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Publishing lessons

Board games & crowdfunding


Stats from successful first-time creators

22nd December 2022 0
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This week I have been looking over a number of Kickstarter projects by new creators and analysing their funding journeys.

I picked 15 projects from recent times which were launched by first-time creators and raised less than $100,000.

While reviewing the stats I discovered 3 of those projects had unusual activity and I removed them, leaving me with 12 projects.

4 of the remaining projects were relaunches of previously unsuccessful campaigns, I kept these in and added “relaunch” to their names for reference.

The projects were:

Giving an average funding of 39,000 from 782 backers per project.

Funding day

It’s always best to fund on the first day with a Kickstarter but it isn’t always required.

  • 7/12 projects funded in the first 24 hours
  • 1 funded on day 3.
  • 1 funded on day 9.
  • 3 funded during their last week.

While the 3 projects that funded in the last week were some of the lowest funded projects on the list, We’re Sinking! Funded on day 9 and raised the most with 86,371. I believe this is because they set their original goal too high, but they kept on going and succeeded!

Funding per phase

A typical board game Kickstarter can be broken down into 3 phases, the first 3 days, the last 3 days, and the middle (everything else). For standard projects I expect to see the funding distribution across those 3 phases to be 35%, 45%, 20%, with a variance of +/-5% per phase.

These projects had:

  • We’re Sinking! 34.6%, 42.9%, 22.5%
  • Age of Inventors 24.4%, 45.0%, 30.6%
  • Hijacked 46.1%, 39.0%, 14.9%
  • Nut Hunt! 32.1%, 43.6%, 24.3%
  • Super Snipers 67.0%, 17.7%, 15.4%
  • Magical Friends relaunch 61.7%, 31.4%, 6.9%
  • The Fog relaunch 50.2%, 28.4%, 21.4%
  • Damnation relaunch 15.2%, 63.0%, 21.7%
  • Drags 2 Riches 39.0%, 52.8%, 8.3%
  • Unspoken Words 53.5%, 43.2%, 3.3%
  • E.R.O relaunch 69.7%, 25.8%, 4.6%
  • Outrun the Bear 52.4%, 32.4%, 15.2%

Only 2 of the 12 projects landed within my expected funding distributions for all 3 phases, although interestingly the average of all the campaigns was 37.13%, 42.64%, 20.23%, which is right in the middle!

I think the variance per project is likely caused by the lower funding numbers compared to the usual projects I review, and as such smaller amounts of people turning up on a single day due to marketing can have a larger impact.

The 4 projects which raised the most were also the 3 projects which had the lowest funding % in the first 3 days, and the largest funding % in the last 3 days. Suggesting they not only brought enough followers for the launch of their campaign but gathered enough interest to keep attracting backers throughout.

The final bang

Many creators will talk about the final bang during the last 48-hours, a point triggered by Kickstarter notifying followers that they only have 48 hours left to back the project. This can often lead to a good amount of funding coming in during the last days.

For our projects:

  • 1 raised over 30% of its funding in the last 3 days
  • 4 raised 20-25% in the last 3 days
  • 3 raised 15% in the last 3 days
  • 4 raised less than 10% in the last 3 days

Over half raised less than 15% of their total funding in the last 3 days which suggests the final bang is less common with smaller first-time creators.

Some takeaways

The internet is full of resources and statistics when it comes to crowdfunding but small first-time creators don’t always follow the traditional numbers.

As a first-time creator I think it is still important to fund as quickly as possible and the faster you fund, the more you are likely to raise overall.

You should not count on a big push in the last 48 hours, certainly hope for it but work hard to bring in backers throughout your campaign.

The smaller your campaign, the more of an impact your marketing activity will have on your success, there is less organic sharing and more dependency on you.

You can make the difference, Unspoken Words brought in nearly 10% of its funding on day 24 due to a big push on social media. The Damnation relaunch had a tough journey with only 15% of its funding coming from the first 3 days, but they kept at it and gained over 400% more during the middle to end on £75,000.

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!


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