Publishing lessons

Board games & crowdfunding

A quick digital demo – Was it worth it?

24th November 2022 2

Last month I discussed the quick digital demo that I had just released for Race to the Raft, with the idea of letting people get a taste of the game before having to make a purchase decision.

It has now been live for a month, and I thought I would review the data so far.

  • The puzzle page has been visited 3,531 times.
  • There were 2,291 first-time visitors and 1,240 return visitors.

For the purposes of the following stats, I will be referring to unique visitors.

  • 1,374 (60%) people started the tutorial by clicking the “Got it!” button.
  • 1,276 people completed the tutorial which is 93% of those who started it.
  • Of the people who completed the tutorial:
    • 34% of people lost.
    • 35% of people won.
    • 31% of people stopped mid-game, some of which restarted part way through, but I don’t have reliable data on this to state how many.
  • The average time spent on the puzzle was 11 minutes 23 seconds.

There has been a lot to learn from testing this puzzle and my key takeaways are:

  • Over 50% of the people who visited the page went through the entire tutorial which is far higher than I had anticipated. These people now have a good understanding of the game which is very beneficial for a pre-order or crowdfunding event. Additionally, if any of those people buy the game, they will have a much easier time getting started and that will positively impact their first play experience.
  • An average time of over 11 minutes is remarkably high, this suggests the people who played were really engaged.
  • With only 35% of people winning, perhaps the demo was a little too difficult. With a puzzle-based game that takes 10 minutes to play I don’t mind people losing the first time and having to try again, especially as the stats show people were engaged, but I would perhaps make it easier next time around.
  • The most popular days for the demo were the day I announced it and 24-hours before my Kickstarter ended.
  • There were a number of people who reached out via comments, forums, and social media saying they really enjoyed the demo, and it reaffirmed their decision to buy the game.

All-in-all I think it has been a success, I am interested to see how the stats will change in the months to come, and how much use the demo will have when the retail release happens in 2023.

Frank West

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!


  • Wonmin

    25th November 2022 at 4:52 am

    Really interesting to see these numbers, thanks Frank!


    • Frank West

      25th November 2022 at 12:43 pm

      It’s my pleasure, I am glad to see so many people gave it a try!


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