It’s Wednesday, which is the best day for Kickstarter news. Actually, J.R. and Luke Crane debunked that any day is better than another in a recent Back It! Nerd Nighters podcast, but it is the day that the League tends to talk Kickstarter topics. Today however, we’re not going to talk about a Kickstarter, we’re going to talk about THE Kickstarter.

Recently, I found out that Kickstarter has a booth at Spiel in Essen.

Come again? Well, why not – this is the biggest tabletop show in the world, and it’s a company that has had probably one of the most profound impacts on that industy in recent years. Naturally, they should be together. And so, in Hall 7, H-104 – you’ll find this company from Brooklyn putting up a booth to say hello.

Luke Crane, reached out to me to demo at the Kickstarter booth as a creator, since he knew I was headed to the show on behalf of Breaking Games. The entire show of Essen is a first for me, so I don’t know what to expect, but trying out two different booths will be an interesting perspective I hope. While I had the Head of Kickstarter games in my inbox, I asked Luke a few things:


What does Kickstarter want to do at Essen? Luke mentions that, “Essen is a big deal in the tabletop world. We want to show Germany and all of Europe that Kickstarter is there to support their amazing game-making community.”

Already, as a past creator given an opportunity to present at the booth, I feel like it’s precisely that.


I posed this one to him: What is more time intensive to support – a game like Exploding Kittens or a game nothing like Exploding Kittens?
Luke: “I worked with Exploding Kittens from very early on. And I assessed their project for exactly what it was—a small card game with a $10K goal. I thought they’d probably be successful—somewhere in the $25K-$100K range. No one could have predicted their success of course. But the point being: I try to deal with all creators exactly the same. I look at their goal, rewards, project image, video etc. and try to give them advice based on that.”


Lately, Facebook forums I’m in seem to be contemplating what a different landscape the crowdfunding site is. I wondered if Luke felt that way at the offices of Kickstarter, or if it was business as usual. Luke mentions in JR’s podcast that he’s getting help with two new staff members. That says a lot for the tabletop slice of pie on Kickstarter. He says “My job has a changed a lot since I started in 2012. Rather than just reviewing projects and giving a bit of advice, I’m working directly with tons of creators. I offer advice on everything from playtesting to distribution—and of course how to best build games projects.”


A lot of us ponder Kickstarting before, after or during a con. General consensus lately is, I think, after is best (my personal opinion). I inquired, “Do you see strategies each way, or have a strong opinion on order of operations here. I imagine some will launch at Essen. Do you have any idea how many?”
Luke: “I have no idea how many projects will launch from Essen. I hope the creators come and tell me though! Launching at cons can be good because you can tell people directly that you’re live. But it’s also hard because you’re competing for precious attention with lots of other games.”


What is it like seeing things like The Doom that Came to Atlantic City happen?
Luke: “I think Doom is a story about how great our community is. Making games is way harder than it looks and sometimes things go wrong. But in the end Cryptozoic stepped in and delivered the game to all of the backers! What a great end to the story.”


Luke: “We have a handbook that gives a good general overview of life on Kickstarter. But forward facing: keep your videos short and use them to tell the story of your game (not the setting, not your story, but the story of the game).”

I shall report on the scene, and come back to share the results. I plan to take pics of the Kickstarter booth, among many things at Spiel. Meanwhile, if you’ll be at the show, here’s what I’m bringing to show at the Kickstarter booth specifically (sat am):

  • What the Food?! – where it started for me and my company. What the Food?! is currently sold out, but I’ll still show the little mini hamburger player marker we put in each box thanks to Kickstarter backers.

  • Asking for Trobils – a real amazing story of a Kickstarter success if you ask me. Chris Strain launched this twice, and listened to backer feedback, and the community rallied in the final hours to add killer 3D modeled ship playing pieces!

  • Manhattan Project: Energy Empire – I’m thrilled to take this League co-design (Luke Laurie and Tom Jolly) to the Kickstarter booth and show everyone what they will be spending their money on next year. It’s a great story of an expansion to a game universe funded in 2011!

  • Campaign Trail – On Kickstarter NOW, ending at Spiel. When Spiel is said and done, I think Campaign Trail will be on track one way or another to become a strong candidate in 2016. Thanks to Cosmic Wombat Games, I’ll have this great League game on hand to show it to folks.

I should mention too that other Leaguers will be also be in Essen. Seth Jaffee and JR Honeycutt! Besides the demo times, I’m sure we’ll all be up for hotel gaming. Look for the yellow shirts!


I know Gil Hova will be there showing the Kickstarter project The Networks (funding any minute today!). Greater than Games will demo Sentinels of the MultiverseHeroes of Normandie from Devil Pig Games will be there, my fellow designers at Breaking Games and many others.