Running a Kickstarter Campaign during COVID-19

posted in: blog, kickstarter, kickstarter lesson | 0

Two weeks ago, we launched Lawyer Up on Kickstarter. It’s a game we have been laboring over for several years and a Kickstarter we had scheduled internally back during PAX Unplugged (Dec 2019). Of course that was all before COVID-19, but we went ahead with it despite all the fears and that were gathering when Sam and I were together at the GAMA Trade Show in early March. Shortly after returning from that trip, we went into lockdown on the East Coast. It all seemed like very bad news for our Kickstarter. I mean Frosthaven, a guaranteed Kickstarter blockbuster, delayed a week what were our chances?

Even after all the Kickstarters we’ve done, launching a new one is super stressful. Needless to say, I was very relieved when we funded quickly and went on to unlock so many stretch goals. With all the uncertainty around the Coronavirus, my fears have quickly changed from worrying about funding to worrying about some mass cancellation hysteria. My security blanket in this stressful time has been this amazing blog post by Bigger Cake. TLDR, there is not much evidence that the Coronavirus is affecting consumer behavior on Kickstarter. That coupled with the fact that there is clearly less competition in the tabletop category on Kickstarter has me cautiously optimistic that this campaign will trend as expected.

Of course the other thing that has been very different about this campaign is being completely locked down at home. That means I haven’t been able to meet with other designers to discuss things or playtest other games. My kids are home from school so they are running around and in general everything lacks structure and is pretty chaotic at the house. In fact the main reasons we chose our March 17th launch date was because Spring Break for my kids was supposed to be over AND I would be back home from GAMA. Obviously it’s not an ideal situation and has created a whole new set of challenges.

Whenever I talk to other designers/publishers about running a Kickstarter, I always emphasize that every one is different and that there are never perfect. You always second guess yourself and make a few mistakes. The important thing is to reduce those mistakes as much as you can and avoid making big ones. The best mistakes are ones that you can’t predict and can’t control because you’re pretty faultless. It’s just bad luck. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’m incredibly grateful to all of our backers and supporters. It seems like we’ve dodged a huge “bad luck” bullet. This campaign is going to sustain our business while others are struggling and shutting down. Stay safe during this unprecedented time. Thank you.

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