3 Crowdfunded Board Game Success Stories

We can’t all be a Parker Brothers or a Hasbro.

At some point or another, in a Board Games enthusiast’s life, we’ll get this great idea whilst we’re halfway through a D&D campaign or totally bossing a round of Munchkin. Quickly, before the light bulb goes out, we’ll share it with our competitors. Soon, the D20s have been dropped, Gerrard’s dropped his Agility Stats and Sarah-Jane has all but forgotten that her Level 20 Elf is in danger of being knifed by a Forest Witch. 

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The night descends into a mad frenzy of ideas – pads are grabbed and notes are taken in a mad dash to record the minutiae of innovations that will make your game a one-of-a-kind. Once the idea’s fully formed, it’s 3am and the last can of Red Bull has been drained. You’re triumphant, safe in the knowledge that you’ve just created something special. But how will anyone ever get to play it?

If regular people, like you or me, want to make our board gaming fantasies come to life – we need more than just one crazy night of ideas to get us through. We need cash. Cash for graphic designers, printing, token moulding and copy writing.

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Of course, your Nan is always saying that she’d invest some money in a business idea of yours. But somehow I doubt that Trollfight: The Gathering (A Fiefdom Tale) is likely to get off the ground with her backing alone.


That’s why would-be gaming entrepreneurs turn to crowdfunding to get their ideas of the ground. Before you dismiss it as a fool-hardy venture, just take a look at these 3 examples of games that started out in a basement somewhere, and ended up in the hands of thousands of people:

Exploding Kittens

It sounds stupid, I know. Whether it was the unique Roulette-style approach to a card drawing game, or simply the idea of destroying your mates with a weaponized enchilada – this was one of the most successful gaming Kickstarters.

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The modest goal of $10,000 was reached and, well, exploded within a day. In fact, within 7 hours of starting the campaign Elan Lee and his pals had raised a £1,000,000. It holds the record for 3rd biggest Kickstarter campaign, raising $8.8m. The game has received an expansion, as well as iOS and Android adaptations in the last year.

Scythe

Crowdfunding can bring a wonderfully niche concept to the few thousand people who have been clamouring for such a thing for years. Have you ever wanted to create an empire of ‘monstrous mechs and industrious workers’ in an alternate-history competing with your friends for total domination?

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Well 17,739 backers sure as heck did. Over $600,00 was raised in the first day, easily surpassing the St. Louis based games company’s goal of $33,000. The game launched artist Jakub Rozalski from minor online artist to big time steam-punk maestro, you can check his online gallery out here.

Conan

Robert E. Howard’s world of Conan has been used and abused over the 80 years of his existence. Originally popping up in a series of stories in Weird Tales magazine, the licence has been passed around like a Cimmerian prostitute. Widely attributed to the creation of the ‘sword and sorcery’ genre, Howard’s creations were perfectly suited for Miniature Role Playing Games.

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Monolith Games smashed their target of $80,000 in a record 5 minutes and 37 seconds, proving to the world that Howard’s decades old character still had a truly global following.…

Games On Campus!

Think College students, and what do you think? Do you think of a bunch ignorant, arrogant, idiotic, stupid bloody fools who have no interest in anything of any more depth than a keg of beer! Do you picture a bunch of liberal idiots who have read a few weak essays and now think they understand the world? Well, whatever you picture, are they playing board games?

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Well they should be? We’ve got in touch with Campus Solutions Inc who do outreach advertising to college students in the USA and can help us to tap into the market there, which would be great. I mean, every company needs to expand, every business has to expand, every industry has to expand, every board game world needs to dominate! And we, we here at Bishop Games, we need to  dominate the world of board games. That is what we are setting out to do.

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We’re going to spread out over every college campus in the USA through the help of advertising and the powerful allure of board games. And it is a powerful allure. Who doesn’t want to escape into a completely unique world! Go onto your own completely unique mission! That would really be something.…

Designing The Bishop Master Palace

We are getting going now, this is really coming together! We’re just trying to figure out what kind of a shop we want to be making here. What type of an environment do we want to put people in to experience to some absolutely amazing board games that they will never have heard of before? Well, we’ve thought a lot, we wondered about a sort of ‘old library’ kind of thing…

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… board games anyone?

Because, you know, board games are old fashioned, libraries are old fashioned, so it’s a winner right? I’m not sure I was looking at some ‘man cave ideas’ about the use of Neon in peoples Man caves. So how about a beautiful futuristic Neon glowing board game shop…

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Could be pretty beautiful, I like the idea of the juxtaposing the futuristic glow and vainglorious of what is too come and the potential of technology and modernity that is embodied by that neon glow with the referential pull of the past that is within the games that we sell. What does playing a board game in this day and age say? It says that maybe all the great advances we have made in recent decades have come with some losses too. That what we have partially gained in moving from an old past into this future is an element of communal living and social interaction that was born out the limitations of our previous lack of individualised entertainment. Now we have an over abundance of personalised entertainment, and it has left us often for too long alone. Which is really no good, one could argue. And I do argue.

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Because it is worth it, these social interactions, they are worth it. It is just better if you keep an element of your life which exists only through your own ability to imagine and animate these boards and little moving pieces with narratives and excitement. That’s what life is, it is us taking all this inanimate nothingness and turning it into life, into meaning, into something that can make you laugh and cry. If we lose that, if we just become these receivers, we will lose our humanity. That is why we need board games, now more than ever.…

Opening Up Bishop Games!

So this is it, after months (if we’re honest years, if we’re really honest, a lifetime) of thinking, wondering, fearing, calculating and dreaming, we’ve made the decision to put our wallets where our dreams are. It’s the only choice that can be made really, what is life if you don’t attempt to make your vocation your passion? To make your job your love? To make your dreams a reality…

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We are going to open our own Vintage and obscure board games store in London town and are hoping it will be the first of many. We’ve been in talks with various UK franchise consultants who seem to think that there is enough of a market at the moment, with the rise of ‘geek’ culture and the return to board games we are seeing across the (excuse the pun) board. People are interested! People want to play these games! And we want to be the ones to provide them. We want Bishops Games to spread across the land, we want all to have access to these amazing games. And they are amazing…

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Amazing and bizarre. This is such an exciting time for us, the idea that we could be running a franchise, the idea that this franchise could be spread across the country! The idea that Bishop Games could become a staple of your high street. These are exciting ideas.

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We are currently working on sourcing a whole world of games from all over this country, this continent and this earth. We are finding games you’ve never heard of, versions of famous games you never would have imagined, and things that are just, well, surprising…

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One thing I would like to mention before I go, is our brilliant liverpool architects (Architectural Emporium) who helped us realise our vision (however unrealistic at first) and create us our dream shop. We love everything they did for us and I will be sure to recommend them to anyone who needs such services.

Surprising. Oh so surprising. And we will keep surprising people, we will surprise people with how our shop will look, we will surprise people with how it runs, we will surprise people with how successful it will be. We will be full of surprises. Surprises and board games. In fact, mostly board games.…

A Look At The History Of Board Games Part 1

“Chaos is a ladder”

– Peter ‘Littlefinger’ Baylish, Game of Thrones

Knowledge, they say, is power. Well perhaps, but true power is the ability to act on your knowledge. You can know as much as you like but it means nothing if you are powerless. What knowledge do we have that may surprise you? Well, the current state of Board Games, that might just surprise you a wee bit.

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‘Always keep your foes confused. If they are never certain who you are or what you want, they cannot know what your are like to do next.’

  • Peter ‘Littlefindger’ Baylish, Game Of Thrones

We live in an unprecedented age of technological advancement and involvement, people can enter fully visualised worlds through their games consoles, they can roam over great vistas uninterrupted by loading screens or invisible walls, they can interact with live animals and strangers with fully formed personalities, they can climb mountains and cross seas. And yet, and yet, and yet…

And yet we are in what is being called ‘A golden age for board games’ where the board game industry has seen levels of growth as high as 40% in a year. Google sees growth of 20% a year. So it’s official: Board Games are a bigger deal that Google. Take that, Google.

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“Stupid Google, I did warn you not to trust me”

Peter ” Littlefinger” Baylish

Board Games, as far as we know, pre-date written language. That’s right, written language. Before we could right we could lay. Before we were trying to keep records and communicate past our tongues, we were playing games and having fun. Before we were writing books or letters or reports, or memos or leaflets or nothing. Before we were scratching linguistic messages on cave walls we were playing games. We were making dice before we were making pencils.

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“Pretty impressive, I didn’t know that about board games. And what we don’t know is usually what gets us killed”

Peter ‘Littlefinger’ Baylish

So Board games have roots. They are not some new flash in the pan trend, they are as old as we are, and they will stick around a fair while yet.…