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The Truth about Kickstater

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questccg
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Well I wanted something NICE

Take Ludomancer's Gladiators: http://www.gladiatorsgame.ca/

That is a NICE website... It's not created using a Wiki and requires a LOT of Artwork...

Obviously my theme is Sci-Fi (Space Skirmishes), however I would like something unique looking.

One thing for certain, I want the site to be enough that it gets people excited about the game...

I think Ludomancer's Gladiators website does that... I have read through pretty much every part of his website.

zedword
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Everyone will tell you to do

Everyone will tell you to do it for the love of creating, not for money.

Kickstarter is a good way to prove that you can deliver a product, which will increase the returns on future kickstarters and increase the likelihood of being picked up by a publisher. Larger print runs = cheaper print runs = profit.

A website could help your campaign.

drunknmunky
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Not to be rude, but it seems

Not to be rude, but it seems like your lack of returns is your own fault. You seem to want the highest end of everything and be the best quality everything and those things costs money. If what you are putting out there doesn't take that into account, you're not going to make money.

You say that if you have to be mindful of backer prices and if you up the price then people won't back you. If you feel your game isn't good enough, with all the high quality you want to put into it, to get people to back you at a higher price, then you're probably right. Either up the price or cut the quality budget to make the price you're asking for feasible. Many games cut art quality and are greatly successful. Other charge more for high quality and are greatly successful. If you explain your price, people will believe you and buy in.

As for the website, get over it. If you are struggling to even cover art, you sure aren't going to have the top of the line, flash app, custom designed website. Just make one that works and shows you're a professional and shows off the game you are offering. You aren't Alan moon. You aren't Richard Garfield. You don't need a website of high caliber to offer your goods. The real question is do you prefer an amazing website with all the bells and whistle, but lose money, or a functional and professional website and make money?

Everything doesn't have to be perfect, but should be professional. A lot of people are excited to kick start because they know what they have, what they want, and can match the two. Don't let your high personal demands tarnish a high professional product.

BENagy
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I have done some massive

I have done some massive spreadsheets and break even analysis, and would be happy to share what I've found.

http://www.stonemaiergames.com/how-to-provide-free-shipping-worldwide-on...
Check out the above site. He is extremely helpful if you haven't found him already, and this article in particular will help with shipping from you to backers. Maybe. I'm still analyzing it from the perspective of a few of my projects, and for some it's a godsend, for others... not as much, at least at first glance.

Is this for the card game? If so, manufacturing should be around $1-2 per unit, so unless the game costs only $8 MSRP, (or $10 when not on Kickstarter), production should be less than 25%. This means you might have to re-evaluate the manufacturers you're talking to.

Now your biggest bulk of cost (other than art, for example) comes from minimum orders. I solved this problem by splitting my game in half, and charging less than half for the cost. Instead of making 1 4-player card game for $40, make a 2-player card game for $20 or even $15, and then instead of ordering 2000 units at a minimum, you'll effectively be making 1000 units.

There's a lot more I could talk about. I think I'll put up a blog post with more of this info and post it here. And if anyone wants to see my numbers and talk to me about all of this, please do! We can Skype or email, and I'd be happy to share how I'm planning on making a nice profit via Kickstarter.

larienna
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By the way, you can reuse the

By the way, you can reuse the art in the game on your website. So even with a wiki system, you could make a good looking web site by flooding it with art.

Personally, I prefer content over Presentation. There are so many website that has little content and that frustrate me a lot. If I can browse a website for hours without getting bored, then there is enough content.

TheKeyLosers
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I don't see the huge

I don't see the huge difference between that Gladiator site and something like this 15 dollar Wordpress theme
http://themes.skywarriorthemes.com/?theme=Orizon-HTML , apart from the nice but unnecessary animated backgrounds. Certainly not enough that would justify paying hundreds of dollars if you're already stretched for funds.

larienna
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WOW! Impressive. I did not

WOW! Impressive. I did not know you could get pre-built theme of that quality.

So it seems you can make even better looking website than I thought with a wiki.

questccg
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No artwork - YET

larienna wrote:
By the way, you can reuse the art in the game on your website. So even with a wiki system, you could make a good looking web site by flooding it with art.

Well I don't have any artwork - YET. I plan to make some preliminary artwork that will be used by the Kickstarter. That artwork will start in early December to middle of January. Then we hope to launch the Kickstarter in the middle of January! So there is no game artwork (at the time of this writing).

As far as content goes, I'm not sure. I also have not planned out what needs to be present on the website and what can be extra content that would be valuable. One thing that I need to consider is *expansion*. What I mean by this is that I need to be able to add *new* content (for marketing purposes only). So if the game is launched in December 2014, I will need to consider if a publisher will want to design an *expansion* maybe in 2015...

BTW don't think I am *b!tching* about margins... I too do it because I enjoy designing. If I was totally turned off, I would just forget about the whole venture knowing what I know now. But I am not, I still want to go through the experience of the Kickstarter and then the artwork followed by the first production run...

The themes I have seen are *nice* - but seem overly complex. Like I said, I'm not sure about content - because I have not had the time to think about what I would put (in terms of content) in a website.

Maybe the website will be launched AFTER the Kickstarter and I will accept PRE-ORDERS from people. That's a good idea! Would help with margins since I would no longer need to pay 20% in fees and administration. This is probably very worthwhile to think about and invest in. Sure you pay 3% with Paypal... But that's cool!

I will invest more time into thinking about a website (what I need as content, etc.)

anonymousmagic
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The design of a good website

The design of a good website tends to rely heavily on the content, so if you want to use a website to gather pre-orders, make sure you know what you want on there, so you know exactly what you want a designer to deliver.

questccg
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I agree

anonymousmagic wrote:
The design of a good website tends to rely heavily on the content, so if you want to use a website to gather pre-orders, make sure you know what you want on there, so you know exactly what you want a designer to deliver.

I agree. But there isn't too much content UNLESS I start explaining the CONTENTS of the game. It's not like the game has a heavy *backstory*, it does have one (thanks Ecarots) but it's short and to the point (3 paragraphs).

So I could expand on the contents of the game, explain more how the game is divided, show sample starships, etc. This would mean glancing into the game before buying it. I'm not opposed to this - it's just that I have not done this YET. This could maybe encourage gamers to *pre-order* knowing more about the internal details of the game... More detailed content than what will be present during the Kickstarter.

larienna
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If you have little content,

If you have little content, then simply fill up the kickstarter page and make a web site only if the game get kickstarted and get popular. Else it might be a waste of time since you will not get more visibility than what you can put on a kickstarter page.

Kroz1776
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Backstory

Once again I seem to be tooting Plaid Hat Game's horn. Go check out the bios for their summoner wars game. You don't need a LOT of background into the game, but the background they have for each card adds a nice flavor to the game and allows you to feel the theme better within the game.

My own board game I've been working on has books worth of back story so it would be easy to fill up a website for me. If you have named characters in your game, or ships, write some backstory for those people/ships. It doesn't even have to be a backstory but it can be a quick little flash of them in action. This goes a long ways in helping people better envision your universe and get excited about the game.

X3M
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Ok, I have seen this before.

Ok, I have seen this before. Some website building experience that I had with my cousin:
Simply explain what you do.
How the game works?
Make the game bit by bit.
Make pictures of this, photograph.
Simply post your progress.

All you have to do, is place the text and the photo's in the right position.
Maybe a background colour. And a little menu for the different pages.

Ok, it sounds easy. Which is not. But this is the best my cousin could do for me.
He had some sort of program, which used all the stuff on his hard disk. Including any picture he had.

If I think back. A forum which allowed big pictures would have been more then enough for us. The same would go for you. Find something like a forum, and allow yourself (as admin) placing big pictures.

Simply put the link on your kick starter page. You might even get suggestions, questions etc. from your supporters. And other people can take a look too.

Reserve 1 place for guests only. That way, spammers are in one corner to be dealt with ;)
Include a read first segment.
And if you want to add video's, simply post those on youtube. Then put a link in your forum. Once again, a short description of the video in the forum. Remove posting in youtube (is an option, only recommended if people flame you), add the link to your website/forum in the youtube description, plus what kind of forum it is. A link to the kick starter site is useful again.

questccg
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More BAD news...

So I was ushered into reading some more information about Kickstarter in relation to the Table-top gaming industry... and well the conclusions are not good!

Quote from the expert's website (in regards to Kickstarter):

Quote:
The time to have contacted and partnered with a Publisher has passed… None of the well know publishers will take on a game after it’s been through a Kickstarter. So you are your own Publisher and salesman from this point on.

This is what I am trying to avoid!!! I wanted to use the Kickstarter to fund the artwork (even if I don't make a dime) and then submit my *completed* design to a publisher... I would have saved them some money in making the artwork for the game and my game would obviously look *impressive* since it would be near complete. Obviously if they want to make modifications to the rulebook or the game box, I would be okay with that... But I wanted to submit something that was more or less in a finished state.

WRONG!... Before Kickstarting, if you want to make any money from your game, it is probably best to try to see if a publisher would be interested in the game FIRST!

So now I am back-pedalling and re-thinking the Kickstarter. My whole goal of the Kickstarter was so that I could approach a publisher after a successful (or unsuccessful) Kickstarter...

Guess I am wrong... That's not how the Table-top gaming industry WORKS!

larienna
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Publishers do their own

Publishers do their own artwork and graphic design, that is why you do not have to bother about it. You submit your game to a publisher, it get's accepted or refused.

With kick starter, it's an alternative way of publishing. Instead of using a publisher, you produce the game yourself and ask the people to approve your product.

So they are 2 different publishing routes, you go for one or the other but not both.

questccg
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The BEST of BOTH worlds!

larienna wrote:
Publishers do their own artwork and graphic design, that is why you do not have to bother about it. You submit your game to a publisher, it get's accepted or refused.

I am going to try to be *included* in the design part of the process...

larienna wrote:
With Kickstarter, it's an alternative way of publishing. Instead of using a publisher, you produce the game yourself and ask the people to approve your product.

But if your goal is to fund the artwork and you make $0.00 profit, that means you have little to no avenues for the game (future sales)...

larienna wrote:
So they are 2 different publishing routes, you go for one or the other but not both.

That's TRUE, but I don't like it. I would prefer if *we* (Designers, Graphic Artists and Game Artists) could work together and make a complete game that could then be taken by a publisher and marketed/distributed around the world...

anonymousmagic
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questccg wrote:That's TRUE,

questccg wrote:
That's TRUE, but I don't like it. I would prefer if *we* (Designers, Graphic Artists and Game Artists) could work together and make a complete game that could then be taken by a publisher and marketed/distributed around the world...
I've discovered that game publishing is a lot like book publishing.

A book cover is a good analog here. A lot of writers want to have a say about what the cover looks like, but since it's part of the marketing, it's typically the publishers want to do, unless they have faith in the writer's own art as part of the deal. If you're trying to fund artwork, I'm guessing you have no such background, but I'd be happy to be corrected.

The question you have to ask yourself is whether you're willing to do concessions or risk an interested publisher losing interest because of your "demands" (sorry, couldn't think of a better word).

questccg
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I will remain *open-minded*

anonymousmagic wrote:
The question you have to ask yourself is whether you're willing to do concessions or risk an interested publisher losing interest because of your "demands" (sorry, couldn't think of a better word).

Well one thing that I am doing is having some *preliminary artwork* done. Basically I will have a local artist (who does nice artwork) and he will design artwork for 3 cards and the box cover. I have already agreed to advance him the funds for that... It's a small risk - but if the artwork looks *AWESOME* well it will be something to discuss with the publisher.

I'm not that "demanding". But if I can be a part of the process (and if my artists artwork is real nice) well then maybe that can be part of the negotiation...

It's still early, I have provided them (the publisher) with a brief synopsis of the game and what makes it unique. I have also explained future expansion ideas (so they know it's a game plus some...)

larienna
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Quote:That's TRUE, but I

Quote:
That's TRUE, but I don't like it. I would prefer if *we* (Designers, Graphic Artists and Game Artists) could work together and make a complete game that could then be taken by a publisher and marketed/distributed around the world...

Sorry, but this is how the industry works. There is a fair chance that the publisher scrap your artwork and use art of his own. So your artist would have worked for nothing.

The book analogy could be a good comparison. The only situation where I think Artist and Writter are working together is when doing children books since they are heavyly illustrated and it's part of the content of the story. And of course comic book.

You might rather approach a publihser with sample art, ask them if they want your game and your artist. Then if they take your game, they'll have the option to take your artist or not. So you would not lose time doing art for nothing this way.

BENagy
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If you are looking to have

If you are looking to have your game picked up by a publisher, you might want basic/stock art so that your game is presentable when you ship in a prototype. We all like to say we judge a game based on actual ideas and game play, but let's face it. If Settlers of Catan had come packaged, looking like it was stick-figure-level drawings, it wouldn't be the monolith it is today. Still, a publisher will do all of that for you. Now if you want the publisher handling everything, then talk and work with them.

Now, for those who don't want to work with a publisher, for whatever reason, want to become their own publisher, or whose game is not accepted by a publisher, that is who should use kickstarter.

Since I am trying to become my own publisher, I've only done limited research on what gets other publishers excited. So, the following may not apply for board game publishers, but think about it, and see if it's what you want to try.

In business, it's called Market Validation. It means you test the product to see if it's something people want or not. It's what I'm sure everyone does to a small degree by getting play testing and reviews on their designs. Kickstarter takes this to a larger scale by requiring people to put their money where their mouth is in terms of liking a game idea. If people see your game but no one backs you, then you've just got some feedback from customers that this is not a game they'll like. So don't mass print it yet. Adjust it, tweak it, and then when people like your game enough to back it adequately, then you know you've got something people want. Only then you can load up on copies, and ship them out and sell them to retailers, able to show them that people actually WANT your game. So my untested theory, is that if publishers had any modern business sense, they'd prefer a market validated game (through Kickstarter) to a random game no ones seen before that consumers MIGHT be interested in. But that's an industry thing, so I'm not sure about Game Publishers. What have you guys seen or heard about trying this?

questccg
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Niche market = Opportunity

BENagy wrote:
If you are looking to have your game picked up by a publisher, you might want basic/stock art so that your game is presentable when you ship in a prototype. We all like to say we judge a game based on actual ideas and game play, but let's face it. If Settlers of Catan had come packaged, looking like it was stick-figure-level drawings, it wouldn't be the monolith it is today. Still, a publisher will do all of that for you. Now if you want the publisher handling everything, then talk and work with them.

Well what I would NEED a Publisher for is to handle *Marketing and Distribution*. Not for artwork or Graphic Design... Sure the cards *could* look better but they look pretty good already, no?

http://www.bgdf.com/node/13492
http://www.bgdf.com/node/13262
http://www.bgdf.com/node/13225
http://www.bgdf.com/node/13215

Those cards are using *placeholder* artwork, the artist I have lined up could do all the real artwork.

BENagy wrote:
Now, for those who don't want to work with a publisher, for whatever reason, want to become their own publisher, or whose game is not accepted by a publisher, that is who should use kickstarter.

I think you may be missing a key point: if a game is funded successfully, why not publish it???

There is a *niche* market of people who have successfully funded a Kickstarter and need the *Marketing and Distribution* offered by a Publisher.

BENagy wrote:
So my untested theory, is that if publishers had any modern business sense, they'd prefer a market validated game (through Kickstarter) to a random game no ones seen before that consumers MIGHT be interested in. But that's an industry thing, so I'm not sure about Game Publishers.

This makes sense - BUT the world is not made of logical people (regretfully). And it seems current business practice is to *ignore* successfully funded Kickstarter games.

Note: That the expert's advice is NO game that has passed through a Kickstarter (Successful or Unsuccessful).

Update: It might have to do with not being able to *alter* or *change* the game such that the Publisher would have no option because the game has already been released to the public. It would be rather sticky if the publisher would release a *newer* version with modifications that would differ from the original Kickstarter version...

Kickstarter backers may complain that their version is *outdated*... Or if there are changes to the appearance of the game, that also might generate objections by the people who *funded* your game!

Also if the game is sold in 1 player sets that are *supposed* to be compatible with each other, changes may alter this and make versions incompatible with each other... My game would fall into this category since I have driven the price down for the game by selling individual 1 player sets (or planning to do so).

Kroz1776
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Rare 1st Edition Holographic Charizard Man! Charizard!

I remember when Pokemon cards first came out, ^ was the rarest and most expensive card out there. I also know that there are many games where the 1st edition is also rare and valuable. If you include stuff in your kickstarters that is only for kickstarters, if it ever does become published and changed, the kickstarter players will have some cool stuff that those that buy the published version don't.

If the graphics change a bit, meh. You're playing with your own deck which only strengthens this whole idea. You don't need to have matching decks because they shouldn't ever get mixed. It's ok if they look slightly different. Now Pandemic, my wife and I bought the 1st edition one with the expansion, then they redo the look of it (barftastic IMHO) and then released a new expansion for it. (Ugggh) Which is more ugly. This is more problematic because it's all one game and we're using the same pieces, cards, etc. Sure it would still work but those cards man...they're so ugly!

questccg
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Personally I understand...

I can understand why a publisher would want to the right to *edit* your game. It makes a whole lot of sense. Take for example a rulebook. It you're not designing your rulebook to be the final look of the rules (like some B&W version) well most probably the publisher will *redo* the rulebook in colour, etc.

Same goes with the rest of your game. If it's in a more completed state, well then maybe the publisher will USE some of the aspects of the games such as your *logo* or *card back* or even you card layout design (Graphic Design)...

But NOT being able to *edit* a game... That is a pretty tough one. Having multiple versions of the same game is not recommended. Most games have ONE (1) version of the game and then they add expansions... It is RARE to see a game with multiple versions unless it's something like Monopoly (where you can get different versions of the game). The problem with publisher *edits* they may be small details that could make incompatibilities between versions of the game.

Take for example a game with *Decks* (in an LCG). The cards are supposed to be the SAME for all players... If a publisher wants changes to some of the cards, the decks may no longer be the same... That could infuriate some gamers especially if they were Kickstarter backers who funded your game...!

Sutehk
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You have art that is based on

You have art that is based on a securely watched IP (the Star Trek bridge), but you think that a publisher will want to use your art instead of making their own?

I doubt anyone is going to use a Star Trek bridge for risk of raising the ire of Paramount.

questccg
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No... no copyright material

Sutehk wrote:
You have art that is based on a securely watched IP (the Star Trek bridge), but you think that a publisher will want to use your art instead of making their own?

I doubt anyone is going to use a Star Trek bridge for risk of raising the ire of Paramount.

NO that is just PLACEHOLDER artwork... I was talking about CARD DESIGN (Not artwork). And the artist that I have lined up does amazing scenes, some look photographic in quality! And that's the point, I have found a local artist near my home who *loves* Sci-Fi genre.

The Star Trek bridge is used to illustrate the game's ART CONCEPT: Crew cards will be setting of a spaceship's bridge like in the sample... But for certain we will not be using Star Trek bridges! I have already covered this with the artist and the idea is the bridge images will start from the Captain's chair (for Recruits) and move to larger scenes (for Elite crews).

Sutehk
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My apologies, I didn't

My apologies, I didn't interpret that correctly.

Mansemat
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On websites and stuff

I'm a webdesigner and at my job we mainly work with wordpress seeing it's so cheap.

Wordpress(.org) itself is free and comes with a couple of free themes and has plugins for everything.
Buying a ready made theme (from for example themeforest.net) will cost you around 50$ but these themes require little or no css or html alterations if you just want to show things. Much is WYSIWYG.
Hell it even has free e-commerce plugins that are amazing (woocommerce)

You can't make a website cheap if you have to write, code and program everything. With wordpress (or others no doubt) you can

You can change anything from css and html or php however.

I would recommend looking at that nad get an inexpensive hosting (about 30 a year max).

As for artists; there are enough people out there who just want to make something and don't require 500$ for a couple of drawings. Do they destroy the market? sure, a little...

The longer I work in graphic design and webdesign however the more I see that
a) most people who actually do make money or have money don't know what they hell they're doing
b) the people who do know what they are doing and are actually creating stuff don't really make any money, it goes to the people with the biggest mouth, who can sell you a fart

And yeah there are always exceptions.

Aerjen
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Webdesign & Distribution

Webdesign
I looked at the source code of the Gladiators website and they seem to be using Dreamweaver. If I remember correctly, Adobe offers a free download of the older CS2 version. Dreamweaver is pretty easy to learn and to navigate.

Alternatively, if you skim the code you can see that it's actually pretty simple and you could reverse engineer the whole website and then use that as the framework for your own. Obviously you'd want to modify the stylesheets for your own flavor :)

DistributionYou can also set up distribution after the KS has funded by ordering more copies than people pledged for. This way you can get a better bulk discount on manufacturing too. As an example you could look into how Alliance Distribution works.

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