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Kickstarter gotchas

I spent quite a lot of time thinking about my rewards and stretch goals and manufacturing and shipping and how everything would work together. I'm confident that even if I'd sold 5000 copies, I wasn't going to add anything that would hurt me.

But it's very easy to hurt yourself with too much success, particularly with stretch goals. I was a backer of this Kickstarter campaign:

and he CRUSHED himself with add-ons and many, many stretch goals that turned out to be ill-advised. He still hasn't quite finished fulfilling all of them, and that was like 5 years ago (though I believe he shipped out all the "real" rewards a few years ago.. it's just the bonus promises left)

I'm also a backer of "Growl", which had a great deal of unexpected success, and now is getting in some trouble with backers paying like $10 shipping on a $16 game (in the US), as stretch goals increased the product's WEIGHT and he didn't include shipping in the price. So the creator didn't get crushed with the costs, but now there are pissed-off backers.

Anyway, the moral of the story is to know what you're offering, and what your stretch goals will cost you in time, money, weight, time to manufacture, etc. Don't over-reach!

My own stretch goals were completely cosmetic, because the game is the game, it's done, and I could get an exact estimate from the manufacturer on what each cosmetic thing would cost. Extra die? $0.10. Double-sided tokens? $0.20. Etc. And no add-ons to complicate things.. One SKU.

(I have a second pet peeve about game stretch goals that change the design, like when reaching $40 means you get another 8 cards in the deck.. how could that possibly be play-tested and not be changing the balance of the game? Subject for a later post, maybe)


Good Advice

Yeah the stretch goals are a great way to dig yourself into a hole. I noticed that some of the bigger companies have stretch goals that are already completed and are calculated into the final price of the game, whether they reach those stretch goals is another thing entirely. Perhaps it's best to have stretch goals that are non physical like variants etc., and any physical additions to the game are already weighed and accounted for in the final price of the game before launching?

Well it depends what you want to achieve...

If your "core" game sells for $29 USD and have a bunch of extras because you have reached several Stretch Goals ... well that has a "snowball" effect. What I mean is that people will see "Hmm... Only $29 USD + I get all of these Kickstarter EXTRAS too"... This will have people consider buying the game if they were not sure to begin with.

It also means that as more and more backers get on-board, more and more money gets added to the campaign. And this usually means, you may make a bit more money from the campaign... I say a little because there are partners and agreements that take effect too.

The bottom line is that you CAN'T "price" stretch goals into the price. If you do, everyone will think your game is too expensive and only worthwhile IF you reach a certain number of Stretch Goals.

And it doesn't work like that.

I agree to an extent

questccg wrote:

The bottom line is that you CAN'T "price" stretch goals into the price. If you do, everyone will think your game is too expensive and only worthwhile IF you reach a certain number of Stretch Goals.

And it doesn't work like that.

I agree there is a draw to goodies, but sure you can take into account pricing with stretch goals. If you're not pricing what the cost of these things are before you go to the campaign, then you are doing yourself a disservice, which leads to the aforementioned issues. If Growl priced the bonuses that led to the increase in weight, and thus, the increase in base price, they could have accounted for this with their advertised shipping prices and adjust their shipping subsidy. Jamey Stegmaier talks about that here . So obviously you need to have a price point that is appealing, but you can definitely determine what stretch goals you can afford by the unit discounts at higher volumes and the cost of those physical stretch goals.

Well, I think a lot of people

Well, I think a lot of people don't do the "Stegmaier research". There's a KS I'm backing right now that is the opposite of that advice (but funded). For example, he has a T-shirt as part of a goal. You can also get a deck of cards. So if you end up with 20 T-shirt orders and 14 decks of cards.. you're kinda screwed. I'm hoping he's not screwed.

Ok nobody talked about T-Shirts

When I was talking about "Stretch Goals", I was talking about actual rewards relevant to THE GAME! Not a t-shirt or a poster, etc... Those elements (t-shirt, postcards, posters, etc.) used to be a part of the EARLY KS days when people tried to SELL as much "cr@p" as possible to backers.

If you ever want to see a GOOD example of a current and well managed KS, I suggest you look at "White Wizard Games". They are the designers of "Star Realms"... And I know them well because "TradeWorlds" has been compared to that product.

Now they have a FEW games under their belt... So during a KS, they bring out ALL of their games and offer them "under the same roof". And it works. They get like $400k of funding because people not only buy the KS product but some of the other products they are also selling.

So I may pay for the "Star Realms" Expansion and pick up also a copy of EPIC or maybe a Hero Realms booster pack (LCG model). Here take a look at Sorcerer (and scroll to the VERY BOTTOM of the campaign, you'll see a bunch of add-ons from other games for $5 to $25 each...):

That's another way to ENCOURAGE longevity in the game realm...

Give me two years...

Give me two years...

Interesting Stegmaier Effect

I read the post concerning T-Shirts and couldn't help but comment. IN an interview with Jamey back in 2016, he mentioned this type of issue when he stated that current Jamey would be very displeased with 2011 Jamey for the number of Rewards listed for his first game, Viticulture. I've read Jamey's book and it's a great read and of exceptional value to anyone entering the KS space, whether you're writing a book, cutting a record (is that still used?), or designing a game. You can see the subtle (or not so subtle changes) of how he ran his KS campaigns from Viticulture, through Euphoria, the Treasure Chests, and Finally Scythe to get a really great picture of a KS evolution.


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