Preorder to a preorder? Is it over the top?

Preorder to a preorder? Is it over the top?

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Hello Board Gaming Community! 

Call it what you will:

“Kaka på kaka”… Swedish for “cake on cake”, an expression of “too much” or “over the top”.

“Jumping the Shark”… Hollywood for “put the Fonz on water skis”.

We get it: a preorder to a preorder can make you wonder, is this really what board games need to do in order to launch now? I can assure you that we wondered the same.

While we haven’t been around for long, this is our third crowdfunding project. We’ve learned from our successes and failures by getting a lot of candid feedback from the community. The number one thing we’ve heard from you is that crowdfunding board games is feeling too expensive (due to inflation rates, global rise in shipping costs) and feeling increasingly risky. We’ve also learned that many of you continue to crowdfund new board games primarily because you value having a direct connection with publishers and a connection to what is getting made.

We took this feedback to heart, understanding that crowdfunding new board games is asking a lot of the community. So we came up with this $1 early access program to deliver what backers are looking for:

[1] Good value for buying it now. For most crowdfunded board games, backers have to pay shipping, added customs and taxes, and take on a bit of risk that a project may get canceled or need more money later. We’re offering a free micro-expansion bonus item to increase the value you receive for backing early. It’s a way to make up for these inconveniences and the risk you take on in order to bet on new games. This micro-expansion will also be available during the campaign for other backers to purchase at $20.00, as an option for folks who aren’t ready to back us early for $1.

[2] More visibility on what you’re buying and who you’re buying from. As an early backer, you receive special previews on the content we’re working on as well as weekly emails from the creators about the project. Effectively, you’ll have more time to review what we’re offering to make your own decision about whether the offer is right for you. You’ll also be able to see how far we are and how much progress we’re able to make, so that you can confidently make a decision about the project.

[3] Direct connection with an independent game studio. Our $1 early access program is built directly on our own website and tools. This allows us to be more creative, innovative, and direct in our prelaunch community engagement. Third parties, such as certain pledge manager and product-launching services, don’t like this because they earn healthy fees from people like me, thanks to your data.

But hey, we’re ALSO going to do all these things (provide better value per pledge dollar, visibility on us, and a direct connection) during the Kickstarter campaign… so, cake on cake? Like a proper dessert buffet, the choice is completely up to you about how much cake and when.

One question that’s come up is why we’re doing this versus <insert example from another campaign here>. There is so much competition now that a small publisher with an original project has to be creative in order to stand out from the mega-franchise players. It also means smaller projects need to start earlier to build momentum for their campaign. On a more technical level, charging a nominal upfront amount ($1) helps us measure if we’re being effective or not, because it requires a little more effort and buy-in from players than just looking at an ad or liking something. Tracking our performance early will help us shape our marketing before, during, and after the campaign.

Lastly, there was a question about how much extra profit we’re looking to make from doing this. Our honest answer is hopefully $0*! Here’s an illustration:

Backer A pays $1 deposit now and $59 later for the base pledge. They receive the base game ($60 value), bonus items ($tbd), and the micro-expansion ($20 value).

Backer B pays $1 deposit now and does not back the campaign ($0 later). They received the early previews and extra content, but decided that it wasn’t a fit for them. I’d love to see zero backers of this type but I’m told that it’s unlikely that we’ll win everyone over.

Backer C pays $0 now and $60 later for the base pledge. They receive the base game ($60 value) and bonus items ($tbd). They have the option to buy the micro-expansion for $20.

What do you think?

Jane Hoffacker
CEO, Incredible Dream

* don’t tell Rob, our CFO… 🙃