This is guest post from Eduardo Baraf, friend of the League and designer and publisher of the game, Lift Off! Get Me Off This Planet!

We’ve seen Eduardo working hard at cons all year, and now taking his game to crowd funding. The game has actually just cleared the atmosphere of planet Kickstarter (funded this past weekend), so if you like what you read, you can go get the game!


I describe this at length in my first Kickstarter update for Lift Off! Get me off this Planet, but there were three key ideas that underlined all my efforts on this campaign.


    Go out of your way to help others.


    Listen and get out of your comfort zone.


    Be on the ready to chase leads and momentum.


This is the best way I can describe it to a game maker. Also, more than just the effort, Kickstarters are unique in how they require your constant and regular attention. If you aren’t ready to be on FB, Twitter, and email all day and all night you may want to look at a different way to fund your product.


I know this is a tough one for a lot of people depending on their time and funds, but I highly recommend having a game as close to ready for print as possible before starting your Kickstarter. Not only is working on an active project extremely challenging during this period, but having a near final product also allows you to secure reviews more easily, do a print ‘n’ play, and otherwise focus on your new goal: Fundraising!


When someone backs your project on Kickstarter, you are sent a notification of who they are and how much they funded (great for following up on friends and family, btw). Kickstater then allows you to send them direct messages. I decided to email everyone to thank them, find out what caught their eye, and ask if they had any insight, recommendation, connections etc.

Not everyone responded to my emails, but MANY did. Many who have become my most steady backers, many who hooked me up with bloggers, many he guided me on reddit or BGG, and just tons of things. You have no idea “who” someone is when they back you. You never know, one might just be your knight in shinning armor.


Without a doubt, engaging on Twitter was the absolute most valuable thing I did for my Kickstarter campaign. I started from a dead stop three weeks from the campaign and have been an avid user since. Having said that, the value of twitter has nothing to do with how many followers you can broadcast to. Smart use of hashtags can go a huge way there.

The huge value underneath twitter is its insane ability to allow 1:1 conversations with anyone in the world at any level. I built many close backer relationships on Twitter, met tons of the board gaming community on twitter, reached bloggers, stores, websites. The list goes on. Twitter lets you knock on anyone’s door – from there the conversation bleeds into FB, Email, Phone calls, or meet-ups.


Quite a few people asked how I was able to get my blogs / reviews. Certainly having an attractive, interesting game goes a long way, but the truth of the matter most were either introduced to me via a friend on twitter or I approached directly on twitter. Then some via email and web submissions.

Blogs: The trick to blogs is that you need to go after them and tell them why you are interesting. Once you’ve hit a handful of blogs, you will get approached by more. Keep reaching out and reach out again over the course of your campaign.

Reviews: You need game reviews on DAY 1. That means you need to get your game to reviews BEFORE your Kickstarter. This was huge news to me and created a major scramble. The best thing is if you have a game where making a prototype is cheap and you can GIVE it to the reviewer. I only had a few to mail around and I needed to make sure to get each copy back before I could send again. Some reviews are free; some reviews are paid. Both are worth your time and attention.


Here some odds and ends from the campaign so far…

Ads: I recommend you set aside an ad budget and try different things. I would say most of my ad spending was net positive to the overall campaign. Remember the average person needs to hear or see something 8 times before the click through to it.

BGG Thumbs up campaigns: Everyone kept telling me to do these, and I did, and they never really took off. My game was casual. I think you need to have a game that hits core gamers for this to be most successful.

Wacky Stuff: I did five things I thought were semi-novel

    • Short Stop Motion: Per my first item, someone recommended doing a fun stop motion for the video – so I did it. That was a THIRD project, but worth its weight in gold. It added some sweet fun to the front of my campaign. Don’t be too long with stuff like this!
    • Lift Off! SWAT Team: I created a group of anyone from Twitter or otherwise who was willing to join my SWAT team. The only ask was that they let me send them emails before the campaign and they be willing to promote the game day-of. I had about 15 people on the team. This group became my sounding board for just about every idea I came up with. There were truly helpful and Lift Off! would not be anywhere close to where it is now without them.
    • Art Campaign: I spent time to find 8-10 artists (mostly friends) to do original pieces of my characters (small) to post over the beginning of the campaign. This didn’t set the world on fire, but it did allow me to post fresh art with repeat updates. Then a number of backers also started doing it.

    • Alieneeple Papercraft: This was a fun, impromptu thing I did with an artist. Overall the response was positive but in practice I don’t think it had much of an impact. I’ll note that it didn’t take more than a day to put together, so I’d probably do it again.

  • #LiftOffGenCon: I knew I didn’t want my campaign to end during GenCon and I couldn’t wait until after GenCon to do it, so I decided that having GenCon fall in week 3 would be the best considering. I was planning to attend the show and wanted to make sure I did something to keep form falling into the abyss of games. I decided to do a postcard with a QR code, hand painted 350 individual Alieneeples, and did a $50 photo contest.In all likelihood, I’ve directly converted more people to back the project with DM tweets, but the overall impact of this campaign was HUGE. It created unique buzz and attention at GenCon, helped backers follow the show, made it much easier to approach strangers, and put me in front of more bloggers. This was the right play for Lift Off!, but I’m sure there is an equivalent for your project if it hits a conference. A few days out from GenCon I’ve had the forth best day of the campaign and I contribute it to those little guys!

Lift Off! Get Me Off of This Planet!