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How could Kickstarter be better?

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avalaunch
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I'm working on a startup called Avalaunch. Right now I'm doing market research, but if that goes well, I'll turn Avalaunch.com into a crowdfunding platform specifically for games - one that is itself a bit of a game. I really don't want to put forth hundreds of hours building it only to find out nobody wants to use it. So, my aim is to talk to some other game designers (I myself am a huge board game geek and an amateur game designer) and game publishers and see if there's a need for what I want to build.

My questions to anyone that has used Kickstarter: did you have any problems with the format/process? were you happy overall? what could they have done better?

And for everyone: what would you like to see in a launching platform?

Hopefully we can get a conversation going. I could definitely use your feedback.

Orangebeard
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First thoughts

Hi Avalaunch,

I'm not aware of any other "niche" crowd-funding, but I like the idea of having a centralized source for the crowd-funding of a specific product type.

Pros
Helps to reinforce the sense of community around a specific type of product
More likely to get support/promotion from affiliated groups (eg a board game forum would likely be more willing to promote a board game funding site)
Less likely that your project will be lost in the "confusion" of a broader funding site
Easier to build a reputation within the community (for better or worse!) as a designer that delivers on promises

Cons
Likely to be a much smaller pool of potential investors
May require more administration on the back end to support features that encourage people to seek funding through the niche site rather than a larger site
Will there be enough funding to generate business sustaining revenues?

Dralius
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I have never used Kickstarter

I have never used Kickstarter in the past but my publisher is going to use it to launch my game Tahiti soon.

Im sure i'll have some feedback once we have gone through the process.

kronik
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I forget his name, but the

I forget his name, but the Tasty Minstrel guy has written a lot on BGG in his blogs about the ins and outs of Kickstarter. I'm sure you kind find something through a search.

Personally, I don't have a lot of experience, but I think that, between indiegogo.com and kickstarter.com, there's perhaps not a lot of room for another platform. I'm not very active on these things, but the few projects that pass by don't seem to warrant another place to go looking. I think that kickstarter projects profit from the overall brandname that is kickstarter. Other sites will scour kickstarter for cool projects, and once in a while a boardgame might find exposure via other means, because of kickstarter. There's not a lot of boardgame projects running on either site, which will make it a lot harder to keep the site running financially if you have no income. I think it's great that there's boardgame projects on kickstarter, but it's clear that kickstarter didn't become well known for its boardgame projects. It's just a lucky coincidence that other projects, that rake in a lot more money, keep the site running, and as such allow for the board game projects to exist alongside it....

I'd make a very informed business plan before taking any further steps. But I certainly don't want to preach that I hold the only truth in life. I'd be glad to see it work!!!

MondaysHero
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Search format

The biggest problem with Kickstarter is the search platform. I cannot look up "Recently Launched Boardgames." I can look up "recently Launched" but then have to wade through stuff I could not care about to find the new games. If I go to the Board Game page, all I can see if "Staff Picks" "recently Successful" and "Hot this week." I want to see what is brand new, so I can read through those, and get in on the ground floor to help those projects.

That being said, it could be even more specific (Dice games, cards games, RPGs) Then my search would be that much easier.

avalaunch
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Orangebeard,Thanks for the

Orangebeard,

Thanks for the reply!

There are some other niche crowd-funding sites: www.appsfunder.com for mobile apps is gaining traction, www.quirky.com for inventors, www.startsomegood.com for social entrepreneurs area few that come to mind.

It's obviously an uphill battle, with KickStarter dominating the market. Avalaunch would be different than the others though, which are all basically carbon copies of the KS model.

I'd definitely be following the mantra of "think big, start small". I want to begin in the board game market because it's such an awesome community that I personally love. The idea of going to board game convention after board game convention is extremely appealing to me. Also, the fact that the board game market is so small (vs other markets) is great for starting out. If things went well, I'd then expand Avalaunch into mobile and video games, which are literally 100x the market size. From there, who knows.

Plus, I love games. So, yeah, there's that.

avalaunch
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Dralius, Let me know if you

Dralius,

Let me know if you want some twitter support when you launch Tahiti. I've got a decent following of 3k users that are mostly kickstarter users and/or board game enthusiasts. Just tweet me @avalaunchit and I'll give you a couple shout outs.

-Kris

avalaunch
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kronik, His name is Michael

kronik,

His name is Michael Mindes. And yeah, he's written some great stuff. I actually just emailed him earlier today, and I think he just wrote me back. So that should be fun to read.

It's definitely not going to be an easy battle to combat those two giants: especially kickstarter. I'm hoping the niche focus and unique structure of the Avalaunch platform will garner the support of the board game community.

My goal would be to start with board games, then expand into other games. I'm definitely not 100% confident this is the smartest niche to start in. It's just the one I'm personally most passionate about.

avalaunch
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Mondayshero, Yeah, I know

Mondayshero,

Yeah, I know what you mean. If I do go forward with Avalaunch, I'll make sure to include a better search/filter functionality.

Dralius
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avalaunch wrote:Dralius, Let

avalaunch wrote:
Dralius,

Let me know if you want some twitter support when you launch Tahiti. I've got a decent following of 3k users that are mostly kickstarter users and/or board game enthusiasts. Just tweet me @avalaunchit and I'll give you a couple shout outs.

-Kris

Thanks we can use all the help we can get.

sedjtroll
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Dralius wrote:avalaunch

Dralius wrote:
avalaunch wrote:
Dralius,

Let me know if you want some twitter support when you launch Tahiti. I've got a decent following of 3k users that are mostly kickstarter users and/or board game enthusiasts. Just tweet me @avalaunchit and I'll give you a couple shout outs.

-Kris

Thanks we can use all the help we can get.


... And if you want to give a shout out to TMG's current KS project, Ground Floor, I would appreciate it a lot! :)

avalaunch
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You got it! It actually

You got it!

It actually hits my twitter demographic perfectly. All of my followers that aren't kickstarter users and/or board game enthusiasts are startup people.

jwarrend
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A Kickstarter alternative has

A Kickstarter alternative has to offer something distinctive that steers projects and supporters to it. Here's the way I would approach it, if I were going to start a company to do this.

With the glut of game projects on Kickstarter, the inability for a consumer to realistically sort through them all, and the possibility of a "backlash" against KS due to KS games underperforming expectations (should that in fact happen), gives a possible angle for a business: a KS alternative that offers only "premier" games. The idea would be that your service would vet the games and ensure that they’re of exceptional quality. Specific suggestions:

1. You would pre-screen the games, aiming for a high rejection rate of at least, say, 75%. This will convince people you aren’t just willing to take the money of any Joe Schmoe who wants to publish a game.

2. Enlist the support of highly respected reviewers, and pay them for their time. For point 1, the fact that you accepted or rejected a game is of limited value, because no one knows who you are. But they know who Tom Vasel is. If you can get high-caliber reviewers to serve as your editorial board, and use their feedback in filtering out which games you accept, you will start with a lot of credibility. And because you’re paying them, (instead of the publishers paying them), you will avoid the “this favorable review was bought” concern that will plague future KS projects.

Basically, the way KS is going is that there are so many projects that to get heard above the noise, a project is going to need reviews from top flight reviewers, and, inundated with review requests, the top reviewers are going to start charging publishers for their time, which creates a conflict of interest situation that is terribly unhealthy for the hobby. A service that provides the reviews to the customers can be a great middleman in this regard.

3. Place the buyer's emphasis on “pre-ordering” games, instead of the “funding a dream” mentality that KS is built around. This will mitigate complaints about projects using KS in ways that “it’s not intended” to be used, and will encourage more veteran publishers to participate.

4. (Possibly) Only accept publishers who have at least one game already in print. This will give buyers confidence that the publisher can deliver on the game and has at least some idea of what they're doing: that it's not just some guy who designed a game and now wants to publish it.

5. Insist that projects be shovel-ready; ie, playtesting is done, artwork is done, rulebook is done, written, trouble-shot, and formatted. Everything is ready for the game to be sent to the printers.

6. (Possibly) Vet the production specs of the game projects, and ensure the quotes that the publisher has received from the printers call for acceptable levels of quality in the components. This might be getting deeper in the weeds than you want to go, but basically you want to be able to tell supporters that they're going to get a good quality game, not flimsy cardstock, an unmounted board, etc.

I think these things, taken together, will provide your customers with a high level of confidence that the projects at your site are high quality, and are likely to be produced in a quality way and in a realistic time table.

How could you also make your service attractive to publishers? The biggest thing would be to solve the international shipping issue. There are many buyers in Europe and elsewhere who would love to support KS campaigns, but the exorbitant cost of shipping prohibits them from participating. By finding an international distribution partner, or in some way figuring out a logistical solution for the games to be able to ship worldwide for no additional cost compared to domestic US shipping, you will unlock a lot of doors for publishers without their having to do the legwork.

One way to achieve this might be to have several projects running concurrently, and when these all fund and print, perhaps you find a way to send a container to Europe that’s filled with several of the titles.

Related to this, having several campaigns running concurrently, and with the higher level of central organization that the above model could permit, you could perhaps have cross-project promotions that let a buyer pledge to multiple campaigns for some discount or upgrade or whatever. Perhaps instead of the rigid rewards structure that is characteristic of KS, there could be more fluidity and flexibility to the rewards you can choose when you support a campaign, and perhaps having more coordination across campaigns is a way to navigate the economies of scale issues to make this happen.

avalaunch
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Lots of great ideas here.

Lots of great ideas here. Some of them are brand new to me. Others I've been mulling over. I'm still digesting all you wrote (and thank you for taking the time to share so much!), but here are my initial thoughts.

Before I get into that though, here's our unique value proposition for game designers and game publishers, as it stands now. I'd love to hear what you think:

We can help you launch your game with an avalanche of support behind you.

The Avalaunch Advantage:
1. We're small, but that's a good thing. It means your project will get more attention on our site. Your game will almost always be on the front page. We'll constantly be talking about your game on twitter, facebook, and on our blog. We'll have so few games on Avalaunch at first, that when we talk to other bloggers, and when we advertise, we'll be specifically mentioning your game.
2. We only focus on board games. This means we'll be focusing all our attention (and advertising) on areas that will bring in customers that want to find you.
3. We know gamers. We are gamers. We love games. Don't underestimate the power of that. :-)
4. Avalaunch is more viral than any other crowdfunding site. Obviously this will remain unproven until we launch, but I've been studying what works and what doesn't for years. I've taken everything I've learned and designed a system that will motivate users to help you promote your game. How it works: Users work together to unlock levels. Each level requires a certain number of supporters to unlock it. Level 1 (which represents the minimum funding goal) might require 100 people to unlock it. Level 2 might require 200, and so on. Each level they unlock will give everyone new bonus rewards and/or a lower price for the game. It's up to the game designer/publisher to decide what each level offers. In addition, we have a leaderboard that allows you to reward those people that refer others to your game. You can offer rewards to everyone on the leaderboard, and/or to the people at the top of the leaderboard. We suggest both.
5. We need your game to be successfully funded just as badly as you. Probably more so. In order for Avalaunch to succeed, we have to prove the concept. That means we need the first projects to be a smashing success. All of them. And we're ready to pay to make it happen. For the first batch of projects, we'll almost certainly spend more in advertising per project than we'll bring in.

(optional - still debating this)6. For the game designer that doesn't want to self publish, we can publish the game for you. You design the game. We'll do everything else, and give you the standard industry royalty (or maybe a bit higher, since we're not taking as much risk by pre-funding).

"""""""1. You would pre-screen the games, aiming for a high rejection rate of at least, say, 75%. This will convince people you aren’t just willing to take the money of any Joe Schmoe who wants to publish a game.

2. Enlist the support of highly respected reviewers, and pay them for their time. For point 1, the fact that you accepted or rejected a game is of limited value, because no one knows who you are. But they know who Tom Vasel is. If you can get high-caliber reviewers to serve as your editorial board, and use their feedback in filtering out which games you accept, you will start with a lot of credibility. And because you’re paying them, (instead of the publishers paying them), you will avoid the “this favorable review was bought” concern that will plague future KS projects.

Basically, the way KS is going is that there are so many projects that to get heard above the noise, a project is going to need reviews from top flight reviewers, and, inundated with review requests, the top reviewers are going to start charging publishers for their time, which creates a conflict of interest situation that is terribly unhealthy for the hobby. A service that provides the reviews to the customers can be a great middleman in this regard."""""""

This might get very expensive very quickly, depending on how much it costs to vet each project, and what the rejection percentage is. To properly review a game, Tom Vasel will have to play it, at least once. And that will take hours. How much compensation would he want for that? If I had to guess, I'd guess over $100 per game. If the rejection rate is 75%, that means at least $400 spent per game that seeks funding. That's tough if it's coming out of the 5% Avalaunch would be getting. Each game would have to get at least 8k in funding before we broke even, and that's assuming we didn't spend anything on advertising, and didn't pay ourselves anything, ect...

That being said, I do like the idea of vetting games. I had two thoughts.

1. Create an optional "Endorsed by" section for each game, where it would be up to the publisher to seek out the endorsements. Perhaps I could create a marketplace that helped match respected reviewers with game designers seeking endorsements. Also, I think anyone could become a respected reviewer if a system to rate the reviewer is in place (similar to Amazon's "Was this review helpful?")

2. Do something similar to what Threadless does, where the end consumer can help vet games. In this scenario, there would be a play test arena where game designers/publishers could upload their game before seeking funding. Consumers could browse and play test games they like. This would probably have to be print n play at first, but later I would hope to create software to allow online play testing. The big trick would be getting end consumers to participate. Rating a t-shirt on threadless is a one click, 3 second process. Play testing a game takes hours.

""""""3. Place the buyer's emphasis on “pre-ordering” games, instead of the “funding a dream” mentality that KS is built around. This will mitigate complaints about projects using KS in ways that “it’s not intended” to be used, and will encourage more veteran publishers to participate.

4. (Possibly) Only accept publishers who have at least one game already in print. This will give buyers confidence that the publisher can deliver on the game and has at least some idea of what they're doing: that it's not just some guy who designed a game and now wants to publish it.""""""

I actually have considered something like this. I've considered only opening up Avalaunch to existing publishers because there seems to be a bit of a gap in the market there. There aren't any centralized methods for them to launch a game and really take advantage of social media in doing so. My talks with veteran publishers (by veteran, I mean the really big ones) suggest they still wouldn't use it. Perhaps they would after they see that it's a successful means of marketing and launching a new game, but it would be hard to get early adopters. They're pretty confident in their current means of launching a game, and because they're so big, they don't want to take a chance on an unproven idea. The smaller and mid size publishers are more open to the idea, but they also have little problem using Kickstarter. They don't fear a backlash because they're so small that they might not publish the game if not for a site like Kickstarter. All that as it is, my biggest worry is actually on the consumer end. The number one reason people use sites like Kickstarter is to help "fund a dream". Most of them don't even mind if half the projects they fund turn out to be duds. It's the emotional connection they're paying for more than the end product. If I'm not offering the emotional connection, I might get some customers, but I'd have a hard time getting evangelists.

""""""5. Insist that projects be shovel-ready; ie, playtesting is done, artwork is done, rulebook is done, written, trouble-shot, and formatted. Everything is ready for the game to be sent to the printers.""""""

6. (Possibly) Vet the production specs of the game projects, and ensure the quotes that the publisher has received from the printers call for acceptable levels of quality in the components. This might be getting deeper in the weeds than you want to go, but basically you want to be able to tell supporters that they're going to get a good quality game, not flimsy cardstock, an unmounted board, etc."

Definitely considered both of these as well. Number 6, as you noted, would be getting really deep in the weeds. Number 5 is probably ok, except potentially the artwork part. That can be prohibitively expensive for anyone that is self funding.

As I mentioned at the top of this comment, we are considering dipping into the publishing side of things as well. This would be in addition to opening up Avalaunch as a marketplace for existing publishers (and those wishing to self publish) to launch their games. For those designers that want us publish their games, the deal would be that we'd price everything out for them, and we'd create the funding page for their game. We'd take care of advertising the project, and if funded, we'd give them the industry standard royalty of (I think) 7%. We'd then get their game printed and shipped to their supporters. Afterwords, we'd continue to sell their game on our site in a separate section, and we'd bring their game to conventions. And finally, we'd try to get their game distributed in retail locations, which would not be guaranteed, but we would try our best. Obviously this would be a lot more backend work for us. We're only considering because we think it might be a great option for some game designers, and because we love games so much that we'd be ok putting in the extra work.

Also, as a bonus, if we were offering publishing as an option, we could run projects concurrently so that funding would end on the same day. Then by bringing multiple projects at once to the printer, we could negotiate a discounted rate and also save a lot on shipping. Then we could try to work out the logistics of extending this group buying power to other publishers as well.

"How could you also make your service attractive to publishers? The biggest thing would be to solve the international shipping issue. There are many buyers in Europe and elsewhere who would love to support KS campaigns, but the exorbitant cost of shipping prohibits them from participating. By finding an international distribution partner, or in some way figuring out a logistical solution for the games to be able to ship worldwide for no additional cost compared to domestic US shipping, you will unlock a lot of doors for publishers without their having to do the legwork.

One way to achieve this might be to have several projects running concurrently, and when these all fund and print, perhaps you find a way to send a container to Europe that’s filled with several of the titles."

Solving the overseas shipping problem would definitely be a logistics challenge, but might be doable. I'll have to think more on that and do some research.

Again, thank you for taking the time to reply! I loved reading all your ideas, and am open to hearing any others you have. I'd especially love to hear what you, and anyone else, thinks about our current unique value proposition.

jwarrend
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Feedback

Here are my replies. I hope these don't come across as excessively negative; trying to provide constructive criticism, hope it comes through that way. As a prospective publisher who will probably run a KS-like campaign, I'm all for alternative options.

avalaunch wrote:

1. We're small, but that's a good thing. It means your project will get more attention on our site. Your game will almost always be on the front page. We'll constantly be talking about your game on twitter, facebook, and on our blog. We'll have so few games on Avalaunch at first, that when we talk to other bloggers, and when we advertise, we'll be specifically mentioning your game.

Playing devil's advocate, a heavy advertising push at a website no one goes to and from a company that no one has heard of don't exactly sound like a straight line to a successful campaign. So this promise as only good as Avalaunch's overall level of visibility and cache in the hobby. That's part of why I think billing yourself as KS with something fundamentally different would be helpful if not essential. Otherwise, you'll just be perceived as the website that's trying to cash in on KS's business model.

Quote:
2. We only focus on board games. This means we'll be focusing all our attention (and advertising) on areas that will bring in customers that want to find you.

My sense at this point is that many KS supporters are board game geeks, who probably hear about the projects largely through BGG. So getting through to those buyers would follow the established mechanisms, and it's not clear you'd be able to help much -- ie that you know how to turn over stones that others have left unturned. If you know some way to reach non game geeks that might be appealing.

Quote:

3. We know gamers. We are gamers. We love games. Don't underestimate the power of that. :-)

I don't believe KS game projects are really hurting from KS personnel not being gamers.

Quote:

4. Avalaunch is more viral than any other crowdfunding site. Obviously this will remain unproven until we launch, but I've been studying what works and what doesn't for years. I've taken everything I've learned and designed a system that will motivate users to help you promote your game. How it works: Users work together to unlock levels. Each level requires a certain number of supporters to unlock it. Level 1 (which represents the minimum funding goal) might require 100 people to unlock it. Level 2 might require 200, and so on. Each level they unlock will give everyone new bonus rewards and/or a lower price for the game. It's up to the game designer/publisher to decide what each level offers. In addition, we have a leaderboard that allows you to reward those people that refer others to your game. You can offer rewards to everyone on the leaderboard, and/or to the people at the top of the leaderboard. We suggest both.

This is exactly how KS works already, or at least how most KS campaigns are run. The latest craze in KS is "stretch goals", which I think are kind of annoying, because they basically tell the buyer that he is expected to participate in the game's marketing if he wants to get the cool promo items. That's great for a publisher, but it's a lot to ask of a buyer. Whereas, exclusive content or something of intrinsic value, encourage you to support because your purchase will have intrinsic value, whether you round up 20 friends to support the game or not.

Quote:
[Reviews] might get very expensive very quickly, depending on how much it costs to vet each project, and what the rejection percentage is. To properly review a game, Tom Vasel will have to play it, at least once. And that will take hours. How much compensation would he want for that? If I had to guess, I'd guess over $100 per game. If the rejection rate is 75%, that means at least $400 spent per game that seeks funding. That's tough if it's coming out of the 5% Avalaunch would be getting. Each game would have to get at least 8k in funding before we broke even, and that's assuming we didn't spend anything on advertising, and didn't pay ourselves anything, ect...

Tom probably costs much more than $100 per game.

But you wouldn't send every game to Tom. Tom, or other comparably respected reviewers, would have to approve every game that you post, but they wouldn't have to personally reject every project that you reject. Probably half of the games you'll get will be obviously not good enough, and you can reject those on your own, no reviews needed.

But yes, getting good reviewers would be expensive. That would be part of the service you'd be providing to the buyer.

Quote:

1. Create an optional "Endorsed by" section for each game, where it would be up to the publisher to seek out the endorsements. Perhaps I could create a marketplace that helped match respected reviewers with game designers seeking endorsements. Also, I think anyone could become a respected reviewer if a system to rate the reviewer is in place (similar to Amazon's "Was this review helpful?")

This is basically already a part of KS campaigns, albeit informally. It is structurally flawed, in my view, because of the conflict of interest between the reviewer taking money from the publisher and being expected to deliver an unbiased review. Whereas, if your site pays for the review, and only the well-reviewed games go through, this conflict is removed.

Quote:

2. Do something similar to what Threadless does, where the end consumer can help vet games. In this scenario, there would be a play test arena where game designers/publishers could upload their game before seeking funding. Consumers could browse and play test games they like. This would probably have to be print n play at first, but later I would hope to create software to allow online play testing. The big trick would be getting end consumers to participate. Rating a t-shirt on threadless is a one click, 3 second process. Play testing a game takes hours.

Again, this is already how KS works, or at least, how many campaigns are run. You're asking consumers to do more work rather than less. That doesn't sound like a very appealing KS alternative, as a consumer.

Quote:

Also, as a bonus, if we were offering publishing as an option, we could run projects concurrently so that funding would end on the same day. Then by bringing multiple projects at once to the printer, we could negotiate a discounted rate and also save a lot on shipping. Then we could try to work out the logistics of extending this group buying power to other publishers as well.

Right, this would be an advantage of a centrally organized site as opposed to the hodge podge of projects at KS.

Quote:
I'd especially love to hear what you, and anyone else, thinks about our current unique value proposition.

I don't think it adds anything so obviously superior to KS that I'd want to go with your site instead of KS if/when I planned to start a campaign. Unless your cut was less, or you offered something different, I'm not sure it would be better to use your service than to use KS. On the other hand, if you were going to handle most of the advertising (and pay for it), that would at least take one consideration off the table that I'd have to worry about. Although, it might not be wise of me to leave something as important as advertising and promotion to someone else, either.

avalaunch
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First things first, I'm

First things first, I'm embarrassed that I didn't see that Quote button last time. Heh.

jwarrend wrote:
Here are my replies. I hope these don't come across as excessively negative; trying to provide constructive criticism, hope it comes through that way. As a prospective publisher who will probably run a KS-like campaign, I'm all for alternative options.

I have a thick skin so no worries there. I appreciate the criticism and the time you took to give me the well thought out comments.

jwarrend wrote:

avalaunch wrote:

1. We're small, but that's a good thing. It means your project will get more attention on our site. Your game will almost always be on the front page. We'll constantly be talking about your game on twitter, facebook, and on our blog. We'll have so few games on Avalaunch at first, that when we talk to other bloggers, and when we advertise, we'll be specifically mentioning your game.

Playing devil's advocate, a heavy advertising push at a website no one goes to and from a company that no one has heard of don't exactly sound like a straight line to a successful campaign. So this promise as only good as Avalaunch's overall level of visibility and cache in the hobby. That's part of why I think billing yourself as KS with something fundamentally different would be helpful if not essential. Otherwise, you'll just be perceived as the website that's trying to cash in on KS's business model.

I agree that we need to differentiate ourselves. The original idea for Avalaunch was probably more unique: a site where the price of an item continues to drop (to a point) as more and more people pledge to buy it. That base idea is still present in the current idea. A publisher can set lower prices for each level if they so choose. I just made it optional, and added in the idea of "stretch goals". After talking to publishers I realized their margins/profit weren't high enough for them to be willing to move their price points much. It's possible that I should go back to the original idea for Avalaunch but start in an industry other than board games. But I really love board games, and I can't say that about exercise equipment. So assuming I stay in the board game niche, that leaves me with the goal of making sure whatever site I build is unique enough to set Avalaunch apart, while also more useful to game publishers than its competitors.

jwarrend wrote:

avalaunch wrote:
2. We only focus on board games. This means we'll be focusing all our attention (and advertising) on areas that will bring in customers that want to find you.

My sense at this point is that many KS supporters are board game geeks, who probably hear about the projects largely through BGG. So getting through to those buyers would follow the established mechanisms, and it's not clear you'd be able to help much -- ie that you know how to turn over stones that others have left unturned. If you know some way to reach non game geeks that might be appealing.


I guess my argument is that you still have to put in a lot of effort, or spend a lot, on BGG to get people to find your specific project on KS. If they just go to KS, they won't find you. But I would be putting in a lot of effort, especially initally, and spending a lot of money to get people to visit Avalaunch, and when they visit Avalaunch, they will find your game, because it'll be on the front page. So you won't have to spend as much time or money to get the same, or increased, exposure to the board game community.

jwarrend wrote:

avalaunch wrote:

3. We know gamers. We are gamers. We love games. Don't underestimate the power of that. :-)

I don't believe KS game projects are really hurting from KS personnel not being gamers.


Hurting? No. But that doesn't mean those projects wouldn't benefit if the personnel were gamers. If they were, they'd be where board gamers are. They'd be at game conventions. And they'd be talking to board game bloggers. In general, they'd be putting forth lots of effort to get exposure from all things "board games". But they don't, because they're not gamers. But we are, and thus we would be doing all those things. Also, we'd be optimizing the website for gamers, adding features like an easy to use, fun play testing area that makes it easier for publishers to share their games and get feedback.
jwarrend wrote:

avalaunch wrote:

4. Avalaunch is more viral than any other crowdfunding site. Obviously this will remain unproven until we launch, but I've been studying what works and what doesn't for years. I've taken everything I've learned and designed a system that will motivate users to help you promote your game. How it works: Users work together to unlock levels. Each level requires a certain number of supporters to unlock it. Level 1 (which represents the minimum funding goal) might require 100 people to unlock it. Level 2 might require 200, and so on. Each level they unlock will give everyone new bonus rewards and/or a lower price for the game. It's up to the game designer/publisher to decide what each level offers. In addition, we have a leaderboard that allows you to reward those people that refer others to your game. You can offer rewards to everyone on the leaderboard, and/or to the people at the top of the leaderboard. We suggest both.

This is exactly how KS works already, or at least how most KS campaigns are run. The latest craze in KS is "stretch goals", which I think are kind of annoying, because they basically tell the buyer that he is expected to participate in the game's marketing if he wants to get the cool promo items. That's great for a publisher, but it's a lot to ask of a buyer. Whereas, exclusive content or something of intrinsic value, encourage you to support because your purchase will have intrinsic value, whether you round up 20 friends to support the game or not.


I can understand your reasoning and I see your point. But, a lot of people like stretch goals, myself included. I think they're fun. I like the idea of working together towards a common goal. Plus, from a marketing perspective, they're great. That's why I think having them built in would be an advantage. That's also why I think the leaderboard would be advantageous.

jwarrend wrote:

avalaunch wrote:
[Reviews] might get very expensive very quickly, depending on how much it costs to vet each project, and what the rejection percentage is. To properly review a game, Tom Vasel will have to play it, at least once. And that will take hours. How much compensation would he want for that? If I had to guess, I'd guess over $100 per game. If the rejection rate is 75%, that means at least $400 spent per game that seeks funding. That's tough if it's coming out of the 5% Avalaunch would be getting. Each game would have to get at least 8k in funding before we broke even, and that's assuming we didn't spend anything on advertising, and didn't pay ourselves anything, ect...

Tom probably costs much more than $100 per game.

But you wouldn't send every game to Tom. Tom, or other comparably respected reviewers, would have to approve every game that you post, but they wouldn't have to personally reject every project that you reject. Probably half of the games you'll get will be obviously not good enough, and you can reject those on your own, no reviews needed.

But yes, getting good reviewers would be expensive. That would be part of the service you'd be providing to the buyer.


My worry would be scalability. I am happy to do the first round of review when we have 10 games submitted a month, or even 100, but 1000 and there's no way. Also, I think the cost would still be prohibitive. These numbers are mostly guess work, but it's the best I have. Assuming it takes me 2 hours to review a game, and 3 of every 10 I review is good enough to go on, that costs me 20 hours. Then let's say it's $200 per review, and the respected reviewer only give their seal of approval to 2 of the 3, that's $300 per positive review. That would break down to me spending 10 hours plus $300 per game listed on Avalaunch, and not all of those will get funded. I'm pretty sure I couldn't break even in that scenario.

The only way I can think of to make it work would be to pass the cost on to the game designer with a submission fee. I don't think designers would go for that though.

jwarrend wrote:

avalaunch wrote:

1. Create an optional "Endorsed by" section for each game, where it would be up to the publisher to seek out the endorsements. Perhaps I could create a marketplace that helped match respected reviewers with game designers seeking endorsements. Also, I think anyone could become a respected reviewer if a system to rate the reviewer is in place (similar to Amazon's "Was this review helpful?")

This is basically already a part of KS campaigns, albeit informally. It is structurally flawed, in my view, because of the conflict of interest between the reviewer taking money from the publisher and being expected to deliver an unbiased review. Whereas, if your site pays for the review, and only the well-reviewed games go through, this conflict is removed.


Because of the cost problem mentioned above, my thinking would be to integrate the play testing into the site and those play testers would be providing the unbiased reviews. Eventually some of the reviewers would be respected reviewers.

jwarrend wrote:

avalaunch wrote:

2. Do something similar to what Threadless does, where the end consumer can help vet games. In this scenario, there would be a play test arena where game designers/publishers could upload their game before seeking funding. Consumers could browse and play test games they like. This would probably have to be print n play at first, but later I would hope to create software to allow online play testing. The big trick would be getting end consumers to participate. Rating a t-shirt on threadless is a one click, 3 second process. Play testing a game takes hours.

Again, this is already how KS works, or at least, how many campaigns are run. You're asking consumers to do more work rather than less. That doesn't sound like a very appealing KS alternative, as a consumer.


That's how campaigns are run on KS? I assumed all the play testing was done before the projects were posted.

I would be asking consumers to do more work, but that work would be optional and presumably it would also be fun. Some people would do it just because they want to help the game designer. The aim, from my end, would be to make it as easy and as fun for that percentage that would enjoy doing it. It would not, however, be the unique selling point to get the consumers to leave KS for Avalaunch. I agree that wouldn't work.

jwarrend wrote:

avalaunch wrote:
I'd especially love to hear what you, and anyone else, thinks about our current unique value proposition.

I don't think it adds anything so obviously superior to KS that I'd want to go with your site instead of KS if/when I planned to start a campaign. Unless your cut was less, or you offered something different, I'm not sure it would be better to use your service than to use KS. On the other hand, if you were going to handle most of the advertising (and pay for it), that would at least take one consideration off the table that I'd have to worry about. Although, it might not be wise of me to leave something as important as advertising and promotion to someone else, either.


Yeah - that's the crux of it - providing a value proposition that is superior to KS for the board game designer/small publisher. As for taking a smaller cut, I might at first, or in certain situations, but I wouldn't want to make a habit of it. It's just a bad strategy to make a low price your unique selling point. As for advertising, I don't think leaving your advertising up to another person is necessarily bad unless you're a marketing wiz yourself. For the banner ads at least, I would probably approach BGG, purplepawn, ect... and work out the best deal I could, and then ask each campaigner initially on Avalaunch if they'd like to design a banner to be displayed. That way they could have some control over it without the cost.

Again, thank you so much for taking the time to write such in depth comments. I really appreciate it. I'm working day and night on this right now and people like you are the reason I have a shot at succeeding.

If you don't mind another question, what did you think of my idea to offer publishing through Avalaunch, where you design the game and we take care of everything else? Would that be a unique enough differentiator?

jwarrend
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avalaunch wrote: The original

avalaunch wrote:
The original idea for Avalaunch was probably more unique: a site where the price of an item continues to drop (to a point) as more and more people pledge to buy it. After talking to publishers I realized their margins/profit weren't high enough for them to be willing to move their price points much.

Agreed, economies of scale help a bit but a game that sells through a print run of 2,000 copies barely breaks even and you have to get to print runs of 5,000 to 10,000 before you have something that looks like a "hit", and those are so hard to come by that you can't ask publishers to bottom out their upside when they have the good fortune to happen upon one.

Quote:
They'd be at game conventions.

If you are going to game conventions and advertising there, you might be able to pull in buyers that are gamers but aren't BoardGameGeeks and don't have a high level of KS visibility. Other than that, I think there is already a perfectly effective version of KS for board game projects, and it's called "Kickstarter."

Quote:
My worry would be scalability. I am happy to do the first round of review when we have 10 games submitted a month, or even 100, but 1000 and there's no way.

If you have a thousand submissions a month and you're accepting 25% of them as projects, then your level of funding will be increasing as well, so you simply scale up your editorial staff to accommodate the influx. You're kind of exaggerating here, by the way; you're not ever going to get 1000 submissions a month, the industry just isn't that big. Also note that you also don't have to play every game. You might look at how contests like Hippodice are run for inspiration. There's a prescreen where they read the rules and only pass probably 25% of the games through to playtesting, then test those and downselect to about 10 games, then a panel of industry judges selects a winner from among those. You could probably emulate something like that here.

Hey, it's your company, it doesn't matter to me. But you seem to be naysaying this idea without actually giving it any serious thought about how to make it work. And I think you desperately need an idea like this (not necessarily this exact idea, but something like it) to add value to your site for the customer, that makes them want to come to your site and back projects. You're focused too much, in my view, on how to add value for publishers. It's the buyers you ultimately need to attract, and "we will advertise like crazy" isn't a serious business model. And to convince publishers (like me) that it's worth going with you instead of a high-visibility, established site like KS, you have to convince us that you have something to offer buyers that will bring them in in droves. A fun interface, stretch goals, and PnP playtest opportunities aren't unique, original, or compelling.

Quote:

That's how campaigns are run on KS? I assumed all the play testing was done before the projects were posted.

I think several companies release PnP versions of the games while the campaign is running so prospective buyers can take a test drive. This is pretty important, actually. For traditionally published games, most geeks don't impulse-buy, they want to play the games a few times at their local store or play their friend's copy or whatever. With a KS game, you're asking them to buy sight-unseen, and that's a lot to ask, so releasing a PnP is an important in-between.

Quote:

If you don't mind another question, what did you think of my idea to offer publishing through Avalaunch, where you design the game and we take care of everything else? Would that be a unique enough differentiator?

Not until you've demonstrated quite a few successes that show that you understand the game production process extremely well and can consistently produce a very high quality product. As a prospective publisher, this idea has zero appeal to me. But as a designer, for a game that I just wanted to get out there, but didn't want to build a business around, it could be of some interest if I wanted to save myself the legwork. Of course there would have to be language in the terms whereby the designer retains all rights to the design and artwork and you're simply providing a service for which your fee is $X or Y% of the total take. There are a lot of self-publishers on KS so this could appeal to them.

avalaunch
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Quote:If you have a thousand

Quote:
If you have a thousand submissions a month and you're accepting 25% of them as projects, then your level of funding will be increasing as well, so you simply scale up your editorial staff to accommodate the influx. You're kind of exaggerating here, by the way; you're not ever going to get 1000 submissions a month, the industry just isn't that big. Also note that you also don't have to play every game. You might look at how contests like Hippodice are run for inspiration. There's a prescreen where they read the rules and only pass probably 25% of the games through to playtesting, then test those and downselect to about 10 games, then a panel of industry judges selects a winner from among those. You could probably emulate something like that here.

Hey, it's your company, it doesn't matter to me. But you seem to be naysaying this idea without actually giving it any serious thought about how to make it work. And I think you desperately need an idea like this (not necessarily this exact idea, but something like it) to add value to your site for the customer, that makes them want to come to your site and back projects. You're focused too much, in my view, on how to add value for publishers. It's the buyers you ultimately need to attract, and "we will advertise like crazy" isn't a serious business model. And to convince publishers (like me) that it's worth going with you instead of a high-visibility, established site like KS, you have to convince us that you have something to offer buyers that will bring them in in droves. A fun interface, stretch goals, and PnP playtest opportunities aren't unique, original, or compelling.


I'm not dismissing the idea. I did give it thought - perhaps not enough though. I was operating under the assumption that to fairly test a game, it would have to be play tested, which would make the idea pretty hard/impossible to execute without losing money. If round 1 could be rules reading only, then I could see how it could be more doable. And yes, 1000 games in a month is ridiculous. I don't know what I was thinking when I wrote that. I should stop replying to posts at 2 in the morning.

My business model isn't to advertise like crazy. The model is to offer a more attractive alternative to publishers via a more viral and thus more effective way of launching their game. It's to offer (potentially) a model to designers where they can get their idea crowdfunded and published at the same location. And it's to work strategic partnerships to find channels to board gamers that other crowdfunding sites wouldn't bother with.

I'm not saying my model may not be flawed. It might be. That's why I'm doing my best to talk with as many publishers and gamers as I can. That's why I appreciate your willingness to help so much.

I am reconsidering the approach of launching as more of a "pre-sale" platform for established publishers, instead of the "fund your dream". I just need to talk to more established publishers to gauge interest level.

I also think there might be an interesting market for projects that were already on kickstarter, but now have 500 or so copies of their game left but potentially no good means to move them.

Quote:
I think several companies release PnP versions of the games while the campaign is running so prospective buyers can take a test drive. This is pretty important, actually. For traditionally published games, most geeks don't impulse-buy, they want to play the games a few times at their local store or play their friend's copy or whatever. With a KS game, you're asking them to buy sight-unseen, and that's a lot to ask, so releasing a PnP is an important in-between.

Yeah, agreed. I just haven't run across the campaigns that have done that - maybe I wasn't paying enough attention.

Thanks again for taking the time to reply. I appreciate it. If I came across as stubborn last time, I apologize. I am listening.

oltyan
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Direct Competitor

http://gambitious.com/

If you can swing going to E3 might be worth checking out their launch.

curtis.lacy
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Maybe you could help people find talented help for the campaign?

My apologies if you've already mentioned these above, but having just launched my project on KS, I think there's a lot of room for a competitor that actually provides assistance (or makes it easy to find assistance). The KS model leaves the project owner kind of on their own - I have a software project, and more than a decade building and deploying software systems. But in order to get that off the ground I have to learn to:
- Write, film, light, edit and package an intro video.
- Estimate project cost, including tax and fulfillment costs.
- Format and write the project page.
- Create advertisements and find places to place them.
- Do any other viral or social marketing.

Some people are good at some of the parts, and some people are lucky enough to know people who are good at the others. If there was a way on avalaunch to hire people who ARE good at those things, perhaps even on a contingency basis where they take a share of what money is collected, I think you'd be providing a real service, both to the project owners, AND to freelancers.

avalaunch
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oltyan

oltyan wrote:
http://gambitious.com/

If you can swing going to E3 might be worth checking out their launch.


Very cool. Thanks for bringing them to my attention.

Looks like their plan isn't to offer rewards, but a % of the revenue to investors. That doesn't sound legally possible at the moment (I'm almost sure it's not), but since the JOBS Act was just signed into law, it should be possible early 2013. It's interesting that they're launch date is earlier than that though. I can't imagine how they're planning to get around all the SEC laws.

avalaunch
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curtis.lacy wrote:My

curtis.lacy wrote:
My apologies if you've already mentioned these above, but having just launched my project on KS, I think there's a lot of room for a competitor that actually provides assistance (or makes it easy to find assistance). The KS model leaves the project owner kind of on their own - I have a software project, and more than a decade building and deploying software systems. But in order to get that off the ground I have to learn to:
- Write, film, light, edit and package an intro video.
- Estimate project cost, including tax and fulfillment costs.
- Format and write the project page.
- Create advertisements and find places to place them.
- Do any other viral or social marketing.

Some people are good at some of the parts, and some people are lucky enough to know people who are good at the others. If there was a way on avalaunch to hire people who ARE good at those things, perhaps even on a contingency basis where they take a share of what money is collected, I think you'd be providing a real service, both to the project owners, AND to freelancers.


What's your project?

I think your suggestion is great. Like you mentioned, there are a lot of details you have to get right to create a killer crowdsourcing campaign, and most people that seek funds don't have the expertise to really nail those details. I wonder how many campaigns failed, not because the idea or product was bad, but because the project owner didn't know how to make a good video.

I'll definitely try to keep all that in mind as I move forward with Avalaunch. If you have any more suggestions or ideas, let me know.

curtis.lacy
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My project is an online

My project is an online prototyping/playtesting system: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/468008685/global-gamespace - I think you took a look through one of my blog posts on BGG.

Another thing that you could potentially provide with Avalaunch could be help with promotions. The big name sites, blogs, and podcasts get absolutely flooded with requests to look at people's small projects and I expect that a lot of good things get lost in the noise. If avalaunch could act as a sort of aggregator/first round review, and connect good ideas from unknown people with large outlets, that could be a HUGE advantage over Kickstarter (who really only pushes you to the front page if you have "momentum").

kronik
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Let me chime in to support

Let me chime in to support jwarrend's views. He makes a lot of sense. Especially building a brand around Avalaunch rather than being a simple middle man, is a great idea (I say this in reference to not accepting everyone's ideas, and being a kind of quality control).

Something I'm not quite sure I've heard is that Kickstarter (and all others like it) tend to have one-off print runs. You either dive in head first, or you wait another couple of years to see if anyone's willing to pick up the game for a broader commercial release. How about allowing multiple print runs? This would be more in line with what P500 has been doing for some time now: you just wait until enough people have pledged (how ever long it takes), and then you can get a second print run!

There's plenty of games that people have felt left out on, because the timing wasn't right, they weren't aware of it, etc. etc. On the negative side though, this could lead to people waiting it out more, knowing that they'll get a second chance, and perhaps the first round might not get funded if everyone thinks "i'll wait for the reviews of the first version".

I'm not saying it's perfect, it's food for thought. But I find that Kickstarter would be better if I could get another chance at getting a certain game! (I'm talking about you D-Day Dice!)

oltyan
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State vs Federal Regulation

Curtis,

While the new jobs legislation does a great job of normalizing the requirements for exemption in your investor pool, there is already existing state legislation to achieve this goal. Its a bit more of a reporting burden than what the Jobs Act provision provides for, but you could file individually in states for a blanket exemption and use a standardized form to get 80% of them filed (California is pretty specific on what you have to do and they don't accept other states forms).

I know a few companies taking this approach to build up some momentum and buzz before the floodgates are officially opened. I don't know that Gambitious is taking this approach, but you can with the right state fillings crowdfund your company on a sale of equity if you're willing to file all the paperwork properly. Given, it will probably cost you 10k in legal/accounting fees + a ton of time so its not really an option for the average knitting project.

Alex Swingle
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A few suggestions to think about

In order to make your platform unique, you have certainly considered a few choices that are useful. There are a few things I want to highlight that you should look at. I would be more inclined to use your service if it offered this:

Consider expanding from only board games to paper, board, maybe video games (video games are iffy since it's not physical). Basically, make it a platform for physical, 'social' games. That will attract a wider audience than just board gamers, which in turn, should make it easier to promote your gathering hole.

In regards to reviewing games, I highly disagree about disapproving games due to wanting an arbitrary number. Kickstarter backers don't care about quality as it stands already, so focusing on giving the impression of elitism is not that important. It's mainly successful by hype and well known designers versus quality products. Yes, there should be a vetting process, but the process shouldn't focus on the exact rules of the game. I say that due to subjective reviewing. Plus, there are a ton of published games from famous people I think are boring/terrible/unimpressive that others find opposite of me.

The vetting process should be based on what is completed. Actual completion of the rules should be a must. After that it can easily be debated due to preference in the game's concept. Mainly what I'm getting at is you should decide what it will try to do. From the sound of it with your vetting process, it will be a quarterly/semi-annual fundraiser to back completed games and be a front for a pre-order store. That is understandable, but it is basically a publisher store attempting to look like Kickstarter.

I totally agree about arranging projects to end on the same date. There are some problems with it based on volume+quality, but being able to combine shipping for some orders will be important based on your location. That idea should be focused beforehand so everyone is on the same page when producing their game. Doing book prints would be especially useful since you can have the same printer do all the same work and save shipping costs for the designer.

You shouldn't provide an automatic discount for bulk sales to the consumer. As orders go up, cost per unit goes down, which in turns gives a better ROI for the designer. Let that designer choose how to spend/lose that money. Some will be inclined to provide a discount so more people can join the bandwagon while others will be banking on that extra income for other purposes.

You are certainly right that this isn't a great market to earn money, but any way we can work together to lighten the risk will do wonders for the business model as a whole.

Make your service a great way to reduce costs while providing a focused market and it will provide a greater ROI on average. Win-Win as they say. I just want to reiterate; I understand this is your idea for a company and I'm not trying to control you. These are just my suggestions because I too want something better than what is currently being offered and what you have shared with us shows promise. Gotta help you focus your business plan as much as I can, because I certainly would want to use it if it fits my needs.

BubbleChucks
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I could be wrong here, but

I could be wrong here, but for me the main flaw with Kickstarter is its debilitating payment affiliations. I think you would have more chance of establishing a going concern by servicing a glaring flaw than competing directly with an established market leader.

If you look at the alternatives to Kickstarter theyre not making any major headway in terms of market share regardless of their provisional differences.

It might have changed (I havent checked recently) but my past information suggests that a major hurdle for Europeans is that they cant make any use of the site without an American based bank account.

If you were to act as an underwriter for Kickstarter campaigns for Europeans this would be a very attractive option. Naturally you would want to verify anyone looking to offer a game through Kickstarter via Avalaunch. This would make vetting the products an important part of the business model.

Interested parties would submit the game to you and you would playtest it, make any recommendations for improvements to quality, promote it and then host it as an underwriter. After all you dont want to sign your name as the supporter of a cold turkey or rotten egg.

You could improve the service by handling stateside distribution and possibly production. A game is submitted and working with established order fulfilment services and manufacturers the games could be sent straight to the US backers from a local source.

Conversely you could send bulk deliveries to the agents in the various countries reducing shipping costs for European backers of American projects. The agents would receive the deliveries and then post them locally to the required points in the various countries. This will make backing American projects more attractive to Europeans increasing their chance of reaching their funding goals.

This could save US backers the excessive shipping costs when backing the few European projects that make it onto the site - making such projects more attractive to American backers.

The game designers would have someone stateside to handle distribution, customs and so on - making their life much easier. They could also - if required - have you make and distribute the games, either personally or through links to secondary partners.

It would be a service that offered benefits to everyone concerned. Open up Kickstarter to Europeans, bring business to US based manufacturers and distributers, reduce excessive shipping costs for American backers, and give you a slice of a huge market that is relatively untapped.

It would be one of those rare middle men services I myself would take advantage of. More to the point, if i was stateside I would already be doing it and I cant understand why nobody else is.

It would establish Avalaunch as a one stop shop for facilitating the needs of game designers - promotion, potential product funding, production and distribution all wrapped up in a single trustworthy location. If you took a small percentage from each part of the process that could ensure a nice overall return.

You could even enlist agents in the various European countries. That would give potential customers a local point for service - eliminating any language barriers.

It would also allow you to split game testing amongst these agents - benefiting you by dispersing the testing workload and benefiting clients because they wouldnt have to ship their games back and forth half way round the world for testing. Local agents could also talk to prospective clients face to face and handle any problems or provide general advice. This would allow you to offer them a more personal service.

Dunno, sounds like a gap in the market that could be exploited to the benefit of everyone concerned. Its a fairly simple business model to put in place and in anticipation of any UK agent requirement I would be available :)

BubbleChucks
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Oops, I forgot another very

Oops, I forgot another very important benefit of the proposed model - being that I wrote my reply quickly.

In the cases where you acted as a full service facilitator you would gain experience with every project you oversee. This experience would be of enormous value to first time game designers.

You could save them from the crap shoot of finding trustworthy manufacturers and distributors and wasting huge sums in the process. You could help them take into account all the costs from start to finish - preventing them from offering financially futile projects.

Most first time Kickstarter adherents fail to take into account things like shipping costs, distribution costs, unseen overheads and anything else that chips away at the margins.

Not to mention production costs (especially in relation to unforseen problems like soggy boards - because the manufacturers didnt include drying agents - that was a very helpful titbit of information Michael).

teriyaki
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Major flaws

Imo Kickstarter has two massive flaws right now:
1) It's open only for US residents which, understandably, leaves a bit of a sour aftertaste.
2) In order for your project to appear it needs to be approved by kickstarter team. So if some geek in New York deems your project not "cool" "edgy" or "hip" enough you don't get a chance to appeal to the public.
So, while pretending to be public, open and transparent, KS is actually everything but and most people browsing and spendin money on KS are not aware that only the americans are allowed to apply and then only the ones approved by an unelected coterie of hip dudes.
Sadly "kickstarter" is the only fundraising site the general public knows and "kickstarting" has become buzzword so other fundraising sites such as indiegogo (actually older than KS) and their projects don't have much of a chance.

larienna
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I am not that familiar with

I am not that familiar with Kick Starter, but it seems that it is used as a mix up of P500 and Investement platform.

Most kick starter project seems to be a place to invest money and get a return of profit once the project starts. For example, I invest 1000$ in your idea and expect to get dividends.

But many board game projects works a bit like P500, pre-order your game and if there is enough preorder, we will make the game.

But they now seem to make an hybrid of both. Like you can pay more for your game to make the project advance further or to get more goodies, but I am not exactly sure if people actually get dividend for it.

So there seems to be 2 things: Paying to buy the game in advance, and paying to invest money and expect dividend ( like any other investement).

One idea could be to place a clear definition on this. Are you buying your copy or are you investing? Is it possible to have and hybrid version? Allow people to pre-order the game and get no dividend while also allowing people to invest in the game and get dividends in return.

Many project offer goodies when they exceed certain financing limits, personally, I don't care about the goodies, it just suck up the project's budget for no good reason. But it's just my opinion.

Traz
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just sayin'

I have a different viewpoint which you might find interesting. When I approach a publisher to sell one of my games, my pitch goes pretty much like this-

If you believe in my product to the point where you are willing to go through all the hoops of producing / publishing it that you want to negotiate buying it from me, realize I might have a difficult time letting go of my creation to someone who isn't willing to go 'the last mile'.

I completely understand that the publisher is putting himself at risk by putting the money out there to get my game on the shelf, while I am just sitting back with nothing [!] but my reputation on the line. While the scale of risk isn't even comparable [and I'm not trying to pretend it is], it is nevertheless recoverable for the publisher. One bad game isn’t going to break a company. But one stinker on the market with my name on it could well be the end of my career. The risks aren’t the same, but they are there for both of us.

All I'm saying is - if you believe in the product then make he same commit to it that I have. My terms are not unreasonable - I purposely drop 25% of what you figure to pay me [through royalties] over the course of the next year [or five years] to make it worth your while. If you can't commit to that, it is a subtle hint to me that [at some level] you are not CONVINCED my creation WILL sell at that level, but that it MIGHT.

Which - ultimately - tells me that selling my games one at a time is probably right where it belongs, and not in a store under your imprimatur. Which is where I am now as I sell them individually on my own. Not that it wouldn't be beyond cool. ;-)

To be clear. You may estimate that you will sell 3,000 units over 2 years. You offer me $500 up front signing bonus and 10% royalty on sales every 6 months.
In the end, that’s $3,500 to me. I would prefer a check for $2,600 up front. That’s a 25% savings for you – and might even allow you to knock $1.00 off the cost if you don’t want to pocket the extra money. In 2 years [or sooner if the print run goes well], we can renegotiate for another print run.

My game gets on the shelf, I get paid, you save money – what’s not to like? You can bet when you come back to negotiate another print run, I’m not going to gouge you. Why? Because I’ve got OTHER games I want you to buy!

My name and my integrity are all I have. Without them, I’m no different from any of the other 1,000 guys out there.

DIFFERENT TOPIC ALERT

As to ‘vetting’ different games – take advantage of the Convention circuit that exists out there already. There are a hundred Cons every year, use them. Encourage the Cons to have design competitions and award BEST OF certificates. The Cons have another event, the players feel they have a chance to reward good designs, and designers have a venue to get known. A good example is the KS darling D-DAY DICE which showed up with 3 BEST OF awards from different Cons and it met its KS goals in a huge way.

Restrict anyone sending you a prototype to those who have won a BEST OF award – it would be a legitimate screening process.

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forum | by Dr. Radut