EDIT NOTES: The article you are reading below is not what I originally published. I strive to be the best version of myself in doing these projects. When I fall short of that, it is important to me that I edit in favor of constructive criticism over what was taken as a direct attack against the subjects of this post. Hopefully, I have achieved that in the post below.
Each week, I will show you educational case studies on Kickstarter. These are my opinions of Kickstarter best practices, peppered with my taste of bad humor. My listing these campaigns are always an endorsement of the product itself, no matter my critical commentary of the campaign. Enjoy!
DISCLAIMER: Because I am collaborating on the Re-Chord campaign, it is not listed here. You should still support that project.
The Good – Western Legends
A Western tabletop adventure of legendary proportions for 2-6 players in 90 minutes or less.
This is not a perfect campaign. Those don’t exist. A “Good” campaign displays competent knowledge of Kickstarter best practices and can only improve in minor or superficial ways.
- Before you even click play on the video above, take a gander at this solid first impression for a Kickstarter campaign. The framing is spot on, even if they have black space in the framing of that spacing. You can still make out the gun above the play button, which is the main feature of the painting. They include the Ship Naked friendly-shipping label (probably my favorite one), the logo, the game title, the Kickstarter logo, the artist, and the designer, all within the main image which is a credit to the proper use of space. Your image is the window to your campaign. You need to get this right.
- Western Legends is a perfect example of a campaign which charges extra for shipping but is not negatively affected. Similarly, if your most popular pledge level is going to top out at $75 or so, AND you have solid artwork and componentry going into your campaign, you too can get away with this. The cheaper your most popular reward, the less likely you will get away with anything but included shipping. The takeaway is that I do not think the trajectory in this campaign would be affected whether they charged $75 or $84 for the Legendary level.
- Kolossal Games has a lot to prove in a short time, given their planned cadence of 2018 campaigns. So it stands to reason that they chased down the prototype preview creators with the largest audiences. If you have the inkling of an opportunity to be covered by Man vs. Meeple or Rahdo or the like, you take it. It will set the pace for your whole campaign to be a success and is worth the marketing investment.
Grow your settlement in a charming world of lively forest critters in this elegant worker placement/tableau building board game.
A “Bad” campaign displays at least one significant deviation from Kickstarter best practices. The campaign trajectory has probably not been affected.
- Yes, there are still campaigns launching and funding today without a gameplay video. If you have an established marketing footprint where you are all but guaranteed to fund with great artwork and compelling characters, maybe you think you should stay on schedule and launch your campaign even if the how to play content is not ready. I am in favor of delaying the launch until the campaign is 100% ready.
- On that note, the previews for the campaign were also not ready. One of two things happened: either the publisher provided the prototypes late, or the previewer did not meet the agreed upon deadline for the Kickstarter campaign. When you send a prototype and agree to a deadline, and the previewer does not meet that deadline, you should consider not working with that previewer anymore.
- Even still, the ghost of Kickstarter past is coming back to haunt the Game Salute’s Starling Games. You can click on the comments to see various levels of concern. If your backers are ever vocally disappointed in your company, you should take the short term hit of finding valid criticism and correcting it in whatever ways you can.
The Misinformed – Triplanetary – The Classic Game of Space Combat
From the dawn of the hobby, a classic space game returns . . . Triplanetary depicts ship-to-ship space combat in the Solar System!
A “Misinformed” campaign has deviated from many Kickstarter best practices. I estimate that the campaign has suffered as a result.
- This is Steve Jackson Games. A company who has the know-how, the resources, and the customer backing to provide a truly entertaining and lucrative Kickstarter campaign. We are talking instant triple digits if they had spent even a half day of work extra on the layout of the campaign. Kickstarter is about interacting with and rewarding your most die-hard fans, and I think this campaign disappointed their customers (and would-be customers). The lesson here is that a creator’s following can overcome most anything on Kickstarter, but you as a creator should strive to live up to the expectations your backers have.
- This campaign is in violation of Kickstarter’s terms and conditions. Namely, the condition which states that you cannot be simultaneously funding a product on the Kickstarter platform as you are currently selling (or pre-selling) on another website. SJG is linking international buyers away from the campaign to a sales page on their website. Kickstarter has suspended campaigns for less, and that makes me skeptical as to how the next 20ish days will turn out for this project. You as a creator should take this into account if you think it is possible to run simultaneous campaigns for the same product across different websites.