Red Markets

Created by Caleb Stokes

Red Markets
2f2650ea14d672ece42cd4b5643aa271 original
1,448 backers pledged $72,248.00 on Kickstarter

Red Markets is a game of economic horror, where the world has ended and the rent is still due.

Raised in Kickstarter
$72,248.00 / 1,448 backers
Raised in BackerKit
$19,988.00 / 1,535 backers

Latest Updates from Our Project:

Update on Shipping Timetable
11 days ago – Tue, Sep 12, 2017 at 10:34:21 PM

By Przemek Lech
By Przemek Lech

All the books have left Hong Kong. The current timetable has books arriving at the US fulfillment service around October 10th. The international fulfillment service should get a pallet by October 15th.

Please keep in mind that these are not dates to expect a book at your house. These dates indicate when warehouses will start packaging books, dice, add-ons, and pre-orders into individual packages and sending them out to personal addresses. Don't  expect a book on the doorstep until November. It's not as early as I'd hoped to get the product in your hand, but it still beats the deadline by a month. 

This means I will be finalizing addresses on Saturday, October 7th. I've already charged cards and finalized surveys, so don't worry about running to check your BackerKit unless you expect to be in a new home by November. If you are moving, you can still change your mailing address by 10/7/17 and receive your book. 

For Those That Haven't Done Their Homework

I've already charged cards, so if a charge for BackerKit has appeared on your account, you are good to go as long as your address is accurate. However, as of this moment there are a few people that haven't given me what I need to provide their books.

  • There are still 26 backers with credit in their account from the Kickstarter that haven't completed surveys. They've ordered physical rewards, but I don't know where to send them and haven't received the promised shipping cost.
  • There are 2 Backers who have had their credit cards declined.
  • There are 6 Preorder backers who have had their credit cards declined.

I have sent multiple emails to all of the people on that list. If you haven't received one, you are good. This is just to say (again) that I will not be providing refunds for a failure to answer the survey or pay promised shipping costs, regardless of circumstance. We're are currently past 20 reminder emails across multiple platforms and announcements on multiple social media accounts and websites. If you made yourself impossible to get ahold of, I won't be paying for it. 

Stretch Goals and Rewards

All other Red Markets' projects are on hold until I receive billing from the fulfillment services. 

While I am extremely grateful for the generosity of backers thus far, it is entirely possible that I've miscalculated on the new shipping fees and will have to pay more out of pocket for the reduced shipping costs than anticipated (sorry; I never claimed to be anything but new to this). This means that pre-order profits and tip jar funds might get eaten up by shipping costs...just like the depleted stretch goal budget they were meant to replace. 

Let's be clear about what this means. Firstly, I'm not complaining; it was my mistake to offer international shipping when I was unprepared for its challenges, and I'll pay for that mistake. Nor am I cancelling any rewards or stretch goals; I'm at peace with running this as a zero-profit venture, and I can fund promised stretch goals and rewards with future sales if demand stays steady. Most importantly, I want it understood that I'm not asking for more money or passing the hat here.

What I am saying is that stretch goals and the novella reward will certainly be late. I can work on writing because I don't have to pay myself, but I can't risk contracting out work to necessary, talented freelancers until the shipping bill is completely paid. I need to make sure I have the funds to pay them before promising work. That may take time as I work to promote the game, sell books, and wait for quarterly payments/conventions to arrive. 

If I calculated shipping correctly, there should be funds left over from the add-ons, preorders, and generous tips from BackerKit. In that case, I'll get started immediately on the next reward once the last bill clears. But I have screwed this up before, and I need to plan as if it is possible I will do so again. I hope you all understand and bear with me as we work to get the project completed as fast as possible. 

As always, thank you for supporting Red Markets. Let me know if you have questions in the comments or in a message. I'm here to help.

Otherwise, I'll be signing off on updates for awhile; I know it must have gotten tiresome over the summer. I'll keep quiet until the books arrive in their warehouses.

Have a good day,


Today is the Last Day for BackerKit
21 days ago – Sat, Sep 02, 2017 at 08:34:46 PM

Four years of writing, playtesting, fundraising, and work...and they were just sitting on my doorstep when I got home from work yesterday afternoon. It almost doesn't feel real.

The advanced copies are in. The books are printed, bound, and being loaded onto pallets in China. It will still be a few weeks before anyone gets copies on their door, but the process has begun.

BackerKit surveys will be locked and cards will be charged at 10:00 p.m. CST tonight, September 2nd. This is the last reminder. 

The books look good: better than I even could have hoped at the beginning of this project. I'm very proud of them and can't wait for you to see them. 

That's all I wanted to say. I hope everyone has a good weekend. 



Important Announcement: Przemek Lech, Red Markets, and the 48 Hour Countdown
23 days ago – Fri, Sep 01, 2017 at 12:31:21 AM

We're really coming down to the wire here. Please read carefully; we only have 48 hours until BackerKit surveys are locked down. We will be getting to the brass tacks soon, but before that...

Przemek Lech

Przemek Lech is an illustrator and concept artist out of Canberra, Australia. Midway through the Red Markets Kickstarter, “Prez” approached me with some fantastic character designs and a desire to work on the book. He was utterly professional, quick, and skilled throughout…

...then I went and forgot to include his name on the contributor’s page. 

The book was already printed by the time someone clued me into my dumb mistake. But this isn't so much a mistake as a sin. I've erased this talented person's name from a book after his fine work deeply shaped its message; hell, his art is some of the first included in the book! He sets the tone! My mistake in leaving him off the page may have been an "honest" one, but sometimes mastery of a skill is tantamount and equivalent to morality. I really failed in my responsibility as a publisher on this one, and I feel like a real piece of shit for it. 

Prez has been an utter saint regarding this issue (note I'm intentionally not using the word "professional" despite the fact that he clearly is one; a professional would remain so after rightfully gutting me for this screw up). He even forgave me the responsibility of making this update part apology. But he deserves more than that, so we'll be using his art for the remainder of this update and hopefully boost his SEO. I'd also appreciate it if you hit up his DeviantArt or ArtStation to heap praise upon his work, share a heartfelt "fuck Caleb," or, better yet, hire him to make you some pretty pictures.

His name is entered in the latest version of the PDF and any editions/reprints we may have moving forward. I've also made a contributors page on the website to ensure the book can be claimed as the bravura artistic achievement it is by its dedicated staff...even if their boneheaded publisher has another brain fart.

Alright, on to the logistical stuff. 

Getting ready for take off
Getting ready for take off

48 Hour Deadline

THE BACKERKIT DEADLINE IS THIS SATURDAY, AUGUST 2nd. We are a mere 48 hours away from locking down all shipping, add-ons, and preorders. Previous updates have talked about what lockdown means for consumers and our tentative timetable for fulfillment.

There are still 36 outstanding backers that are owed physical rewards and don't have their surveys completed. That's a pretty good number out of 1570 backers, but I don't want anybody leaving disappointed if there is any other way. 

If you are one of those backers and didn't fill out the survey because shipping costs were too high, we took care of that.

If you read the explanation about shipping costs and are still bent out of shape about them...sorry? I've said my peace on the issue. No shipping = no book AND no refund. Good luck with your protest.

Sadly, the ill-informed are going to be in the same boat as the obstinate come August 2nd. This is the SEVENTH update in two months regarding BackerKit and fulfillment. Hebanon Games has hordes of people waiting to ship your products, and I've been screaming about the deadline on every platform I have available. I'm not going to be held responsible for contact information that isn't updated after all this effort. I've done everything I possibly can.

Legitimate mail screw ups will still be fixed, of course, but the fault has to lie on my end or in the hands of the fulfillment service. All these updates are to make sure everyone has their card information, contact info, and address correct and ready to go for Saturday.

It approaches. Prepare yourself.
It approaches. Prepare yourself.

A Quick Plea to International Backers

The printers are shaving off enough hardbacks and softcovers to fulfill international orders and sending them to Kixto in the UK. The US backer orders and the remainder of the books are headed to the US distributor. This means that the number of books I send to the UK has to be as close as possible to the number of books ordered by international backers. Any extra books left overseas will likely not be available to reship to my home (not without destroying all profit I might make from selling said book). If the pallet is short...well, we know how much everyone loves international shipping rates out of the US.

So if you're considering adding-on a hardcover at 11:59 pm CST on August 2nd, please do so today instead. If you've got friends holding off on pre-ordering until the 11th hour, please don't wait. If you plan to cancel a preorder or add-on, do me a solid and alter the order now so your former book isn't thrown into the Atlantic. I've got to keep Hong Kong updated on how many books go on each pallet, and earlier is better. 

Why didn't she read the updates? WHY?!
Why didn't she read the updates? WHY?!

So Close

Okay, that's the end of my nagging/mea culpa fusion update. I'll have another reminder Saturday morning. As always, thanks for the time and support. Let me know if you have any issues that need my attention via message or in the comments. 

BackerKit Deadline Approaching!
29 days ago – Fri, Aug 25, 2017 at 06:50:56 PM

Proofs Approved

The printing process has gone well. I've received and approved the F&G proofs. "Folded and Gathered" proofs are the last step before seeing a finished project. The page quality and color is exactly as it will appear in the book, and the pages are cut to the dimensions of the final product. All that remains is to sew the signatures (the packets of pages) into the binding of the hardbacks and paperbacks. You can see what the F&Gs look like below.

There's my baby with her guts spilled out all over the table...
There's my baby with her guts spilled out all over the table...


Just waiting on binding
Just waiting on binding

I've already confirmed shipping addresses and timetables with both Kixto and IPR. They are both ready to receive pallets. The dice have already been shipped to site, and international dice already have their VAT paid. We're just waiting on Asia Pacific to finish the binding, load up the pallets, and send the books on their way. 

Sept. 2nd Deadline

We are on pace for the September 2nd deadline. Here are some things to note.

If you do not complete your survey and pay shipping through BackerKit by September 2nd, you will not receive physical rewards. The need to pay shipping fees through BackerKit was communicated during the Kickstarter campaign and subsequent updates. Hebanon Games has neither the money, time, inclination, nor responsibility to debate, renegotiate, or acquiesce on the issue of shipping fees. The majority of backers have already filled out surveys and prepared for the charges (thank you!). Those that do not pay their shipping fees by the September 2nd deadline will not receive a book; their books will be resold to the general public once Red Markets goes live on IPR. This information is being mirrored on our BackerKit account, the Red Markets websites, and the author's personal accounts; "I didn't hear about it" will not be accepted as an excuse.

If you cannot be charged through BackerKit on September 2nd, you will not receive physical rewards. Hebanon Games is not responsible for the individual finances of backers; the funds for shipping fees, add-ons, and pre-orders need to be made available September 2nd. Errors in charging cards by BackerKit and/or Stripe will be dealt with by the publisher and through those services. Errors in charging cards that result from a failure to enter the correct card number are the responsibility of the backer. Efforts will be made to help in instances where mistakes were made in good faith, but the book's shipment will not be delayed by individual billing issues. Hebanon Games will not be paying to ship rewards in instances where cards could no be charged.

Add-ons and preorders will no longer be available September 2nd. All physical add-ons and pre-orders (i.e. books) will be shipped along with original backer rewards (i.e. books and occasionally dice). Additional copies of Red Markets and preorder copies for those who missed the Kickstarter will not be available through BackerKit after Sept. 2nd. From that point forward, physical copies must be purchased through Indie Press Revolution and other licensed distributors. If you have friends that still wish to preorder the book before Sept. 2nd, please direct them to the following link:

Please ensure your address, credit card information, phone number, and email address are all updated in BackerKit (NOT Kickstarter) before September 2nd. This information is of vital importance to the delivery of your goods. The need for an address is obvious, as is the means of paying shipping fees. The contact information is necessary in case fulfillment services need to contact you to resolve problems.


  • Address 
  • Credit Card Info 
  • Phone Number 
  • Email Address

Finally, Digital awards will be distributed electronically through BackerKit as they become available. I will resume my typical progress updates once the shipping of physical rewards is completed and out of the way.


That's everything people need to know about the upcoming deadline. For those interested in more details, here's what I can tell you.

  • September 2nd: Backerkit surveys are locked, credit/debit cards are charged, and preorders/addons shut down
  • September 5th: Hebanon Games pays shipping fees to the printer, and the pallets exit China headed towards their respective warehouses.
  • Approx. 1-2 weeks: Pallets of books arrive in the USA and UK.
  • Soon After: I transfer the shipping/handling/packaging fees collected from BackerKit to the fulfillment services. Red Markets goes on sale through IPR.
  • Upon Payment: Fulfillment services begin shipping backer rewards, add-ons, preorders, and first sales to customers.
  • TBD: Books and/or dice arrive at the whim of your national postal services.
  • In Future: Funds collected from the Backerkit tipjar, preorders, add-ons, and sales will go towards a new round of contracts for the layout, art, and writing of stretch goal digital supplements. 

If there are additional questions or comments, please let me know in the comments or via direct message. I can be found on twitter @HebanonGCal. Don't forget to listen to my podcast The Mixed Six, and the many Red Markets actual plays over at RPPR (with another campaign in progress). 

Again, thank you for all your attention and support. Here's hoping we'll all have books very soon!

September 2nd: BackerKit Deadline
about 2 months ago – Tue, Aug 08, 2017 at 10:02:45 PM


Here's an update for everyone on the inside baseball currently going on with Red Markets. I've been given the following timetable by the printers. 

August 8th: F&Gs exit China
This stands for "Folded and Gathered." It's the entire book assorted into its final order. The only thing that has yet to be completed is trimming pages and binding. This is also called a "non-approval proof" because there's basically nothing we can do about errors at this point. However, I can pay to alter pages by hand if something is serious enough, but that's going to have to be a flagrant problem. Hopefully, we caught all of those during the last proofing phase with the help of the fantastic backers that contributed to the Group Proofing Document. 

August 16th: F&Gs arrive
I'll need to go over the proof when it arrives and "approve" it. Like I said, preview is more the point than approval at this stage. The review should go quickly and take little more than an email to execute. If it doesn't, I'll need to sob, tear out my hair, and actually deal with any problems; that could delay matters (especially the sobbing part).

August 30th: Advanced Copies

I should get to see an actual book in my hands by this date. Regardless of how it looks, tears and writhing around on the ground will likely be involved. It could be my-child-was-just-born sobbing or stock-market-crashed-where-is-the-nearest-window sobbing, but I'll probably need a bit to compose myself either way. Don't expect much in the way of online communication for a few days. It's likely I'll slip into some sort of catatonic fugue state.

September 5th: Ready-to-Send
At this point, the books will be ready to ship to IPR (domestic backers) and Kixto (international backers). I'll pay the last 20% of my printing fee, they'll load them on a ship, and off they go. This 20% was budgeted in the Kickstarter, so it is ready and waiting. I'll be ready to go as soon as the pallets are loaded.

Upon Arrival

I've already packaged the dice by hand and sent them off to IPR and Kixto. Upon arrival of the books, I'll need to pay the combined shipping, packaging, and labor costs to IPR and Kixto before they start assembling rewards and sending them out. 

Tentative Deadline for the BackerKit: September 2nd

Backerkit warns me it can take up to ten days for funds to transfer once cards are charged. Charging cards on the 2nd gives me two weeks for the money to arrive and a little less for the slow boat from China to get books to the USA and UK fulfillment warehouses.

At this point, the plan is to charge accounts on Saturday, September 2nd. When cards are charged, we will stop collecting pre-orders, finalize addresses entered into BackerKit (NOT Kickstarter; BACKERKIT), and any backers with shipping fees unpaid will not receive their book. By charging on Sept. 2nd, I can get the money to the fulfillment services promptly and start shipping to individual backers and preorder customers immediately. This would put the earliest books on doorsteps around late September/ early October, though I can't promise exactly when they will arrive. The changes in international shipping mean packages will not be tracked and remain at the whims of multiple national postal systems.

This date is tentative in that it may be pushed back. The timeline I received from the printer is, in many ways, a best case scenario. As you may have noticed, the process is almost entirely out of my hands at this point. Any delays that happen will be news to me as well as the Red Markets community. If things do get pushed back, I'll let everyone know and leave the BackerKit up for pre-orders that much longer.

But since I know the earliest possible charge date now, I figured I would share it now and let people plan accordingly. Being open and honest about timelines and cost has never bit me in the ass before, right? :-)

Other News

Summer is ending and the old day job is starting up again. Between that and the minutia of printing and shipping, I've contributed nothing to other stretch goals or rewards in the last month. Sorry. 

In better news, the new PDF on BackerKit has bookmarks now and a lot of corrected typos. Go download a fresh copy if you haven't already. 

Fans have also been making a ton of cool stuff, some of which fulfilled our social media stretch goals better than I ever could. You can check it all out at the resources page. Adam L's character generator still had me in awe when Eric Bright coded a web app that basically runs the whole game for you. Eric's still adding to it, so go check it out and give him some feedback. Then Daniel went overboard and created three separate campaign sheets for designing scores and tracking NPCs, a playmat that blows my crappy PowerPoint job out of the water, and a printable GM screen I couldn't have made with twenty years InDesign experience and a genie. As if those over-achievers weren't enough, the LifeLines Forums are active with a ton of talented people that are pumping out high-quality material every hour of the day. Get on there if you haven't yet already. 

As for you going to the Mr. JOLS of nerdom this year, I sadly can't make it on account of work. The entirety of the RPPR crew will be there though, so be sure to check out their events. If you want to hear me, I'm still on their podcasts as well as doing my own thing on The Mixed Six.

Hit me up in the comments or @HebanonGCal if you have questions.