Putting together a Kickstarter, as many have said before me, is a surprising amount of work. We can’t wait to show you the video, the page, the stretch goals and the teatowels… But for now, I thought it might be useful, as we stand on the brink of launch, to look back at some of the things that you won’t be checking out this Friday.
Rewards, in particular, have gone through many, many drafts, debates and discussions. From the outset, I was very keen on the idea of playful rewards – ones that, as well as bestowing something tangible to take away, made you feel part of a team, or a mission. We drafted a tonne of straightforward-sounding digital and physical rewards, and then thought, no. This is all a bit tame. Let’s make it more fun!
A quick trawl through the rewards googledoc turned up such unusable gems as:
THE IMAGINARY PORTRAIT (Limit of 100) £10
We will send you a very badly drawn picture of what we think you look like based solely on your name.
THE TIM AND LINDSEY SPECIAL £22
A special reward, just for all our fans called Tim or Lindsey. We’ll send you a ceremonial mug emblazoned with your name and a brief message of thanks from the team. Presuming your name is Tim or Lindsey, of course.
THE SELFLESS BENEFACTOR (limit of 10) £50
You get absolutely nothing special for purchasing this tier. Nada. However, if all 10 Selfless Benefactor tiers are purchased, every single other backer (but not you) gets the Tiny Games for Lovely People for free!
THE BLACKMAIL (Limit of 1) £300
Unless someone buys this, we will program the app to occasionally switch to Comic Sans for 24 hours.
THE BLACKMAIL stuck around in the actual Kickstarter draft for a pretty long time, until a friend gently pointed out that he wasn’t going to spring for an app that occasionally borks itself on the offchance that some rich dude is altruistic enough to stop it doing that (thank you James).
There were some much more persistent reward ideas that we were really determined to make work. In particular, we wanted to do something around teams. Designing to create team loyalties been a subject close to our hearts for a long time, and we were pretty sure that a great way to get people backing would be to get them on a team and then encourage others to join it. Surely we could make this work!? This was the final draft:
TEAM RED £8
Back us at this tier, and you’re on TEAM RED. You’re competing against TEAM GOLD. At the end of the campaign, everyone on the team with the FEWEST members wins a set of four Tiny Games beer mats. Plus you’ll get the ALL THE TINY GAMES reward, regardless of whether you win. (Shipping free to UK/US, £5 elsewhere.)
TEAM GOLD £16
Back us at this tier, and you’re on TEAM GOLD. You’re competing against TEAM RED. At the end of the campaign, everyone on the team with the FEWEST members wins a set of four Tiny Games beer mats.
Fun, right? Well. As you can see, the team-thinking gets pretty gnarly. We have to make you join a team because it’s got fewer members, because otherwise one team will race away and no-one will join the other team and the fun ends. But that’s not very intuitive, and crucially, doesn’t incentivise you to encourage others to join your team. And now your head hurts and you’ve clicked on another tab in your browser because hey is that a picture of a kitten riding a pug on a surfboard?
Something else also became very apparent. As we got the video together, and polished our description of the project, and shared the draft with friends, it became apparent that fun rewards were actually detracting from the story we wanted to tell – the story of this project. A useful lesson for other would-be Kickstarters – hone your story first, get that up in a draft, and then design the rewards afterwards. Let the rewards support the story of your project, because I don’t think there’s room for another.