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Subject: Advice on using Kickstarter rss

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Derek Croxton
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I intend on publishing a game that I have been working on for a while. I love the idea of Kickstarter and it seems like an excellent way to fund a project without taking a financial risk. I just have this fear that I will get 2 subscribers and be too demoralized to proceed if the project isn't funded.

Can anyone advice on using Kickstarter? Do successful projects typically put a lot of effort into creating interest through other venues (advertising, posting on BGG, etc.)? I imagine it's okay to post a thread here when a game project goes up? How about explaining the concept and getting a feel for interest prior to creating a Kickstarter project? I'm all for creating a "designer diary" to go along with the game, but do those usually wait for the game to be published, or do they also help generate interest in a game?

I apologize if these questions are covered elsewhere; I haven't seen them, but this is a massive forum and I could easily have missed it.

Derek
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Kenny VenOsdel
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1. Have a good informative and entertaining video
2. Have a downloadable rulebook available for non-backers
3. Submit a designer diary to be released during your project (if it gets accepted)
4. Have the game page on BGG up and running BEFORE the project starts
5. If possible PnP copies help push sales
6. Finished artwork for at least some things when the project hits is a good

Established companies like Tasty Minstrel Games have stated that only a small part of their KS customers originate from BGG. They get a lot of hits from a combination of other places like Reddit and especially their email list. I would assume other publishers experience similar results. Unfortunately someone like you has no email list or group of followers so I would recommend heavy promotion on BGG, possibly take out an ad, and use other places like facebook or reddit to further spread the word.

Good luck!

EDIT: Let people know how you intend to produce the game. Many people assume it is just:

1. KS it
2. Make Game
3. Profit

In reality the steps between 1 and 2 are difficult and complicated and many people fail at that point and the games are never made.
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Adam Kazimierczak
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What is this "without financial risk" scenario you speak of, Kemosabe?

Have you backed a kickstarter game recently? Does your sample game art look that good? What about your video?

There's a lot of time and money in those campaigns, and unless you're an amazing website designer, artist, cameraman and have endless time for organization and infrastructure you'll be spending some money.
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Jin Juku
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If you've never done any publishing before, I'd suggest not going through Kickstarter. I'd try selling your game to a publisher. There's so much that goes into running a Kickstarter campaign alone, and then you have to publish it, and the fulfill Kickstarter backer orders, etc. It is a big job.

That's just my two cents.
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Derek Croxton
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Thanks Kenny, that was very helpful.

I'm not too worried about the "profit" part. I'd be happy to break even.

Derek
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Derek Croxton
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kaziam wrote:
What is this "without financial risk" scenario you speak of, Kemosabe?


Surely that's at least part of the point? I don't think TMG needs to raise capital to produce a new game; they want to make sure there is a market. I guess there is some financial risk -- I've probably sunk $50 into playtest components -- but the risk is a lot smaller if you don't produce before people have agreed to buy it.

Derek
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Kevin B.
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It also helps to have people play a prototype at a convention. Many of the projects I have backed were because people had gotten to play it at a convention and said it was good.
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Kenny VenOsdel
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dcroxton wrote:
kaziam wrote:
What is this "without financial risk" scenario you speak of, Kemosabe?


Surely that's at least part of the point? I don't think TMG needs to raise capital to produce a new game; they want to make sure there is a market. I guess there is some financial risk -- I've probably sunk $50 into playtest components :) -- but the risk is a lot smaller if you don't produce before people have agreed to buy it.

Derek


TMG probably still needs to raise capitol in order to make a new game. They are a small company trying to make enough money to pay several full time salaries.
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Kenny VenOsdel
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dcroxton wrote:
Thanks Kenny, that was very helpful.

I'm not too worried about the "profit" part. I'd be happy to break even.

Derek


Fine then substitute Deliver for Profit. It is still nice to know how a newbie will go about producing the game and shipping it out. Letting people know you have a plan in place (ie which manufacturer are you in contact with, how will you handle delivery, what prior experience are you pulling on) will help them feel safe that you won't hit an avoidable snag and just give up.
 
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Jason Kotzur-Yang
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kvenosdel wrote:
1. Have a good informative and entertaining video
2. Have a downloadable rulebook available for non-backers
3. Submit a designer diary to be released during your project (if it gets accepted)
4. Have the game page on BGG up and running BEFORE the project starts
5. If possible PnP copies help push sales
6. Finished artwork for at least some things when the project hits is a good


Good points, but there should be a few more steps in there, including going to conventions, a lot of playtesting and refining, and reaching out to the community long before your KS (like now, is good). You'll need a good hard strong push in the beginning to make your project stand and seem worthwhile to backers, and you're not going to get that through ads. If someone clicks on a link they need to see a project that's already on it's way to success. You need to build an audience first (and probably start under 10K with your first project).

I'd also argue the simplified process should be:
1. Make game
2. KS it
3. Manufacture
4. Not losing your house
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Koen Hendrix
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1. Spend a lot of time and a little money making small game
2. Spend a lot of time and a little money creating attractive video and art, PnP version, website, get interest/followers
3. KS to get 4-figure dollar moneys

4. Manufacture & ship it all
5. Not lose your house
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Filip W.
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1. Spend a lot of time and a little money making small game
2. Spend a lot of time and a little money creating attractive video and art, PnP version, website, get interest/followers
3. KS to get 4-figure dollar moneys

4. Manufacture & ship it all
5. Not lose your house
6. Have the IRS find out about your game, then come by and confiscate your house on the basis that all games make a ton of money.
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Jason Washburn
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I will tell you. I feel I did everything I could do to make my KSer good. I have a great game, I had good art, I had clever writing, I had informative information. I had a cool video that was a bit off the beaten path. I had international shipping levels, I had the support of my family and friends. I had all the money worked out to the penny. I had everything set up so the game would print as soon as my rewards were completed. I had game play videos, I had the rules up. I has art shown, I had all the art done for the game which I got good comments on.

I got to go on 2 different pod casts to promote my game. I had some neat rewards and I had a unique card game that I took to gen con and played in the first play test hall. I got awesome feedback about the art and the game play in person from the gamers that played. I took it to the local game stores and played there.

I CAME UP SHORT. There is a ton that goes on for a KSer. In the end I only had just over 400 people watch my video, about 10% of them did not watch the whole thing and it was less than three minutes and was NOT a boring video of me talking. In fact my video caught the eye of a few and that is how I got the pod cast with DJ Grandpa I talked to him from the gen con floor.

I thought I had it all buttoned up and we started awesome. but I alony funded about 50%, in the last week when it looked like we were not going to make it, about 12 to 15 backers dropped out. Over two years of development and about 3500 dollars in advertising, prototyping, travel and expenses, plus a website my LLC and all the work to get your bank paperwork done with Amazon. it can be disappointing.

KSer is a cool thing but very few independant games get funded. You are competing with Queen Games, Illeo Games, Plaid Hat Games, Cheap Ass Games, Twilight Productions, Cool Mini or Not, Games Salute, Privateer Press and many other professional gaming companies that have been open and established for years. They have the money to sink into their campaign, and they have the money to produce the game, or in some cases they have already produced the game and they are just plus selling.

in the end you can get funded and you can make your game but even if you do everything you can do, it still is a very tough road. i will run my campaign again coming up this summer. I hope that the second time around I am able to fun my project and make my game.

Good luck do your homework.
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Aerjen Tamminga
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My advice is:

- Read through everything here: www.stonemaiergames.com/kickstarter/
- Read through the relevant posts here: http://www.jamesmathe.com/
- Listen to as many episodes of: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/funding-dream-on-kicksta...

And if you're willing to invest a lot of time to learn an amazing amount of things and meet some really cool people on the way KS can be the way to go.

Please note: I'm not saying anything about making a profit, breaking even or having success.
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Kenny VenOsdel
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jason2043 wrote:

KSer is a cool thing but very few independant games get funded. You are competing with Queen Games, Illeo Games, Plaid Hat Games, Cheap Ass Games, Twilight Productions, Cool Mini or Not, Games Salute, Privateer Press and many other professional gaming companies that have been open and established for years. They have the money to sink into their campaign, and they have the money to produce the game, or in some cases they have already produced the game and they are just plus selling.


Even bigger is you are competing against the stigma that many other independents have created that no matter how good a campaign is there is still a good chance the designer won't deliver the product or it won't be what is promised.
 
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Tom Razo
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kvenosdel wrote:
jason2043 wrote:

KSer is a cool thing but very few independant games get funded. You are competing with Queen Games, Illeo Games, Plaid Hat Games, Cheap Ass Games, Twilight Productions, Cool Mini or Not, Games Salute, Privateer Press and many other professional gaming companies that have been open and established for years. They have the money to sink into their campaign, and they have the money to produce the game, or in some cases they have already produced the game and they are just plus selling.


Even bigger is you are competing against the stigma that many other independents have created that no matter how good a campaign is there is still a good chance the designer won't deliver the product or it won't be what is promised.


I've been chasing this dream for sometime now and have spent a considerable amount of time and money... more than I care to admit.

I try to keep the blinders on and keep pushing forward... yet, it seems the spirt of Kickstarter in the Tabletop games category has changed considerably since I started following projects. It is much tougher now for independents to gain enough support to properly fund a project.

It takes a lot of time and energy to build an audience large enough to carry a project past the finish line... more so than one might ever have imagined.

Aerjen wrote:
My advice is:

- Read through everything here: www.stonemaiergames.com/kickstarter/
- Read through the relevant posts here: http://www.jamesmathe.com/
- Listen to as many episodes of: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/funding-dream-on-kicksta...

And if you're willing to invest a lot of time to learn an amazing amount of things and meet some really cool people on the way KS can be the way to go.

Please note: I'm not saying anything about making a profit, breaking even or having success.


+1 These are all great resources and worth the read/listen.

On the positive side, as of now... you can keep trying to build support to gain funding on Kickstarter because you can relaunch campaigns if you overlook something in your campaign and fail to gain enough support to fund your project's goal.


 
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mike
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"I love the idea of Kickstarter and it seems like an excellent way to fund a project without taking a financial risk."


HHAHAAHAHAHAHA


Sorry, couldn't resist, you haven't supported or followed that many projects over the last 3 years then have you?

How do you figure there is no risk?

Let me give you a couple of examples

Say you set you goal at $20K which will produce 1000 copies of your game

You make your goal barely say $21K

Now here's where the risk comes in:
*you've underestimated your production costs by 15%
*you didn't really research international shipping or customs fees and they are going to cost an extra $2K
*You don't have room at your place for 2-3 Pallets of games and now you have to pay for storage
*You forgot to budget shipping from the manufacturer to you
*you needed to make changes to the game because of stretch goals and that's added to your development costs
*you forgot to set aside a % for the tax man

So who do you think is on the hook financially to cover those costs?

If you don't think that's a risk, then you haven't done any research on the business side of this.

BTW those are all real examples that project creators have run into the last few years.

I'd considering reading every thread here by designers/publishers on lessons learned from their projects, successful or otherwise

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Derek Croxton
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Wow, some excellent advice, along with some seriously discouraging stories/warnings. I had a feeling it might be hard to fund a project, but it sounds like running into a buzz saw. Kickstarter has to be less risky than producing a game and then trying to recoup your money by selling it, but I see that there are plenty of ways you can end up in the hole anyway.

Thanks for everyone's input, I'm discouraged but not yet deterred.
 
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Jason Washburn
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I dont think the goal is to discourage you. At least that was not the point of my post. it is to open your eyes. I go on KSer everyday and look at projects and watch and talk with project creators and developers.

Most people work on their games for 15 months for 2 years and then you have to build and plan your KSer so figure another 6 to 9 months. And if you are wanting reviews then you may have to wait longer to get your reviews back from folks.

There is so much that goes into it until you do it, and you hope that you have thought of everything and you have figured enough capitol into it to soak up unforeseen cost.
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