Kickstarter vs. Gamefound: Which Platform is Right for You?

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Victor Shiu | Director of Games

A close up shot of a horse figurine on a monopoly board. The caption on the left of the image reads: Gamefound vs Kickstarter.

As Gamefound has evolved from a limited pledge manager into a full-fledged crowdfunding platform, it has certainly shaken up the crowdfunding ecosystem and has challenged Kickstarter as the go-to platform for game creators.

This article will present a comprehensive look at the similarities, differences, and unique features that Kickstarter and Gamefound have to offer. It will also outline each platform’s application process, pricing models, and pros and cons.

Key takeaways

  • Gamefound and Kickstarter are prominent crowdfunding platforms that have helped countless creators raise money for their games and gaming products.
  • Gamefound offers streamlined features tailored to the board game and tabletop industry, while Kickstarter’s continued popularity will drive more organic traffic.
  • LaunchBoom offers resources to help game creators maximize their crowdfunding potential.

Gamefound vs. Kickstarter a brief overview

Before we delve more deeply into the details of each of these crowdfunding tools, let’s take a moment to define each one.

What is Gamefound?

Gamefound is a crowdfunding platform for tabletop games and accessories. It was unveiled in 2016 by a team of board game creators who created the platform to solve specific issues they had with crowdfunding board games.

Gamefound offers several features that make it a valuable tool for board game creators, including:

  • A built-in pledge manager that makes it easy for backers to manage their orders and track the status of their shipments.
  • A customizable pre-launch page that allows creators to showcase their games to potential backers before the campaign goes live.
  • A post-launch “late pledge” option that allows creators to continue collecting pledges after their campaign ends.
  • A wide array of EU and globally friendly features that allow creators to better appeal to backers all over the world.
  • A user-friendly interface that makes it easy for both creators and backers to use the platform.

Since its launch, Gamefound has hosted over 1,300 projects, raising over €369 million in pledges. It is a valuable tool for both board game creators and backers. For creators, it provides a platform to raise funds and bring their games to market. For backers, it provides a convenient way to support new unreleased games and get their hands on exclusive content.

What is Kickstarter?

Kickstarter is the world’s leading crowdfunding platform, allowing creators to raise money for their projects from a massive audience of backers.

Projects can involve anything from graphic novels and video games to board games and tech gadgets.

Creators set a funding goal and a deadline, and backers can pledge money to help the project reach its goal. If the project reaches its goal, the creator receives the money and can complete the project. If the project does not reach its goal, the creator does not receive the money raised.

Kickstarter was founded in 2009 and has since helped to fund over 244,000 projects, raising over $7.5 BILLION in pledges.

Kickstarter has become one of the most effective ways for creators to get their projects off the ground. It has also helped to create a new way for people to support creative projects.

Is Gamefound connected to Kickstarter?

Gamefound and Kickstarter are two separate crowdfunding platforms. While Kickstarter is a crowdfunding platform that funds all sorts of projects, including board games, Gamefound is a crowdfunding platform dedicated exclusively to board games.

Compared to Kickstarter, the most obvious distinguishing characteristic of Gamefound is its pledge management tool built into the platform. Anyone using Kickstarter for their crowdfunding project must invest in third-party pledge management tools like PledgeBox or BackerKit to access the same pledge management features. Game creators on Gamefound get seamless integration into Gamefounds’ own robust pledge manager – without any extra fees or transfer process.

One thing to note though, creators on Kickstarter can also use Gamefound as their pledge manager for their campaign without any fees. Meaning you can launch on Kickstarter and transfer your backer data to Gamefound to manage your pledges. Gamefound will only charge for transactions that occur on their platform (any upsells or late pledges).

How does Gamefound work?

Gamefound is a crowdfunding platform for board games. It works by allowing creators to set up a campaign and offer backers different rewards in exchange for their pledges.

Once a campaign is funded, creators use Gamefound to handle the fulfillment of rewards, including shipping and taxes.

Here are the steps involved in how Gamefound works:

  1. A creator creates a campaign on Gamefound.
  2. The creator sets a funding goal and a deadline for the campaign.
  3. The creator creates different rewards that backers can pledge for.
  4. Backers pledge money to the campaign.

If the campaign reaches its funding goal, the creator receives the money and begins fulfilling rewards.

If the campaign does not reach its funding goal, the creator does not receive any money.

Gamefound takes a 5% fee from all successfully collected funds. This fee helps to cover the costs of running the platform and providing support to creators and backers. There is also an additional 3% payment processing fee.

The most successful Gamefound board games

Gamefound’s growth in 2022 was impressive. Although the platform did not reach its company goals, game creators on the platform had a banner year.

Here are three of the most successful Gamefound board games in 2022:

Tainted Grail: Kings of Ruin

Tainted Grail: Kings of Ruin is a stand-alone story campaign board game set in the same universe as the critically acclaimed Tainted Grail: The Fall of Avalon. The game features a new cast of characters, a new story, and new gameplay mechanics. It is a perfect entry point for new players to the Tainted Grail saga or a great way to revisit the world for experienced players.

  • Funded amount: $4,421,347
  • Backers: 23,609
  • Launched: September 2022

Castles of Burgundy: Special Edition

Castles of Burgundy: Special Edition is a premium version of the classic board game Castles of Burgundy. It features upgraded components, new artwork, and a number of gameplay enhancements.

  • Funded amount: €2,938,757.50
  • Backers: 22,831
  • Launched: May 2022

Sleeping Gods: Distant Skies

Sleeping Gods: Distant Skies is a standalone sequel to the critically acclaimed Sleeping Gods board game. It features a new story, new locations, and new gameplay mechanics.

  • Funded amount: $2,081,703.00
  • Backers: 14,112
  • Launched: April, 2022

In addition to these three top-grossing games, three other Gamefound campaigns reached over $1 million, and nine others reached over $500,000

How does Kickstarter work?

Kickstarter enables creators to turn their innovative ideas into reality with the support of a global community.

Here’s how Kickstarter typically works:

  1. Creators launch a Kickstarter project detailing their idea, its purpose, and the funding goal needed to bring it to life. They also set a campaign duration.
  2. Backers, individuals interested in supporting the project, pledge money to back the idea. In return, they receive rewards based on their pledge level, ranging from early access to the product to exclusive merchandise.
  3. If the project reaches or exceeds its funding goal within the campaign’s timeframe, the creator receives the funds to develop the project. If not, no money changes hands, and the project does not proceed.
  4. Once funded, the creator works on bringing the project to life, often updating backers on progress, challenges, and anticipated timelines.
  5. Once the project is completed, creators deliver the promised rewards to their backers.

The most successful Kickstarter board games

While Gamefound continues to catch up to Kickstarter’s success among game creators, Kickstarter still holds the title for the most successful crowdfunded games.

Frosthaven

Frosthaven is a standalone frozen sequel to the popular Gloomhaven, with a new campaign, characters, and items. It can be played without Gloomhaven, but characters and items from Gloomhaven can be used in Frosthaven. The game takes place in a frozen wasteland, features a new 100-scenario campaign, new characters, enemies, items, and mechanics that add even more depth and complexity to the Gloomhaven experience.

  • Funded amount: $12,969,608
  • Backers: 83,193
  • Launched: March 2020

Kingdom Death: Monster 1.5

Kingdom Death: Monster 1.5 is a cooperative survival game where players take on the role of a group of survivors in a post-apocalyptic world. Players must work together to build a settlement, fight monsters, and survive. The game is known for its great difficulty and its detailed miniatures.

  • Funded amount: $12,393,139
  • Backers: 19,264
  • Launched: November 2016

Avatar Legends: The Roleplaying Game

Avatar Legends is a tabletop roleplaying game set in the world of Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra. It allows players to create their own characters and embark on adventures in the Four Nations.

  • Funded amount: $9,535,317
  • Backers: 81,567
  • Launched: August 2021

These are just some of the successful board games and tabletop games brought to life through Kickstarter crowdfunding campaigns. Although Gamefound was created specifically for crowdfunding board games, Kickstarter remains the more popular platform for board game backers and creators interested in crowdfunding their projects. However, Gamefound is quickly gaining ground.

Which categories do well on Gamefound and Kickstarter?

Both Gamefound and Kickstarter have a wide variety of games, but a few categories tend to do particularly well on one platform versus another.

For example, Kickstarter continues dominating the crowdfunding space for tabletop roleplaying games, trading card games, party games, and heavily themed board games.

Gamefound may have a slight edge over Kickstarter when it comes to Eurogames, story-driven games, and war games.

Miniatures tend to do well on both platforms, but Gamefound’s rewards section may offer a better backing experience for projects with more complicated pledges and add-ons.

What are the key differences between Gamefound vs Kickstarter?

There are several key differences between the Gamefound and Kickstarter platforms.

For example, Gamefound is exclusively dedicated to crowdfunding tabletop games and board games. Kickstarter isn’t exclusive to games, but hosts a wide range of various crowdfunding projects and products.

Gamefound features a built-in pledge manager, a more sophisticated prelaunch page, a monthly installment payment option for backers, and more responsive customer support (though, as of 2023, Kickstarter is actively trying to improve their customer support for creators).

On the other hand, Kickstarter has significantly more organic traffic than Gamefound – about 20x more – with a good portion of them in the games category. This means if you can get ranked high on Kickstarter (by getting funded early), you’ll have significantly more eyeballs on your game than you would on Gamefound.

Gamefound vs. Kickstarter the application process

The application process for Gamefound and Kickstarter is slightly different.

The Gamefound application process

The Gamefound application process is as follows:

  • Pre-application: Before you can apply to launch a campaign on Gamefound, you need to submit a pre-application. The pre-application allows Gamefound to review your project and ensure it fits the platform well.
  • Application: Once your pre-application is approved, you can submit a full application, which will include information about your project, team, and marketing plan.
  • Approval: Gamefound will review your application and decide whether or not to approve it. If your application is approved, you can launch your campaign.

The Kickstarter application process

The Kickstarter application process is as follows:

  • Project creation: To create a project on Kickstarter, you must create an account and fill out a project form. This form will ask you for information about your project, team, and funding goals.
  • Project review: Kickstarter will review your project and decide whether or not to approve it. If approved, your project will be listed on the Kickstarter website.

Which crowdfunding application process is right for you?

The best application process for you will depend on your specific needs and goals. If you are a board game creator looking for a platform specifically dedicated to board games and don’t need significant organic traffic from the platform, then Gamefound may be a good option for you. The pre-application process can also help you to get feedback on your project before you launch your campaign.

Kickstarter may be a better option if you are looking for a platform with a larger user base and more organic traction. Though the features are not as robust, the popularity of the platform may mean a larger raise for your game launch – especially if you have a more broadly appealing game.

Note, you have the option to launch on Kickstarter then run the pledge manager and Late Pledge campaign on GameFound – essentially tapping into both platforms and both traffic sources. The GameFound fee doesn’t change if you do this – it remains 5% for every successful transaction + 3% payment processing fee.

Gamefound vs. Kickstarter pricing, fees, and payment partners

When it comes to pricing, fees, and payment partners, there are a couple of differences between Kickstarter and Gamfound.

Gamefound

  • Pricing: Gamefound charges a 5% fee on all successful campaigns.
  • Fees: Gamefound also charges a payment processing fee of 3% + 0.20 in the project’s currency per pledge.
  • Payment partners: Gamefound supports payments through Stripe, PayPal, Adyen, Apple Pay and StretchPay (installment payments).

Kickstarter

  • Pricing: Kickstarter charges a 5% fee on all successful campaigns.
  • Fees: Kickstarter also charges a payment processing fee of 3% + 0.20 in the project’s currency per pledge.
  • Payment partners: Kickstarter supports payments through Stripe, PayPal and Apple Pay.

As you can see, the pricing and fees for Gamefound and Kickstarter are almost identical, except for payment options.

Gamefound supports Adyen as a payment partner, while Kickstarter does not. Adyen is a global payment processor that supports a wider range of payment methods than Stripe or PayPal, which can benefit creators looking to reach a global audience (particularly, a European audience).

Gamefound also gives backers the option to pay in monthly installments through StretchPay. This eases the financial burden on the backer and may help increase conversion for pricier games or games with a lot of add-ons and upsells.

Gamefound vs. Kickstarter pros and cons

There are pros and cons associated with any crowdfunding platform. Here are the pros and cons of using Gamefound vs. Kickstarter.

Gamefound pros:

  • Exclusively for board games: Gamefound is the only crowdfunding platform dedicated solely to board games. That means that creators can be sure that a relevant audience will see their projects.
  • Built-in pledge manager: Gamefound’s built-in pledge manager makes it easy for backers to manage their orders and track the status of their shipments – including dealing with VATs. The pledge manager can save creators a lot of time and hassle.
  • Customizable pre-launch page: Gamefound allows creators to create a customizable pre-launch page that creators can use to generate excitement and buzz for their campaign.
  • Creator-friendly features: Gamefound hosts a lot of creator-suggested details that make the launch process easier to manage. This includes things like automatically unlocked stretch goals and the ability to feature a specific pledge option.
  • More payment options for backers: Gamefound accepts more payment options than Kickstarter – including monthly payment options for backers through StretchPay. This can help increase conversions for international audiences (that have different credit card providers) and for higher-cost games since backers don’t need to pay the full amount of pledge right away.
  • Choose your currency: Gamefound lets you choose what currency you want to display your funds raised in. This can be a big deal for non-US and non-EU based clients – since most backers will understand the cost or currency conversion in USD, Pounds or Euros, but not necessarily in CAD, AUD, SGD or HKD.

Gamefound cons:

  • Less established: Gamefound is a newer platform than Kickstarter, with a smaller user base and less unique visitors per day. Because it is not nearly as popular as Kickstarter or Indiegogo, it can be more difficult for game creators to reach a larger audience.
  • Split attention: Gamefound features actively funding campaigns, campaigns in “Late Pledge” (post-launch), and upcoming launches. This means it’s harder for backers to find your game since there are only 3 featured funding campaigns at a time. It also means you’re competing with much larger “late pledge” campaigns that look more impressive than yours because they’re several months into their launch.
  • Fewer available resources: Since it is still a relative newcomer, there are fewer third-party resources for Gamefound – this includes advertising partners, marketing experts, and how-to tutorials. This is something to consider, especially if you’re looking to be more hands-off with your campaign marketing.

Kickstarter pros:

  • More traffic: Kickstarter is a more established platform with a larger user base and significantly more organic traffic (about 10x more), which can benefit creators looking to reach a larger audience.
  • Broader audience: Not only does Kickstarter have more visitors than Gamefound, it has a broader range of visitors. This means your game can reach beyond just tabletop enthusiasts – which is helpful for lighter games that can appeal to non-typical gamers.
  • More third-party resources: There are more third-party partners and experts dedicated to Kickstarter – including advertising partners and options for pledge managers and shipping support. If you’re looking to be more hands-off with your campaign or just want more support, particularly in marketing, Kickstarter might be the better option.

Kickstarter cons:

  • Less robust platform: Kickstarter doesn’t provide extensive capabilities to streamline your backer’s experience yet. This includes features like featuring pledges, choosing your displayed currency, or automatic stretch goals. Though they recently released the ability to jump through the page through a table of contents.
  • No built-in pledge manager: Kickstarter does not have a built-in pledge manager yet. Hence, creators need to use a third-party service to manage their orders and track the status of their shipments. However, based on a recent panel with Everette Taylor, the CEO of Kickstarter, at our Crowdfunded Summit, they do have plans on offering one soon.
  • Less payment options: Kickstarter offers less payment options than GameFound – mainly it doesn’t accept Maestro credit cards. This may affect games with a more international appeal – particularly in Germany, Austria and Switzerland where Maestro has widest use. Kickstarter also does not offer monthly payment plans for backers.

So, which is better? Gamefound or Kickstarter?

There is plenty of room in the crowdfunding ecosystem for Gamefound and Kickstarter, but determining which is the best will ultimately come down to personal preference.

The best platform for you will depend on your specific needs and goals.

If you are a board game creator looking to reach the largest possible audience and value the platform’s organic traffic over its logistical support, Kickstarter is the way to go. It’s worth noting that tabletop games are some of the most funded campaigns on the platform. So, even though the platform is not meant specifically for games, Kickstarter still draws in millions of gamers every month. In fact, games has been its top category since 2012.

If you’re willing to give up massive traffic for more streamlined support and features specifically designed for board game creators (including a built-in pledge manager) and a more game-specific audience, Gamefound may be the better option.

Learn more from LaunchBoom

Are you looking to find out more about which crowdfunding platform is right for your project? Perhaps you want to learn more about tools like BackerKit and Kickbooster.

Whatever your specific needs may be, LaunchBoom has the resources, strategies, and offers support that helps creators maximize your crowdfunding potential.

Find out how today!

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