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#55 – Kickstarter Diary for Fry Thief

Patrick Rauland: Hello everyone. This is a bonus episode of the Indie Board Game Designers Podcast. So I’m about to run a Kickstarter campaign for my game, Fry Thief. And since Kickstarter is such a popular channel where we see a ton of new board games … I’ve personally bought dozens of board games through Kickstarter. And it’s the channel not only where experienced publishers can launch stuff, but it’s in a channel where anyone can launch a project. Everyone in the board game world talks about Kickstarter. There are a million people in the board game world who are willing to regurgitate some knowledge from other creators, which can be useful. It is helpful when people sort of amplify messages from other creators because that way it spreads the message, which I think can be helpful. But there’s very little evidence about what works and what doesn’t.

Fry Thief on Kickstarter

Patrick Rauland: For me personally, I heard over and over again that your video has to be shorter than a minute. And I think that’s probably a useful rule of thumb. But it isn’t a law. And the way people talk about things in these Facebook groups, or in private groups, or online, or in blogs is that your video has to be less than a minute. And I personally don’t think my campaign will explode because my video is closer to two minutes than to one. I think a lot of these are common sense. I think a lot of these make sense for most games or for most projects. But they’re not laws. And I just want my own experience so I can know what works and what doesn’t. Because sometimes the advice that we read online is counterintuitive.

Patrick Rauland: So what I’m gonna do is I’m gonna write down my thoughts every day and then basically share them with you as I go through the campaign. I hope that I will learn a lot. And I also hope that you’ll be able to learn a lot through me and avoid any mistakes I make. So that is the goal with this project is I want to help … I want to write down my thoughts so I know what works and what doesn’t. And I hope someone else can also learn something from this.

Patrick Rauland: So on to day zero.

Day 0 – The Day Before the Launch

Patrick Rauland: This is Monday, day zero of the Fry Thief Kickstarter campaign. So today I am checking to make sure that everything is good to go. I basically want to make sure:

  • my campaign page looks good
  • I want to finalize plans for tomorrow
  • and I want to get as many things scheduled as possible.

Patrick Rauland: That’s kinda my goal for the day. So I’ve been working on this Kickstarter page for weeks at this point. I think I officially submitted the page to Kickstarter January 16th, which is 20 days before the campaign. It’s kind of funny because my campaign is 20 days long. So I’ve been working on this page, tweaking it constantly for 20 days, and now my campaign is gonna launch. And we’ll see what all the work I did turns out to be. But I did sort of have the core building blocks in place about three weeks ago. Yeah, about three weeks ago is when I had all the … Like the main pillars of the page were in place. Since then, I’ve been wordsmithing, tweaking titles, I’ve been doing a lot of work with the video. Just tweaking this, tweaking that, adding some sound and changing certain shots out.

Patrick Rauland: Honestly, at this point, I have looked at that campaign page so many times that I’m confident I have everything. I will double check the pledge levels one last time. I’m gonna check the due date. I’m gonna check the price. And I’m just gonna make sure everything is clear just one more time just in case. But I really think I’ve been looking at this campaign page over, and over, and over again that I don’t think I’ve missed anything.

Patrick Rauland: I did at the last second remember a plan I had for a flash goal. And flash goals, if you’re not familiar with them are, basically, it’s similar to a stretch goal where everyone gets something if the game funds or if the game reaches a certain threshold in a certain period of time. So if I say, “I will give everyone a free miniature … I’ll give everyone a free Fry token if we fund on day one.” Something like that. So just a little extra incentive to fund as early as possible. But in my case, I wanted to do something silly. So I am promising to eat one fry per backer in the first 24 hours. I don’t really think something like this will get me more backers, but I’m hoping that for the people who have been following me for months, this will help them to back me on day one instead of day 10. So I’m just sort of hoping that it’ll encourage the people who would’ve eventually backed to back on day one. I don’t really think it’ll help me get too many more backers. But of course, all the people backing on day one makes the campaign look a little bit better in Kickstarter’s algorithm. So maybe that will help me get more people. We’ll see how that turns out.

24 hour flash goal for Fry Thief
24 Hour Flash Goal for Fry Thief

Removing EU Friendly Shipping Logo

Patrick Rauland: I did edit one graphic last minute. So I removed the little EU friendly shipping logo from my shipping graphic. Now my campaign was designed to fund with just 100 customers. I can make those numbers work, which I’m really proud of. I literally … I spent a long time figuring out how to do this. But I can make my campaign work with just 100 customers. But I can’t promise EU friendly shipping until I have a bunch of customers in the EU. If I have to use a EU fulfillment center for three people in Germany, that’ll lose me a ton of money and make sure that my campaign makes nothing. So I decided to take it off. When I have an idea of where my customers are checking out from, what countries they’re from. And I have, let’s say a few dozen, or maybe … I mean, better yet, a few hundred in the EU, then it will make sense to add the icon for EU friendly shipping. That is a whole topic for another time. I would love to get into it because I thought about EU friendly shipping for weeks. And the long and short of it is I don’t want to promise something that I can’t guarantee. So I’m not gonna promise EU friendly shipping until I know I’m going to do that 100%.

The shipping prices for Fry Thief. And my note about being conscious of EU VAT

Patrick Rauland: So again, so I could’ve restructured my campaign where basically I would make my campaign work with 1000 backers. And then I would know I’m probably gonna get a few hundred in the EU anyways. And then I can guarantee EU friendly shipping. But with the way I designed my campaign where it will fund with 100 people, I just didn’t want to promise that.

Patrick Rauland: So I did send out a newsletter today that I wrote, I think, on Friday. So a couple days ago. It was sent out to 742 people. So that’s how many people I have. I have one more day to sort of collect email addresses. But I sent them five testimonials. A few of which are just sort of text like one or two sentence summary with a link to the full review. There’s one five minute podcast and maybe a 10 minute video review. And I included my Kickstarter video in that email. So I just reminded everyone of the pledge levels. All the testimonials are like, “This is a great game. It does this, this, and this well.” And most importantly, I communicated them a Kickstarter’s tomorrow.

Patrick Rauland: I should add that I sent an email last week with similar content. So it was like one or two testimonials that were different and I think I said, “Fry Thief is launching in six days.” So anyone who signed up in the past four months has already been through a seven email series explaining everything about the game. So the audience should be pretty informed about the game and the Kickstarter date. I also created an event on my Facebook page. I’ve been writing posts on Facebook. I think a week ago I also shared, “Hey, here’s the final prototype.” And I just did a little video. A sort of unboxing video of the final prototype. So people should be pretty familiar that it is coming.

Patrick Rauland: I also wrote the email for tomorrow. The email for tomorrow is very simple. In pretty big font it says, “Fry Thief is live on Kickstarter,” which is of course a link. I also mentioned the flash goal. And I just have a big graphic of fries that I found on Unsplash. So it’s basically one giant headline, a few sentences, and a pretty image of fries at the bottom. And a PS that there’s gonna be live stream out on the first day.

First Backers

Patrick Rauland: So let’s see. I texted and confirmed my first buyers. So I have 10 family and friends who promised to back the game minutes after launching. The idea is that I will text these 10 people and then send the email to all 740ish recipients. And the idea is when the 740 people get that email, a couple of them will click in immediately and they will immediately see that there’s a few other backers. So the idea is they should see that other people have already done it and that should slightly increase the conversion rate. Then they’ll back it. And then other people who click it 10 minutes later will see 10 people have backed it. And they’ll back it. Anyways, the idea is just to sort of get the ball rolling. I have no idea if this will actually help. But I’m hoping maybe for a smaller campaign like me where I have no … I don’t have an audience of 20,000 from a previous Kickstarter campaign. I just have my personal network and what I’ve built over the last couple months. So I’m hoping this will help.

Patrick Rauland: Overall, I feel like I did the best possible job I can. I know only two-thirds of board game Kickstarters, Kickstarter campaigns fund. And I have no idea if mine will succeed or not. I have no idea. I am sure there are things that I can optimize on my page. But I’m happy with it. And I think I’m basically as prepared as I can be. And I’ll get my hands on knowledge soon. And then maybe something will sort of click and then I can look back with hindsight and go, “Oh, okay. I see why this didn’t work.” But right now, the day before, I really hope this campaign takes off. I’ve done a ton of work and I want to see the game brought to life. I mean the game has basically been done for months. I’ve tweaked some cards, I’ve tweaked some icons, I’ve made the fonts a little bolder. I’ve tweaked some graphics. I mean, the game is very much the exact same game.

Patrick Rauland: I’ve mostly spent the past three or four months marketing the game pretty hard. I’m happy with the 700 people that I have on this email list. In traditional eCommerce. By the way, my background is in traditional eCommerce. So I know how to sell things to people online. People, when you have really huge lists, especially lists gathered from advertising where you send out an ad and then try to get people’s email addresses, you can expect a conversion rate as low as 2%. So for my list of 700, that’s 14 people. So if I do a bad job and I sort of really haven’t warmed them up, I really haven’t … I haven’t really tuned in the marketing message, or it’s just been too long since I got them on the email list, I might only get 24 people to my campaign. That would be crushing. Because I hope I did a really good job explaining the benefits and the fun parts of the game. And sending out good video and all that stuff. I’m hoping I did a really good job finding the right people and then engaging them. I really hope that I get more than 2% to actually follow through.

Patrick Rauland: So that’s kind of where I’m at. I just want to let you know a day before what I’m doing. Sort of day zero of this campaign. I sort of have, I think, 18 hours to go before my launch and what I’ve been working on. I will talk tomorrow morning right before the Kickstarter before I press the go button. Talk soon.

Day 1 – Launch Day!

Patrick Rauland: It is 7:14 AM on day one of the campaign. So I have about 45 minutes before I press the go button. Ah! I am beyond excited. I just got my favorite coffee, which is this super sugary pistachio white mocha thing from a coffee shop near by. So I’m in a good mood. Also probably contributing to a little bit of my excitement, I sent the files off to my graphic designer last night for the flash goal. And this morning I got them back. And they look pretty good so I need to upload that. I got a few more testimonials turned into graphics. So I’ll need to upload those and then link them to the actual full review. And I think that’s all I have to do. I literally think I finished every single other thing that I wanted to do. Or because there’s an infinite amount of things that you can do, I decided not to do it. So in the last couple days, I’ve gotten really good about figuring out what I want to do and what I don’t want to do. And I’m very happy with where I am.

Patrick Rauland: I got two texts this morning from some friends wishing me luck. So that definitely boost my spirits. And I’m hoping things are gonna go well. Actually, three friends. Yeah. So that’s really good. And again, just my big thing is I’ve never done this before. I’ve never launched a product on Kickstarter. I’ve been following the board game world on Kickstarter for a while. But we tend to only see the giant successful campaigns. We definitely have that survivorship bias. Survivor bias. So I just have no idea. Is this gonna be a tiny epic game where it has 20,000 backers? Or is it gonna be a game where it’s just my mom, my dad, and my sister, and seven other random people back it. So I just have no idea how big this campaign is gonna be. I’ve done the best I can. And I think we will just see. For the record, I will be happy if I get … My goal is $1500, which is a pretty … Which is a very small goal. I’ve specifically designed it that way. But if I get $1500, I will be very, very happy with this campaign. Of course, I have things planned up to maybe three grand. I have some stretch goals that help boost it along, and I can give people more rewards, and give people more free, cool interesting stuff. But I would love to get that 1500.

Patrick Rauland: So I guess time will tell and I will have another update from you tomorrow on how the first day went. Oh my god. All right.

Day 2 – Funded

Patrick Rauland: It is day two of the Kickstarter campaign and we funded. Oh, god. That’s a huge load off my shoulders.

Patrick Rauland: I am so happy to be in the two-thirds of board games that actually fund on Kickstarter. We funded in 40 minutes, which is insane. Apparently all that work building an audience ahead of time is really important. Who knew?

First Backers Didn’t All Back

Patrick Rauland: So let me talk about that while it’s fresh on my mind. Remember how I said that I had 10 people who confirmed that they’d back the campaign a few minutes after I text them? They were the first 10 people I’d text and they’d back right away. I think only four of the 10 people did that. The rest of them did pledge, but they pledged a few hours later. So I don’t think they understood the urgency.

Patrick Rauland: So I’m really, really, really happy they pledged. But I did only have four people back the campaign immediately. But you know what? Four’s probably enough. I’m just thinking for the people who actually … Because the whole point of this is that people who see the email come in about Fry Thief launched on Kickstarter, they click it, they go to the page, and then they see that one or two people have already backed it. It’s just a little bit of extra social proof. So really I think you only needed one or two people to actually back the campaign. But if you’re planning something similar, plan for 10. Or ask 10 people and maybe you’ll get four. And that’s probably fine. So that was interesting.

Patrick Rauland: So right after I sent out the texts, I sent out the link to the Kickstarter campaign to my newsletter. So at this moment, which was about 24 hours … Actually, no, no. Right now … Sorry. It took me a while to write this up. It is about 24 hours. So it’s just after 24 hours after the campaign started. The stats on that newsletter are there were 758 recipients, 25.1% open rate, and a 12.9% click rate. Now if you haven’t done email marketing before, just know that those stats cans still change. Obviously, someone who is just out of town yesterday or whatever, they can come back in, check their email, open it, and click it, and that’ll obviously change the stats.

Launch day stats for Fry Thief
The final stats for the launch day email

Patrick Rauland: Now I’m personally a little surprised by these. I know yesterday I talked about how some big email list, especially when they’re generated through ads can be inefficient. But I really thought I did a good job warming up the audience here. I really, really did. I had a seven part email series that talked about here’s how set up goes, here’s how you play cards, here’s how the illustrator is drawing the cards, and just lots of cool stuff. And people literally only joined this list for Fry Thief. So why wouldn’t they open the email? Why would three-quarters of them just go, “Meh, not interested.” Did they become uninterested and just not unsubscribe? What happened here?

Patrick Rauland: I’m personally a little surprised by it. So I’m going to send another email later today mentioning that we’re funded and we can still use more support. And probably in two days I’ll send an email to anyone who hasn’t opened either of those emails and ask them just sort of what’s up. So I mean, I guess the good news is with this email stuff, I can always see who didn’t open it and then I can send an email to those people and try again. And maybe they were just busy. And maybe it got lost in the shuffle. I don’t know. So I will reach out. But I’m really disappointed that 25% open rate and a 12.9% click rate. Yeah, that just seems a little low. So anyways, I’ll try to figure that out.

Personal Network For The Win

Patrick Rauland: Now the biggest source of the immediate traffic wasn’t the texts, it wasn’t the emails. It was basically my immediate network. So of the first 10 pledges … I mean, technically, some of them are on both of those channels. But of the first 10 pledges, I personally know eight of those people. Of the next 10, I personally know six of them. And as I scroll through the list of backers, I see more and more people I recognize. And I wouldn’t be surprised if 50% of the people who helped me get to the initial funding, like the 50% of my goal I should say, were friends and family who have been following me make this game.

Patrick Rauland: So one of the things I suppose that helps is if you make a light game that anyone can get into, then all of a sudden your friends and family can really help you out. If you make the next Gloomhaven that’s a 20 hour dungeon RPG game, very few of my friends and family would be interested in that. Maybe 10% of all the people that backed whereas a friend of mine from work, who I don’t think I’ve ever seen her play a board game backed my campaign. So I guess it is really helpful when you have a light game that your friends and family can really help you out.

Patrick Rauland: So as of right now, let me pull up the most recent stats. I’ll pull up to the second stats, I have $4,304 pledged and 180 backers that is 286% funded, almost 300. My goal, obviously, is $1,500. So I posted some stretch goals and we hit them through the night. Yay. I’m really excited by the stretch goals. I just personally think that they’re really cool and really awesome. And I’m really excited to give people stuff and also to give people updates as we go through the campaign. Now these are pretty small stretch goals. They’re a couple hundred dollars apart. And for the most part, they add very simple things like more art to the game. So if you … I basically said, “Hey, we have two Om Nom Nom cards. If we hit the stretch goal, I’ll add … I’ll pay my illustrator to make another Om Nom Nom card so they look different.” It’s just simple stuff like that for the most part.

Unlocking 3-4 Player Mode

Patrick Rauland: The one stretch goal that … There’s probably gonna be two stretch goals that add something sort of very significant to the game. One, we just got, which was a three to four player mode. I’m really excited by that. This actually, honestly just came together in the last two to three months. I’ve only done maybe four play tests of it so far. But every single time I’ve done it, it’s worked really well with very little work. So I guess balancing the two player game for a year made the three to four player game really easy to work on. There’s gonna have to be some tiny, tiny card tweaks but it’s looking good already. So we hit that. We’re good to go.

Patrick Rauland: Oh, one interesting thing about that. So to play three to four players, you have to get an add-on for the game. Now the add-on is an extra set of cards and tokens. So I’ll have to educate my audience on how to … I have a little graphic made already. But basically I think you add $6, maybe $7. I can’t remember the price. But you add $6 or $7 to your pledge. Manually. There isn’t a separate pledge level. But you add $6 to $7 to your pledge manually and I’ll include an extra set of cards and tokens. And everything will fit in the original box, by the way, which is important to me. I hate when … Or I don’t hate. I just dislike when games are like, “We added this extra card. It doesn’t fit in the game box.” Not useful, buddy. So everything fits in the box. But they do have to pay extra for it. So I’m not sure how that will be received. I’m hoping it’ll be received as this game used to for over a year only played two people. And I’ve recently added a three to four player mode. It’ll go through several months of play testing while we’re designing the other cards and all that.

Double Dip add on to unlock 3-4 player mode.
Double Dip add on for $6 gives you extra cards & tokens.

Patrick Rauland: So I hope it works out well is sort of what I’m saying. But yeah, I guess we’ll just see how that goes. I really hope it works out well. I hope people are appreciative. I hope they’re not … I could see some grumpiness of you just want more money. I don’t know. I’ve just seen other Kickstarters sort of spiral into negativity. But I’ve had zero of that so far. So maybe I’m just worrying for nothing.

Flash Goal Flop

Patrick Rauland: Okay, speaking of goals, I didn’t see anyone talk about the flash goal at all. I think I did see one, maybe two comments on Twitter. Just, “Oh, I hope he doesn’t eat too much fries.” Something like that. So I don’t know if my flash goal helped at all. The goal where basically I’ll eat one fry for every backer, which by the way is 180 backers. That is roughly, two McDonald’s large fries, which by the way I ate during our live stream. So I basically already did it. I’ll eat another large fries today or something. But going back to the flash goal, I suppose there’s no way to know if it really engaged people. I didn’t really see many comments. People didn’t seem to be that excited about it. So maybe that was not just a waste of space. If I had to do another campaign again, I don’t know if I’d do a flash goal. I just don’t know. So maybe if you have a better idea than eating a fry, maybe you are giving away a cool card on the first 24 hours. But I had a ridiculous number of people share this campaign on their … I got so many Facebook notifications yesterday. I don’t know if I needed a flash goal. Maybe it would’ve got two extra shares. So maybe it would’ve helped. But I’m just not sure.

Patrick Rauland: Okay, so speaking of the live, the live stream, I forgot to write down notes on this. But let me quickly scroll down on this page here that I’m looking at. So I believe that we had about 30 to 40 people live. Now this was three PM after I launched the campaign at eight AM. So it wasn’t much time. So lots of the people who backed the camp, and also I added this live feature. I was still emailing people and adding this stuff to Facebook groups. So maybe the first 300 people who backed the campaign … Not 300, I don’t have that many backers. So the first 30% of the people who backed the campaign, they didn’t even see the live notification. So there might not have been enough time. But I think I only had 30 to 40 people live. And of that, maybe six people were chatting. So it was nice to have some interaction, but I really wanted a little bit more. I really wanted people to go, “Oh, what’s that card?” So I guess I can do another Kickstarter live video.

Kickstarter Live stats
Kickstarter Live stats

Patrick Rauland: I will say Kickstarter says I have 101 total views and 31 people replayed it. So apparently, that’s pretty good. So I guess, yeah, I guess I’m happy with that. But yeah. I think I want to do another one. And I want to do another one with my illustrator. Hopefully he will share some cool illustrations and stuff. I just want to give people an update. But yeah, hopefully I can do more live play through. I would love to do, after I get the three to four player mode explained, maybe in another two days I will do a three to four player demo. That seems fun.

Patrick Rauland: So let’s see. Two, three more points then I’m done. Done blabbing for today. I did add one pledge level last second. Probably 30 minutes after I launched. I added a four pack level where the consumer saves $10. So instead of … Now, here’s the thing. I didn’t really explain this yet to the backers. But I explained it in my brain so they should’ve just figured that out. But in my brain I said if you add an extra $15 to your pledge, I’ll send you an extra game. I don’t think I put that on the page anywhere. So they don’t know that. So I added a four pack. So basically for $50, you can get four copies of the game. It’d normally cost you 60. And eight people have this pledge level so far one or two friends and then, again, a couple random people I’ve never talked to trust this game so much they’re getting four copies and they’re giving them away to friends. How awesome is that? I’m not sure why I didn’t think to do this earlier, but I’m really happy I did. Those eight people raised $400 instead of $60 if they just bought a single game. So do not be afraid to add a four pack, or a two pack, or six pack. Whatever works for your numbers. Just add something like that to your campaign. That was an immediate win of $340.

Patrick Rauland: I did set up some Facebook ads yesterday. I used an image that I know converts well from a previous campaign. And I slapped a funded in 40 minutes and a Kickstarter logo onto it. So it should fund. It should be just as effective I hope, if not more. There’s still not enough data to know if those ads are really working, but hopefully in the next day or two, I’ll know a little bit more about the Facebook ads. And there’s still a lot of little things to do. Overall, I am really, really, really happy that I funded. We will see where this campaign goes. I honestly didn’t know if I’d get to $4000. And we got to $4000 in the first day. And I didn’t know if I’d even get to $1500. I really didn’t. But apparently, you really gotta have those friends and family that help you get that initial traction. I think would’ve still funded if I had zero friends and family. But all the initial momentum was from friends and family. So make sure you’re talking to your audience. Make sure people know what you’re doing. A lot of my friends knew I’ve been working on this game for a year. I didn’t spam them every week, but I did occasionally post about it.

Facebook ad for Fry Thief
Facebook ad for Fry Thief

Patrick Rauland: So that’s all I got for today. We will see where this campaign goes. Until next time.

Day 3

Patrick Rauland: Well hello, it is day three of this Fry Thief Kickstarter campaign. And I just want to give you guys an update. So number one, this is just a fairly boring thing. But the last couple days I did this update in the morning. And today I’m doing it technically still in the morning but closer to noon because, guess what? Real life got in the way. I had some really boring DMV paperwork that expired. I tried filling it out online. I had to go to the office. And I figured, you know what? I’m gonna first thing in the morning. And theoretically, the DMV lines will be less long and annoying at eight in the morning, which they were. But it’s just one of those things where you also have to remember to schedule real life in between all of this Kickstarter nonsense. So I did that for a couple hours this morning.

Patrick Rauland: So a little bit of an update. So I didn’t see much growth. Now most of you are probably aware of this, but Kickstarter campaigns are really hot and heavy the first 24 hours and the last 48 hours. Somewhere around there, the very beginning and the very end are both see lots of activity. So yesterday, I think I saw about $150 of growth since yesterday, which isn’t too much, right?

New Pledge

Patrick Rauland: So yesterday morning, I did get a message from a new-ish friend of mine. I haven’t really … I met him three years ago, but I haven’t really seen him in three years. So we sort of re-met maybe three, four months ago. We reconnected. I showed him my game. We chatted about it on Facebook. We hung out maybe just two, three, four times. And then yesterday I got a message from him and he wants me to combine two of the top pledges together. Now the top pledge is $175 to draw yourself into the game. And he wants to get that for two people. So he reached out to me and I made him a custom pledge for $350.

Add Your Likeness X2 Pledge

Patrick Rauland: So it was just a nice reminder to me that you should tell everyone in your network what you’re working on because if I didn’t tell this one person, I would’ve missed out on $350. Now you’re probably not gonna pass or fail a campaign by $350, but if you tell enough people, you’re sort of rolling the dice on each person. And in this case, this person just happened to be really interested and got two of the top pledges. So that was just awesome experience.

Patrick Rauland Yesterday I posted on a Board Game Geek thread of Kickstarters with prints & plays available. I generally … So I saw this for another campaign. Someone just posted and like, “Oh, neat,” I made a note and added it to mine. And I posted it there. But I generally have no idea if posting something in long forum threads or lists like that is helpful. But I actually got a message on BGG where someone said, “Hey, I saw your post on this thread. I’d love to play it before I back the campaign.” So apparently, people do read those and I got a message back pretty shortly after. I sent her the sort of the, I guess, prototype print & play. That’s not the right word. But it’s sort of the print and play. It was slightly less nice artwork right now that I have. And she said thank you and she’s gonna give it a try. So I have no idea if this person is actually going to convert. But it is at least nice that I have some signal that people are reading what I’m putting out just because I think with online marketing, you have no idea what works until you try it and get some sort of response.

Kid Friendly

Patrick Rauland: I just wanted to add, a few people that I know have messaged me personally. They wanted to know if the game is kid friendly. And what’s interesting about this is I have the age range, eight plus, on the side of the box. On two sides of the box, actually. And several reviewers mention this as well, including the family gamers who have a young kid give their opinion. And another reviewer said their kids kept pulling it off the shelves to play it when they weren’t around. And that’s how much they liked it. So with a bit of research, I think this is obviously, especially since the side of the box is pretty visible in some of the creative work. But guess what? Most people are busy and they don’t have time to dig in.

The side of Fry Box
The side of the box

Patrick Rauland: So in retrospect, I think what I should’ve done as I should’ve put some additional information into my advertising or into the featured image for my Kickstarter campaign whenever someone shares the Kickstarter. Maybe put the play time, the number of players, and the age range right on that image somewhere. With a lot of sites, you’re supposed to have minimal images in those sort of featured images. Like Facebook, you’re not supposed to have a lot of text in your advertising. But maybe just a little bit would help just to give people … In my case, my game is kid friendly. So just put ages eight plus or something on there. So that was I think a tiny opportunity I missed. In this case, two people reached out to me. I responded to them and they said great and they were gonna back it. But I also don’t know how many people didn’t reach out to me and just didn’t reach out to me and just assumed it wouldn’t be family friendly.

Have Graphics Ready to Go

Patrick Rauland I sent out two updates yesterday (1 & 2). Those took a while to write. I went … In retrospect, I should’ve made the graphics for those or at least got started on the graphics for those ahead of time just because I think graphics is something that takes 10-15 minutes to put together, which really isn’t that long. But when you’re doing two updates and you have to … And you’re also writing all the text, at least if the graphics are done, it just sort of saves you a bunch of time. You don’t have to open Photoshop or whatever programs … Image editing programs you’re using. So I just wish I did that. So as a note to future Kickstarter creators, campaign creators, I would definitely have … Try to have as many images ready to go. As a good example, tomorrow or later today, I’ll be posting an update on what should the logos be for those imaginary restaurants that we’re all making together in this game. And so I just wanted to communicate that with my audience. But I need to find three cards that show that there are no logos on the cards yet and just put little borders around them. There’s just lots of little stuff that I have to do to make an image ready.

Patrick Rauland: And in retrospect, I had that planned months ago. I’m like, “Oh, I should ask my audience what they think about the restaurant.” I could have made those graphics ahead of time. So maybe have a list of updates and have a list of potential graphics. And just start putting those together. It’ll obviously take you … It’s a little bit putzy to do that. But just having a couple graphics ready to go would really have sped that process up.

Giveaways

Patrick Rauland: And then just one thing just to note, I forgot to mail … I’ve been building this … I’ve been trying giveaways. And I will have to at the end of this campaign see how many people are on the giveaway list that also backed my campaign. I’ll have to see how effective that giveaway list is. I’m not sure right now. But I just forgot to email them at all. I forgot to email them entirely. So for the most part, I’d mentioned, “Hey, I’m also running this game called Fry Thief. If you’re interested in that, sign up here.” So hopefully a good number of them also signed up for Fry Thief. But I don’t know. And for all the people who didn’t, I should send at least one email saying, “Hey, by the way, all the giveaways are done. Thank you for participating. Hope you got something out of it. And by the way, I’m starting Fry Thief now.” I think you can do one email like that without bugging people. So that was just an obvious … I think there was three, 400 people that are on one … On the giveaway list that are not on the Fry Thief list. So that’s an extra three, 400 people I can message. So that was something obvious I just forgot. So I’m gonna take care of that today.

The email broadcst I sent to the giveaway list
The email broadcast I sent to the giveaway list

Patrick Rauland: So that’s what I got. I will hopefully have an update for you tomorrow. I might not do an update every single day in the middle of this campaign if all the days are slow like this. But we will see as we go and we’ll just go from there. All right. Talk tomorrow.

Day 4

Patrick Rauland It is day four of the campaign. So let’s see. What’s going on? I got two updates and then just a little tiny update for you on the money raised. So basically since yesterday, I raised about $300. So that’s good. Going from 199 to 221 backers. So I’m at $5,440 right now, which is awesome. That’s 362% funded. I’m really happy with that. Now that extra traffic, a lot of that is coming from Facebook ads. I’m having some trouble with those ads though. So I created a link in Kickstarter which you can do once your campaign goes live to track them. So I have a specific link just to track my Facebook ads. And there’s either something wrong with the link or they’re not converting at all. So I’m getting people over to my Kickstarter page for about 20 cents a click. That’s pretty good. It’s not amazing, but it’s pretty good. But Kickstarter is only showing these seven conversions. And I’ve sent hundreds of people there. As of yesterday … I didn’t check this morning. But as of yesterday, probably 300 people. So there’s either an issue with the tracking and more people are converting and that’s why I’m getting an extra $300 since yesterday. Or I am … Or it’s just not working at all and I’m just totally losing money there. And unfortunately, the way Facebook tracks things, Facebook can’t track if people actually convert on Kickstarter.

Patrick Rauland: And what’s especially interesting is this is almost a duplicate of a really effective campaign I ran earlier in the year or really the last three months to get email addresses. And I was really good at that. So I’ve optimized it for that. So I assumed because I was really good at getting email addresses, granted I was sending people to a landing page instead of the Kickstarter page, I assumed this would convert well. It’s virtually the same image and I said it funded in Kickstarter in 40 minutes. So people probably assume it’s the game because there’s a picture of a game on it. They assume it’s on Kickstarter … Or they should … They know it’s on Kickstarter because it says it funded on Kickstarter.

Patrick Rauland: So I’m just really surprised why all those people are clicking on it and so few people are converting. I really believe that if I’ve sent … I think as of yesterday, I think it was 300 people. Of 300 people who saw an ad and clicked on it, only seven converted? That seems incredibly low. Now I talked to some friends in the eCommerce world who do more advertising than I do. And they said if you are sending cold traffic to a site, then what is it? .15% conversion rate is not terrible. Or well they said it’s below average, but not terrible. So I’m skeptical, but what I’m gonna try to do is I’m gonna try retargeting. So I’m going to look for anyone who visited Fry Thief or interacted with the Fry Thief page, the Facebook page, in any way in the last three months and see if those people are gonna be more interested in Fry Thief. I have no idea, but I’m just gonna give it a go. Again, depending on how … If I keep getting money, I’m kind of going to assume a good chunk of that’s from Facebook. Maybe alternative offer for a few days just to see how that works. But yeah, something weird is definitely going on with those Facebook ads. And obviously, I don’t want to lose money on them. So that’s something I need to figure out.

Visiting a Local Board Game Group

Patrick Rauland: I tried one new thing last night. So I went to a brand new gaming group last night, which was actually really cool. So I met the organizer, his name is Joshua, at a local convention called HexaCon here in Denver. And he said, “Hey, Patrick, this is a great game. We’d love for you to join us at our group. You can show our group your game.” Awesome, wow. Also how great is it to just get that invite, right? He knew, “Hey, Patrick, you probably want some more attention on your game.” What a super kind thing to do. And it worked really well, but the group was a little smaller than I imagined. I think I played Fry Thief with five new people. Maybe six. I think I played it with five new people. And I think maybe two or three of them are interested. But it’s a long way to get two to three people who are interested in your game. It was in Colorado Springs, which is about an hour south of Denver.

Patrick Rauland: So I mean I was able to talk about some stretch goals, I was able to talk about some art, I was able to get feedback on the game and the campaign itself. So there’s definitely some useful things I got out of it and maybe two or three backers. But I just would’ve loved a few more than that. I guess I would’ve loved if it was a somehow a 10 person gaming group and someone said, “Wow, this is great. I’m gonna share it with this thing.” And then I know that they’re gonna buy a four pack. That would’ve been … That would’ve made me feel a little bit better about it. But I’m happy I tried going to a new gaming group. And it did seem to maybe I’m gonna get two or three pledges and I still was able to learn something from my audience. So lots of good things are still happening.

Patrick Rauland: I think this weekend, I most … By the way, today’s Friday. I’m mostly gonna take this weekend off just because I’ve been thinking about this nonstop for the last several days. So I mean, I have … I’m gonna try new Facebook ads, let them run over the weekend. I might just take this weekend off. I might just check in once or twice but not do too much if that makes sense. So that’s what I’ve got going. And catch up with you soon.

Day 5

Patrick Rauland: Today is Saturday, day five of the Kickstarter campaign. And I’m taking today off. I had an amazing time last night with friends. I haven’t been dancing in months, maybe even a year. And some friends happened to be going dancing and I joined them and had a blast. It was just such a … It was an experience that has totally pulled me out of the Kickstarter campaign, which felt really good. Let’s see. I did quickly check my email and I didn’t see any new comments so there’s nothing I have to do. I’m going to quickly swap out the stretch goals graphic. My designer made a small tweak so I’ll update that. And I got an update from my pledge manager software or from the people that run that. So I’ll communicate with them to move the project forward. But unless there’s something on fire, I plan to take off Sunday as well. So hopefully I will talk back … get back to you on Monday.

Day 7

Patrick Rauland: Today is Monday the seventh day of the Fry Thief Kickstarter campaign. I took off the entire weekend, which was great. I signed off Friday and I had about $5,600 raised. And I got back on Monday with about $600 raised. So I raised about a grand over the weekend without doing anything, which feels amazing. I hung out with friends, I played some board games, I had brunch. Don’t forget to treat yourself. With only 260 backers, there aren’t that many comments. I’ve talked to some Kickstarter creators, I guess I had the expectation there’d just be an unending deluge of comments, and questions, and emails, and stuff like that. And the pledges are still trickling in, but they’re not exploding. One thing I really assumed I had to spend hours answering questions every day. And I guess one of the great things about your campaign not exploding exploding, like not getting into the 10 grand, 50 grand, 100 grand, 500 grand, million dollar ranges, there’s probably far, far, far fewer people asking far, far, far fewer questions.

Top Tier Selling Out

Patrick Rauland: One thing I did want to talk about is on Sunday, my top reward tier sold out. Now that top reward tier was being able to add your likeness to the game for $175. Though I had 10 slots available and they finally sold out. So I think seven or eight of them sold on that first day. The other two or three have been open for almost a week. Almost. So I think the planned availability meaning 10 slots was about right. I mean, obviously I sold out on day six in my campaign. So technically, I might’ve been able to get one or two more purchases. But I’m pretty happy with the availability I put out there for a premium reward tier. And I think if I ever do another campaign again, I will have another … Some sort of super duper premium tier where people can pay a lot of money and be included in the game in some way. And 175 seems about right. So I just want to add, I’m guessing maybe six out of the 10 people are people I know but the last four people are people who I have no idea who they are. So random people are also getting this. Not just friends and family.

Fry Thief Top Reward Backers
Only 2/10 people who got the top reward are total strangers.

Patrick Rauland: I’ve talked about Facebook ads a little bit and I decided I actually want to turn them off completely. Now I’ve had them running for a week and I’ve had a steady trickle of pledges. I did want to make some changes to them and I just got busy and I didn’t do it. So here’s what I’m gonna do. I’m gonna turn them off completely because now the campaign’s been going about a week. If I continue to get a trickle without any Facebook ads, I will do that. And then maybe enable them for the last two days or something. But if it slows down entirely, I think I’m gonna turn them back on because, I mean, yeah. I mean, over the weekend I’ve raised a grand. If that is from Facebook and it’s just not tracking properly, then I want to make sure I’m still raising money. So I guess I’m just gonna have to see the numbers. I’m happy I waited a week because I guess this will give me a lot of data so I’ll probably wait until maybe three, four days from now. Check my traffic again and see if … And obviously this is gonna be less than the first week. But I just want to see that there’s some progress being made. And if there’s no progress being made, I think I want to turn the Facebook ads back on. Even though the tracking doesn’t seem to be working quite right.

Patrick Rauland: So that’s what I’ve got going on and talk soon.

Day 10

Patrick Rauland: Hello everyone. It is Thursday, day 10 of the Kickstarter campaign. So I’ve taken a few days off mostly because I haven’t had any major updates. I’ve just had a very nice, steady trickle of pledges coming in. I just crossed the $7,000 threshold and I announced my final three stretch goals. So I looked on Kicktraq which projects this campaign reaching 15 grand, which would be insane. It’ll likely be closer to nine grand, but I think we’ll just see what happens.

Patrick Rauland: So I did just want to share one thing. I did get a message from one of my top pledges. And the top pledge is $175. And he said that he found me through Kickstarter. Now I haven’t really talked much about the Kickstarter algorithm because I’m waiting for the final data to come in. But I will say that right now about 44% of the money raised is coming from Kickstarter. So funding right away, getting on Kickstarter’s radar so they can send other people your way is definitely important. I will definitely go into this in detail when the campaign is finished because I am really curious what percent of people come from Kickstarter and what parts of Kickstarter did they come from and all that stuff. But for right now, about 44% of my money coming in is from them.

Patrick Rauland: Now I also noticed there was a great Board Game Geek post. I can link to it in the show notes. But it’s just a neat weekly wrap up of Kickstarters that recently launched and Kickstarters that are about to end. And I don’t know who puts those together or why they put them together, but I love that that stuff is out there because people are obviously checking that stuff out and coming to my campaign page from these awesome third party services. Services is a weird word, but something like that.

The weekly thread about live Kickstarters from BoardGameGeek
The weekly thread about live Kickstarters from BoardGameGeek

Adding Cards

Patrick Rauland: Let’s see. Today I just posted a print and play with all of the new cards that we’ve unlocked (for backers only). So I started this campaign with 16 cards. And we’re finishing with 20. I’m not gonna add anymore. So I’ve mocked all those cards up. I put in some temporary placeholder art for them. And I’m hoping … I mean, I’ve played with some of these cards before in the past. Two of them I’ve played with in exactly as they’re written basically. And two of them are slightly different than I originally planned. So I wanna … I definitely have to get a lot of games in testing these. I included a link to a feedback forum. And I hope to get feedback, but I honestly kind of doubt it. I think most people wait for the game to come out rather than printing out a print and play where only half the artwork is done. I’m sure some people will, but even if they do, will they play it? And even if they play it, will they send it feedback? There’s just a lot of stuff that can go on and I just don’t know if it’s gonna happen. But I hope it does. And if I get even just a few pieces of feedback from players of, “Hey, this card is a little too powerful, this card is a little bit too weak,” that’s very helpful.

Turning off Facebook Ads

Patrick Rauland: Last night, I did make an update earlier this week that I basically paused Facebook ads. Totally the right call in my case. I’ve heard from some people that Facebook ads have gone crazy for them. I see a lot of clicks, but I don’t see a lot of click throughs. So I’m sure my targeting is off or something is off. But it’s nice to know that I turned off the Facebook ads and I’m still getting a few pledges every single day. I think yesterday I got 12 pledges. So it’s nice to just see this steady stream of progress.

Facebook ad results for Fry Thief Kickstarter campaign
Facebook ad results. Lots of clicks but few conversions
(according to Kickstarter)

Work Trip

Patrick Rauland: Oh, so lastly, I have a work trip for the next couple days. I’m actually going to the airport in just a few minutes. So number one, I won’t be able to spend much time on this Kickstarter and I won’t be able to spend much time doing these updates. These audio journal updates. And unless the board game publishing industry is your full-time job, you’ll also likely have commitments. I’m really happy that this one came up when the campaign is at sort of like a nice trickle. I knew when I was scheduling this trip, I’m planning my campaign around February. I think this will be the middle of the campaign. I think I can go. So I’m happy that the timing sort of worked out. But it is kind of stressful to leave … I’m going on a … I’m leaving Thursday and I’m coming back Sunday. So for four days, I will be much busier than normal. I probably won’t be able to post many updates. I probably won’t be able to interact with people as much. So that’s a little bit stressful. But I think that’s just real life, right? You just have to understand that you’re probably gonna have some real life duties to attend to while you’re doing your Kickstarter campaign.

Patrick Rauland: The one good news is … I’m talking about eCommerce, basically selling things online at this event. So I’ll actually be mentioning my campaign. Just like, “Hey, by the way, I’m doing this thing and it worked.” But who knows? Maybe one or two people in the audience will back it. So maybe I’ll get a couple backers out of it. So there’s something good that can come out of it. I’ll probably take the next couple days off. But just crossed $7,000. Kicktraq thinks I’ll get to 15. I’m thinking it’ll likely get to $9,000. But wow. The campaign is going strong. I love seeing this progress. And I think it’s just gonna keep trickling in until those last couple days. So I will tune in in the last … In a couple more days. All right, talk later.

Me speaking at the work event

Day 14

Patrick Rauland: It is Monday, day 14 of the Fry Thief Kickstarter campaign. I am at $7,593 with 317 backers. Let’s see, Kicktraq projected the campaign will reach $11,000 and some change. And a couple days ago, I personally predicted around $9,000. The progress has been pretty slow the last four days, but I have just under a week to get $1,500 to hit that $9,000 mark. So I think I can do it. And maybe with a little bit more luck then I can cross $10,000.

Patrick Rauland: Now I just wanted to follow up. I did have a work trip the past couple of days. And a lot of the people at this work event, they do follow me on Twitter. I talk about regular work stuff. I talk about WordPress and eCommerce and stuff. And a bunch of them actually asked me about my game, which was really nice. Lots of them are like, “Oh, Patrick. I’ve been following you for years and I know that you launched this thing on Kickstarter. How is it going?” And it’s nice to hear that because I think if I heard, “You’re doing what?” Then I obviously wasn’t … Then I wasn’t promoting it enough. So I think I was promoting it just the right amount where I’ve been talking about it. I’ve been showing people work in progress pictures. I’ve been sending out the occasional tweet. But I’m not just like every single minute of the day I’m not just like, “Buy Fry Thief. Buy Fry Thief. Buy Fry Thief.” So I was really happy that several work friends who are not in the board game world still asked me about it. I did even pull it out once or twice. Some people were like, “Oh, I want to play a game.” So some of the people … There is like an overlap there. And at least two people backed the project because they saw it in person.

Patrick Rauland: So I think the moral of the story is to always be open to sharing what you’re working on. Always … Even if only work people follow you on Twitter, still always share what you’ve been working on. I’ve been sharing this journey for a year, right? Of simple cardboard … Or simple paper index cards a year ago. And then I got a logo early last year. And then I went to this … Then I did some more hand drawn cards that are protospiel. There’s this whole journey. And then I got the art. I got different art samples from different illustrators. So I think people are willing to back you just because they’ve been following your journey.

FAQs & Advanced Cards

Patrick Rauland: Now I do have a concern about the campaign. So I got some feedback from someone who assembled the print and play which I released a few days ago. And they gave me lots of … Or they asked me lots of little questions, which can be summed up in an FAQ pretty easily. And that person was right about their assumptions. So I’m not too worried about that. So they basically said, “Hey, can I do this? I assumed this.” And they were basically always right.

The advanced card I Know What You’re Planning with placeholder art.
The pickle icon means it’s an advanced card.

Patrick Rauland: I’m worried about a specific card. So in numerous updates, I’ve mentioned that a new card that we added was a stretch goal called I Know What You’re Planning is for use only with people who have played the game multiple times. Now I have this card included in the game up until maybe April of last year. So it’s been out of the game for eight months.

Patrick Rauland And I sort of added it back in as this advanced card, which really cool. It lets you guess what someone else has in their hand. And if you get it right, you can instantly play it. And the feedback I got is that, “Hey, this is too hard for new players to name a card.” That’s totally reasonable and obviously. But I’m worried that even people who are … People who make print and plays, this person actually printed out the game and played it with a significant other or someone. Even they didn’t read the note that said, “Hey, this card is for advanced play only.” And there’s a little icon on the card as well. In this case, right now it’s a little pickle. Other games have little stars, or little hats, or lots of little icons just to show that it’s different. I guess I’m just concerned that if I include this card in the game, some small percentage of the players will not read the optional rules that talk about, “Hey, don’t play with these cards right away.” And they will have a bad experience.

Patrick Rauland: So I guess I’m a little bit concerned about that. So part of me thinks maybe I should put it in a special packaging that says advanced cards. Something like that where basically a player cannot miss it. Because it is in the rules. I put it in several updates. So I’m really surprised that people have been playing with it when they shouldn’t have been. So I guess this is a concern. I don’t have an answer to this. I’m not sure what I’ll do. I could make it more obvious in the rules that some cards are optional. Maybe I could bring it on the second page of the rule instead of the on the third page of the rules if that makes sense. But I’m not sure. So I guess I’ll find out after I release the game. I’ll make some sort of decision and I’ll find out. But I really hope that people don’t have a bad first experience of the game because it’s an advanced card.

Patrick Rauland: Okay, two marketing updates. Now I sent out an email to my list and I mentioned that we knocked out 10 stretch goals and we have two more. And it seemed that people responded really well to that email. I had seven people pledge to buy the game in the last two hours since I sent it out. And I assume those are mostly for my newsletter. I mean the last four days, I’ve had maybe 10 people a day back the game. So getting seven in the past two hours right after some of the newsletters. A pretty good indicator it’s from that. It’s super hard to track this. I can track traffic, but I can’t track actual conversions. I could track X dozen people landed on the page, but I don’t know who specifically bought what at the time.

Broadcast email about one week left to back Fry Thief
People clicked a variety of links in this email

Patrick Rauland: One thing just to keep in mind, this list has already had a few emails about Fry Thief launching. So they knew it was out and they didn’t back it. I sent out an email about stretch goals being completed and with cute ketchup tokens. And then they backed it. So I’m not sure if it’s cute ketchup tokens or just people who are excited about stretch goals. I guess I’d have to do more research to figure out what was sort of the exciting thing there. But I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s 50/50. The ketchup meeples do look very cute. It definitely improves the cuteness level of the game. And I think some people just love all the stretch goals being it and seeing all cards are added, and there’s new art, and the ketchup is just a nice extra stretch goal.

Fry Thief Ketchup Splat
Ketchup splat – unlocked at $8,000

Patrick Rauland: One other just neat little thing, I happened to stumble upon a local board game eatery launching on Kickstarter. So basically they’re one of those board game bars, board game cafes. I think theirs is a little bit more bar, gastro pub themed. And I backed their campaign to get a free ticket to their venue. So basically I gave them $25 and when they open I get a free ticket, and free meal, or something whenever I go there, and I can play games for a week or two for free. Something like that. And then they reached out to me. They messaged me on Kickstarter and they said, “Hey, thank you so much for backing.” And then I respond to them, “Hey, congrats. Here’s my campaign,” and they just backed mine right away.

A local board game eatery launching on Kickstarter

Patrick Rauland: And part of it is I said, “Hey, I’m local. I’m literally in the same city as you.” And I think part of it is we’re both running campaigns, we’re backing each other which feels nice, I love supporting local businesses. But also, I have to say, I really love the idea of having my name in local game stores. That is very exciting to have my name in a local board game café. Or my name, my game, with my name on it, in a local board game café as opposed to … It’s neat if that happened in California or New York state or something. But it’s so much cooler when it’s your hometown, right?

Patrick Rauland: So again, when appropriate, don’t be afraid to tell people what you’re working on. That’s the big lesson for today. So that’s all that I’ve got for today. Probably, again, the campaign has been a little bit slow. So I’ll probably check in in a couple days from now.

Day 17

Patrick Rauland: It is Thursday, day 17 of the Fry Thief Kickstarter campaign. I’m at $8,103 with 350 backers. That is almost an extra 40 in the last three and a half days. I am very happy with that. And most important … Or I think for me what’s most important is we hit that custom ketchup splat stretch goal, which is the one I just really wanted to hit it because it definitely improves the cuteness level of this game. Instead of boring red disks, they’re just custom cut wood shapes.

Patrick Rauland: Now Kicktraq projects this campaign of reaching right around $10,000. My final stretch goal was at $9,000. So I really hope I can get that so we can get the cool 3D printed insert. I’ve never … Now I’ve heard that the end of the campaign is the last 48 hours are just as important and just as sort of traffic inducing as the first 24 or first 48. So I’m really hoping that I can see another jump in traffic. But I … Somehow I’m wondering if that’s not gonna be the case. I think I had a really strong email game, which made the game fund in 40 minutes. And I don’t think I’m gonna see another $1,000 in 40 minutes. I just don’t think that’s gonna happen. But I’m looking forward to it. So hopefully something cool happens. Hopefully the dot goes up quite a bit in the last 48 hours.

Patrick Rauland: Now this weekend, there is a local convention called GenghisCon. I went last year briefly, I believe. And I really liked it. It’s sort of a generic … Generic. It’s sort of a nice little con with board games, card games, RPGs, and some video games. And there’s even by the way a couple painting classes. So if you wanted to paint miniatures, I saw a couple painting classes. I love stuff like that. Now I did purposefully time my campaign to line up with this board game con. I figured I’d be able to use it to help promote Fry Thief a little bit. So months ago, I saw a call for events and I created eight events. So you just go to a bar, you hang out with the organizers and you’re like, “Hey, how do I do this?” And like, “Oh, yeah, I just include the BGG link, write these paragraph descriptions, add some images, and your good to go.”

Patrick Rauland: So I created eight events, all of which are for two player games. So I created three events for Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small, which is one of my favorite two player games. I created two events for Resister, another great two player game. And I created three events for Fry Thief, my game. Now not all these events filled up. About half of them filled up. So I’ll be showing people some of my favorite two player games Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. And worst case scenario, I think for whatever reason Friday is entirely full. Sunday is a little full. And Saturday for whatever reason, I guess people are just doing something else. So I might just be able to walk around and play some games Saturday if no one shows up. Or we’ll just see what happens. But this is probably only gonna bring in a couple of pledges. So it probably wasn’t super well timed at the very end of my campaign because I end Monday morning.

Events I'm running at GenghisCon
My events at GenghisCon

Patrick Rauland This probably … In retrospect, this probably would’ve been better right in the middle of my campaign. But I’m really hoping it creates loyal fans. I want to show people how fun it is. I want to show them … I guess they … I hope they buy a copy for themselves or maybe someone else with that new pledge level that I haven’t told you about yet. And there’s some time for them to do that. So again, my goal, build loyal fans. And worst case scenario, I’m gonna have a good time playing some games with some people. So I guess I’m looking forward to it.

Two Pack – Another New Pledge Level

Fry Thief X2 Reward
Fry Thief X2 Reward

Patrick Rauland: So marketing update. Yes, I created a new pledge level. I sort of wanted something special on the last couple days. And I wasn’t gonna do anything but then at the beginning of the campaign a few people asked for a two pack copy of Fry Thief. Basically I want to pay $30 and get two of them or get some sort of discount for buying two copies of Fry Thief. And I’m gonna add that in. So it’s kind of nice to have a special last weekend pledge level. It feels a teensy bit salesy. Like it’s sale, sale, sale. I hope it doesn’t come across that way. But this is something people asked for. And it’s just after Valentine’s Day here. It’s like … What is it? What’s the date? It’s the 21st of February. So I think I can kind of play into Valentine’s Day came late this year. So I’m gonna send that email out to my list. And hopefully some people that are real excited and they’ve seen … Maybe they backed on day one for $15 and they see the cute custom ketchup splats, and they see all the cards that were added, and all the new art that was added, and the work in progress shots. And maybe they’re like, “Wow, now I want to give this … I want to get a copy for myself and I want to give it away to someone else.”

Patrick Rauland: And just to let you know, the incentive here is I’m giving away the $6 add-on, which is an extra set of cards and tokens for both copies. So basically you’re getting two copies of the game and you’re saving $12, which I think is a pretty darn good deal. So I’m hoping lots of people take me up on it. Maybe in retrospect I should have given people more time. So I’ll probably send out an update today or tomorrow morning and I’ll definitely send an email to my list and I’ll definitely tweet about it. So I’ll send out the flag, but we’ll see what happens. Some people sort of end up with one of those … The two pack of Fry Thief pledge.

Day 18

Patrick Rauland It is Friday, day 18. I am at $8,343 with 359 backers. Kicktraq projects that this campaign will reach $9,700. Now I have a target to beat. I really want to hit $9,000 to get the final stretch goal. But then I definitely want to beat Kicktraq’s prediction. So I really hope I can get above $10,000 or well, $9,700.

Patrick Rauland: I did just release an update about the new pledge level. I actually created the pledge level yesterday and five people already bought it before I announced it. I looked at the stats and there were five new backers. So I’m starting to wonder if I should have added this two pack and a four pack all along. I can’t go back in time, but given that five random people bought the two pack and it seriously increased the revenue, that the next project I run I want to try that two pack right away from the beginning. One thing I’m going to watch is how many people decrease their pledges from the four pack to the two pack. I don’t think it’ll be a big issue, but I just want to watch it because then will actually sort of be … That would lose revenue, so I just want to keep my eye on that.

User Input

Patrick Rauland: So I do have one issue. Have I mentioned how hard it is to get people to give you pictures of themselves? So for the likeness level, which is the top pledge level, people have to send me a picture of themselves, or I ask for three pictures just to get a variety. And I ask them for their three favorite cards and I give them a list of 12 or 15 cards that haven’t yet been finished. And then my illustrator will draw them in. And I even have a form and it shows you all the cards and you just check three boxes. But it took a lot of messaging to get all of these backers to give me their information. I hit up some of them on Facebook because I knew some of them. One person on Twitter. I messaged a couple people on Kickstarter directly several times. I finally got the last of the photos I need and I can send all of this off to my illustrator. But I remember that I in … I think I … This pledge level filled … Was full a week in. So it took me nine days to get all of this information from the users.

Patrick Rauland: And if you’re doing anything where the audience needs to give you input like a photo, do it ASAP. In retrospect, what I wish I did is someone pledged the add your likeness level, I should’ve immediately messaged them. Number one, said thank you. Number two, said, “Hey, what three photos do you want?” Then at least have those. Then I can later ask them, “What cards do you want to be on,” or something like that. But at least get the photos in. I think it’s the hardest part for people.

Patrick Rauland: So that’s it for me today. I am off to a local con here in Colorado. And I will be playing some great games today and I’ll be showing off Fry Thief whenever possible. So that’s all I got.

Day 20

Patrick Rauland: It is Sunday, day 20 of the campaign. I’m at $9,758 with 410 backers. Boy, I really want to hit that $10,000 mark. And I think we can make it, which is really exciting.

Patrick Rauland: So a note on followers. Right now I have 572 project followers. Remember you can click the little heart button in Kickstarter and follow a project if you’re logged in. 102 of those have converted meaning they’ve bought some sort of pledge. That is 17%. Now if you remember from a previous update, it was at 11%. So that is a nice boost to see that basically an extra 6% of people who were following the project back it in these final hours when Kickstarter sends out that notice.

Patrick Rauland: I have one last day left at this local convention. Now I couldn’t for sure … I can’t tell you for sure how many people signed up for Fry Thief, but I’m guessing very few. Maybe just one or two. But I’m still gonna … And no one signed up for the slot today, right? I have a couple slots at the convention. So no one signed up for the Fry Thief slot, but I’ll still show it off a little bit if I can.

Patrick Rauland: In retrospect, I wish I could spend this time on the Kickstarter campaign. I could use it to write updates, create graphics, or sort of modify another prototypes so I can test the new cards and the new rules. And just sort of get started with that process earlier. I mean, I think one of the big things as a creator is you have to know where to spend your time. And let’s say for the whole of this convention Friday, sat, and Sunday I get an extra five backers, I’d honestly use that … I’d rather use that time to get work on the Kickstarter campaign. I just don’t think it’s worth pounding the pavement for … Let’s say … It keeps me out of the house for maybe four to six hours a day. I would much rather use that time … For four to six hours I’d rather spend that on my campaign. And even just two hours on the campaign and two hours relaxing is probably better for me and my mental health than being out of the house for six hours at this local con and getting maybe one to five backers.

Patrick Rauland: I think the one exception is if this local con was right in the middle of the campaign … Because in the middle of the campaign, you’re not doing anything crazy. You’re just sort of doing what you’ve done before. You’ll be posting updates and modifying graphics. But maybe in the middle of the campaign it makes more sense. And maybe if you have other people on your Kickstarter team, then it makes sense to have people go to local cons. But for me moving forward, I’m only gonna do this in the middle of a campaign.

Patrick Rauland: So that’s all for me today and I hope to give you an update tomorrow with where we land.

Day 21 – The Campaign Funds!

Patrick Rauland Toady is Monday, day 21 of my 20 day campaign, which means it’s over. I just funded a few hours ago and I funded with $10,715 with 453 backers. Woo! I feel fantastic. And to think at the beginning of this journey I didn’t know if it would fund. You know what I mean? I didn’t know if I’d raise $400 or $4,000 and I hit $10,000. So I’m very, very, very happy with this. All together, I owe about 550 games to backers. Lots of people got that two or four pack of games. Which I’m pretty excited about. People are looking forward to giving this gift as a game, which I think is great. And I think people are excited about that because it’s a very relatable theme and it’s only $15. So I can totally see people saying, “Oh, my nephew, my aunt, my sister, my cousin, they always steal fries. So I want to get them this silly $15 game. So it’s cool that my game sort of fit into that slot.

Patrick Rauland: Now from what I understand, Kickstarter will charge people’s credit cards basically immediately. And then they have an automated process that sends out emails to notify people of failed charges and reattempt the charge. After two weeks, I should get all of the funds into my business bank account. They already have all the details that should just be wired to my account in about two weeks. Now the last three to four days did really well in, I want to say, sales. I don’t know if that’s the right … Backers, pledges. Around two grand … I raised around two grand in the last four days, which is about … I mean, a little bit less than 20% of my funding. So you will definitely get the most funding at the beginning and at the end of a campaign. I knew that was the theory going into this. And I’m really happy that I did a 20 day campaign. Those middle 10 days weren’t that useful to me. And I’ve seen some people only do a total of a 10 day campaign. And I honestly, I think about that moving forward. Maybe I’ll shorten down to 15 moving forward. There’s so much less stress in the campaign that I think you can just cut out the middle and get 80% of the value with 50% of the work. It is definitely something to think about.

Patrick Rauland: I think the one exception to that is if you love stretch goals and you want to have 20, 30, 40, 50 stretch goals and every single day you want to announce a new stretch goal, and you have them spaced in such a way that they’re sort of announced in logical … In an order that makes sense. But then it is useful to have that extra time. And it is actually useful to get people’s feedback. But in my case, I didn’t get much feedback. I asked people for a restaurant name and I got ideas in one day. And then maybe a couple days later, I posted a poll with five options and people selected one. So it’s just not … It just wasn’t necessary for me. So unless you’re looking for a lot of feedback from people, I don’t … You definitely don’t need to do a 60 day campaign. That’s super long. I’m very happy with the 20 day campaign and I would totally consider shortening it now that I have some experience under my belt.

Patrick Rauland: So final pledge numbers. I wanted to talk about this a little bit. 53% of my funds came from Kickstarter. 42% came from external referrers. That’s Facebook groups, my email list, and anywhere else I posted the link, or anywhere else anyone posted the link. And 3% came from custom referral sources, which is basically my reviewers and a couple Facebook ads that I did in the early days of the campaign. So I did some digging into those Kickstarter numbers. Now the numbers that Kickstarter reports, it says 53% of all my revenue comes from Kickstarter. But if you look in the back end, you can see a breakdown of all of these different referrers. And the top referrer from Kickstarter is search. That means that people are searching for Fry Thief on Kickstarter and finding my game. And I don’t really count that as Kickstarter traffic. That means they probably heard about it in podcast. A friend of theirs told them it sounds neat and they went to Kickstarter and did that. Or they saw reviewers’ videos, and they bookmarked it, and then after watching 10 reviewers videos, then they went to Kickstarter and then found the games that they wanted to back and backed them.

Funding progress & sources for my campaign
Funding progress & sources for my campaign

Patrick Rauland: So I don’t really count that as Kickstarter traffic. And I went to the numbers and that is about 14% of the total funds I raised. Not 15% of the 53. It is 14% of the 100% or of the $10,000. So Kickstarter on its own, I’d say, brought in about 39% of my revenue. Holy cow that is huge. I mean that … If I ran a similar campaign on my own site with pre-orders, I probably would’ve only hit $6,000. Kickstarter is basically responsible for a little bit over $4,000. And once you take out processing fees, they only charge 5%. That means they generated $4,000 and I only paid them 500, a little bit more than $500. That is a huge return. So sometimes in the board game world I hear people complaining about Kickstarter and they take such a big chunk. But in my experience with my data, that is not true. They generated $4,000, I only paid them 500. So it is absolutely worth it. And just a good reminder, you still have to bring your own crowd to crowd funding. You can’t just take their crowd. You need to get funded first, then they’ll send people your way. You have to do that. So you basically have to build an audience anyways and just count on Kickstarter amplifying what you already have.

Patrick Rauland: Okay, so what am I doing next? I am requesting a final quote from the manufacturer based on all the stretch goals. Now I already had loose numbers from the manufacturer based on what type of goals I wanted to unlock. And I should just say. There were some stretch goals that I didn’t include because they would blow the costs out of the water and it just wasn’t monetarily feasible. Like I actually really liked the idea of neoprene mats instead of the plate cards. It just seems nicer. They’re squishier, they’re more tactile, and you can kind of squish them and pick up tokens, which I think is nice. But I would’ve had to double the cost of my game or have an add-on. Then I’d have to have promised the manufacturer certain minimums based on the add-on. It was a whole thing. So I already had some basic numbers. And now that I have exact numbers, now I can sort of get a … The latest invoice from them. Not invoice. Quote from them. And based on what we’ve already had, I don’t expect it to change much. Maybe by $100 up or down based on some minor things. But I’m very, very happy. I’m just sort of dotting my I’s and crossing my T’s here.

Setting Up The Pledge Manager

Patrick Rauland: So now I’m going to set up the pledge manager. Now I already selected my pledge manager before the campaign and I set up a few basic things ahead of time. I set up the header image and I think I uploaded a couple product images just like the box and stuff like that. So what I can do now is I can add a button to the Kickstarter page, which will point people to the late pledge feature in the pledge manager. Now personally, I have never late pledged to a campaign. It just never happens. If I find something with Kickstarter, I back it. I don’t ever go back weeks later and pledge it. But it is possible someone’s going … They were out of town for a couple weeks, they get my emails, then they go and back it. Or people see these reviews a couple weeks late or something like that. And then they go to the Kickstarter site, they search, and they find it, and they back it. So it is possible. But for me, personally, I’ve never done this. I have no idea. I’m guessing I’ll raise $50. So I just don’t know. But you know what? It’s an experiment. I’m gonna set it up. And we’re gonna see.

Patrick Rauland: So yeah. Overall, I am ecstatic. I cannot believe how many things were easier than I thought. Funding in 40 minutes is insane. Now part of that is a very low goal that I knew I can make the numbers work even if I only made 100 copies. I had several people on board to back with in the first couple minutes. So I did some things. It’s not like that magically happened. I did the work to make that happen but that worked better than I expected. I didn’t think I’d fund in … I really, really, really didn’t think I’d fund in 40 minutes. I’m really happy with that.

Patrick Rauland: But some things were way off. Like the thing that I hear from all sorts of Kickstarter creators, campaign runners is that you are busy all day every day. You’re answering questions. You’re sending people messages. And maybe I’m a lazy creator, but I’ve heard it’s good advice to message your backers individually. That sounds like a lot of work. I never did that. I’m sure it does generate some extra sales or people think it’s an extra touch. But I … Once the campaign got going after the first couple days, it really felt like I only spent an hour or two a day working on this. I would adjust some graphics, upload them, one day I’d write an update and then the next day I’d post it. I was not spending … I don’t think I spent more than on average two hours a day on my campaign after the first couple days and before the last couple days. So I know that is not the case with a lot of creators. I know they’re busy, busy, busy. But I’m not sure where their time goes. I assume it’s lots of messages and those don’t really scale. So anyways, maybe the messages work better than I expect. And maybe I should try that in the future campaign. But I did not spend all day every day in Kickstarter and I’m really happy about that because I don’t think I would’ve enjoyed that process.

Patrick Rauland: And I have to write some of these things up in lessons at some point. I really want to write individual lessons based on this audio journal at some point. Just so they’re a little bit more sharable because people probably don’t want to listen to an hour long recording all the time.

Patrick Rauland: So thank you for following this podcast. I hope this journey has been useful to you or anyone else who wants to launch their own product on Kickstarter. So well, actually I have to say one of the things that was great is I went to the game and I went to my local game design meetup and people were congratulating me. Oh, that felt so good. People were like, “Congrats, Patrick. You’re at $7,000, I hope you get to 10,” or whatever. And it was super cool to really hear that. And other people who are about … Or thinking about launching their own, they asked me a whole ton of questions. And I realized that I learned a lot during this process. I mean, just the common sense of how do you set up a Kickstarter? How do you add … There’s some very basic stuff, and then I’ve learned a lot of advanced stuff, and I’ve learned just the stuff I was just talking about with conventions that were either true or not true for me.

Reach Out To Me

Patrick Rauland: So if you have any questions about running a Kickstarter, please reach out to me through the contact form on my website. I’m @BFTrick. That’s B as in board game, F as in fun, and trick as in trick taking games. I am very, very, very happy to chat about Kickstarter. It was such an exciting event for me and I want to help other people go through the same process. I really, really liked it. So please, reach out to me if you have any questions. That is all for me. I can’t believe I funded. Thank you. If you backed me, thank you so, so, so, so much. I’m really thankful for the podcast. And oh, by the way, all the guests that I’ve had on, all of them taught me a little think here or there about running a Kickstarter campaign. So I don’t think I could’ve funded without their advice. So thank you for following along. This is the end of this journal. And I hope to have other useful stuff like this for you in the future. So thanks again.

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