The Board Game Design Course

Where great games begin

Game Design

Kickstarter board game planning (wrap-up)

Over the past few months, I’ve been sharing with you how to put together and run a Kickstarter board game campaign, from developing your plan, to building your page, to determining your pricing, and everything in between. I hope you’ve gotten a lot out of this series!

Today we’re going to wrap up this series by talking about what to do when and how to keep on top of everything before, during, and after your campaign.

But first, here’s a quick recap from the first article in this series on all the major components of a successful campaign and timelines for each:

  • 8-12 months prior – Put together a project plan and start promoting your game
  • 8 months prior – Find an artist and commission some art for your game
  • 6-8 months prior – Set up your landing page and email service provider
  • 6 months prior – Set up a Facebook group for your game (optional)
  • 4 months prior – Get manufacturing quotes
  • 3-4 months prior – Record your Kickstarter video or hire this out
  • 3 months prior – Contact reviewers and influencers
  • 3 months prior – Start putting together your Kickstarter page and launch your promo page
  • 2 months prior – Research and determine your fulfilment partners
  • 1 month prior – Finalize pledge levels, pricing, and stretch goals
  • 1 month prior – Get feedback on your Kickstarter page and make improvements
  • 1 month prior – Run ads leading up to your campaign (optional)

Keep in mind that these are guidelines, not hard and fast rules. If you want to start any of these activities earlier, that’s fine. I’d recommend not waiting too much later than any of the timelines above if you want to keep things running smoothly.

Make a plan and stick to that plan

As alluded to above, the first step is to come up with a project plan. This will help you time things out so that you can stay on track and know right away if you’re falling behind on any task or if something needs your attention.

When making a project plan, it helps to think about your end goal and then work backwards from here. So, if your end goal is to launch your game on Kickstarter, try to estimate how much time you will need to complete all the important steps that go into this.

Make sure to be reasonable. If you’re doing this on the side and you have a demanding full-time job, a family with small children, and other responsibilities, you’ll want to take all this into account. In any case, allow for more time than you think you’ll need, as many tasks, especially those you are learning for the first time, will take much longer than you expect.

Once you’ve laid everything out, you’ll have a good idea of how long you’ll actually need to pull everything off. This will help you determine your launch date. However, if you need to push back your launch date because something isn’t ready or you haven’t built enough of a following, don’t be afraid to push back this date. Nobody will fault you for this.

Refer back to your project plan daily, or at least weekly, so that you are always on top of the most pressing next steps. Continue to use and update your plan, crossing off tasks, making adjustments, and looking for help where needed.

That last point is really important and deserves more attention. So, let’s talk about this in more detail.

Getting help when you need it

You can’t do it all. Running a Kickstarter campaign is a lot of work and you can really burn yourself out.

It’s ok to ask for help.

In fact, it’s highly advisable. It will help your physical, emotional, and mental health.

This could be in form of hiring an artist, graphic designer, rulebook creator, video creator or others. If you don’t have training in any of these skills, you’ll want to work with others, as they will help make your game look and play so much better, attracting more potential backers. They are well worth the investment.

But the help doesn’t have to end there.

You can and probably should ask for help during your campaign through answering backer questions and completing other small tasks. You could enlist the help of your partner, a friend, or anyone else you trust. 

If you’re unsure of how to promote and market your game, there are agencies that can help with this. If you go this route, just make sure to work with a reputable one that has had success with board games on Kickstarter and wants to work with you to promote your game and build your following in advance.

If someone contacts you part way through your campaign with promises to show your campaign to tens of thousands of Kickstarter backers, just ignore these requests. They sound too good to be true because they are. They are promoting to anyone on their list, not your target audience, and you won’t get the results you want. Don’t fall for their promises. Nobody can turn a dismal campaign into a hit.

Also, make sure to give anyone you’re working with plenty of time. Stay in close communication with them. Everyone has their own schedule and other projects, so if you leave things too late or have to keep coming back with more and more little things in a piecemeal manner, it will make it more difficult for them to meet your timelines.

Once your campaign ends

You’ve met your funding goal and it’s time to celebrate. Congratulations!

But the work doesn’t end here. Make sure to stay on top of everything, ensuring your files are sent to your manufacturer and everything looks good with your digital sample, physical sample, and the final product.

Get your game tested. Ensure all the proper markings are on the box.

Keep in touch with your backers. Whether the update is good, bad, or ugly, be open in your communications to your backers, sharing the progress and letting them know if anything is falling behind schedule. Alleviate any concerns as well by letting backers know what you’re doing to ensure everything stays on track.

Make a plan, stick to it and see it through, and get help along the way. Then keep your backers engaged and informed while ensuring your project stays on track as best as you can. Doing these things will help to keep you on track, build backer trust, as well as keep you sane!

That wraps up this series on preparing for and launching your first Kickstarter campaign. I hope you’ve found this helpful.

Next week we’re going to start looking at what board game mechanics work best with different styles of games. I think you’re going to really enjoy it (and learn a lot!).

What questions do you still have about running a Kickstarter campaign?

Please let me know by leaving a comment.

Want to know how to launch your game on Kickstarter and keep your campaign running smoothly? Download my free Kickstarter Checklist now!

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