Entrepreneurs, want a high-funded crowdsourced product? Make a board game

Over the past decade or so, board games have been making a serious comeback in the mainstream. These aren’t your typical Monopoly or Cluedo titles, which is now a cliche to say, but in-depth, strategic, and beautifully crafted products of enjoyment.

Looking at the list of most-funded projects on crowd-funding website Kickstarter yields some interesting results. Sure, there’s a range of electronics, video games, and even music, but in between those are board games. Those collections of cardboard and plastic tokens can net you a tidy funding amount.

You many have an ‘original idea’ for one; maybe it’ll be the next Monopoly of games (please don’t make another Monopoly), but there’s no guarantee it’ll make any money. What does accumulate a lot of funding? Licenced products, games with massive followings, and projects with pop culture icons attached to them.

Take a look at Exploding Kittens, for example. It’s a simplistic card game about avoiding said felines. There’s not much to it, but the game was gaining decent traction when first announced. When the author of popular website The Oatmeal, Matthew Inman, was brought onboard, the game’s funding skyrocketed and ended up raising US$8.7-million from 219 382 backers. That’s right over 200 000 people wanted this product and were willing to pay up front for it.

The Zombicide series is one that came almost out of nowhere. Its first release managed to snag over US$781 000 back in 2012. Word soon got out that not only was the game becoming a regular at board game nights around the world, but it included an incredible amount of content of Kickstarter backers.

When season two of Zombiecide was concluded, it had raised over US2.2-million, which is a massive jump from the first release. From there the funding only grew with season three raising US$2.8-million, and the spin-off Black Plague receiving a whopping US4-million. Now that’s a working product brand in action.

If you can’t think of an original property, there’s always licenced products based on existing books/movies/TV shows, etc. Remember Conan the Barbarian by Robert E. Howard? The latest board game based (one of several) on that universe closed its Kickstarter with US3.3-million.

The obscene, crude, and funny webcomic, Cyanide & Happiness raised US$3.2-million for their card game, Joking Hazard. That amount is no joke.

And finally, Dark Souls: The Board Game, which is based on the popular video game franchise of the same name, has only been on Kickstarter for a few days, but has so far raised over £1.4-million which equates to US$2.1-million dollars in funding for a project that isn’t closed.

Crowdsourcing your project may just be the way to go instead of hoping a funding competition or live event picks you as their next project.

All of these numbers look impressive, but the game publishers and designers put in a lot of work to get there. In order to get your board game recognised you’ll need to visit local and international events, build hype, and make sure your backers get more than their money’s worth. Not to mention some of these companies aren’t always startups and have spent years crafting their design skills, so make sure you have people on (card) board that know what they’re doing.

It’s possible that a creative product may just be the startup that makes your dreams come true and not that one that’s an ‘Uber of something.’



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