We all love kickstarter, it’s incredible, empowering and creating a movement like no other in the industry of tabletop board games. But there are some worrying mistakes happening, and I’d like to go through them in my rambling, badly written style… so here goes!
Hopefully this doesn’t just come across as a hate list either. Which is totally a real thing by the way…
Anyway, some things to avoid when creating tabletop projects on kickstarter:
#1: Looking the same as everything else
Now don’t get me wrong some of the art on these games is incredible. It’s lovely and wonderful and dare I say it… BEAUTIFUL. And I hate even using that word, it’s a dirty word sullied by the product analogies of generic hipster startup companies who all describe their design and products as beauuuutiful. Everything is beautiful apparently. As long as it’s made of wood and has LOTS of white space. Sure.
What is worrying though is that because of the checklist style of successful kickstarter campaigns, people who start new campaigns are potentially blind to the idea that doing something different might actually work out BETTER than just copying the same old style that everyone else uses.
BUT it’s not gunna sell surely! Hey, don’t ask me, but don’t berate me either when your [insert genre here] game didn’t succeed even though you shoe horned generic RPG illustrations in and made sure to describe your game as BEAUTIFUL.
#2: Not explaining what the actual game is
People loose interest really fast these days. Most people have probably stopped reading this article, which basically means I can say whatever I want from now on!
Hahaa you suck, I hate every one of you!
Wait, you’re still here? Err, ok yeah that was totally a joke. Joking. Badum tsh?
I mean back story is back story, and themes are themes, but please tell us a brief overview of what the actual game is before launching into an epic 20 minute piece about the ‘valiant plight of bobby the bunny rabbit warlock on his quest for immaculate tailoring.’ Although that does sound pretty fun…
It’s a strange concept I know, but it seems that we’d want to first know what your game actually IS before we’re invested enough to read the story and fluff behind it…
Get it? Bunny rabbit, fluff… no? Ok I’ll see myself out.
#3: Making it overcomplicated
Simplicity is key people! And that’s exactly the mantra I have in mind when I write my long, rambling and borderline unreadable blog posts. And people call ME a hypocrite!
Just because you like most different types of soda does not mean you should go up to the machine in the fast food joint of your choosing and proceed to fill up your giant re-fillable cup with every single soda on the menu. It tastes like bad decisions and brown, trust me, 10 year old me would advise against it.
Similarly, just because you enjoy survival, co-op, resource management, word games, dungeon crawlers, civilisation builders, family games and deck building card games, does not mean you should take them all and combine them into one GIGANTIC AND CONFUSING MESS. Take a small amount of something, develop it, do it well, prove that it works, and then build from there. It’s only fair on our. collective brains!
#4: Being unintentionally dull
If your campaign is the equivalent of a 4 hour powerpoint presentation about business synergies then unforunately, that is a bad time. Well, except for the 1 guy who actually loves those things. He always asks questions at the end as well… I mean come on! We’re trying to END this presentation, sheesh…
Sometimes though it’s really hard to know when something is boring, trust me I know. My friends would tell you this on a fairly regularly basis. I think it’s because I’m just so interesting, they can’t comprehend how amazing the conversation is and just have to leave immediately and talk to someone over the other side of the room. Believable I know.
The thing is though, human beings are PEOPLE. I know right, Duh! We need to be engaged on an emotional level, with something that’s exciting, interesting or makes us think! If you read the same story over and over it would get old right? So why make a copycat when you can introduce something entirely new, and in a captivating and engaging fashion.
I mean either that or just use a thumbnail of a cute dog with a funny caption, AMIRITE!?
Y’know, because you read this article. Read not read, because the pronunciation is different? Hah… *cough*
I mean the aim of this really is to help, but how much you can take away from an optimistically cynical british man who has never run a kickstarter campaign before, commenting on what you should and shouldn’t do on the platform is debatable…
Probably could have got it down to just key points as well, without going on and on about stuff. Something like this?
- Do something different visually AND conceptually
- Explain CLEARLY what your game is and how it functions
- Keep it as simple and concise as possible
- Try to NOT be boring
Simple right? Probably not. Give it a go anyway, I know I will… eventually.