Monday, August 15

‘Exciting’

… is one word for it.

Frustrating is another.

Worrying also works.

I’ve placed the order for all the wooden bits we need.

There’s a long lead time, so best to get the order in early.

Paid via Wise. It usually takes 3 hours and has low international fees.

It took eight days. For ‘verification’. Then at the end of all that they refunded me.

I need to fix the problem and try again.

I also contacted the box-maker to check the quote I got a couple of months ago is still valid.

They’ve gone out of business!

I need to find a new box-maker.

‘Exciting’.

Or frustrating.

Or worrying.

Monday, August 8

Production

I've spent the week working on the Pledge Manager.

It goes live at 2pm UK time today.


Paul is making the rewards that we already have the components for.

We're starting to place the orders for the materials that will take longest to arrive.

It's coming together.

Still lots to do.

But moving in the right direction. 


Monday, August 1

Shut Up

… and Sit Down covered FlickFleet in last week’s podcast.

Tom repeatedly described it as cute. And silly.

We got a bunch of orders as a result.

Many of which arrived while I was camping last weekend. 

It’s amazing the effect of a big name mentioning your game.

Actual influencers.

Photo by Eric Ward on Unsplash

I’ve tried to email Shut Up & Sit Down a few times over the last few years.

No luck.

Then Tom wandered past our stand at the Expo.

Was intrigued.

Took a copy.

I wonder how many sales we’ll get as a result?

Currently 16.

Plus a noticeable jump in Gamefound page followers.

Monday, July 25

Comparisons

We’ve just finished our first Gamefound campaign, after four increasingly successful Kickstarters. I’m going to do a bit of a deep dive on the differences (bear in mind my Kickstarter experience is now over a year old - things might have changed in the meantime).

Why did we change? Kickstarter was working well for us, we had raised over £75,000 through four campaigns. Why would we risk changing? Blockchain is the answer to that. If you live in Europe you’ll have probably experienced a record breaking heatwave in the last week. It was over 2 degrees C hotter than the previous record in the UK and over 4 degrees hotter than the previous record in my city. The world is on fire and it’s our fault. We need to make radical changes to prevent tipping points in the climate.

Blockchain is hugely energy intensive. BitCoin is the worse example, but even the Proof of Stake chains require a lot of energy. Kickstarter announced a move to blockchain last year without providing any real reason at all. When pushed by numerous incensed creators and backers they doubled down ‘Blockchain!’.

Contrast that with Gamefound whose equivalent message was all how how they would be helping creators and backers. Rather that pouring fuel on the planetary fire. We’d used them three times already for pledge managers, so it was a natural choice. But was it a good one?

TL;DR: It was our best campaign ever, but I’m pretty sure we’re would have raised even more on Kickstarter with the same campaign. But I don’t regret it at all.

Gamefound has a lot of advantages. You can have a preview page that’s a landing page with real content that you can make available before the project is reviewed. A dedicated account manager with good response times on queries. Add-ons and stretch goals are first class citizens. They handle EU VAT for you. And the pledge manager is in the same place. We were also offered a free banner ad on the site.

But there are also plenty of downsides (though this is very early days and I expect lots of these will get addressed quite quickly). The worse was the lack of notifications on comments - I find myself having to frequently check the page comments and all the updates to see if I’ve missed responding to any comments. The ads between updates and comments confused a lot of people, so we got responses to update questions on the main page comments. Our backers complained the site was hard to use and the ads were too intrusive. Some backers had pledges blocked by their card issuers (if you’re in the US a Polish company looks more dodgy that an US one). There’s no app and a much smaller user base so we got a lot less pledges on the last day than last time. In fact we probably lost a bunch of backers because they’ve never heard of Gamefound (but know Kickstarter). Kickstarter claim to provide 40-45% of the backers on our previous campaigns. I’d always assumed that was some creative accounting and most of it came from the ads we ran, but maybe not so much. We got almost nothing directly attributed to Gamefound.

There was also a few features of the Kickstarter dashboard I missed (the stream of pledge/adjustments/cancellations including backer name, the graph showing various pledge backer totals in a single place).

Campaign performance by day, darker lines are more recent

We had 40% more people on our mailing list, nearly four times as many followers at launch, three times the marketing budget and a bigger draw project - it added multiplayer rules which people have been clamouring for. And we raised 8% more than last time. It’s not quite a fair comparison as Gamefound doesn’t include shipping in the pledges, but even assuming similar shipping to last time that’s still only 24%. I’m pretty sure we’d have done better than that on Kickstarter.

But I don’t regret it. We need rapid systemic change to minimise the effects of climate change. Blockchain is an ecological disaster and companies should be avoiding it like the plague, not starting to embrace it. Our decision costs us money, but it’s one I’ll happily repeat - we’re going to have to collectively make far bigger sacrifices in the coming years.

Monday, July 18

Culmination

Our first Gamefound campaign finishes in just under five hours.

Less than 5 hours left!

It’s been ahead of our last one since the beginning.

Our best ever campaign.

Again. The last was was too. And the one before that. They all have.

How much better will it end up? At one point it was looking like we might get £45,000!

Then the prediction dropped to £35,000.

It’s been pretty static since then.

We’ll see where we finish.

It’s been a rollercoaster.

It always is.

I need a rest.

Monday, July 11

Doldrums

We’re mid-campaign.

It’s slowed down as it always does.

We need to keep the momentum up.

We’re running some ads.

Bizarrely they are generating more website sales than Gamefound backers.

A FlickFleet playmat!

We’ve just unlocked the playmat, which people have been keen for.

That should help.

Next up is the big box.

Hopefully that will help too.

We’re at 63% of our previous best campaign with just over half the campaign left to go.

And shipping will be collected in the Pledge Manager.

It should be our best ever campaign.

We’re still in the doldrums though!

And it’s really slowed down the last few days.

Monday, July 4

Launch

It’s launch day.


Just over five hours to go.

A time of great excitement. And great nerves.

In eight hours I’ll have a pretty good idea of how it’s going.

We’ve got four Kickstarters’ worth of data to compare this against.

For now though: just possibilities. It could go well.

Or badly. Extremely well, or mediocre.

I’ll just have to wait and see.

In hindsight, choosing to launch the campaign when Paul is on holiday and my parents are visiting may have been … sub-optimal.

Lots to do.