Boardgames in Blighty Kickstarter tips for Project owners from Boardgame Media and potential backers

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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…

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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 –

  1. Your game should be pretty much complete and ready for production. Don’t expect backers to pay for game development.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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?
  7. You must have a How to Play video.
  8. 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.
  9. You don’t need a lot of add-on levels with your game. It’s a distraction. The project is about the complete game.
  10. Early-bird deals are very annoying. They piss off a lot of people. Pitch your project price levels at what you need.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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

Research the media person you’re reaching out to – do you think they’d even like your game? Have they been active lately?
List your games’ player count, play time, and suggested ages immediately
Do not contact someone for a preview/review via several media outlets. That’s spamming.
Most media folks do this as a side-job. They have very limited time. You are not their priority. Don’t act like you should be.
When you’re cold emailing someone for a review, attach the rules. In whatever state you have.
Don’t: launch KS without a fully developed product; offer a stripped down “base game” & then cash grab w/add-ons.
I don’t wanna pay for game development… gameplay should be complete.Otherwise it might end up being awful and not what you wanted
I love KS for the “I’ve got an idea, and with your help, I can make it happen.” Doing *some* stuff already is ok, But yeah, when it is clear that EVERYTHING has already been done, and they have final graphics, then they should look at launching the project.
A lot of the things that people class as DONT DO’s actually become very successful projects, even if people don’t like them
However, one very big DO is regular updates, reply to comments and emails. Run the KS as a full time thing, not ‘on the side’
I wrote an article on the subject last year, and it got printed in Ravage Magazine
don’t launch without how to play and review videos ALREADY prepared.
don’t twitter bomb
don’t ask for a review a week before you launch…and definitely not after you launch
having you as a guest on a podcast is not a privilege for us…it’s for you…unless you’re or Etc
you don’t need to be interviewed on every podcast!! Especially if you say the same exact thing on all of them
your exposure on our shows makes you sales…remember that when it comes time for review copies
all the basics, have it play tested, have reviews. Make sure you give plenty of lead to reviewers. Have a rule book
From potential Backers
Don’t assume you’re uniquely immune to the delays which affect every other Kickstarter. Scope your timescale accordingly.
Personally, I loathe seeing early bird specials. It feels like I’m being punished if I have to wait a paycheck to budget.
Not saying they can’t/shouldn’t be used, just that not everyone who would want to back will have the opportunity to do so asap
Don’t: Crap pitch videos and graphics. These should be representative of the quality of the final game. Although I love the project, this is a prime example:
Blood Rage was bad too, for different reasons. Waaaay too long and self-indulgent. The gameplay vid was cringeworthy too.
Watch your stretch goals. Promising too much is foolish.
DO: Show us how it can happen. DON’T: Use it as a pure pre-order system.
don’t DM about your project
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2 thoughts on “Boardgames in Blighty Kickstarter tips for Project owners from Boardgame Media and potential backers”

  1. Recently Ares has been using Kickstarter to fund expansions to existing games. It is an excellent way for a smaller company to find financial support to take a game to the next level. They had exceptional stretch goals as well as bringing on board 3rd party accessories suppliers to add even more value to the project.

    If anyone is looking for a very good example of how to develop, manage and launch a successful kickstarter campaign then theirs are certainly worth a look.

    One last thing, communication is key – they kept us up to date from beginning to end, including not beating around the bush when it came to delays on the final shipping dates.

    Like

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