log in or register to remove this ad

 

Kickstarter Questions on Kickstarter and the Tabletop Community

Dannager

First Post
I'm in the process of getting familiar with the Kickstarter model for getting tabletop gaming products to their funding goals. I know that there have been a handful truly incredible runaway successes - not the least of which is the ongoing EN World Kickstarter [MENTION=1]Morrus[/MENTION] has going - and a lot of projects that have hit or exceeded their goals (even if they didn't blow past them). I have some questions for those of you who have experience with Kickstarter drives.

1. Do you see Kickstarter as having "legs" in the tabletop gaming community, long-term? Does it strike you as a temporary fad, or do you consider it a paradigm-shift in how tabletop games and supplements are produced?

2. What avenues for publicizing your Kickstarter were most effective (assuming you have any idea)? Did word-of-mouth carry your project? Did you spend resources on advertising your Kickstarter campaign during the drive? What about before the drive started?

3. Assuming a purely digital set of deliverables (no physical print product), what might be some attractive backer rewards? What about stretch goals?

4. How much time did you allow yourself between the Kickstarter campaign and your promised delivery date? Did you hit your target for delivery?

5. If you could give a single piece of advice to someone interested in Kickstarting a tabletop gaming product, what would it be?

I'm sure I'll have more questions as people chime in. I really appreciate any input you're able to provide!
 

log in or register to remove this ad

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
I don't know about Kickstarter specifically- technology always evolves - but crowdfunding definitely has a future. I wonder if Facebook or G+ will launch integrated crowdfunding platforms into their systems, or whether various specialized crowdfunding ites geared specifically towards project types will become popular (a music one with a track list/player feature, perhaps).

Kickstarter has definitely been insanely popular in this industry, though. I read somewhere that tabletop gaming is one of the most often successful Kickstarter categories (and video projects are the least successful).
 

MatthewJHanson

Registered Ninja
Publisher
I've got one successful Kickstarter already and I'm in the middle of another that looks well on its way to success. Here's some of my thoughts.

1. It's more than just a fad. Getting all the money up front to produce a book is just too tempting for a small RPG company.

2. Right now my highest referrers are:
Kickstarter
"No referral information"
Paizo
Enworld
rpgkickstarters.tumblr

I'm going to try some more advertising in the second half of the campaign, and we'll see how that goes.

3. The basic reward should always be the actual product. With print on demand being so easy at this point, I'd suggest including a print reward, even if never intend to sell it in stores.

For higher level rewards I like to give out things that let the backer have an impact on the product. Have the Backer's image incorporated into the art seems to be one that's relatively popular.

4. For my first project I estimated four months and it took eight. This time I'm giving myself eleven.

5. Keep your initial goal as low as you possibly can.
 
Last edited:


Dannager

First Post
I've got on successful Kickstarter already and I'm in the middle of another that looks well on its way to success. Here's some of my thoughts.

1. It's more than just a fad. Getting all the money up front to produce a book is just too tempting for a small RPG company.

2. Right now my highest referrers are:
Kickstarter
"No referral information"
Paizo
Enworld
rpgkickstarters.tumblr

I'm going to try some more advertising in the second half of the campaign, and we'll see how that goes.

3. The basic reward should always be the actual product. With print on demand being so easy at this point, I'd suggest including a print reward, even if never intend to sell it in stores.

For higher level rewards I like to give out things that let the backer have an impact on the product. Have the Backer's image incorporated into the art seems to be one that's relatively popular.

4. For my first project I estimated four months and it took eight. This time I'm giving myself eleven.

5. Keep your initial goal as low as you possibly can.
Great info!

Another question: For higher-tier (including novelty) rewards, what balance do you strike between setting the price of the tier versus how much the reward itself will cost to produce? For instance, if you made one of the reward tiers include a commemorative dice set, how much of the backer's contribution should you be willing to spend on the reward itself (rather than funding the product)?
 

MatthewJHanson

Registered Ninja
Publisher
Another question: For higher-tier (including novelty) rewards, what balance do you strike between setting the price of the tier versus how much the reward itself will cost to produce? For instance, if you made one of the reward tiers include a commemorative dice set, how much of the backer's contribution should you be willing to spend on the reward itself (rather than funding the product)?
I haven't done much with those kinds of rewards, but my instinct says that the reward level should be about equal to the amount that the backer would spend if they bought the same thing in the store (which should be more than it costs you to produce, but not too much so).
 

A

amerigoV

Guest
Its the d20 thing all over again. Some folks will make some great stuff, some will make some crap. In the end, those with an established record will still be able to use it as a model. The rest will fall to the wayside and unknowns will have a hard time getting traction.
 

Jan van Leyden

Adventurer
From my perspective as a cuistomer in Europe, I'm a bit leery. I backed on kickstarter project (http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1778492214/appendix-n-adventure-toolkits-dcc-rpg-modules) which is horribly delayed. I still want the stuff and am quite relaxed about the delay, but this alone diminishes my enthusiasm for this way of business.

Over on rpg.net several RPG projects are discussed which apparently busted completely. Either the backers got some sort of refund, there came apologies and more apologies from the producers, or it busted completely: no product and no money back.

Another trend seems to be that the books - not PDFs, mind you - are rather high-priced. Take 50-60$ to claim the book as reward, add another 30-40$ for international shipping, and we're talking about a luxury item. Other people might differ, but I want risk such a sum on a project which might go bust.

I think we are experience a wave of RPG crow-funding projects right now which will be over a year from now. There'll be some (semi-)professional companies using this way to fund risky projects, which might not sell in needed numbers. They could use crowd-funding as a pre-order channel where they sell directly to customers.

On the other hand I see small scale publishers using crowd-funding to finance art or maps for their PDF projects. The price to gain a reward would be quite low as well as the goals to be reached. If I back such a project with 5-10$, my risk is acceptable. If the oal is reached, I'll get (hoepfully!) a decent PDF, and if it's really successful, the PDF might turn out to be beautiful.

I might be completely wrong, of course, but this scenario seems most likely to me.
 

1. Do you see Kickstarter as having "legs" in the tabletop gaming community, long-term? Does it strike you as a temporary fad, or do you consider it a paradigm-shift in how tabletop games and supplements are produced?
My expectation is that it will be a three-phase effect.

In the first phase (which is just about ending now), it's new, cool, and exciting. There's loads of enthusiasm, loads of money getting thrown about, and loads of projects getting funded. Indeed, provided you're at least somewhat reasonable, it's almost hard not to get funded.

Unfortunately, "getting funded" and "successfully delivering" are vastly different things, and I fear we're now starting to see projects fail in fairly large numbers. Some projects will simply fail with no money refunded, some will offer refunds, some will deliver vastly late, and some will deliver things that are just not what the backers envisaged.

That leads to the second phase, where people start to get disillusioned. Suddenly, it becomes nigh-impossible to fund a project unless you already have a track record - either you have successful Kickstarter experience, or you already have name recognition, or something. But for the new guy? Forget it.

However, the effect of that is that Kickstarters will become a bit more of a known quantity, and will serve to rehabilitiate the reputation of the model to some extent. And that leads to phase three...

In phase three, people will approach Kickstarter the same way as they do, say, an OGL product - they'll fund it, or not, based on a reasoned assessment of whether they're likely to see what was promised. Which, in real terms, probably means that the 'names' can continue to get funded, and so will 'unknowns'... but only on a specific, limited basis. So, if you want a few thousand for an art budget for an already-written book, Kickstarter might help you out. But if you want many thousands for an entire RPG line, you can forget it. (But Monte Cook, on the other hand, could still fund the whole line. Such is the benefit of reputation.)

Basically, as amerigoV says up-thread, it's the OGL thing again.
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
I think we are experience a wave of RPG crow-funding projects right now which will be over a year from now.
I absolutely believe the opposite. We're seeing the opening salvos in what's gonna eventually change not just our little industry, but many industries permanently. Crowdfunding will grow in popularity, it will split off into specialized resources, and it will start to be integrated fully into social networking. It'll change over the next few years, and it might not always be Kickstarter leading the pack, but crowdfunding going nowhere, any more than self-publishing did.
 

HinduReal

First Post
I strongly agree with delericho. Yes, RPG Kickstarters (read: crowdfunded project) will be successful but only if the starter has a) a strong reputation in the community (not necessarily from Kickstarter itself I'd add, since also popular bloggers, youtuber and such would be granted that benefit imo) or b) has something already built to show AND a reasonable demand.
 

Obryn

Hero
I've backed two funded projects so far - Ehdrigohr and Fate Core. (And ENWorld, but it's not a product in the same sense.) How well they deliver will make a big difference in whether or not I fund anything in the future. It's more of a leap of faith than a traditional transaction, and it seems like almost every one gets delayed.

-O
 

Dannager

First Post
Does a low ($10 or less) contribution level encourage you to take risks on Kickstarters you might not have otherwise backed? Do immediate backer rewards (early access to specific things, for instance) encourage you to back risky products?
 

Jan van Leyden

Adventurer
Does a low ($10 or less) contribution level encourage you to take risks on Kickstarters you might not have otherwise backed?
Yes. If I have the risk of a complete loss, the amount of money to be lost is important.

Do immediate backer rewards (early access to specific things, for instance) encourage you to back risky products?
No. I have no use for some very rough drafts. The auhtoer should give me access to such material before I decide whether I want to back his project.
 

Bear in mind that I have backed exactly one Kickstarter ever, so take this with a huge heaping of salt...

Does a low ($10 or less) contribution level encourage you to take risks on Kickstarters you might not have otherwise backed?
I think this should probably help, for two reasons:

- A low buy-in means a much lower risk, which makes it more likely someone will take that risk. And, assuming you don't already have a strong reputation or name recognition, this may prove to be a crucial factor.

- A suitably low buy-in means that people might sign up as backers as an "impulse buy". $10 is probably low enough that you might get backers based simply on "Cool!", where $100 would demand rather more thought.

Do immediate backer rewards (early access to specific things, for instance) encourage you to back risky products?
This one's a bit less clear-cut. I think that if there is something you can meaningfully offer for immediate release, that may well act as a good sweetener.

But the key thing, there, is that it needs to be something meaningful. Really, you want your project to be selling itself, so if you're relying on a gimmicky reward to do that job for you, you're probably on a loser. And this is doubly true if the time spent sending out the immediate reward is going to significantly delay work on the real thing!

(But if, for example, you were doing a Kickstarter to fund a budget to turn your PDF RPG into a print RPG, you might consider making the PDF version and its PDF supplements available as an immediate reward.)

One other thing: if you find yourself looking for an immediate reward to try to sell a 'risky' project, you would almost certainly be better off spending a bit more time and effort trying to eliminate the risk. Both because it's an easier sell if the project is perceived as more likely to succeed, but also because if I'm right about the three phases of Kickstarter, then the last thing you want is a failed project in your history. (And bear in mind, most people won't ever know or care why a project fails, all they'll care about is whether their money is safe with you.)
 

greyhaze

First Post
That leads to the second phase, where people start to get disillusioned. Suddenly, it becomes nigh-impossible to fund a project unless you already have a track record - either you have successful Kickstarter experience, or you already have name recognition, or something. But for the new guy? Forget it.
I'd say we're already entering this phase.
 

Obryn

Hero
I'd say we're already entering this phase.
Yeah, I actually pulled my support for a Kickstarter after some of the guy's updates made me think he hasn't thought it through. That would be the Doppelganger piece - a neat idea, but the more I read, the more I figured I'd be waiting a long time for fulfillment.

On the other hand, I just got the survey for the FATE Core Kickstarter. Fred handled the whole thing with great professionalism.

I am still waiting on my Ehdrigohr survey. I knew this one was a bigger risk, but it's so dam purty I was willing to risk it.

-O
 

Leopold

Management(tm)
The one thing that is keeping me from putting my work up for Kickstarter is the fact that the material isn't finished.

Having everything written and ready to go with only the 'small' parts that need to be done (art, layout, or other non-crucial items) will help you fund your kickstarter and get the ball rolling. If you say "Hey I got this GREAT idea but I haven't done anything with it yet, but give me money anyway!" people are getting more gun shy about KS with the rash of failed projects being highlighted all over the place.


Get all your writing done before hand and then goto the people and stay in constant ridiculous amounts of contact with the people. You'd be surprised at how forgiving the RPG industry is with people as long as you talk to them and update them. Don't go dark or else you will have problems, lots of problems.
 

CAFRedblade

Explorer
Keep in mind that Kickstarters and their ilk (indiegogo is another similar system) are basically doing something that larger investment firms do, putting money up front for the promise of a payout on the otherside, whether that is recouping/improving your investment, or receiving product. Although with crowdfunding there is also an element of charity/donations involved.

Most Kickstarters could/should be looked at as if you are either making a charity donation, or gambling on a wanted outcome, with the chance of a total loss. This is how I look at the crowdfunding scene in general.

More established names in particular areas of expertise, whether Video Games, Music, Tabletop boardgames so forth have more credibility on being able to produce the work based on past successes, but there is always that chance of rolling a fumble.
 

ShinHakkaider

Adventurer
Does a low ($10 or less) contribution level encourage you to take risks on Kickstarters you might not have otherwise backed? Do immediate backer rewards (early access to specific things, for instance) encourage you to back risky products?

No to the first. If I'm backing something I like to give enough money where it feels like I'm actually helping? I dont know if that came out right. So case in point I recently backed the RealmWorlds Kickstarter. I backed it for $35 so at the bare minimum I'll get the full version of the software when it's released. Even though I'll have to wait for a Mac port of the software. I feel (and this is just me here) that the $35 I gave to the project matters.

I havent really backed anything that I would consider risky so I couldn't tell you? I mean I must have thrown close to $300 at the Reaper Bones Kickstarter and $100 at the Rappan Athuk Kickstarter before that but those were two (I feel) trustworthy companies so I guess no real risk was involved. I threw $20 at Tabletop forge and they kinda went under but I was already invested in Roll20 by that time so it didn't bother me too much.
 

Mythological Figures & Maleficent Monsters

Advertisement2

Advertisement4

Top