Eternal Dynasty was the first Kickstarter project I backed that I actually got REALLY excited about. I don’t just mean a “this game looks awesome and I can’t wait to play it” kind of excitement…I mean a kind of excitement that made me go out and want to learn more about the game’s subject matter and read the material on which its theme is based. The kind of excitement that made me boot back up Warriors Orochi 3 so I could lay waste to vast armies as Lu Bu, Liu Bei, Zhou Yu, and others from the Romance of the Three Kingdoms.
This project managed not only to peek my interest in this way, but to keep me engaged throughout the entire campaign and doing my part to promote it on social media and BGG. Nicholas Yu and Zucchini People Games did an outstanding overall job with this campaign, and I still believe that if they had started out with a much larger fan-base that this game would have done even better than it did. Out of all the things they did right, however, what I’d really like to focus on for this article is the way they handled stretch goals.
As you can see, there were A LOT. I really felt like each couple of days we had the chance at reaching another milestone, and that really kept me engaged with the campaign. I read the updates, read most of the comments that were posted on the Kickstarter page itself, and actively promoted the game on BGG by thumbing up images, etc. to get it onto the front page. Why? Because these stretch goals were awesome. There were multiple stretch goals that improved the components, but I was most excited about the substantial number of additional cards that were added throughout the course of the campaign. I love options, and I love replayability, so adding new rulers and events to the game(5 at a time, no less) really just kept me excited about the whole thing. These were all stretch goals that mattered and actually added content to the game, and that’s important.
The second thing you’ve probably already noticed from the screenshot is that the stretch goals were not spaced very far apart. I think this is a crucial aspect that many campaigns end up overlooking. When I look at a project and see that the funding goal is $20,000, and the first stretch goal is set at $35,000, that’s discouraging. It’s not that I don’t think the campaign will hit that funding mark necessarily…it’s just not exciting, and it doesn’t inspire as much immediacy in terms of doing extra to support the campaign. With “bite-sized” stretch goals you keep everyone in the mindset of being just on the cusp of unlocking additional value for their investment. To me that seems like a recipe for success.
Finally, Eternal Dynasty used 2 different types of stretch goals that I think any emerging game studio or self-publisher should use. I know COG Gaming certainly will. The first is the obvious funding level stretch goals which unlock after a certain amount of backing is reached. These are great stretch goals for the campaign itself. I would say the second type, which may be based on number of backers, or number of facebook likes, blog follows, etc., is probably even more important if you plan on Kickstarting additional projects in the future. I’d view this kind of stretch goal as more of an investment than anything else, but the end result is you end the campaign with a significantly increased audience which will hopefully continue to follow your activities after everything is over in anticipation of your next project. It’s community capital, and that’s hard to come by.
Have you seen a campaign that had stretch goals you really appreciated? Opinions on stretch goals in general? Please comment and share your thoughts!