I just finished listening to Board Game University Episode 33 which featured Jamey Stegmaier. His company Stonemaier Games has released several games on Kickstarter, most notably Viticulture and Euphoria. While we're working on our own, I'm always on the lookout for shared experiences from other game developers. Below are some awesome tips from Jamey.
"Most major publishers ... dont release the release date for a game until its actually on the boat..."
To start out with, his most basic advice is to set reasonable expectations and then consider extending by a few months, just to give yourself a buffer. It's not about tricking your backers, instead, you're factoring in the possibility that there may be major unanticipated hurdles. When/if this does happen, constant communication is key.
"I think maybe the perception for many new Kickstarter creators ... is that you need to roll up your sleeves in your garage and mail everything by hand ..."
With the recent Kickstarter lawsuits and numerous failures to deliver these points are more important than ever. We decided from the very beginning to treat God Hates Charades as a serious project. Regardless of our Kickstarter we'll find a way to put it out there. The Kickstarter will however help us fund an initial run and get some copies of the game into stores. Without the ability to produce and distribute these games we'll be lost. In the podcast Jamey suggests working with both a printer and a distributor to handle shipping to various locales.
For printing we're currently in talks with AdMagic, they did a great job with Cards Against Humanity and gave us a competitive quote. Jamey also suggests Panda Game Manufacturing, which has produced many successful Kickstarter projects including Council of Verona and Alien Frontiers.
We haven't found our distributor yet but Jamey suggests working with several shipping companies depending on where your game will be sent. It is much more costly to produce a game in China, ship it to the US, then ship it back across the globe to other countries. We'll definitely look into splitting up our order if we can pass this savings along to our backers. He offered up Dimerco and 4px as viable options.
"Go on BoardGameGeek.com, and find games with art that they love and try to contact those artists."
This is another great tip, I've played many games that I would never buy just because the art takes you out of the experience. Sites like BoardGameGeek and Devient Art are good places to dig around and find some great work. We really love the art for our game(Thanks Damien!), the cards and the box look amazing and truly set our game apart.
"I found that rather than finding ways to exclude people, I wanted to find ways to include people."
Jamey here that Kickstarter exclusives can alienate your future customers. We think this is especially bad when a game has exclusives that are one time only events. It's also leaving a lot on the table, many players would happily get the nicer components if given the option. Instead he says its preferable to bundle the nicer components with the cost of the game for Kickstarter backers but still make them available to others when the game is released.
If you're interested in running your own Kickstarter I definitely recommend giving Board Game University a listen, Tom Vassel always does a great job interviewing.