Saturday, March 13, 2010

A Funding Model?

Interesting article about an independent game designer/publisher here (via Boardgame News).  That sounds like a good model - pre-sell to raise capital, then ship once you've got the games printed and ready.  But even here, you still end up with the pile of unsold games in the attic, waiting for a distributor to pick it up, and you have to have enough customers willing to pay you for a product that doesn't exist yet to make it work.  The P500 model I've seen in a couple places (e.g. here, at Lock 'n Load Publishing), where you wait to print until you've got enough orders lined up, seems like another similar idea.  I imagine there's a significant loss converting people who say they'll buy a game to actual sales, too - there's probably a good deal of melt involved.

I have a few people ready to buy my game, but nowhere near enough to fund the manufacturing (like two orders of magnitude too few).  I don't think that would be a viable route for me - I don't know enough people, and given that my game isn't a party/parlor game, it's not as conducive to big group events.  The P500 model or something like it might be viable for a second release, once I'm established and have a customer base.

My plan is to make the initial investment to print the games, then pull out the full advertising blitz once I have products to sell - Facebook, web ads, e-mail, hitting nearby stores, and whatever else I can think of.  That model requires a serious investment up front, though, and I may still end up with a pile of games sitting in my basement.

Now, that sounds completely pie-in-the-sky, "if you build it they will come" thinking, which would be dangerous for any business.  Normally, I wouldn't make the investment.  The saving grace here is that I'm planning to advertise the game to the audience of existing Snood customers I've got available.  If they've had a good experience with the computer game, there is a chance they'd be willing to try my card game, Diggity.

More on the economics of publishing in an upcoming post.


  1. A friend of mine and I are indy-publishing a really short run of a board game (100 units). We're using a fund raising site called Kickstarter to help us get started. The way we're using it, it's kind of like advance selling copies of the game at a premium with additional benefits for the people who pledge. There's a thread discussing it at BGG: and the Kickstarter website is – Best of luck with your game! I hope it turns out the way you want it to.

  2. Hi, Jonathan - I did follow that discussion on BGDF. Can I ask how many of your Kickstarter patrons are people you know, and how many just showed up unbidden? Also, did you promote the Kickstarter drive yourselves, or was just being listed on the site? That seems like a very good way to raise funds.

  3. There's always the Jackson Pope model - make them all by hand. It's hard work, but you can't beat the price. That's how I got my start:

  4. Yeah, I've been following Jackson's blog. Looks like you've embarked on an adventure, too. Congrats on Revolution - it looks really cool.