Funded through Kickstarter on August 11, 2012 ($35,038 funded; $1,000 requested), Axes & Anvils has a troubled history.
With physical products due to backers in November 2012, only a 17-page playtest digital version of the rules - which were incomplete and unplayable - were delivered before publisher Castle Nystul announced that it was completely out of money in March 2013. While other Castle Nystul products found saviors, Axes & Anvils stayed with creator Mike Nystul.
While maintaining that he would somehow, someway deliver all of the rewards to backers, Nystul delivered a 79-page digital draft on July 30, 2013 with the substantial assistance of Andrew Shields who was brought in to help with the design. While far superior to the November 2012 playtest version, it remained some time until any further news was heard after assurances that the project was being worked on back in 2015.
In December 2019, this state of events changed suddenly with the Andrew Shields announcing that he had managed to complete now 169-page RPG - and it was being provided in digital format to all Kickstarter backers who would have been eligible for a PDF copy of the original, with additional electronic rewards available to people who had backed for larger amounts, though no physical rewards would be being shipped. After explaining that none of the original money had been received by the new company, a discount was offered on physical books bought through DrivethruRPG's print on demand service to backers who had pledged for a physical copy in the initial project.