In this post I want to talk about some of the difficulties I've had with stretch goals during my last Kickstarter campaign for Burning Suns.
I'm positive that everyone who has been planning to start a Kickstarter campaign for their game - has at some point thought about the different stretch goals he/she wants to put into that sucker.
If you're one of those people, I might have a few pointers for you here :)
Honest stretch goals
One of the things I want to promote, is honest stretch goals. By honest I mean something that is truly a "streeetch".
Adding one extra card to a game already crammed with 200 cards is not a stretch, that's a filler to make your stretch goals take up more space.
Were I think it matters - is adding real upgrades to a game, like upgrading card board tokens to plastic pieces, or upgrading black/white pieces to full color, or adding extra map tiles that was initially planned to be released later on.
I had initially decided to have my Dieships and minis as a stretch goal quite far from the production goal / Kickstarter budget, in order to make sure there wouldn't be any problems with the cost on the production.
My stretch goals were laid out something like this
- Goal > £20.000
- Extra tokens > £22.000
- Plastic minis (2 types) > £50.000
- Plastic minis (2 types) > £60.000
- And so on....
I quickly found a lot of backers messaging me their concerns about not wanting to pledge unless the stretch goals that included the Dieships and minis were a bit closer to the initial goal.
The main problem stated was - That the basic price for the game was a bit too high without the minis, and basically they wanted to be sure that the game would contain the minis, and since the minis was a stretch goal there wasn't any certainty that would happen. And If they didn't pledge - the numbers wouldn't grow rapidly enough... You see where this is going? Which came first, the chicken or the egg?
I hereafter decided to redo my stretch goals. I threw out everything else and calculated hardcore on the opportunities to include the minis as earlier stretch goals. And came up with a layout much more suited for the campaign.
- Goal > £20.000
- Dieships (3 types) > £33.000
- Minis (4 types) > £39.000
This definitely looked much better and was much appreciated by the backers. It also showed that I cared about the concerns raised among my backers. Probably one of the most important lessons - listen to your backers!
Though these goals seemed so much easier to reach - the whole concept of placing the cool Dieships as a stretch goal was simply a mistake from my part. And it definitely costed me several backers that didn't want to take the chance.
Many backers have since then mailed me - telling that I can count on their pledge if I make sure to get the Dieships in the base game.
All or nothing, no speculations
All in all.. I've decided that my next approach will be to include these in the base game and then increase the initial goal of the Kickstarter campaign. In that way there's only 2 options, go big or go home.
A concept easy to grasp and it represents no risk what so ever.
Between two stools
I think in the end it came down to me not understanding the impact my Dieships had on the base game, though they didn't change anything in the game - the concept was so cool, that by adding them as a stretch goal, I placed myself between two stools.
This doesn't mean you can't have nice plastic pieces as stretch goals and so on... but if you suddenly come up with an idea that will give your game an extra USP (unique selling point), it's not a wise idea to put it as a stretch goal (in essence cancelling the USP because of the risk of not achieving it).
Now you might think "Why should I keep my stretch goals real, if they can present an indirect threat to my campaign?"
Well, what I'm trying to illustrate is that you have to know the value of your stretch goals and how you've arranged them.
So next time you're brainstorming on your stretch goals, ask yourself this:
- Are these goals really worth anything or is this just for show?
- Are these goals actually too good to leave out from the beginning?
- Should I rearrange the goals?
- What are the most important goals?
- What if we don't reach the goals, do I want my game produced without them?
Well, this is all from me now - I hope you can use it as inspiration :)
Have a good day and happy gaming out there!