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Tabletop Tops Kickstarter in 2018. Again.

Crowdfunding is growing, and so are the number of crowdfunding platforms. But in one category, there’s one platform that remains king, and whose empire is only growing. That category is tabletop, and the platform is Kickstarter.

For the 5th consecutive year, the tabletop category was the highest growth category for Kickstarter, the highest successfully-funded campaign category, and the category with the highest grossing single Kickstarter project of the year. (“Tainted Grail: The Fall of Avalon” by Poland based Awakened Realms Games managed to secure top spot with 49,939 backers, and a whopping $6.25 million raised!)

This is even more impressive when you consider that the growth to the total number raised across all categories on Kickstarter in 2018 was $564 million, down 6% from 2017, and the lowest amount raised since 2014, according to ICO Partners.

Before we go through some of the numbers, as tabletop enthusiasts, crowdfunding creators, and entrepreneurs, what can we learn from this phenomenon? More importantly, how can we use that information to guide us towards our own success? Here are 4 important lessons to consider:

  1. Table top is still a great opportunity. Boardgames and card games are still being played. In fact they are making a comeback! Yes, in this digital world, where our phones are almost surgically attached to our bodies at all times, people still play physical games. With each other! The enthusiasm for collecting, playing, and simply experiencing the excitement of new board games, beautiful design, clever-yet intuitive playing rules, is alive, well, and thriving. Which means that if you have an idea for a physical game that can be played with others, you may have an idea for a successful project, that can be funded, produced, enjoyed, and – dare we say it – profitable!
  2. Kickstarter is still the best place for everything tabletop related. We hear all about the rise of the crowdfunding world, and its reach into all areas of income generation. From the classic product-based campaigns, to real estate investing, charity crowdfunding, sketchy medical research, and political campaign launches, crowdfunding is being touted as the solution for the future. Along with that comes specialty crowdfunding platforms. There are literally dozens of crowdfunding websites now, and they are becoming more specialized than ever before. (Look for our upcoming blog post, “Indiegogo vs. Kickstarter vs. All the Rest” for an in depth look at which platforms are best suited for you.) But at the top, for tabletop, sits Kickstarter, and it isn’t going anywhere. While video games saw a decline on Kickstarter in 2018, board games did great. So, when you’re ready to think about crowdfunding a boardgame, cardgame, or anything related, think Kickstarter.
  3. The Kickstarter community, resources, and support for tabletop is unmatched in any other crowdfunding platform. It isn’t easy to “just crowdfund your idea.” Anyone reading this who has ever tried the world of crowdfunding is surely nodding their heads in agreement at that. You need support, resources, knowledge, and a community behind you to guide you through the ins and outs of crowdfunding. Each platform has its unique community of support and resources, some better than others. However, for crowdfunding tabletop projects, you can’t do better than Kickstarter. Their resources page seems geared towards this industry, and the plethora of blogs, podcasts, and support companies will make all the difference.
  4. Boardgames, card games, and the like work on Kickstarter for another reason. They have some components that resonate with backers, and make the sector suited for crowdfunding. Namely, the products are roughly the same size – meaning a manageable fulfillment and shipping size; there are fewer reward tiers, and the price is right. Backers are weary to spend too much on products and shipping, and boardgames are perfect for this combination. So whether it is a tabletop product you are thinking of launching, or something with similar components, look for this mix to give your campaign the best shot at being successful.


Total funded projects:

The total amount raised across all sectors in 2018 was down 6% from 2017, while the growth rate for the tabletop category increased by 20% in 2018.

Increased raise:
In 2017, Kickstarter raised $137 million in successful tabletop game projects.
In 2108, they raised $165.3 million for that sector.

Percentage of successful projects:
2018 saw a comparable 20% rise in the number of successful game projects to 2,336 campaigns successfully funded.

Year over year growth:
2018 marks the 4th consecutive year of increase in this sector on Kickstarter, and the 6th out of 7 years of growth since 2011 when Kickstarter began.

Big Money projects:
In 2017, only 34 projects raised over half a million dollars, while in 2018, 64 projects reached and surpassed that milestone, almost doubling the amount of big-money projects for the year.

Odds of success:
The odds of completing a successful tabletop project rose in 2018 slightly, from 62% in 2017, to 63% in 2018.

Top raise:
The highest amount raised in 2018 was $6.25 million, for “Tainted Grail: The Fall of Avalon,” topping all kickstarter projects from all sectors.

Highest amount of backers:
That game also nabbed top backer count across all categories, with 49,939 backers.

You’ve done everything by the book. Your Kickstarter campaign is almost ready to launch.

You made a great product. Built an audience. Set up a campaign page.

But how do you ship it?

We put this checklist together to help you get started. It's free.