Your Kickstarter goes live in a few months. Your days are a mix of pride in and anxiety. If you have done your homework and consumed the wisdom of Jamie Stegmaier and James Mathe (and many others) – you know that the most significant predictor of your success now is how much awareness you are going to drum up before the project launches.
So, you do the best you can. You are signed up to all the Facebook groups. You even go to r/boardgames on Reddit from time to time, looking for opportunities to mention your game. You talk it up as much as you can. And you probably wish there would be someone there who would care as much as you do to amplify all the good vibes you are putting out there.
Well, I have good news for you! There is someone like that. They are your fellow Kickstarter creators. You probably thought they were your opponents or competitors, haven’t you? Silly talk. Your real obstacle is the sheer amount of game information out there, creating a level of noise with which it is hard to compete. The individual people who share your dream, however, are your potential greatest allies.
Let’s see why:
- They know the environment you are in because they are also a part of the same community
- They are well-versed in the current interests/preferences of the community
- They have a presence on social media platforms because they want to share their message
- They share the drive to see a passion project succeed
So why not help each other? Find a project you like, reach out to the creator and see if there is an opportunity for collaboration. The ways to collaborate are many, but at the very basic level even if you have a connection with someone who is more likely to like/upvote your content or provide positive comments on mentions of your game – that’s so much more valuable than mentioning your game to deafening silence.
I had the pleasure of forming such a connection with Casey Hill who has recently wrapped up his Kickstarter for Arkon (smashing many stretch goals in the process, earning 800% of his goal).
Arkon is a light, gorgeous-looking card game that mixes strategy of Hero Realms with bluffing and social deduction. You can pre-order it for just over $20 here.
Our collaboration was not a particularly official one – we just got to talking about our projects, liked what we both saw and formed a habit of supporting each other’s content. And it makes a difference. The supportive public voice that such connections can provide is invaluable for visibility of your project, and it leads to a mutually beneficial relationship, opening future avenues of collaboration. I am grateful to Casey for his support and providing his view of our interaction below:
Casey: When I started out on my journey as a game creator, there was a lot I didn’t know. One of the things I did know, was that broadly and repetitively promoting your work in boardgame groups was a sure-fire way to foster ill-will. So, I decided to start with a) trying to find game creators who were doing it right and learn from them and b) try to see how I could give back.
For the first item there, I began by engaging with a handful of creators that I found were producing compelling content. The key here is don’t game this. Don’t be disingenuous. Start by liking and commenting on stuff about which you actually care; things you would follow, like and comment on regardless of any benefit in return. Comments that show thought and engagement with the material are better than likes. One of the creators I connected with was Artem. I found the work he was doing on his new game fascinating, I loved the art, and I dug the theme. Above all that, I saw him as an amiable and authentic person. When I reached out with some questions after a bit, he was happy to share his insights. We started to build a genuine relationship around mutual respect as founders and what we liked in each other’s games. Having allies to help you amplify your voice is enormous but treat this as you would a relationship in real life and share/like/comment on the stuff that you actually like and find interesting.
Excited about this idea? Here are some suggestions on how to go about it:
- Be realistic in who you approach. Pick creators on your “level”. You might love Ryan Laukat’s stuff, but he’s probably ok for social media support without your help :). But there are plenty of small shops doing remarkable things.
- Approach creators of projects that you genuinely like. If you are going to be telling people something is fantastic – you better believe it yourself. The last thing I want to suggest is to misrepresent something in which you have little interest.
- Give as much as you get. This kind of support is a two-way street. If you expect help and engagement from others – make sure you are just as committed to helping their projects.
So, go ahead – reach out to someone today, show interest in their project, make a friend and see if they like what you’ve made. More of these connections will make sure that our community thrives as we continue to create meaningful games!
Unbroken is a solo game of survival and revenge in a world of dark fantasy, on Kickstarter now. You play as a lone survivor of a monster ambush. Wounded, alone and unarmed you must navigate the dark caverns, recover from wounds, craft weapons from scraps and fight your way back to freedom. Unbroken is a 20-30-minute game of resource management and pushing your luck. If you enjoy a challenging, decision-driven experience in a tight playtime – Unbroken is available for an affordable $23!