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Kickstarter vs. Gamefound for Board Game Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding has revolutionized how creators bring their projects to life, especially in the board and card gaming industry. 

Using a crowdfunding platform lets you gather funds directly from your future customers, helping you to speed up development of your game and bring to life projects that wouldn’t be viable with a more traditional financing and publishing approach. 

As well as letting you raise funds, crowdfunding platforms make it easy to gauge interest in your game before it goes live, giving you an idea of what type of audience you can expect to build.

Kickstarter and Gamefound are two of the biggest crowdfunding sites available today. Both have large audiences and a rich variety of features for you to make use of to raise funds and develop awareness about your game. But which is the best for your specific game, and why?

Below, we’ve covered the histories, structures and attributes of both platforms, from when each arrived to the different funding models, fee structures and features offered by each platform for game creators.

We’ve also shared some tips and tricks to help you get the best results from your crowdfunding campaign, regardless of which platform you choose to list your project on.

If you don’t have the time to read a long, detailed post, here are the main takeaways to keep in mind when comparing these platforms:

  • Kickstarter is much, much bigger than Gamefound. Based on the figures we could find online, Kickstarter’s audience is more than 20 times the size of Gamefound’s, meaning you’ll have access to a far bigger group of potential backers for your game.
  • However, Kickstarter’s audience is more general, meaning people are on the site for a variety of products, not just games. Gamefound, on the other hand, is specialized and only offers crowdfunding for tabletop games. Think size vs. specialization.
  • Gamefound is a great option for hardcore games that appeal to the gaming enthusiast audience. Yes, the audience is smaller in total scale, but it has a lot of people who are passionate about tabletop games and willing to back unique projects.
  • Despite its smaller size, Gamefound has plenty of $5+ million tabletop game projects in its history. You don’t necessarily need Kickstarter’s huge audience to have a successful crowdfunding campaign.
  • Kickstarter and Gamefound both have great, easy-to-use platforms. Gamefound offers its own in-house marketing services, but these probably aren’t necessary for your game if you have a good plan already (or get help from our game marketing experts).
  • Fees are very similar on both platforms. Kickstarter charges 5%, plus a 3% processing fee and small fees for each pledge. Gamefound charges 5%, plus a 3% processing fee and some small fees for pledges. The pricing is almost exactly the same.
  • There’s no “best” platform for every project. For games with mass appeal, Kickstarter is a good choice due to its sheer size. For more niche games that have a lot of appeal for enthusiasts, Gamefound is worth considering despite being a smaller platform.

Need help with crowdfunding for your board game and card game? As a top-rated board game manufacturer, we can help you make your game at a lower cost and reach the largest possible audience via Kickstarter or Gamefound, helping you achieve a more successful launch. 

Contact us online and we’ll talk to you about the entire process and connect you with our Hero Time Professional Network to make sure your game is a success.

Platform Overview: Kickstarter vs. Gamefound

Kickstarter History and Overview

Kickstarter is the largest crowdfunding network for games, including tabletop games. Founded in 2009, it quickly became synonymous with crowdfunding, to the point that “Kickstarting” is to games and indie projects almost like what “Googling” is for search. 

The platform’s primary mission is to help bring creative projects to life. It covers a vast array of categories from arts and technology to, notably, tabletop games, which have become one of its most popular and successful categories. 

Kickstarter operates on an all-or-nothing funding model, which means that projects must reach their financial goals within a set time frame to receive any money. 

This model encourages game creators to set realistic goals and actively promote their projects while giving backers confidence that their funds will only be used when a project has sufficient support to actually achieve its objectives.

Gamefound History and Overview

Gamefound’s story is a little different. Originally, Gamefound started out as a pledge manager for Kickstarter projects in 2018. This experience provided the company with deep insights into the unique needs of both tabletop game creators and the backers that support them. 

Recognizing an opportunity to serve the gaming community more, Gamefound transitioned to full-fledged crowdfunding in 2020. 

Unlike Kickstarter, which offers funding for lots of different product types, Gamefound focuses solely on game development and funding. Its audience is more specialized and, as a platform, it’s built more with the specific needs of game creators in mind. 

Audience and Reach

Kickstarter Audience and Reach

Kickstarter’s audience is huge and global, with more than 23 million backers worldwide as of April 2024. Not all of this audience is on Kickstarter solely for games, but many are, with card games and board games consistently ranking among the top Kickstarter projects. 

This means that Kickstarter has a large audience within its huge audience of backers who are specifically interested in games. Many of these backers also support multiple projects — based on Kickstarter’s 2024 data, about 35% of users are repeat backers. 

Gamefound Audience and Reach

Gamefound is newer and has a much smaller user base than Kickstarter. According to this blog post from early 2024, Gamefound passed one million users at some point in 2023, meaning its overall audience is less than five percent of Kickstarter’s.

However, instead of a general audience with a broad range of interests, Gamefound’s audience is solely made up of tabletop gaming enthusiasts. 

Fees

Kickstarter and Gamefound both charge a 5% fee for successful projects. Kickstarter does not charge any fees for projects that aren’t successful (meaning they fail to reach their fundraising target). Similarly, Gamefound’s 5% fee only applies to successful projects.

Fees for payment processing differ between platforms and, in the case of Kickstarter, can vary based on your location. In the USA, Kickstarter charges a payment processing fee of 3% of the total value of your project, plus $0.20 for each individual pledge.

Pledges of under $10 have discounted fees of just $0.05 per pledge, but have a 5% processing fee. If you’re located outside the USA, you can view Kickstarter’s payment processing fees per country on the Kickstarter fee page

Gamefound charges a 3% payment processing fee and a 0.2% transaction fee in the project’s currency. 

Project Support and Tools

Kickstarter and Gamefound both work similarly from a platform perspective. Kickstarter offers a user-friendly interface that allows you to create a good looking project page with videos, images, and detailed descriptions for your game. Kickstarter also includes great analytics tools that allow you to track the performance of your campaigns in real-time, monitoring metrics such as pledge amounts, backer counts and traffic sources.

Using Kickstarter, you can update your backers with progress reports and news via the Updates section, and communicate directly with backers via comments. 

Gamefound offers a similar range of tools, but with enhancements that stem from its origins as a pledge manager. For instance, Gamefound provides advanced customization options for project pages, giving you more control over how you present their projects to potential backers.

In terms of project management, Gamefound integrates sophisticated pledge management tools directly into its platform. These tools can help you manage your backer pledges more efficiently, including after your campaign ends.

In addition to its crowdfunding platform, Gamefound also offers marketing services for tabletop game creators. Their in-house marketing team can create Facebook and Google campaigns for your game project, which may help to bring in backers and increase your likelihood of reaching your campaign goals.

Gamefound also has a partnership with BoardGameGeek, allowing their team to market your project to BoardGameGeek’s large audience to raise more awareness. These services come with a 10% fee, meaning you’ll pay Gamefound based on your advertising budget. 

It’s important to keep in mind that Gamefound doesn’t guarantee performance, and that their marketing fees are based on your advertising spend, not on results. Running a campaign isn’t any type of guarantee that you’ll reach your backer target.

Adding to this, Gamefound has partnerships with influencers and offers free organic ads on its own website — you can find these in the top section, featured projects and newsletter — as part of its Crowdfunding + Pledge Manager package. 

Finally, Gamefound allows you to promote your project via their newsletter, which is delivered to an audience of 100,000+ subscribers every month.

Overall, both platforms offer great tools for crowdfunding, with Gamefound also offering a more extensive, personalized range of services to market your game project and help you reach your fundraising target. Kickstarter, on the other hand, offers a less specialized platform but with the largest audience.

Success Rates and Case Studies

Kickstarter has a well-documented history of success with game projects, particularly in the tabletop genre. Statistically, games are one of the highest-performing categories on Kickstarter, with a mean success rate significantly higher than the platform average. 

Approximately 76% of tabletop game projects reach their funding goals, showing that Kickstarter has a robust community of backers actively supporting new games.

Notable Kickstarter success stories:

  • Exploding Kittens (2013). One of Kickstarter’s most successful games ever, Exploding Kittens raised more than $8.7 million just four years after Kickstarter first launched as a platform.
  • Frosthaven (2020). The sequel to Gloomhaven, Frosthaven raised almost $13 million via its Kickstarter campaign.
  • Altered TCG (2021). Designed by Régis Bonnessée, Altered TCG raised more than €6 million.
  • The 7th Continent (2017). Cooperative board game The 7th Continent raised more than $7 million when it launched on Kickstarter in 2017.
  • The Witcher: Old World (2021). Supported by the popularity of the novels, games and TV series, The Witcher: Old World raised €6.8 million on Kickstarter in 2021.

Gamefound doesn’t appear to release data on its average project success rates, but it’s been home to plenty of successful crowdfunding projects — both small and large — since it appeared as a crowdfunding platform in 2020.

Notable Gamefound success stories:

  • Nemesis: Retaliation (2022). A standalone expansion for the survival horror game Nemesis, Nemesis: Retaliation raised more than $12 million via Gamefound.
  • ISS Vanguard (2020). ISS Vanguard launched in 2020 and raised more than $11 million through Gamefound.
  • Dragon Eclipse (2022). Another Awaken Realms project, Dragon Eclipse raised over $4.8 million in 2022 via Gamefound.
  • Food Chain Magnate: Special Edition (2020). Launched in 2020, this heavy strategy game raised over €1.3 million.
  • Andromeda’s Edge (2022). This worker placement game from Cardboard Alchemy raised $1.6 million via Gamefound in 2022.

Which Platform is Best for Board Games & Card Games?

There’s no “best” crowdfunding platform for board game and card game creators. Kickstarter and Gamefound both have large audiences and solid tools for creating your listing, talking to backers, and promoting your game online. 

While Kickstarter has a larger audience, it also has a broader focus. Gamefound has a much smaller audience in total, but it makes up for this by being focused solely on tabletop games. 

Ultimately, the choice is up to you. If you believe your game appeals to a wide audience and want to reach as many people as possible, Kickstarter is a great choice. If your game appeals more to hardcore tabletop enthusiasts, Gamefound is strongly worth considering.

If you’re considering crowdfunding your game and don’t know where to start, or which of these two platforms is the best choice for your project, you can talk to our crowdfunding experts and learn more about your options.

Contact us and we’ll help you with everything related to creating your game, from choosing the right crowdfunding platform and launching your campaign to manufacturing, game distribution, marketing and more.

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