Yes! It’s finally over. You spent months upon months refining your game and it’s as perfect as a game can be. “Can anyone here say next Ticket to Ride?,” your friends joke as they laugh and have a fantastic time around the game table, play-testing your game. Your game’s design has finally reached the point where you are ready to put it up on Kickstarter and get it published for everyone to experience and enjoy. Your Kickstarter campaign launches and something unexpected happens…people are not putting forth pledges for your game. Why? Your game is perfect, everyone who play-tested it had an amazing time. What you neglected is the other crucial aspects of a successful tabletop Kickstarter, or any commercially successful game. Building hype, and putting together a visually stimulating presentation.
What is the most important aspect of a board game? Without putting forth much thought, the first answer that comes to mind is how the game plays. Game play is certainly number one, however it is not what gets a Kickstarter project onto game shelves. Everyone needs to recognize the second number one element of any Kickstarter, building anticipation for the game and putting together a killer presentation.
A year ago, Jeff, Leandra, and I sat down and decided that we were going to start a board and card game publishing company. Our number one goal right now is to publish an amazing game of equal quality to any commercially successful, big blockbuster game out there. Achieving that level of quality is only half the battle.
It is not enough to have a great game. You need everyone to see and hear about your great game. So how exactly do you get people to see your game? Well, there are a number of different ways that you can achieve this goal. What we decided to do was to create useful content through blog posts and our podcasts. We interview some of the most amazing people the board game industry has to offer. These informative and (hopefully) entertaining content pieces are important to us not only as a way to learn extremely valuable information, but also to create a free resource that attracts attention from people who will eventually support our future games.
We wanted to create a community of likeminded individuals that know who we are as people, through following our podcast and blog posts. I feel that that is an absolutely crucial aspect to achieving our goal. Forget how much it costs to be a board game publisher from a financial point of view, the biggest cost of a board game publishing company is the time you put into it. The time necessary to introduce yourself to the board game community and create interest in what you plan to do.
Putting Together a Great Presentation
Putting together a fantastic presentation is critical to your games commercial success. This can be accomplished in few ways, although there is one presentation feature I feel is a MUST have: the games “How-to-Play” video. That video is your opportunity to display all the hard work that was put into your games design. The majority of people that back your Kickstarter are going to be individuals that have never actually played your game. In order to make up for this disadvantage, you need to make sure that you include a video that explains how the game is played. This feature can be incorporated into your projects main video, or a separate video altogether. Remember that it is not enough to have a fantastic game. People need to see that your game is fantastic, this is accomplished through that How-to-Play, game play video. A project that I feel accomplished this really well is “Story War” by Cantrip Games. This campaigns gameplay video did a great job of showing the audience how Story War is played, while embodying the silliness and humor you experience while playing the game.
Additionally, interest is created through the presentation of superior game art. Let’s say you went out of your way to make sure that the art is absolutely outstanding. The majority of the people that see the work that went into the art of your game are going to be impressed. This creates interest, enhances the experience people have playing your game, and makes the decision to pledge for your game that much easier because it looks like something that would be fun to play. Some examples of this include “Euphoria” by Stonemaier Games and “Belle of the Ball” by Dice Hate Me.
Another great way of creating interest for your game through presentation is by doing something that has either never been done before or something completely unique. What have you done that makes your game stand out? “Boss Monster” by Brotherwise Games was the first game that I saw on Kickstarter with a pixelated art style. This retro, video game inspired art was what made Boss Monster stand out in my eyes, the reason why I pledged for that game, and what I feel was the most important factor to that games success.
While the #1 aspect of a board game is clearly how the game plays, the other #1 aspect of a board game is getting people to see the game and be interested in it. Build the stage your game needs to display its best qualities, and don’t forget to provide us with the information we need to make an informed purchasing decision, while giving us a reason to look twice.
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