log in or register to remove this ad

 

Kickstarter Top Ten Tabletop Game Kickstarters: Why So Successful?

So this is a thread about a post by Matt Forbeck about an article on icV2. "It's clear that tabletop game projects are among Kickstarter's most successful categories, with five projects at over $1 million, and three over $2 million." I mean, this list is so epic that Monte Cook's half-million-dollar Numenera doesn't feature on it!

Interesting. Why do you think tabetop gaming Kickstarters perform so well? Is it the nature of the audience to collect things? Is the format of a tabletop game something that lends itself towards the Kickstarter model? Is it related to the tabletop gaming community and networks? Or do we just love the idea of crowdfunding?

Rank
Title
Total
Date
Backers
$/backer
1Dark Heaven: Bones minis by Reaper Miniatures$3,429,23508/25/1217,744$193.26
2Zombicide: Season 2 by CoolMiniOrNot$2,255,01803/31/138,944$252.13
3Kingdom Death: Monster by Kingdom Death$2,049,72101/07/125,410$378.88
4Game Tiles by Dwarven Forge$1,908,15504/30/135,398$353.49
5Robotech RPG Tactics by Palladium Books$1,442,31205/20/135,342$270.00
6Sedition Wars: Battle for Alabaster by CoolMiniOrNot$951,25406/30/124,278$222.36
7Myth miniatures by MERCS Miniatures$926,11204/24/135,360$172.78
8Ogre Designer’s Edition by Steve Jackson Games$923,68005/11/125,512$167.58
9Relic Knights by CoolMiniOrNot$909,53709/09/123,459$262.95
10Zombicide by CoolMiniOrNot$781,59705/06/125,258$148.65
 
Russ Morrissey

Comments


Nagol

Unimportant
Well, when you take the ratio of dollars spent vs. hours entertained, it can be one of the cheaper pastimes in our modern age -- even at these inflated funding prices:

$20 movie good for a single viewing = $10 / hour
$60 video game good for a single play-through of about 20 hours = $3 / hour
$200 game good for a couple dozen plays averaging 4 hours each = $2 / hour
 

Radiating Gnome

Adventurer
Man, 4 of the top ten are Cool Mini Or Not? They're doing something right.

The big lesson on that list is that the *real* money is in minis, not games. #3 Kingdom death is a Boardgame, but I'd bet money it's really about the figures that come in the box.

Not one of them is an actual RPG. Which is not really a surprise -- there's a lot more material expense in producing these minis and games. Number of backers is key,too. So many of those in the top ten are right around the 5K mark. Numenera comes in at 4658, better than several of the top ten, but the backer price point could be a lot lower (38 at $3(an iphone app), for example).
 

X

xnosipjpqmhd

Guest
You missed a recent one.

6 Cthulhu Wars by Sandy Petersen $1,403,981 07/07/13 4,389 $319.89
 

Dragonblade

Adventurer
Its value. The two I backed on that list, Reaper, and Myth were so successful because they provided a base buy-in that became a better deal by throwing in more and more stuff as goals were met.

I'm far more reluctant to support Kickstarters that are expensive to start, and whose stretch goals merely unlock add-ons that I have pay additionally for. In the case of Reaper and Myth (and Numenera), I got additional free stuff AUTOMATICALLY as more people came on board. This encouraged me to actively recruit more backers and become an advocate. As the deal and effective discount got better and better, this process accelerated until it actually became sort of foolish not to back it because the deal was so crazy good, and kept getting crazier as things snowballed.

Thats the secret. Offer a good value to start, and add more cool free stuff to a certain pledge threshold as more people come on board.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
I think of it as direct sales. With the gradual fading of game stores, we need to get games from somewhere - if they are willing to sell to us, with perks, and deliver to our doors/computers, of course we are going to hand them our money.

I would assume online communities take a role - I mean, how many kickstarters get advertised here alone? I assume it is much the same elsewhere. That means easy access - no need to search around for things we like, as they're getting shoved at us pretty constantly.

There are probably a few more subtle effect which gamer geeks are apt to be influenced by. There being an early adopter. There's feeling responsible for the game product getting made. There's exclusivity of some of the materials and perks (rarity makes them seem more valuable to us), and so on.
 

Alphastream

Adventurer
I think what this reveals is that the traditional RPG model of selling through stores left money on the table. The stereotype of gamers lacking money seems true at the store level - $20-$40 RPG books can be seen covered in cobwebs at many stores and any gaming table routinely only has 1-2 people that own a bunch of books. But, it is also true that there are gamers with money willing to purchase heavily when the right offer is made. We see gamers buying leather-bound premium versions, opting for multiple expansions, etc. Look at Zombicide. A fine game, but for many of us either too expensive or the single game is fine. I mean, really, how often will the average gamer play it? But, when you have a way to sell to everyone, including those that really love Zombicide, then it all works. That just can't happen at the gaming store or book store under the old model.

I suspect our hobby would really transform if the store could offer those kinds of options to customers. Something beyond special ordering and more like what Kickstarter offers.
 

Gundark

Explorer
Its value. The two I backed on that list, Reaper, and Myth were so successful because they provided a base buy-in that became a better deal by throwing in more and more stuff as goals were met.

I'm far more reluctant to support Kickstarters that are expensive to start, and whose stretch goals merely unlock add-ons that I have pay additionally for. In the case of Reaper and Myth (and Numenera), I got additional free stuff AUTOMATICALLY as more people came on board. This encouraged me to actively recruit more backers and become an advocate. As the deal and effective discount got better and better, this process accelerated until it actually became sort of foolish not to back it because the deal was so crazy good, and kept getting crazier as things snowballed.

Thats the secret. Offer a good value to start, and add more cool free stuff to a certain pledge threshold as more people come on board.
Yeah, this. FATE core was great because of all the stuff I got for the cost of a pdf was staggering. Zombicide Season 2 gave all these exclusives and bonus stuff that I didn't want to miss out on.

Interface Zero 2.0 for Savage Worlds said "hey you unlocked the ability to buy something extra"....meh, no thanks
 

Koloth

First Post
It could also have to do with long term value. My Reaper Bones minis(Vampire level with several add ons) and SJG Ogre game will be useful, playable and supported long after D&D Next has been relegated to the trash bin. I am increasingly reluctant to support companies that obsolete games on a 3-5 year cycle. Especially when a filled out set of game materials can run $300+ . Boardgames, minis, dice, and terrain tiles tend not to suffer frequent version cycling.
 

tangleknot

Explorer
Agreed with OP^
My Dice are 20 years old and I've got mini's form the 70's. AD&D, D&D 3rd/ 3.5, Pathfinder... My books and games come and go but the dice and Mini's stay. Hence why I pitched in for DF's Game tiles, and the Frog god games Tome of horrors KS!!!
 

Bolongo

Herr Doktor
Man, 4 of the top ten are Cool Mini Or Not? They're doing something right.

The big lesson on that list is that the *real* money is in minis, not games. #3 Kingdom death is a Boardgame, but I'd bet money it's really about the figures that come in the box.

Not one of them is an actual RPG. Which is not really a surprise -- there's a lot more material expense in producing these minis and games. Number of backers is key,too. So many of those in the top ten are right around the 5K mark. Numenera comes in at 4658, better than several of the top ten, but the backer price point could be a lot lower (38 at $3(an iphone app), for example).
Only 2 of the projects are just minis. But you're right, almost all of the boardgames on the list have a lot of minis included. And everything is either a boardgame or a gaming accessory of some kind.

Why no RPGs? Well, I assume there would be some on a list that went by percentage of goal reached. But if you're going by total dollars, minis and other baubles simply have a higher cost.

Also, there might be reluctance to buy into a new RPG because there's so much work of your own involved in starting up a new campaign, as opposed to breaking out a new boardgame.

Koloth
It could also have to do with long term value. My Reaper Bones minis(Vampire level with several add ons) and SJG Ogre game will be useful, playable and supported long after D&D Next has been relegated to the trash bin. I am increasingly reluctant to support companies that obsolete games on a 3-5 year cycle. Especially when a filled out set of game materials can run $300+ . Boardgames, minis, dice, and terrain tiles tend not to suffer frequent version cycling.​
I'm not sure you should expect these indie RPGs to be on the same kind of product cycle as something from WotC or WW. They're made by much smaller companies that don't have the same overhead and thus don't need to churn out material at the same pace.
 

Balesir

Adventurer
I think what this reveals is that the traditional RPG model of selling through stores left money on the table. The stereotype of gamers lacking money seems true at the store level - $20-$40 RPG books can be seen covered in cobwebs at many stores and any gaming table routinely only has 1-2 people that own a bunch of books. But, it is also true that there are gamers with money willing to purchase heavily when the right offer is made.
Pretty much every retail offer will do this - it's a result of the way supply and demand work. All retail sales are made on the margin - in other words, the price is set by the lowest offer the seller can accept. Maximising profits makes sellers go for more sales than the very few they could get top dollar for, and competition drives down the price towards the minimum that covers their marginal cost.

Kickstarter has found a structure that (a) minimises competition, by getting the buy committment in advance of the idea/thing actually being available, and (b) allows different "ranks" of deal, such that the guy who's willing to pay $1,000 can pay that and get the deluxe version, while the guy with only $5 to spare (or only $5 worth of interest) can still get something for their cash.

I think it's simply part of the exploration of what is possible with the internet that wasn't realistic before. We have only just begun to see the changes the 'net will make to retail sales (and thus to just about every other aspect of life), in my view. Interesting times!
 

howandwhy99

First Post
Minis gamers already lay down $100s - $1000s just to be able to play their game. These kickstarters are bulk, high end, custom purchases of minis. The games may not be that popular or have that many backers, but the buy-it / back-it price is significantly higher than other tabletop RPGs and videogames, while still a bargain.


EDIT: Recognize that the vast majority of money from of those kickstarters isn't profit unless the kickstarters are the sculptors, machine owners, and/or manufacturers of the minis.
 
Last edited by a moderator:


Warbringer

First Post
I think the demand has always been there, but its taken the microfunding/publishing model to actually allow creators to service it.

As a group, backers have a higher willingness to pay than your average retail customer. We are tailenders, we are advocates, and we generally have higher disposable income for our hobby.

Everyone of us is worth a 1000 customers browsing any given retailer.
 

CharlesRyan

Adventurer
My take is that the RPG and minis businesses are a lot like Apple.

Apple's retail operation is one of the most successful in the history of retail. They make a TON of money per location and per square foot, despite spending way more than anyone else on real estate and staff. They do a lot of stuff right, but the main thing is they have a product people really respond to, but that doesn't show off well in conventional retail.

Macs languished for decades on the shelves of Best Buy and Circuit City, but that conventional method of selling didn't really convey the message of why someone would buy (let alone pay a premium for) a Mac instead of a commoditized PC. Once Apple took control of the sales method, and gave customers the experience they knew would resonate, their retail sales took off.

Maybe Kickstarter does the same thing for RPGs and minis. Products that struggle to excite consumers (and retail/distributor buyers) when presented through the conventional channels can tell their story more successfully through Kickstarter. It's a way for the makers of the products to talk directly to the consumer and tell the story their way. And the Kickstarter platform focuses the consumer attention on that message in a way that creates a sort of critical mass.
 

Hand of Evil

Adventurer
Epic
They are social games, family or group, it gives people a way to interact, plus they really have cool toys as part of the box. Rules are simple, games last a couple of hours and you can rotate games.
 

MerricB

Eternal Optimist
Here's the thing: A lot of those kickstarters are great value because of the minis, not the games.

Sedition Wars: The Battle of Alabastar was sold on having great minis. The reviews of the game, now that it's out, have been extremely poor - and I've seen several posts very disappointed by the quality of the minis (other people seem happy with them). In actual fact, the game has since been revised so that that stat sheets, rules and scenarios are completely different. If the game had been released through regular channels, it would have bombed.

Kickstarter projects that offer a lot of minis will likely do well. The simple truth is that minis are expensive to produce, but a lot less expensive in bulk, and so Kickstarter projects allow great economies of scale. When you have 5000+ guaranteed sales, the minis are a lot less daunting to do. Also, you're cutting out the middle men (retailers and distributors).

I've backed a few RPG kickstarters. The ones that made a lot of money had established names working behind them or established titles. And were for multiple books.
 

Mark CMG

Creative Mountain Games
Here's the thing: A lot of those kickstarters are great value because of the minis, not the games.

Will we see a Kickstarter that "breaks" Merric's Law?

*pre-painted plastic minis can only have 2 of the following: (1) non-blind purchase, (2) low prices, and (3) wide variety
 

NOW LIVE! 5 Plug-In Settlements for your 5E Game

Advertisement1

NOW LIVE! 5 Plug-In Settlements for your 5E Game

Advertisement2

Advertisement4

Top