Nuking the Fridge

I've been developing and publishing games as a 'jobby' for over 30 years and am still going at it. Here's a blog to detail my progress, current work, and thoughts on the gaming scene.
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Kickstarter Analytics: 2010-2018 Review

A. B. West
United States
Beech Grove
Indiana
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Note: These are only best estimates. My scraping script does not account well for reprint and campaign duplicates - therefore the totals are likely even higher than stated here.

I've taken a bit of time to compile across all the data I have collected so far concerning Kickstarter Campaigns and BGG data. The total number of games for which I have data is 3858 (this is data merged with BGG stats and KS revenue). Of those, 2674 have been successful collecting a total of nearly $329 MILLION dollars. Wow! It has been fascinating to collect information about these campaigns and to watch the changes over the years. The table above demonstrate a portion of what has happened.

To explain a bit more the terms I use, "Failed" is any campaign that either failed or was cancelled. Now these campaigns are probably a bit sketchy (but I think more complete than anyone else has compiled) because when a cancel or fail happens, it's more difficult to locate on KS. I'm able to do this because I capture KS links frequently. Failed here also could mean the campaign later restarted and was successful. In those cases, it would appear at least twice for fail and restart. Of course, some restart multiple times (pretty rare, but happens) and I haven't tried to tease those things out - although they would be interesting to study.

2010 marks the start of board games on KS. Note how few games were there! I recall the amazement by many when Alien Frontiers got a whopping $14K! But then in November that same year, Eminent Domain got over $48K Folks were aghast. How could this be? The KS race was on!

It took awhile before any game saw the $50K mark (the infamous Cards Against Humanity only managed $15K in January 2011), but finally Flash Point cracked $50K in August 2011 followed by Glory to Rome at $73K, Creatures the Card Game at $56K, Miskatonic School for Girls at almost $64K and then the big one: D-Day Dice at a staggering $172K in December 2011. Folks were definitely taking notice.

When 2012 opened up, it was much the same until a few huge campaigns completed: Zpocalypse took in $210K in April 2012 followed by a little company called Cool Mini and a game called Zombicide which blew everyone away with $781K in December 2012. Cool Mini would go on to gather millions over the next few years with Zombicide and several others. The era of "games with miniatures" on KS started raking in $3.6 million by the end of 2012 - a portent of things to come in 2013.

2013 saw the controversial Kingdom Death make an unheard of amount of over $2 million in January while at the same time Up Front - a game nearly synonymous with board game controversy - pulled in a whopping $340K. Board games were big money now and the large publishers were about to move into the space with force. Another significant KS game in 2013 was Dungeon Roll pulling in $250K - mainly due to its impulse price point of $15 and the well-run campaign by Tasty Minstrel Games. Although 2012 was when Jamey's Viticulture took in a respectable $66K, it was 2013's Euphoria campaign of $309K that solidified his name with success on KS.

But things were just getting interesting. In 2014, three games passed $1M : Zombicide Season 3: Rue Morgue, Super Dungeon Explore: Forgotten King, and Dungeon Saga: Dwarf King's Quest. A total of 8 games were over $500K.Secret Hitler and 7th Continent both gathered over $1M (in 2017, the reprint would bring in over $7M) and Scythe bringing in just over $1.8M solidified Jeremy's company for several years to come.

Beyond miniatures driven games, there is another big money system in KS: web comics and web personalities converted into games. In 2015, Exploding Kittens took in over $8M as the top funded project with over 219,000 backers (!). Exploding Kittens wasn't the only one - Joking Hazard brought in 63K backers and $3.2M and Bears vs Babies spawned from Kittens - bringing in $3.2M. This was replicated again that same year with Million Dollars But... The Game bringing in its namesake $1.3M. All total, 2016 had 26 games fund with over $500K each.

And yet all of this was eclipsed by Kingdom Death running a "1.5" campaign in January 2017 bringing in an astounding $12M. That might be a total that another board game may never reach. But who knows? So far, 2018 is shaping up to be the biggest year yet on KS - already exceeding $80M in total campaign money raised for board games.
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