Tell us a bit about yourself and Wreck and ruin.
Wreck and Ruin is the first project I created, and did not start off intending to make a game! The game came about from having a crazy dream and the need to fill my time with something other than playing the PS4. Wreck and Ruin pits 2-4 players against each other in a post-apocalyptic wasteland battling over the last of earth’s technology using the various vehicles and their special skills to your advantage. Getting to the salvage token is not enough: you must defend it for at least one turn to collect it, and that’s where the fun comes in! Players will be shooting, ramming and wrecking their way across the map in no time.
This is actually the third time you launch a campaign for this project. What happened the first time?
The first time I didn’t really feel ready to launch but I knew if I didn’t go then I’d have to wait til the new year. I was chasing in the reviews and content and I still had plenty of backers, just not enough to fund unfortunately.
What did you learn from the first attempt?
It’s hard as a designer when something is ready to sit on it, but only launch when it is right! Making sure everything is ready is a good start. I also learnt a lot from using kickstarter itself, and as soul-destroying as it is, how to deal with the inevitable cancels from backers.
Then you relaunched the project. How did that go?
Better thankfully! I had my original backers coming back, I’d also attended a few more conventions in between to build up awareness of the game and increase my following. It was nice having backers coming back saying they couldn’t believe it didn’t fund as it was an awesome game- this helps with the sanity.
When you failed the second time, did you want to give up?
After having failed first time the fear you have that it won’t work again is palpable – I almost pulled the plug within the first 24 hours! It’s tough putting yourself out there and maintaining positivity throughout a campaign as it is emotionally draining, and even more so when it’s not going as good as you’d like but I had decided a long time before even the first launch that I was commited to seeing this project through to the end – one way or another.
So you relaunched again and now you are funded! What did you do different this time?
Third time is the charm, right? I made a bit of a bold move in that I relaunched within 2 months of the old one. The key difference was I opened my campaign up to a ‘postmortem’ by the kickstarter creator community. In the background I was having new artwork created and revising all my current work such as the logo, as well as advertising on facebook so that the game started to get some traction. I deliberately picked my dates so that after the first 48 hours when the activity of the campaign starts to drop off I was then at UKGE for 3 days constantly running 3 demo tables and promoting. I’m glad to say I was fully booked all weekend and funded whilst driving home on the Sunday.
If there was one thing you wish you knew before you launched your campaign the first time, what would it be?
It may look easy, but like me your view is skewed because we all tend to back big, successful campaigns. I wish I knew how to deal with a campaign that isn’t going to plan.
What do you want to say to others that have failed their campaign?
There is no shame in failing – loads of projects do it every day, they’re just not the ones that people are normally talking about. Be an ambassador for your own project – people are investing in YOU just as much as the game: if you don’t believe it will happen why will they? My last update on the failed campaign wasn’t that I was sorry I didn’t fund, it was that we did an awesome job getting to where we did and we should all be proud of that. Pick yourself up, make the changes necessary to fix it, and above all never stop believing you will do it!
What kind of feedback have you received from the backers throughout the failed campaigns?
My backers are a great bunch, most of them have followed me since the original launch. My only ‘negative’ feedback was that perhaps I should be offering higher tier pledges as they wanted to give me more money but would receive nothing extra for it – so I changed it this time. A lot of my backers have came up to me at conventions to say they wished it had funded, and after playing would say it definitely deserved to be! They would also send me private messages telling me not to give up and I’ll get it next time, which is such a heartwarming and humbling experience which to be honest I was not ready for. They really got behind me, and I couldn’t do it without them, so thanks to all my warriors!
Did many of the backers from the original campaign follow you over to the relaunches?
Loads! I decided to play a meta-game within the campaign, and that was that each backer had to select which faction they would fight for during the campaign and they were tasked with seeing who could do the best job of spreading the word. My faction leaders I met from backing the campaign, and have continued that role each time which is pretty cool! it also makes the comments section good fun to read .
You changed your title on each attempt. Do you think that affected anything? (1. Wreck and ruin 2. Wreck and ruin! 3. Wreck and ruin: post-apocalyptic vehicle miniature violence)
haha this was purely from necessity – kickstarter won’t allow a project to exist with the same name, even though it failed. Probably what most people won’t know is that the page has to be rebuilt from scratch, there’s no way of using the old one and amending it. The latest one definitely has more punch though.
Your third funding goal is less than half your original goal yet you are offering almost the same thing?
Crazy, right? The quick answer is I’ll be subsidising the rest myself. I still effectively need the same amount, but one of the hardest hurdles a new creator has to face is an attainable funding goal – I completely understand we are unproven which feels like more of a risk to backers but there’s a whole psychology behind when people will back, it’s a game in itself! I’m putting my money where my mouth is and saying I believe in it enough to make it happen, I just needed a little help is all
What’s the best Kickstarter advice you ever received?
Received, or listened to? As a first time creator we should always be aiming for something small to begin with – a card game for instance – to show that you are capable of delivering. This allows a low funding goal. And don’t even think about minis! Like I said: best advice, but didn’t listen at the time as I felt this was the game I HAD to make!
If you could change one thing with Kickstarter. What would it be?
System wise I’d like to see the indie guys getting more publicity – I get that the big companies bring eyes to kickstarter, but if they’re taking all the money then it isn’t doing what it’s supposed to. If I could change ANYTHING though it would be the correlation between funding and the quality of a game – just because it didn’t fund straight away it doesn’t mean it’s a bad game, and vice versa. Next time you look at a project think about whether you’d like to see the game made, if you’re happy with what you’d get for your money – that’s what I do and why I never cancel a pledge once I’ve commited
What do you think is the most important element of a Kickstarter page?
Can I say 2 things? Your main image and the video: these are the 2 things that people see first and if that doesn’t interest them they will look no further. First impressions count!
Do you have any role models in the board gaming industry?
Adam Poots, creator of Kingdom Death: he made the game he wanted to make even though it does divide people. The sheer scale of creating a game like that though pretty much on his own is awe-inspiring. I am lucky in that the industry is so welcoming though that I’ve made many awesome friends through it that will help in any way they can – every creator deserves recognition for the unseen hard work that makes our hobby what it is!
Anything else you want to add?
Just a thank you for reading, hope it’s been helpful, and always dream big! I suppose I should say to check out the campaign too and become a part of the living tapestry that is this story
Where can people reach you?
On the campaign of course: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1358316989/wreck-and-ruin-post-apocalyptic-vehicle-miniature