Launch Exactly When Ready
I listen to the Board Game Design Lab podcast, but I’m pretty behind. I was recently listening to an episode about a game that I’d at one point tried to sign up for the playtesting of. I won’t mention its name, I apparently didn’t make it through the stringent playtesting selection criteria, but I did qualify to be signed up for a mailing list that I didn’t request to be put on. All of which meant I wouldn’t ever pick the game up, but that it stuck in my head. The reason that I bring it up is that this game has been knocking around in development and production as far as I can tell now for over three years, and it has had a mailing list in the tens of thousands all that time, along with a landing page that has confidently stated “coming to Kickstarter soon” for at least six months. Separately, just as I was finishing fulfilment on my first Kickstarter about two years ago I was contacted by a Creator with a game that was, in my opinion, 100% ready to launch, because they were ‘unsure about how to begin their social media journey’. They still haven’t launched game.
Now, I totally agree that you shouldn’t launch your Kickstarter until its ready. However, I also believe that you should launch it when its ready. While there are lots of Kickstarters that fail when they launch, there are none that succeed when they don’t. You can hope to have a six figure Kickstarter after a year of development, but after four years, you really kind of need to have one.
I also appreciate the desire to make your game and your campaign as good as it can possibly be. However, there has to come a point where you accept that your game and your campaign are as good as you can possibly make them. No game will ever be perfect and the same goes for a Kickstarter campaign. More to the point, I’ve seen many games ruined by being added to and bloated over years of ‘development’ to the point where a statement on Kickstarter that a game has been in development for x many years is starting to feel like a marker for failure rather than an indication of commitment. But how do you tell if you’re faffing around with things that don’t matter to put off your launch date or if you’re really not ready?