5 Recent Crowdfunding Projects with Unique Strategies

18 April 2016 | 15 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).

This month’s “unique projects” posts features a variety of projects on an assortment of platforms. I’m excited about this one!


I love interesting uses of images, graphics, and videos, and this card game does something really clever to show off a variety of cards in a limited space. Instead of a long list of cards in text or static image form, it utilizes 2 animated gifs to cycle through a bunch of different cards.

Somm by SYNEK

The company behind wine/storage device did something I thought was interesting: They reached out to me to see if they could offer a reward level including Viticulture with the device. I thought it was a nice thematic pairing, so I gave it a try.

That reward level hasn’t exactly taken off–as I learned during my first Kickstarter project, non-gamer wine drinkers are not a target audience for Viticulture–but it’s still an interesting experiment.

2016-04-18_1535Nuheara IQbuds

The project page for these wireless headphones has a brilliant graphic layout for an image talking about the key features for the device. It’s so good that I think it should be even higher up on the project page. I’ve included a screenshot of part of it on the right (it’s much bigger on the project page).

51st State

I think we’re going to see more and more companies–including Stonemaier–running crowdfunding projects on their own websites. It gives us the freedom to pick and choose elements that fit the specific product.

Portal Games is doing this for the new edition of an older game of theirs called 51st State. It’s hosted 100% on their own website, including a funding tracker and list of stretch goals. We’ll be doing something soon for our Token Trilogy & Metal Coins pre-order campaign.

Watchmen of Destiny

This card game has an interesting social dynamic to one of the reward levels. You can either pay $28 for the game + expansion, or you can pledge $22 for the game, then add on the expansion for free if you share the project on social networks.

I also like that this project has a table of contents right at the top of the page. Instead of scrolling as you search for the section you want, you can get a rough idea of where on the project page it appears.


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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15 Comments on “5 Recent Crowdfunding Projects with Unique Strategies

  1. Thank you for you blog and guidance. These blogs, and your book have kept me sane over the course of the last few days.

    In your blog post you talk about posting on BGG and link an article that is no longer public, can you give me the highlight from the post or another link that will help?

    Also, some recommendation on groups, people and blogs if you have any.

    1. William: Thanks for your question. I’m not quite sure which article you’re referring to, though I do have a post specifically about BGG (https://stonemaiergames.com/kickstarter-lesson-94-the-top-10-ways-to-survive-and-thrive-on-board-game-geek).

      As for recommendations about groups, people, and blogs, I’d recommend two things: One, there are several great Facebook groups for talking about Kickstarter and board games in general. There linked in this article: https://stonemaiergames.com/kickstarter-lesson-123-how-to-give-and-take-tough-love-feedback/

      The second is simply to find blogs, podcasts, and YouTube channels you enjoy where people talk about board games and interact on those platforms. There are so many of them, but if you need a starting point, I’d recommend subscribing to Today in Board Games, as Roger links to a ton of interesting sites there: https://todayinboardgames.com/

      1. Thanks for replying so quickly.

        I’m so sorry I posted the questions to the wrong blog post. It was in your kickstarter lesson #94. . The process is kind of a big deal. I’m not sure where to start and I don’t want to mess it up.

  2. Jamey, thank you for the links and for discussing the Dark Souls campaign with me. Just reading through many of the comments on their campaign I can see that division starting to rear its head. It’ll be interesting to see how it all shakes out!

    I’ll be keeping an eye out for your Charterstone Campaign when it kicks off. It sounds very interesting, Legacy village building! Subbed to your newsletter too. :)



  3. Excellent points Jamey, thank you for sharing your insight. I see that they are specifically addressing retailers as backers by including a retailer only pledge, they have 198 retail pledges right now (not sure if that is large or small for retail backers for a campaign this size). Do you think this is wise of them to have a retail only pledge? and should more campaigns for board games try to include retailers in their campaigns? have you experienced a large interest from retailers during your campaigns or has it mostly been a post-campaign interaction? (I apologize ahead of time if you’ve discussed this in another article, please share the link if so, I’d like to hear your take on this)

    1. Nathan: I’ll drop some links below, but my quick answer is that I do think it’s wise for creators to offer retailers an option to get the Kickstarter version of the game at a special price, but not as a reward level. I think that creates an unnecessary and sometimes inflammatory division between individual backers and retail backers. I usually just put a note on the project page for retailers to contact me directly, and I also send out a message before the campaign to all of the retailers on my list.

      https://stonemaiergames.com/statistics-from-the-scythe-kickstarter-project/ (at the end of the entry)

  4. Hey Jamey! Excellent post, I really liked the Gifs for NecronomiCards too.

    I was wondering if you’ve been watching what’s been going on with the Dark Souls Kickstarter Campaign right now. Seems like they are going to bankrupt themselves by adding all stretch goals for free to their 70 euro pledge (base game + all stretch goals for free). So far they have a huge number of unlocked stretch goals many with large detailed minis..I ask because I noticed you made it very clear with Scythe that all stretch goal content was carefully balanced and taken into consideration. What is your take on their choice with the stretch goals for “free”?

    ~ Nathan

    1. Nathan: I’ve kept my eye on it. I would guess that they’ve budgeted the project and know what they’re doing. This is a rough estimate, as I don’t know their exact costs, but based on the current number of components (base game and stretch goals) and the quantity they’re producing, I would say that each game costs them about $20 USD to make. Maybe $25-30 at most. That’s just per-unit production costs, not moulds or freight shipping. So they’re still turning a tidy profit, and justifiably so–there appears to be plenty of interest in the game!

      1. Thanks for replying! I see, in that case they could probably still add on quite a few stretch goals in the coming days (as I imagine they will) and still make out alright. I wasn’t surprised that they funded (over-funded) so quickly, dark souls has a huge fan base. It seems to me the purpose of stretch goals is to give incentive for more people to back their project, yet they are massively over-funding, so fast it seems to be outstripping their ability to add stretch goals fast enough. If they have a massive influx of backers even with out stretch goals, doesn’t that render their stretch goals pointless since fans are going to back it regardless (assuming they will)? Do you think they could have started their stretch goals at a much higher level or have wider gaps between them knowing how huge of a fan base the license commands?

        1. Those are great questions, and it’s something I encountered with a few of my projects (none of which reached the funding levels of Dark Souls as fast as it has, but they got well beyond my best estimates much faster than I thought they would).

          I don’t necessarily think the stretch goals are pointless. They’re exciting, right? For a project like this, it’s the excitement that matters more than the motivational carrot on a stick. Though even on a project like this, stretch goals do a great job of making people feel like they’re in it together, all working towards a common goal. That’s what Kickstarter is great at.

          It’s possible that they could have stretched out the goals a bit more, but the risk is that you end up with backers complaining about how far about they are. I think the key is to space them out just enough so you can talk about one big stretch goal at a time in project updates. Burning through a dozen stretch goals can be fun, but I think it’s much more satisfying for everyone to push towards a new goal and then learn about how awesome it is (or vice versa).

  5. Hi Jamey – praise coming from you is held in high regard by us as we have read your book inside and out and taken all your wisdom re: crowdfunding to heart. So from me personally and the Nuheara IQbuds team, we say “Thank You!” for this mention and also for sharing your knowledge so freely with us and the world! We will toast a glass of wine to you. :)

  6. I love the table of contents on Watchmen of Destiny. Kickstarter pages take getting used to and can be confusing to new users. The table of contents can help that dramatically.

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