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  • Writer's pictureFelix

Our story, Part 2 - the kickstarter + notes on kickstarting a board game.

Updated: May 27, 2020

Far away in Palermo (Felix fell in love with a Sicilian), while working on the card details with his lovely girlfriend Ylenia, Felix got back in touch with Kim. 

“help me make an awesome game more awesome with your illustrations”. “Yeah, ok” said Kim. 

And so, Felix & Ylenia moved to Berlin in August 2018 in order to be closer to Kim

and Maria

(another basement dweller and card copywriter)

in order to combine forces and get everything done...

...and also to party hard in Berlin because.. I mean it's Berlin!

The crew at the bar

And so with Kim's help the cards went on a little evolutionary journey...

After the cards were designed it was time to get the thing made! Felix left to Spiel Essen for one day to see what card games were all about! He also had a chance encounter with his now friend, Malachi who had just kickstarted his own card game Itchy feet and so decided he'd need to make a kickstarter of their own! and so our kickstarter was born! I (Felix) have had a bunch of questions from people about this, so heres a little

(it became really big) list of...

Things I've Learned using kickstarter to crowd fund a card game!:

  • Mailing lists!

To do well on the kickstarter algorithm a project needs as many people as possible to back it within the first 12 hours of the launch. This means you need a huge mailing list with people active and ready to back the project asap! To get a good mailing list I contacted friends & family and made sign ups on our website. I also made a print & play demo allowing people to test the game out themselves which I spread around social media and sent to possible influencers. Use something like Mail-chimp or the integrated WIX mailing lists to help help send all those emails.

  • Planning!

planning your campaign and where the funding goes is so goddamn important, especially as kickstarter takes a pretty hefty cut of whatever you make. When our campaign finished i'm not gonna lie, we were a little surprised by how much was taken!

It's also important to build trust with your backers and for them it would probably be nice to know where their money was being spent so we laid it out for them.

  • Know your costs

Without knowing your costs you could very easily underestimate your goal which would spell disaster: reaching your goal but not have enough money to actually deliver! In order to find the right amounts I shopped around a lot with different manufacturers and distributors to find the right one at the right price for what I needed. Manufacturing Create your own prototype as getting them made is expensive! so use a local print shop! I did this and it helped me get a real feel for the deck as well as make the video possible for the kickstarter. Get samples from manufacturers to check quality and an idea of what you want. (It's also fun to be sent a huge box of different games from that manufacturer :) Ask for quotes from them with specifics on exactly what you need at a number of different quantities and card qualities so you have a range to choose from. This also gives you a good stretch goal to work towards if a card type is more expensive.

So where to look? Although it's tempting, I started looking into China, but decided against it, mainly just because of Winnie the Pooh and the CCP.

I went with Europe because that's where i'm based and because it would be close to my customers and to me. The prices in Poland were also really good with great quality compared to other countries I had looked at. Distribution A manufacturer will want so ship out the product to just one location and unless you've got a lot of time, money and effort on your hands you're not going to want to do this from home! Try to find a distributor in a country near, or neighbouring ones you expect to ship most often to as shipping to bordering countries is always cheaper. Look for ones which have experience with kickstarter distribution as they will know how to import your backers onto their system and deal with all the logistics of different backer rewards.

Ideally (like us) you should find a distributor that can work the kickstarter and continue to warehouse and ship out boxes for you afterwards. Just like manufacturers get quotes on how much it will cost from a bunch of different distributors and find the best one, remember that international is always more expensive than you'd imagine so you may want to supplement it in the cost price of the product (people don't like high shipping costs!) One last tip is to keep the weight of your box down if you can, this really can mean the difference between a 2 euro shipment and a 10 euro one and these things add up! (this is actually why our box is under 500g! One strange thing however is that because of some weird capitalism side effect, big board game companies will value your game as less if your box is smaller... they say that size doesn't matter but in the board game world apparently it does. This is actually why you get some ridiculously over sized boxes for tiny games these days... Just think of all that waste :(

  • Before the kick

Before you start the campaign, be sure to have those mailing lists ready at maybe set a goal for at least 500-1000 followers on your social media accounts. Social media is biiiig nowadays and you need to build a bit of buzz before you kick so that people can act as soon as its live and trigger that kickstarter algorithm to boost your views. For all social media its usually the same thing, keep active! Post interesting content everyday, like other people's post and try to get the word out as much as you can. You can also do this better by paying for facebook/instagram promotions. You'll also need a big olde sexy page with a the best video you can make along with a bunch of fun backer levels ready and a bunch of stretch goals on stand by.

  • During the kick

While you're kickstarting you've gotta be working non-stop to reach that goal, use kicktraq to help you see how it's going; here's ours .

Update regularly to keep your backers informed & sharing . DON'T FALL FOR THOSE EMAILS!

During the campaign you're bound to receive a bunch emails from people promising to help you... 99% of them are lies. I even went on a 'podcast interview' for half an hour with some guy promising to help spread the word with his interview when in reality i found out right at the end that the guy actually wanted 500€ for him to do some marketing magic on my project. 10 mins of googling him later found out that he was full of it and a big waste of time.

  • After the kick

Once you've reached your goal WOOHOO! party, cash out and go to work delivering! Remember that its very very rare for any kickstarter to ever deliver on time, there are ALWAYS problems with something! So all thats left is to double check all your files, send out those emails and get the thing made and delivered!

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