Dear crowdfunding publishers: Chill out with the content stretch goals

I have noticed that most Kickstarters that offer dice, either as a stretch goal (bad) or as an add-on (better) are outsourcing to either Q Workshop (for ordinary dice) or Level Up Dice (for expensive super-deluxe dice). Both can be counted on, it seems, to deliver on time with clearly agreed-upon shipping rates.

But pursuant to what @Morrus is saying, it's probably worth working out costs, shipping rates and delivery time tables before launching the campaign.
 

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Ath-kethin

Elder Thing
The answer is don't do it. If your stretch goals are goig to delay the core deliverable, don't do it. Find stretch goals which don't delay our core deliverable. For example, in our current Kickstarter, the tretch goals are for a digitial random dungeon generator. They don't affect the core deleverable at all.

If you want to add extra physical stuff, make sure to budget for separate shipping and calculate your stretch goals appropriately. That might make those stetch goals unviable... in which case don't do it.

The general theme of this thread is -- stretch goals delay delivery. Don't do it.
Thank you for answering!

What you just laid out is pretty much how I had interpreted what you were saying, and I appreciate you clarifying/confirming as much.

It's a bummer, but good advice.
 

I have noticed that most Kickstarters that offer dice, either as a stretch goal (bad) or as an add-on (better) are outsourcing to either Q Workshop (for ordinary dice) or Level Up Dice (for expensive super-deluxe dice). Both can be counted on, it seems, to deliver on time with clearly agreed-upon shipping rates.

But pursuant to what @Morrus is saying, it's probably worth working out costs, shipping rates and delivery time tables before launching the campaign.
That should ALWAYS be done. A well run KS by an established company used to running kickstarters will (or certainly should) have all costs and other logical issues fully costed and worked out before the KS launches.

Stretch goals and add ons should rarely if ever be surprises or last minute things.
 

MNblockhead

A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
Since the first project I've backed in 2012, I've backed 106 projects on Kickstarter, one on Indiegogo, and one on the new Backerkit platform. For trusted and proven creators, I'm neutral on stretch goals. I rarely care about most stretch goals. For new creators, I get skittish if I see a lot of stretch goals.

What I really dislike is when stretch goals add content to the core product. I prefer that the creator have a clear vision for the product and not try to bloat it with additional content if they make higher amounts.

Stretch goals I have cared about, include:

  • books that will be softcover, but if they get pledges over X amount they upgrade to hard cover
  • VTT assets for adventures
  • T-shirts, especially if only made available to backers. Kinda dumb, but I like interesting, obscure, and uncommon gaming-related t-shirts.
  • upgraded components for board games (metal instead of plastic, etc.)
  • credit to backers for on-line digital purchases for established companies

Looking at the vitriol I see in the comments of many of the projects I've backed, I feel like I'm extremely understanding of delays. But there are some creators who I've lost respect for and no longer trust because of their poor and unprofessional handling of their Kickstarter projects.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
I know how this works. There are few things in the world I’m a leading expert on, but this, specifically, is one.

Which is great for you. We consumers cannot base our expectations for delivery on the behavior of the small number of extremely successful experts.

You yourself called it a "rookie error". How many creators get to do this enough to not be rookies?
 



Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
Hard for me to get that, when you are replying to me, and I'm not a creator.
You felt that it was hard for you to get that “So don’t let stretch goals affect your core deliverable” was directed at consumers not creators? I’m not sure how to respond to that other than express my surprise. But fair enough.

To clarify in case of confusion, I don’t think that customers have core deliverables they need to avoid being affected by stretch goals. Hopefully that’s clear now! :)
 

ReshiIRE

Adventurer
It's not nice to see father and daddy fighting like this.

To be on point, I fear at this stage in so many ways Kickstarter is treated by customers as an advanced access / early access / pre-order system. I have been guilty of that myself. So with that in mind, why wouldn't crowdfunding publishers want to put in a bunch of stretch goals, to get funds quickly and encourage purchasing?

I'm not sure how to solve that however, or if it can be solved.
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
I fear at this stage in so many ways Kickstarter is treated by customers as an advanced access / early access / pre-order system....

I'm not sure how to solve that however, or if it can be solved.
Why fear? Sure, it is. But why is that a problem or need to be solved?
 

ReshiIRE

Adventurer
Why fear? Sure, it is. But why is that a problem or need to be solved?
I am fairly risk adverse and I don't like the possibility creators and customers using Kickstarter getting harmed, even as a result of their own decisions, because they might be unaware of the full consequences of their actions? Fear was a word used more so for a turn of phrase more than anything.
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
I am fairly risk adverse and I don't like the possibility creators and customers using Kickstarter getting harmed, even as a result of their own decisions, because they might be unaware of the full consequences of their actions? Fear was a word used more so for a turn of phrase more than anything.
I don’t follow. How does a preorder harm anybody?
 

ReshiIRE

Adventurer
I don’t follow. How does a preorder harm anybody?
Pre-order is probably the wrong word choice for Kickstarter, but I suspect some people use it as a pre-order system so the following still has merit.

I don't suspect we will agree on this one (for very good reasons) but:

They're not harmful when we talk about physical or limited edition goods, and are less harmful in the TTRPG world for digital goods, but I am most familiar with pre-orders in the video game industry, and I would say they are harmful there, as it feels like pre-order culture - not waiting for reviews, engaging immediately - has lead to massive disappointment and oftentimes companies getting away with subpar products. It's only a tiny part of it, but it really doesn't make sense the vast majority of the time to pre-order, since a lot of the time those are pre-orders for digital goods that aren't going to be limited in any manner and, by definition, designed to be consumed at ones own pace.
 

CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
It could be argued that fewer stretch goals would result in fewer backers, and that would make it more difficult for all Kickstarters to get funded...especially the smaller, lesser-known ones. You would risk trading the disappointment of shipping delays for the greater disappointment of not getting funded in the first place.

I'm not sure what the answer is, but I'm not a content creator (on Kickstarter or otherwise). I'll trust the advice of @Morrus and @MatthewJHanson on this subject, since I've backed their projects before and I've yet to be disappointed.
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
Publisher
It could be argued that fewer stretch goals would result in fewer backers, and that would make it more difficult for all Kickstarters to get funded...especially the smaller, lesser-known ones. You would risk trading the disappointment of shipping delays for the greater disappointment of not getting funded in the first place.

I'm not sure what the answer is, but I'm not a content creator (on Kickstarter or otherwise). I'll trust the advice of @Morrus and @MatthewJHanson on this subject, since I've backed their projects before and I've yet to be disappointed.
Man, what does it take to make your list? 😉. Now I know how David feels…

Seriously though, I’ve had several people ask me why I use KS if the work is already done and paid for. The simple answer is that by gauging support and funding, I know if it makes sense to do things like offset printing rather then POD. KS is a great tool for that. And a plus for backers, because they get their rewards soon.
 

It could be argued that fewer stretch goals would result in fewer backers, and that would make it more difficult for all Kickstarters to get funded...especially the smaller, lesser-known ones. You would risk trading the disappointment of shipping delays for the greater disappointment of not getting funded in the first place.
I'm not sure I follow. Stretch goals come after the point the project is funded.

And speaking for myself, when I see someone with zero or limited previous projects trotting out something with a ton of stretch goals, that dissuades me from backing the project, rather than encouraging it. (Hence this thread.)

I don't want to put struggling projects on blast, but it's not too hard to look at RPGs on Kickstarter, including some jointly run by successful game companies, and see the projects with newbies and lots of stretch goal ambitions are the ones that sometimes still haven't fulfilled two years on.
 

CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
Man, what does it take to make your list? 😉. Now I know how David feels...
Woops! Sorry for the oversight, but I've also backed your "Chromatic Dungeons" KS last year. I think that was yours... wasn't it? (I'm sure there are others, too. I went thru a phase there for a while, where I was backing tons of gaming content.)
 

I don’t follow. How does a preorder harm anybody?
I suppose it's a matter of expectations: are you purchasing a product or putting money toward a potential project? How much of it is done already? Is it a sure thing? The presentation of many kickstarters suggest that they are nearly finished and that your support is essentially a preorder, but this might not be the case. And when a kickstarter fails or is significantly delayed, there's no recourse for the person who thought they were getting a product.
 

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