I posted about my top 3 mistakes for Brass Empire and even though I learned a lot from that and am very proud of the Maximum Apocalypse campaign, but there are always mistakes. This is simply a post-mortem on the campaign as a whole and in the hopes that other game designers (and myself) can learn from it and avoid my mistakes in the future.
Mistake #3: Not doing a Live Stream
In the post about my 3 mistakes for Brass Empire, I mentioned that I planned to live stream play sessions of the game during the campaign, but I never got around to it. I had everything ready in tabletop simulator and Kickstarter Live existed this time around. My wife was very pregnant and I had my 2nd child during the campaign so I think this impacted my time to figure out the technological side of how to run a live stream effectively. Definitely something I still think would be fun for a future campaign.
Mistake #2: Shipping Costs ate up Profits
I was very aggressive with the pricing of Maximum Apocalypse and after all the stretch goals the game really should’ve been $55+ on Kickstarter. The bigger issue is that the wood upgrades and large quantity of bonus cards added substantial weight to the game which increased my per unit shipping cost substantially. This is not an uncommon mistake among Kickstarters… many creators will warn you about shipping rates and over stretching. I am lucky enough to have avoided the red on these mistakes but believe that I left a lot of money on the table.
I always try to learn from my mistakes though and for my current campaign, I am going to do a shipping subsidy rather than having people pay flat estimated shipping. I’m sure people look at the Maximum Apocalypse Kickstarter and think wow they made a ton of money… nope that’s not how this works…after all the fulfillment and bills come in I think we will have made just under $10k profits on Maximum Apocalypse’s Kickstarter. Hopefully the extra copies that we produced will sell and carry us more into the black.
Mistake #1: I launched about an hour before Gloomhaven
There are tons of Kickstarters that launch every day so you can’t expect to pick a date when you will be the sole new game launching… but it’s probably best to avoid launching on the same day as uber campaigns such as the 7th Continent or Gloomhaven. That’s right, Maximum Apocalypse launched less than 60 minutes before Gloomhaven’s 2nd Printing and it wasn’t long until our initial burst of excitement was usurped by Gloomhaven. In the end, we were lucky enough to have new people discover and pledge to our campaign every day and we had an amazing final 48 hours… but if I could do it again, I would definitely have picked a week/day earlier or later to avoid being so close to that launch. The funny thing about this is that I checked online calendars and schedules in groups on FB and didn’t see Gloomhaven listed. I’m not sure if I missed it or if Isaac just didn’t post the event/date on Facebook before launching.