That’s a Wrap: Lessons From A Cancelled Kickstarter Campaign
Designing a game is fun and dandy but getting people to know about the game is half the battle… probably even more than that. How are you building your crowd? How do you make sure you have a successful Kickstarter campaign? Are you doing everything possible to make sure your game doesn’t fall by the wayside? These are all pressing and important issues when discussing finding the appropriate funding for your game.
Lucky for us, we have Adam Sadiq here from Diacritical Games to talk about his experience with Kickstarter. After having a Kickstarter campaign not go according to plan, Adam Sadiq has decided to cancel the campaign and relaunch it in the coming months. He is here to teach us what he has learned from his first campaign.
That’s A Wrap
Launch Date: July/August
That’s a Wrap is a primarily card-based game where players take on the role of movie directors hired by a major movie studio. The goal is to win the most Oskie awards by the end of four years, or rounds. Each of these years, players make a movie by choosing genres, hiring actors, buying scripts, and dealing with studio meddling. After all of the movies are finished, players roll dice to determine how well their movies do in theaters, and how many awards they win. Throughout the game, players have the opportunity to manage resources, such as money and influence, and strategically use studio meddling cards to boost their movies, or sabotage others’. That’s a Wrap facilitates many different strategies, you’ll have the choice to make money-making blockbusters, award-winning indie films, and everything in between in order to become the best director the movie industry has known!
What inspired you to create this game?
It was a time in my life where I had started to explore both movies and board games. Specifically, I started to heavily follow Oscar season, and tried to watch every movie that was nominated in that year, I think it was 2015. One of my good friends also was starting to get me into board games, I lived by a board game cafe/library at the time, one where you could pay $5 for unlimited game time. I wasn’t aware of any games that tackled the movie-making process (I am aware of several now), so I came up with the idea one day and decided to run with it. At the time, I also saw a board game contest from a major company, I want to say Hasbro, so it gave me that catalyst to start actually making the game. After I inevitably didn’t hear back, I enjoyed the process, so I took the game into my own hands. I’ve been working on it ever since.
How did you find your audience before Kickstarter?
Once I took the first big step towards making the game a reality, which was hiring an artist, I started the process of marketing the game. The first and most basic step was to begin going togame conventions. I had been taking it to game design groups local to me and showing it off to friends for quite some time before that, so I also had a very small audience there. But as far as consciously building an audience, it started with going to conventions. I was lucky enough to be able to travel all over, going to conventions on both coasts, and all over the US (I am based in Kansas City). During that process I met a lot of people who gave me really good advice. These included Facebook groups to join, how to manage social media, things like that. Social media is something that has always been tough for me, I’m not very active or good at leveraging it. But I definitely gave it a try. Through all those, I had a decent following, a couple hundred on the email list, as well as more following on various social media accounts.
During the launch, what did you do to get more attention for your game?
This is something I wish I had done a lot better, and one of the main focuses for the relaunch, I have a lot to improve on in this aspect. I reached out to a few podcasts, board game websites, as well as the media groups I had used to make videos for the game. I also dabbled in Facebook/Instagram advertising, but it was very unpolished. I think I may have gotten a few backers from it, but I could have done much better on conversion. I have a lot planned in this area going forward though!
What’s the biggest lesson you learned from the canceled Kickstarter?
Marketing is king, and it’s really tough to do. If you don’t have the stomach for it, you’re probably better off hiring it out, I really believe a good marketer will end up paying for themselves. Crowd growth is super important, and realistically it’s never enough. Also, I launched on the same day as a lot of bigger name companies Kickstarters, and I think that affected my ability to have a strong first day, so the momentum off the bat wasn’t quite good enough. Going forward though, I already have some plans in place to hopefully help with all that.
What would you do differently for your next Kickstarter?
On to the fun stuff! The biggest change I’m taking is to hire someone to run my marketing for me. This includes social media, online advertising, the whole thing. I’ve realized that it’s an area that I’m not particularly strong in, so investing in it will help a ton. I’m also working with a close friend for that, so I really trust her ability to do things well. As an aside, throughout this process, I’ve made a conscious effort to work with people who are local, or friends who I know have applicable skills (I’m lucky enough to have a lot of artistic/freelancer type friends), I find that it works out better for everyone that way. We’ll be doing pre-marketing, much smarter advertisements, and more to grow an audience in the next few months, and then convert that audience into backers. I’ve also taken steps to reach out to alternate manufacturers to get a lower-unit quote, which helps to bring the overall goal down. This will help with having a strong first day, and momentum that keeps going. Not being able to get close to funding turned potential backers away, I know that from a post-campaign survey I did. Beyond that, just being smarter about lining up engagement during the campaign in the form of interviews, podcasts, etc. We are also retooling a custom art tier to make it more accessible, we only had 4 slots before, and I know people wanted more, letting more people pledge at those high levels will be a big deal. We are definitely very excited about it!
When’s the next Kickstarter?
Late August or September, sometime in that kind of range. Nothing for sure yet, but definitely keep an eye out closer to the end of summer once I decide on a concrete date!
Where can people find you?
In person, at a lot of game events in Kansas City! I’m trying to figure out other conventions throughout the country, but those are very expensive. Online, you can find our social media, both for That’s a Wrap and the company, Diacritical Games, which will hopefully have more titles coming up!
Getting everything ready for Kickstarter is very difficult. There are many things to prepare for to make sure that you put yourself in the best position. Sometimes, you just have to do everything you can to see what really is most effective for you.
Thank you Adam for providing us such great insight. We hope that with all the pointers you learned and have shared with us, your next campaign will be smooth and successful!
FOLLOW THAT’S A WRAP
Check out Thats A Wrap
Article published on www.fourtato.com.