Lessons Learned #2: What is this “Kickstarter” I’ve been Hearing About?

Have you been asked to support our Kickstarter Campaign? You may have said ok without really understanding what you were agreeing to. Or you may have outright rejected support, simply because you were clueless as to what it all entailed. Well, from one novice to another, here is an overview of Kickstarter.

First, Kickstarter is a website. It is a crowdfunding marketplace platform where people that have projects seek to receive funding from the general public, friends, family, or other supporters. People may be seeking funds for an entire project or just a part of the project. Though there are many different categories of projects, we have experience with only the tabletop games on Kickstarter. These are typically new games that are in the process of being funded that have already been developed with rules, a prototype, and a design, but does not have the funding to produce large quantities of the game for a reasonable price.

For example, our game, Headhunter, had a prototype (actually a few) on Gamecrafter so we could play the game and test the design. However, this is expensive! This method of making games is called “print on demand”. The first edition of our game was originally designed to have 250 cards, costing about $25 to purchase. Yet after shipping, the cost was $35 and only included about 150 cards. You see, prices drop with bulk purchasing when manufactured at an actual production facility. That is the whole reasoning behind crowdfunding campaigns, such as offered through Kickstarter.

When on Kickstarter, a project has a limited time to be funded. This campaign may vary in length with an average of 30 days.  Also, there is a funding goal set of $1,000, $5,000, $25,000, or whatever the producer needs. By the end of the campaign, that goal must be reached or exceeded. If it is not, then the project creator receives no money and the supporters do not spend any money. Unlike other crowdfunding options, either the project funds 100% or more, or it does not.

Another major element of Kickstarter is the reward system. Project backers lend support by generally choosing a support level. These levels are different monetary contribution tiers that are associated with a reward that will be given to the backer upon a successful project completion. Thus, Kickstarter is not a store. Rather, it is a pre-order system. Typically when supporting a game on Kickstarter, you receive a copy of the game and possibly accessories or add-ons, or other fun perks.

Lastly, when supporting a Kickstarter campaign, you should pledge support as soon as possible, specifically in the first day or two. This tends to lead to a more successful campaign for the fundraiser simply because by nature, people tend to want to be a part of something succeeding and usually do not take time to take a second look at the project at a later date.

For Legends of Ravenhall, our first Kickstarter campaign was for our game, Headhunter. This was a trial run resulting in an investment backer appearing on the scene shortly after our launch. Thus, we cancelled the original campaign. A big thank you to all those that supported us and be on the lookout for another smaller Headhunter Kickstarter campaign shortly for some added and enhanced Headhunter features.

Thank You!

-Legends of Ravenhall

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