In the light of several recent events in the board gaming industry, I thought it only appropriate to try and dive into a few of my thoughts on Kickstarter, and how I will be approaching it as an indie developer. So, today's post will be all about trying to lay out both challenges and advantages to indie Kickstarters, and describe what I do with Rogue Angels.
Hopefully this will give you confidence in my ability to deliver, and some insight into my thought process.
Enjoy the read - and do not forget to be notified when I launch :)
Everything I say in regard to Kickstarter comes from a point of survivorship bias. I have tried it several times, failed, succeeded, and something in-between. You can see my Kickstarter profile here.
Besides that I have been heavily involved in other Kickstarter creators' projects. Backed a lot of projects. Written, blogged about it, held presentations, and in general tried to share my experiences on the subject matter as much as possible.
I have also created a Kickstarter Kit with a set of Excel spreadsheets to help other indies facilitate Kickstarter economy/projection estimation. Including calculations on production, outreach, and conversion.
The first thing to talk about is the project scope of Rogue Angels. Since my Burning Suns experience where the scope went completely off the rails, and the manufacturer apparently followed same pattern, I have learned the hard way, just how much scope determines the success/failure of a project. Regardless of what the Kickstarter funding might say.
I have become somewhat obsessed with streamlining (KISS). This goes into most of the things I create, and this is clearly reflected in Rogue Angels as well. Things must be simple and functional while still providing great value to the play experience.
In practice this means:
I am not in this to create a box that rivals the size of Frosthaven, Skyrim, or Isofarian... but I am 100% here to rival the experience! :)
This could be a half year course on the university in and of itself. So, in short, economy is always a hot topic when it comes to Kickstarter projects, as the nature of the beast dictates that creators play on the phycological aspect of not being transparent. It is not good business to show true funding goals or disclose all calculations.
This puts indie creators like me in a bit of a pickle - as I want to be transparent due to my personal values and what business ideal I practice, but I also cannot afford it, as this turns off a lot of potential backers.
The data is longwinded on this topic, but the statistics say you need roughly 40% of your "real" funding goal within the first 48 hours of your campaign. But for the campaign to take off, you must reach beyond 100% of your Kickstarter funding goal by the 2-days mark. I talk a lot more about this in a live-stream I did earlier, where I introduced some of the math behind it.
- In practice this means that I will be aiming at a Kickstarter funding goal that I think is doable within 48 hours, and that makes up roughly 40% of my real funding goal.
This is how those ends will have to meet. However, this also means that the stretch goals will have to be somewhat "hollow/superficial", as they cannot represent huge increases in costs, which would again demand more funding, manipulated by more stretch goals and so on... a bad cycle, leading to company death.
While we are at "company death", I think it is important to touch upon one aspect, where I believe you, as an indie, can have an edge compared to established companies.
As an indie you often start out working on your projects while still having a day job, which means you usually do not have to drain the project of money to pay yourself. Your running costs are in other words very low compared to companies who have employees.
Here are a few ways scale works for me:
Rogue Angels is definitely an indie project, a passion project with a business potential. At no point does it need to turn into a business for the game to become a reality.
An undertaking like this has undoubtedly a lot of different risks. Anything from war, storms, and tipped containers to shipping crisis, illness, and manufacturing strikes. Some of this could be mitigated by having a large company, but in the end, it will all have to be mitigated by me.
I cannot control the world or higher powers, but I can control my own effort and focus. In the end, YOU have to put YOUR faith in a former soldier, who enjoys creating gaming experiences, who lead by example, and who has an uncompromised approach to transparency, communication, and discipline.
In practice - I have seen and experienced worse than what I believe this project can ever throw at me. There is nothing you cannot work your way through, as long as you stay disciplined and focused. I have proven I can get to the end of the projects I launch :)
I am a firm believer of most success and failure come down to your communication or lack thereof. You can build a lot of goodwill, trust, and understanding from being honest and proactive about challenges and project progression.
Part of that built-up I am trying to do through my blog posts here, my lessons learned shared in forums and Facebook groups, livestreams, and in general my continued interaction with previous backers, testers, fans, and everyone else interested in seeing Rogue Angels becoming a reality :)
Thank you for making it this far :)
Now I would like to know what your thoughts are? Is there anything you would like me to comment on? What risks do you see with Rogue Angels, what can I do to help others feel better about backing my project?
Do not forget to sign up for the launch, this is really important.
I hope you will have a great weekend, and thanks again for all the encouragement :)
Best regards Emil