Electronics, gadgets and video games are at the top of many shoppers’ lists this holiday season, but the table top pastimes of yesteryear have by no means faded away. While you can reach out to the best possible arcade machine rental, more than a dozen board game crowdfunding campaigns have received overwhelming support from thousands of backers on Kickstarter. Some of which have amassed over millions of dollars in less than a month’s time.
Scythe, a strategy game, began its Kickstarter campaign in mid-October with a pledge goal of $33,000 and ended with $1.8 million.
“This was my seventh board game-related project, and based on the chatter I had a feeling it was going to do well,” said Jamey Stegmaier, the head of Stonemaier Games and the designer of Scythe. “Crowdfunding sites and social media have enabled me to build a community around my games. This way my backers feel like they’re personally invested.”
Stonemaier Games, like much of the hobby game industry, has seen growth in support because of how the Internet allows them to stay engaged with their communities. In just three years the Stonemaier Newsletter has gained 19,000 subscribers and expects to grow with its latest project.
Tabletop game fanatics have established a community online that has not faltered, even in the midst of the holiday video game releases.
Boardgamegeek.com, an online hub for board game hobbyists, was founded in January 2000 and has grown exponentially since then. The site began with just under 5,000 registered users; by November 2015 it had 1.15 million users with about 3 million unique visitors and roughly 55 million page views per month.
This community has fueled the hobby game industry, which made an estimated $880 million in sales in the U.S. and Canada during 2014.
“The most successful board gaming Kickstarters have reputable and dependable publishers,” explained Chad Krizan, the advertising manager at Boardgamegeek. “Provocative themes, great miniature models and stunning art always help draw backers coming from immersive hobbies like video games.”