Live-Blogging Lesson #8: The Feeling of Running a Mega Project

18 October 2015 | 78 Comments

This is an odd post to write.

It’s odd to label my own project, Scythe, a “mega project,” especially while the project is live (heck, it’s only day 6!) It’s odd because it feels self-congratulatory even though it really, truly is not. It’s odd because in the past I’ve written about mega projects from the outside looking in instead of the other way around.

Particularly, it’s odd because what I write about here probably won’t apply to the vast majority of creators. But I think at some point we’ve all probably hoped to be the creator of a project that really blows up, and I’d like to give you the inside scoop of how it feels.

2015-10-18_2202

Day 1: Tuesday

Launch day was a whirlwind of activity from the moment I pressed the “launch” button. We had a funding goal of $33,000, and the project funded in 2 minutes and 45 seconds (someone timed it–I was busy updating links on my website and moving my FAQ over to the project page). I don’t know the exact timing, but I think we hit all of our Day 1 stretch goals (up to $158k) in less than 30 minutes.

I was both elated and immediately overwhelmed with the magnitude of comments and messages on Kickstarter. Overwhelmed, but in a good way. It was very flattering to have so many people support the project right away without any early birds or exclusives–it said to me that they were genuinely excited about Scythe and wanted to support Stonemaier.

I probably did not look away from the computer screen for 2-3 hours straight. I honestly forgot to even go to the bathroom, which my bladder was not happy about.

When I snapped out of my daze due to hunger, I realized something: I hadn’t checked Facebook or BoardGameGeek the entire time. I simply didn’t have a spare second to do so. I made a decision at that point that I was just going to focus on Kickstarter for the first day and just skim–but not participate–on BGG.

As for Facebook, I didn’t even skim, as I quickly realized that something unique was happening there. The outpouring of support and enthusiasm for Scythe on Facebook by fans was being met with cruelty, aggression, and libel by a vocal minority. It was really sad for me to see a small number of people being so condemning of people who were excited about something. There even seemed to be some kind of conspiracy theory that I was behind all the activity on Facebook. I don’t even know what that means or what it would look like, but I can assure you that I don’t have the time, ingenuity, or desire to execute some sort of automated hype machine.

It didn’t feel good to see people treating me or each other that way on Facebook, so I just stayed out of it. I had plenty of other things to do on Kickstarter, and I spent the rest of my day doing them. I forced myself to finally switch off and go to bed around 1:00 am. I did not sleep well, and my cats didn’t care.

Day 2: Wednesday

The second day was one of the most exhausting, defeating days I’ve ever lived through. Which is weird, because when we reached the 24-hour mark, Scythe had raised a monumental sum that far surpassed my projections:

2015-10-14_0829

I wrote the first project update, sent it out, and that’s when the horror began.

Basically, I tried a new stretch goal system (daily goals) that some people didn’t like. They really didn’t like it. To the extent that people threatened and bullied me. It didn’t feel good.

In hindsight, I know that those people didn’t feel good either. They felt like I was manipulating them, and they felt betrayed that I had based the Day 2 daily goal on the previous day’s total.

I knew that my intentions were good–I was trying to create a system of daily excitement and engagement–but as the comments piled up from a few hundred people, I also know that my intentions didn’t really matter. What mattered was that happiness of my backers. What mattered was that the conversation was dominating the comments to the point that they were no longer welcoming at all to people who wanted to talk about other things. That’s not the community-driven, inclusive environment I want to foster on Kickstarter.

Even as the funding total continued to climb, the day became harder and harder as those comments piled up (on Kickstarter and elsewhere–from what I hear, reddit was abuzz with it). I’ve never experienced clinical depression, but I think I got a glimpse of what it felt like on that day. It felt like the very air I was breathing was as thick as water.

You might be able to see the toll it was taking on me during my live video chat with JR Honeycutt, which happened that afternoon:

JR ended the call with an unrecorded pep talk that I really appreciated. That, combined with other people–many of whom were complete strangers, as well as my 2-year-old niece–contacting me with words of encouragement, really helped me get through the slog to see what I needed to do. It also really helped to have an amazing team of ambassadors who were able to help out in the comments (and who reminded me that the vast majority of backers seemed perfectly content).

That evening, before going to bed, I changed the system to a more traditional stretch goal model. Then I went to bed. Again I didn’t sleep well. Again, the cats didn’t care.

IMG_4754Day 3: Thursday

Day 3 was AWESOME. It was finally what I wanted Scythe to be. The conversation on Kickstarter was fun and light and sometimes constructive or questioning, but never threatening or antagonistic like the previous day.

I’m noting this because even if you have a project bringing in a ton of money, it may not feel successful or fun if you’re not accomplishing your true goal. My true goal on Kickstarter is always to create community, and Day 3 was when that really came together.

I did one other thing on Thursday that really helped. As of Day 1, I was already filtering cancellation notification e-mails so I never saw them. I determined a long time ago that they don’t benefit me at all to see–they’re just a punch in the gut every time. So I never see them.

However, on Scythe, I was also getting so many notification e-mails for new pledges and comments that they were obscuring all of the actionable e-mails in my inbox. First-world problems, right? So I ended up filtering almost all notification e-mails from Kickstarter (aside from messages and comments on updates), and it’s made a huge difference.

(Sidenote for clarification: The ability for backers to cancel pledges is incredibly important, and it’s actually one of my favorite things about Kickstarter. There is nothing wrong with doing that. I’m just saying that as a creator, I don’t want to know about it when it happens. :) )

Day 3 was also the first day that I left my condo for the first time since launching the project. I took out the trash, soaked in the sun, then went back to work. I slept great that night. In fact, my Sleep Talk app recorded epic amounts of snoring, which means a deep sleep for me.

***

The last few days have been similar to Day 3. That doesn’t mean that everything is perfect–there’s still plenty of constructive criticism and probing questions, which are great, especially since they’re mixed in with tons of conversation about various topics with backers (6,048 comments and counting). I’ve also been able to pay attention and selectively participate in conversations on BGG, Facebook, and Twitter.

My experience is probably quite different than the experience of other creators who have seen their projects grow much bigger than what they expected. Or maybe we have a lot in common. I’m not sure this post can really help prepare another creator for running the first week of a mega project, but maybe it will give you some insight into the emotional and logistical roller coaster you need to be ready for.

Also, for backers who read this, perhaps it’s a small reminder that creators are people too. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t hold us accountable or challenge us–we’re here to serve you. Our professionalism should be consistent whether we’re feeling good or bad. But it goes a long way when you treat us as human. At least, speaking for myself, I really appreciate it!

78 Comments on “Live-Blogging Lesson #8: The Feeling of Running a Mega Project

  1. I’ve never figured out why there’s always a very small minority of people who have to be so vocal about disliking something. Do they think they’re saving us from evil?

    Fine, you don’t like something about the campaign, move on. Visit your shrink. Form a Reddit sub about what you hate in life, but otherwise bugger off. Let the creators create, destroy on your own time.

    Don’t worry Jamey, we got your back.

    1. Thanks, Spencer. I honestly don’t understand it, nor is there a rational explanation for that type of behavior. All I can do is wish those people the best and be grateful for my supporters.

      1. The amazing thing was that the biggest naysayers on the BGG Facebook group were STILL BUYING THE GAME. But they just had to get on there with their “I don’t get the hype” posts, even when they answer WHY they were excited or interested about the game right in their post. Some people just need to be negative, I suppose.

    2. > I’ve never figured out why there’s always a very small minority of
      > people who have to be so vocal about disliking something.

      Maybe I can answer that. Of course I cannot speak for everyone.

      I sometimes voice my displeasure when a game/movie/book or whatever is very good in all but one way (eg. the movie Watchmen), or maybe even more when the thing itself is fine but some side aspect is not (eg. I don’t use Paypal, and when Paypal would have been the only way to pay for Scythe I would be pretty upset about it).

      1. Yooden: That’s a good point, especially for things that people have actually read, watched, or played. But does the same apply to something like Scythe or the new Star Wars movie where people were saying really harsh things about them even though they hadn’t played or watched them at all?

  2. nice.. i liked your idea for sg’s. but would possibly need a blend of both somehow. ;)
    also in ks. i use stared projects as my actively backed or watching projects. once they end and i dont back they get removed or once they are fully received and I no longer need to watch comments section i remove it. problem is that if you back a project before staring it, you can’t star it. i have had to cancel then repledge a number of times.

    1. Jason: That’s interesting about the combination of starring and backing a project! And yes, I agree that the daily goal format may have worked if I made a few key tweaks. Lesson learned. :)

    2. Hi Jason, I recently discovered a trick to star a project even if already backed.
      As you know if you back a project before starring the link to “remind me” disappear from main project page.
      You should add /watch in the address at the end of project link and press enter.
      For example for Scythe

      https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/jameystegmaier/scythe/watch

      This way the usual 48h end project reminder will pop up and you will find Scythe in backed and starred projects.

      Hope this helps.

      Fab

  3. Sorry that Wednesday was so rough on you. I think as the day wore on I could actually sense the abject panic in your consecutive responses and it made me feel awful. You have an amazing project and you do outstanding work not only to bring us great games but to foster that community. Always remember to see the forest through the trees. Sounds like you had some dead, barren, rotten trees looming up in front of you and you had to straight up chainsaw them down to see the majesty behind ’em.

    1. Thanks Ray. It was an odd day, because funding kept going up and up as my spirits went down and down. :) But hey, it happens, and I’m glad backers who saw what I was trying to do stuck around even if they weren’t 100% behind the daily goal idea.

  4. e-hugs, Jamey. sorry to hear the beginning was so draining. the way you run your campaigns is awesome, the product you are putting out is awesome, and you deserve to feel nothing but the utmost sense of pride and accomplishment from it. No wonder the sense of community you have created (which you definitely have; this is my first SM games KS, but I’ve been hearing about how your campaigns are the best and how you set the bar so high ALL THE TIME on bgg) finally showed up. It’s unavoidable. When you pour yourself so genuinely full of kindness and honesty like you have, you’re bound to get that kindness and honesty right back, as soon as the loud minority gets tired of screaming bloody murder. :)

    Hope the next month’s nights are full of nothing but epic snoring!

    1. Thanks for your comment, Rafael: It means a lot to hear that you (and most others) understand that I’m genuinely trying to create a great experience for backers. Not all of my experiments work out perfectly, but the intention behind them is always the same. I’m glad you get it!

  5. As someone relatively new to the hobby and to Kickstarter in general I really dig what you are doing with the daily bonuses.

    I thought the daily bonuses were transparent, fair and rewarding to those who backed for the love of the project.

    It seems that some people have been conditioned to back based on timing a pledge to “unlock” content or “exclusives”.
    If you’re conditioned to operate a certain way you will resist any change.

    The word I keep getting is pioneering. Pioneers often have to work harder to break new ground that future communities benefit from.
    I do hope you continue to explore a “better way”.

    By the way, how do you become a future community ambassador?

    All the best to you and your cats (not that they care :-))

    Matt from New Zealand

    1. Matthew: Thanks for your comment! It is interesting to see how backers become used to certain methods used by other creators, to the point that they consider them standard, even if they’re not what I would consider a best practice.

      We’d be honored to have you as an ambassador! The link is under “About” at the top of the page.

  6. Cudos Jamie, for trying something new that you thought was going to benefit your backers.
    The important thing was that you heard and listened to the response (see ‘A Crowdfunders Strategy Guide’, Chapter 5 ; )
    Great work mate!

    1. Thank you! Indeed, it is important to listen to backers. I think the key thing I learned here is trying to figure out how many backers is enough to make a change. There’s always going to be a small number of backers asking for something that you didn’t plan for or don’t even like, so I have to differentiate between them and the truly actionable points.

  7. Go Jamey! Congratulations on making it so far with Scythe! Just ignore all the people who have too much time and are complaining about you :) Keep up the good work!

  8. I am released to hear that you are feeling better and sleeping better now. It is good that you were able to adjust the project based upon the feedback. It was difficult to watch it happen too, since it seemed that the silent majority was content with how the project had been setup. It was just the vocal minority that was drowning out the positive feeling.

    I was thrilled with the game when I play tested it, and would have loved the product with all it contained without any stretch goals. If anything additional got added, that was just going to make an already great game a better.

    I hope that your experience with prior campaigns allows you to be able to see this mega campaign through to fulfillment with additional complications from receiving so many backers.

    I am excited about the next projects that you have in the pike, and hope that the future is bright for Stonemeier games! You are the face of the company and a big part of why you have had the much deserved success.

    1. Thanks Dan, I appreciate that. I think I started to see that the vocal minority was having a really negative impact on the ambivalent/happy majority, and that wasn’t good. That’s one of the reasons I made the change.

      Fortunately, yes, I made sure all fulfillment centers could handle the project if it got big, so they’re ready! :)

  9. I’m not a backer yet, but I will be soon one. I’m studying ways to innovate into crowdfunding campaings and your idea of the Stretch-goal-calender was a blast. Reeeeeeeeeeeeally really liked and I thought “man, this is glorious, I want to do the same in my -possible- future campaign. Jamey is a genius” but that’s a theory. In practice, the people only want more and more despite if they will use in the game in a future or not.

    They only want more. And that’s not cool. And If I’m allow to tell you, I was dissapointed with the decission of retreat but is totally understandable.

    Keep doing the things you feel that they’re better for everyone of us and every project of you will be a mega project.

    And all of us will be there supporting it.

    1. > They only want more.

      I honestly don’t think this was the issue. 1st: we’re gamers, it’s sort of in our nature to look at the rules and figure out how to min-max our results. Alas, Jamey’s setup here did setup a perverse incentive to try and cut growth in between the goals and people realized that. 2nd: See the sausage analogy below. Even if many of us realized that most big projects don’t run stretch goals with real numbers derived from economies of scale, pulling the curtains back on that process makes this a bit.. weird.

    2. israperrillo: If you try it, I think the key is to announce the funding amount of each goal in advance but only reveal one goal a day, even if it’s already been achieved. And maybe–I’m not sure about this, but maybe–give backers a link to click if they want to spoil the whole thing for themselves, just to show them you have actually planned ahead and aren’t making it up as you go.

  10. Yeah I must say I saw some of those negative comments, but for me I just thought what you had planned originally sounded cool. To be honest, I just shrugged and thought, “I’m sure the Stretch Goals will be good” and moved on! I was happy enough to just get the box. It’s exceptional value.
    I found my own Kickstarter (not a mega project, but still successful – thanks in large part to your Kickstarter lessons!) was an extreme roller coaster too. I found I had to go and chill for a bit, and not let myself stress out too much.
    Congrats anyway mate :) Thrilled for you!

    1. @Oliver: That’s great! I appreciate you giving me the benefit of the doubt. Though I understand other backers not doing that–Scythe brought in a lot of new-to-Stonemaier backers who don’t know me and the way I operate. You may have experienced that with your project as well.

      1. Yeah totally. It’s certainly a matter of trust. But to be honest, it doesn’t take much research to discover your great track record and personal service, eh!

  11. Jamey,

    First, I want to thank you for all that you’ve done for the Kickstarter landscape (I’ll pen a bit more in this vein over on BGG) and your willingness to share your experiences, both good bad, with all of us…fellow creators and Backers alike.

    Second, I came to the whole SG controversy late and have been shocked by many of the negative comments. Having said that, you have been amazingly positive in light of the issue. Again, you’re a true professional.

    Third, and finally, I’m excited to be a Scythe Backer. While Viticulture and Euphoria seemed fascinating, they weren’t really a genre I knew that I would play…but Scythe spoke to me in a way that I hadn’t seen before. As a History major who also loves sci-fi, an alternate 1920s universe is simply amazing!

    Again, thank you for your patience, incredible creativity. and professionalism.

    Cheers,
    Joe

    1. Joe: Thanks for your comment. You can probably tell from this post that it was really hard to stay positive (and, in certain moments, my professionalism waned), but I tried my best. I’m glad to get through it. It’s really neat to hear that Scythe has spoken to you, and I hope you enjoy the game!

  12. I think it was Alexander Graham Bell that said “I didn’t fail 1000 times, I just found 999 ways it didn’t work”.. Your radical way of doing things is what people who backed Shythe like. All others are free to believe what they want, and I suppose if I got used to the idea of stereotype stretch-goal-ing, I would certainly be annoyed by the Different.

    Jesus annoyed Jews, still was accepted by many (just a comparison, not fanatism, couldn’t find any better)

  13. Just goes to show you how often the sausage analogy is – even if folks love your sausage and even if they, on some level, already know what’s involved in the process it’s still probably not gonna help you to show them the making of that sausage. Most of us would rather not think about that bit. =)

  14. Momentum. I believe you had it on your side day 1-2, and I believe in the case of SG’s, it’s more of a emotional/physiological perception to see those getting knocked off, and the crowd cheers kind of feel. I’m not sure how that effected things by not having that. Maybe by combining those scaling first 48hr goals in a normal way, then having your 1 per day kind of goals estimated based upon foretasted daily pledges. You could get creative by splitting up 4 card packs into single card SG’s as well, to ‘stretch’ those goals out across multiple days. Hoping to see 1 mill broke by the 1 week mark tomorrow morning.

  15. Jamey, as always I review your blog notification emails. I was stunned and excited to see your success. I told my business partner and my wife shortly after reading it. It’s great to see amazing things happen to good people who work hard. Congratulations, sir. :] – Chris

  16. Honestly, I was curious to see how backers would respond to daily stretch goals, but I’m truly sorry that experiment lead to so much vitriol thrown your way Jamey. At least you were able to fix that issue, and get back on track quickly. You continue to be an inspiration to the rest of us, so thanks for all you do :)

  17. Hi Jamey,

    First off, thanks for all of your KS Lessons. I just started reading your blog about a month ago and they have been a huge help.

    I also want to thank you for this particular post. I’ve heard from several friends who have launched successful campaigns that it’s a real roller coaster. Being a business owner in an over saturated market (fashion), I experience these ups and downs on the regular. I can only imagine how much more this is amplified during a campaign where you’re putting every bit of yourself out there. Hearing your honest perspective on the launch helps me to mentally prepare even more, even though I know that you can’t really prepare for this kind of thing. Anyway, thanks for being so candid.

    Oh, and congrats! What an amazing accomplishment.

    1. Thanks so much for your comment, Maggie! While I think the roller coaster effect is amplified during a Kickstarter campaign, I think it might be even tougher to be in your shoes where you experience those ups and downs all the time. I run Stonemaier Games full time, but for the non-KS periods, I don’t really experience those emotional ups and downs (financial, yes, but not emotional). I’m glad this post could help in some way–I wasn’t even sure if I should write it. :)

  18. Hi Jamey, I just wanted to jump in and say thank you for this post. I was honestly curious how you were handling all of this… especially the challenging and negative comments surrounding the new SG system. I really thought it was innovative and i really got where you were coming from, but I also totally understand why you had to change it. I was so frustrated reading the comments that I had to stop watching the page. I’m a bit of a lurker anyway and rarely join in, but maybe now I’ll try to get more involved in the conversation for the rest of the project :)

    Also, just wanted to say thanks for the amazing thought and care you put into your projects and the way you interact with your community. It’s an inspiration and you deserve the incredible success. I’m glad to be a part of it.

    1. Brad: I really appreciate your comment. Really, the outpouring of kindness far outweighs the vitriol…it was just hard for me to focus on the good stuff on Wednesday. I’m very thankful to have people like you who know that I have backers’ best interests at heart, even if my experiments may not always work out. :)

  19. Stay positive.
    You’ve been laying out the blueprint for community driven board game hopefuls.
    You’ll be a giant and some people feel the need to attack anything bigger than themselves to feel important.
    Keep being yourself and we’ll keep loving you.

  20. Great article. I commented on the backlash on the latest Kicking the Table podcast (#58) about Scythe (the podcast goes up tonight). I was actually quite surprised at the posts attacking you and Stonemaier. I saw the game and I was enthralled by the depth as most games recently on Kickstarter have been interesting but lacking in depth (Queen and Worthington being notable exceptions). So, I put my pledge on Scythe as it looks like my type of game and I hope I defended you okay on my podcast.

  21. Wow, I had no idea you had received such negative feedback regarding the stretch goal system. I think I was backer #79 or so (I backed in the first 15 seconds of launch), and the rest of my day was busy so I didn’t have time to delve into the comments, etc. In my opinion, I don’t understand the complaining because I felt like Scythe already had an abundance of stretch goals built into it from the very beginning. To be honest, I don’t even think stretch goals were necessary for this campaign, with this being such a deluxe game as is, we’re already getting an EXTREMELY good value.

    1. Mike: Thanks, I was definitely aiming for a ton of value for that price for day one. But I know that backers love their stretch goals, especially since it gives people the feeling of creating something better together. I was just hoping to space out that element evenly throughout the entire project. Thank you so much for being such an early day 1 backer!

  22. I was a little late to the party but I want to congratulate you on the very successful Kickstarter. I hate to hear of such negativity but I’m glad you were able to get past it. You’ve created an amazing game that a great many people will enjoy. I played the game 23 times during playtesting (21 logged) and I still want to play it enough and I still believe in the project enough to back it.

    Keep doing what you’re doing, Jamey.

  23. Obviously my project was not as “mega” as Scythe, but I feel I had a very similar experience running Gloomhaven. Entire days getting gobbled up responding to comments and answering questions on BoardGameGeek, then came the Dark Day when conversations about value and the lack of Kickstarter exclusives reached maximum momentum.

    Ultimately, though, my backers helped pull me through it, and afterwards there was a definite sense of camaraderie, like we had all been through a war together. Everything after that felt very positive and awesome.

    It sounds like you’re experiencing that same positivity, and I’m confident the rest of the Scythe project will be awesome. Enjoy it!

    1. Thanks for chiming in, Isaac. I thought you might be able to relate a little bit, having recently run a HUGE campaign for Gloomhaven. I’m glad you got past your Dark Day, and I agree there’s somehow a sense of “we survived this together!” :)

      By the way, congrats on eating an entire pie on camera in one sitting. That was awesome.

  24. I think you could move the daily SG component to a community tracking achievement system. By removing it from the funding goals, you prevent that feeling of being cheated that some people are going to get. If you tie it to social media or other community building projects, you can create these branching and expanding goals that the backers will essentially see as free since they are completely seperate from the funding.

    The danger is that these goals really would be free, so you would need to account for them in your normal funding SGs. But, I think that by doing this you achieve two things: you successfully create a system that has the potential to keep a project pushing through the traditional lull and you create a system that fosters and encourages community, which is your main goal for your projects and Kickstarter as a whole. I think projects need to reach a certain critical mass before a system like this is viable, but Stonemaier has probably hit that as Scythe is showing.

    On top of creating internal community, this type of system has the added benefit of rewarding activity that helps to bring more people’s attention to the project and therefor increasing funding and growing the community more.

    It seems like the best way to keep the backers happy (not feeling cheated) and still make this reward system that pushes through the lull and encourages a community.

    1. Graham: Overall, I think this is very close. The one challenge is that extra stuff does cost extra money, so if the goals aren’t linked to funding, it may not convey that message very clearly. So I do think there is some merit in having the goals tied to the funding, but maybe it just doesn’t work for a daily goal system.

      1. I was thinking about it more and I’m not sure it actually would encourage community. It may just end up becoming a “spam the internet” encouragement system which I don’t think would be effective and might even be a detriment to community building. Maybe removing the social media aspect and make it actual community interaction? Pictures, contests, twitter quotes that fit with the world, short story submissions. Things that get people talking instead of spamming?

        Making up a system that runs the whole project is a great idea, but it really is a hard task.

        1. You Are Not The Hero (YANTH) did something like this after their kickstarter where they had contests on twitter, the forums, and facebook where they had people create NPCs and chose a few to actually put in the game. It stuck in my head (partially because my character was chosen) as a really fun thing.

          Obviously it is project dependent.

        2. The BATTLETECH Kickstarter is doing something like this currently as a series of weekly “missions.” They’re asking for backers to share their favorite memories, artwork, collections, etc. (of the tabletop game which inspired the videogame)

  25. Jamey, you are clearly a class act. Your humility and willingness to engage with people, even when they disagree with you and question your motives, is commendable. It is clear that you care about your backers and want to provide them the best experience possible. Thanks for running such a class act and setting an example for other Kickstarter campaigns. I hope the rest of the campaign treats you better.

  26. Sun Tzu says: ” The ones who clamored more, are the ones who scared more. ”

    Dear Jamey, as long as I met your blog, I learned a lot not only about crowdfundings and blogging, but more about sharing and communicating. And your games are derived from that point of view either. I called them “cultivated games”.
    I live in Iran, where has been sanctiond for years due to some political issues. We reach no games here, so we ask friends who come back from abroad, for games. Scythe is my first backed ks game (with the help of those friends ofcourse), and for the first time, I think that I’m not only buying a game, but participating in something.
    So thank you for sharings and please forget about those who clamored.

    p.s: sorry for my poor grammar.

    1. amir: Wow, thank you for your comment. I’m really touched that you’d take the extra step to get a copy of Scythe, and I hope it brings many moments of joy to you, your family, and friends.

  27. Wow, what a message of hope. Jamey, your games are a bridge across political chasms. Amirsalamati I could only hope that one day we could play a game together and ignore those imaginary lines drawn on paper.

    1. Thanks Spencer. You hit the point directly with your metaphor; Games that go beyond any border or walls like a bridge.
      And thank you for your pleasant wish. I hope that too. And I think that as long as people try to communicate, they feel no lines.

      p.s: I started to blog some of my experiences in gaming (in Iran). Any comments could be helpful there. So it would be great if you take a visit (if you find some time).

  28. If anyone deserves the benefit of the doubt, it’s you. Haters are going to hate but how you handle that defines your character. I think you handled it as well as anyone could and your games are the least of your contributions to the hobby.

    Enjoy the success you have earned!

  29. Wow! Thanks for sharing this experience Jamey. You truly deserve an overwhelming response for what you have been sowing in this community. We were in the middle of our first Kickstarter campaign when we got word about your blog, we were so focused on your lessons and applying them in our campaign, that we missed the chance of being part of yours, although we plan to get our copy of Scythe soon!

    By the way in which our backers talked about of you, we can tell that the Kickstarter tabletop community has grown very fond of you, and it’s pretty clear why.

    Congratulations!! We won’t miss your next Kickstarter campaign!

  30. First off, I just want to say thank you Jamie, for the great series of blog posts. They’re helpful to everybody.

    Secondly, thank you also for specifically mentioning the stress and depression during a kickstarter campaign. I believe it’s one of the most under-reported aspect of running a campaign. To outsiders looking in, they’ll see a successful campaign where the creator is rolling in it — no. We’re really not.

    But the main reason I wanted to comment, even though I know Stonemaier is looking beyond Kickstarter campaigns I think this may be worth mentioning for sanity of other creators, which is an anecdote about cancelled pledges.

    One of the biggest backers on our campaign, for a limited edition where they would actually be the recepient of #00000001, cancelled their pledge toward the end of the campaign. It didn’t change the money side of things, but I understand that feeling of rejection that comes with someone cancelling a pledge and all of those cancelled pledges actually sat with me for a few months in fact.

    Then one day I met the backer who cancelled their pledge, and mid way through our conversation they brought up the Kickstarter and apologized for cancelling his pledge. He said he and his wife’s IVF treatment had failed and they needed to save up for another round of treatment.

    Ever since then I’ve looked at cancelled pledges, or any unspecified type of similar ‘cancellation’ action, in another light. Rather than take it as a negative action, I think back to that guy’s situation and think it is more likely to be something along those lines — something I don’t know anything about but is unrelated to the project.

    1. Thank you for sharing that, Luke! It’s a great reminder to our fellow creators that cancellations aren’t necessarily a rejection of you or your project. That’s why I filter them out completely through e-mail–I found it’s not worth my mental/emotional energy to see them.

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