Boardgames in Blighty Kickstarter Project Tips from the Boardgame Media and potential Backers
I have been watching Kickstarter since its inception, in particular, the growth of the boardgame projects. It is true that there has been an explosion in boardgame projects on Kickstarter and I have seen all levels of quality in terms of projects. ISome very good, some, pretty poor. I am getting a pretty regular stream of requests to look at and promote projects. I am also being asked for advice about projects.
To be honest, I don’t have the time nor the interest to promote every project on Kickstarter. My basic criteria for doing so is this…
- The project has to interest me personally as a gamer. The warning here is that I am very selective so I usually won’t be interested in a game that I wouldn’t want to back, although on a rare occasion I will post about a project that I think is interesting even if I won’t back it.
- It has to be priced right. There are too many overblown projects that have far too many extras, usually unnecessary miniatures, and that bloats the price to ridiculous levels.
- Lastly, usually I will only post about projects that are at least EU friendly and preferably have arranged UK distribution. Far too many US based projects don’t even bother with this which I see as inexcusable.
I am not an expert by any means but as a Boardgame media pundit, I certainly have learned a lot from my observations and being involved in a couple of projects myself. So I thought that my level of advice would be useful. I also asked a number of people in the Board Game Media and also those who back Kickstarter projects for their tips for project backers and have listed them for you below. I hope that these tips are useful, although they are hardly exhaustive.
Please comment and add your own tips and let’s turn this post into a useful resource.
My personal tips –
- Your game should be pretty much complete and ready for production. Don’t expect backers to pay for game development.
- Try to have a game that’s reasonably different than the usual Zombies, Fantasy, Cthulhu, Pirates and Space stuff if you want to stand out.
- Your game should be complete. Your backers should not feel that their game is not complete because they cannot afford the add-ons. That’s a bad message and pisses people off.
- Timing is important – Don’t launch your project at a time when there are a lot of new releases such as during a major convention such as Essen or GenCon and during the weeks after. Christmas isn’t a good time either.
- Miniatures are in almost every case, a luxury. They don’t make your game any better, only prettier and more expensive. The more expensive, the more you shrink your potential backer list. There are too many bloated games out there that people buy in the hope that they can sell on for a profit, not because its actually a good game. Zombicide is a prime example of this. Cool Mini or Not projects are a prime example of bloated projects.
- Your video should talk about the game, not you. It should show what the backer gets as a finished product. You don’t need music and it doesn’t need to be funny. It’s all about answering your potential backer’s question – What’s in it for me?
- You must have a How to Play video.
- UPDATE, UPDATE, UPDATE! Keep in touch with your backers, especially post-project, and even more so, if there are production and shipping delays. Update in short bursts. Little and often is the way to go.
- You don’t need a lot of add-on levels with your game. It’s a distraction. The project is about the complete game.
- Early-bird deals are very annoying. They piss off a lot of people. Pitch your project price levels at what you need.
- US Project Owners – Your projects should at least be EU friendly in terms of shipping and preferably you should organise local distribution to keep the price affordable. Think global in terms of your audience and do your homework to ensure everyone is treated fairly. This will build your reputation and your brand.
- You must have previews from well known reviewers. You don’t want backers looking at your project and thinking “uh, who is that?” when they see who has previewed your game. Do your homework and find out who is reputable and has a good following. You may be charged for a preview and it may be worth it.
- Get involved on Twitter in particular. There is a large boardgame community and its a great place to get feedback and start to build interest. BUT… DO NOT only talk about your project, or DM people. Interact with the community, give advice, build connections. Your Twitter presence shouldn’t just be about “Look at my project” You should be on there for a while before you launch.
From the Boardgame Media on Twitter