The Board Game Design Course

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Kickstarter Lessons: How to follow up on your success

In my last article, I talked about how to build on the success of your first game in order to build your brand and grow your audience. In this, our last article in the series, we’ll tackle how to follow up on your successes, building on what we discussed last week (and throughout the series).

Depending on how well your game does, you should start thinking about ways you can build on the world you’ve already created.

Let’s look at a couple of different things you could consider.

Expansions

An expansion is something that can be added to your original game. It may extend the life of the game, such as Cards Against Humanity does by adding more content to avoid the game becoming too repetitive. Or it can enhance and build on the original, like all the various expansions for Carcassone, that introduce new scoring and terrain types.

While you won’t sell nearly as many expansions as you would your base game (anecdotally, I’ve heard you can expect 20-30% of people who purchased your game will also buy an expansion), you can be sure there will be some audience for this, as there are people who really enjoyed the original. This can be more of a sure thing than a random new game being introduced.

One lesson that I learned from Everdell is that releasing an expansion shortly after backers receive their game following a Kickstarter campaign (within 1-3 months) can be very effective. Players are excited because their game just arrived and they’ve started to play and enjoy it, so this is a great time to let them know about additional content that is now available for them to try. They will realize that it will take a while before this is delivered anyhow, so it will be something to look forward to once they’ve mastered the original game.

I am going to be taking a similar approach with Relics of Rajavihara, releasing the expansion, Montalo’s Revenge, within 1-3 months of players receiving their game.

The other thing you can do, and I highly recommend you do so if you’re running a Kickstarter campaign for an expansion, is to include the option to order the original game. This can be a good way to cover the cost of a re-print of your game or help you sell additional copies that you made in your first print run.

Even better than this, it allows anyone who missed your original campaign the opportunity to get on board.

Make other games in the same world

Another option is to create another game in the same world as your original game.

Can this strategy work? Well, take a look at all the different versions of Pandemic (Legacy, In the Lab, Cthulu, etc.) and you can see that building on your game or even taking the mechanics, changing them up slightly, and setting your game in another world or region can work very well.

Of course, your game has to work well in this manner. You can’t just throw something together and hope that it sells. It has to be a solid game that players of your original (and newcomers) will enjoy as well.

Frosthaven is a great example of a game that came from the very successful Gloomhaven and went on to break the record for the most-funded game ever on Kickstarter.

While your game might not have sold anywhere near as many copies as Gloomhaven or Pandemic, if you managed to get thousands of backers and generated a lot of ongoing excitement for your game, it’s worth considering creating either another game in the same world or an expansion that your backers will love.

What expansions or other games built in the same world got you the most excited?

Please leave a comment and share your story.

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    Very informative and insightful. I appreciate you taking the time to pass along this information. I’m just now starting to enter the card game creation field and the information you provide is invaluable.
    Keep up the good work!
    Michael Goodman @ handsomecatgames.com (just got the domain name, no site yet)

    Dymino Monsters (still in development)has the following:

    1: 1v1 player mat
    2: Tower defense playmat (core playmat)
    3: Campaign play mats (solo , co-op, multiplayer campaigns)
    4: 4 player battle mat
    5: 50 chapter decks (1 core deck and 49 expansion decks) and counting.

    Out of all of my 30 games I’ve developed, Dymino Monsters has the largest expansion set.

    Jesse