Planning a Project and Who Backs Projects?

Welcome to my third blog entry. If a killer is only named as a serial killer after three murders, does this make me a serial blogger? That’s probably another subject for another time.

In the last part I looked at some of the initial planning you should do when looking to launch a crowdfunding project, such as working out what you actually want to launch, how much it might cost, how long to run a project for and estimated delivery dates. This section will look at the three personality types that backers have and how to tailor your pledge levels to get the best out of them. I’ll also look at stretch goals and add-ons. Some people love them, some people hate them and a lot of people get confused by them so they’re worth getting right.

First up, backers. They are the people who you are trying to tempt to part with their hard earned cash and that they are looking at your project has indicated that they are interested. Academics have worked out that there are three types of backers – the Patron, the Customer and the Investor.

The Patron

The Patron is someone who has an interest in the project and wants it to succeed, but isn’t in it for a material prize – the success of the project is reward enough.

The Customer

This section will make up the majority of the people who back a project. These are the people who want the product that is being offered and more often than not, they want to know that they are making a saving on the retail value. After all, aren’t they the ones funding the production?

The Investor

These are the big guns. Like the Patron, they want the project to succeed. Unlike the Patron, they want something in return for their funds. These are the guys that go in for the unique, one of a kind pledges, the “absolutely everything” pledges, and the “custom paint job from a paint studio” pledges.

To make the most of the three categories, it’s a good idea to have levels that suit each of them. Patrons want to follow the project and be involved with it, so this is why everyone has a £1/$1 pledge level. It allows them to put in as much as they want, follow the updates and stay involved. It is also good for those who are looking to upgrade to a higher pledge but aren’t sure what to go for yet.

The next few levels depend on your product. If you have a boxed game, that is obviously going to be a level. If you take a skirmish game though, you can get a few more tiers in. One faction box, 2 boxes and all of them are pretty standard. Also standard is a pledge level for those who think they might want into the system but want to play with the rules before they do anything about getting models. This level is generally a PDF as that saves on the postage costs for both parties which is generally a help when dealing with an international audience.

The Investors may well be happy to pledge at a customer level, but you can get more out of them by putting up a higher tier pledge or two. These are generally limited as they tend to cost more than the value of the pledges but it gives everyone, creator and backers alike, a massive boost when they see a massive pledge go in and the total shoot up. This is the sort of level that you allow people to have a character crafted after their likeness, or have a monster that they’ve always dreamed of sculpted and included somewhere in the game with them getting some copies to play with and do with as they please. This obviously creates a lot of work for the developer so you should only put up higher pledges if you are comfortable to.


If you are doing a project exclusive miniature, it should be something that is wanted, not needed. If you make it so OP that it kills everything on the board with its first dice roll, everyone is going to want one, thus raising the prospect of angry people when they realise it was a Kickstarter exclusive that might possibly be rolled out in future at shows in limited numbers. However, if you are going to do an exclusive, make it something that can be put down as downright cool, like The Explorer in the ArcWorlde project from Warploque Miniatures. Alternatively, you could go down the route Guild Ball have taken, which is that instead of having a limited edition miniature, teams bought through Kickstarter have their captains in different poses to those that will be bought after which is enough distinction to say “yeah, I was there at the beginning.”

Stretch Goals – the Marmite of Crowdfunding

Your skirmish game project has hit the target you set within 10 minutes of launch, now what do you do? Sit back and watch as the occasional new person adds something to your tally? What if there was a way to keep people coming back to look at your project and to occasionally add some more money to their pledge?
Well, that is what stretch goals are designed to do. Putting them in as free stuff or as add-ons, it is a great way of keeping the project in people’s faces. As a creator, you might have a few ideas down for possibly expansions and if you get enough money in it could be a good way of launching new models faster. Of course, this can spiral out of control as some larger projects tend to (KD: Monster springs to mind).

Some people love seeing stretch goals get hit and unlocked, feeling that it is part of the buzz that a project can create. However, some people just want simple. If they back a project at £x to get product Y, they often don’t want other things waggled near their faces as being on offer.


This is where you can stick your stretch goals as you unlock them to allow for people to buy them rather than to get them for free. You might also put rulebooks, accessories and previously completed models in here to persuade people to increase their pledge. If you have say, 5 different faction boxes as part of your game launch, you might have pledge levels for one box (for those who know others going in and will have an opponent), two boxes (the person who wants to get in to the game but doesn’t know anyone else going in so gets two teams to be able to show someone the game) and a level for all five (some people just want everything). This also means that some people might want more than 2 but less than 5, so putting the teams as available individually as add-ons is a great way of covering bases.

If you do decide to work with stretch goals and add-ons, there is one important thing to remember – keep things clear. If someone has no idea what they are going to get with a pledge they can get put off, especially if you are mid campaign with icons flying everywhere. A clean layout showing different sections is what you are after. I’ll highlight ArcWorlde again as an example. In addition to showing what each pledge and warband had, it was shown how many stretch goals they had access to and then what add-ons where available.

Long story short:
· There are different types of backer so to make the most of them you should have different pledge levels.
· Don’t feel pressured in to giving stretch goals out, only use them if you are comfortable and they fit in to your plan.
· Keep everything tidy, if people get confused, they get scared. If people get scared, they don’t back.

There are probably better explanations of stretch goals out there but that sort of works in my head. Well done on sticking with me, this turned out more like a full essay (over the two parts the word count is roughly 2500 words) than a blog, hopefully the next ones will be a little more manageable.