Publishing lessons

Board games & crowdfunding

What to do if your Kickstarter is going to fail?

6th October 2022 2

I have spoken with hundreds of creators over the past few years and nearly every single one of them has dreamed of the same thing – Having a super successful Kickstarter.

With so many hours spent creating their product, planning the campaign, and building an audience why couldn’t it happen?

Sadly, it rarely goes that way and sometimes the worst-case scenario happens instead, the campaign fails.

Some projects fail due to poor planning or not building an audience, and some fail because people just don’t want what’s being offered. It’s not always easy to know why you failed but working it out can help you succeed the second time around.

Here are a few tips I’ve offered people to help in this situation.

Set up Google Analytics

As soon as you start making your Kickstarter page you should setup a Google Analytics account and copy the code into your Kickstarter page.

This is the only way you will know how many people are visiting your project page and will help you identify if people are finding your page and not backing or simply not getting to the page in the first place.

Create a survey and send it out to your backers and social media following

If your project fails you can still send Kickstarter updates, as soon as possible you should be asking people to fill in a form and give feedback on key areas. I recommend using Google Forms and asking both your backers and community how they would rate the following from 1 – 5:

  • Box art
  • Theme
  • Artwork
  • Icons and graphic design
  • Kickstarter page
  • Kickstarter project image
  • Price
  • Gameplay
  • Rulebook
  • Creator interaction

This will give you a really good overview of whether there was a common concern among your backers. Additionally, you can ask a few more specific questions if there is something you want to test. I recommend asking at least:

  • Did you back the Kickstarter (yes, no – it didn’t interest me, no – I didn’t hear about it)
  • Do you have any thoughts as to why the Kickstarter failed?

Don’t make the form too long!

Search relevant places

I’m a big fan of browsing areas of the internet where my games might be discussed during a Kickstarter. The main 3 places are Board Game Geek, Reddit, and several Facebook groups, in addition to these you should think about other places that might discuss your product.

All these locations have search boxes, simply type in the name of your game and look for comments. The goal here isn’t to interact (although you can), the goal is to see what people are saying and if there are any common concerns being raised.

I always keep a list of negative comments during my campaigns to see if anything keeps coming up and can be fixed.

Read the comments

You should already be doing this but finally I recommend you read every comment made on your campaign page. If there are repeat comments about the same thing then this is something else you should be looking into.

What next?

Through the survey and browsing relevant places you should be able to get an idea of whether there was a major issue people were concerned about. That doesn’t mean it is the only reason you failed but it’s a good starting point.

If you don’t find any issues or there are no comments to read, then it’s more likely you didn’t build an audience and may need to rethink your marketing strategy. Remember Kickstarter won’t bring backers to you unless you already have your own following who turn up to support you.

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!


  • Kevin

    15th August 2023 at 1:38 pm

    I’m looking to start my own tv series animation show and like to know how about going to write a kickstarter campaign for it as I have a great Idea first I made the book now I’ll publish it I’d like your expertise in what I should do next also have screenplay too.


    • Frank West

      15th August 2023 at 2:07 pm

      Hi Kevin,

      I would recommend starting by looking over other campaigns on Kickstarter for TV series animations and seeing what tends to be popular within the category. On Kickstarter you can go into the animation category and order it by current projects, most popular projects, and most funded projects.

      I would select each option and browse at least 10 projects. Take notes of what each campaign is doing and you should start to see things common among each of the campaigns which you will then likely want to do yourself. Read through the comments on the campaigns and see what people like and if there are common complaints, and use these to guide your own project.

      You’ll need to make sure you build your own audience outside of Kickstarter, as you need to bring your first backers to the page yourself. While growing a community, you can work on drafting your campaign page and asking people for feedback on how it looks.

      I hope this helps and wish you all the best.


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