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Let Kickstarter Expert Daniel Zayas Help Your Dream Fund

Let Kickstarter Expert Daniel Zayas Help Your Dream Fund

It can’t be argued that Kickstarter is a dominant force in our industry. Some of the biggest games of the past few years have been launched through this crowdfunding service. Literal millions have been raised through thousands of people pledging $50-$100 to get games they’re excited about and you can’t spend more than 30 minutes on board gaming social media without hearing about the next big thing. But campaigns are not a sure thing. There are numerous pitfalls that await creators, new and experienced alike, and the difference between seeing a dream fulfilled and a dream fail can be very small.

Let’s take a pop quiz:

  1. Your game has 120 cards, 30 cubes, 12 meeples in 4 colors, and 1 board. What’s your base Kickstarter pledge level and what’s your MSRP?
  2. Where should your stretch goals be set if you want a linen-finish upgrade? What about a custom first player token?
  3. When should you launch a Kickstarter to have your game available at Essen?

Not quite sure what the answer is? That’s ok. There isn’t 1 right answer and these are questions that experienced creators struggle with. Within minutes of launching a campaign your inbox will be full of people promising backers if only you throw a few bucks their way for the help. That’s why Kickstarter recently launched their “Kickstarter Experts” program.

dzKickstarter Experts are curated consultants, interviewed and approved by Kickstarter, who know the ins and outs of their industries and are available to help people with their campaigns. Daniel Zayas was one of the first experts who specializes in tabletop games and has the pedigree to back that title up. He works full time for Eagle-Gryphon Games (EGG) on their Kickstarter campaigns and highlights campaigns worth checking out through his Board Game Badger newsletter. It’s safe to say he’s been around the Kickstarter block, which is why he was selected as an expert. I’ve been speaking with him recently about the program and his involvement.

“When it came to actually applying and being interviewed, it mirrored many job interviews I have had in the past.” he said of the vetting process. “I needed to provide references for creators who I had helped, both success stories and failures. I also had to explain why I thought I was a good fit for the program, to which my reply was the same as it always has been. I want more great games in more homes worldwide.”

One of the reasons I was excited to talk to Daniel about this program is because of his experience with established companies and new creators. EGG has a long history of launching games via Kickstarter-I’ve backed some myself-and I’ve always wondered how the process differs for established companies and new creators. “I think expectations internally are different for established publications and exactly the same from the general public. If it looks fun and is a fair price and the hype has been built prior, it is a slam dunk” he said.

That being said, their process can differ. Established companies may have things like existing production schedules to consider. They’ll often try to bundle production of multiple games together to save on expensive shipping costs or have to work within established box sizes. While this can hamstring them in some ways, knowledge of the production chain is an obvious benefit. Standards have gone up on Kickstarter as backers expect more, making launching your dream project a daunting task. Full rulebooks with final art, animated gifs showing how to play, and rulebooks condensed into 5 quick points are both normal and expected. Loot & Recruit and AEGIS are both current campaigns that feature some of these things that Daniel considers must-haves.

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Experience companies have the advantage of name recognition and experience, but newer creators have advantages as well. One of the big ones if flexibility. Kickstarter has evolved over the years and Daniel believes that newer creators have the ability to be more flexible which can help them standout. Daniel was recently hired by Doomsday Robots who contracted him to help with the Bridges to Nowhere campaign. “There were plenty of times, though, where no amount of planning could help us and that’s where Daniel was a godsend” reads their testimonial. Bridges to Nowhere would go on to fund at 6x their original goal.

It wasn’t long ago that a campaign could simply describe a game and ask people to join the creator on the journey to a new game. As Daniel puts it, “the game has changed, so the hustle needs to evolve with it.” This is where Kickstarter Experts like Daniel can help.  It’s a tough platform to navigate, though it’s still one full of promise. “Kickstarter is still the great equalizer and the platform of choice for crowdfunding” he says, and doesn’t expect that to change any time soon.

Featured Image Credits: Kickstarter (Screenshot by Raf Cordero)

Image Credits: Daniel Zayas 

In addition to Geek & Sundry, Raf Cordero writes for Miniature Market’s The Review Corner and co-hosts the gaming podcast Ding & Dent. Chat with him on Twitter @captainraffi.

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