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.

Flippin Monsters will be launching this month on Kickstarter. For a chance to win a free copy of the game and be reminded of when it launches, you can sign up at
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Christian Strain

Game Designer at Kraken Games

Christian is a co-founder of Kraken Games. After releasing their first game, Evil Intent, Christian is currently working with Kraken Games on three other projects including their upcoming title, Asking for Trobils.

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  1. Randy on August 5, 2015

    Great post! With Lanterns: The Harvest Festival, we had five stretch goals. The first three (some component quality upgrades and extra artwork) should probably have been included from the beginning. The last one (a cute starting player marker) wasn’t really necessary and has even caused some confusion with people not knowing what it’s for. But the fourth one (upgrading the favor tokens from cardboard to screen-printed wood) was the one that excited people the most and really made a substantial improvement to the product.

    If I were to run the same campaign again today, I would most likely have the favor token upgrade as the lone stretch goal.

    • Christian Strain on August 5, 2015

      That’s funny. I was confused when I found the boat too. Especially since it didn’t really need to exist for the game. I like to put it in the middle though and have it swim around for no reason during the game lol.

      Some great examples though. The exact thing happened with me and Trobils (as described) and that’s the main reason I’m choosing to move forward without stretch goals this time.

  2. Teale Fristoe on August 5, 2015

    I think you make some excellent points that it’s important for creators to really question everything they’re doing. Some stretch goals can cause confusion or even turn people off from a project.

    But that said, I bet you could turn the extra monsters into appealing stretch goals… you just need to price them right. If each monster is $1-2k to reach, your backers will be so close to reaching them that it will feel like a no-brainer for them. They won’t necessarily make your project a $100k blockbuster, but they’ll help carry momentum for the project after the project goal is no longer a motivator for backers.

    I also think component upgrades can be surprisingly effective. My last Kickstarter was for Birds of a Feather, and we had two stretch goals, tuck box -> two piece box and card quality upgrades. These probably weren’t as motivating as new content or something like that, but backers definitely talked about them, and the campaign ended just past the second goal. That indicates to me that the stretch goals were effective in making the campaign as successful as it could be.

    • Christian Strain on August 5, 2015

      Making the extra cards are not going to be as expensive as $1,000 for me to produce. Still, I’m making the exclusives something you can buy at a higher tier for $4. If I get 250 backers at that tier, that’s $1000.

      There are other ways to get to those goals with exclusives or even deluxe versions.

      I’m not saying that backers won’t want better quality cards, I’m just saying that it won’t garner enough enthusiasm to cover the cost or trouble many stretch goals cause. I will say that a different type of box is a little more exciting than card material upgrades. It’s a judgement call really.

      • Randy on August 5, 2015

        For me, I found it helpful to ask myself this: if I didn’t reach the stretch goal, would I want to include them anyway and pay the difference myself? On my next campaign, if the answer is “yes,” then I will just include them from the beginning.

  3. Evangelos Foskolos on August 5, 2015

    I don’t mind fan exclusives or art oriented but I hate to see exclusives on the gameplay field. It seems to me that some people will have more of the game than others and I just don’t like that neither as a creator nor as a backer.
    Concerning stretch goals, I see your point but the momentum that they build is really benefiting the whole campaign if planned right. Sure, no project can afford minis in every S.G. but their absence can hurt your campaigns. So you have to choose between huge gaps between the S.G.s or minor s.G. to fill those gaps building momentum though by giving backers the feeling they are accomplishing something good and heading towards the cool rewards!

  4. Patrick Stephens on August 11, 2015

    It seems to me that for some projects both stretch goals and exclusives will make sense while with others one or the other is the smarter decision. I like what Teale said about keeping exclusive cards $1-2K apart so that it is attainable and drives momentum throughout the campaign.

    • Christian Strain on August 11, 2015

      I agree. It all depends on the campaign. My point was just that creators should make sure stretch goals have a purpose, and aren’t there just to be there.

      • Patrick Stephens on August 11, 2015

        For sure. I’m going to be watching your project. I’m curious how it goes!

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