The top 10 biggest board games and TTRPGs on Kickstarter in 2021

Tabletop video games proceed to symbolize a good portion — as much as one third — of Kickstarter’s complete annual income. However competitors is growing within the tabletop crowdfunding area, and Kickstarter is doing itself no favors with its very public and really complicated transition to the blockchain. Polygon spoke with the Brooklyn-based know-how firm about its 2021 outcomes and the 12 months forward.

“2021 was a 12 months — for all of us,” mentioned Kickstarter’s director of video games, Anya Combs, with amusing. “I feel there was a whole lot of uncertainty going into it. Not simply industry-wise, however are we going to have a Gen Con? Are we going to have a PAX [Unplugged]? Are we going to have an Origins [Game Fair]? And what are these going to appear like?”

Pre-pandemic, these in-person occasions shaped main waypoints on the tabletop crowdfunding calendar. Whereas Origins went digital, each Gen Con and PAX Unplugged managed to proceed, though with drastically diminished attendance. Combs was completely happy to report that it didn’t decelerate crowdfunding all that a lot. Kickstarter’s own data reveals the class was up greater than 14% over 2020 to a complete of $270 million earned for tabletop tasks. That’s down from a 32% increase the year before, however nonetheless not off course.

Video video games, against this, had been down barely, dropping from $22.9 million in 2020 to $21.8 million in 2021.

Combs attributed these beneficial properties in tabletop, as soon as once more, to the pandemic itself which saved of us cooped up at dwelling looking for escapism within the type of extra private connections with household and pals. That was actually true over the summer time, when declining an infection charges and heat climate allowed folks to assemble collectively as soon as extra.

“I’m actually proud not solely of the group,” Combs mentioned, “but additionally of all of the creators and the backers who’ve made 2021, particularly for tabletop, simply one other loopy, wild, unbelievable 12 months. We had our greatest numbers ever.”

Most-funded Tabletop Kickstarters, 2021

Title Creator Funds raised Backers
Title Creator Funds raised Backers
Avatar Legends: The Roleplaying Game Magpie Video games $9,535,317 81,587
The Witcher: Old World Go on Board $8,324,792 45,162
The Binding of Isaac: Four Souls Requiem Edmund McMillen 6720472 47,854
Marvel United: X-Men CMON $5,988,089 25,404
Everdell: Newleaf, Mistwood, and The Complete Collection Starling Video games $4,831,976 31,463
Monster Hunter World: The Board Game Steamforged Video games $4,809,104 20,398
Pixels – The Electronic Dice Jean Simonet $3,502,960 24,912
Zombicide: Undead or Alive CMON $3,310,873 21,160
Dungeon Alchemist Wim De Hert $2,937,809 57,209
Stellaris Infinite Legacy Academy Video games $2,558,438 13,294

The record of 2021’s high 10 highest-earning tabletop sport tasks contains a number of notable tabletop role-playing sport (TTRPG) campaigns. Magpie Video games’ marketing campaign for a game based on Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra broke all present information for a TTRPG on the platform, elevating greater than $9.5 million. Dungeon Alchemist confirmed a promising method to create digital tabletop terrain on the fly, raking in additional than $2.9 million.

One other large storyline on Kickstarter in 2021 was the success of the various impartial TTRPG creators it has helped through the years. For instance, Possum Creek Video games’ Wanderhome, which was efficiently funded in late 2020, got here out to rave reviews in 2021. Tuesday Knight Video games selected Kickstarter to fund the primary version of the well-regarded Mothership in 2021, incomes greater than $1.4 million. Cy_Borg, from Stockholm Kartell, was additionally profitable to the tune of more than $444,000.

“I feel indie RPGs type of provide you with that chance to exist in a world that you just type of get to curate in the way in which that you just wish to with folks in an area that’s secure,” Combs mentioned, “the place you don’t have to leap on Twitter and examine CDC issues or politics or something like that. You’ll be able to exist in a world the place it’s like, ‘I’m going to play Kids on Bikes for a few hours and I’m going to determine what this bizarre alien is that landed on this small city in Indiana that I’ve created, as a result of I simply had the chance to try this and create a world that feels secure to me versus the world outdoors that’s terrifying.’”

Kickstarter’s deliberate pivot to blockchain technology, introduced in early December, caught almost everybody within the tabletop video games {industry} without warning. Dozens of creators publicly lambasted the company for its choice, which many really feel is an unsustainable drain on world assets that can contribute to world warming. A number of — together with Possum Creek — have made plans to make use of different platforms going ahead. Founder Jay Dragon will take future campaigns to IndieGoGo as an alternative. In the meantime, Polish upstart Gamefound might symbolize one other outlet for dissatisfied customers. Founder Marcin Świerkot tells Polygon his platform, which features a sturdy post-launch pledge supervisor, ought to exit beta in February or March.

Combs declined to touch upon the transfer to the blockchain. As a substitute, she deferred to Kickstarter’s senior director of communications Kate Bernyk who responded to Polygon’s questions through e mail. We’ve included Kickstarter’s full response beneath.

Polygon: What particular advantages does the transition to a blockchain-based know-how have for the board sport and role-playing sport communities?

Kate Bernyk: In the end, exploring this new route is about considerably scaling the variety of inventive tasks that get to point out up on this planet, and bettering the expertise for creators and backers.

When Kickstarter was based, the quantity and breadth of potential funding sources for inventive work elevated dramatically—from a number of centralized gatekeepers to anybody on the web. That is what we’ll do at a distinct scale now.

Through the years, we’ve heard from creators that Kickstarter ought to supply higher methods to attach instantly with communities and create extra instruments to assist deliver extra inventive tasks of all types and sizes to life. In the meantime, backers have instructed us they’d wish to extra simply uncover and take part in tasks, be capable to higher management their information, and have extra sturdy instruments to evaluate the trustworthiness and viability of tasks. We consider an open supply, decentralized protocol is the important thing empowering folks to create improvements and construct new know-how that may deal with these sorts of issues.

What do you say to these designers and publishers who’re upset by Kickstarter’s transfer to the blockchain and who’re actively alternate options?

We’ve heard from members of our group that we might have instructed the story of why we’re supporting a decentralized protocol higher. We take our duty to creators very critically and are at present working to color a clearer image of the alternatives and prospects that the protocol will unlock for the group.

Creators are and can all the time be an extremely vital a part of the Kickstarter group. And we’re dedicated to being considerate and clear, and we shall be participating extra with creators as plans take form from right here.

What are you able to inform customers who’ve spent a lot time and power collaborating in campaigns in your platform who at the moment are horrified on the prospect of the potential for collaborating in a blockchain-based crowdfunding platform?

Our mission has all the time been to assist deliver inventive tasks to life, and that mission shouldn’t be altering. The commitments we’ve made in our charter as a Public Profit Company stay fixed.

We anticipate the adjustments we’re making to end in higher instruments for creators and backers, extra backers getting concerned in supporting tasks, and extra tasks discovering funding. We’re doing this to profit creators and to assist deliver extra inventive tasks to life.

We wish creators and backers to know that nobody will abruptly be compelled to make use of cryptocurrency. Backers can nonetheless use regular credit score and debit playing cards to pledge to campaigns and creators can proceed to obtain native forex to satisfy their tasks.

Tabletop creators and backers are and can all the time be an extremely vital a part of the Kickstarter group. And we’re dedicated to being considerate and clear, and listening to from creators and backers as plans take form from right here. We’re persevering with to talk with creators one on one and planning further methods for creators and backers to be taught extra and share their ideas.

Video games — together with video video games and board video games — have not too long ago accounted for roughly one-third of Kickstarter’s earnings from profitable crowdfunding campaigns. Your information reveals that the video games area continues to develop, this 12 months by greater than $30 million. Given the shift to the blockchain that’s on the horizon, and the group’s response to it, does Kickstarter challenge that income from video games will improve or lower in 2022? By how a lot?

Within the weeks after the announcement, we’ve seen assist for tasks proceed on the similar stage because the weeks prior, together with for video games tasks.

On common, inventive tasks in recent times acquired almost half of their funding from backers who got here to the challenge by way of Kickstarter channels, resembling our challenge discovery pages, newsletters, e mail alerts, and social media. That is a part of the Kickstarter expertise that our group has come to anticipate, and that won’t change.

When Kickstarter first launched 12 years in the past there was an analogous sentiment of tension with pockets of creators who had been not sure what to make of this new mannequin of going on to audiences to fund inventive tasks. As folks discovered extra, that uncertainty subsided.

In the meantime, Combs says considered one of her group’s largest priorities in 2022 is content material moderation. In September, the corporate handled a deluge of studies in opposition to a marketing campaign that allegedly included white supremacist imagery among its game assets. Kickstarter allowed the marketing campaign to proceed, however solely after adjustments to these property had been made. What adopted was a Whac-A-Mole state of affairs within the marketing campaign’s feedback, one which shined a light-weight on what many say are the crowdfunding platform’s insufficient moderation instruments.

“It’s an enormous subject,” Combs mentioned. “It’s one thing that my group and I are speaking about […] just about each single day internally on the firm. I’m so grateful to have a belief and security group that is ready to see issues that I don’t even know [about].”

“There’s loads form of occurring behind the scenes that we additionally want to determine,” Combs continued, “ and we wish to make it possible for something that instantly impacts our creator and backer group we’ve all the pieces that’s as excellent because it probably could be. However that’s one thing my group and I are fairly hell bent on doing our greatest to enhance the expertise on.”

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