4 Current Kickstarter Projects with Unique Strategies

4 February 2016 | 12 Comments

In this series, I highlight some of the interesting choices current crowdfunders have made regarding their project’s reward levels, stretch goals, and overall campaign design (the projects themselves, not the content or product). This isn’t meant as an endorsement of these projects (these creators did not ask for me to promote their work–I disregard all such requests); rather, I’m looking for unique elements of projects that might inspire other creators to do the same (or do the opposite, in some cases).

First, my apologies for the test post you may have received in your e-mail this morning. I’ve talked to our web developer about it, and it won’t happen again.

Second, I heard from a reader that he isn’t receiving notifications after commenting and selecting “Subscribe to comments for this post.” If you comment on this post, please do me a favor and check that box. If you don’t receive an e-mail notification the next time someone comments, let me know, as that will indicate it’s a global issue.

Third, it’s time for the actual blog entry!

997c195795387f40651c645c4b47bab4_originalGhostel: The Board Game

Thematic $1 Reward: If you’ve read my Kickstarter Lessons for a while, you already know about my love for thematic $1 rewards. Ghostel–a game about scaring away hotel guests–has a great implementation of this type of reward: “Everyone who backs at this level and above will be toasted a personal thank you via video…filmed at night in a haunted location…alone…in the dark…”

Blurry Stretch Goal Chart: I really like Ghostel’s stretch goal chart. Even without the explanation, it’s clear to me that (a) they’ve properly planned out their stretch goals, (b) we’re focusing on the next few goals for now, (c) there are exactly 2 more stretch goals waiting to be revealed. I’d like to use this method in the future.

ADAPT – The Card & Dice Game

Personal Investment: The stretch goal chart on the ADAPT project does something I’ve never seen before: It’s completely transparent about the personal investment John has committed to the game to keep the funding level as low as possible. Many projects do this–in fact, it’s part of the formula I talk about for calculating your funding goal–but few ever tell backers exactly how much that personal commitment is. John’s innovation is to connect that amount to specific stretch goals. It’s a big chart, so I’ll just highlight it up until the break-even point below:


GAMUT Magazine: Neo-noir, speculative, literary fiction

Using Visuals on a Non-Visual Project: In most project categories, the art and photos are an inherent part of the project page. I just talked about this the other day. But for literary projects, the project page could just be words. Other than the cover of the book, most books only contain words. This is a feature of books–it gives our imaginations the opportunity to fill in the visual gaps. However, on a Kickstarter page, most people need some sort of visual representation of the work to connect with it.

That’s where I think Richard at GAMUT was very clever to feature a number of illustrations that represent the work. They’re a little too far down the page (I’d put one at the top instead of the giant block quote), but I think most people will find them if they’re scrolling down. They’re quite evocative.

Escape Room in a Box

Refill Pack: I’ve been working on a legacy board game. “Legacy” means that as you play the game, you make permanent changes to the components (instead or resetting everything each time you play). This creates an incredible experience, but you can only do it once, unless you buy another copy (even though some of the components are redundant and unchanged). My plan for the Kickstarter was to offer a refill pack that would give backers two entire campaigns of the game for the price of one game.

So it was really neat to see today that Escape Room in the Box–another one-time gaming experience–offers a refill pack for their game. While this method won’t work for every legacy/one-time game, if it works, I think it creates a great value proposition to offer your early adopters.


These projects represent a small sliver of all the clever crowdfunding innovations that creators are currently offering. Feel free to add your thoughts about these innovations or others in the comments!

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12 Comments on “4 Current Kickstarter Projects with Unique Strategies

  1. Hi Jamey, very honoured to have been included here amongst these other cracking projects. It’s sources like this blog that shaped our project from the beginning and anything we could add to the wealth of information here was because the info was here to begin with. Thank you Jamey, and thank you all the other creators and backers out there that make KS the community it is.

    P.S. Did you see in the Risks and Challenges about what we may have to face when making the video… we tried to think of all eventualities!

  2. Love the refill pack idea for the escape room & legacy games. Would it not also be possible to have alternate content in a refill pack so that the second playthrough has new surprises?

  3. John: I agree that it’s a great idea to let backers know you’re personally invested in a project.

    @Juliana: Thanks! It really is a very clever idea to show backers you appreciate their status as early adopters.

  4. Wow – can’t believe our project was mentioned on your blog!! I have referenced countless articles here when putting together the campaign and am so grateful that you have created such a wonderful resource for creators. Glad you like the refill pack idea! Anytime we told someone our idea they would always ask “But what about replayability?” So we knew we had to do something:)

  5. Thanks Jamey, I’m glad you like the idea there. It’s important that backers know how invested a creator is in their own project (both personally, and thus even financially). I hope it’s also helpful to the future creators of the world, so thanks for sharing it with them here.

    What I really loved was the Refill idea! I saw the Escape Room in a Box project on their day 1 and, like everyone else, thought: “Wow, that really solves the issue of 1-shotting your legacy game”. If they keep doing well they’re liable to make a 2nd refill pack as a stretch goal.

  6. Thanks Jamey! I’ve been mulling over how to make my $1 goal special, I like the idea of toasting, but wanted my own spin, This inspired me. I work out of local Coworking/Makerspace called Matchbox. Along with each toast I’m going to light a match and film it at the space. Just a little tribute to the space and people that got me started.

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