Back For A Buck Challenge

logo-e1375768120724-300x71Rodger Hicks over at Today in Board Games has started something rather interesting. It’s a Back for a Buck challenge where your challenged to spend $1 on 10 different kickstarter projects you find interesting or think are worth supporting over the course of a month. Nearly every project on Kickstarter has a $1 pledge level and if not, you should contact the creator and tell them they should add one. You generally get two things for your $1.

  1. Updates on what’s happening with the project, news and potentially interesting insights into the behind the scenes development of the project. I’ve learned some incredibly interesting things about making a movie through the Veronica Mars kickstarter updates, gotten a sneak peak at the art and design of card games through the Get Lucky, the Kill Dr. Lucky Card Game and gotten access to early downloads of the game through the RARRR!!! Monster-Building, City Stomping Board Game. All of these were well worth the $1 that I spent on backing them.
  2. A warm fuzzy feeling inside. Link: Here

He asks you to post the projects you’ve backed on his BoardGameGeek thread as well. He’s compiled some data on how many people have participated, how many projects got backed and some other interesting information. He ran this challenge for Sept and Oct, but I’m not sure if he’s doing it for November. Either way, I thought this was a great idea and felt the need to participate, if only by myself.

Here is the list of projects that I’m currently backing for the month of November:

  1. Dead Man’s Draw
  2. Glamazons vs The Curse of the Chainmail Bikini
  3. Dr. McNinja’s Legendary Showdown
  4. <Firewall> (roll, control, repeat) Hack the Planet!
  5. Get Lucky, the Kill Doctor Lucky Card Game
  6. CASTLES – A Strategic Card Game for Two Players
  7. RARRR!!! Monster-Building, City-Stomping Card Game
  8. TWO ROOMS and a BOOM

As you can see, I still have two more projects to back before I’ve reached my goal, but I’m sure I can find a couple more things to back.


Give me a beat: Video editing with my ear

Currently, I’m in a slump with my kickstarter video. The rough cut is laid out. The scenes are saying and showing the things I want them to say and to show. However, I find it bores me and I can’t tell if it’s because I’ve been working on it too long or the video just isn’t that exciting. My gut tells me the video needs to be remastered.

ShinningRecutTo get me back in the editor’s chair, I’m starting with the music. Music conveys emotion and sets the mood. Just watch “The Shining” turned into the feel good movie of the year to hear what I’m talking about. Skip ahead to :51 seconds and feel your emotions swell and your spirits lift as you watch Jack, Wendy and Danny come together as a family.

Music is not where I start. I’ve learned the hard way to start with the script, rather than just taking a bunch of video of people playing my game, me talking about my game, shots of my game dynamically placed on a table with my dog sleeping in the background, and then editing all of that while trying to craft a 2:00 minute, ‘gotta have it’ video is impossible, because it just ends up as disjointed and convoluted as this sentence.

So yeah, I start with the script, but I immediately move to the music because it sets up the beats for all my edits. Getting the timing right for when to cut to a different shot in the video, is easier when I know the music I’m using. The script might be what is said, but the music is how to say it.


When making the video for kickstarter, I had to be aware of using songs I was legally allowed to use. There are a handful of sites out there that offer music, paid or free, but the one I’ve been most impressed with is for the following reasons:

  • High quality
  • Large selection
  • Easy search
  • Inexpensive (IMHO)
  • Downloadable preview .mp3

Unlike other sites that sell “songs,” PremiumBeat focuses on music and scores you’d expect to hear in commercials, television and movies. It’s a great resource for the type of videos you might want for your Kickstarter.

That’s all for now. Time for me to go face the music and get back to work on that video.

Take This Map Before Kickstarting!

Campaign Map It’s easy to lose your way on the crowdfunding seas, always searching for that guiding star that’ll ensure your campaign is a success. The resources listed here have served as welcoming ports in my own journey across this ever surprising ocean. I’m sure there are more outposts and I’m sure I’ll find them before my journey is complete. My hope is that these act as a map and a compass to help guide you along your way.

Stonemaier Games

Stonemaier Games – Kickstarter Lessons Jamey was my inspiration to start my blog. He’s done a lot to educate and improve the overall community of Kickstarter. He has dozens of helpful articles on how to build, execute and follow through with a successful Kickstarter. You should be familiar with everyone of them.

Approach: Start at the top of his list and starting reading down. Follow his advice and start commenting on his articles. He makes a point of responding to nearly every post.

Standout Articles: 

Funding The Dream

Funding the Dream Podcast Richard Bliss runs a tight informative podcast, keeping it to 20 minutes and corralling his guests to stay on topic. While his show has evolved over each episode, it almost always focuses on Kickstarter topics, usually within the card and boardgame space. His usual format is a small update at the beginning and then a chat with a guest who has specific knowledge or experience regarding crowdfunding. While the format might be the same, every episode feels different and fresh.

Approach: Load up your phone with the podcasts. Start at the most recent and work your way backwards. It’s great for commuting. Consider taking notes on some of the key points (assuming you’re not driving). 

Standout Episodes

cropped-FB_Header James Mathe He is a game store owner, game designer, game publisher, successful Kickstarter and consult. He writes guides specifically designed to help you not screw up your kickstarter. His understanding of the whole process from end to end is key to your survival.

Approach: His articles aren’t in any particule order so it’s best to scan through them and see if something peeks your interest. However, I’d recommend reading through all of them before you launch your kickstarter.

Standout Articles: 

Facebook: Kickstarter Kickstarter Best Practices and Lessons Learned on Facebook This is a helpful group of people focused on how to improve campaigns for themselves and others. They have a strict no spamming your KS campaign, which is nice. There are a decent amount of people in the group and experienced people generally speak up with assistance. If you join the group remember, a community is only as good as those who participate. So, make a point to post questions and comment on others. Be helpful and polite and you’ll find the group will follow.

Approach: Send a request to join. Read through as many initial posts as possible, comment on a couple before you consider posting. One thing I’ve noticed when you post is to think of your posts like a newspaper article, ‘don’t bury your lead.’ You’ll get more responses from people that way.

Off The Map Resources

These are different sites or articles that I’ve come across that I’ve found interesting and informative regarding Kickstarter.

Tasty Minstrel Games

One of the first things I read, before I knew about any of these other sites was this short little ebook written by Michael Mindes founder of Tasty Minstrel Games. It was called, “Confessions of a board game publisher” and it scared the hell out of me.

bgg_cornerlogo A.J. Porfirio of Van Ryder Games, the group that made “If I’m Going Down” and “Tessen” posted a short list of things to know before you do a kickstarter. You can read it in a minute, but you’ll be thinking about it throughout your whole campaign.


Joey Daoud is a filmmaker who ran a kickstarter for his documentary film project. He breaks down with great detail and a lot of math how much it cost. He has a handful of other kickstarter related articles that are all interesting to read.


While the front page of Kicktraq has plenty of crowdfunding related news articles, the meat of the site is its tracking of kickstarters. It’s basically stat porn for kickstarter enthusiasts. I imagine many a campaign owner has sat on this site hitting F5 over and over again.


Sidekick is a project created by some Swedish math guys who wanted to prove the success of a kickstarter campaign sooner and more accurately than anyone else. I’ve talked about them before in a previous post. The main thing I like about them is how they put all of the active projects in a nice easy to sort spreadsheet. This is a great resource to find others who are doing kickstarters that are similar to your own.

That’s my list as it currently stands. What resources did you come across that you found helpful in your journey to the new world?

SideKick: Find What Kickstarter Is Hiding

Photo By: Manoj Kengudelu

Photo By: Manoj Kengudelu

Kickstarter does a good job of showing you only what it wants you to see. As an initial backer, I never really thought much about this. They have their Staff Picks, the Popular This Week and the Recently Funded sections. As I became more interested in the site, I wanted to find more projects. This is where I got the feeling like I’m peaking behind a locked door. It’s like Kickstarter is the well-to-do manor on the hill that keeps the downstairs off limits to guests. There are certain places Kickstarter doesn’t want you to stumble upon.

Limited categories and no filtering make for a clean looking site, but also a more frustrating experience for me. This lack of openness worried me as I began looking at doing my own campaign.  “What if I wasn’t one of the lucky few to get touched by the staff of automatic funding?” Would I just get lost in one of those dark rooms under Kickstarter manner?

Perhaps, but that’s a post for another time. 


SidekicklogoSideKick is a new website that claims to be able to predict the success of a project by 76% within the first four hours of launch. This in and of itself is an impressive claim. Specifically I’ll be watching the Obduction kickstarter closely to see if it reaches its 1.1 million goal. Currently, SideKick places it at a 16% chance of success after being live for 18 hours. I checked it at 8 hours and it was listed as 1% likely to succeed, both times well past the four hour mark.

Forgetting about their claim to predict the future, what I find most impressive is their ability to cleanly manage all the Kickstarter data. Looking over this site is like that skeleton key that gets you into the downstairs basement, the upstairs bedroom and even the private cottage. You can see all of it. You have access to the same categories you’d get on Kickstarter, but you also have the ability to sort by a number of different columns (funding level, chance of success, days live, percentage of goal reached, etc.).


One of the first things I did was the equivalent of googling people with the same name as myself (I’m looking at you Mr. Virginia House of Delegates). In this case, I searched and sorted for projects that were asking for the same level of funding I anticipate I’ll be asking for in the future. There’s a lot to learn from your Kickstarter cousins this way. SideKick is a great resource because it shows you all the campaigns currently running – not just the popular ones. 

Now, if I could only find where Kickstarter has hidden that staff of automatic funding and I’ll be set.