5 Unique Tactics Used by Recent Crowdfunding Projects

24 March 2017 | 14 Comments

In this series, I highlight some of the interesting choices made by recent crowdfunders 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.

Tasty Minstrel Games

  • Equity Crowdfunding: TMG recently became the first board game company (as far as I know) to test out the new IGG/MicroVentures equity crowdfunding model. Instead of just getting a reward, you’re actually investing your money in TMG to own a portion of the company. The level of financial transparency on the project page is unprecedented, and it’s really interesting to read the CEO’s responses in the comments at the bottom. Will this model catch on? We’ll have to wait and see. As of this writing, TMG has raised $46,858 from 73 investors (out of $1 million in available shares based on a $4 million valuation).

Wu Wei

  • 3D Interactive Board: Gino Brancazio recently brought this to my attention. Gray Wolf Games, the makers of a game on Kickstarter called Wu Wei, have an 3D interactive depiction of the game on their website. Sure, we’ve seen this type of thing on Tabletop Simulator and Tabletopia, but the amazing thing here is that it’s integrated directly into Gray Wolf’s website. Within a few seconds of arriving at this page, you can be looking at the board from any angle or proximity. It’s a good reminder to me that removing barriers to entry makes a big difference–if Gray Wolf had simply included a link to Tabletopia, there’s a much slimmer chance I would check out the board.

Cytosis: A Cell Biology Board Game

  • Documentary-Style Updates: On these entries, I try to focus on creators I haven’t featured in the past, but John Coveyou keeps doing truly innovative things! For Genius Games’ latest project, John has a documentary filmmaker (a local film student) recording the entire process: designing, developing, prototyping, crowdfunding, producing, refining, and delivering a product to backers. The first video in the series already has 600+ views.

Unknown Realm: An 8-Bit RPG for PC and Commodore 64

  • Tangible Rewards for a Digital Product: Sometimes I think that digital projects suffer because digital rewards aren’t as satisfying as tangible ones. Like, would you rather get a special chocolate emoji or an actual piece of chocolate? So it’s always neat to see when a digital project like Unknown Realm offers some tangible rewards (like a cloth map, metal cipher, and custom engraved wooden dice) an to make their project special for their biggest fans. Crowdfunding is the perfect opportunity to offer stuff like that–just make sure to price it correctly so it’s worth the time, effort, and expense, particularly since these types of items typically take you away from your core competancy.

Import/Export

  • The Perfect Tagline: “”Glory to Rome meets Container” with role selection, over 100 unique powers, & a player driven economy!” I’ve seen project taglines ranging from completely ineffective to great, but I think this may be the best I’ve ever seen. The brilliance of it is that it’s not trying to appeal to everyone, but within just a few words–including the crucial comparison to two published games–Jordan Draper is able to capture the attention of his target audience. It reminds me a little of my KS Lesson about framing your project’s potential.

I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments on the projects mentioned in this post, as well as any other projects you’ve seen recently that have been thought-provoking.

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14 Comments on “5 Unique Tactics Used by Recent Crowdfunding Projects

  1. A reader from Vietnam.

    Your book is so inspiring and we would like to recommend it to founders and startup ecosystem in my country.
    The prelaunch checklist, the 10 common mistakes…those are really useful for founders who want to launch a campaign.
    Besides, as I mentioned in previous emails, I would be very thankful if you could give us some advice on our project BeeKrowd when we launch it on May. Your words mean a lot to us, indeed.

    Thanks alot Jamey.
    Manh Ha, BeeKrowd.

  2. A reader from Vietnam.

    I am inspired by your book, Jamey and I want to bring it to more readers and founders in my country. After reading it and “Start with WHY” of Simon Sinek, I started to build BeeKrowd without hesitation. I will finish the platform in several weeks and I would very grateful if you could give us some advice or comments about our project. Your words mean a lot to us.
    Thanks alot.

    Manh Ha, BeeKrowd.

    1. Thanks for sharing, and congrats on being so close to launch! You’re welcome to ask questions at any time in the comments here and on other articles, and I’ll do my best to answer them.

      1. From the book I know this “90+ hours a week during the first campaign”, that was so amazing!!!
        My teammate is thinking about quitting day job to follow our platform project. I took a picture of your words in the book and send him.
        Me as well, the CFA Level III exam, I do not know whether I can handle both as the same time. However, you show me there is still a probability as long as we know how to focus more.

  3. So equity crowdfunding is my Monday morning coffee break thought-to-chew-on (and what were you saying last week about how not to start your work day? :-p )

    Equity crowdfunding is an interesting thought for a private company. It’s literally a financially democratic instrument for a less-regulated form of investment. I’m a conservative investor and I’m leery of private equity because there’s not the transparency or protection. What kind of equity is TMG offering – is it voting or non-voting, preferred or non-preferred, does it pay dividends and are there fees for selling it? Nothing against TMG – it’s a great organization and I enjoy their games. But if I were to think of it as an investment, and investment is only worth what someone else is willing to pay for it, and without a transparent market for sale or purchase, I can’t say what my actual investment is worth.

    That said, if I believe in and want a company to be successful, I can easily put $100 in and say “Go, build something amazing.” and not expect anything back.

    One thought is – why raise equity rather than increase sales? It’s a way to gain non-revenue cash without sales effort, but it doesn’t improve any of the other valuations of a company – sales conversion, earnings to asset or earnings to liability ratios. One thing it does is establish an EPS – earnings per share – ratio which is commonly used to assess company valuation. The other ratio commonly used is EBIT or EBITDA, which is non-GAAP for publicly traded companies. So I wonder if TMG is trying to make themselves have a market value.

  4. Wow TMG equity crowdfunding is interesting. I wonder what made them go that route. I think I like it!

    Also, I love the idea of someone documenting this whole process start to finish. Genius Games has an apt name. They make some very bright marketing decisions and their games do incredibly well.

    1. Here’s what their CEO says in the FAQ about why they’re going the equity route:

      “The cash inside of TMG will enable the ability to take certain risks that we would not currently.

      Said another way, bringing the investment into TMG will allow us to make more of the games (and more depth on some) that we want to make. It will allow us to execute on some additional integrated businesses and marketing efforts concentrated on building a relationship with the gamer.”

    1. Also, this:

      STRETCH GOALS

      If we raise over $10000, I will add the option to change the ball color from white to yellow.

      If we raise over $12000, I will put a poorly drawn animal (backers will vote to decide) into one of the cutscenes.

      TROLL GOAL: If we raise *exactly* $15000, I will remove the drawing from the game, as well as the ball color option. Don’t let this happen!

      If we raise over $15000, I will put the drawing and ball option back in as well as a secret level full of collectible sausages.

      If we raise over $25000, I will be incredibly surprised.

      1. That’s interesting about the rewards. I’m surprised they didn’t use Indiegogo instead, as they allow for “flexible funding”–creators can get the money even if they don’t reach their goal (and in turn, they have to fulfill the rewards for pledges made during the campaign).

  5. Great call outs to some people who have been innovating. Michael Mindes keeps finding ways to push the envelope and John Coveyou has been brilliant in build his niche with education/sciencey projects.

    I’m heading over to take a look at these others as well.

    Thanks again for sharing

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