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Two $1M+ Tabletop RPG Kickstarters At The Same Time!

Up until now, there have been three tabletop roleplaying Kickstarters which have broken the $1M barrier. Now there are TWO about to do so at the same time!

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The Seeker's Guide to Twisted Taverns has 7 days to go and is at about $1.1M at the time of writing.

The One Ring 2nd Edition has 5 days to go and is at about $1.4M at the time of writing.


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So who are the three previous $1M+ Kickstarters? Counting only tabletop RPG Kickstarters (so not video games, or Critical Role's $10M+ for its animated show) the leading contenders were Matt Colville (twice one with $2.1M and one with $1.4M!) and John Wick's 7th Sea (with $1.3M).

The One Ring is currently now in 2nd place. The question is whether Twisted Taverns can pull into 3rd place?
 
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Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey


Dire Bare

Legend
Supporter
And they say there's no money to be made in RPGs!
Well, it's not just over a million in profit . . . a lot of that million will get eaten by paying the team a fair wage, by paying for the production of the books . . .

But yeah, it's nice to see some successful RPG crowdfunding campaigns! I'm sure the publishers behind both projects are very happy right now!
 



Jaeger

That someone better.
A Kickstarter called: The Seeker's Guide to Twisted Taverns

Is basically doing just as well as a long time and revered RPG IP: The One Ring RPG based on Tolkien's Middle Earth.

Could this be a signal about the current preferences of the RPG hobby at large?

Reasons? I will throw these pieces of spaghetti at the wall:

1: In spite of a longstanding love for the IP - Actually Roleplaying in Tolkien's Middle Earth has just not been that popular among the general RPG hobby. (Especially now if it is not 5e based...)

2: 5e is just that big now.

I vote for a combination of both.

Or maybe it's just the facebook ads...
 

Mistwell

Legend
Facebook ads. It looks impressive, but the margins are slim. You spend a lot of that money on the ads. Also they have a big online following already.
It is impressive though. Even if it just breaks even, as long as it's a decent product people are happy enough with, their next project can use the database of contacts from the first one and the reputation built from that venture, without as much advertising expense, to make the second one very profitable. It's a good strategy, if you can afford the up-front cost of that advertising. Which is a big if.
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
It is impressive though. Even if it just breaks even, as long as it's a decent product people are happy enough with, their next project can use the database of contacts from the first one and the reputation built from that venture, without as much advertising expense, to make the second one very profitable.
Absolutely. Building backers is the important strategy. That’s what’s behind my (now 8) mini-quickstarter strategy, stolen blatantly from Phil Reed, who is the absolute master of this technique and killing it on Kickstarter now (and was killing it back when he was selling $1 PDFs every day on RPGNow in the early 2000s).

if you can afford the up-front cost of that advertising. Which is a big if.

They‘re using Backerkit, which fronts the Facebook ad costs in advance and takes them - plus a 15% commission on the KS pledges - out of the final earnings.

I wrote an article about it last year:

 





Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
Also a rising tide DOES lift other boats. Next time someone argues against it point to these Kickstarters.
I agree that it does, absolutely. D&D’s success benefits everybody. It has benefited me enormously over the last 20 years. It’s absolutely the gateway into the hobby, and where everybody else gets their future customers from.

These two particular examples, though, both have external factors largely responsible for their massive success. One is Free League’s sterling reputation combined with LOTR, the world’s biggest fantasy IP; the other is a massive Facebook ad spend combined with a big online following.
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
I wonder how they pencil out compared to getting a Critical Role ad.
My guess is Twisted Taverns has spent more on FB ads than CR charges to play a session of your game (they’ll pay Backerkit a big chunk of what they’ve raised). I don’t know how the relative benefits measure up, but from an external observer’s POV CoC did really well out of it’s CR appearance.
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
This one is almost there.....

Yeah, software typically does way better than pure TTRPG Kickstarters. If we included software or minis then we’re talking much bigger numbers. Just look at Reaper or the Pathfinder video games. They dwarf anything we’re talking about here.

Also - that looks so awesome!
 

Mistwell

Legend
Absolutely. Building backers is the important strategy. That’s what’s behind my (now 8) mini-quickstarter strategy, stolen blatantly from Phil Reed, who is the absolute master of this technique and killing it on Kickstarter now (and was killing it back when he was selling $1 PDFs every day on RPGNow in the early 2000s).



They‘re using Backerkit, which fronts the Facebook ad costs in advance and takes them - plus a 15% commission on the KS pledges - out of the final earnings.

I wrote an article about it last year:

Cool stuff, thanks for the link. I look forward to reading it.
 

darjr

I crit!
I agree that it does, absolutely. D&D’s success benefits everybody. It has benefited me enormously over the last 20 years. It’s absolutely the gateway into the hobby, and where everybody else gets their future customers from.

These two particular examples, though, both have external factors largely responsible for their massive success. One is Free League’s sterling reputation combined with LOTR, the world’s biggest fantasy IP; the other is a massive Facebook ad spend combined with a big online following.
Absolutely agree. A boat has to be fit and ship shape or it’ll sink regardless.
These two are exceptional
 

Zaukrie

New Publisher
Yeah, software typically does way better than pure TTRPG Kickstarters. If we included software (or minis — though Matt Colville mixes those in) then we’re talking much bigger numbers In the millions. Just look at Reaper or the Pathfinder video games. They dwarf anything we’re talking about here.
True. I'm hoping to hit 500 dollars next month!
 
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Olaf the Stout

Adventurer
Ok, so what is so good about the Seeker’s Guide to Twisted Taverns? I’ve checked out the Kickstarter and, while it seems ok, there’s nothing in there that differentiates it from tonnes of other similar Kickstarters that never got anywhere near $1m. Is it all just due to being good at advertising to their market?
 

Ok, so what is so good about the Seeker’s Guide to Twisted Taverns? I’ve checked out the Kickstarter and, while it seems ok, there’s nothing in there that differentiates it from tonnes of other similar Kickstarters that never got anywhere near $1m. Is it all just due to being good at advertising to their market?

He and Colville have Youtube channels. Runesmith has over 300k subscribers plus Patreon. Colville has 371k. Both love RPGs and offer directly what thousands of gamers want. They also get to know other writers, artists, designers, and creators which both helps them offer attractive kickstarter products and gives them free word of mouth from other RPG creators.

The One Ring is a combo of Free League and Lord of the Rings. Although Free League uses Youtube as well they only have 4700+ subscribers. But they are also a well known company with a great kickstarter track record. And there is LotR combined with a 2nd edition of a popular RPG for LotR.
 

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