Statistics from the New Treasure Chest (2-4) Kickstarter Project

8 May 2015 | 35 Comments

I love sorting through the wealth of data following a Kickstarter project. As I do after each of my campaigns, I’m going to share that data with you today. This entry is about my recent treasure chest project.

The intent of these posts is to give other project creators a more detailed, behind-the-scenes look at our data than what they can see on the Kickstarter project page. Please keep in mind that this is data for my sixth board-game related Kickstarter campaign, so if you’re a first-time creator, the percentages may be more relevant than the total values.

Overall Numbers

We’ll start with the bottom line as shown on the Kickstarter page for this 16-day project. These numbers don’t reflect backers who didn’t pay their pledge and backers who paid via PayPal (including most retail backers):

2015-05-08_0948

This is a solid result on par with my expectations, but one number is particularly notable: The total number of backers is over 1000 backers fewer than any of our last 4 projects:

  • Viticulture: 942 backers
  • Euphoria: 4,765 backers
  • Tuscany: 4,333 backers
  • Treasure Chest: 3,221 backers
  • Between Two Cities: 5,287 backers
  • New Treasure Chests: 2,184 backers

Granted, the treasure chests are a fairly niche product, and I’m elated and honored that over 2,000 people chose to back it. But that’s a big drop in backers–it’s a signal that I might be doing something wrong, especially when you compare this project to the original treasure chest project. We should have expanded our audience, not reduced it.

I have a few theories about this, and I’m open to hearing yours:

  1. We’re not doing as good of a job as we should at reaching audiences outside of our existing fanbase.
  2. These resources were more niche than the original resources, so it’s natural that interest would be lower.
  3. $89 for three chests is a lot more than $33 for one chest on the original campaign (the new campaign had the option of getting one chest for $35). Even though the bundled price helps keep costs down for backers (especially for shipping), I wonder if some backers thought, “I can’t afford to spend $89 all in one place, and if I can’t have everything, I don’t want anything.”

We also have data on exactly which treasure chests backers chose to receive. Backers pledged to receive a total of 8,131 treasure chests in the following increments:

  • Food Crate: 2,751
  • Resource Vault: 2,720
  • Energy Box: 2,660

The numbers were much more evenly distributed than I thought they would be. This says to me that the vast majority of backers wanted “all the things”–it’s that completionist tendency we gamers have.

Location Data

The data in the chart below reflects the number of backers who pledged to receive at least 1 treasure chest. A BIG part of the reason why I share this data is to help other creators estimate their funding goal–these percentages should help you guess how many backers you’ll have in each region as you budget for various shipping fees.

2015-05-08_0958

 

I was curious to see if the new inclusion of our Canada-friendly and Australia-friendly logos increased backers from those areas, but the increase was negligible compared to the first treasure chest project.

These percentages are on par with our other campaigns, with a slight increase in international backers compared to the Between Two Cities project:

2015-05-08_0959

Referral Data

It was only after this project that Kickstarter incorporated the potential for Google Analytics into each project dashboard, so I don’t have that data yet. But I do have the data Kickstarter provides:

2015-05-08_1004

 

This data was very encouraging to me. I don’t want to rely on Kickstarter to promote my projects–I consider it my job to get the word out to reviewers, forums, e-newsletter subscribers, social media followers, etc. This was our best showing yet:

  • Viticulture: 54% of backers referred by Kickstarter
  • Euphoria: 66%
  • Tuscany: 48%
  • Treasure Chest: 42%
  • Between Two Cities: 56%
  • New Treasure Chests: 40%

We also added around 500 e-newsletter subscribers after the project (opt-in on the survey).

The data below shows backers’ previous exposure to Stonemaier Games. This was a poll hosted on our website that I linked to in a few updates. Backers were allowed to select more than one answer.

2015-05-08_1014The good news is that Stonemaier fan loyalty is pretty high. The bad news is that we seem to be reaching fewer and fewer new-to-Stonemaier fans, and we need to do a better job at that.

Here’s Kickstarter’s detailed referral data:

2015-05-08_1004_001

 

I think the majority of “direct traffic”–the top item on the list–is from our e-newsletter. Other than that, there’s not a lot that jumps out at me here.

Project Video

We’ve continued using a sparse, short project video with an introduction from Alan and me, followed by music and some images. It’s hard to tell exactly how compelling a video like this is (I’m sure that more polished, professionally-made videos are better), but we do have some data to compare to previous projects:

2015-05-08_1024

 

The total number of plays went down, but the percentage of plays completed is our best ever. That’s good–if you spend time on a video, you want people to actually watch it to the end.

***

I’m so close to these projects that sometimes it’s hard to see some of the most interesting aspects of this data. What do you see that I’ve missed?

Also, if you’re a project creator who has written a retrospective or data-drive entry after your campaign, let me know about it. I really appreciate that type of transparency and generosity of information, and I almost always share those posts via social media or hyperlinked in one of my articles.

Richard Bliss and I also discuss this project on his Funding the Dream podcast.

Leave a Comment

35 Comments on “Statistics from the New Treasure Chest (2-4) Kickstarter Project

  1. I wonder if a combination of campaign length, timing and price led to fewer backers? From my perspective it was a difficult one, as for the “complete set” (and we know completionism runs rife in board games), the price was above the $50 “impulse buy” price, but below the Conan-level “do I want this or a holiday” price. Not something I can’t afford, but something I need to budget for.

    So the issue – I’m paid on the 1st of the month. Being paid on the 1st or last day of the month is fairly common at least in the UK. This campaign started in the middle of the month (after much of my discretionary income could have been spent) but ended before pay-day. As it happens, it worked out this time, but could equally have not.

  2. Sorry that my post is a bit ‘broken-record style’, but its’ easier to write about all the points than trying to pick out things people haven’t already mentioned =P. I think that:
    1) Too expensive for all-in – As has been said a ton, I think $89 is just too much, and completionist attitude makes picking 1 or 2 chests a bad proposition, partially considering point 2…
    2) Poor variety of components/chest – Asides from the energy box, there’s no particular targetting at games for the chests, making it difficult to cover possible use-cases with 1 or 2 chests, and making it so for many, only 1-2 out of 6 resources may be useful from a given chest.
    3) No synthesis with other Stonemaier Products. Euphoria has been a rather successful game, and the treasure-chest-1 follow-up product allowed owners to ‘upgrade’ their Stonemaier game with Stonemaier pieces. Particularly beneficial is that many retail owners will have seen the kickstarter resources to know what difference it makes (I.e. the product was already in the wild for people to see).

    So, thoughts on solutions:
    1) I think the first is fairly easy to solve by releasing only one or two chests at a time. Unfortunately this hurts combined-shipping, unless you try something like IB&C are doing (Check Coup G54/One Night Resistance pledge levels), where each of their products targetting September can be shipped together if desired, but this may cause confusion.
    2) A tough one, but more focus for resources in chests (Actually, I think the horror/dungeon crawl proposed chests are great, as there’s many components of said style of games that are used over-and-over, unlike euro’s which tend to be all over the place asides from food).
    3) Well, this is dependant on Stonemaier Games releases, but you have a great opportunity coming when you release Scythe, to either release a Scythe resource-containing box when it hits retail, or if the kickstarter-Scythe doesn’t have nice resources, to do it alongside/shortly after the campaign. I think this kind of synergy between products is a great recipie for success.
    4) Well, I didn’t mention it as a problem, but maybe don’t launch among the March-April cluster*bleep* of campaigns that happens every year ;P (Not calling it a problem, as I presume there’s a good reason so many campaigns are released at that time, even if I don’t know it).

  3. Of your 6 campaigns, 3 of them had less backers than the previous campaign and 3 had more (Which includes a bit of a gimme for Viticulture). I think it’s natural that some things are more or less popular. It’s great to think about the pros and cons of a campaign after the fact, but I wouldn’t read too much into it in terms of seeing it as a message that something is systemically wrong. Your work is still exceptional :)

    Could it simply be that for your first chest you had a goal of “Design the best set of components” but for the subsequent ones you had to work with the more limiting “Design the best possible set of components, excluding those which were previously identified as best”. The art company I worked for ran Kickstarters for its anatomy figures, which initially did very well, but struggled once they’d done the obvious stuff and had to move towards more niche territory.

  4. I didn’t back this latest set of treasure chests. I have been trying to cut back on my Kickstarter spending this year, so that was a consideration, but the greatest reason why I didn’t back this campaign is that I realised I didn’t need it. I love the 1st chest, but the only thing that I have done with it is look at the pieces and go “ooh shiny!”, so I realised I didn’t really have a need for any of the new chests. Also, I only have games that would use a couple of pieces from each chest, so the value per chest seemed to be lower as I would be getting pieces I didn’t need. I think many other potential backers may have felt the same way. I do think that they’re beautiful though :)

  5. Thanks for sharing Jamey.

    Re Australian and Canadian backer numbers: your figures are very close to BGGs reported member numbers from those countries. Only local projects get higher percentages.

    I do like the badge idea. Wonder if it takes a while to get traction?

  6. On the 48 hour front, only 67 people backed after receiving the KS 48 hour reminder, how many backed in the last 48 hours is not (as far as I can see) in the data and I can’t remember during the campaign (maybe somewhere round 15-20%??? in value), not that much of a spike taken over 16 days when 2 days is 12.5% of the total campaign time.
    From my point of view, nearer the end I increased my pledge so as to get all three boxes (completionism kicked in), as I originally only went for one, and that might account for the small spike near the end as others did likewise, but as I say this is from memory with no hard data. On that basis I would agree about not stratigising around the 48 hour rush as there did not seem to be a noticeable one with this product.

    On the subject of why less backers compared to the 1st chest, I gave my first chest away to someone I thought might use it more and I have no feedback as to whether they have bothered using it or not. This time round, it was the Energy chest I wanted – directly for Power Grid, it will be a straight swap for the tokens in there when it comes and the other two boxes will sit on the shelf until I find a game I can swap all the tokens out of again, I would not be carrying round the tokens and the games, for me they must be swapped out (mostly as otherwise I would probably forget to pick up the token box)

  7. As a back of the first box, I will say the timing was terrible, coming on the end of the KS glut months left no financial recovery time, which really made the $89 price point painfull and ending within a day or two of a game that I was already pledged for in the $50 just made it financialy impossible.

    Though it was easier to skip since these boxes didn’t really align with upgrading any of my current games on my shelf.

    I find the 15 day kickstarters a bit dumb since the eliminate the ramp up for the 48 hour rush, I understand the nature of making it an immediate decision no time to waste, but I wonder if your harming your self more with the super short campaign and no discovery time vrs the buy it now its gone tomorrow??

    1. Chance: Thanks for offering your perspective, especially on the timing. I think 16 days is a plenty of time for people to discover the product, especially with the press we get, the ads on BGG, our updates on previous projects, and our e-newsletter. Data has shown that longer campaigns don’t actually add more funds–they just spread out the funds over a longer period of time. Plus, I treat our campaigns like a long early-bird reward: The chests are still available on our website at a higher price than during those 16 days.

      I don’t think a project should strategize around the 48-hour rush. I’d much rather inspire backers to support the project within the first 48 hours, not wait until the last 48 hours.

      1. All I can say is being paid bi-weekly makes any campaign costing over $30-$40 to short for 2 weeks. I could afford it but I couldn’t budget it in quickly so I passed on it. I backed the first one because it was under my threshold of impulse backing. So its a combination of price and length of the campaign.

  8. I did not back the original nor the new sets because…

    Generally, I will pimp out a game if I really like it and plan to enjoy the game more often than I normally play a game, but I don’t normally just collect parts to enhance all my games. Compound that with the cost for components vs purchasing actual games and it was easier for me to avoid these sets. It had nothing to do with the quality (expected or otherwise), supporting Stonemaier (still Kickstarted Between Two Cities without much investigation), or whatever. It was purely a lack of interest thing for me.

    I did fill out your survey and note that I’d be likely to have interest in the ability to purchase individual parts or in small sets of 5 or 10 (ala a bunch of the parts sets that FFG or Mayday does)., but the bigger sets of parts I was less likely to use on a regular basis just wasn’t my thing.

    1. Charles: Thanks for sharing that. I can definitely see that. These resources are a niche within a niche within a niche, and you need to have some games that you play quite a bit to get full value out of them.

  9. 1) Great. I understand there is a huge upside in partnering with retailers, and have no issue with it. It’s just discouraging to see a “deal of the day” for the game I backed 6+ months ago. This is a general gripe with all/most KS projects, nothing specific to you.

    2) Just to clarify I’m not backing to resell. If I was interested in this I’d approach you as a retailer. But I do like entering them in Math Trades and not having an entry complicates this. Also, I track all of my games, plays, pre-orders, and wants on BGG. These are the only item I own that I’m unable to catalog.

    Once again, I happily backed for 6 & have no regrets. Just wanted to share some reasons that others may have not.

    1. Ben: Sure, I think that’s the case with almost any product in any category. There’s always going to be a cheaper price somewhere else someday–it’s just a matter of how badly you want it now. :)

      1. I was wondering if your stats did see if the backer reduction from the first chest is from all areas or some spesific areas? I`m buying /backing much less now then 1 year ago…

  10. I backed for 6. The extras(if not all 6) will be traded or raffled off, this is my MetaHobby.

    Personally, there are 2 turn offs, although neither large enough to save me $177.

    1) The lack of a BGG listing. I know this is a dead horse, but needs to be fixed. Can you just include rules for a game? “Each player reaches into the box, whomever draws a meat wins”. Now it’s a game and can have a page! I mean, “Eat poop you cat” has a bgg page…

    2) Retail availability. Since history has shown these will be readily available on Amazon & your retail partners for a similar or lower price in the future, there is little intensive to KS, unless you need it first.

    1. Ben: Just to clarify the second point, these chests will not be in line with the “history” of the one other treasure chest we have–I’m only making enough chests for backers this time. That does include some retail backers, but I think the campaign price I offer is better than what they’ll offer post-Kickstarter.

      As for the BGG entry, I’m curious why it’s such a big turnoff. Is there something related to selling the chests on BGG that makes you want a BGG listing?

  11. I can think of two things to consider in the drop in backers from Treasure Chest 1 compared to 2-5. One is the $$ pledged per backer. With this project the completionists are getting all of them while others may have skipped the project entirely if they couldn’t afford to get the “set”. The first Chest was really just 1 item to purchase and probably fit more easily into backers budgets. The other element that’s hard to rate is the time of year – was the June/July period somehow more attractive than April?

    1. Oh, and now I see Konrad has suggested the same thing. Well, at least you know that mindset is valid! :)

    2. Lori: Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I think you and Konrad have a great point. I’m also glad you mentioned the timing. It’s possible that June/July is better than April, but for this type of product, I don’t think the time of year matters much.

  12. Having backed most of your other ones, but not this one, I can say that I just wasn’t that interested in this one. I haven’t really played with my current chest, and while there were some interesting tokens in this KS, they were spread across all three boxes, and I just wasn’t interested in *all* of them.

    Perhaps a way to order packs of specific tokens after the KS (For example, I might want “fire”, “coal”, “barrel”, “bag”, “steel” & “crate”)….

    1. merlyn: Thanks for your input. While we’re not equipped to sell individual resources, we are enabling two retailers (MeepleSource and Game Trayz) to sell individual packs after we deliver to backers.

  13. One answer could be the neverending dilemma about where to spend our miney. Do I spend it on some admittedly very nice components for games I already have? Or do I buy a new game or two with that money? For $35, that isn’t a huge deal. For $89 though, it becomes more of a problem. I still think it’s great that you offered the bundle (that was my choice). Perhaps retail individual treasure chest availability will make that less of an issue.

    1. Will: That’s a great point. Though we’re just going to make enough for backers in the first print run, so I’ll have to find a way to gauge demand from individuals and retailers to determine if we should make subsequent print runs.

  14. These comments aren’t nesting for some reason, so I’ll reply to them here:

    Ed: Those are good questions. I’m curious where you’ve seen other realistic resource tokens of this level of quality. As for the question about the original treasure chest expectations, we only had about 2 refund requests for that one, and backers seem happy with what they got, but it’s tough to gauge. I’ll try to get a better answer on that one.

    Steven: I added a section about that to answer your question. See the “Overall Numbers” section.

    Sheldon: Indeed! You can see how big of a difference there is between the direct referrals and Facebook. I think the e-newsletter is exponentially more important than social media.

    1. Gotcha. If you haven’t yet, you could quickly cross-index your backer list. I don’t think refund requests is useful metric. Asking for a KS refund seems completely against the cultural grain on KS (assuming it was delivered). Huge difference between not using something I bought and demanding a refund.

      Would be curious to how a new game / new chest combo might do. I know you aren’t a fan of combo campaigns.

  15. Nice detailed stats. Thank you Jamey for sharing this data with us.

    With regards to the TC 2-4 doing worse than its predecessor.
    I trust this is because most of the people look at all 3 of them as a complete product. Following this, a backer had to choose if they back all 3 or not at all. This, I believe, is supported by the results where around 90% of backers pledged for all 3 chests.
    Maybe, and this is another speculation, the new chests would do better if they were released over time, e.g. 1 per 3 months. Certainly, it is much easier to spend just $35 rather than $89 in a single go.

    This I must admit was not a problem for me as I prefer to have the 3 of them in one go also considering 3 of them together are cheaper than each separately. I originally though this will compensate for the fact I mentioned above, sadly the results show the different.

    All the Best :)

    1. Konrad: That’s a nice way to expand upon point #3 in the Overall Numbers section. It’s one of those weird areas where I was looking out for backers (lower price point, consolidated shipping), but in doing so I may have decreased the number of backers, as $89 is more to spend all at one time than $33 or $35.

  16. Beefy data posts = Awesome. FWIW – I did the triple pledge here.

    The main question I can think of is around the original product (as essentially these are expansions).

    – Did the original product satisfy the market and need?

    – Did the original product create a new market with new competitors (I’ve seen way way more of this type of thing in the last year).

    – Did the original fail to deliver to expectations in some way? Do you have anything to suggest backers of the original were unhappy with the result, thus not interested in more?

    – Do you know if people actually used the original product? I’m talking about the the product virality. Games grow over time because people play and share with them. That’s how they grow in the market and grow interest. As much as I love the first treasure chest (and want more), the reality is that I may have only used it 2 or 3 times since getting it. This is to say, the original product may not have really exposed many to the line (especially if people just put the components in their favorite game box and didn’t “open” the chest each time in front of others).

    The last is around KS and boardgames in general:

    – The level of component competition in games is going through the roof this last year. There are fewer and fewer games I buy with bad components, crappy inserts, etc. My need for this product is going down, not up, over time.

    That’s all I got. I hope it helps your mind space.
    ~Ed

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