10 red flags for Kickstarters
In many ways launching a crowdfunding campaign is a tick box exercise and there are long lists of things you need to do and things you need to avoid. You still need to have a good game, but no matter how good it is or how big your audience is, if you tick the wrong boxes you’re going to struggle.
Let’s take a look at 7 red flags that will harm your Kickstarter and then 3 big red flags that can be the difference between success and failure.
No clear short description of the game
You should always include a short description (2 – 3 sentences) that gives the reader an idea of what your game is, high up on your page.
Despite this being such an easy thing, many campaigns forget to include it and potential backers can often find themselves not knowing what the game actually is.
Text to image ratio
If you have too much text and not enough images, it can be overwhelming and people will start to leave.
If you have too many images and not enough text, people may start to think the game lacks substance and is being sold on how shiny it looks.
You must find a good balance between informative text and beautiful images.
No mention of VAT
VAT has the potential to bankrupt a company, not mentioning it and how you are handling it on your campaign is very concerning. Backers may think you haven’t planned for VAT and as such the project may fail.
Many of your Kickstarter backers will have backed countless projects and they may well be more familiar with how long it takes to make a game than you expect.
A common mentality for creators is to set a delivery date which is as soon as possible as they are worried backers will be put off my long timelines. However short timelines suggest a lack of understanding of the process and longer timelines provide confidence.
Lots of spelling mistakes
The odd spelling mistake on your Kickstarter page isn’t ideal but it’s understandable, but lots of spelling mistakes is a big problem. It sets the expectation that your game will also be full of spelling mistakes and you haven’t taken as much care with the details as you should have.
Always proof read everything on your kickstarter page!
Lack of communication
You should always respond to every comment on your Kickstarter page as quickly as possible and have an update plan.
The more comments you ignore, the longer you go without answering questions, and the less active you look, the more people will worry you will just disappear after the campaign completes.
No third party input
Third party input is incredibly important, especially for newer creators who have no track record. This may be in the format of quotes, podcasts, written reviews, or videos, just make sure you have some on your page!
While all of the red flags in this article are important, the following 3 have been highlighted as they are critical to a successful campaign and things you can’t just fix last minute.
You must have videos on your Kickstarter page, and I’m not talking about the project video. You need to have a video of your game being played, whether this is by yourself or other people it doesn’t matter, just make sure people can see the game in action.
How to play and overview videos are also very beneficial to include!
You must have a rulebook on your page, there should be a clearly labelled link that takes the reader to a PDF. This can be a draft rulebook (if so, clearly label it as a draft), but it can’t be missing and there is no reason for it to be.
When launching a Kickstarter, your game should have been blind playtested by people and this requires them to have a rulebook. Not providing a rulebook indicates the game has not been finished or properly tested.
No previously backed projects
If you plan to run a Kickstarter then you should be backing other projects.
Having 0 backed projects on your Kickstarter account is a quick way to putting people off as it shows you’ve not experienced the process. You should have backed projects that have gone all the way through to being delivered so you can see how it works from different perspectives.
There is no exact amount that is correct, but I’d suggest 10 – 20 projects spread over the last 18 months is a very solid place to be.
Frank West is a gamer and designer based in Bristol, UK. He published his first board game, The City of Kings, in 2018 and now works on other games and organising events in the local area. His goal? To design and publish games focusing on immersive themes, fun mechanics and beautiful components. If you have any questions or would just like a chat, feel free to get in touch at any time!