Waiting for the stars to align!
Hey folks! You may be wondering what's new with True Messiah; and luckily, I am here to update you on that very thing!
When is the second campaign happening?
After our first campaign fell short in the fall, my plan was to relaunch the True Messiah Kickstarter campaign in March 2017. "But wait," you might say, "it's the end of March right now!" Indeed it is. And while I am all ready to go on my end, Blackbox is...not.
My contact over at Blackbox informs me that they are at capacity for the rest of 2017. Right now, I'm waiting to hear back from them on whether they'll handle things for me in 2018, when they have room in their roster again--and if so, when. Once I have a time frame for when I can rely on them for warehousing and shipping services once more, I'll schedule the second Kickstarter to line up with that.
"But Craig," you might be wondering, "couldn't you just forge ahead with a Kickstarter without Blackbox?" The answer to that question is: "Yes, but it would be a bad plan."
Proceeding without Blackbox would mean becoming personally responsible for warehousing more than 1,000 copies of the game (which would be extremely difficult for me, given that I live in a city apartment without a garage!) Even if I found a place to store them in exchange for some kind of monthly fee, I'd then have to retrieve copies and ship them on an ongoing basis. This would be an enormous hassle--so much so that I expect it would interfere with my ability to keep making games. As the wise man Damon Wayans once said: Homey don't play that. So! I'm just biding my time and waiting for Blackbox to pull itself together. Once that happens, I'll schedule Attempt #2.
To miniature or not to miniature?
In the meantime, I've been doing research to determine the best way to set up True Messiah with regard to manufacturing and pricing for the next go-round.
You may recall the informal poll I performed in our last update. That poll produced some clear results: you guys really want the game to come with miniatures, and at the highest price point. That makes sense: after all, you backed True Messiah the first time, so presumably you're sold on the concept and you want the best quality version of the game!
But I also need to get new backers on board to succeed in the next Kickstarter--thus, I went ahead and put a similar question out to the board gaming community at large. I was curious to see if the results would match up. This is what I got:
The verdict was split, as you can see. Accounting for all answers, a $35 version of the game with no miniatures and reduced-quality components got 50.8% of respondents willing to buy; a $59 version of the game with full-quality components and with miniatures got 40.9% willing to buy; and the middle-of-the-road approach ($49, no miniatures but full quality) also attracted 40.9% of respondents.
(Note that respondents were allowed to say they'd buy the game in any combination of these three configurations, and there was a fair bit of overlap; this is why those percentages add up to more than 100%.)
If all I wanted was to maximize revenue, this would tell me that I need to go with the $59 version with miniatures--of those three options, that would provide the most revenue by a pretty large margin.
However, I'm not just interested in revenue--I want as many people as possible to actually get and play the game! In the poll, there was very little overlap between the cost-conscious board gamers and the miniatures enthusiasts. What if I could somehow appeal to both of them? I'd get a whopping 75.4% of respondents willing to get the game!
After crunching some numbers and talking with some manufacturers, I realized that I can square the proverbial circle here and offer a version with miniatures for $49. There's a catch, though: I can only make that work if I shift up to a 2,000-unit print run. At that volume, the per-copy savings become significant enough that I can make that work.
Thoughts on setting a new funding goal
Unfortunately, a bigger print run also means I'll need a bigger funding goal in order to pay for it. So here are my calculations on what the funding goal will need to be. The manufacturing costs for a 2,000-unit run will total $14,469 for the non-miniature components; to add in miniatures, we'll need an additional $3,928 just to create the plastic injection mold, plus $2,940 more to actually produce the 2,000 sets of miniatures using said mold. Add it all together, and we will need $21,337 to get the game manufactured.
But of course, there's no point in manufacturing a game if I don't ship the manufactured games overseas from the factory. I believe shipping should still be in the neighborhood of $4,500. If we add in $4,500 for shipping, that's $25,837.
I haven't mentioned art costs yet--as you may recall, I spent $12,790 of my own money on the art for True Messiah. That brings the game's "break-even" point up to $38,627.00.
But even that's not right! Remember, Kickstarter takes a 10% cut of whatever we raise. If we raise $42,920, that will provide $4,292 to offset Kickstarter's cut, and I'd actually end up with the $38,627 that I need to break even...before taxes, anyway.
So, am I going to set the funding goal at $42,920? Ha ha--not a chance! I want this campaign to succeed, after all, and setting the goal that high would be a good way to make sure that it doesn't.
Instead, I am going to set the funding goal at $21,337.00: the bare minimum necessary to manufacture True Messiah with miniatures, and at a volume that permits a $49 price point.
Obviously, this introduces some risks for me. I might end up having to spend thousands of dollars out of pocket to cover the shipping costs if we don't exceed the funding goal by a sufficient amount. However, I have enough money saved up that I can shoulder those costs if it comes to that. It wouldn't be great, but I could do it, and it'd probably be worth it just to get the game out into the world.
So there you have it (and in probably greater detail than you wanted). Thanks for reading! As soon as I know when the second campaign is happening, I'll post another update to let you know, too.