Monday, August 13

Kickstarter - The Rollercoaster

We’re hoping to bring FlickFleet to Kickstarter in September. The original plan was to launch on Tuesday 4th, but with out of sync family holidays and a lot going on in August, I think it’s going to have to slip back to later in the month. I’m still hopefully that we can launch in September though. The video is one of the main stumbling blocks - I’d like it to feature both of us, which means finding a day that we’re both available and so is my mate with all the kit.

The source of my current worries

So we’re still several weeks away from launch but the emotional rollercoaster has already started. Some of this is similar to the other games I’ve published as either Reiver Games or Eurydice Games: will people like my game? Can I find enough customers to make it, at least, break even?

But Kickstarter brings a couple of new dimensions to it - the month of unknowns and the debt.

Every previous game I’ve made I know exactly what I’m getting into at launch, either hand-crafting or ordering a fixed number of games at a fixed cost. I know how many hours of crafting are on the horizon and how many copies I need to sell at what margin. It could be terrifying, risky or fairly safe, but I know what it is. I know how much money is at risk and I know what my crafting future looks like. With Kickstarter however, until the campaign closes you’ve no idea what you’re on the hook for. How many backers will I get? How many copies will I have to make? What will my margins be? All of this is up in the air until the campaign closes. It’s even worse for us as we’ve set a two stage campaign - to keep the target low we’re planning a small hand-crafted run. But there’s a stretch goal to get the boxes, rules, dashboards and wooden pieces professionally manufactured and assembled. If we get close to that we’re still on the hook for hand-crafting everything. For a lot of copies. Even if we hit the stretch goal we may need to do the laser cutting ourselves (I’m still investigating options for a very large run of laser-cutting, but one of the reasons we're doing the laser-cutting ourselves is to keep costs down - there doesn't seem to be any economies of scale for laser-cutting). I’m not sure what my preferred outcome is - scrape over the funding target, just hit the professional stretch goal or something else.

In addition, there's the fact that you owe a lot of people a lot of stuff. I'm okay with the idea of crowdfunding - it makes FlickFleet a possibility, but as I've said before I'm uncomfortable about taking people's money up front. They're paying for a copy (or two!) of the game. They know it'll be a while. They must be comfortable with that or they wouldn't back it. But I've never taken money for something that's not ready yet. Even pre-orders for my previous games were just a request - I didn't take any money until I had a game ready to ship to them. I lost a few pre-orders that way, but I was more comfortable with that than owing someone for something that's an unspecified amount of time from completion. I'm hoping the discomfort around owing people games will encourage me to crank them out as quick as possible.

Exciting times. It’s not keeping me up at night yet, but it’s certainly occupying a lot of my thinking during my evenings and weekends.

4 comments:

Richard Williams said...

Ive backed a lot of kickstarters now and in all honesty the best ones are the ones that communicate regularly and take you on the journey, good and bad, to the completion of the production. My advise would be to set a very conservative schedule up front to reduce the delays impacting peoples expectations. I would be wholly comfortable with taking the individuals money if I was confident production is a relatively known entity. You've done this before so try not to worry too much, enjoy the journey and ultimately the product getting into individuals hands.

Jackson Pope said...

Thanks for your ongoing support Richard! And that's good advice. We've set the delivery date at a point we're sure we can hit, so fingers crossed it'll all go smoothly!

Cheers,

Jack

Richard Williams said...

I have full confidence and will be sure to back and share the news where I can.

Good luck!

Richard

Jackson Pope said...

Thanks again Richard! We really appreciate it!

Cheers,

Jack