Tell us a bit about yourself and Mars open: Tabletop Golf.
Mars Open: Tabletop Golf is my seventh Kickstarter campaign. It is a dexterity golf game set on Mars. You play by flicking specially-folded golf ball cards over and around obstacles and into the crater hole box. Player with the fewest strokes after 9 holes wins!
What did you do to build up a following before you launched Mars open?
I have been posting news about the game on my website and via my monthly newsletter, and I mailed special promo cards to my newsletter subscribers. I’ve also had several production-quality prototypes produced and distributed to reviewers to preview and promote as they choose. These production copies have been very useful for taking promotional pictures and video, which I have regularly shown on social media.
When did you launch and why did you choose that exact moment?
Tuesday, November 7 at 7am. At least, I think it was 7am. I can’t remember. I just got up early so the first day would be longer.
Is it any different to do a Kickstarter for a dexterity game rather than a conventional game?
We really focused on demonstrating what the “golf ball” could actually do, so we made more GIFs and video than normal. At the same time, the game is very simple, so we didn’t need to do an actual gameplay video to teach it.
Your first game, Antidote, did really well on Kickstarter. How did the campaign go and how did you build a following for your first game?
Each member on the team wrote personal notes to 100 friends/family. This was the fuel to get the first game going. Then, midway through the campaign we were featured on Board Game Breakfast and more than doubled our funding in the last couple of days.
Your first two games each got over 1000 backers. Since then, almost all your following games have gotten around 300 backers. Why do you think that happened?
There are tons of possible factors, so it is hard to make an accurate analysis. We felt each game had the potential to do equally well or better than the first, but it turns out some games just sell better than others!
What is your best marketing tip during a campaign?
Make a very good looking prototype for reviewers. During the campaign, don’t spend too much time watching it. Focus instead on creating more content and planning ahead.
What’s the best kickstarter advice you ever received?
I think it was probably Jamey Stegmaier‘s suggestion in his Kickstarter lessons to write personalized notes to friends and family on day 1. For my first campaign, this was super important for getting the ball rolling. Since then, I’ve been able to rely on my newsletter lists to build support on the first day, but back then, I think it made a huge impact.
What´s your thoughts regarding stretch goals?
I think they are important ways to continue to build interest and excitement in the campaign. We make a complete game first, then add on and upgrade as suits the game.
What is your comment in the debate about paid vs unpayed reviews?
We paid for one, but have never done it since. I think if a game is worth reviewing on its own merit then it is solid proof the game is actually good. I’m not against paid previews that just showcase the game, but comments about how good the game is will seem less sincere. So, we plan to just make good games and good prototypes and find reviewers who are actually interested.
What do you think is the most important element of a Kickstarter page?
Depending on the type of game project, either the “how to play” or the “components” section.
What is your favourite board game at the moment and why?
Truthfully, Mars Open. Not only do I find myself flicking the “golf balls” around constantly, but I am also always interested in snagging people for 9 holes.
Do you have any role models in the board gaming industry?
Too many to count. Old guard: Bernd Brunhoffer, Leo Colivini, Richard Garfield, Sid Saxon, Klaus Teuber, Antoine Bauza. New guard: Jamey Stegmaier, Ryan Laukat, Randy Hoyt, Jason Kotarski, Ed Baraf, Brian Suhre, James Hudson, Beth Sobel…and more…
Anything else you want to add?
This is such an amazing time we live in that we get to make games! I try to keep this in focus and not get distracted by the ups and downs of Kickstarter.
Click here to visit the campaign page for Mars open. The Kickstarter campaign has entered its last hours.