Martial Art on Kickstarter: A summary, and what we have learned

A welcome surprise

The Kickstarter campaign for Martial Art is nearing its halfway point and we are blown away by how well it is going. We have already passed 150 backers (Gangster Dice only had 120 total) and financially we have greatly exceeded our expectations.

Because we now have a much better grasp of the monetary aspects of Kickstarter and game publishing than we did when we were producing Gangster Dice, the success of this campaign should allow us to continue to put out great games without having to dip into our own pockets to fund the projects, which has always been the dream.

A quick rundown of our backer summary shows just under 250 copies currently pledged, which means it is not unreasonable for us to think we might end up with 500 or more by the end of the campaign. This means we may be able to print 1,000 copies or even more and see if a distributor wants to pick up the game and get it into retail stores.

What are the main takeaways?

We have learned a few things about what to do right in a Kickstarter campaign by the surprising enthusiasm we have been met with for this game. These are very good lessons to learn and are important to consider for the future.

  1. Art is king - It cannot be stressed enough that the presentation of a game is at least as important as the gameplay itself. While Martial Art saw extensive design, development, and playtesting in an effort to make the gameplay as compelling as possible, ultimately it has been the art that has attracted people to our project. Resurrecting some of the most beautiful art pieces of feudal Japan was one of the best decisions we ever made.
  2. Low-priced rewards make it easy to pledge - If you are browsing Kickstarter and you see a game that catches your eye, it is much easier to put down $14 to a fairly unknown publisher for a small game than it is to shell out $50 for something large and complex to produce. Going back to point #1 about the art, I have spoken to many backers who aren't nearly as interested in the gameplay as they are the art. When they get their games and find out that Martial Art is as fun as it is beautiful (at least that's what we think) then they will be that much happier.
  3. People respond well to passion and appreciation - In the board game industry, where games are created to bring people together around a table, it pays to get folks emotionally invested in your game. It also pays to show them your genuine appreciation for the faith they have put in you to deliver. Before the campaign I was in touch with some great groups of people to playtest the game and get their opinions on development, and they sure didn't disappoint. On that note, a big thank you to everyone who helped us with this game!

As I write this there are 16 days left in the campaign. It will be an exciting experience to see what Martial Art can achieve by the campaign's end!