The Road to Board Games and Kickstarter #1 Get a Following

I have been designing games as a hobbyist for years, but have never previously believed in the prospect of selling my games globally. However, with the confidence in my concepts and designs, I am going to take a leap of faith and produce my games. One of the best ways to fund and promote games, ideas and creations is on Kickstarter; a crowdfunding site that allows developers to showcase their project and offer rewards for people to help back and fund them. With the help of many online resources and the board game community, I am going to write about some of my research and the important lessons learned.

Please take the following with a grain of salt. This information is based off information collected and researched online rather than actually experienced. I am hoping to apply these lessons and will give comment later on to if they have worked or not and give my experiences.

One of the most important aspects for a successful Kickstarter project is to have a good online following before your campaign starts. There are many advantages to having a following, but they generally all lead back to showcasing your product to a wider audience and getting people to your Kickstarter page.

The first few days of the campaign are the most vital. If people see that your project is funded or close to funding, then they are more likely to back it. Having your followers click and hopefully back your product early in the campaign will give a much higher chance of funding your goal.

Secondly, people are psychologically more likely to back someone or something they are familiar with. Would you be more inclined to back a project if you knew about it previously? People have more confidence if they see you posting regular updates and information, reporting to their followers.

So how do you get a following? Sure, you can get a lot of your friends to follow you on Facebook or Twitter; but not all will care about your project and may not assist in the funding. So the question is, how do you get people that do not know you to care about your project and follow you?

The best way to get a following is to become known in the board game community (both local and online). The board game community is quite small and niche, but most are passionate and friendly and will communicate and help you where they can. These are your main audience, followers and backers so making friends and being part of the community is the best way to showcase your own work.

Below is a list of things to get your name and product known to the community.

  1. Go to local game stores, conventions and local gatherings. These are the best way to find meet new people, make friends and get feedback and are ultimately your Target Audience. Don’t just play your games. Play all types of games and test other peoples creations.
  2. Join in discussions on Facebook groups designed around board games and kickstarter. Post up questions about your product for people to critique and give feedback. All feedback is welcome and will help you create a better game. Coinciding with this, give constructive feedback to other developers on their projects. The more you help others, the more likely they will help you, or look to see who you are. With my research, I have looked and joined several Game pages due to these groups. Some groups below
  3. Create an online blog that is used to help people (not promote). Once again, if you are assisting people, they are more likely to see who you are.
  4. Create regular posts on your Facebook/Twitter/Social Media pages. This could be links to your blog, but could also be:
    • Development Updates
    • Reviews of other games
    • Promote other games. Having links to other games or their Kickstarter pages.
    • Discussion starters about design or theme topics.
    • Events in the gaming community.
  5. Read other people blogs that are in the same area of interest (eg board games). Leave comments.
  6. Join gaming forums like at boardgamegeek.com.

To promote your product (depending on how far into development), I would create a website, even if it is a free blog site with all the information you can or want to give. Have at least a Facebook Group and/or Twitter people can reach and find you. Link all these to each so they can view them all. They may share this with friends or family that only have a certain medium they use.

It would also be beneficial to have a business card ready to give to people you meet at conventions or in the local community. Have a link to your website or social websites on the card.

I am only just starting to do these things now, so I have a long way to go. I will let you know how it goes. If you have any other ways to increase your followers and audience, let me know in the comments.

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