How do you feel about stretch goals?

Sacrosanct

Legend
Publisher
It's no secret that some of the bigger 3PP publishers just released kickstarters that both have taken off like gangbusters. Now probably isn't the best time for smaller publishers to launch a kickstarter, but now is a great time to keep planning for the next one.

I'd like to talk about stretch goals, and how do you feel about them. Are you more likely to back if some of the stretch goals are really neat? What kind of stretch goals do you like more than others?

Personally, I don't care that much about swag--t shirts, buttons, etc. I do like things like extra books, minis, and things I can use.

NOTE: For those that don't run kickstarters or do publishing, the type of stretch goal matters a lot. Adding things that are digital (pdfs, stl files) are super easy to add. But when you add swag or minis, that makes you completely re-evaluate your distribution and fulfillment. I am no expert, so I fully expect someone to correct me, but if all you have are books, it's easy for you to use a company like DTRPG to handle printing and shipping on your behalf. You yourself don't need to package anything. But if you add other items, then you're looking at having a 3rd part fulfillment company, which of course eats into profits. You ship them the books, then also ship them the additional materials, and have them consolidate and package to customers. You can do it all yourself, naturally, but once you get over 100 backers or so, that gets really time-consuming and isn't very efficient.

Here is what I have as a baseline--the core options. As stretch goals, I'm thinking of having STL files. They are digital and easy to fulfill. I'm also toying with physical metal minis as well, depending on how successful the project would be. STL are niche because it relies on the backer having access to a 3d printer themself, so physical minis have a greater demographic. But that means running into the packaging issue I mentioned above.

Thus I'm asking the hivemind. What sorts of stretch goals, if any, would you find appealing?

promoad rough web.jpg
 

log in or register to remove this ad

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
I am no expert, so I fully expect someone to correct me, but if all you have are books, it's easy for you to use a company like DTRPG to handle printing and shipping on your behalf. You yourself don't need to package anything. But if you add other items, then you're looking at having a 3rd part fulfillment company, which of course eats into profits. You ship them the books, then also ship them the additional materials, and have them consolidate and package to customers. You can do it all yourself, naturally, but once you get over 100 backers or so, that gets really time-consuming and isn't very efficient.
Well, if you're doing an offset print run rather than print on demand, you still need to do all that stuff (well, ideally you partner with a fulfillment company as you suggested) -- but the cost of printing them is a fraction of the cost of PoD. Even with a fulfillment company it's still way better than the margins you'll end up with using a PoD service.

But back the topic at hand -- pins, badges, hats, bags, etc. don't appeal to me at all, but they're clearly very popular. Stuff which increases the size of the core product doesn't appeal to me, as by definition it extends the fulfillment time. So generally, I'm wary of stretch goals. I've seen too many Kickstarters get carried away and overextend themselves, and land themselves with a fulfillment burden which is still following them a couple of years later.
 

CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
Eh, they're nice to have I guess...within reason.

It's nice to get a little trinket or souvenir for backing the project and helping it get off the ground, something you can show off to your friends. Like a concert t-shirt, you can point at the paperweight or keychain or whatever and say "Oh yeah, I guess you could say I'm a pretty big fan, I was playing Tunnels & Trolls long before it got all popular." Or you can run your finger over the deluxe leather-bound cover and say "Dang, that is a nice book. You won't be able to get this in stores." I like wearing my "Legend of Vox Machina" beanie cap under my hard hat when I'm doing construction inspections, and I love it when other Critter engineers and contractors spot it.

But it's starting to get out of hand. Lately, a lot of Kickstarters have been pumping out more material and content in their stretch goals than they are in the original product. Sometimes these Kickstarters even paint themselves into a corner by overpromising on stretch goals, and then running into issues with production or delivery so severe that it derails the whole project. Locking essential parts of the product behind a funding goal can be a good incentive for raising large amounts of money quickly, but it can lead to dissatisfaction with the overall product if those funding goals aren't met and the project is essentially incomplete.

(And don't get me started on Backerkit, which is used by a lot of Kickstarter projects in the same way that AAA video-game publishers are treating DLC: hiding the cost of the full game behind multiple, separate transactions.)

TL;DR: I like stretch goals, provided they are just minor souvenirs, cosmetic upgrades, and so forth. Especially dice. But having dozens of them, for more and more (and more, and more) content that should have been included in the finished product anyway, is very off-putting for me.
 
Last edited:

Sacrosanct

Legend
Publisher
Stuff which increases the size of the core product doesn't appeal to me, as by definition it extends the fulfillment time. So generally, I'm wary of stretch goals. I've seen too many Kickstarters get carried away and overextend themselves, and land themselves with a fulfillment burden which is still following them a couple of years later.
Agreed. It's one of the reasons I ensure the product is done before launching, and I don't do stretch goals like "add a dozen new monsters", because that adds a ton of extra work to the core product.

Well, if you're doing an offset print run rather than print on demand, you still need to do all that stuff (well, ideally you partner with a fulfillment company as you suggested) -- but the cost of printing them is a fraction of the cost of PoD. Even with a fulfillment company it's still way better than the margins you'll end up with using a PoD service.

I guess it depends on volume. If you've only got 200 or so backers, it makes more sense (to me anyway) to use POD, as many offset companies I've seen require 1000 minimum print runs
 

Arilyn

Hero
I don't really care if it's swag, unless it's really awesome. I dislike stretch goals slowing down the project. I do enjoy bonus content, adventures, that kind of stuff if it's pretty much ready to go. I do agree they can get out of hand.
 
Last edited:

I don't care for them if they increase the production delivery time. Generally speaking, I'm usually only interested in a hardcover TTRPG book and/or the pdf. If add-ons are going to increase the wait above the usual year before I recieve it, that might be a deal breaker.
 

Jer

Legend
Supporter
I dislike physical swag items unless they're actually useful at the table - like dice or decks of cards. Pins, hats, things like that don't interest me (and honestly my house doesn't need more useless junk).

I like digital stretch goals personally - like getting extra adventures with each stretch goal hit and things of that nature.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
It's no secret that some of the bigger 3PP publishers just released kickstarters that both have taken off like gangbusters. Now probably isn't the best time for smaller publishers to launch a kickstarter, but now is a great time to keep planning for the next one.

I'd like to talk about stretch goals, and how do you feel about them. Are you more likely to back if some of the stretch goals are really neat? What kind of stretch goals do you like more than others?

Personally, I don't care that much about swag--t shirts, buttons, etc. I do like things like extra books, minis, and things I can use.

NOTE: For those that don't run kickstarters or do publishing, the type of stretch goal matters a lot. Adding things that are digital (pdfs, stl files) are super easy to add. But when you add swag or minis, that makes you completely re-evaluate your distribution and fulfillment. I am no expert, so I fully expect someone to correct me, but if all you have are books, it's easy for you to use a company like DTRPG to handle printing and shipping on your behalf. You yourself don't need to package anything. But if you add other items, then you're looking at having a 3rd part fulfillment company, which of course eats into profits. You ship them the books, then also ship them the additional materials, and have them consolidate and package to customers. You can do it all yourself, naturally, but once you get over 100 backers or so, that gets really time-consuming and isn't very efficient.

Here is what I have as a baseline--the core options. As stretch goals, I'm thinking of having STL files. They are digital and easy to fulfill. I'm also toying with physical metal minis as well, depending on how successful the project would be. STL are niche because it relies on the backer having access to a 3d printer themself, so physical minis have a greater demographic. But that means running into the packaging issue I mentioned above.

Thus I'm asking the hivemind. What sorts of stretch goals, if any, would you find appealing?

View attachment 155338
Is rather see stretch goals that bring more people in to the project, increase quality, etc, than add swag. And too many goals just make my eyes glaze over and I stop caring.
 

J.Quondam

CR 1/8
I generally don't care about fancy covers, ribbon bookmarks, etc; and usually pass on those if given the option.
I'm very wary of anything that adds onto the the base product, including added "core" content, "upgraded" art, etc. (eg, Extra classes often fall into this category.)
What I do like is supplemental content that come in the form of booklets or files separate from the base product. (eg, This often includes things like short adventure/s for a core system or setting.) Basically, I like items that don't interfere with delivery of the core product, but that can help me get additional use out of it even if they come later.

I really do not like tchochkes like stickers, buttons, etc, since they just end up sitting in a drawer or contributing to clutter.
I don't typically use physical minis, decks or other such game pieces, so they get a meh from me too. Exception: Dice are always fun.
 

payn

Legend
Most of the time the stretch goals are just nice to have things. I typically toss down my payment for the game/book/PDF/Etc and sit back an watch. The only time I look on with anticipation, and thus willing to toss more money into the backing, is with Reaper Bones. They have so many stretch goals and some are meh, some are cool, and some are just gotta have. Paint sets, add ons, etc.. can get me to put in more dough. If its a coat patch or key chain I dont really care.
 

JThursby

Adventurer
Do you guys remember the Order of the Stick kickstarter that set a backer record in it's time? It kept on adding more stretch goals the more backer money was added, and it ended up delaying everything (including the comic itself) by years. Ever since I've been skeptical of Kickstarters that show signs of run-away scope expansion. In general I run most of my games on VTTs now, so stretch goals that provide VTT-ready assets are what will appeal to me. I could care less for physical knick knacks, and things like minis are usually a gamble between decent quality and subpar so I don't seek them out.
 

edosan

Explorer
I tend to be skeptical of stretch goals because what seems to happen is either (1) the publisher already has that stuff done and is holding out to incite more FOMO (In which case are they just going to delete all that stuff? No, they'll put it in the next expansion I'll be paying for) or (2) they don't have it ready now and has to scramble out a bunch of possibly untested material that they did not plan on to meet a new deadline (Or for physical upgrades it means it's going to take longer for me to get my grubby paws on that book)

Several of the Kickstarters I've signed up for lately have taken the "we're not doing stretch goals, we're just giving you the whole package up front" which I appreciate more.

Do you guys remember the Order of the Stick kickstarter that set a backer record in it's time? It kept on adding more stretch goals the more backer money was added, and it ended up delaying everything (including the comic itself) by years.

Unfortunately, too many Kickstarters are plagued by not understanding how long it takes to produce things like upgrades as the scope of the project increases. Even little things like adding a ribbon to a book takes time.
 
Last edited:

Depends a bit on the nature of the stretch goals: I like stretch goals that add adventures to a new system, increase the budget for illustrations, or make the physical book nicer (though I rarely back for physical stuff these days); I don't really care for stuff outside the core product (unless it's really nice dice, then I sometimes get tempted).

Side note: sometimes there's also stretch goals that increase the rates contributors get - it was never something that influenced my decision to back something too much, but it's still nice if people involved get a bit more.
 

Davies

Legend
There has been at least one occasion where a stretch goal, introduced late in the campaign, made me abandon the whole thing out of concern that the creators had developed impossible expectations. As that particular Kickstarter has yet to release much of what it promised in its stretch goals BEFORE the one that made me back out, I think this was a wise decision.
 

I back a decent amount of stuff on Kickstarter, and I really, really, really don't care about little doodads. I spend enough time agonizing over where to put various nerdy tchochkes I bought years ago and packed away during moves. For me, more of those are just more problems.

I also don't care very much about ribbons, different covers, that sort of thing. If I'm pledging for a physical book I just want the book.

What I do really love in a stretch goal, though, is more content of any kind. I'm good with that being more art or text in the main book, or additional material as PDFs. Or a map (again, don't care if its physical).

I get that stretch goals can muck up a campaign pretty quickly, and I truly hate it when backers get entitled and whiny about them. No matter how many people remind them that stretch goals are a treat, they'll show up in the comments griping away. That said, I think when stretch goals are feasible for TTRPG creators, they really do amp up the enthusiasm, and satisfy those backers who see Kickstarter as some sort of combined team- and spectator-sport. I'm one of those dummies who checks in on campaigns I like, but not enough to back, just to see if they've hit the next goal. Some will surely disagree but even if those goals are as simple as "two more monsters" or "a half-page of story seeds" I think they still go a long way.

(Oh and VTT support is awesome, but that market is so fractured it's hard to tell how much of a plus that is for the overall audience. Even some tokens, though, are appreciated.)
 


Generally speaking, the more stretch goals, the less likely I am to back a Kickstarter. Especially when they have all sorts of stuff that goes beyond just designing and printing a book, like miniatures, a smartphone app, breakfast cereal, etc.

There has been at least one occasion where a stretch goal, introduced late in the campaign, made me abandon the whole thing out of concern that the creators had developed impossible expectations. As that particular Kickstarter has yet to release much of what it promised in its stretch goals BEFORE the one that made me back out, I think this was a wise decision.

Tons of expansions and conversions to other systems makes me leery, too. People always seem to underestimate the effort that goes into that. It's like, just worry about putting it out for one system, with a clearly defined scope.

Really, I pretty much use the Marmoreal Tomb as a "don't do this" baseline for what not to do.

Now, one sort of stretch goal I do like is when they have things like "this person will design a monster/magic item/thingie."
 

When I back kickstarters, especially from small and independent creators, I want them to be able to focus on Making the Thing rather than the project management of coordinating and shipping all the various stretch goals. In some cases the stretch goals add meaningfully to the core project, like paying the creators more or adding more people, which I think is great.

Stretch goals that just add more stuff not only possibly delay the project but seem like aimless consumerism. I don't want a plushie I don't even want a collector's edition; just Make the Thing.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Personally, I don't care that much about swag--t shirts, buttons, etc. I do like things like extra books, minis, and things I can use.

When I am pledging for game products, which is the overwhelming majority of my use of kickstarter, this is my position as well. Extra game materials - expanded setting, extra rules sections, adventures - are all welcome. Improvements to core game materials (like, if your game uses minis as tokens, and your stretch goal is having them pre-painted instead of grey plastic) is fine. It it enhances the game experience, I'll probably find it positive.
 

I like stretch goals that add value or compliment the base product in a meaningful way.

I don't care for T-Shirts, or other such things.
I backed the Grim Hollow - The Monster Grimoire book and was able to download the beta pdfs. IDK if it was a stretch goal or just an add on that they gave out, but it came with a pdf for Grim Hollow Lairs. It's pretty useful and gives lairs (of about 20-25 creatures in the OG book) and are about 3–4-page short adventures. I didn't even notice it until I was looking for something quick to run and came across it in my downloads. This is the stuff I care about. I had an adventure that I could easily drop in anywhere, read and prepped in about 15 minutes, and I almost never use pre-made adventures/scenarios.
 

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top