Kickstarter Analysis: ADD Players Manual

As promised, I thought I’d go through some of the details of how the Kickstater campaign for the Adventures Dark and Deep™ Players Manual went. This can be compared to the campaign for the first book, A Curious Volume of Forgotten Lore, for which I did a similar analysis after it’s Kickstarter campaign concluded.

I decided to do some things very deliberately differently for the Players Manual. First and foremost, I decided that I’d let the project stand or fall on its own. There were not going to be any stretch goals, no synergies with other projects, etc. I wanted this to be about the book itself, because this was going to be my first real opportunity to gauge interest in the game system from a commercial standpoint.

Too, there were differences in the way the funding was handled. For Forgotten Lore, the reward levels for the books were higher ($30 for the softcover and $60 for the hardcover) and the overall goal was lower ($2,500). The goal could be lower because there was to be less art in that book. So, in essence, I needed a relatively few hard-core supporters to meet the goal. And, sure enough, the goal was met and surpassed, coming in at $7,459 with a total of 244 backers.

For the Players Manual, the situation was different. Because there was going to be a lot more art in this book (mainly because it’s much longer, page-wise), the goal had to be that much higher; in this case $6,500. However, because I now had a much better idea of the process and the costs involved (thanks to the experience from the first book), I knew I could offer the books themselves for less; still $30 for the softcover, but the hardcover could be had for only $40. That’s much more in line with the cost of other, similar game books, and I think it showed. Almost five times as many people selected the hardcover option over the softcover, whereas for Forgotten Lore, twice as many people chose the softcover.

And that showed, too. Despite the fact that there were fewer overall backers, since so many more people opted for the hardcover over the softcover, the second Kickstarter actually made more money (236 backers, $8,601 raised).

Also, because there were no gimmicks involved, the fundraising showed a much more steady rate of increase:

As expected, there’s a big jump at the beginning, a relatively long period of minimum growth, and then another boost at the end as the campaign comes to a finish. This is helped by the fact that Kickstarter itself sends out reminders to people, plus I had a number of wonderful folks pumping the book on their blogs and elsewhere.

I should also point out that as of this writing, only $180 in pledges remain to be collected (because the credit card that was used when the pledge was made was refused at the end of the Kickstarter). From what I understand, that’s a pretty good number; there are tales of other campaigns that suffer enormous shrinkage when it comes time to collect. Kickstarter keeps sending out reminders for two weeks, so hopefully that number will get even better.

All in all, this Kickstarter didn’t have nearly the frantic feel that the first one did. I had much longer to go before it made goal, but it did so without my having to resort to loads of stretch goals. I feel good about the fact that the book was able to stand up on its own, and look forward to the next campaign for the Game Masters Toolkit.

Now, the Bestiary, I probably will feel frantic about, because it’s so huge, but I’ll worry about that bridge when I come to it.

Written by 

Wargamer and RPG'er since the 1970's, author of Adventures Dark and Deep, Castle of the Mad Archmage, and other things, and proprietor of the Greyhawk Grognard blog.

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