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Million Dollar TTRPG Kickstarters

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Recently, The One Ring 2nd Edition joined an exclusive club -- Kickstarters for tabletop roleplaying game products which have broken the $1M barrier!

This list comprises Kickstarters specifically for tabletop roleplaying games or supplements which have exceeded $1M. It does not include Kickstarters for miniatures, software, dice, or other accessories.


The first TTRPG Kickstarter to break $1M was 7th Sea: Second Edition by John Wick. The first to break $2M was Strongholds & Streaming by Matt Colville.

In the 12 years since Kickstarter's creation in 2009 until the start of 2021, 4 TTRPG projects beat the $1M mark. In the two months since March 2021, until the time of writing in May 2021, a further 5 projects have done so.

$1M+ TTRPG Kickstarters

KickstarterCreatorDate EndedBackersAmount
Strongholds & StreamingMatt ColvilleMarch 201828,918$2,121,465
The One Ring Roleplaying Game, Second EditionFree LeagueMarch 202116,591$2,025,288
The Seeker's Guide to Twisted TavernsEldermancyMarch 202117.921$1,650,076
Kingdoms, Warfare & More Minis!Matt ColvilleNovember 201919,033$1,372,685
Grim Hollow: The Monster GrimoireGhostfire GamingMay 202115,530$1,348,160
7th Sea: Second EditionJohn WickMarch 201611,483$1,316,813
Auroborous: Coils of the SerpentWarchief GamingMay 202110,218$1,260,863
Coyote & Crow the Roleplaying GameConnor AlexanderApril 202116,269$1,073,453
Humblewood Campaign Setting for 5eHit Point PressApril 201914,604$1,001,085

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Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey

sword3274

Explorer
Time is a very small factor in determining overall success. In so much that taking dollars and dividing by time isn't a good way to extrapolate how well a KS will do. For some it's buy-in (especially that "sweet spot" buy in), stretch goals, not to mention system/content. I think for TOR they had a dearth of stretch goals in the latter half of the campaign and that slowed its overall growth. Sorry if my statement sounds like some scientific analysis. :giggle: We were musing that, considering how close it was to S&F, it would have most likely gone over S&F had it gone the full 30 days. So the question was posed - should we consider it the most successful, as it stands? Maybe with asterisk! :LOL:
 

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Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
We were musing that, considering how close it was to S&F, it would have most likely gone over S&F had it gone the full 30 days. So the question was posed - should we consider it the most successful, as it stands? Maybe with asterisk! :LOL:
The majority of a KS activity is in the first few days and the last few days. The classic “U” shape of a KS campaign is pretty universal. It’s just how much you want to stretch it out. I don’t think there’s any guarantee they’d have made notably more with 4 weeks.
 

sword3274

Explorer
The majority of a KS activity is in the first few days and the last few days. The classic “U” shape of a KS campaign is pretty universal. It’s just how much you want to stretch it out. I don’t think there’s any guarantee they’d have made notably more with 4 weeks.
True, there is certainly no guarantee. All the pledges that would have happened in the last couple of days would have happened in the last couple of days, regardless if those days would have been Day 19, 20, 21, and 22 or 27, 28, 29, and 30. Excellent point, as you said, its pretty universal and a common trait of Kickstarters.

In the end, there is no way of knowing with the true final numbers, had the campaign went the full 30 days. Your post gave me a good thought experiment, though. Or at least a distraction to occupy my time while at a work meeting! :LOL: I work with numbers for a living (forecasting trends, data analytics) and running some numbers through some a model we use in our work, I would guess it would have surpassed S&F by about $30k.

But that's all it is, a guess. For fun. You're spot on in the end, in that there is no guarantee.
 

Marc_C

Solo Role Playing
Talking with a friend about this, an interesting point was made. Considering TOR 2e was only 22 days (as opposed to S&F being a full 30), it could be considered the #1 RPG KS of all time. A minor point, for certain, but I thought it was something.
Agreed. Duration of the campaign should be taken into account.
 


Ulfgeir

Adventurer
Coyote & Crow has just joined the club! Just passed $1M with a few hours left!

That's now 3 in under a month, after the previous four took 5 years!


Any ideas on why? Just the quality of the content, or the right time (either that people have more money, or they are bored and want new stuff)? And how tough is the competiton right now compared earlier in the terms of number of projects active at the same time?
 

I went off looking for other Kickstarters including the announced Symbaroum for DnD5e by Free League and then heard the all Native American Kickstarter for the Coyote and Crow RPG just broke pass one million US Dollars. Amazing!

kickstarter_coyote_and_crow_at_over_1m_usd.png
 



Doubtful. There will undoubtedly be a number of people hesitant to back it due to the project creator/manager.
Even beyond that, I think we're in an era when people have realized that you don't actually need special rules for things to be "anime". Oddly enough POCGamer/Panzer was saying that on his Twitter a day or two ago. You could have special rules to simulate a specific anime setting, sure - but for "anime" in general? You don't need any special rules, it's just about how you describe things, the scenarios you set up, and so on. There might be some ultra-grounded rules-sets to avoid (doubt it though, given the popularity of CoC in Japan), but 5E isn't one of them.
The classic “U” shape of a KS campaign is pretty universal.
Yeah and it certainly fits with my experience of backing KSes. Usually either I'm instantly excited enough that I slap the money down as soon as I hear about it, or I'm waiting to think about it more and set the reminder thing. So almost every KS I've done would have been first few days or last few. Plus most of the advertising for KSes seems to be when they launch and when they have a little time left. Interestingly I often seen them advertised via Facebook, which nearly never advertises anything of interest apart from them at me.
 
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Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
Even beyond that, I think we're in an era when people have realized that you don't actually need special rules for things to be "anime". Oddly enough POCGamer/Panzer was saying that on his Twitter a day or two ago. You could have special rules to simulate a specific anime setting, sure - but for "anime" in general? You don't need any special rules, it's just about how you describe things, the scenarios you set up, and so on. There might be some ultra-grounded rules-sets to avoid (doubt it though, given the popularity of CoC in Japan), but 5E isn't one of them.

Yeah and it certainly fits with my experience of backing KSes. Usually either I'm instantly excited enough that I slap the money down as soon as I hear about it, or I'm waiting to think about it more and set the reminder thing. So almost every KS I've done would have been first few days or last few. Plus most of the advertising for KSes seems to be when they launch and when they have a little time left. Interestingly I often seen them advertised via Facebook, which nearly never advertises anything of interest apart from them at me.
A lot of what you’re seeing there is massive Backerkit ad spends under their various FB pages — “Tabletop Picks” and “Cardboard Revolution”’and a bunch of others. In the last year these have become increasingly common — Backerkit spends a truckload of money on FB ads for you and takes a 15% commission (and repayment of the ad spend) after the campaign is over. They started doing this a year or so ago by reaching out to KS creators, but now they’re all set up so you can apply online.
 


ART!

Hero
A lot of what you’re seeing there is massive Backerkit ad spends under their various FB pages — “Tabletop Picks” and “Cardboard Revolution”’and a bunch of others. In the last year these have become increasingly common — Backerkit spends a truckload of money on FB ads for you and takes a 15% commission (and repayment of the ad spend) after the campaign is over. They started doing this a year or so ago by reaching out to KS creators, but now they’re all set up so you can apply online.
Ah - this explains all the crowdsourced gaming product ads I see on Instagram. I've actually discovered and backed a couple things through those ads that i hadn't heard of elsewhere, so kudos to them, I guess.
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
Publisher
No clue what you are talking about. I never played BESM, so I know nothing about the creators of it who are also doing this game.
Mark MacKinnon (the creator of Anime 5e), has an unfortunate history of not paying his freelancers. It became a particular problem, according to James Lowder, when he continued to take contracts from freelancers knowing he could never pay them. And then in 2012, Mark was selling products for IP he didn't own or license (GoT). Not quite Ken Whitman levels, but there certainly seem to be a lot of fires with Mark in the past that have people concerned.
 

All that sweet tax return money that a lot of people get in around this time of year lol
And still 2-3 months before end of school year...

The end of the school year reduces a lot of people's spendable incomes. One or more of:
  • college students work-study programs
  • children needing supervision due to no school
  • college town townies having fewer hours due to fewer students needing various services and things
  • traditional vacation time results in less money to spend and spending it on vacation
  • more outdoor time and less gaming time for many gamers.
There are some places that gain a lot from summer (Newport and Waldport, Oregon come to mind), but they seem (on first order analysis) to be the exception.
 

Mark MacKinnon (the creator of Anime 5e), has an unfortunate history of not paying his freelancers. It became a particular problem, according to James Lowder, when he continued to take contracts from freelancers knowing he could never pay them. And then in 2012, Mark was selling products for IP he didn't own or license (GoT). Not quite Ken Whitman levels, but there certainly seem to be a lot of fires with Mark in the past that have people concerned.

People don't seem to mind. In the four days since I posted about it, it has added another $100k.
 


Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
Looks like we might be adding two new projects to this list in the coming weeks --



Q2 2021 is going to have more million dollar TTRPG Kickstarters in it than the preceding 8 years combined!
 



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