Jamey also has his own Kickstarter blog. He is perhaps one of the biggest reasons I successfully funded my campaign for Kill the King. 95% of everything I know is because of what he has taught me. So I am very proud to post this interview with him. It was hard to control myself and not act like a starstrucked little school girl when I spoke to him.
Tell us a bit about yourself and your last game, Scythe.
Scythe is an engine-building game set an in alternate-history 1920s Eastern Europe. It raised $1.8 million on Kickstarter in November 2016 and has gone through several retail printings since then.
You have already created several games before. What did you do to increase your following before you launched Scythe?
I’m a firm believer in the power of interacting with the gaming community. That means I’m available to talk about my games, but I’m also on BGG, Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter to talk about other games too. Meanwhile, I have my own hub at stonemaiergames.com, where I mostly write and converse about Kickstarter. All of that engagement has added up to more and more people following me and Stonemaier Games, and many of them have joined our e-newsletter list, which is my primary way of letting our followers know important stuff.
I know that you reply almost instantly when somebody reaches out to you but how on earth do you manage to answer over 22 000 comments on the Scythe kickstarter page?
To be fair, a lot of those comments are mine. 🙂 My schedule—especially during a Kickstarter campaign—looks like this: Wake up at 8:00. Get on the computer by 8:05. At midnight, sign off. For that entire time, if there’s a comment on Kickstarter, Facebook, Twitter, or BGG, I’m there to answer it.
What is your best marketing tip for new board game creators?
Think about the last time you learned about a new product that made you excited enough to learn more about it (and maybe buy it). Then do whatever that marketer did.
When did you launch and why did you choose that exact moment?
I launched in mid-October, right after Essen Spiel. I like to launch near a mid-month payday and end the campaign a few days after the other common payday, the first of the month. Other than that, the period was mostly just selected because that’s when the project was ready to be launched.
The beginning and the end of the campaign are when most of the backers pledge. What is your main tactic to handle the mid-campaign drop?
While I discuss this in detail on this blog post, I think my favorite thing to do is focus on the people who have already pledged to my campaign. I’ve found that by fully valuing your existing backers, you’ll attract more new backers. It seems odd, but it works.
How often do you send out updates and what do they include?
During a campaign, I send out updates every 2-3 days if I have something important to say. Post-campaign it’s usually once a week at most. I try to keep backers consistently informed, but if I have absolutely nothing to say, I don’t post an update.
What’s you tactic regarding stretch goals?
Stretch goals continue to befuddle me. I’ve written about a number of strategies here, but if I ran a campaign tomorrow, I think I’d just have a few big goals and then tell backers that’s it.
What is the most important element of a Kickstarter page?
Clarity. Clarity and art direction.
If there was one thing you wish you knew before you launched Scythe, what would it be?
I would tell myself to just stick with a regular stretch goal system instead of something new. The first few days of the campaign (before I reverted to a regular system) were incredibly stressful for no reason because I tried something new with stretch goals. I regret that.
You have decided to not use Kickstarter on your next game. Why are you leaving us?? We need you Jamey!!
I’m still here! 🙂 To me, Kickstarter is all about building community, engaging people, gauging demand, making products better, raising funds, and generating excitement. I’m continuing to do all of those things without Kickstarter, and I’ll continue to write about Kickstarter on my blog.
What is your favourite board game and why?
For a while it’s been Castles of Mad King Ludwig. I love how rewarding and variable it is, and I love the economics of it. It’s also really easy to teach. Every game leaves me wanting more.
Do you have any role models in the board gaming industry?
I’ve learned a lot by watching companies like Tasty Minstrel Games and Greater Than Games, as well as designers like Alexander Pfister and Rob Daviau.
Why are you not more active on instagram? I want to see more pictures of your cats!
Instagram is the one big social network that I’m not really involved with. I think it’s because it’s primarily for mobile users, and I’m at my computer all day—I look at my phone as little as possible. 🙂
Anything else you want to add?
I’m really excited to get a new game out into the wild! Charterstone is a village-building legacy game for 1-6 players, and it will be released sometime in 2017. It will be available from retailers worldwide.
Check out Jameys amazing blog about Kickstarter and read more about his games. www.stonemaiergames.com