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Builders Kickstarter: Help, advice, thoughts, what-have-you

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tyleroi
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Joined: 07/20/2018

Hey all - we're in the midst of our Kickstarter that, through a combination of bad luck and some of our previous planning not quite being as well as we had projected, we're a bit stalled.

Have had other designers and forums look at it and people have said we'll fund, but I'm less sure. Not here to moan, but am here for advice and thoughts from others on what we could do.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/798137300/builders-the-building-bui...

Jay103
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Quick, short answer: 80% of

Quick, short answer: 80% of your funding came in the first day or two. So I assume you had a solid mailing list or similar. That early money included virtually all of your premium rewards. After that, you've had less interest.. maybe 2/day average? And since your premium rewards are gone, that's maybe 2/day @ $25.

If you get $100/day for the rest of the time, you're not going to make it.

Therefore, you need to figure out SOMETHING to get people aware of this. Not sure I can help with that, but.. good luck? Facebook ads? A plaintive plea to your backers/friends/relatives to tell people about it? I'm sure others will chime in with some suggestions.

Some feedback for next time, if this doesn't succeed and you redo it later:

I really dislike your shipping cost system. Variable after-the-fact shipping is annoying as hell. It means that after the kickstarter you're going to have to do some sort of backerkit thing just to charge me shipping (which will also eat into your profits). The costs don't vary by SO much that you need to pass that on to me later. I would've charged $29 including shipping in the US, and not much more than that in Canada.. It's a card game. Surely as a Canadian you have a reasonable number of Canadian sales. $45 CAD for two decks of cards is.. high.

Your pie chart implies about $3000 USD for manufacturing alone. Are you paying $3/unit in a quantity of 1000 for two decks of cards, not including freight? That sounds high to me. Even print ninja is showing 1000 @ $2.60 (100 cards, tuck box, shrink wrapped, small manual in box), and they're not the cheapest. Adding shipping to my door in New England gets me 1000 boxes for $3250 USD, hassle free.

So maybe your goal doesn't need to be quite so high? Why isn't the goal, say, $5000? Your pie chart says that you're paying for illustrations, which I presume are already done. So.. that's not *exactly* a required cost to be paid out of this money.. nor is any marketing that's already been paid.

Edit: Here's a game I backed a few months ago.. It's a single-deck card game, $15 + $2 shipping in the US. $5000 goal. Yours would be $19+6 in USD, and people in Canada are paying $19+12 USD. I realize $17 vs. $25 isn't a HUGE difference, but that's $8 for an additional deck of cards, and there's a perceptual hurdle for games $19 and under vs. $20 and over.. not including the "variable shipping to come later" issue.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/ninjastargames/yokai-septet

Edit again: The video has music that completely overwhelms the voice-over.. I don't know if the video has much to do with how the game sells, but there it is.

Jay103
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I haven't studied your rule

I haven't studied your rule book in depth (which, by the way, should be linked from your main page where you now say "rule book will be posted within a week"), but..

Why did you choose to have everybody paid with BEERS instead of money?

The rest of the game tries to be somewhat "realistic". There is hiring, permits, an inspector, etc. Yet you chose to pay people in beers. That makes little sense to me. It's sort of whimsical, I guess, BUT it's whimsical in a way that might prevent me from buying this to play with my kids. There are plenty of competing games around that don't make alcohol consumption a standard part of the game world.

questccg
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You'll make it...

The numbers that you need to "achieve" in a Kickstarter are lower than most people anticipate. To make your GOAL, you need:

1. 33% in the first 2 days (48 hours)
2. 33% in the next span of days (26 days)
3. 33% in the last 4 days (96 hours)

Of course these numbers are NOT your friend. And why I agree with @Jason is that most people will say you need 50% in the first couple days. And the reason most people use the HIGHER percentage, is purely so that campaign owners can earn MORE than "just their goal".

Usually earning "just your goal" puts you in a negative on many levels. The primary concern is that you "low ball" the total KS amount in order to have a reachable goal. But when you add things like Marketing and Cost of Illustrations, those are costs that are payed BEFORE the Kickstarter... And what @Jason is saying you usually "eat" those costs for the sake of having a more achievable Funding Goal.

But I can understand why you have included them: you want to be in the black.

And with that you learn the reality that Kickstarters don't always do this. Look at my own KS campaign, we raised of $42,000 USD. That still doesn't mean that the KS led to any profitability (as of yet). Had we just REACHED our goal, we would have never been able to offer a complete game with all the bells and whistles ... But that's what Backers wanted and we managed to get just shy of 1,000 backers (It says 900+ backers but we have some stores FLGSs and some online retailers who purchased in bulk too).

And where @Jason seems to find fault with the shipping... I think we included a fairly large subsidy and hopefully that won't put us in the red... because we offered low pricing with a high subsidy.

So even if we made more, we spent more and we still have expenses that remain to be tallied. As I said in a comment, had we stuck to no KS "extra" content, we would have been manufacturing in July. But all the "extras" have taken time to design, illustrate, playtest and review... such that we are only NOW finalizing the "core" and "expansion" rulebooks.

I think (personally) you will meet your FUNDING GOAL. But according to your projections, that might not be enough (if I am understanding correctly).

ElKobold
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I`ll touch on the most

I`ll touch on the most glaring issue: The way it all looks harms your campaign.
Commissioning new artwork and hiring a graphics designer would really help here.

questccg
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That's like saying:

"Let's FIRE the entire team and start over from zero." But in all fairness in a certain way the "artwork" is perhaps only average. They aren't the most "impressive" illustrations that I've seen. But everyone is entitled to their opinion. The art wouldn't encourage me to back your campaign (my opinion).

And as for @Jason's concern, hmm... I don't think "Beers pay the bills at the end of the month either..." I'll agree that being paid in "Beers" is a rather "peculiar" system for rewarding the players.

But you may hit the 150-200 backers and fund successfully.

ElKobold
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questccg wrote:The art

questccg wrote:
The art wouldn't encourage me to back your campaign (my opinion).

You are in a minority then.

Professional looking artwork is extremely important for the success of any campaign.

Jay103
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ElKobold wrote:questccg

ElKobold wrote:
questccg wrote:
The art wouldn't encourage me to back your campaign (my opinion).

You are in a minority then.

Professional looking artwork is extremely important for the success of any campaign.


I think he was agreeing with you. "[THIS] art wouldn't encourage me to back your campaign."

I think.

Fertessa
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Joined: 07/18/2018
It seems like you got quite a

It seems like you got quite a bit of funding so far. It's definitely possible for you to fully fund. Just recently I watched a game which hadn't even funded 50% by their 20th day, but still managed to get funded thanks to an amazing promotional push to the very last 24 hours. They funded on the last day. So it's definitely possible, but it's not guaranteed.

Whether you fund or not, I'll give you my immediate reaction when I went to the page.

First thing I noticed was the graphic design. Black letters on a dark color are a red flag for me. A grey overlay over the middle, which didn't really help since everything but the characters were a variation of the color blue. The blue, rounded Kickstarter logo and the sharp dog/sphinx logo contrasted with the main logo which is a different drawing style was also a flag.

Then I looked closer at the characters in the logo. I scrolled down to confirm that was the art style for the game, and that was a turn off as well. I personally don't like this drawing style. I sincerely don't mean to offend the illustrator, as this may come off mean, but for the sake of honest feedback, I want to explain. Whenever I see this style in a cartoon or a comic, the work always feels a bit lackluster, so I associate that style with lackluster work. It looks like my drawing style from middleschool, so for a professional game that I'm paying money for, I expect a bit more.

I didn't read the descriptions, because the art didn't draw me in enough to bother doing so. I scanned over the stretch goals, and 'paying the design team' is a weird stretchgoal. I haven't come across a project which listed that as a goal. That's a bonus for your team moreso than for the backers.

Lastly, I didn't watch the video, but I would remove the Gaymer Preview, or politely ask if they could use a different thumbnail. Just going off of his facial expression, he doesn't look like he likes the game.

If you fund then great, don't pay attention to me. But if it doesn't, I would consider this before relaunching. There are definitely people out there who buy games regardless of art, but I think Kickstarter is a platform which especially encourages window shopping. And I think the people window shopping and shopping with their eyes more than anything, so art and graphic design will act as a wall against a huge demographic of people on that platform.

Jay103
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Beer

I just saw that you addressed my beer concern with an essay on your site, linked via an update on the KS. Have you considered posting again HERE? I shouldn't even have gone back to look for updates, given the silence here.. it gives the impression that we put in our time reading your stuff and giving feedback, and you don't even come back to see what the feedback is.

Quote:
In case you missed, we have an essay up on our website about the reasoning for beer as a currency. It represented at tricky design decision here, but one that we've committed to.

(of course I missed it.. most people aren't following your website, which doesn't even appear to be linked from your Kickstarter page)

Quote:
< story about a guy being racist, then he has some beers with other-race co-workers and then, several years later, realizes he was wrong >

"So why beer? Because beer and hard work tie all tradespeople together through a bond of fellowship stronger than blood."

So... BS.

First, this is a THEME decision, not a DESIGN decision. Your THEME includes people being paid in beer rather than money. You could replace every beer with a dollar bill with no change to gameplay.

Nobody playing this game is going to think, hey, if I buy this guy 3 beers, I get his camaraderie. Hey, if I play this card, I get 2 beers I can use to entice a worker to join me. No. People are being PAID with a beverage. They don't work for money, they work for beer. There's an "Investor" card, who contributes beer.

If you had a card that, when played, said, "Your workers go out for beers and now they get along better. Gain +1 Thingies for every worker in your hand," then THAT would be a piece of the game that matched what you say in your essay. But come on, own it. You're paying people in beers instead of money.

It's a theme decision. It's also a decision that has the capacity to either turn people off or make them wonder what the point is, but without the capacity to ADD any new customers.

Mosker
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Red flags bordering on automatic deal breaker

[Edit: just saw it was covered in a previous comment, but feel this deserves it's own space]

15,000 stretch goal: design team gets paid.

Even giving you a great deal of benefit of the doubt (they're the same people as are making the game, it's their labor of love, they get paid last...) it's too problematic--and the bad optics with this undercut everything else you have.

Apologies if my tone reads harsher than it is intended, yet [insert a bunch of crap from my own career]

questccg
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Beer + racism???

Hmm... this is a fine line ... that I will TRY not to cross (Stormy be ready to PM me and bitch to me that I am being insensitive).

First of all ... while that story is "nice", it's very hard to swallow. Seems a bit preachy and it doesn't mean you are promoting true diversity.

What do I mean???

My own Publisher made it a point to promote TRUE DIVERSITY with the "Bravado" Pledge level. As such we have a fair representation of men and women in the Premium Role cards. But that's equality and not diversity.

We have an Asian Male, An Afro American Woman, A Eastern-Indian Woman, An Western-Indian Male, in addition to both Male and Female White Caucasians.

Considering this was a $149 USD pledge to get your likeness on a card... You can imagine that we did quite the number to have "true diversity". Our backers were amazing and recognized that we wanted to ensure people from VARIOUS races would be a part of the end-product.

I get the impression that for some reason you're "playing around" with Black and White stereotypes and for reasons that do not reflect true diversity. Why are you doing this? IDK to be honest.

Like some people were explaining... You post a message and never return to deal with feedback (as you asked for) ... and it sounds like you really don't seem to take an active interest in what the kind designers are saying on this forum...?

Tim Edwards
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It's a shame you're committed

It's a shame you're committed to the beer thing. There does seem something a bit odd about it. Why not styrofoam cups of tea (ok - coffee in the states)? Aren't hot drinks in plastic cups what really fuels the construction industry?

Jay103
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Tim Edwards wrote:It's a

Tim Edwards wrote:
It's a shame you're committed to the beer thing. There does seem something a bit odd about it. Why not styrofoam cups of tea (ok - coffee in the states)? Aren't hot drinks in plastic cups what really fuels the construction industry?

Starbucks.

Or Dunkin if you're in the northeast.

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