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Crowdfunding: Kickstarter» Forums » General

Subject: Kickstarter Best Practices rss

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Clayton Helme
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I will soon be helping to create and run a kickstarter project and I wanted to get some feedback from the community regarding the best way to go about doing that. There are a few main issues that I'd like to get feedback on:

Kickstarter "Exclusives" - I think the general consensus is that these are somewhat mandatory to get people to back the game. However, I could be wrong about that.

Overfunds/Stretch Goals - The best thing is most likely to have all overfunds be free to all backers. However, sometimes that is not economically feasible given the context of the reward.

Shipping - This is actually my biggest concern because it is so expensive for the project creators that Free Worldwide Shipping is just not a real possibility without substantial financial risk. I'm not sure the best way to go about fixing that and giving all backers a fair share of the shipping burden without sacrificing potential backers.

Add-ons - I'm not sure on the best way to approach add-ons, but I am thinking that keeping them separate from pledge levels is the best way to go. What do people typically like to see as add-ons?

Pledge Structure - We are planning on doing a very clean pledge level structure with only one pledge level that gets you everything that isn't an add-on. No early bird reward levels or special "be in the game" pledge levels.

Thanks for all your feedback. I really would like this to be a resource for project creators in general to come and see what the community wants in kickstarter project. I hope that together we can create some 'Best Practices' for all to follow.

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Curt Carpenter
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https://www.boardgamegeek.com/forum/915012/kickstarter/gener...
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Clayton Helme
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Thanks!! I was looking for a better place to put this, but I didn't think about going to a family subdomain! Oh great mods, please change the location of this forum post (or tell me how to do it and I will).
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Gláucio Reis
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Crimson_Phoenix wrote:
Kickstarter "Exclusives" - I think the general consensus is that these are somewhat mandatory to get people to back the game.

They obviously are an incentive to back, but there is no consensus about them. In fact, this is probably one of the most controversial points. If you have a lot of exclusives, you may kill the game at retail, because people will feel the game is incomplete. Cthulhu Wars had a tremendously successful campaign with only a pair of first-player markers as exclusives.

Quote:
Overfunds/Stretch Goals - The best thing is most likely to have all overfunds be free to all backers. However, sometimes that is not economically feasible given the context of the reward.

One thing that I liked about the Conan kickstarter was that, although they kept coming with add-ons during the campaign, none of them was set as a stretch goal. All stretch goals were "free".

Quote:
Shipping - This is actually my biggest concern because it is so expensive for the project creators that Free Worldwide Shipping is just not a real possibility without substantial financial risk.

There is no easy way around that. Just do your best estimate/research. Then, if you offer "free" shipping to U.S. backers (by including the shipping cost in the price), reduce the cost for other countries by the same amount.

Quote:
Add-ons - I'm not sure on the best way to approach add-ons, but I am thinking that keeping them separate from pledge levels is the best way to go. What do people typically like to see as add-ons?

Whatever you do, please just don't make them exclusives. Backers are already supporting your project, don't try to force them to pledge more by giving them an ultimatum to buy all this extra stuff now or never. This was the one thing I hated in the aforementioned Conan kickstarter.

Quote:
Pledge Structure - We are planning on doing a very clean pledge level structure with only one pledge level that gets you everything that isn't an add-on. No early bird reward levels or special "be in the game" pledge levels.

That sounds good. But it might help to include another pledge level later for the complete package with all add-ons, if you can offer a discount.
 
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Andrew Bartosh

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I hate to be that guy, but keep in mind that posters on BGG are still just a noisy minority. What they dis/like may, in fact, not actually be practical for marketing purposes. While it is fine to poll the community, I really advise examining successful Kickstarters and seeing what they did.
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"L'état, c'est moi."
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AndrewRogue wrote:
I hate to be that guy, but keep in mind that posters on BGG are still just a noisy minority. What they dis/like may, in fact, not actually be practical for marketing purposes. While it is fine to poll the community, I really advise examining successful Kickstarters and seeing what they did.


e.g. Exploding Kittens.

Moved to KS forums at OP request.
 
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Adam Clark
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leroy43 wrote:
AndrewRogue wrote:
I hate to be that guy, but keep in mind that posters on BGG are still just a noisy minority. What they dis/like may, in fact, not actually be practical for marketing purposes. While it is fine to poll the community, I really advise examining successful Kickstarters and seeing what they did.


e.g. Exploding Kittens.


Exploding Kittens is a horrible example for people to try and use as any sort of basis for having a wildly successful Kickstarter unless the answer is "build up your fanbase years in advance before launching a Kickstarter". Their success is pretty difficult to replicate unless you already have a rather large and rabid fanbase to start with.
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The Game Steward
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pyrowolf wrote:
Exploding Kittens is a horrible example for people to try and use as any sort of basis for having a wildly successful Kickstarter unless the answer is "build up your fanbase years in advance before launching a Kickstarter". Their success is pretty difficult to replicate unless you already have a rather large and rabid fanbase to start with.


I agree that EK would be a horrible example if trying to replicate that degree of success. However, there are still a lot of lessons to be learned from their campaign.

Just a few examples:

The pledge tiers were simple to understand.

They were very engaged with the backer community, and accepted input from them.

They kept their stretch goals realistic and achievable. They did not allow themselves to get caught up in the roller-coaster ride with goals that did not stay within their budget.

The product was very straightforward with a very specific purpose. They made no attempt to be "all things to all people" that some game projects end up succumbing to, and thereby diluting the focus of the KS campaign. e.g. they made no effort (that I am aware of) to make solo rules, or add other themes.

They did not offer add-ons to their campaigns, and thereby complicate the pledge process.

They had a lengthy and useful set of FAQ's at the bottom of their page.

I'm sure others can add to the list. Doing all of this won't guarantee $8 million. But failing to follow these rules might sink your campaign completely.
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Clayton Helme
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GreenLaborMike wrote:
They did not offer add-ons to their campaigns, and thereby complicate the pledge process.

We would really like to have add-ons for the campaign though because there is only so much you can fit in the game box. What do you think is the best way to do this without complicating the pledging process?
 
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The Game Steward
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Crimson_Phoenix wrote:
GreenLaborMike wrote:
They did not offer add-ons to their campaigns, and thereby complicate the pledge process.

We would really like to have add-ons for the campaign though because there is only so much you can fit in the game box. What do you think is the best way to do this without complicating the pledging process?


The fewer the better, honestly. I understand that it may not be feasible for your campaign, but IF you must include add-ons, and there are likely to be more than 2 or 3 options total, then you may want to consider using a third party pledge manager such as backerkit or fundafull. For "miniatures" focused campaigns, this is something of a requirement (unless you have the means to create one in-house).

T-shirts, mugs, art prints, etc. should be chucked out the window, IMHO. They clutter up the campaign, make the logistics of packing and shipping that much more complicated for you, and are extremely unlikely to net you any profit once all is said and done.

I don't mean to be too harsh on the subject of add-ons. They have their place in many campaigns. But it's a complicating factor, and I am a HUGE fan of KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid). You should be completely certain that the pros outweigh the cons before using them.

I wish you the best of luck! Let us know when your campaign launches, so we can check it out.
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Clayton Helme
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GreenLaborMike wrote:
T-shirts, mugs, art prints, etc. should be chucked out the window, IMHO. They clutter up the campaign, make the logistics of packing and shipping that much more complicated for you, and are extremely unlikely to net you any profit once all is said and done.
Yes we are only planning add-ons that are actually game related, e.g. player mats and extra dice. Though we were thinking about an art book at one point...
GreenLaborMike wrote:
I wish you the best of luck! Let us know when your campaign launches, so we can check it out.
Thanks!! It's still probably a month or so away, I'm just trying to get everything figured out early so we can have a good project for us and backers alike.
 
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Brook Gentlestream
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If your goal is to become a successful game company, you need to keep your eye on the prize. That is, you need to be constantly focussed on your company AFTER Kickstarter. Add-ons may seem convenient when you're running a kickstarter project, but they can be headaches down the road.

1) Marketing post-kickstarter with add-ons can be hard. You may not necessarily be able to depend on word-of-mouth from your existing players who may play their own, better, customized version of what's on retail. The messages about what players should buy may get deluded. For an example of this, one could look to all the absurd "What should I buy?" threads for the Star Realms expansion that came out with four expansions at once -- and that was for a game already proven successful and wildly popular.

2) You don't want your retail sales hurt by rumors that it may somehow be inferior to what's been released to kickstarters, or that the additional material is required or all the add-ons are somehow a money-sink. It's not going to help when people conduct research online only to discover that the people online are playing a different version than what's on the store shelves.

3) Retailers may not know what do buy, and unlikely to buy everything since its a bigger risk. On the other hand, without everything available for purchase, buyers may instead look to on-line retailers. Consequently, the available add-ons could be a deterrant to stocking your games on shelves, especially early on when its most needed.

4) Even just getting your kickstarters happy could be a problem. More add-ons means more mini-projects for your manufacturer, resulting in manufacturing delays. Even now, there have been some kickstarter updates in at least two projects about how the manufacturing has taken longer than expected because of all the additional mini-projects they've given the manufacturer, and its crossed into Chinese holidays, creating further delays.

5) The increased amount of stuff you are shipping may be harder to get into the hands of international backers. A small amount of additional weight can add a lot to shipping costs if you are not properly prepared for it.

6) Then there's the logistics of tracking everyone's orders, making sure everyone understands what they've ordered and paid for it, and then making sure each and every box has specifically the components its supposed to, possibly creating shipping delays and an increased error rate. In the end, you're likely to get a higher percentage of customer complaints and service issues, and how all the parties involved deal with that will setup your initial reputation.


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