The Good, The Bad, & The Misinformed – Week 3

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!

The Good – Seize the Bean – A Light-Hearted Deck Builder about Berlin!

Thematic deck builder with brutal resource management, card drafting, set collection, engine building, modular setup & wild components!

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.

Takeaways

  • I am drawing a line in the sand. If one of the first images you show is a graphic depiction of what backers should expect to receive as the “get the game” pledge level, you are on the right track toward funding. Many creators miss this simple, but crucial step. Congratulations to Seize the Bean for accomplishing this flawlessly.
  • If you localize your theme, like Seize the Bean has, you will benefit from a very targeted marketing campaign. If you gander at the community tab of this campaign, you will notice that most backers are from Berlin. Additionally, 53 of them have never backed a Kickstarter campaign before. I don’t have access to their marketing campaign, but that screams to me geo-targeted Facebook ads and boots on the ground campaign on their home turf. You should theme your game effectively so you can target consumer bases such as this campaign did.
  • Furthering the European flair, you can see some of the most popular review entities on the European continent displayed in this campaign. That is no accident. You as a creator need to make reviews work for you. Find the most successful campaigns and see who they are using to review their prototypes. It may not be the only X-factor, but it isn’t hurting the cause!

The Bad – Home on Lagrange

Become the Admiral of your own station as the human race attempts to colonise outer-space in this strategic card game.

A “Bad” campaign displays at least one significant deviation from Kickstarter best practices. The campaign trajectory has probably not been affected.

Takeaways

  • Exhibit B as to why you need a graphic display of the full game you are selling. Where is my image of the “get the game” pledge level rewards? The closest we get to this is halfway down the page with a black and white (what I assume is the) box, with some text outlining the components. Kickstarter is not an outline platform. Reward your would-be backers with gratuitous imagery.
  • $1 pledge levels are not just unnecessary, they are downright harmful to your campaign. Kickstarter already provides the functionality to pledge without a reward. You do not owe it to $1 backers to take the most valuable real estate you have in the campaign. Take back your top pledge level and put your “get the game” pledge at the top where it belongs.
  • Home on Lagrange won’t fund, not because of the video, or the price, or the art. This campaign won’t fund because it is nearly impossible for a normal first-time creator to lure 700+ backers into their campaign. Your magic number is 300 backers to fund. If you break that rule, you do so at grave risk of wasting your and your fans’ time.

The Misinformed – UNICORNS AND ZOMBIES

Lose Friends. Gain allies.

A “Misinformed” campaign has deviated from many Kickstarter best practices. I estimate that the campaign has suffered as a result.

Takeaways

  • Once again, we have a campaign not displaying what you get as a “get the game” backer. What is in this game? Can anyone tell me? It isn’t there, as far as I can tell.
  • This creator felt that paragraphs of text (even graphically designed comic sans paragraphs of text) would help backers understand how to play his game. He was wrong. How hard is it to have a prototype in your hands and make a how to play video? I don’t think a smartphone with a camera is hard to come by these days. Video content is the bare minimum for explaining to someone how to play your game. Not a text-based overview.
  • Do you know why CrowdOx is a collaborator on this project? Because some salesperson from CrowdOx convinced the creators that CrowdOx is the best solution for pledge management and that the only way to work with them is to market the CrowdOx brand on their campaign. That is a garbage marketing strategy, and I’ve talked to enough creators who are harassed daily by the CrowdOx sales team to write them off indefinitely. My expert opinion is that you should seek help from PledgeManager instead.
  • Early bird pledge levels. Booooooooooo!


Daniel Zayas

Daniel Zayas is owner and curator of this website. He has been ranking Kickstarter game campaigns via the Board Game Badger for three years. Daniel runs a consultant business via this website as well. Feel free to reach out to him in the links below.