The Results of Euphoria’s Money-Back Guarantee

18 February 2014 | 33 Comments

Last July I posted the results of Viticulture’s money-back guarantee. Viticulture was my first board-game Kickstarter project, so it was a bit of a trust-building exercise. One of the ways I established and built trust was to give backers the opportunity to return their copy of Viticulture to me within a month of receiving it for a full pledge refund, no questions asked.

The results? Out of 1300 copies of Viticulture sent to backers, 0 were returned.

More importantly, other creators on Kickstarter started offering the money-back guarantee as well (most notably, Game Salute). I’m glad our little experiment was able to help backers of other projects.

So when it came time to launch Euphoria, although we had starting establishing trust in Stonemaier Games, I wanted to continue offering the money-back guarantee for the following reasons (as well as the reasons I’ve previously discussed on KS Lesson #22):

  1. It’s a great response to people on Board Game Geek. There were quite a few times during Euphoria when someone would post a thread on BGG asking, “Should I back Euphoria on Kickstarter?” Some people would chime in with their thoughts, and I would want to say something too. But there’s not much more I can say to sell the game than what I’ve already put on the project page–either someone connects with my game or they don’t. BUT that’s why it’s great to have the money-back guarantee. It’s a clear and easy way to respond to those types of questions on BGG. Should you back the game on Kickstarter? Maybe, maybe not–but if you back it and realize you don’t like it, return it and I’ll refund your pledge.
  2. It’s the best type of exclusive. You’ve probably seen all the recent debates and discussions about exclusives on this blog. The money-back guarantee is the best type of exclusive–you’re giving backers something special without negatively impacting anyone who buys the retail version of the product later.
  3. It encourages people to play the game right away (and hopefully rate it on BGG). I play games a LOT, and I still have tons of Kickstarted games on my shelves that I haven’t played after many months. If no one’s playing your game, then no one’s talking about your game or rating it on BGG, things that make a big difference for retail sales. The 1-month timeframe of the money-back guarantee gives backers a gentle nudge to actually play the game. Of course, there are many other reasons to play a game (i.e., make a good, accessible, beautiful game), but just like you want to give backers a reason to pledge now, not later, you also want to encourage them to play the game now, not later.

A month has now passed since the last of Euphoria backers got their copies of the game (if you’re reading this and realized that you never got your game, e-mail me at contact@stonemaiergames.com), so let’s get to the data:

The number of returned Kickstarter copies of Euphoria (out of 5700) is: 2.

I was actually relieved when someone finally contacted me to return a game, because I thought that there was something fundamentally flawed about the money-back guarantee. The person said that they played the game once and just didn’t see it fitting well with their gaming group (they volunteered that information–I didn’t ask for a reason).

When the second person contacted me, I was like, “Here it comes! Prepare for the onslaught of hundreds of backers requesting a refund!” I immediately ate copious amounts of chocolate.

And then…that was it. 2 out of 5700. Not a problem. Without question, Tuscany will have the money-back guarantee.

If any other project creators who have tried the money-back guarantee would like to share their data in the comments below, that would be awesome.

33 Comments on “The Results of Euphoria’s Money-Back Guarantee

  1. if you ever decide to end the money-back guarantee, you may want to announce it well before you announce your next title, it may speak to you not believing in a given title, when really it does not relate.

    1. Tom: I didn’t ask why because I told people they could return it, no questions asked. Both people told me why anyway in their messages: They said that Euphoria just didn’t fit in with their gaming group.

  2. This is interesting and an excellent insight – with so many unplayed games in everyone’s collection, particularly your third point seems important: get people to play your game asap and talk about it online.

  3. I think it’s great that you offer this as it shows that you truly stand behind your games. Unless a fool or crazy, only a person that has put a lot of effort into creating a quality product would do that so it makes me far more likely to pledge your project.

    It makes me glad to see that someone doing things the right way has been enjoying some success (at least it seems you are anyway). I hope things continue to get even better!

  4. Well, to be fair I never thought it seemed like a viable alternative.

    It would had to be pretty bad to make it worth-while to send it back vs just trying to sell it locally.

    If it say was a store-bought copy and you could return it there that’s one thing but having to ship it across the globe?

    I think it make a better marketing argument than safety for the consumer :)

      1. Oh, that I did not know. You should make sure to mention this more openly….I was one on the fence of using the return policy, but I thought that shipping to the US would be more than any reimbursements I get back

  5. i must say i tend to copy your ks-page link to every ks i back ( and i backed over 200 now )
    and most either know your blog or use it after i send them the link – maybe you should write the kickstarter book :)

  6. really interesting, hope this trend continues for you. I am curious if this will be the same without including KS exclusives. I think as long as you give backers value for their pledge they’ll not return it through you if they can resale it for a few bucks more. Which i believe is the key for backers with non exclusives. Or a project like Fief that included a expansion that was valued at 65$

  7. I think part of it might have also been the strong secondary market for it. I sold my copy for what I paid for it, thus not having to ship it back. It’s a good game, just didn’t fit in with my group.

  8. I really wish I could afford to kickstart all of your games. Your company is amazing, and so far, I have enjoyed every game you have put out. You definitely deserve to be one of the best game companies out there. Kudos.

  9. “If no one’s playing your game, then no one’s talking about your game or rating it on BGG, things that make a big difference for retail sales. The 1-month timeframe of the money-back guarantee gives backers a gentle nudge to actually play the game.”

    :thumbsup:

  10. I’ve asked this on your blogs about the money back guarantee up to this point, but since I’m reading from the back up I understand they might not get seen, so sorry to repeat, but how did you put together the terms and conditions of your Money Back Guarantee? In the end its not a fear of people taking me up on it that puts me off its the idea that the one person who does take me up on it is unwilling or unable to give bank details and so I’m unable to complete my end of the contract, reflecting badly on me. Were the terms and conditions easy/cheap to set up, is there an online resource available or did you consult a legal professional?

    1. I just wrote the terms myself based on what I thought was right and fair (for us and for the backers). Again, all of the transactions will be processed through Kickstarter’s ecommerce system–no bank details will be exchanged.

Leave a Comment

© 2019 Stonemaier Games