Kickstarter Experiment: Shared Rewards

As an experiment, Artemis Games current project, Shards: Worldbuilding Zine, abandoned stretch goals and replaced them with a new way of expanding the project: Shared Rewards.

We’ve always had superbacker levels – those levels that cost many times more than the product but have something truly special like incorporating you into a piece of artwork in the final product, or having a meal with the creator – and sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t.

Shared Rewards are a different kind of superbacker level. They still allow the backer to gain something unique for themselves – in our case, incorporation of some form into the Zine – but they augment that with a communal bonus; a Shared Rewards backer adds not only to their own experience but to that of all the other backers.

In the case of Shards this has taken the form of adding extra pages to the zine that everyone gets access to. Like a stretch goal the whole product has gotten bigger, but unlike a stretch goal there is one person who can be thanked for it.

We’re not yet sure if the experiment was a success, and whether a future project may combine both methods of expansion, but it has certainly had some interesting results. Our two highest shared reward levels, at £250 each, went in under 6 hours; and one of our lower, £75, levels has gone to someone who has stated unequivocally that the personal bonus doesn’t interest them – it’s purely the fact that they’re making the project better for everyone that makes it worthwhile.

If there’s one thing I can certainly say about the shared rewards experiment it’s this: It has made me smile to see people backing philanthropically – actively paying extra so that other people can enjoy the product more!

If you want to take a look at our implementation of Shared Rewards – or are intrigued by the idea of a Worldbuilding Zine, check it out on Kickstarter

Be Well, and Do Good



The Many Forms of Cross-Promotion

For thematic reasons I’ve told my backers on my current Kickstarter to come over here if they want to read about cross-promotion.

As usual for my posts, this is inspired by a Kickstarter experience (a conversation with Jessica Feinberg about her Clockwork Dragons project) but the principle is much older than online crowdfunding.

Cross-Promotion is, at its base, a simple trade: I’ll advertise you if you advertise me. But to use it effectively requires more finesse than that. I’ll start by talking about two rules of cross-promotion, and then go into more detail of some different types I’ve seen and used.


Rule One to keep in mind is that cross-promotion, like any form of promotion, is only useful if your audiences actually overlap. There’s no point promoting a Kansas estate agent on a UK blog, nor advertising your fox-hunting service on an animal welfare site.

Rule Two with cross-promotion, and one that doesn’t apply to regular advertising, is that you should choose a high quality partner; don’t just check if someone is in the right genre and immediately agree to cross promote. Remember that you are telling your customers/followers/fans that the product you’re promoting is good; and in doing so you are putting their support on the line. If you repeatedly point your followers at substandard products they will start to associate you with that lack of quality, and you will lose their trust.


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Release Schedules: How Often is Too Often?

I don’t know the answer to this question. Indeed, I’m not sure there is one.

But that doesn’t mean it’s not an important question.

Myself and my accomplices are currently doing our third product launch in the last year (precisely one year after the first in fact) and we’ve had a few friends tell us that we’re going too fast. On the other side we’ve got the Tories busily telling us that we’re scroungers and skivers because we’re not going faster.

So, is three launches in a year too much? My current favourite game is Atlas Games Ars Magica, and they release three to four books a year. But they also have a far bigger market, and most customers (myself included) only buy a small proportion of the products they bring out.

What I can say for sure is that, at present, I’m not going fast enough to live on my earnings*. Maybe that’s a sign that I’m pursuing the wrong path, but I prefer to believe that I just need to keep on picking up speed.

*And my rate of posting here is simply abysmal…

How often do you prefer to see new releases? What factors are involved in deciding when enough is too much?

The Last Days of a Kickstarter

The last days of a Kickstarter are not as important as the first few; but they are still a big part of the process. I haven’t talked about the first days yet, so this is a bit weird for me, writing things in the wrong order.

Still, the process of the last days is currently foremost in my mind, as Location Cards have only a day left; and explaining things often makes me understand them better.

So, what do the final days involve? Well, much of it depends on how you’re going about them, but one thing is always certain: You will get a surge in backing, as people can no longer put off making a decision.

And you need to feed that as best you can…

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Greetings from a crowdfunding project creator

Hi, I’m Ste C, and I’m new here; so I figure I’d best introduce myself and what I know about.

My knowledge of game design is somewhat fractured, being derived from a rather disconnected set of experiences, and ultimately it’s limited: I’ve never completed anything more complicated than a casual card game. While it’s a passion, it’s not a field of expertise.

What I have a better understanding of is Crowdfunding. While still limited, my knowledge is formed from practical experience, and is therefore (in my mind at least) a more useful thing to share.

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