Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Eminent Domain: Escalation Kickstarter going great!

I just wanted to mention how well the Kickstarter project for Eminent Domain: Escalation is going, and how excited that makes me.

Some people have wondered why the project is only up for 12 days - why such a short time? Why not extend it so more money can be made? Michael has started a podcast about his experience with publishing called Business of Play, and in today's episode he gives some of his reasoning. This is the 5th episode in his 20 episode trial run, check out all 5 episodes if you haven't already and give him some feedback. So far its been really good.

I've been pushing for shorter Kickstarter projects ever since day 1. Well, day 2 - after experiencing the project for Eminent Domain, and especially when many more game projects hit the scene. Slogging through week after week of the same project for months in a row is really not good for anybody. Kickstarter projects take a lot of energy and effort to run, you have to stay on op of it all day, every day. For the consumers it can be annoying to see the same tweets or updates about the same project, two or three times a day for what seems like an eternity. And if you look at the stats, most projects have a high traffic spike in the first couple of days, a high traffic spike in the last couple of days, and a giant lull in the middle. From the beginning I thought "wouldn't it be nice if we could just cut out the lull, and just use the beginning and end?" My theory is that while some of the backers from that middle lull would be lost, most of them would just get shoved to the late project spike, so the funding of the project probably wouldn't even be affected very much.

Well, the nature of crowdfunding being what it is, that strategy won't work for everyone. You might NEED that middle lull to make your funding goal. Depending on the project, if the majority of your day-to-day funding is coming from people browsing Kickstarter rather than from people you directed to your project via your own marketing efforts, then cutting out the lull could indeed reduce a lot of funding. But I believe for most projects (board game projects, the type I'm interested in), that category isn't going to be dominant. As all the experts say, you cannot count on Kickstarter.com to fund your project for you!

All that said, I think TMG is well poised for a short run Kickstarter (Quickstarter!) project. TMG has a sizable audience, and a large mailing list of people interested in Tasty News from TMG. The last TMG Kickstarter project (Dungeon Roll) funded with in the first day, and went on to garner $250,000 in funds before the time was up. Sure, shortening the duration of that project might have meant lower funding numbers, but as long as certain funding goals are reached, then it doesn't really matter. The game will be sold at retail anyway. Any TMG Kickstarter project will probably fund in the first couple of days, because of this audience, and because of TMG's diligence in choosing games that this audience will enjoy. This is especially true of an expansion to a game such as Eminent Domain, which has a fan base already. But it's probably true of a new, unknown title as well. This is the strength of a good brand.

So if the game will surely fund in the first couple of days, why bother stringing it out for a long period of time? There are many other benefits of a short run project. In addition to the time and effort it takes to maintain a project, a shorter project means you can move on to the next one much more quickly. Also, for day 1 backers, that's 6 weeks less they have to wait for the game to arrive!

In my opinion, if a short run Kickstarter project can be successful, it's a win-win for everyone involved. We've already seen projects in the board game space come down from 60 days to 30, and now TMG is taking the next logical step and reducing it further. I feel like this is the direction that many Kickstarter project may go, at least the ones who can support it (project owners with a decent sized audience). I don't know if we'll ever get down to the 5-day project that I see in my mind, just due to how people use the internet - but I'm excited to see that the 12 day project appears to be working well so far!

For those of you who are already in for a copy of Escalation - thanks! And thanks as well for helping to spread the word. I'd really like to hit all of our stretch goals and provide everything we can for you.

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