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What is Kickstarter?

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amsdad
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I'm looking for some basic educational information. What is Kickstarter, and why would you use it? I looked at the website, and it wasn't clear to me how it worked. In particular, why would someone decide to sponsor you. Thanks.

polyobsessive
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Kickstarter

It's a website where people can show creative projects they want to do, and people can pledge money to fund that project. If enough people make pledges, the money gets handed over and the creator can do the project. If you are a creator, you can use this to source much of the money you need to do a print run, etc, without having to take a bank loan or similar.

Backers may back for a variety of reasons, but in the case of boardgames, it is usually because they want to get a copy of the game. It's effectively a way for me to say to a game creator, "I like the look of what you are doing and I would like a copy when you're done: here's my payment in advance so you can get on with it."

It's a risk to back a project, and some never come through, and others end up being not as good as expected, but if you do a little research, you can get some assurance. I have backed 127 projects that have funded over the last 5 or 6 years, and only one has completely failed to deliver, though several have been very late and some have been disappointing. Some have been totally excellent though!

questccg
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Kickstarter is what we call...

"Disruptive Technology". I'm sure the term is clear in definition but what it means is that the "technology" modifies or interrupts the previous way of doing business.

So if before you had no option but to submit via a Publisher, Kickstarter has disrupted that way of doing business by allowing tons and tons of people who want to see their creative projects delivered without the need of a publisher (as an example).

Although it is still wise to TRY to find a publisher. It is no longer NECESSARY. You now have a venue from which you can SELF-PUBLISH your game, comic book, next independent movie, etc.

As @Poly said, you offer money in return for something concrete: a game, a movie, a comic book, etc. And you trust that Kickstarter will force arbitration if the project is not delivered (accountability). Yes it still happens that some products don't get delivered at all (SOWatch is an example) and backers get furious and the flame wars start with messages back and forth and sometime they just get ignored.

So there is a small risk when pledging on Kickstarter. But at the same time you can get products that might be available in stores but quicker.

That's in essence Kickstarter (from a different angle).

Note: Also some KS products never ever get sold in stores... So sometimes you are getting exclusive products or even exclusive VERSION of a product. We did this with "TradeWorlds":

We had a base version retailing at $29 which is the "core" game that will be sold in stores. Thanks to the KS backers, it unlocked several other additions to the game and now features an entire "expansion" sold with the "core" game. That's how you get GREAT VALUE with KS.

Next we offered three (3) other tiers for rewards:

  • And Advanced version which included ANOTHER "expansion" that was for only $10 more so $39.

  • We offered a premium version with some miniatures at $49 (which again was an amazing deal for miniatures...)

  • Lastly we offered a few rewards to people who want to be immortalized in the game itself.

But those THREE (3) last rewards levels will never be available in stores. You can't buy a copy of the game at a store and say: "Hmm... maybe I want my likeness to be part of the game".

Sometimes rewards to KS backers are unique experiences too.

amsdad
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Follow Up Question

Great Explanations! Thanks. I can see how KS can get you to the point where you have a few thousand copies of the game to be sold. What about the distribution and marketing side of the business? Are there turn key solutions for handling this part of the business?

questccg
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Other Cons

amsdad wrote:
...What about the distribution and marketing side of the business? Are there turn key solutions for handling this part of the business?

Well I think one of the best ways to setup distribution is A> You must be a Game Publisher and B> You must have a good game to sell and C> You need to go to a venue where Distributors frequent.

That last part is attending Cons where Distributors normally go to. Oddly enough those are NOT the Game Design Cons. Design Cons are frequented by designers, artists and publishers. Finding distribution is knowing where to go to meet Distributors in general.

Most Distributors specialize in more than just Tabletop Games. Some also distribute Comics, etc. So knowing which venue to go to is important.

Unfortunately I cannot say which Cons to go to... Just heard from the grapevine that Distributors frequent other Cons.

Update: Here is a web link to Jame Mathe's website. This article is specifically about Distributors...

http://www.jamesmathe.com/hitchhikers-guide-to-game-distributors/

amsdad
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Very helpful - thanks questccg!!!

Thanks for your comments. Board game creation is a whole other world, and its interesting to see how it works!

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