Right now if you’re a game maker, or board game aficionado, there’s only one place you look for new projects — Kickstarter. If you go on Kickstarter right now there are 249 projects waiting for your hard earned money. It’s gotten to be a habit that journalists, bloggers, and gamers regularly check Kickstarter for the latest, but now there’s a new player that’s looking to change that, Game On Tabletop.
What is Game On Tabletop
If you haven’t heard of Game On before you’re not alone, but that’s not because they’re a new company. In fact, Game On has been around for the four years in Europe (specifically France and Germany) under the name Casus Belli and grew out of Black Book Editions, France’s top RPG maker.
Laura Hoffman of Game On said in a closed presentation to journalists at Gencon 50, “For us there is no real better way to describe it. We are passionate gamers, and we wanted a tool that makes [gamers] feel at home and that they are understood.” Since 2013 Game On funded over 50 projects and raised approximately 3.5 million dollars (US). That was while they only worked on projects from France and Germany, which has a significantly smaller sector than the US and the UK. What’s most impressive is that they have had a 100% success rate in funding projects.
As far as it goes with backers, Game On and Kickstarter share similar DNA. You search for projects, and pledge a certain amount of money for specific perks.
What makes Game On different?
To begin with, Game On is exclusively for the tabletop sphere. If you’re in the business for making board games, miniatures, game accessories, or even create content around games, then this service is meant for you. With Game On, there’s no sifting through other projects to get to gaming products (which on Kickstarter, takes about three clicks).
Hoffman said, “Crowdfunding is amazing to allow publishers to create games that they might not be able to gain funding otherwise, but it takes a lot of time, a lot of work. It means dedicated people to setup the campaign, to manage it, to manage the pledge manager afterwards. We at Game On Tabletop, we try to have all these bits and pieces to make it easier, more time efficient, so that publishers actually can concentrate [on what matters most] the games, and of course, reaching out to their community.”
Game On does this by automating features that have to be manually turned on or run by separate pledge manager software. When a backer pledges they receive an invoice with all the various items in their order as well as any add-on items received. The publishers can also factor in their production costs and compare to how much their receiving in funds so that publishers can see their real costs on the project. Stretch goals also unlock automatically, so that backers don’t have to wait to see the stretch goal rewards unlock. No longer will someone physically have to activate these goals.
Moreover, and to me this is the most interesting part, as Game On comes from a publishing background themselves, you can pay to receive their in house services for production, shipping, and marketing. Say you’re a new company with a great game, but you have zero idea who even prints board games, makes dice, prints rulebooks, etc., then instead of having to hunt down and get quotes yourself from various companies, you can use Game On as a one stop solution. They can even handle your fulfillment of products through themselves and other partners.
One Big Issue
Right now, if you’re a first time game maker, and you’re making a game in English for a US release, the community that you would expect to purchase this game simply isn’t on Game On. It’s a chicken or the egg problem, but it’s not a bad problem for Game On to have. The question really is whether the gamers will start checking and backing projects, or if projects will bring over their community. If publishers, particularly ones with an audience, decide to start using Game On to gain funding, then the community will follow, especially because the site is so user friendly for both backers and publishers. There’s also clearly a market for it already.
Take for Instance, Savage Worlds. They’re running a campaign for both The Goon and Fear Agent RPGs on Game On. Currently they’ve raised more money on Game On than they did through Kickstarter ($70,963 vs $67,671. Additionally, Savage Worlds received 1006 backers through Kickstarter, and received 735 backers through Game On. Even though they received less overall backers through Game On, they received more money per backer than they did on Kickstarter.) So clearly, given the right game, the community will back it. Once publishers begin to use the platform, and Game On spreads via word of mouth, the community will follow. They have the chops to make this platform work, and work well for the game community. Its also important to note that Kickstarter and Game On can exist together and both work; clearly some publishers are using both platforms, and there’s no reason they can’t continue to.
If you’re interested, you can checkout Game On at gameontabletop.com.