Kynan Hale successfully funded Choose Your Crew: Pirates game on Kickstarter in June. He used The Game Crafter’s Bulk Order Fulfillment (BOF) service and you can read about his experience in the interview below.
1. Why did you decide to use The Game Crafter’s Bulk Order Fulfillment (BOF) service for your Kickstarter project?
Before launching Choose Your Crew: Pirates on Kickstarter I did a lot of research on the best and cheapest way to ship my products to my backers. Postage can have a big influence on a potential customer so I really wanted to keep those fees as low as possible. Most manufacturers will only ship out a bulk order to a single address for distribution. Calculating the cost of shipping first to Australia, then back out to international orders would have made the entire project unfeasible. So I found a couple of manufacturers that were prepared to ship directly to each individual customer. One of those was The Game Crafter. Since I had already used The Game Crafter to print up a couple of playtest decks of my game (and I was happy with the quality) I decided to use their BOF service for my Kickstarter campaign.
2. What was the biggest benefit of using BOF at The Game Crafter?
The biggest benefit of The Game Crafter’s BOF for my Kickstarter campaign was saving cost on shipping individual orders, but there were other great features to the service that helped to make a ‘break even’ project turn into a profitable one. Putting through a bulk order gave me a wholesale discount that made a huge difference. I was now looking at turning a profit on a project that I had simply calculated to break even.
3. How have your customers responded in terms of product quality, customer service, and shipping times?
I first started getting feedback from my European backers:
“I was very surprised about your fast delivery, compared to other projects!”
“I have received my set of CYC and found all the artwork fun. Definitely going to have a game over the weekend.”
There was a lot of positive feedback about how fast my backers were getting their games. I had estimated a March delivery for a 30 day campaign that I launched on Kickstarter in January. This gave me most of February to finish up backer rewards such as the 4 likenesses I drew of customers to appear in the game and to create and playtest the 8 card booster pack that I had included as a buyer incentive midway through the campaign. I put through the BOF on February 20th and my customers began receiving their games within 2 weeks. Considering how busy The Game Crafter was at the time with 2 extremely successful games from other Kickstarter campaigns, I was very happy with how fast the orders were processed and dispatched.
4. Did The Game Crafter BOF service and the community have a positive impact on your campaign?
A great service to use along with Bulk Order Fulfillment is signing up for The Game Crafter’s Crowd Funding Promotion. The agreement states that you’ll have all the orders from a particular crowd funding campaign exclusively manufactured by The Game Crafter. As an incentive they will list your game on their News page (news.thegamecrafter.com) which appears on their site and various other social networks. This definitely generated interest and sales for my game and not just hits on my Kickstarter page. Which was great, but I believe if I had been better prepared with a better game play video and a game review on my Kickstarter page, The Game Crafter’s News listing would have generated a lot more sales for me. Being my first game I rushed it a little.. a lot actually.. and would have benefited from becoming more involved with the amazing group of helpful and supportive people in The Game Crafter community. However, I still ran a successful campaign and I learned a lot about crowd funding and making games that people will buy.
5. Do you have any advice for other game designers who are considering running a Kickstarter to fund their game?
I’ve learned so much after my first kickstarter campaign and there’s a lot more to learn. I certainly don’t feel qualified to give advice, but I can detail what I will be doing for my next campaign. Before launching my next crowd funding campaign I will be getting professional reviews of my game. I will be using The Game Crafter’s Sanity Test on my game as I believe it gives you more honest feedback than any friend or family member would ever dare! I will create a comprehensive and appealing game play video. I will be attempting to become more involved in the gaming community to spread the word about my game and to see what other people out there are up to. I will be following other crowd funding trends to see what works, what doesn’t, and what other developers are offering in terms of rewards and buyer incentives. I will be offering customers on my database from my first game a special early bird reward. I will be studying what I did right with my first campaign and capitalize on it for my next campaign. Hopefully, if I do all these things I will have a great result, but most importantly I need to create a great game. That takes time. I won’t be rushing into the crowd funding campaign until its ready.
6. Are there any changes or improvements you’d like to see in the Bulk Order Fulfillment service?
Using The Game Crafter’s BOF was really easy. In fact, it was much easier than it looked from the descriptions on the site. Coupled with the backer report spreadsheet that Kickstarter generates at the end of the campaign the BOF was basically a quick copy/paste of some info and I was done. I only had two minor issues with the BOF, the first was that some of my European customers had unusual accents on the characters in their address lines. They appeared correctly on the spreadsheet but turned to gibberish on the BOF. This is probably more of an issue with my understanding of spreadsheets than a fault of the BOF but if there was some info available on the site it would make life easier. The second concern I had with the BOF was not knowing which postage option the BOF would use because you can’t manually select it. Turns out it uses the cheapest option – which was a huge relief, but again I think that information should have been on the initial page of The Game Crafter site that explains the BOF. Overall my experience with The Game Crafter’s BOF was fantastic and the only improvements needed would be covered by slightly more info or a FAQs page on the site.
7. Being from Australia did you face any challenges using The Game Crafter as your chosen manufacturer?
When launching my Kickstarter campaign I was concerned about postage in my home country. Kickstarter expects you to factor in the cost of postage for your own country, but having my games manufactured in USA the postage alone would make the games ridiculously expensive. I contemplated getting the games made by Australian or Chinese manufacturers, but they have a large minimum order that I wasn’t comfortable with for my first game. They also don’t have a community of gamers offering feedback and advice like The Game Crafter has. So, I discussed this with The Game Crafter and learned that I could have all my Australian orders sent to me in bulk so that I could send them on from here. The cost to factor into the price went from over $18 each game down to about $3 per game. So even though my profit margin would suffer slightly for my Australian orders it was a great solution to get the campaign running.
8. Would you recommend The Game Crafter’s BOF service to other game designers?
Shipping the games to customers directly from the manufacturer saved postage costs, it gave me a bulk order discount and it saved a lot of time. It’s a great service to help keep costs down for crowd funding campaigns. I’d highly recommend it to anyone who is thinking about using crowd funding for their game.
Click here to learn more about Bulk Order Fulfillment at The Game Crafter
We’d like to thank Kynan for taking the time to participate in this interview. Congrats on funding your very first game!