Game Design

Of course you should use Kickstarter! Except…

There are a number of crowdfunding sites online, but since Kickstarter has really shown itself to be the go-to place for board games, we’ll focus our attention here.

If you’re familiar with Kickstarter, you’ve no doubt seen some of the huge success stories. Tabletop games generally do fairly well on this platform, and there have even some many games that have made millions of dollars here (or have gone on to make millions). However, there are a few things they don’t tell you.

For example, while board games have a relatively high success rate of around 50%, many of the goals are very low and are just barely met. You might have a successful campaign, however, you may only bring in $5,000-$10,000 in revenue. Remember as well that this is revenue, not profit – you still have to deliver a game to all your backers.

This amount may not even be enough to cover your first print run. Moreover, while there is minimal risk, at least up until you meet your funding goal, if you don’t budget well or take into account any of the possible problems that could arise, you could actually lose money on the project. It’s easy to highlight the big successes, but in reality, 1% of board game campaigns are bringing in nearly half of all the money.

And why do the successful campaigns make so much money? It’s usually because the author is well known, and the project has some really phenomenal marketing behind it. If nobody knows who you are and you haven’t been promoting this game heavily leading up to your launch, you’re unlikely to be very successful.

Oh, and all the stats I’ve mentioned above? They’re based on projects that were completed. Canceled projects are not included in these numbers. So the success rate is also inflated.

Did I mention that if you run a Kickstarter campaign and are successful, you’ll now be running your own business? You’ll have to take on all the responsibilities, and will have to figure out shipping, manufacturing, fulfillment, marketing, and all the other things that go along with running a business.

You must be good at budgeting and considering all possible contingencies because if you miss one thing, your once-profitable project will now be losing money. You’re taking on all the risk, but also getting all the rewards.

Everyone I’ve talked to who has run a Kickstarter campaign has said it was a lot more work than he or she ever expected. Oh, and you probably also have a day job, right? These are just a few of the things you want to keep in mind.

This isn’t to say you shouldn’t use Kickstarter. You’ll just want to keep all this in mind if you do!

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.

Are you thinking about using Kickstarter for your game? If so, why?

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