Board games and Kickstarter, this combination always seems to work. Anyone who previously feared that the current year would be a disaster due to the Corona crisis in the crowdfunding area can breathe a sigh of relief. The Kickstarter year got off to a successful start and, thanks to Frosthaven, even produced a record month. But that's not all: the first half of 2020 set a new milestone overall.

The fact that Kickstarter is now one of the central contact points for new releases, especially for frequent gamers, is hardly a surprise, given the colorful range of ideas that publishers and authors are presenting there. The fact that the Corona year, of all things, produces new records is more surprising. Instead of rethinking their finances, fans go all out. Not only is the first half of 2020 record-breaking, but also the month of May, because the Gloomhaven sequel to Frosthaven and gave the tabletop industry the financially strongest single month on Kickstarter to date.

Kickstarter: record despite decline

The coronavirus pandemic did not leave Kickstarter completely without a trace. Like from a report from ICO* shows, the number of campaign starts on the crowdfunding platform has decreased noticeably, especially in the months of March to June. Instead of around 2.600 projects in March 2019, only around 1.850 made it to the launch this year. In the core months of the pandemic, by the way, things looked similar. The decreases are in the range between 24 and 34 percent.

The good news: Already in June there were signs of a slight recovery. Whether this will continue and when the number of campaign starts will return to normal will, however, depend on the global pandemic development, especially in the United States. How big the slump actually is can be seen from a note from ICO boss Thomas Bidaux: He says that the total number of financing campaigns has reached the lowest level since 2012. And that although spring is a strong time for crowdfunding according to non Bidaux.

Board game kick starters also work in Corona times. Photo: André Volkmann

In the tabletop segment, however, you have to look at the situation in a somewhat more differentiated manner, also with regard to the only slight decline in projects in this case. After all, this could also be due to the fact that an enormous number of successful financings were only able to result in the months of February and March 2020. In these two months alone, “backers” have waved over 700 board games as their funding goal. Overall, the decline in the games category - including both board games and video games - is less dramatic than the overall situation on Kickstarter.

In addition, the financial side in the board game segment is impressive: Although the ICO recorded a sharp decline in funding amounts for April, May became the historically strongest month with over 33 million US dollars. Hardly a surprise: Frosthaven alone supports the monthly statistics with an income of 13 million US dollars. The successor to Gloomhaven exceeded the expectations of the author Isaac Childres.

Frosthaven underpins financial record

Particularly impressive: Frosthaven collected more money from its 83.000 supporters than all 200 board game projects from April put together. Even more impressive: Frosthaven even overtook the most financially strongest Kickstarter project to date, Kingdom Death: Monster 1.5, which made it to a gigantic 2017 million US dollars in 12,4.

With Frosthaven, Cephalofair Games made a significant contribution to the record half-year 2020. The revenue side has so far been around 118 million US dollars, in the second half of 2019 it was around 96 million US dollars - which was a record until then. Frosthaven has thus contributed around ten percent to the total volume in the board game area.

Overall, it can be seen that Kickstarter was able to withstand the crisis comparatively well. Although the number of projects has decreased, the platform seems to serve as a safe haven for publishers, authors and other creative minds, at least in some categories, even in times of the Corona. Nevertheless: the long-term effects of the economic crisis could make themselves felt with a delay, also or especially on Kickstarter.

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