The next Kickstarter from Kraken Games, Flippin Monsters, will not feature any Stretch Goals. There’s been an overwhelming attitude lately among creators that Stretch Goals are an absolute must. Backers expect them and won’t back a project without them. I disagree with that assumption.
WHY STRETCH GOALS?
You ask why not have Stretch Goals? I say, why have them?
Let’s remember what Stretch Goals were made for in the first place. They had two functions, they can be a great marketing strategy for a campaign, and allow creators to add to their project in ways they couldn’t otherwise afford. So, before adding Stretch Goals to a campaign, we should ask ourselves one question:
WILL MY STRETCH GOAL BE EFFECTIVE?
In order for Stretch Goals to be effective as a marketing tool, you have to engage the enthusiasm of Backers. That’s how it’s supposed to work right? You say, “If you get the campaign to $N amount, I will add X to the game”. Backers are supposed to be ecstatic about X being added to the game so much that they talk about it to friends, post and tweet about it on social media, climb mountains and shout about it from the peaks.
When’s the last time you saw someone posting about how hopeful they were that a campaign would reach a goal so that their cards had linen finish? I’m on social media every day, seems like all day. I’m talking about Kickstarter and games all the time and reading a lot about it. I can honestly say I’ve never seen that. I’m not saying it doesn’t happen, but it doesn’t happen enough for someone like me who is actively searching for those kinds of things to ever see.
That’s a wasted Stretch Goal. Backers will either ignore it or feel it’s just in the way of a Stretch Goal they actually want.
Asking for Trobils Example:
When we ran Asking for Trobils last year, we had three Stretch Goals. The first was a two sided board. The back side of the board would simply be a different color.
Enthusiasm for this was probably 10% at best. I think I saw maybe one post about it from a Backer. Most of that was because Backers saw it as a stepping stone or obstacle to get past to get to the second Stretch Goal, plastic ship miniatures.
Enthusiasm for this Stretch Goal was through the roof! This is what everyone was waiting for, 28 plastic ships with 7 unique molds.
In fact, when we got close, Backers were pitching in extra money just to get to the goal. They were posting about it, calling friends, playing print-and-play versions at their local game stores.
This is where I saw what Backers really were. They aren’t just people pre-ordering a game. Some want to be a part of making a game and making that game great. This is what a Stretch Goal should be. In fact, the third Stretch Goal was unlocked in the wake of this one. People were still talking about the ships when the third Stretch Goal, a custom insert, was made.
So, while one, possibly two, Stretch Goals did very little to motivate our Backers, one of them gave us our goal and at least 30% of our funding. Effectiveness is key. If your Stretch Goal isn’t going to inspire your Backers to draw in new supporters, then it’s not worth making.
Some creators assume that you must have Stretch Goals or the Backers will punch their monitors and break things. I know what it’s like to have a Stretch Goal few care about and a Stretch Goal that everyone desperately needs. I can tell you, Backers aren’t satiated by just any Stretch Goal.
BACKERS DON’T WANT JUST ANY STRETCH GOAL, THEY WANT STRETCH GOALS THAT INSPIRE.
Some Backers may feel that, without Stretch Goals, they have no reason to use Kickstarter. They can just wait for it to be available in market. That’s why using Kickstarter Exclusives is important when a campaign doesn’t use Stretch Goals. Backers should be getting something others won’t. Maybe that’s different cards, different art, or just a better price.
With Flippin Monsters, we’re adding a tier where Backers can upgrade to grab two Kickstarter Exclusive Monsters to add to their deck. They’re fun additions that aren’t needed for the game, but they do add a new flavor that only our Backers will get to enjoy.
Could this have been a Stretch Goal? Yes, but I don’t believe a couple of new Monsters is strong enough to enlist Backers to go out of their way to promote our campaign. For those that are inspired by it though, they have the choice to add them to their rewards.
Flippin Monsters is a card game with no other components other than cards. We’re making the materials what we want them to be in the beginning, high quality. With a game this simple to publish and design, it just makes sense to not use Stretch Goals.