Nathan Hansen Games

I'm considering trying to do another Kickstarter.

I'm hesitant because of my last attempt, Draftcar, which was a pretty dismal failure. I had 33 backers in total, 21 of which were in at the full game level while the remaining 12 were in for a dollar. This would have netted a total of $452 before KS took their cut.

With printing in China, I was looking for $13,000 to fund Draftcar. That was for 1000 unit print run, accounting for shipping, and getting it demoed in stores as part of the post-Kickstarter marketing plan. I probably shouldn't have included the demoing in stores as part of the base level, but even without that, I was looking at about $10k. And I fell drastically short of that as well.

However, if I had considered print on demand printers such as DriveThruCards.com for my lowest level manufacturing needs I could have funded and fulfilled with as few as 1 backer. With the 21 full game backers I had, I could have printed 50 copies through DriveThruCards.com and had an extra 29 copies to sell over time. And if I managed to sell those, I would have been able to print another 50.

Obviously, I wouldn't be able to quit my day job with those numbers, but the game would be out there. And I could have started to build on my small success. So, I'm thinking about giving Kickstarter another go. This time with something small and card based like Draftcar was.

Assuming I go down this path these are the options as I see them right now:
  • Trade Port of Sol
    • About: A sci-fi theme area control game with player controlled events. Players try to influence the ships in the port to maximize their own profits and use events placed onto the ships to hedge their bets. 
    • Downside: It requires various colored cubes which until we got to a larger China run sized stretch goal I'd have to ask players to provide. And it has a score track which won't fit on a single card, so I'd have to design an alternative system presuming that we wouldn't reach that China run stretch goal.
    • Upside: I think the game is very appealing and would find its audience well enough. And it ties in thematically with several larger games I'm working on, so if it did well I could potentially tap into the same backers for future games in the series.
  • Rondel: a rondel game
    • About: Rondel is not just a game mechanism. It's also a type of poem. This is literally a rondel driven game about writing rondel poems.
    • Downside: As a rondel, this game needs tokens/player pawns to move around the rondel. I may be able to use cards instead, perhaps folded in half to make a standee, but I'm not sure if I like that idea. The alternative then is to again ask players to provide their own pieces. Also, it would be a VERY niche audience
    • Upside: Minimal art requirements and clever mechanism that may be appealing to core gamers.
  • Abstraction (which I really need a better name for)
    • About: This is a two player abstract game in which the way your pieces move is determined by the space they are on. And the board is randomly generated.
    • Downside: As an abstract game the market is very small. I would want to come up with a theme that fits the gameplay before putting this out there, and I really don't know what that would be at this point. Or what I would then want to change to better fit the theme.
    • Upside: The art requirements would be very minimal. Basically 7 symbols/unit designs and some kind of background for the spaces.
  • Capitalism 101
    • About: This is a small (50 card), 2 player deck building race game. Each players business is trying to get the same contract. Unlike most deck builders, there isn't a generic currency. Instead, each card has two potential costs using some combination of the other cards.
    • Downside: It's already available on TheGamecrafter.com
    • Upside: The game is done.
  • Rules Lawyer
    • About: A simple party game. Player alter rules, then carry them out. Lots of ridiculous behavior.
    • Downside: It was previously published and while I have the rights back, I would need to have all the art redone, and there are a lot of unique cards so this could be expensive.
    • Upside: I think any video of this game would be tremendously appealing so it might be great for Kickstarter.
  • Draftcar
    • About: This is the game I had tried and failed to Kickstart previously. It's a racing game with the track abstracted out. It's all about relative position.
    • Downside: Well, I've already failed with this game once. And it's now on TheGamecrafter.com and hasn't done all that well. Not even all the people who were going to back the Kickstarter have bought a copy.
    • Upside: The art is done. I know the price points already. That would make planning go smoother.

Written by Nathan Hansen — May 05, 2017

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