4 Intriguing Strategies Implemented by Publishers

17 May 2018 | 7 Comments

In this series, I highlight some of the interesting choices made by creators regarding their project’s reward levels, stretch goals, and overall campaign design (the projects themselves, not the content or product). This isn’t an endorsement or promotion.

On Tour

As I was scrolling through the project page of On Tour this week, I noticed something really interesting. It’s somewhat unique to this game, but it might give you some ideas.

On Saturday, May 19, the creator of On Tour has arranged for famed board game YouTuber Rahdo to play a live game with anyone in the world who wants to play along. All you have to do is print a map and tune into Rahdo’s channel at 10:00 am CST.

On Tour is able to do this because (a) it scales to any number of players and (b) only one player needs to have the dice and cards (the results apply to all players, kind of like bingo, but with more player choice). But I absolutely love the idea of a live play with people from around the world, especially if you get to feel like you’re playing with a board game celebrity like Rahdo.

Prehistory – Kickstarter Edition

I’ve seen a number of projects that accept pre-orders after the project ends, whether its through their pledge manager, Indiegogo, or their own website. But as far as I can recall, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a company run a Kickstarter after the original Kickstarter for the Kickstarter version of the game.

That’s what A-games is doing with Prehistory – Kickstarter Edition. It’s a one-week campaign that will be over by the time you read this (sorry!). The funding goal was 1,000 Euros–intentionally small because, presumably, they’re no longer reaching for a funding threshold to make the game. They know they’re making the game, as they already raised over 76k Euros in their original campaign.

It’s a little strange, but I actually kind of like it, and I can see why it’s working (as of this writing, it’s raised over 41k Euros). They’re essentially capturing the feeling of a backer discovering a project in the last 48 hours. It’s full of stretch goal content, everything is at its most refined due to backer input, and you can see the full extend of the publisher’s vision as compared to the price.

The one thing I’m I little hesitant to condone is that they used the exact same reward prices as the original campaign. I wonder how backers of the original campaign feel about this.

Arcadia Quest Riders

This campaign won’t be live until next week, but CMON has announced the details, and I applaud them for trying something new.

This is an expansion to Arcadia Quest. The campaign will run from May 21 to May 25. Instead of upgrading the expansion during the campaign with stretch goals, the version they reveal on May 21 will be the full, complete version. They’re basically sacrificing the allure of stretch goals with the power of urgency. As a side benefit, this will allow them to place their final order with their manufacturer right away after the campaign (presumably) so production can immediately begin.

I think this works because (a) CMON has easy, instant access through their past campaigns and mailing list to tens of thousands of people who already own Arcadia Quest and (b) it’s an expansion, so their audience is very focused (I’m guessing they won’t be offering the base game during the campaign, in which case their potential audience is much bigger).

Fireside Games

This isn’t a crowdfunding project, but I wanted to share how impressed I am with Fireside’s retailer page on their website. It’s incredibly well designed so that everything retailers need is all in one place: inventory status, game marketing kits, quick-start guides, shelf talkers, etc.

If you’re a publisher looking to improve your relationship with retailers, I think it’s worth paying attention to what Fireside Games is doing here.


What are your thoughts on these strategies? Do you like them? Why or why not? Could you see yourself implementing a twist on any of these concepts?

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7 Comments on “4 Intriguing Strategies Implemented by Publishers

  1. The On Tour idea is great. For games with more than a “Bingo” level of complexity, a proxy player on stream is a good middle ground to make viewers feel involved. Vote on specific or general strategies and have the proxy perform those on-turn.

  2. Hi Jamey, it seems we have the same mind frequently. I happened to view On Tour the day before yesterday and found the the other interesting project about the board game tables.
    I am sure the creator, Chad Deshon has unique ideas. Say the board game tables.

  3. I’m following On Tour but didn’t know about the live play with Rahdo! I definitely want to do that if the timing works out for me in Australia, super fun idea.

  4. Prehistory’s is a great idea. I think the previous backs also get the extra stretch goals, which is good for them. I wonder how it could be done again, 3 weeks before shipping, without stretch goals. I wonder how that would be worded to not annoy previous backers. Maybe a poll at the time of asking for address updates. So then you could say it is recommend by backers.

    1. I have to wonder if the publisher was told by the manufacturer that it would be more cost-effective to do a second printing now rather than waiting a year or more, ie that the molds and printing plates are still ready and there’s available capacity. I’d be surprised if they planned ahead to do a second campaign.

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