1 July 2014
On Sunday evening, I noticed some posts on Facebook about Zombicide: Season 3’s quick ascension into the ranks of wildly overfunded projects. In the 4 hours since launching, it had raised nearly half a million dollars.
I shrugged and went back to what I was doing.
You see, while not ever miniatures project does really well on Kickstarter, CoolMiniOrNot has made a business out of creating really successful miniatures projects. It’s what they do. And I must admit that I don’t really care about miniatures–they certainly don’t get me excited enough to spend $100 on a game.
But then I stopped. What if there was something to learn from Zomicide: Season 3? What if CoolMiniOrNot was doing something unique that every Kickstarter creator could learn from? I decided to dig deeper. Here’s what I learned:
- History: CMON is now an established company. There have been a few brand-new creators who have done extremely well with miniatures projects, but you have a much higher chance of success if you have a solid track record.
- The Original Game Gets Played: It’s one thing to have a game raise a lot of money on Kickstarter, but it’s quite another for lots of people to actually play that game. Zombicide has 4,742 ratings on BoardGameGeek, and it has scored a very solid 7.59/10.
- Stand-Alone Game: I was a little baffled to see that the original Zombicide game wasn’t included in a reward level on Season 3, until I noticed that Season 3 can be played by itself. It’s a stand-alone game. This is pretty brilliant. It allows CMON to build upon the original world that people already know, while still remaining accessible to new players.
- Fear of Missing Out: For better or for worse, CMON is the king of “fear of missing out.” They use early bird levels and exclusive rewards to add a huge amount of urgency to the project. I’m not a fan of those tactics, as the last thing I want to do as a Kickstarter creator is to make my backers fear anything, but it’s working for CMON.
- Momentum: Recently I wrote about the science behind how momentum breeds success. Zombicide is all about momentum. Raising nearly a million dollars from 5,468 backers in 2 days catches your eye–you wonder, “If that many people like what they’re doing, surely they’re doing something good.”
- Stretch Goals: The Zombicide projects do a great job of inspiring people to spend more and share the project, because the more money is raised, the more stuff is included in the box. Even though I don’t care about miniatures, I have to applaud their stretch goals. These aren’t basic component upgrades–the vast majority of the stretch goals include new miniatures. People feel like they’re getting a ton of value for their money.
Also, though I don’t think this plays into their success, I found it interesting that all shipping is added on via pledge manager after the project. On one hand, this is good, because it ensures that everyone pays the price for their exact area, not a general region. On the other hand, backers in certain areas are so accustomed to having shipping included in their price, that some of them may be surprised when the project ends that they have to pay more. Overall, I kind of like it, because most game prices on Kickstarter are deceiving in a way that isn’t particularly beneficial to project creators. Someone might pay $39 for a game on Kickstarter, but really they’re paying $29 plus $10 shipping in a case where $39 for the game by itself would be a great price.
I’m not a backer, but I’m impressed by what CoolMiniOrNot has done. If you have any insights about the Zombicide: Season 3 project that will benefit other creators, I’d love to read them in the comments.