Monday, March 14, 2016

The Dilemmas of Pricing a Kickstarter

Now that the kickstarter has gone live for the Classic Editions GM Screen Package, I will tell you... pricing a Kickstarter is no easy feat. I know we laugh at those hopeless romantics (or is it lunatics) that ask for a single backer at $7500, with no real explanation of what they're getting, but there's something to be said for the simplicity of that pricing model.

Over the course of 2 months, Welbo and I looked at spreadsheets, and more spreadsheets, and yet more spreadsheets, as we balanced: the cost of the various materials, the number of items we would have to produce to get price breaks, and the fees... OH, THE FEES!

Right off the top, Kickstarter and the bank take about 10% of your money. A lot of people don't realize that they can't just add 10% to their costs to figure out these fees. For example, if you know you need $1,000 to pay for the items you plan to produce, if you simply add $100 to cover the 10% in fees, then take 10% away from $1,100 to pay the fees, you're left with $990. To net 90%, you have to add like 12% to the total cost. Even at $35 that adds almost $4 to your cost (so if you're producing a $35 item, you have to set the backer level at $39). DANG!

The next thing Welbo and I heard time and time again from other Kickstarter creators (and very successful ones at that), and something we absolutely had to consider, was how the cost of shipping really bit them in the end. Shipping really has 2 costs: 1) the actual postage, and 2) the materials you need to package the products for shipping so that when they arrive they're not all beat to hell. A single set of materials for our KS comes in at just over 1 pound (not including the packing materials). We decided the economically surest thing for all involved was to include domestic shipping (with additional charges for Canadian and International backers).

The next thing to consider with this KS is the actual production costs. After all, this is really 2 different screens (for 6 total panels compared to the standard 2 or 3), plus 13 additional items. Additionally, we wanted these to be truly sturdy (from our POV, we felt like anything under 15 pt. was just too flimsy) so we've gone with a 30 pt. thickness (made by gluing two 15 pt. cover pieces together). Then there's the overall UV coating to protect it. For comparison, take a look at the Labyrinth Lord DM screen from a few years ago. That was a single 3-panel piece on 14 pt. cover with UV coating (which is only half as many "screens" on paper that's less than half the weight/thickness of our screens).

Our goal was not to produce the cheapest GM screen. If it was, we'd have done a single 3-panel piece on 14 or 15 pt. cover with only the minimal charts needed for the table, and left it at that. What we wanted to produce was a very substantial-feeling piece that looks like classic gaming, whose content is so extensive you could almost leave your rulebooks at home, and something that looks cool as hell on the table. At the end of the day, given the production standards and the things we can't control (KS fees, postage, etc.), we believe that we're providing an impressive set of materials well beyond the backer costs.

Obviously, we know this kickstarter isn't for everyone, but for those who are interested, we're sure you'll be happy with the end result.

Good gaming!


  1. I missed the Kickstarter but this is an excellent looking product. Will this screen be available later to non-backers?

  2. I too missed the KS and would love to get a set ... where can I get one? Can't find a link to any stock left! :o[