Publishing lessons

Board games & crowdfunding

My backer guarantee

29th September 2022 3

In recent times crowdfunding has become too risky for some people to use as a few projects have started requesting more money prior to fulfilment.

It typically goes like this:

You pledge $80 on a brand-new game, pay an additional $30 for shipping, and wait around a year for it to arrive. Then, just when you are expecting it at your door you get an email asking for another $25 as something has gone wrong, and you’re now left with a dilemma.

Do I spend another $25 to get the thing I already paid $110 for and have waited on for a long time, or do I say no and hope I get a refund. The decision is made worse as in most cases the refund is for a lower amount than you originally paid, it is a no-win situation.

This can occur when there are major unexpected changes to prices or when a company has just gotten their numbers wrong.

My guarantee

I have full confidence in my processes, believe in my numbers, and most importantly want my backers to know that I will deliver upon my promises. The process of backing a game on Kickstarter should be a joyful one and to that end I’ve decided to put a guarantee on my upcoming Kickstarter.

I believe in providing the best experience possible for my community and to me a part of that means taking ownership of the risks associated with a project. Afterall, it’s thanks to my community that I get to make games and I will never forget that.

I look forward to discussing more thoughts on this in the future.

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!


  • Alberto Lopes

    29th September 2022 at 9:15 pm

    I appreciate you doing this, but since I entered the crowdfunding game only two years ago, I wanted to ask: shouldn’t this go without saying? I mean, the backers should reasonably assume the creator asked for adequate funding.

    If the creator asks more because of circumstances beyond reasonable expectancy (force majeure or act of God) and can demonstrate that, should it be reasonable for them to ask for more money? I guess risk shouldn’t be exaggeratedly put upon the backers, but sometimes maybe the creator clearly showing why the reasons for additional funds could not be predicted or avoided would be better than if the project completely fails later because they could not secure any other sources of funds to complete the project.

    Of course, the main point here is that the reasoning behind the unpredictable situation should be clear and thoroughly explained and demonstrated, not just some half-ass apologies blaming some general or abstract situation. Compare these two following hypothetical updates from the creator of a project that is asking X more dollars:

    “We need more X dollars more as funding because before starting the campaign we asked the manufacturers Alpha, Beta, and Gamma for their quotes on fabricating the deluxe version of the game’s first player marker, and – as you remember from our detailed budget from our pre-campaign update – now, when the time came for use to secure the contract with Alpha – and you remember from our detailed Work Breakdown Structure-derived, Critical path-managing Gantt Chart for the project plan, right? – they withdrew their offer alleging they could not offer those prices anymore. So, we quote manufacturers Beta and Gamma again, and surveyed equivalent new one Delta, and we would need to spend X dollars more for that piece as can be seen in the attached copies of all quotations.”

    “We are very sorry but we need X dollars more because the pandemic hit us very hard. By the way, we are very sad too.”


    • Frank West

      29th September 2022 at 9:43 pm

      Hi Alberto,

      It’s a great question and I believe it should go without saying but unfortunately I don’t feel that every creator feels the same. I wanted to put this in writing so I could be held accountable, to also encourage other creators to re-think their approach, and to help move us back to this being the norm.

      I think your example is a good one and I am sure there are circumstances where there will be genuine reasons for needing more money. To date however, I’ve not seen any project (that asked for extra money) provide me with a truly justified reason for needing it (I should point out that I’ve not seen every time it has happened). For the most part, it comes down to people getting their numbers wrong, poor planning, or a mistake that could have been avoided.

      With my guarantee I’m putting forward that I have 100% faith in my planning and numbers for the campaign.


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