Kickstarter Advice: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly Truth. Issue 1: the Exclusives.

Saying that there are a lot of live projects in Kickstarter’s “Tabletop Gaming” category is a bit of an understatement. Backers pledge for thousands of dollars daily, but their disposable income is not an infinite resource, and competition is becoming fierce. How to come up on top?

I was inspired to write a series of artickes by a blog post shared on Facebook: What 21 Kickstarter Superbackers want to say to Kickstarter board game creators. It’s truly an incredible piece, rich with advice both great… and really bad. During the next weeks I will be drawing at least some of my topics from that blog post, and commenting on the advice given. So, if you’re a project creator – or a backer interested in the nuts and bolts of creating successful projects – definitely stay awhile, and listen.

Exclusive content has always polarized prospective backers (and declared non-backers). One camp strongly believes that exclusives are a must, as those who jump on board early should receive rewards none other would be able to get. Others (non-backers included) declare that they will not come near games with exclusive content.

Making backers feeling special is both important and fair. Making some of the content exclusive will definitely go a long way towards properly thanking those who take on a part of the risk with you. After all, being part of something truly unique is one of the reasons people get into crowdfunding.

From a sales perspective, exclusive content is a great incentive for Kickstarter backers. Making it clear that a part of the game will only be available for backers strikes the completionist chord in pretty much any gamer, and incentivises to back now, without waiting for the game to hit the market.

While many backers like exclusives, unless your game is to be sold only via Kickstarter, there is a broader picture to see here. Locking some of the content behind the wall of strict exclusivity will immediately alienate those unable to commit to the project. The feeling of getting an incomplete experience from a game bought in store can be a great deterrent.

Another facet of making a part of your game exclusive is the impact this will have on its distribution. From a gaming store owner up to a large distributor, everyone will pay attention to what your game is sans its exclusive content, and if it’s looking like gamers won’t be interested in its less complete version, you’ll have a hard time selling whatever is left in your stock after fulfilment. And that, can lead you into…

Many publishers find it hard to stay true to their promise, and keep exclusive content really exclusive. Many ex-creators finally elect to release exclusive content still left in their stocks either to boost their sales, or as means of a clearance, often adding insult to (ex-backers’) injury by selling at prices significantly lower than those offered on Kickstarter.

Much of this is done not due to ill will, but because the publisher was unable to properly assess the consequences of making some of the content exclusive, as well as a consequence of overestimating their products potential to sell in stores. Regardless of the reasons, this may make the already alienated player base outright hostile.

With 9 successful projects under our belt, we have our own solution to the exclusivity problem: limited content. Whatever falls under this category is free for our backers, and available in limited quantities at conventions and the Board Game Geek store after the game is delivered to backers.

This has worked for us, and it may work for you, if you provide your backers with a clear explanation of what your version of the limited content actually is. Be sure that your backers are making an informed decision.

Is this the perfect solution? No. We still encounter backers unhappy with the fact that they are not getting something that is completely exclusive. Nonetheless, we’ve found that it seems to work for a majority of our fans, incorporating people from two different camps into one community.

Do you have questions? Would you like to know more about a specific facet of Kickstarter project creation? Shoot us a question in the comments, or visit our Strawberry Kickstarter services website to get the insight and help you need with launching your own successful campaign.

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