First Fish Games is currently running a kickstarter campaign for their board game Get of my land! They are doing really good. This campaign is a relaunch. Earlier this year they tried to kickstart the game but they failed. Read below and find out what they did wrong and what they did right!
Tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Gordon Oscar. I work in the film industry in Vancouver doing matte painting and concept art. I’ve been a gamer all my life ever since my parents taught me how to play Cribbage. I’ve always been interested in tweaking rules to games since playing D&D in highschool and that has lead to trying my hand at designing our own games with my closest friends.
My name is Stephanie Kwok. I also work in the film industry in Vancouver doing matte painting. My gaming life actually started in the online world playing MMORPGs as early as elementary school. My online gaming history is something I will always cherish because I made really good friends all over the world. I was introduced to board games more than 10 years ago but never really got addicted to it until Gord and I got together. Then it exploded and now we have two full 4×4 Kallaxes plus even more on additional shelves.
My name is Liam Smith. I’m a self-employed software consultant doing web application development for large businesses. I’ve been playing games of one sort or another for most of my life, and I’m excited to get the chance to help design one of our own. We had a few game designs on the go but Get Off My Land! just happened to pull forward faster than the others and here we are, with a successful campaign for our first game and lots more work to be done.
Your first campaign for Get off my land failed. Why do you think that happened?
We rushed our launch date. We planned a launch party for a Friday and had our “first 24 hours” continue through to the next day when we were live at a convention. Wanting to launch on this specific weekend made us rush some really important decisions that ultimately lead to the first campaign failing. One of the reasons the first campaign failed is because we didn’t triple check our numbers and look at them compared to other games out there with similar components. Our estimated MSRP calculation was incorrect which made our pledge level too high. We were also being too safe with all our cost projections so we ended up setting our funding goal much higher than it should have been.
Although we failed our first campaign, we did really well for a first time company and designers seeing as we got up to $30k. We are proud of how far we got and how many new fans we gained. We definitely learned a lot and will use this experience as a reminder to never rush and always do your homework.
What did you do to build up a following before you launched the first time?
We attended a few conventions and let people try out the prototype. People get first hand experience with the game and you get great feedback from all the different people trying out new strategies. For our future projects, I think we could build up a bigger audience and make a name for ourselves in forums and online. But now that we’ve made a lot of mistakes and have learned from them we can help out a lot more in that department for new designers.
Did you do anything different when you were building an audience for the second time?
We did try to engage more in the online world but we relaunched very quickly after the first campaign and we didn’t spend more time on building a bigger audience. Though our first campaign helped build us a bigger fan base, it never hurts to get your name out there and get involved in the gaming community.
Why do you think you succeeded in your second attempt?
Our fans. The new friends we made in our first campaign really helped us out and did everything they could to keep our spirits high and help us promote our game. They stuck around and had faith in us even when it was obvious we weren’t going to fund. They were waiting and ready for us to relaunch. Some begging us to launch early, and some refreshing the page waiting for us to click the launch button in order to be the first backer. That amount of dedication for our game is really amazing and for that we can’t thank them enough and we really want to make this game the best it can be for everyone who supported us along the way. We are beyond grateful for everyone’s help and it really warms the heart to see people stepping up to help some complete strangers in their time of need.
What is your best marketing tip?
Make friends and get involved in the gaming community. Be willing to help others and offer your support and they’ll be more inclined to help you when you need it.
We contacted a few Facebook groups that run contests to giveaway a copy of your game. That really helped bring traffic to our pages and lets people get to know you quickly. We posted some images in an “art for board games” group and got some really good feedback to help improve the design of the cards.
If there was one thing you wish you knew before you launched the two campaigns, what would it be?
We wish we knew how important it was to be super prepared before launching. We always thought “we can do that during the campaign”. No! Do it first.
How is it to run a campaign for a relaunch? Is it any different?
In one way it was easier. Our first campaign built up our fan base and that really helped get the 2nd campaign funded quickly.
In another way, it is harder. We had already overspent for advertising and marketing for the first campaign and were quickly running out of ideas on what to do on our 2nd campaign.
When did you launch and why did you choose that exact moment?
Our first campaign was launched on a Friday in order to tie in to the next day when we were at a convention demoing the game. Most people will tell you not to launch on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday but we don’t think that was the cause of our failure. Had we gotten our numbers right, we have no doubt we could have funded the first time around.
Our 2nd campaign was launched on a Monday. Statistics show that Mondays and Tuesdays are better for launching because the weekend is over and everyone is back to work or school and have time to browse through their favourite websites. We chose Monday because it was exactly one week after we cancelled our first campaign.
How do you structure your days during the campaign?
We all have full time jobs, so our game and our campaign are pretty much a 2nd full time job. We finish a 9 hour day at work then head home to spend the rest of the evening working on the game. Some fans have expressed their worry for our health as we seem to always be available to answer comments and messages. We do sleep, we promise. Just maybe not a whole lot.
What’s the best advice you ever received before the relaunch?
There was only a week between our first campaign and our relaunch so we didn’t get much advice in that time. We had the chance to sit down with Billy Sheng, one of the designers of Emergence, and he helped us work out our numbers. We met Billy last year at Dragonflight in Bellevue, WA. He had recently run his super successful Kickstarter campaign and was very willing to answer any questions we had. We really can’t thank him enough for everything he’s done for us.
The beginning and the end of the campaign are when most of the backers pledge. What’s your main tactic to handle the mid-campaign drop?
It’s tough to watch. Really tough. We know it’s going to happen but it’s always going to be stressful. We are doing our best to engage with our backers and potential backers and show them that we are really working hard to give them updates on new artwork and planning live playthroughs for people to watch and get a feel for the game.
We contacted many blogs and podcasts but it’s hard to get noticed with so many board games being released every week. It’s especially hard since we are a new company that no one has heard of and we have to try extra hard to gain that following. Hopefully with the success of our first game and making it the best we can, we will build that trust within the gaming community.
What’s your tactic regarding stretch goals?
Our original idea with stretch goals was to only show a couple and have the rest be mystery goals so that we could judge what kind of interest we had and could set them accordingly.
But we learned it’s better to show everyone that you have or at least most of it. Everyone likes stretch goals!
What do you think is the most important element of a Kickstarter page?
Visuals. You have to make it eye catching and professional looking. And you have to make sure the main things people need to see are easy to find and near the top. We were lucky enough that our backers forgave our beginner mistakes and would always let us know if we missed something vital.
Do you regret something you did on your previous campaign?
Not doing enough homework and rushing the launch date. We made mistakes because we didn’t take enough time to do the research. But we learned from those mistakes very early on and made sure to do everything we could to improve our 2nd campaign. The gaming community is very helpful and willing to offer their advice. All you need to do is get involved and ask.
Do you have any role models in the board gaming industry?
We think Jamey Stegmaier is everyone’s role model in the board game crowdfunding world. And if he isn’t he should be. We really couldn’t have done it without his massive list of blogs on Kickstarter advice.
What kind of feedback did you get from the first campaign and did you do anything about it?
The biggest feedback we got from the first campaign was about the price so we fixed that up to reflect what other games with similar components looked like.
Anything else you want to add?
DO NOT LAUNCH UNTIL YOU ARE READY! Make sure you have everything done. Don’t try to finish stuff while you’re live. Don’t do it.
Where can people reach you?