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How to "grow" a game organically???

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questccg
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Okay so I am going to ask a "funny" question:

How to grow a game organically?

What do I mean by this? Well organically tends to follow a path of growth that is "it's base or following". So IF I had a Kickstarter and started with a modest amount of "backers" (let's assume 500 backers), what can be done to GROW this amount of people interested in playing your game?

Okay so the OBVIOUS answer is have a SECOND (2nd) Kickstarter. But sometimes the opposite may happen instead of the same amount or more, you get LESS than your previous amount of backers! What can you do to drive more sales to ensure that you get MORE backers during a 2nd Kickstarter?

Sell online via a website. This also sounds very reasonable. The main problem with this strategy is that it is HARD to get people who have never heard of your game to get INTERESTED in it. Granted if they were a Kickstarter backer or a friend of a backer, that could be a reasonable way to increase your pool of fans. But getting back to the website... Does this mean that the ONLY "viable" buyers of the game are "friends" of the backers??? Seems VERY LIMITING. So while a website may be good to SELL the game, attracting TRAFFIC and BUYERS is the real challenge.

To kind of encourage more sales from a website, I guess your REAL alternative (and it's probably going to be expensive) is ADVERTISING and MARKETING... Somehow you need to get the word out that your game 1> Exists and 2> Can be bought SOMEWHERE. Right now I can only think of one source and that is Board Game Geek (BGG) banners. They are very expensive but do offer a way to "advertise" to GAMERS...

The other way is through "Reviewers" which some are FREE others are PAID. The only "downside" is that a review is "subjective". You are not aware of the results of the review and it could be "unfavorable" which could in turn lower the popularity of your game and affect sales negatively. This is in all fairness a "chance" each designer takes with each reviewer. If you get a string of "HOT" reviews... Maybe this can drive some traffic to your sales website. And I say "SOME"... Not an overwhelming amount.

All of this MAKES SENSE... But in no way, shape or form does this amount to VIRAL or GREAT amounts of sales. It's sort of like a VERY SLOW way of gaining sales.

I offer this up for DEBATE... Maybe there are other options, steps to be taken, ways that I am unaware of to GROW and SELL more copies of a game.

Please feel free to share your thoughts, give feedback, ask questions and offer your comment below!

Cheers.

Jay103
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I feel like if I threw $2000

I feel like if I threw $2000 at facebook advertising, I could get some sales. Maybe even $1000 worth of sales!

Jay103
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There are two categories of

There are two categories of people who own your game: People you know about, and people you don't.

One other way to get your game out there is to pound the pavement (or get a distributor) and get it into stores. Selling direct at a fair or similar is the same sort of thing. The people who buy the game this way are anonymous. If you have a follow-up title, there's very very close to zero chance that any of those people will hear about it, unless you're already very successful.

However, people you know about, people you shipped to or collected email addresses from.. those people you can contact directly.

questccg
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Not convinced

Jay103 wrote:
I feel like if I threw $2000 at facebook advertising, I could get some sales. Maybe even $1000 worth of sales!

Hmmm... Not sure if I agree. Why? Because I have been following @Evans and it seems like he PAID a couple bloggers/influencers to mention his game to their following and ... he got 0 sales out of them.

Quote:
...I even set up an affiliate website for one of the bloggers who loved the game and was apart of my target market. I offered her $5 per game she sold through her link. She didn't get one sold game??????? She has 1800 followers on Instagram and close to 7k on Facebook and not one game sold through her. She posted about the game several times...

7,000 followers on FB and 1,800 on Instagram... And not even 1 game sold.

Quote:
...Another blogger in my target market, with 16k followers on Instagram, posted about how they enjoyed the game and no discernible sales increase. I'm definitely confused about these bloggers, and reviewers...

16,000 Instagram followers... And again not even 1 game sold too!

So throwing "a bunch of $$$" to Facebook ads ... I doubt would result in any additional sales... I personally don't feel like the RISK is worth any sort of reward. To me it sounds like you might get 1 or 2 sales...

questccg
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"Organized Play" might be an alternative

Jay103 wrote:
...One other way to get your game out there is to pound the pavement (or get a distributor) and get it into stores. Selling direct at a fair or similar is the same sort of thing. The people who buy the game this way are anonymous...

I don't feel like my game could GET "distribution". It's really NOT the kind of game that has a premium sized box which is 12" x 12"... The game comes with a pouch and parts (including custom dice) and you can carry your customized "Micro" Deck in it. It's a very LEAN format ...

Jay103 wrote:
If you have a follow-up title, there's very very close to zero chance that any of those people will hear about it, unless you're already very successful.

However, people you know about, people you shipped to or collected email addresses from.. those people you can contact directly.

That's why my only interest is from people who's e-mail I have collected. This comes in three (3) varieties:

1. Kickstarter Backers
2. E-mails collected for the game
3. Online purchases (since they always include a e-mail confirmation)

I feel like there aren't many options left... And you don't want to slash prices because you may upset your "fan base". I know we've discussed this before...

So in reality ... I can't expect my game gaining any "traction" in the market, because I haven't much in terms of "games out-there"!

I am also exploring "Organized Play" which would be "tournaments" and Ladder Ranking Events. This might encourage people to BUY/PLAY. TBD. I'm still at the early stages of this. Just some early ideas...

questccg
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More on "Organized Play"...

Obviously it's near impossible to implement something in collaboration with "stores" (the FLGSs)... You would need to implement and maybe pre-register players who want to play (and therefore cough-up a few bucks to get in)...

The REAL key is "profitability".

If you can use your own product and manage to offer a semi-lucrative way to make money ... people might buy into the concept of HOSTING independent tournaments on a weekend or say every first weekend of each month.

And if you do this through-out the year that's 10 times plus a special Event to be located somewhere for another weekend... That could amount to the possibility of having something REGULAR.

Like I said, it's just an "idea" and would require much FINANCIAL analysis in order to perfect. The bottom line is this: IF (a BIG IF) people can actually MAKE "reasonably good" money HOSTING tournaments and they are 90% independent from each other... People might get on-board such method of playing the game...

Just some additional thoughts.

ceethreepio
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I read Jay's comment as being

I read Jay's comment as being sarcastic - as in, you could spend 2,000 USD to get 1,000 USD's benefit, i.e. it's a waste of money to advertise on Facebook.

I also agree it's probably a waste of money and time on the ads, although maintaining a facebook presence is probably a good idea.

ceethreepio
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You could try taking a leaf

You could try taking a leaf from modern startups? "The best people to sell your product are the existing users of your product". Make it so awesome, that they can't help but recommend it to their friends.

Have awesome customer support for your game, a searchable rulebook online, replacing components for free, making any interactions with your customers wonderful, so they get the 'nice-fuzzy' feeling dealing with you.

Get people playing it a gaming conventions, and make sure they all have a wonderful time ... post great pictures on Instagram, answer questions people post about it, have pictures of people playing the game enjoying themselves ...

Build your crowd and let them sell it. Basically, I think it's all down to Marketing.

Jay103
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ceethreepio wrote:I read

ceethreepio wrote:
I read Jay's comment as being sarcastic - as in, you could spend 2,000 USD to get 1,000 USD's benefit, i.e. it's a waste of money to advertise on Facebook.

I also agree it's probably a waste of money and time on the ads, although maintaining a facebook presence is probably a good idea.


You are correct :)

Though I was serious that I think I could get actual sales through Facebook. I don't think I could get sales from a minor "influencer". I had plenty of 0's from other ads during my last Kickstarter (which was an expansion pack, so a hard sell anyway)

browwnrob
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It may be worth a listen to

It may be worth a listen to this interview, its pretty informative.

http://www.boardgamedesignlab.com/how-to-market-a-board-game-part-2-with...

I think FB ads can be very profitable if they are extremely focussed.

From word of mouth, I believe FB > Twitter > Instagram for driving sales for your game online. I've no idea what Reddit is like, its a place that scares me! :)

Also a lot of folks covering games on Youtube are previewers rather than reviewers and are there to hype the game up so don't necessarily provide an opinion on the game and if it ha any inherent flaws etc.

Jay103
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What I did in my first KS (at

What I did in my first KS (at the advice of a friend who does this stuff professionally), was to advertise my KS video, and then I made a lookalike audience of the people who watched it. Then I advertised to THAT.

I Will Never Gr...
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ceethreepio wrote:I read

ceethreepio wrote:
I read Jay's comment as being sarcastic - as in, you could spend 2,000 USD to get 1,000 USD's benefit, i.e. it's a waste of money to advertise on Facebook.

I also agree it's probably a waste of money and time on the ads, although maintaining a facebook presence is probably a good idea.

Potentially yes. I threw $500 at Facebook Ads and (using a custom referral link through Kickstarter) saw about $2000 in sales, and I know a lot of others who have thrown thousands at ads and gotten 5x or more back, so it's possible to do well.

Conversely it could also lead to zero added sales and a waste. It's a bit of a gamble mitigated by proper targeting and great ad copy.

I Will Never Gr...
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browwnrob wrote: I think FB

browwnrob wrote:

I think FB ads can be very profitable if they are extremely focussed.

From word of mouth, I believe FB > Twitter > Instagram for driving sales for your game online. I've no idea what Reddit is like, its a place that scares me! :)

Also a lot of folks covering games on Youtube are previewers rather than reviewers and are there to hype the game up so don't necessarily provide an opinion on the game and if it ha any inherent flaws etc.

Reddit can be a huge win, if you can even get your product mentioned there by the right people. They're VERY anti-advertising/promotion and you certainly can't do the promotion of your own product.

Jay103
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I Will Never Grow Up Gaming

I Will Never Grow Up Gaming wrote:
Reddit can be a huge win, if you can even get your product mentioned there by the right people. They're VERY anti-advertising/promotion and you certainly can't do the promotion of your own product.

Oh yeah, I was gonna say that. Reddit boards HATE anything that sounds like self-promotion (except in boards for that specific purpose). I didn't even consider putting my game up there. I believe one of my backers, who is a well established member and maybe a even moderator of some kind, put up a link for my game and it was taken down promptly.

questccg
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Hmm... Nothing very VIRAL TBH

In truth I am finding that there really doesn't seem to be any WAY of going VIRAL and attracting a bunch of customers.

Other than the TYPE of game: anything with highly detailed Miniatures and campaign/story-based gameplay.

CMON or Mantic Games... This we see can get 10,000+ KS Backers and fund for over $1M in funding.

Aside from this ... Everything is small change. Nothing really to get excited by or form a LARGER Fan Base.

Something like in the 2,000+ Backers. Any additional thoughts???

Stacia3333
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I'm gearing up for a KS

I'm gearing up for a KS Campaign as well and have been talking to a bunch of Successful Kickstarter Entrepreneurs in my area and genre. (by successful I mean fully funded and either on their way to production or their next KS) and several have suggested using an advertising service like GreenInbox.com
As far as I can tell they start you off with a daily budget and they take care of posting and tweaking the ads to get the best ROI. Then you can cancel if it is not going well or add more if it is proving profitable.

I have been considering using them or a service like them to drum up a crowd. Has anyone else here used them or another service that can add some insight?

Warmest,

questccg
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Hmm... Questionable?

Quote:
We require a minimum of $20,000 potential ads budget for the first 72 hours for best results.

That's more money than my planned KS!!! Seriously willing to throw $20,000 USD in money to an "Ad Agency" in the hopes of getting more KS Backers to back your game??? I understand that it MAY work. But who has $20,000 USD to spend ONLY on advertising.

I'm risk averse to spending $800 USD on BGG Banners! No way I'm investing $20k in ANY kind marketing scheme... Even IF people did well by it.

I think it depends on the NATURE of your game. Like IF you have miniatures and the game is priced around $100+ USD well then at 1,000 KS Backers, you are at a $100,000 campaign. Investing $20k from this ... Might propel you with Stretch Goals to $500k maybe (as per the testimonials).

But like I said it only works for CERTAIN games and campaigns. I know it won't for my next game because I don't plan on having "Stretch Goals". Just a simple campaign for a moderate amount.

Don't let this dissuade you ... I'm just saying is that it's not for everyone.

Cheers!

X3M
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@Kristopher

Before you can even start a new kickstarter. I think it helps to have the previous one to be completed. Meaning, getting the promises completed as well.

Despite all the things that happened.
I know it might sound harsh. But it is just how the average person thinks about these things.

questccg
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I 100% agree whole heartily...!

Yes that is true. But I'm planning for Monster Keep (MK), trying to figure out after a $16,000 Funding Goal, with no stretch goals, how I can grow the fan base of the game "organically".

The major problem I see is that it is hard to drive traffic to a website afterwards.

Sure you can TRY Amazon. But again, the real issue is HOW to get people to search for MK.

It's kind of like the "Chicken & the egg". You want to get more sales but in order to do this, you need more traffic to Amazon (and your website). The problem is how do you GET this additional traffic when nobody knows about your game besides the people who supported you on a crowdfunding platform...

That's why I talked about "Organic Growth". How can you take your existing Fan Base and GROW it!?

The other real world issue is let say I get 400 backers to support my First Edition of the game... This doesn't guarantee that I will get MORE backers during a Second Edition crowdfunding... It may be LESS and then be unsuccessful... Jason (@Jay103) saw this with his Light & Darkness expansion which got FEWER backers than his original campaign...

So the goal is to maintain (and maybe GROW) the Fan Base from one campaign to another.

X3M
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A web

Once the game is about to being published.
Where could you build a player base?

Reach out to those who helped with the kickstarter?
Give them a reward some way, for getting more players?

Kickstarter
Facebook
Discord (Why don't BGDF and BGG have this yet?)
Youtube
a Website
any streaming service

Jay103
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questccg wrote: The other

questccg wrote:

The other real world issue is let say I get 400 backers to support my First Edition of the game... This doesn't guarantee that I will get MORE backers during a Second Edition crowdfunding... It may be LESS and then be unsuccessful... Jason (@Jay103) saw this with his Light & Darkness expansion which got FEWER backers than his original campaign...

Well, mine was an expansion pack, so it was guaranteed to get fewer backers than my first one...

X3M
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Jay103 wrote:questccg

Jay103 wrote:
questccg wrote:

The other real world issue is let say I get 400 backers to support my First Edition of the game... This doesn't guarantee that I will get MORE backers during a Second Edition crowdfunding... It may be LESS and then be unsuccessful... Jason (@Jay103) saw this with his Light & Darkness expansion which got FEWER backers than his original campaign...

Well, mine was an expansion pack, so it was guaranteed to get fewer backers than my first one...

It always does. But you could link the new people to the first one.

Jay103
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X3M wrote:Jay103

X3M wrote:
Jay103 wrote:
questccg wrote:

The other real world issue is let say I get 400 backers to support my First Edition of the game... This doesn't guarantee that I will get MORE backers during a Second Edition crowdfunding... It may be LESS and then be unsuccessful... Jason (@Jay103) saw this with his Light & Darkness expansion which got FEWER backers than his original campaign...

Well, mine was an expansion pack, so it was guaranteed to get fewer backers than my first one...

It always does. But you could link the new people to the first one.


Well, there were no new people who DIDN'T buy the first :) The second isn't standalone; it requires the first.

I did sell 20 or so bundles of first and second together.

questccg
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Jay103 wrote:Well, there were

Jay103 wrote:
Well, there were no new people who DIDN'T buy the first...

So the thinking is that INSTEAD of "growing" you Fan Base, effectively there are less and less "fans" of the game ... because not everyone is going to buy all the "expansion" content from you. Which is unfortunate... because in our minds, we would like the OPPOSITE to happen:

Get more Backers (Fans) to support the "core" game and therefore add to the pool of people who actually enjoy playing the game.

Going downwards is a sign of "end-of-life" when it comes to a game. Or in other words, you've PEAKED in terms of the SUCCESS for your game.

Jay103
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Lol, I think that's

Lol, I think that's overstating things a bit. I wouldn't expect all my KS backers to back a second thing (particularly the international people, who are hit with even higher shipping now). I was hoping to add more people than I did, buying the full set, but also many people wouldn't even read a KS page for an expansion pack for something they didn't already own.

It doesn't make me want to rush out and do another expansion without better marketing of some sort, but at the same time, I have a lot of people telling me how much their kids were looking forward to the expansion. So.. cool.

X3M
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MtG

Has stand alone decks with the newer cards. So new players start with a deck at the end. They can get older decks as additions now.

So, the expanding goes in 2 time directions.

If a game normally goes 543210. Which is one development.
MtG with the same expansion, but different starting times. Has 6 development paths.
Even if new players decide to take a different route, you end up with 720 development paths.

Just to put the meaning of newer stand alone decks in terms of math value.

questccg
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Can you explain what you mean by all this???

X3M wrote:
Has stand alone decks with the newer cards. So new players start with a deck at the end. They can get older decks as additions now.

What are you saying??? You can now buy Starter Decks for things like Ravnica: city of Guilds and other older editions of Magic?

X3M wrote:
So, the expanding goes in 2 time directions.

I guess this is related to the above question too. I know the current deck is the "Throne of Eldraine".

X3M wrote:
If a game normally goes 543210. Which is one development. MtG with the same expansion, but different starting times. Has 6 development paths. Even if new players decide to take a different route, you end up with 720 development paths.

What do you mean about "543210"? What are 6 development paths?? How do you get 720 development paths???

X3M wrote:
Just to put the meaning of newer stand alone decks in terms of math value.

I'd like to understand this math... It may be relevant to "Monster Keep" (MK) and it's progression (I say maybe IDK for sure)...

X3M
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Well, I have to admit. That

Well, I have to admit. That my experience might be outdated.

But in the past. It didn't matter when you started. I started when the 5th edition was out. That meant. My starter deck was a 5th edition. But some cards where only in older editions. So to get them, I needed to get "older" booster packages etc.

I kinda went backwards.
Players could compile a deck with just boosters back then, you know. And then some older landcards.Those where easily recycled.

Or is it completely different nowadays??

questccg
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Hmm... From what I have seen...

Is that it's NOT possible to get "older" boosters. They are all SOLD OUT! To get older cards, you would need to use game stores with Binders of After-market cards and pay PER CARD. I think the cheapest card is $0.50.

And then the rest of the cards go UP in price from there...

This is what I have seen in my local FLGS. I've seen a player come with his Cell Phone and have a LIST of cards and then the person working the counter would look into his binders and get copies of each card and charge them SEPARATELY. Meaning the player was paying for each and every card he asked for in his Cell Phone list.

That's my experience... I've never seen "older" boosters ANYWHERE TBH. So I don't know what kind of stores you've been going to... Magic players would have engulfed those "old" booster ages ago...

X3M
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The store in question

Also closed years ago.
Perhaps they where selling old boosts, that didn't get sold in the first place.

Jay103
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You can buy older boosters,

You can buy older boosters, but they're more expensive now.

Back in the mid 90's, I knew a guy who was an early player, and he saved an entire unopened box of Beta boosters. Forget how much he sold them for, but I bet it would be worth more now :)

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