Dear crowdfunding publishers: Chill out with the content stretch goals

Sacrosanct

Legend
I've done a few KS in the past, and as a general rule, I stay way from a lot of stretch goals. And the ones I do, are product enhancing, not new stuff. For example, the Twilight Fables KS I just wrapped up hit my one stretch goal at $50K--offset printing rather than POD.

I do add content, but mostly that's based on request and for things that are easily done without jeopardizing the project at all (like my Creature Card add-ons). I'm not a fan of a lot of stretch goals or add-ons for things that are essentially just flair.
 

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Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
I wonder what it would be like if there were a way to opt out of stretch goals. Like, once a project hits its funding goal, a backer could go down the list of stickers and dice and premium leather whatever, and just click a "No Thanks" button next to each. Judging from this thread, I bet that about a third of all backers would use that feature.
How do you mean opt out? Just say "I'd like a version of the book without the extra chapter, please?" I've never seen a stretch goal which forces you to buy extra dice.
 


Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Supporter
There's another aspect of this to consider...

It won't apply to many stretch goals, but for content stretch goals... often times this is the creative's *one chance" to get that material made and out there. "Save it for the next Kickstarter," only works if there is a next Kickstarter.

And, a "supplement only" offering is almost certainly going to do more poorly than the starting "core only" Kickstarter. If the original is a marginal proposition, the second one is unlikely to succeed at all.
 

Ath-kethin

Elder Thing
How do you mean opt out? Just say "I'd like a version of the book without the extra chapter, please?" I've never seen a stretch goal which forces you to buy extra dice.
Also, isn't opting out of stretch goals accomplished by just waiting for the retail version of the product anyway?

It's rare, in my experience, for the crowdfunded version of a product to be lower in price than the production version. Unless of course you count additional content (from stretch goals) that gets added in the campaign but must be purchased separately (or just isn't available) once the product hits store shelves.
 

Whizbang Dustyboots

Gnometown Hero
But Monte Cook himself strongly recommends having stretch goals, and he gives a good reason for them. In his book Kicking It: Successful Crowdfunding, Cook points out that stretch goals are how you get backers to bring in more backers. The trick, as he also stresses, is making sure that you account for the added work those stretch goals entail ahead of time, so they don't slow down campaign fulfillment.
I hadn't heard he'd written such a book. I should check that out.

If he wrote it after his (second) Ptolus crowdfunding campaign, does he do a postmortem on it? Because while I was a guaranteed backer (I'd been using the 3E version from 2006 for a campaign that's been running ever since), the 5E/Cypher campaign was a really mixed bag, with terrible communication and a weird and obscure stretch goals system.

"Would you like us to have a Spire, Dungeon or City stretch goal next? They generally mean X, Y and Z, except there will be several times when they won't mean that, and you'll never know what you're voting for in the poll before the survey is over."

It was meant to increase interest, but it mostly seemed to just irritate everyone, as everyone was wondering if the choice actually was a choice and what folks missed out on if it was. (I would have voted for 5E conversions of all 3E Ptolus products, myself, only about half of which were updated.)

That said, even with the pandemic, they delivered very close to on time (no one can control pandemic-era shipping issues) and with a rock-solid product.
 

Ath-kethin

Elder Thing
I hadn't heard he'd written such a book. I should check that out.

If he wrote it after his (second) Ptolus crowdfunding campaign, does he do a postmortem on it? Because while I was a guaranteed backer (I'd been using the 3E version from 2006 for a campaign that's been running ever since), the 5E/Cypher campaign was a really mixed bag, with terrible communication and a weird and obscure stretch goals system.

"Would you like us to have a Spire, Dungeon or City stretch goal next? They generally mean X, Y and Z, except there will be several times when they won't mean that, and you'll never know what you're voting for in the poll before the survey is over."

It was meant to increase interest, but it mostly seemed to just irritate everyone, as everyone was wondering if the choice actually was a choice and what folks missed out on if it was. (I would have voted for 5E conversions of all 3E Ptolus products, myself, only about half of which were updated.)

That said, even with the pandemic, they delivered very close to on time (no one can control pandemic-era shipping issues) and with a rock-solid product.
The book was published somewhere around 2013; I'm not sure when the campaign you describe took place.

The book was co-written with Shanna Germain; while I don't think I've ever backed a campaign by Cook himself, I've backed a few by her. It's all MCG, of course, but for all I liked in Ptolus when I saw it I knew I'd never use it, whereas I used No Thank You, Evil! to transition my kid from board games like HeroQuest to fully cerebral TTRPGs like Basic Fantasy, Rules Cyclopedia D&D, and then DCC.
 

Whizbang Dustyboots

Gnometown Hero
The book was published somewhere around 2013; I'm not sure when the campaign you describe took place.

The book was co-written with Shanna Germain; while I don't think I've ever backed a campaign by Cook himself, I've backed a few by her. It's all MCG, of course, but for all I liked in Ptolus when I saw it I knew I'd never use it, whereas I used No Thank You, Evil! to transition my kid from board games like HeroQuest to fully cerebral TTRPGs like Basic Fantasy, Rules Cyclopedia D&D, and then DCC.
I hear ya. For as much as I back nowadays, I'm very strict about my rule of "but will I use it?" I don't have the space, time or money for things that I won't.

So I didn't back Planebreaker, for instance (although I did play in a game of it at GenCon Online this year), because (spoiler alert) no one can travel from Ptolus out into the larger multiverse and I don't need a slew of new planar monsters and races at this time.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Supporter
Also, isn't opting out of stretch goals accomplished by just waiting for the retail version of the product anyway?

It's rare, in my experience, for the crowdfunded version of a product to be lower in price than the production version.

It is not rare, however, for the crowdfunded version to be the only version. Many crowdfunded projects never make it to the retail channel.
 


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