Learning From Leaders: Who Has Gone This Way Before?

Grisleigh End: Estate of Confusion Board ver. 6

I have recently been looking (again) through successful board game Kickstarter projects with an eye towards ideas to use on that bright future day when we launch our own campaign for Grisleigh End: Estate of Confusion.  As this will be our first campaign, we don’t have a pool of our own experience to draw on, so we turn to those who have gone before.

There’s always a great deal of pre-work that goes into comparative analysis of this sort.  To really gain insights we have to pick case studies (in this case, Kickstarter campaigns) that have the most characteristics in common with our own.  So we know we’re looking at Tabletop Games (that being our KS category, as opposed to Video, Mobile (that would a separate search, for our upcoming murder mystery Grisleigh End: Murder by the Books), Puzzles, etc.) that had funding targets between $10K and $100K (we expect to work with the lower end of that broad range) that were not only successful (well, chyah!) but wildly so (receiving pledges for high multiples of the funding target), figuring that those would provide the best examples of presenting their board games and plans to the backers.

Having run the initial search, a few things become clear quite quickly.

  1. Tabletop Games is not exclusive to board games. Role-playing games, miniatures, dexterity games, tile games and many card games are included here.  No worries, just sift through for the board games.
  2. There are many characteristics of wildly successful board game campaigns that we cannot emulate, even if we wanted to.
    • We’re publishing our first game, so 2nd, 3rd, etc releases in a series don’t count.
    • Again, we’re not an established game studio with a history of successful games, so we don’t have that following to work with.
    • We’re not making a game licensing IP from someone else, the artwork and story of Grisleigh End is our intellectual property, so we won’t have a pre-established fan base from that.
  3. All of the most successful campaigns left after winnowing out the above were launched by folks with huge social networks.  (This isn’t news, of course.  It’s an inescapable requirement.)
  4. I missed the KS for a lot of games out there I want to get and play now that I know about them! (FireTeam Zero and Machina Arcana certainly pique my interest.)

The last not actually helping with the selection of case studies, it still inspires me to work harder, which has its own value.

Having cut the list down to board games with new IP being developed by indies as their first work to be published brings it to a workable number.  I’ll talk about some of them next time, in Learning From Leaders: My, What Big Shoulders You Have!

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