Saturday, July 5, 2014
Tabletop RPG Kickstarters - Things to do part one.
Having sat back and watched many Kickstarters for RPGs go down in flames, barely managed to meet some level of success and a few even slam out the door with flying colors one notices a few things. When you look at the failures it becomes quite easy to see what the problems were from the start and then the successes show you what they did right. This short article series is a look at what I have seen work time and time again. Not all of these are exclusive to being necessary getting your game out the door, but more often than not they do help a lot. Especially for those who don't have a lot of experience in the actual handling printers, layouts, etc; basically this is some of the advice that is best suited for amateurs who want to get a solid start.
First and foremost I will cover the number one thing that needs to be done before you even start working on your Kickstarter page. Write the damn thing first. If you evidently feel you can only write under the motivation that people have already paid you then this probably isn't the line of work for you. Having the dedication before hand to write it all out shows that you can actually do something.
I've seen more updates saying “I've hit a bit of writers block” or “Really having some trouble coming up with detailed descriptions for the NPCs” and other such stuff. That or the promised page count being an almost unreachable goal once they start hammering out words. People who only have experience writing blog posts or short little bits on their web pages find out the hard way that writing out a full game book is a very different animal indeed.
Also having everything written out gives you something to offer up to backers as a showing that you can get it done. Some have offered up the full text of a game book to backers at every level, others have offered sections like combat, character creation, etc. This also gives you the added bonus that your backers may spot something you missed. From things spelled wrong, sentences that simply don't come across right and even some playtest results if you offer up the full rules. The Fate Core book did this with some amazing results.
So if you want to put your game out via Kickstarter then the first thing you need to do is write it. Stop reading these articles and then come back when you have it done. Again this doesn't always apply to everyone, professionals who are already adept at getting things done on a set timescale may be able to do the work after the funding. But for anybody else....
As a side note THIS is precisely the reason I have never tried a Kickstarter. I've got a half dozen or so half baked games part of the way written. Nothing finished and I know that under the crunch of time I may not be able to deliver. I just wish a few others would realize this as well.