Home / Uncategorized / Sometimes a Kickstarter board game has to die to rebuild

Sometimes a Kickstarter board game has to die to rebuild

Companies wait months to hit the button that makes a crowdfunding project go live. They build anticipation on social media, pay for playthroughs and previews from board game tasters, and host pre-launch streaming events with potential backers. Then it’s up to the board game audience to make the concept of a game a reality. But sometimes things go wrong, as has happened with a number of recently launched projects that were canceled just 24 hours after launch.

Most notable was the Restoration Game’s campaign Donnerstrasse: Vendetta, a reinterpretation of the 1986 classic about deadly car racing rolled into one Crazy Max– Apocalypse style. The campaign, launched on October 12, raised more than $ 278,000 out of a total of $ 500,000. Restoration was likely to achieve its goal, but hobbling over the finish line of a high-profile crowdfunding campaign never looks good. The campaign was canceled on October 13th.

A selection of plastic cars, cubes and roads marked in 1-inch grids.

The base game that was offered for during the first campaign Donnerstrasse: Vendetta.
Image: Restoration Games

On the same day, Justin Jacobson, co-founder of Restoration Games, left a note for the community explaining his decision. “It’s a fantastic game. I just have to do a better job so you can all see this. And that’s exactly what we’re going to do. So let’s get back to work. “

In an industry where sales on crowdfunding platforms continue to skyrocket, a successful start is everything for a board game. But it is not always the question of how much is collected when a Kickstarter or Gamefound campaign is started, but what is created next to it.

“The more people you support early on, the more vibrant your community is,” Jacobson said in an interview with Polygon. “This creates a general excitement around the campaign that can encourage people to get the word out on social media.” From the very first day the campaign went live, Jacobson found that the excitement just wasn’t there . Instead of creating the hype, his team instead spent their time doing a much tougher task.

“If you fumble at startup, you spend more time responding to questions and criticism, which doesn’t add support,” Jacobson explained. “More people asked questions than telling us what they liked best. That was the red flag for us. “

The restoration’s last crowdfunding success, Return to the Dark Tower by designers Isaac Childres (Gloomhaven) and Rob Daviau (inventor of the legacy system and co-founder of Restoration Games) earned over $ 4 million at the end of the campaign. Return to the Dark Tower certainly a fan base, so much so that Barnes & Noble will be offering the game in select locations despite its high MSRP ($ 190).

The bottom line is that a crowdfunding campaign is both about building an ardent fan base and raising millions of dollars for a game that is often developed and already in production. If you don’t have one, you don’t need the other. This is one of the reasons Jacobson decided to pull the plug Donnerstrasse: Vendetta.

“First of all, what do we actually need to make the product viable?” Said Jacobson. “That’s especially important for something like Return to the Dark Towerwhere the technical requirements and development costs are quite high. [It’s] not just the amount of money to fund a print run that determines that profitability. Often it is more important to determine which support count is working and then extrapolate the goal by estimating the promise per supporter. “

Gardening put on the table for play.  The game is illustrated with old school floral illustrations on a sepia background.

Photo: Games of the 25th Century

Different publishers have their own reasons for abandoning a campaign shortly after it starts. Sometimes it is a matter of pricing and public perception what a pledge will get them, as many of the commentators at 25th Century Games recently canceled horticulture expressed. Founder Chad Elkins remarked in a post on the Pledge site, “There are a lot of components with two large boards and a mountain of tiles, tokens and constructs … it weighs over 5 pounds! That’s a lot of cardboard. We never really showed how big the components are for the price. “

The quality of the components was also a factor that Jacobson and Restoration considered. Scott Miller, a campaign backer, wrote, “We didn’t really know much about [the components], except for a sales text and a list of components. That simply does not work [expansion content] Slaughter on Devil’s Run is worth $ 40, not for a few boards and a handful of tokens. If the base game is worth $ 60 (which I agree), all of the expansions combined are worth about $ 60. “

“The main thing [for the relaunch will be] to get more elaborate graphical elements and better compose them, to tell a more complete story of the game and how it plays, ”said Jacobson. He has committed to working with illustrator Marie Bergeron and graphic designers Jason Taylor and Lindsay Daviau to improve these aspects before a relaunch to also demonstrate the fairness of the award.

Often, crowdfunding relies not only on providing donors with a better price, but also incentives like updated components and expanded goals like expansion content to get people to promise. Elkins had both available on Horticulture, as he announced to the supporters in his rejection post. “[W]We had some stretch goals planned that would have increased the value (including another backer-only article) you got from KS’s promise. This is not available at startup […] resulted in a lot of supporters not caring about the deluxe [edition] to decide, just wait for retailers to buy. “

Jacobson agrees with this perspective. “We’re looking at what we can add for the Kickstarter to make it attractive for people to come back instead of waiting for a retail version. It is important that the game be independent of a retail version so that the people who get it don’t feel like they are getting an incomplete game.

“That is mainly [through] Stretch Goals, ”Jacobson continued. “We can offer a discount from MSRP and we can offer earlier access. We’re not doing exclusives because we really don’t want to flow into the potentially manipulative sense of [fear of missing out] that can drive some people [to participate]. “

For most publishers, this adds up to a campaign that could be better served with a retool to improve their perception.

“We are investigating how the funding goal might affect a potential funder’s perspective on the project and how it affects the stretch goal cadence we set for the project,” said Jacobson.

Donnerstrasse: Vendetta plans a relaunch sometime in January 2022, which will delay the start of another crowdfunding project for restoration. Crossbows & Catapults. Jacobson feels responsible.

“In retrospect, I was hasty and didn’t do the legwork that was pushed back [the first launch date] would actually mean, ”he said. “As it turns out, our delivery date will not change. We’ll just keep going at the start, and that’s where we should have been from the start. “

horticulture, in a faster turnaround, restarted on Kickstarter on November 9th, this time reaching its funding goal of $ 12,000 in the first 24 hours. In a happier and more promising post on the Kickstarter page, Elkins wrote, “It’s been a long and winding journey for this game. To see how it finally comes to fruition is something very special. Thank you for being here and helping make this happen. ”

It’s the same feeling Jacobson hopes for when Donnerstrasse: Vendetta comes back on the market next year.

About megamaster

Check Also

Geoff Keighley: Other than the nominations, Activision Blizzard won’t be part of the Game Awards

Activision Blizzard is currently headed serious persistent allegations of harassment and Mistreatment of marginalized workers. …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *