The Road To Kickstarter – Nearing The Finish Line

March 2, 2016 by crew

Massive Awesome is Simon Barlow and John Taylor, friends and business partners whose shared love of gaming and a desire to make something awesome prompted us to set out on our own. We are currently approaching the end of our first Kickstarter campaign for the tabletop miniatures game Shattered Earth.

Shattered Earth

In this ongoing series – the previous entries of which you can read HERE – our aim is to write about all the steps we’ve taken along the way, and to create an ongoing discussion with the community about what it takes to launch a brand new game into the market.

26) Post-Campaign Planning and Delivery

Now that we are close to the end of our campaign, our focus will shortly switch to planning for fulfilment towards the end of the year. Up until now, everything we have worked on has been targeted towards the ultimate date of our campaign launch, so there was a giant flag in the ground with ‘February 2016’ written on it that was always at the forefront of any decisions that we made.

UNM Starter Force

Now we shift to delivering our product into the hands of our backers as quickly as possible and that day – the first time we post some miniatures and rulebooks out to our first group of supporters – becomes the next goal. Hitting this date as close as possible is important for a number of reasons: firstly, the obvious one that we have hundreds of amazing supporters who want to play the game and so we need to enable them to do that.

Secondly, we have managed to build up some good will with our backers through responding to their feedback, offering some freebies, and constantly communicating with them, and we are conscious of the fact that we will erode that good will pretty quickly if there are unreasonable delays to delivery.

Cult Starter Force

Thirdly and, perhaps, most importantly for the future of the game, the sooner our backers receive their rulebooks and miniatures, the sooner they can start playing the game. This means that there will be blog posts showcasing paint jobs, batreps on YouTube, and gamers at clubs all over the world getting exposed to the game. We have always said that we want Massive Awesome to grow organically and that growth starts proper when our first customer introduces their friends to the game.

(Simon: We’re looking at a volunteer program for Shattered Earth where we will help you to promote the game in your local community. If this is something you would like to get involved in, drop us a line at contact@massiveawesome.com)

27) Calculated Risks and Changes of Plans

At the mid-point of our campaign we decided to open up the final three stretch goals ahead of time. This was obviously not in our original plan as we had hoped to pass them and unlock all of the Wave 1 miniatures for the game, but we found ourselves in a position where we had fully funded but the stretch goals were tracking towards getting hit towards the end of the campaign.

Deathless Starter Force

We knew that we had a number of backers who had pledged at the £1 level, waiting until their favoured faction was fully unlocked before upping their pledge, but the Catch 22 was that without their increased pledge, it made it harder to reach those necessary goals.

There was the risk that if we unlocked early and only attracted a few buyers, we would be further out of pocket for the additional sculpting fees but producing these models was always part of our plan and so we didn’t want to risk then not all being available. The day of the announcement we had a big bump in upped pledges and at the point of writing, we are close to passing all the original stretch goals anyway so it looks like the gamble payed off.

Children Starter Force

By far the biggest change to our original plans, however, is that at retail we will be offering metal miniatures alongside the resin ones. When we received feedback early into the campaign from people who were really interested in the game, but preferred metal over resin, we toyed with the idea of quickly producing some metal prototypes and offering those as pledges immediately.

Ultimately we decided that this would put undue strain on the campaign; we already have over two years’ worth of additional goals in the pipeline, from ramping up production to producing more background fiction, expanding the current factions and introducing new ones.

Humanist Starter Force

As a new company, we know that we will be judged on delivery of our first project so feel that the safest plan is to fulfil all our original pledges and simply add an extra ‘metal production’ step to our future plans while letting the game find its audience and grow naturally.

28) Final Tasks

In the final week, we cannot sit back and expect the typical uptick in funding unless we make the effort to continue spreading the word on websites, blogs and forums. Although we will continue to offer the pledges via our pledge manager after the close of the campaign, we acknowledge that a higher Kickstarter total gives people a sense of confidence that the game has been and will be successful.

Children art

And finally, we want to continue improving. We have learned an incredible amount throughout the lifetime of this article series and especially in the month our campaign has been live. All the comments and feedback – both positive and constructive – has helped us improve our campaign and, ultimately, our game. We have been given the opportunity to interact with the best informed and most engaged gamers out there, and for that, we will always be grateful.

So that’s it. Our Kickstarter journey has (almost) ended, and these articles will necessarily be much less frequent. We will pop up in the future between now and when the product is shipped and we’ll let you know when we have interesting things to say about the key stages of post-campaign production and fulfilment. Until then, you can always get in touch with us on Facebook, and we look forward to your continued support Thanks for reading!

Simon BarlowJohn Taylor

If you would like to write articles for Beasts Of War then please get in contact with us at ben@beastsofwar.com for more information!