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When stretch goals are really a stretch

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chris_mancini
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It has become commonplace, if not imperative, that a game Kickstarter have stretch goals in order to provoke backers to share the campaign in the hopes of unlocking those special somethings that will ultimately benefit all those who pledge.

Many are easy - better components (standees become figures, chits become wood or plastic tokens, card stock quality improves, printed dice become engraved...)

Others expand the game itself (new characters, powers/abilities, etc.)

But what if a campaign seeks to offer the highest quality up front, and the game is so small and simple that the stretch goal formulas don't so easily apply? Should the designer reduce the quality in order to dangle the promise of an improved game, and pin that quality on the chance that the funding tier will be met?

What if the game does not lend itself so easily to expansions? What if the game "is what it is," and to try and expand for the sake of creating stretch goals may be forced, and not ultimately improve the player experience?

What case can be made for a simple Kickstarter for a simply fun little game? Can such a campaign reach heights far beyond the funding goal based on the game alone? If the designer is satisfied with "just" reaching their goal, is that all that can be hoped for or expected?

Games have created such a unique ecosystem within Kickstarter...it's fantastic and daunting at the same time!

I Will Never Gr...
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Plenty of games launch and

Plenty of games launch and succeed without stretch goals, especially if it's a smaller game that has all of the high end components included already.

There is a segment of people who will look at it and say "No KS exclusives, I'll wait for retail when I can get it cheaper" .. but they are missing the point imho. Not to mention the possibility that the game may never go to retail in the first place!

ElKobold
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I Will Never Grow Up Gaming

I Will Never Grow Up Gaming wrote:

There is a segment of people who will look at it and say "No KS exclusives, I'll wait for retail when I can get it cheaper" .. but they are missing the point imho. Not to mention the possibility that the game may never go to retail in the first place!


They might be missing a point, but then the campaign is missing an opportunity to get more backers.

There are usually many options what to add to a completed game. But its not as easy as it might appear at first and you have to be careful with your decisions.

Next time we're running a ks, we are going to allocate much more time to stretchgoal planning than we did last time.

Stretchgoals are super important. Thinking that you can get away without them is a mistake imho.

I Will Never Gr...
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ElKobold wrote:I Will Never

ElKobold wrote:
I Will Never Grow Up Gaming wrote:

There is a segment of people who will look at it and say "No KS exclusives, I'll wait for retail when I can get it cheaper" .. but they are missing the point imho. Not to mention the possibility that the game may never go to retail in the first place!


They might be missing a point, but then the campaign is missing an opportunity to get more backers.

There are usually many options what to add to a completed game. But its not as easy as it might appear at first and you have to be careful with your decisions.

Next time we're running a ks, we are going to allocate much more time to stretchgoal planning than we did last time.

Stretchgoals are super important. Thinking that you can get away without them is a mistake imho.

I never said that a campaign without KS exclusives and stretch goals is not missing an opportunity, just that those backers who see it merely as a store and have the "I'll wait til retail" attitude (which is usually finished with "and get it at a huge discount") miss the point and may, in the end, miss out on the game altogether if it doesn't hit retail.

At the same time, Exclusives, while they draw in a percentage of backers who want exclusives (if the exclusives are interesting enough to them) also alienate retail customers later who feel left out. Six of one, half dozen of the other so to speak?

Stretch goals are absolutely important, yes. That does not mean, however, that they are 100% necessary. It's a balancing act and has to be taken on a case by case basis, usually more likely to be doable by those who have a long track record of putting out excellent games from the get go.

questccg
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ElKobold

ElKobold wrote:
...Stretchgoals are super important. Thinking that you can get away without them is a mistake imho.

The problem I see with campaigns that have NO stretch goals - is that it is usually a struggle to reach their FUNDING GOAL. So if you have a goal of $15,000 USD and no stretch goals, people will be trying to contribute enough money to reach your GOAL...

But if you have "stretch" goals, people are now trying to help achieve the stretch goals also - if they are inclined to do so. So instead of trying to get $15,000 USD, you might be going after $25,000 or $30,000 USD... And again since they are stretch goals there is no LOSS if you don't reach all of them.

This is IMHO. Something that I have noticed with many campaigns.

Note: It's like as if the "stretch" goals are PUSHING the campaign forwards. That's not to say it works all the time, I have seen campaigns like "Loot Quest" where there are a TON of stretch goals and the game did not fund:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1181684328/loot-quest

I contributed because I wanted to have a look at the PNP. But did not fund so I received no PNP...

Soulfinger
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Maybe you could achieve

Maybe you could achieve stretch goals through partnerships with other businesses and retailers. For example, find an online retailer who would be willing to give a promotional discount to backers in exchange for the exposure. I hate free e-book offers and such (mostly because quality-wise they are the literary equivalent of herpes), but plenty of people arrange for those.

Alternately, dedicate a portion of your profits to charity and increase that margin by a certain percentage each time that you pass a stretch goal (and please do a real charity, like people who need clean water, not dogs who are sad).

You can also offer in-house digital content, like how-to-play videos, strategy walkthroughs, Q&A sessions, etc. that add to the overall experience of the game. Like at $10k, you'll hire a sexy woman to do an instructional video, saying, "Hey nerds, are you lonely? Mmmmm . . . me too. Let's get cozy, and I'll teach you how to play that game you just backed. Oops! I dropped a meeple down my shirt front."

Personally, my favorite stretch goals are the ones that demonstrate the company's commitment to sustainable growth. Yeah, I got a crap load of bonus miniatures when I backed Reaper's Bones KS, but what I was most excited about was that all of the funding allowed them to move production from China to the United States. I detest Pyrrhic goals, like t-shirts and fancy gew-jaws, that reward backers while eating into profits.

chris_mancini
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The charity idea is an

The charity idea is an interesting one, as most in my family have been involved in several charities throughout their lifetime. I suppose the trick is finding one that is both deeply beneficial (health or education) while feeling holistic with the game itself. An educational charity would be the more likely benefactor...

As for traditional stretch goals, those that I think could be meaningful to my all-dice game are:

- 1 extra die, though as all dice are used in play, this does affect the flow and balance a bit. It's doable...but I do like the balance as it currently is.

- Molded plastic dice box; significant cost to me in both tooling and cost of goods, would be tough to justify the increase per unit as it would come out of the bottom line, which I'm trying to keep small just to get the game funded. It would have to be offset by a significant drop in unit cost, driven by volume...so this would have to be a lofty goal triggering a production run of 5K pieces at least, or at $20 per game, at the $100K mark (for a goal of $15K)!

- Colored icons on dice...currently all engraved icons are black on white dice, so this would be a purely aesthetic addition. Not sure how this would affect gameplay, as it may be disorienting to "read" the dice in different colors, and as this is a game of speed, anything that detracts from a player's ability to quickly "read" the dice during their turn is a negative. Another one of those "too much/unnecessary" ideas...

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