topics.

    I would love to see some sourcing of the criticism mentioned. I often find it hard to judge the authentic scope of criticism nowadays. Especially when it seems some journalists too frequently amplify a small number of critics on Twitter.

    • Thanks Tony – agreed, lots going on here relevant to multiple debates that have gone on in tabletop gaming for some time now. If you have a search around the big social medias – Twitter, Reddit, BlueSky etc – you’ll quickly find plenty of dialogue on the game’s reception.

      I’d also flag this excellent discussion from Team Covenant, which dives deep into the background of Wonders, its creators and the history of the project:

  2. I was backer, when asked for more gameplay and to see more about the cards that come from each deck even see the team playing, clearly stating that no gameplay or just trying to use the gameplay of the backers as evidence of the game which was supposed to be so chased after was not enough to understand how this new CCG was expected to survive first day on the market is reason enough to be cautious of the game. Got an answer from Jeff Frech itself who told me and I quote. “We are not going to spoil any of the cards that come with the deck, we have released some playtest decks, but if that is not enough for you I wish you all the best”. Seems like a sure way to redirect and blame the other party for trying to “spoil cards” and affect its business, which makes no sense, even if it is because of the stress of managing the 1.5M project that created this “accelerated response” it still shows that they were not ready for launch, maybe next time they will be. Although I doubt it, since they are already playing the “political blame game” instead of understanding the market which are not only the clients but all the pieces that affect your product and go to market strategy.

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