Monday, December 10

We Did It!

The good news is that our Kickstarter for FlickFleet funded and we’re getting a laser cutter in Paul’s garage and approximately 285 people are getting a copy of FlickFleet. Approximately, you say?

The pledges as written have us being on the hook for delivering 21 copies of Zombology, 137 standard copies of FlickFleet and 118 deluxe copies of FlickFleet. However, a number of people pledged over the amount to add an additional copy (or four!) or a Zombology to their order and I’ve not yet been through things in detail to get the final totals. I think total is nearer 285 FlickFleets.

As regular readers will be aware, this was our first Kickstarter and I was pretty uncomfortable about it for a number of reasons, but the biggest two were: I don’t like to owe people for things (I don’t usually take payment until the game is ready to ship) and not knowing what we’re getting into until the project completes.

The first has just been realised (325 people have just had their credit cards charged) and the second has now abated - once I’ve tallied the special pledges we will know exactly what the commitment looks like.

As it turns out the worst bit of running a Kickstarter was neither of those, it was instead the month-long anxiety of ‘will we fund or not?’.

With 5 hours to spare!

It went right to the wire, with us reaching the target with 5 hours to spare and then a flurry of late adjustments as people who had helped give us the momentum and cross the line corrected back down to something they were more comfortable with. I was literally watching the seconds count down at the end, refreshing the page in case we had more cancellations that dropped us under again. It was not a comfortable experience. But we’re done, we made it and that’s behind us now.

We funded at £12,127 or 101%. Some people might look at that as a failure, but to us it’s a huge success. This was our first Kickstarter, which makes a lot of potential backers uncomfortable. We went into it with a tiny mailing list of 135 people, needing approximately 350 backers to succeed. It was always going to be an uphill struggle. But we did it!

We also made things more complicated for ourselves with our bizarre two-stage campaign that was a mixture of hand-crafted and potentially professionally manufactured games. This hugely complicated the fulfilment picture for us as we didn’t know how many games we’d be hand-crafting in our free time around jobs and families.

I think the optimal outcome would have been reaching the £40k stretch goal and then we would only be on the hook for hand-crafting the deluxe editions. The second best outcome was what we got: scraping over the line so we don’t have a huge number over people waiting on games. If we’d ended up just under the £20k stretch goals we’d have had 600-700 people waiting on fully hand-crafted games (which we’d promised within a year) and if it was just under the £40k one it would have been about 1,500 games worth of laser-cutting in the same time frame (though the rest of the games would have been professionally manufactured). So in that sense it’s a good outcome for us.

We’re now working on getting the artwork finished off, the print and play files together and the laser-cutter ordered. We’ve until the end of this month to deliver the P&P files and a couple of weeks to wait for Kickstarter to release the funds to us, at which point we can start ordering things that require up front payment.

It just remains to say thank you all for your support. Whether you backed us, shared the project on twitter, Facebook, Instagram, BGG or elsewhere, or even if you just wished us well - it meant a huge amount to both Paul and I. We literally couldn’t have done it without you.

Thank you!

Monday, December 3

Through the Wringer - Kickstarter Style

So there are only five days left of the FlickFleet kickstarter campaign. For the last 25 days, Paul and I have lived on tenterhooks, willing the Kickstarter total to go up, hoping that we can be successful at our first attempt on Kickstarter, despite my professed discomfort with it.

It's been a deeply uncomfortable experience. Had we funded very quickly, I would have found it a very different experience I'm sure. Had we clearly got a failing campaign we could have pulled the plug early and despite the disappointment we would have been able to relax and take stock.

Instead we have the worst outcome. A campaign that looks like it will finish very close to our target, either above or below. We've been watching the total crawl slowly northwards, with two steps forward and one back (about 14% of people who have backed the project have subsequently cancelled their pledge, dragging us back away from the target).

The encouraging thing is the number of project followers, so I'm still hopeful for a strong finish that tips us over the line, but it's going to be close and it's going to be nerve-wracking - that's for sure.

Watched the video: 1,943
Watched it to the end: 1161
Following the project: 691
Backed the project: 252 (including 83 followers - so 607 followers haven't yet backed)

Can we make it? I'm still optimistic and I really hope so - as I'm more proud of FlickFleet that any of the games I've released before. But we need another 70 backers in the next five days.

In just over 5 days we'll know one way or another, until then the anxiety continues...

Monday, November 26

Two Thirds And Two Thirds

So we are very nearly two-thirds of the way through the FlickFleet Kickstarter campaign and we are just over two-thirds funded. Which is alright I think, according to Kickstarter themselves 98% of campaigns that reach 60% end up funding, so I'm still optimistic, but the last week or so have been very flat and a test of our nerves.

We've now had a few days where the total was slightly negative and lots where the total was barely above zero - we're really hoping for a big jump on the last few days (which it seems most campaigns have).

Running a Kickstarter campaign that doesn't fund immediately is incredibly stressful, especially watching the pledges come in and then get cancelled. I wouldn't recommend it for the anxious.

Still there are some signs of hope, I'm being interviewed by Paul Grogan of Gaming Rules! while I'm in the US this week, and hopefully Geek & Sundry too. The podcast interview with Coaching for Geeks goes live next weekend and we've got a decent number of people who are following the project and will be notified at 48 hours before it closes.

The marketing funnel (I hate myself for saying that!) stats for the project are currently:

Watched the video: 1,598
Watched it to the end: 888
Following the project: 603
Backed the project: 214 (including 73 followers)

So there's 530 people who are interested enough to get a notification, but haven't yet backed.

Fingers crossed!

Monday, November 19

Stay On Target!

We’re now on day 12 of our 30 day Kickstarter campaign for FlickFleet. After a strong start we’re now in the doldrums. The daily pledge total is usually around £250-£400 (we need £246 on average every day to fund) and once it was as low as £45, so we’re limping towards the line, but it’ll probably go to the wire. Most people I’ve spoken to are convinced we’ll fund (or at least that’s what they are telling us!) and Kicktraq and Backerkit’s trend analysis both have us funding too. The only concern is that Kicktraq’s lower limit from its projection cone is now under our goal £10,787 vs £12,000, and it’s heading lower each day (even if their trend is to £18k!).

Things have slowed down a bit

I’ve spoken before about my concerns about Kickstarter (Exhibit A & Exhibit B) but it turns out the biggest problem I’m (and Paul said he is) experiencing is actually the worry about will we fund. Frequently checking the total has become compulsive behaviour, which can’t be healthy. We’ve had quite a few cancellations and no information from almost all of the cancelling pledgers to help us understand why they backed (often at a high level) only to cancel hours or days later.

The one exception to that was a guy who backed and then in response to my thank you message told me how cool the game looked and how much he was looking forward to playing it with his kids. A few days later I got another message from him to say that he was cancelling that pledge because budgets were tight at this time of year. He still loved the game and the campaign, but just couldn’t afford it at the moment. I really appreciated the explanation and tweeted as much.

The story has a happy ending! One of my twitter followers (who henceforth shall be known as Legendary Steve) paid his pledge as a random act of kindness - he was blown away (as was I!) by the generosity :-)

Fingers crossed we can keep the momentum through the slow middle period that everyone experiences and enter the exciting final couple of days at least close enough to the target to make it over the line...

Monday, November 12

Off to a Promising Start

We're just under 5 days into our FlickFleet Kickstarter campaign and it's pretty intense. It seems to be going well so far (just over 40%) and there have been a couple of surprises.

First up is the deluxe editions are way more popular that we were expecting - I hoped we'd get a few pledges at that level by the end but they all went withing 15 hours! Crazy. After discussion with Paul (who will be doing the laser cutting) we've just added a few more with a later delivery date (though still ahead of the standard copies).

Prototype deluxe ships

The other thing is the number of backers we're getting directly from Kickstarter. It's over 40% which really surprised me, especially as we've not made any top picks lists or anything.

Anyway, it's all going pretty well I think, but I could really do with some sleep! Hopefully I'll get a decent night on Tuesday when I'm away for work (and getting interviewed by Gabe Barrett from The Board Game Design Lab for his podcast!).

Thursday, November 8

We're Live!

After months of wrangling with the Kickstarter page and trying to get to grips with the concept and best practices of crowdfunding, FlickFleet is finally live on Kickstarter.

We're about 6 hours in at time of writing, with 20% of the target pledged - huge thanks to all the early backers - Paul and I really appreciate your support.

Please take a look at the page and share with anyone you think would enjoy it.

Right, I'm off to bed now - I've not slept much in days and today's excitement has done for me!

Monday, November 5

Three Days!

I’m currently on holiday (writing this while The Toddler naps) so I’ll keep this brief!

FlickFleet is coming to Kickstarter on Thursday, hopefully about 4pm UK time. It’s our first time on Kickstarter and despite the slow growth of our mailing list and a number of very excited people by far the biggest risk is that we won’t have enough backers to hit our target.

If you are intending to back it (thanks!), please do so early to help give us the appearance of momentum which might encourage others to join in. If you don’t wish to back the project, please share it with one or two people who you think might be interested - it might be the difference between success and failure!

Thanks for all your support!