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Alternatives to Kickstarter for Launching your boardgame

I like designing small games myself, or just gaming pieces. Most of the times these things end up unfinished or not ready for a release into the public, but when they do I never feel they are “big” enough to justify a kickstarter. And to be honest, when looking at kickstarter, I think a lot of games on there should just simply be published in other ways.

I understand the value of kickstarter as a way to drum up interest in your game, so considering it as part of your marketing mix is surely valid. But using it as the only way of distribution or a measure for validity of your idea might work counterproductive and can even be daunting as you might just not get enough pledges. It could be your target audience just does not live inside the kickstarter community and you need to look elsewhere.

Depending on the type of game you are releasing, it might be worth it to check out one of these alternatives or maybe just additional channels for your game:

Make Playing Cards

https://www.makeplayingcards.com/ (MPC) is ideal when you want to launch a small card-game. It’s a print-on-demand service that lets you just upload your designs, publish it and start selling.

Publishing on this site will not cost you a dime, and it gives you the free time to focus on the marketing side of your game. It’s even possible to adjust your designs at a later time, in case you discover you made a booboo.

Makeplayingcards.com is not just limited to creating card-games or cards. You can also use them to publish jigsaw puzzles, or board games! All publish on demand.

The Game Crafter

https://www.thegamecrafter.com/, just like MPC is a print-on-demand service, but this one is focussed on complete board game productions. They have various types of packaging formats available, different ways for binding rulebooks and many game components to choose from and use in your design. Due to it being print-on-demand, you can also easily adjust any designs you made and publish them live directly, in case you made a typo or decide to elaborate on your design.

The Game Crafter is very versatile, and many successful designers use it as a way to publish their games.

Itch.io

https://itch.io/ is perfect for releasing a print-and-play version of your game. This can be done in addition to your kickstarter, to give people a feel of how the game works or to send around to reviewers and influences to drum up interest.

Of Course you can also use Itch.io as the main platform for releasing your game. You can set up a price for your game, and have people download it as a premium PDF.

Lulu

If your game consists of only a book, an RPG supplement for example, or a wargame for generic miniatures. Why not consider publishing it on lulu.com, which is also a print-on-demand service, but focussed on books and magazine type publications.

Amazon

Same as with lulu.com, but use it in addition to Lulu. Publish an ebook version of your game here!

Make it yourself

If you’re feeling crafty, why not build the game yourself? There are plenty of ways to create the components you need yourself. 3D printers are becoming very economical, as well as cnc machines and laser cutters, which are also making an entrance into many homes due to their low-costs these days.

Handcrafting a game will add much to it’s charm and will allow you to justify a higher pricepoint for your game. Use this type of publication in addition to any otherĀ  method, because most people are not interested in paying a premium for a game they never heard of!

You can sell your handcrafted game on marketplaces like Etsy or eBay. Also if you created custom STL files you can sell these on Thingiverse or other 3d asset marketplaces.

Patreon

Have you maybe considered chopping up your RPG project in chapters, and releasing them one-by-one on Patreon? How about the STL files for your tabletop game? Maybe release monthly boosterpacks or tokens or promo-cards for your latest cardgame development? There is a lot you can do with publishing your projects on Patreon.

 

Conclusion

I honestly believe a lot of games are better off just bypassing Kickstarter and choosing a different publishing method. Using one or a combination of the above listed methods for publication, in combination with a smart marketing plan might be a great way to get people playing your brainchild.

Regarding marketing; whichever platform you choose to publish your game. Do not forget to make a BGG page and a BGA page for it!

 

 

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