For the 29th of last month’s #RPGaDAY entry, the prompt was about the best-run rpg Kickstarater campaign I’ve backed. When I work on layout — and I come under contract before or duing the campaign — I always back the project for one dollar so I can see what communication goes out to the backers.

So far, I’ve only come onto two projects that funded through Kickstarter after the campaign ended: Bluebeard’s Bride and Bulldogs. It’s interesting to see how both campaigns handle communication with backers: Bluebeard’s Bride has everything done publicly — which I think makes it a marketing opportunity for post-KS sales — while Bulldogs has had several that were backer-only. Just because I can see Bulldogs, I’ll use this as an example: why not make that 2016 “Current Print Status” available for anyone to see when they can purchase the game in stores? I don’t know, but some creators like to have backer-only updates. As a person on the creative side, I’d like to see what they’re saying to backers.

But to the question, I’ll take you inside 7th Sea, which was a bit of a panic during the first 48 hours, but smoothly-run throughout the campaign, and getting the project line managed extremely well. All credit to how well the campaign ran and how the business worked post-campaign has to go to Mark Diaz Truman. He gathered a great team to work on the campaign and managed the workflow of getting the books and additional items out. If you ever hear Mark talk about running and managing a roleplaying game Kickstarter, take notes.

We prepped for the campaign’s physical page about a month before the campaign went live. We had a whole list of stretch goals.[1] The plan was we’d probably hit our modest funding goal sometime within the first day or two, so we had time to prep the stretch goal graphics.

We wound up funding within minutes. We shot past the initial stretch goals that first hour. I was given numbers and copy for the goal graphics — in the few minutes it took to get those assembled, we had cleared them. I was getting four at a time ready, but we had to keep adjusting those so we could actually hit them instead of posting the details after they were uploaded.

And the funding kept rolling ever upwards.

Further ahead of me in the production track, the corebook was being written. The team had ideas and system basics in there already — compare how the original version of the Quickstart looked to the final, printed Core Rulebook — but the actual development on that book began about that first day of the campaign. The book was delivered to backers three months later. We had an aggressive schedule with deadlines plugged in with some breathing room, yet we fell behind — but just by a touch — and moved things around in the schedule.

We added so much stuff to that main Kickstarter campaign page, we discovered that campaign pages have a maximum number of HTML characters.

That’s why the stretch goals and bios were graphics. It sucked for SEO purposes, but it was what we had to live with.

We started spacing out the stretch goals when we were hitting ridiculous territory, that $684,756 mark that put us to the #1 Tabletop RPG Kickstarter of all time. But still, we were going to run out of stretch goals while the backers continually supported the project.

It’s an interesting bit of feedback, I feel, that got the funding levels rolling. What happens is this: you pledge for a low amount and we give you something right away — the quickstart. You get a thing. You hold it in your (digital) hands. You now have a piece of this, and start to feel some sense of ownership.

This is why, when you go to a car dealership, they have you test drive a vehicle. You start to feel like the car could be your car. This is why, when you deal with a salesperson in a store[2], they place the product in your hands. You start to get that feeling of owning the item.

So you have a simple pledge that gets you a thing, and you look and see we’ve got a reward level at $40[3] that offers…over forty pdfs from the first edition of the game and possibly ten or a dozen books we’ll be developing as part of the campaign. People jump to that level and overall funding amounts go up. Overall funding amounts go up and we start hitting stretch goals. We start hitting stretch goals and you see the amount of content at $40 just keeps going up.

You up your pledge.

And the overall funding increases. And more stretch goals are reached. And you’re getting more and more stuff.

And for just $20 more, you can get a physical book. So maybe you make that jump.[4]

That worked out well for the campaign and gave JWP the ability to hire a lot of people to bring out the goods in a timely manner.

John Wick Presents is currently my biggest client in terms of time spent. The project management of the line, I feel, is an extension of the KS campaign. Again, headed by Mark Diaz Truman.[5] The work done at JWP to continue the line is going along swimmingly. As Kickstarter campaigns go, this was the largest I’ve been involved in and was also one of the smoothest-run.

Previously on #RPGaDAY…

Last year I could game anywhere on the planet, where do I choose? Um. Am I with friends, playing a game? Someplace quiet, I suppose. I was at NewMexiCon this year and games were held inside hotel rooms, so it was a space with just the 4-6 of us with no outside distractions. It was…strange for a convention, I thought. At PortConMaine, we had rpg tables, but they were too close together[6] and it was difficult to hear. Something in between those, I suppose.

In 2015, the topic was “Favorite RPG Website/Blog” wherein I revealed I don’t really go and follow any RPG websites or blogs. The closest thing I do to that is have /r/rpg on my main reddit feed.

In 2014, the topic was “Most Memorable Encounter”, where I talked about how I introduced a player at my college D&D game the concept of player knowledge versus character knowledge. I also discussed a scene where the other players in a CthulhuTech/Shadowrun mashup learned how really messed up my down-to-earth guy really was. This year, it’s probably that time that our elf bard Dimension Doored after Dimension Door to move a magical nuclear bomb (effectively) away from civilians.

  1. That graphic on the right doesn’t include the last five! []
  2. or convention booth []
  3. This is the one I consider to be the true buy-in pledge, Mark says it’s the $60 level. []
  4. Lots of people did — there were over four thousand backers at that level — $256,000 in pledges — with just under three thousand at the pdf-only level — $115,000 in pledges. []
  5. You really should listen to this guy. []
  6. literally — I would hit the other tables’ chairs if I had to get up and move around. []

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