KS Lessons Full List – Chronological

This is a compilation of all of Jamey’s posts for crowdfunders, creators, and entrepreneurs. You can support the ongoing creation of these blog posts by becoming a Stonemaier Champion.

If you don’t have time to read each of these entries, the best advice from each of the items list is condensed down to a few pages in a special section at the end of Jamey’s crowdfunding book!

Before You Launch

Start Here

Research, Development, and Skill Building

Build a Crowd

Define the Scope of Your Project

Art and Graphic Design

Legal and Accounting

Reviewers

Create the Perfect Project Page

Film the Project Video

The Funding Goal and Budgeting

Reward Strategies

Early Birds and Exclusives

Timing Strategies

Establishing Trust

Stretch Goals and Achievements

Shipping and Worldwide Accessibility

Localization and Worldwide Accessibility

Behavioral Psychology

Final-Week Preparations and Tasks

During Your Campaign

Thrive on Launch Day

Logistics, Stats, and Project Management

Interact with Backers

Improve the Product

Project Updates

Maintain Emotional Health

Lead the Way to Trust and Passion

Build Community

Customer Service

Relationship-Driven Marketing

Leverage Backers to Boost Your Project

Social Networks

External Marketing and Advertising

The Final Week

After Your Project

The Aftermath

Post-Campaign Communication

Continue to Sell the Product

Gather Information from Backers

Scheduling and Timelines

Release the Product and Move Forward

Entrepreneurship and Working for Yourself

Growing and Sustaining a Business

66 Comments on “KS Lessons Full List – Chronological

  1. We’ve been following all your posts about Kickstarter projects since March as we prepare for our own Kickstarter in the fall. And we’ve gone back and read all the previous ones. Extremely helpful information.

    This list in topical order I think will be a great help to the community.

    Thank you.

    1. Games Afoot: Hi, thanks for your comment. I always love to hear when a creator has been preparing for a project for many months–that’s indicative of your commitment and passion for the project. Good luck when you launch!

  2. I love the concept behind your blog, but I’m finding it quite difficult to navigate. Right now I’m in the mood for reading anything that answers the question, “How do I make more people aware that my page exists?” and have been struggling to sort the articles that answer this question from the ones that don’t. I was about to click away and never read the blog again, though I figured you’d appreciate it more if I left you some feedback first.

    1. Thanks Jon! I’m always trying to improve the structure for the blog, as it’s a lot of information. I would suggest going to the KS Lessons drop-down menu and selecting “Run Your Campaign” and “Level Up Your Campaign.” That’s where you’ll find the information you’re looking for.

  3. Wow there is so much info here. Thanks so much for making all of these blog posts available. After creating a board game and playing it with family for some time now I’ve been thinking about making a kickstarter campaign. Now after seeing this page I’m not sure if I’m more scared or more excited. There’s just so much to take in. At any rate, thanks!!

  4. Hi Jamey!
    Amazing blog and I just can’t get enough…even though I’m a bit stressed out…you certainly know the feeling of literally not having any time for yourself or for just plain “not doing anything”! It’s been months on the prep of our upcoming Kickstarter. But,
    I have two questions for you:
    1.- What do you think about launching during summer time vacations? Mid July through mid August.
    2.- Been trying to find where is any post or lesson that relates to running multiple crowdfunding campaigns. At the same time or after one has ended. Any insight you could share?
    Best!
    Matt from HoliPlay Games

  5. Would you ever market something as a stretch goal that you would include anyway?
    For example you have a certain card as a stretch goal, but you would include even if it wasn’t made?

    1. I wouldn’t market something as a stretch goal that I planned to include anyway. However, I might come to that decision after the campaign if I felt it was the right thing to do (and within budget). Most likely, though, if we didn’t meet a stretch goal, I would save that content for an expansion or promo pack.

      On the same note, I wouldn’t launch a Kickstarter without offering a fully functional, complete game.

  6. Hello

    How goes it? I hope all is well :) and congrats on your successful campaigns.

    My partners and I are planning on launching our first game and Kickstarter campaign in June.
    We are using Panda Games as our manufacturer.
    We are planning on using Amazon fullfimnet centers in different regions along with other centers in other regions.
    The only outstanding issue is freighting the pallets to those centers. We’re thinking of using Panda Games DDP service. Is that what you used, or another one? If so how does it help with customs fees and keeping the end price down?

    Best wishes

    Shayan

  7. Hello. I want to say I am sorry if this is the wrong place to post something like this, I am still kind of new around here. Is there a place to view new articles/ post that have just been released?
    Aswell, I have also seen Jamey post articles about things that non-tabletop kickstarters do that might work in the tabletop kickstarter realm. Does anyone know if there is an article about friendily advertising? By this I mean one project releasing an update advertising for a different game, not made by them, and then that project realsong an update advertising your project? I have just recently backed projects in fashion and technology and both of these categories seem to do it a lot. Thank you for the help.

  8. John: If you go to the following link, you can see the most recent blog entry (and all that preceded it). You can also enter your e-mail on the right of this page to get an e-mail whenever a new blog entry goes live: https://stonemaiergames.com/e-newsletter/blog/

    I think you’re talking about cross-promotion, right? Here’s my post about that technique: https://stonemaiergames.com/kickstarter-lesson-51-cross-promotion-between-kickstarter-projects/

    Also check out the entire External Marketing and Advertising section on the current page (the one this comment is on).

  9. Hi Jamey,

    I hope to launch my own kickstarter for a boardgame. I’ve made prototypes game through several playtests but now I find myself trying to figure out kickstarter and getting something going. I just borrowed your book from the library. Would you recommend that I read your book first or go through your wonderful kickstarter lessons first?

    Thanks in advance

  10. Hi, can you answer my question please? I want to join Kickstarter and it requires to be US citizen, but I am non-US citizen. I’m thinking about asking help from my investor who lives in Australia. But I have some trust issues with him. How should I write the contract paper? And one more question, if the investor deceives me, will the Kickstarter be responsible for it, or not?

    1. Nazrin: I have a few thoughts here. The first is to hire a lawyer who specializes in contracts. Zachary Strebech (the lawyer who has written a number of guest posts for this blog) is great at that. The second is that if you already don’t trust your partner, maybe he shouldn’t be your partner? And the third is that Kickstarter is not liable at all for anything.

  11. Thanks for answering and one more question. Is it posssible to attend in kickstarter in the name of my investor, but can i still stay as the owner of the project ?

  12. please let me explain you my situation shortly. i am Azerbaijan citizen and want to attend with my project. there is no Azerbaijan in your country list. So what would you suggest? Because i want to look as a project owner even when i attend with my investor’s name.

  13. also;
    when we reach to our goal and gather backer’s support, how long does the procedure take to see the amount in my own account?

    1. Just to clarify, I don’t work at Kickstarter. I’m a Kickstarter creator–I don’t have a country list.

      I would suggest reading this and post your questions here: https://stonemaiergames.com/kickstarter-lesson-180-how-to-register-your-business-in-the-us-from-anywhere-in-the-world/

      I’d also recommend reading Kickstarter’s FAQ, as these are core questions that are answered there: https://www.kickstarter.com/help/faq/creator+questions?ref=faq_nav#GettStar

  14. I don’t know where else to ask this.

    I was wondering if the choking hazard warning needs to have a certain wording to be legally safe. I realized that different versions are used and that Scythe only has the label (not for children under 3 years) but no words.

    So far I have “WARNING: Not a toy! Not suitable for children under three years” and the label on the box of my game.

  15. Interesting, I was surprised that on my Scythe box there is only the label but no wording. Thank you!

  16. Hey Jamey,

    Great KS lessons! I’ve read through quite a few of these, and have picked up a lot of tips/knowledge that I hadn’t thought about (BTW I’m still reading through them).

    I do have a question for you that isn’t KS related, but goes along with the theme of this page. Have you ever thought of creating a section like this for your journey/process in creating and sustaining Stonemaier games? As in what were the important things you and your partner discussed, what are things that blindsided you, at what point did you decide to make the transition from developing your games to helping others more actively? I know you’ve mentioned some of this in passing in a few lessons, but didn’t know if it was something you had done, or possibly thought about.

    Thanks for your time!

    1. Jeremiah: Thanks for your question and your suggestion. There is a big section on the page about growing and sustaining a business–there’s a lot of info in there as it relates to Stonemaier. I appreciate the sentiment that I’ve transitioned from developing games to helping people, but the truth is that running Stonemaier Games (with games being a big part of that) is my #1 priority, and has been for a while. I’ve been writing this blog as a way of sharing my insights and mistakes with people since late 2012.

      1. Ah, it appears you read my mind before I had the question, or I just need to learn how to read. I just wanted to clarify my statement of, “helping others more actively.” I did mean that in a business perspective for your company. I think I remember seeing somewhere that you have 6 games you’ve developed, and another 50+ that have come from others. I may be mistaken, but I meant your transition from developing your own thought child to developing other’s, within your company.

        Hope that clears up what I meant! Sorry for the poor word choice before.

        1. Jeremiah: Thanks for the clarification. I see what you’re saying now. :)

          So far I’ve designed most games that Stonemaier has published, but there are 2 games for which I’ve served as a developer instead: Between Two Cities by Ben Rosset and Matthew O’Malley and an unannounced game by an unannounced designer. I’ve always wanted Stonemaier to be more than a vanity publisher of my work, so our submission process has been open since 2013. We’re highly selective, with one of the reasons being that I want to be able to commit a lot of time to each selected game as a developer to help the designers make it as great as it can be.

  17. Hey Jamey,

    Long time no talk. I just have a quick question. Do you know of any studies out there that compare the appeal of a project that only has a base model and a limited or KS edition vs a project that has a base model, deluxe model, and a limited or KS edition?

    I know I’ve read through things that have talked about things like this, but I don’t remember seeing an actual study to compare the “appeal” between the two.

    Thanks.

  18. Jamey!

    First off, thanks a ton for the posts and the book. Both have been absolutely invaluable in our quest to launch our first Kickstarter. I am a bit perplexed about one problem we have, and really don’t know where else to turn. Our release is what could be referred to as a “party game” and I can’t seem to find any decent-sized official community for that genre. Short of targeting Facebook ads towards people who’ve ‘liked’ Cards Against Humanity and the like, I’m stuck. This is particularly frustrating because I’m such a social creature. I would appreciate any thoughts.

    Again, the book and posts have been invaluable! It truly seems like a labor of love, and it shows.

    1. Adrian: That’s an interesting question. While there are plenty of hobby gamers who play social game, I think you’re right about the online communities around hobby games not generating much discussion around social games. But perhaps they’re a good place to start? Maybe jump on the Board Game Spotlight or BoardGameGeek Facebook groups to see if people have suggestions (or start a conversation about social games there and see how people respond).

  19. Jamey,

    I am nearly finished with your audio book and it has given me a much better perspective.

    First, I know you mentioned that you do not like Early Bird specials because they segregate backers and create winners and losers. The problem is KS campaigns need as much momentum early on as possible, but you want to have backers have a great experience. Possible solution: Offer a special reward to all pledge tiers if X happens with Y hours of a campaign start. Everyone wins if the early pledges come in!

    Second, it really hit home when you kept mentioning in your book “make it about the backers”. All people (backers included) feel somewhat uncomfortable when asking others to spend money whether it is direct or not. For instance, if one of my stretch goals is $12,500 to include “black core cards” and I ask you to support our campaign, you are subconsciously asking for money by sharing. However, if that same stretch goal was 500 backers and we will unlock it (regardless of what the campaign has raised) and I ask you to share it – NOW you can ask others to check out the project because even if they pledge $1, they still count as a backer. You also mention in your audio book that most $1 pledgers ultimately end up raising their pledge amount if you have a great product as well – so let me ask the ultimate question in this comment – “What are your thoughts on launching a campaign with only backer count stretch goals, and make it about building a community, rather than focusing on the money?” In theory the two should go hand in hand, but one is much easier to support and share (in my opinion).

    I would love to get your thoughts!

    Thanks,
    Travis

    1. Travis: Thanks for your comment! As for your first idea, I’ve seen some campaigns use it to great success. The example I always use is the Trickerion campaign, but there are others that have used a similar method. https://stonemaiergames.com/kickstarter-lesson-228-incentives-and-strategies-to-boost-day-1-backers/

      As for stretch goals, I have a bunch of posts on this page regarding them, and I’ll link to one below. You’re right that backer-focused stretch goals can be good for the sense of community. The downside, though, is that they really “stretch” the connection between the goal thresholds and actually making the product better. The core idea of stretch goals is about economies of scale–if you raise more money, you can make more units, and the cost per unit goes down, allowing you to enhance it. It’s all kind of a game in the end, but the further you get from that core idea–like with backer count goals–the more it reminds backers that stretch goals are more of a game than science. This can lead to backlash instead of community. You’re certainly welcome to try it, though, and I hope you report back about how it works out! https://stonemaiergames.com/the-current-state-of-stretch-goals-2017/

  20. Hi Jamey,

    I have a question concerning Net Kickstarter Revenue

    I have a few different people assisting me with creating a game for Kickstarter and will be offering them a % portion of the Net Kickstarter Revenue for their work on the project.

    Have you created any posts discussing what total % of Net Kickstarter Revenue is to much to give away or what total % a creator should ensure to have to deliver the best game possible to his backers. I looked at your full list and nothing jumped out at me. I know this is a fairly open-ended question and unique to each creator.

    I would love to hear your thoughts on this. I would also be interested to hear other game designers opinions as well.

    Your content is saving me so much time and boosts my confidence in prepping for a future KS campaign. Thank you for all you do.

    Best,
    Josh

    1. Josh: Thanks for your question. I would say this best fits under “partnership,” but it sounds like these are temporary partners, not long term equity holders.

      My only experience with designating a portion of Kickstarter funds to a specific person is through contracts with designers or IP holders. For those agreements, I use gross revenue, as I think it serves that person best to be able to look at the funding total on the Kickstarter page and know instantly how much of it they’re getting. Net is fine, but it requires more calculation for them.

      As for the amount for these people, it really depends on what they’re doing and what your margins look like. I’m sure the vast majority of the funds you’re raising need to go towards sunk costs, production, and shipping, so at most I would designate 10% total to all helpers, artists, IP holders, etc getting a direct piece of the pie.

      1. Jamey,

        Thank you so much for your quick response. I have read it a number of times and it is very helpful. It was good to hear that my % was not abnormal or crazy.

        Best,

        Josh

  21. Haven’t noticed a section devoted to it, so maybe you haven’t looked into it at all, but what is the market viability of selling some of the game art in the form of art prints, playmats, t-shirts etc.

    We are just wondering if we should bother looking into it. Basically, is there a demand for these things?

    1. Byran: Thanks for your question. I’ve talked about it in terms of Kickstarter (https://stonemaiergames.com/kickstarter-lesson-63-stay-focused-or-lose-backers/), but not in general.

      I would say that there is a market, but a very limited one. For example, there are tens of thousands of Viticulture fans, but sales for these t-shirts have been minimal: https://www.meeplesource.com/products.php?posted=1&nobox=true&filter=vineyard

      Shirt-specific campaigns have had some small successes on Kickstarter: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/peterchayward/jellybean-shirts-colorful-clothing-for-board-gamer

  22. Hello i just bought your book!!!I believe that it will be useful to me since i would like to understand some basic information in order to launch a campaign!!!However, I would like to know your opinion about the indiegogo site which is similar to kickstarter ( i am forced to go there since my country is not available to kickstarter).

    Thank your for your advice.

    Angelos

  23. Hi again, i have some additional questions to make:

    1) How can a designer be sure that through the crowdfunding method none wont steal his idea/boardgame (your opinion about this)?
    2) If i launch a campaign, and it is successful, am i obliged to show the corresponding receipts of what was bought in order to accomplish my goal?
    3) What about the excess money that i gain, since i do what i had to do, once the funding was successful, do i keep it as a profit?

    Thank you!!!

      1. Thank you for your advices!!! And something else: Can someone launch a campaign in many sites simultaneously?

  24. Since it sounds like a way of potentially increasing the probability of succeeding, why wouldn’t you recommend it?

    1. Because it’ll divide your attention and your backers between multiple sites, making each campaign look less successful than if they were combined into one. People are drawn to success.

      If you have any other questions, please post them in the comments of the corresponding blog post.

  25. I’ve been studying these lessons and I even read your book… but I made the decision to put off all crowdfunding plans for my first game design. I appreciate all the knowledge I learned and just wanna say that I will be back someday to brush up… For now I’m gonna pass my design off to anyone interested, work on my other game & build my audience for a few more years. I hope to see you in Seattle next month (I would love to get my book autographed!) -D.D.

  26. Jamey

    Thank you for genuinely wanting to help board game creators. I am trying to become one. I’ve appreciated your video on YouTube talking on the 10 steps. It was cool to find out I was doing the steps in order. I’ve created a prototype and am play-testing within my gaming group and working on rules. I need to get a designer (I think that’s what the artist is called) and a production company OR kickstart it… This is where I need help. The only 2 companies I’ve thought of are you and CMON (since my game will have miniatures)… one issue I have is, I don’t know how to talk to them.

    I’m being candid with you, but I think that will lead to me getting walked over… any tips?

    How should my emails to artists, production companies, etc, look?
    Do you have a template I could use?

    Also, how do I get artists, productions companies, etc, without telling/showing them my whole board game and having it stolen?

    Even just the idea of my game is so different that I feel like they would jump on it immediately. Thank you in advance.

    Btw, I haven’t played Scythe yet but will this next week at the Dice Tower Con in Orlando. The game looks beautiful.

    – Eric

    1. Eric: Thanks for posting your questions here! I’ll answer in brief, though I think you would benefit greatly by reading through these posts: https://stonemaiergames.com/kickstarter/how-to-design-a-tabletop-game/

      1. If you want to talk to a company about publishing your game, look on their website to see their submission guidelines. If they don’t have submission guidelines, they probably aren’t accepting submissions. And if they do have guidelines, they’ll tell you exactly how they prefer to be contacted.

      2. I don’t have a template for contacting artists, graphic designers, and manufacturers. I would suggest simply introducing yourself, tell them what you’re working on (in brief), and tell them what you’re looking for. Keep it simple and ask them if they want to know more.

      3. The best thing you can possibly do to prevent someone from stealing your game is to share it early and often. That way if anyone ever does steal it (which is HIGHLY unlikely), you have a public paper trail to prove it was your game first. Also, ideas themselves are worthless (see my article about this)–it’s the execution that matters. I would say there’s a 99.99% chance that your idea is already found in another game, and that’s okay. What matters is that you execute your idea in a way that is unique, fun, and innovative as compared to the existing execution.

      If you have any other questions, please post them on the specific blog entry about that topic so other people researching that topic can benefit from the question and answer. Thanks!

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