OPINION: Why do Kickstarter projects get cancelled? (2)

Yesterday, I wrote about a couple of Kickstarter projects that got cancelled unexpectedly, you can read about that here: Why do so many boardgame projects on Kickstarter get cancelled? (1)

Today, I’d like to mention Valhal, a game that got cancelled the first time round, but successfully relaunched a month or so later… the new, successful Kickstarter project can be found here: Valhal by Tetrahedron Games.

The Valhal story is an interesting one to me, particularly given their first effort failed to garner enough backers and they openly talk about the practical mistakes they made: limiting the number of Early Bird pledges available, issues with shipping costs (esp. for US backers), the need for alternative language editions, and the lack of preview and review material available from the outset…

This last one, and the consequential lack of community engagement thereof, is what prompted me to cover Valhal in more detail, here, but first, a quote:

“Before starting our campaign we reached out to a lot of board game reviewers with blogs, web sites or YouTube channels. Unfortunately we did not get any positive response, most of the time people were not interested in Kickstarter projects. This changed drastically within the first couple of hours of our campaign, we have been contacted by several outlets which want to preview and review our game.”

To be fair, the first campaign had no videos whatsoever, whereas the second has a number of videos covering a basic introduction to the game and some of the components, although still devoid of much in the way of preview/review material, and what there is seems lukewarm at best. And they steered clear of concrete shipping costs this time round, you’ll note…


As stated previously, Tetrahedron had apparently tried to get reviewers on board before starting the campaign, and while I’m not doubting their account of events, I do find it interesting to read that various vlogs, websites and YouTube channels turned their noses up at this game just because it was a Kickstarter project: I always thought most vloggers were happy to look at new projects, prototypes, and so on, with many providing the perfectly reasonable caveat that they’ll only cover games they’re interested in?*  So why would some of those outlets suddenly change tact and get in touch?
(*Of course, I may’ve got this wrong, in which case I’d appreciate somebody putting me right).

Returning to the Valhal campaign itself, not very much seems to have changed from the original, which begs the question: Did the addition of a selection of videos have a significant effect on the no. of backers?

Looking at the numbers: No, not really.  Statistics suggest that Kickstarter projects with videos are much more likely to fund (some suggesting as much as 85% more likely), but was this the clincher in this instance?

This time round the campaign has barely scraped together an extra 25% of backer numbers, and although additional income seems to have come from the extra Early Bird editions (there were only 40 in the first campaign), and given these editions save you just a couple of Euros over the main pledges, could this really have been the deciding factor?

I don’t think so. Some simple sums based on basic backer pledge levels gives me a total of just over €8200 in pledges at time of writing (Nov 4th), which means an extra €10,000+ has been sunk into this project somewhere along the line, would anyone care to speculate where that extra €10k may have come from?  Is it something to be worried about?

Like many others, I wish Tetrahedron Games the very best of luck with their project, but I can’t help feeling a bit more transparency might be required in this instance…

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