Nathan Hansen Games

I make a lot of games. Way more than I could ever conceivably publish in a traditional sense. Hell, a lot of them aren't worth pursuing traditional publication. They just wouldn't sell well enough to justify a print run. But I still want them to be played. It's why I make them after all.

So... I'm considering beginning to release my games as free print and play games and running a Patreon campaign for those who feel like they want to contribute. What I don't really know, is how I would want to structure such a campaign.

In terms of pledges, there are two options; per month or per creation. Per month is the simplest for me, as it just means each month each patron gives me money and I make games as fast as I can. Sounds great. But since I may not have a new creation every month, I don't know how I would feel as a patron in that case. Per creation would mean each time I release a product I would get paid by my patron. This seems like it would be best for the patrons, so it's probably the clear right answer, but I worry that it may push me towards games of low complexity. Games that I could develop quickly, but which maybe aren't the best games to grow my skillset. I wish there were some kind of middle ground option where patrons could choose per month or per creation...

Regardless of whether I go with per month or per creation, I then need to figure out the reward tiers for patrons. Simple seems like the best choice here. The first tier is PnP PDF's of the games; the second tier gets you working files so you can see how I put things together; the third maybe some kind of shoutout. Beyond that, I'm not really sure what would be desired by patrons.

Then there are the goals. It feels like each time I reach a goal it should impact the patrons in some way. But I don't think all reasonable goals will have an immediately obvious impact on the patrons. For instance, one early goal might be to cover the expense of my Adobe subscription. This is something I'm pretty much going to have to continue paying for even if I haven't reached that goal so it's not really going to impact the patrons. Do I list that as a goal? Should I have two types of goals; Patron goals and Personal goals? That probably makes the most sense and is very transparent.

The last thing I think I need to consider is how much to front load. That is how many games I should just release with the Patreon page launch. Not all my games are set up for print and play since I usually try to focus on production. How many should I convert over before I even launch?

Any and all thoughts welcome.

Written by Nathan Hansen — July 27, 2016

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