Tackling a kickstarter game can be a completely overwhelming experience. It’s a ton of work, and it involves many different steps to do it right. Have you ever wondered how the pros keep track of everything? Fortunately, the League of Gamemakers has recently gained access to The Complete Kickstarter Checklist for Tabletop Games created by Kickstarter veteran, James Mathe.

Luke, Tom Jolly, James Mathe playing an early prototype of The Manhattan Project: Energy Empire
Tom Jolly, Luke Laurie and James Mathe playtesting The Manhattan Project: Energy Empire – coming soon to Kickstarter

James Mathe

James Mathe is a multitalented and prolific entrepreneur. He is the president of Minion Development Corporation (Minion Games, Game Universe, RPG Shop), the creator of RPG Now(pdf download store for gaming) which pioneered the paper and pen RPG download industry. He is co-founder of OneBookShelf, Inc. (Drive Thru Cards, War Game Vault, Drive Thru Comics). His game publishing company, Minion Games, has published great games such as The Manhattan Project, Kingdom of Solomon, Battlemerchants, Hegemonic, and most recently: Dead Men Tell No Tales and Dragonflame. As a “smaller” publisher in the industry, he is no stranger to all that is Kickstarter.


Mathe has done significant work for the tabletop game design and publishing community by creating and maintaining Facebook forums and posting online resources in order to help people learn the business and to foster collaboration. These efforts include the Card & Board Game Designers’ Guild on Facebook, which is approaching 6000 members, and the Tabletop Game Publishers’ Guild, which has nearly 2000 members. He also posts excellent resources on his blog, which are often referenced by the League of Gamemakers.

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The Complete Kickstarter Checklist

The list below includes all of the significant steps that are taken on each game Minion publishes using Kickstarter. This list is a living document, open to suggestions and discussion for what should be included. Keep in mind that each project is a little different, and steps will not necessarily occur in a rigid order.


  • Contracts Signed
  • Prototype Print & Play w/ Rules
  • Blind Test Groups
  • Artist Requirements Worksheet
  • Layout Requirements Worksheet
  • Finalized Rules
  • Edited Rules
  • Request For Quotes (options for upgraded bits)

  • Final Artwork Print & Play
  • Order High Quality Prototypes
  • BGG Database Entry
  • Demos Copies to Reviewers
  • Collect E-Mails for Mailing List (from a Contest or PnP or just an open call)


  • Pre-KS Marketing (Designer’s Blog?)
  • KS Planing w/ Stretch Goals & Shipping
  • KS Page w/ Rewards & Graphics
  • KS Intro Video
  • KS Game Play Video
  • Banners & Art for Ads
  • KS Launched (Mailing List, Social Media, BGG Posting)
  • Pre-Order Page on the E-Store
  • KS Last 48 Hours (update page to link to pre-order page)
  • KS Money Transferred
  • KS Survey Sent


  • Update & Sign Final Manufacturer Contract. Paid Down Payment
  • Final Mechanical Files Uploaded
  • Final Models for 3D Items Sent
  • Digital Proofs Approved
  • White Box Approved
  • Mass Production Copy Approved
  • Paid Balance of Manufacturing Bill
  • KS Pack-Ins Completed (Exclusives, Fliers, Signed Copies, etc)
  • Paid Customs & Trucking
  • Product Received


  • Change Pre-Order Page on the E-Store to just an Order Page
  • Shipped Kickstarter Backers
  • Shipped Pre-Orders
  • Shipped to Distributors (or start contacting retailers direct)
  • Send Reviewers their Final Copy


  • Listed on Amazon
  • Post Release Marketing Plan (Conventions, Ads, etc)

Visit James Mathe’s site to download an excel or open office version of this list.
Do you have any suggestions for this list? Did you find this post useful? Leave your comments below!

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Luke Laurie

Game Designer at Luke Laurie Games

Designer of Stones of Fate and The Manhattan Project: Energy Empire
Game designer by night, and middle school science and pre-engineering teacher by day. He lives in Santa Maria California with his amazing wife and two unrealistically well-behaved children.

6 Readers Commented

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  1. Ranma on July 8, 2015

    Lets say I have prototyped a great boardgame with some crapp art. Lets also say, I am a crappy artist.
    So how can I afford a good artist for my bordgame Pre-Marketing (Pre-Kickstarter)?

    • James Mathe on July 8, 2015

      You don’t need all the art. You need maybe 10%. A cover/theme image and a card or three and you’re set. You just need to show what you’re able to do, not that you have the game production complete. Sure you need the game design pretty much complete, but the artwork and final layout can come later. So spend a few hundred bucks and get some exmaples made.

  2. Gary Mosman on July 8, 2015

    Thanks for this great end to end resource! As a repeat publisher I assume you likely have established distribution contacts. Do you contract out to them for each individual game? Also, when do you generally set up that distribution channel? My assumption is somewhere in the pre-marketing phase.

  3. Patrick Aquilone on July 10, 2015

    THANKS! This is an awesome resource.

  4. Jess on July 13, 2015

    Thanks for this great resource. We just recently launched Vanquisher https://tinyurl.com/pas8keo and I wondered if you had any tips for spreading the word and helping to re-build momentum post launch? Thank you for your time!

  5. The Feast on October 26, 2017

    I really appreciate all the great business related articles you have published. I’ve come to find out that designing games is easy when compared to the effort of bringing one to market. These resources are are huge help.

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