Shadow Throne Kickstarter: Initial Impressions

Shadow Throne funded! Photo courtesy of Deb Fristoe. Thanks mom!

Shadow Throne funded! Photo courtesy of Deb Fristoe. Thanks mom!

The Shadow Throne Kickstarter came to a close at the end of last week, and I’m pleased to announce it was successful, bringing in $16,066! We didn’t quite hit the Shifting Shadows expansion stretch goal, but there was a ton of interest in the expansion, so I will probably look into Kickstarting it next year after backers get their copies of Shadow Throne. If you missed the campaign, it’s not too late to preorder a copy of the game through the Nothing Sacred Games shop!

In the coming weeks I’ll be examining the Kickstarter in a lot more detail, but today I wanted to share a few quick thoughts on it.

By the Numbers

I raised $16,066 for Shadow Throne, 128% of the $12,500 goal. The project funded on June 24th with 3 days to spare. We hit the $15,000 deluxe cards stretch goal, but fell pretty far short of the $20,000 expansion stretch goal.

Corporate America (top) didn't look like it would fund for much of its campaign. Shadow Throne looked good the whole time.

Corporate America (top) didn’t look like it would fund for much of its campaign. Shadow Throne looked good the whole time.

All in all, I’m thrilled about these numbers! Going into the Kickstarter, I was really hoping for a better performance than Corporate America, which barely squeaked by with $20,732, 103% of its $20k goal. Earning more than one third of its total in the last two days, the Corporate America Kickstarter was a lesson in stress and humility for me. For Shadow Throne, I wanted to keep costs, the game price, and especially the goal all lower. I believe all of these factors helped ensure that Shadow Throne went much more smoothly than Corporate America. I was barely depressed at all during the campaign!

Another great accomplishment for Shadow Throne was the backer count, which rounded out at an even 500. Only 326 backers supported Corporate America. I believe the difference came from more people believing in Shadow Throne, the price point being more palatable, and better outreach before the campaign. The fact that I was able to deliver on an awesome previous project didn’t hurt, either (not to toot my own horn or anything).

Friendly Faces

Even more important to me personally is the ratio of friends to back the projects. As I discussed shortly after Corporate America funded, about a third of its 326 backers were friends, who contributed a whopping two thirds of the total funds. Obviously, that’s totally awesome… I have a lot of really generous friends! But at the same time, it’s important to me that Nothing Sacred Games can stand on its own. I’m happy to have the support of friends and family (we all have to start somewhere!), but I don’t want to rely on it.

Friends and family as percentage of backers and percentage of funds raised for Corporate America and Shadow Throne.

Friends and family: percentage of backers and percentage of funds raised for Corporate America and Shadow Throne. Approximate numbers.

So how did Shadow Throne compare? I’ve spent a bit of time crunching the numbers, and they’re much more to my liking. 121 friends backed the project (where a friend could be a family member, an old classmate I never talk to any more, or even someone I met once at a game night… I keep the definition pretty open), which is less than 25% of the total backers. Of the $16,066 raised, $5,341 came from those friends, which is just about one third, half the percentage for Corporate America. That’s a trend I can happily live with!

I also looked at how much extra friends contributed compared to the reward tiers they chose. Let’s just assume that all friends that bought copies of the game actually wanted them (certainly a false assumption, but probably not TOO false). Then all money over the requested pledge level was a donation. How much did friends donate, as opposed to buy?

For Shadow Throne, it was about $1,000, about 20% of money friends contributed. All in all, that’s not too bad… it looks like we still would have hit that first stretch goal if friends had bought their rewards like most strangers would. I definitely can’t feel too guilty about that, given that a single (extremely generous) friend gave me more than that by himself for Corporate America!

More to Come

This is just the first sampling of my lessons from the Shadow Throne Kickstarter. I’ll be discussing it for the next few posts at least. There’s still a lot to discuss, including the outreach strategies I employed and how effective they were, the structure of the Kickstarter, some of the mistakes I made, and some of the things I did right. Anything else you’d like me to discuss? Let me know in the comments!

Leave a comment


  1. Awesome info as always. Thanks for the insight. Please keep it up. I’m definitely interested in your thoughts on your campaign, as I intend to use it as a template.

  2. Shawn

     /  July 23, 2014

    I totally missed the Kickstarter boat due to being dumb. Can I still back you? Or do I gotta wait until the official release like a normal???

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