What To Do Immediately After Your Kickstarter Launches – A Checklist

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Dev Diary posts are made to teach game development through specific examples from my latest project: Highways & BywaysJust here for Highways & Byways updates? Click here.



In the aviation business, pilots go through a series of tasks at the beginning of every flight. It’s called the preflight checklist and it all happens before the plane ever leaves the tarmac. The idea is to ensure safety and make sure that nothing is accidentally left undone. Other industries could definitely benefit from the checklist mentality, and I consider crowdfunded board games to be among them.



For my own use, I’ve created something that I call the launch sequence. The launch sequence is a list of things that have to happen in order immediately after the Kickstarter campaign launches. It’s a long list of items, some of which are specific to the Highways & Byways Kickstarter campaign, but most of which are not.

For your use today, I’m going to share a generic launch sequence checklist that you can use so you know what to do in the hours immediately after your Kickstarter launches.


First 10 minutes:

  • Hit the launch button.
  • Copy the URL.
  • Set up a redirect link on your website. For example, I use http://bywaysgame.com/kickstarter/ to always go to either a landing page or the campaign.
  • Tweet the campaign link with a call to action.
  • Pin the campaign tweet.
  • Make a Facebook post with the campaign link with a call to action. (Bonus points if you use your personal page as well).
  • Pin the campaign post.
  • Post on any other social networks you use.
  • Ask a few friends to retweet/share your social media posts. This increases visibility quick, which can help you break through social media noise.
  • Update your social media bio links.


Next 20 minutes:

  • Send an email to your mailing list with the campaign link and a clear call to action.
  • Update the home page of your website with the campaign link and a clear call to action.
  • Text your family.
  • Text your friends.
  • Post the FAQ – which you have hopefully pre-written.


Next 30 minutes:

  • Send any last-minute press releases.
  • Monitor and respond to comments and questions.
  • Update any old Kickstarter campaigns.
  • Get your game on this Board Game Geek geeklist.


Hours after launch:

  • Post to relevant Facebook groups.
  • Post to relevant parts of Board Game Geek.
  • Post to relevant subreddits on Reddit.


This is a generic launch sequence. When you create your own, you’ll invariably add items to this. You might even take some away. For example, my own launch sequence involves immediately posting the Kickstarter campaign link on my Discord server to over 1,100 other game developers. I’ll also be doing text message alerts to people who opted in during the Byways campaign build-up, sending an email to blog readers, and posting a story on the gigantic @WarMachinesCo Instagram account.

You’ll definitely need to prepare well in advance too, since many of these items come with requirements, such as being listed on Board Game Geek or building a mailing list.



Most Important Highways & Byways Updates


6 Ways to Cope with Kickstarter Anxiety as a Board Game Dev

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Dev Diary posts are made to teach game development through specific examples from my latest project: Highways & BywaysJust here for Highways & Byways updates? Click here.



The Highways & Byways Kickstarter campaign is just ten days away. This project looms large in my life and though I’m normally rational, detached, and analytical, I’m struggling to remain objective. This is really common for Kickstarter creators and I imagine this anxiety is still felt by big-time creators. It’s okay, if unpleasant, to be anxious. You just have to recognize it so it doesn’t own you.



Kickstarter, in particular, can bring out a form of online stage fright. It’s important to recognize this for what it is – when you start a campaign, you’re putting yourself out there for people to respond to. I believe a lot of creators – especially new ones – haven’t built up the emotional intelligence to fully understand how hard this can be. Most of the folks who go to Kickstarter are passionate, creative people who are really close to their projects. These same people can find themselves sleepless at two in the morning, snapping at loved ones, or generally too tired to think AND not connect this back to the emotions that come with a Kickstarter campaign (fear of failure, fear of rejection, and so on).

It gets better with time, though. This pre-launch has been a lot smoother than the one I had with War Co. That’s why I’d like to share six ways to cope with Kickstarter anxiety that I’ve learned over the last 2 1/2 years.


1. Know you are not alone.

Most creators get nervous. If you’re not nervous about your upcoming Kickstarter campaign, you’re one of a privileged few. (Want to run mine?)

For the rest of us mortals, anxiety is a deeply ingrained part of the human experience. It’s the impulse that kept our ancestors safe by telling them to run when predators approached. That same impulse is inside us even today, and it’s too dumb to tell the difference between being chased by a lion and mean comments on the internet. For all its flaws, embrace anxiety – it served a very useful purpose in its prime and it’s still useful even today.


2. Embrace the imperfect launch.

Even experienced creators make errors. Making mistakes is part of the creative process. You will never be able to perfect your product, before or after you launch your campaign. For that reason, you need to accept that you if you are going to put something out there, something about it will be wrong.

That’s no excuse to do sloppy work. You need to make a great game. You need to play-test it a lot – alone, with friends, with family, with blind play-testers, and with game designers. You need to build an audience on the foundation of meaningful relationships. You need to reach out to reviewers. You need to know exactly how you’re going to print and ship the game.

Too many creators will do everything right, following all these steps above, only to get caught in the trap of “it’s not ready yet.” Don’t fall into that trap. To progress in this industry, you need to do great work but not sit on your ideas any longer than necessary.


3. Don’t let fear of failure keep you from starting.

If you fail on Kickstarter, the consequences are minimal. It’s embarrassing, but it doesn’t hurt your or your backers financially. By all means, shoot for a million dollars, but don’t sweat it if you fail to fund. You can relaunch. You can come back from failure. Sometimes Kickstarter failure can bring you positive attention in the form of new fans, especially if you’re a newcomer. In fact, this scenario is fairly common: a lot of people “fail up” on Kickstarter, learning lessons from the failed campaign and making it happen on the relaunch.


4. Plan for success.

It’s important to have a Plan B for failure, but obsessing over contingency plans is a dangerous game. One of the best ways to alleviate anxiety is to look at the good things that could happen instead of just the bad things. For example, I’ve got a spreadsheet that shows how Highways & Byways will play out financially at every funding level from its goal to $100,000 in $1,000 increments, then up to a million in larger increments. I don’t expect to make a million, or even $100,000, but being ready to scale if it happens makes me feel better and might do the same for you.


5. Channel your anxiety into productivity. 

Anxiety more or less hijacks your body and makes you ready to take action – the proverbial fight or flight. That boost of adrenaline can be channeled into productivity. Perhaps you’re anxious for a good reason. Maybe you don’t have enough email addresses or Facebook fans to confidently launch. Maybe you need to write press releases or make a list of local game stores to contact. No matter what you need to do, you can benefit from well-placed nervous energy.


6. Figure out what you’re afraid of and see if it’s something you can fix.

Remember how I said anxiety can be useful a few minutes ago? Sometimes we intuitively know that something is amiss, but we’re not able to put it into words yet. I’ll use a couple of Highways & Byways related examples to explain.

Around late October, I had begun to get a surge of anxiety over the Highways & Byways campaign. It came out of nowhere and confounded me because everything was going so well. The game was basically done, designers at Protospiel Atlanta generally liked it, and I had clear feedback for improvement. Yet I had this gnawing anxiety even still. Eventually, after talking with a friend of mine, I realized that I’d spent all my time pushing the blog and the Discord server and almost none of my time pushing Highways & Byways itself. I took a step back, re-calibrated my plan, and started marketing the game itself more. Had I not had this incredibly uncomfortable rush of anxiety, I wouldn’t have done this, and Highways & Byways would be a nonstarter Kickstarter.

On Valentine’s Day of this year, I found myself deeply uncomfortable again. After a couple of days, I realized that I wasn’t pulling in enough people – even with some active Highways & Byways outreach online, I was still focusing way too much on the blog and Discord server. That’s when I decided to run five consecutive weekly giveaway contests on Facebook, reach out to over 20 streamers, purchase Facebook ads, and compile a list of over 170 local gaming stores in the US to email. Will this work? Only time will tell, but the takeaway was clear as day: build an audience for Highways & Byways and not just the Brandon the Game Dev brand.

These may be very personal and specific examples, but I feel like you can apply them to your life as well. You don’t even have to be a Kickstarter creator. Sometimes that horrible sinking feeling is actually a voice trying to save you from making mistakes.


Does Kickstarter scare you? If so, how do you cope? Do you have any stories of how you’ve overcome your fear and launched? Share below in the comments, I’d love to read your insights 🙂



Most Important Highways & Byways Updates

  • 10 days to the campaign!
  • Last week, I gave away a copy of Forbidden Island. This week, it’s a copy of Codenames. If you want it, you’ve got a little over 24 hours after this post goes up to get it on the Highways & Byways Facebook page.
  • You can view the Kickstarter campaign page here.


How to Prepare for a Kickstarter Campaign That’s 1 Month Away

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Dev Diary posts are made to teach game development through specific examples from my latest project: Highways & BywaysJust here for Highways & Byways updates? Click here.



Highways & Byways launches on Kickstarter March 26. As of the time that I’m writing this, that’s a little under a month away. Things are starting to get hectic around the Pangea Games office / my home office. Just this week, I’ve cranked out six blog posts to build up my backlog, created the Kickstarter campaign video, finalized my manufacturer choice, reached out to my manufacturer and fulfillment partners, finished a giveaway contest and started another, then started researching stretch goals.



I’m a big proponent of working smart before you work hard. I’ve written about how critical time management is to your success in game development. I’ve also talked about how you can’t reliably speed up game development when you work alone or in a small team. But you know what? Sometimes you have to put in an 80-hour workweek to make it happen.

That’s what I’ve done for the last couple of weeks to prepare for Highways & Byways. I started game development fairly recently and have one game published. That means I’m working 40 45 hours per week as Systems Analyst. Then I put in another 35-40 on Highways & Byways because some of this stuff cannot be cut short. Video filming and editing are unavoidably time-consuming. Writing blog posts – at least my long-form Start to Finish posts – take a few hours each. Setting up the Kickstarter page, checking my cost tables, doing streams…all of this takes T-I-M-E!

With all this in mind, I’ve prepared a checklist for myself that I’d like to share with you. It’s a list of everything you need to take care in the time span between “a month before” and “a week before.”


1 Month to 1 Week

Kickstarter Checklist


Prepare for long hours. This is unavoidable when you get really close to a campaign, so embrace it.

Draft the Kickstarter campaign page. You need to have a version you can show to others at least three weeks before the campaign.

Make the video. You need to film, edit, and post your video at least three weeks before the campaign.

Clear your schedule. Take off work on the day you launch the campaign. If you run a blog or website, create a backlog of content to last you through the campaign. If you have another business or other commitments, see how much of that you can defer to a later time or ask someone else to take care of.

Submit your Kickstarter campaign for approval. Sometimes Kickstarter drags their feet on the approval process, though it’s usually 7 days tops. Even still, you want to have your Kickstarter ready to go with the green Launch Now button 2 weeks out.

Set up Google Analytics on your campaign page. This will help you see where your pledges are coming from for your future knowledge.

Double check your cost projections and budget. You need to be ready for funding anywhere between your goal and a million dollars. Can you reliably profit at the goal level? Can you scale nicely if you do waaaay better than you expect? The answer to both those questions needs to be yes.

Research stretch goals. Don’t just throw stretch goals up on the page. Research the per-unit cost of every single one and choose your stretch goal levels carefully.

Double down on lead generation. If you don’t have an audience by now, you need to delay your launch date. If you do, though, it never hurts to up your advertising budget or double down on outreach.

Write and send press releases. See Jamey Stegmaier’s Kickstarter Lesson #43: Press Releases on this subject. Do this 7-14 days before.

Send sneak previews to retailers. Do this about 7 days before. Again, the eternal king of sage campaign advice, Jamey Stegmaier, has a post for this.

Find collaborators for your Kickstarter campaign. Find a few friends, family, and associates you trust to help you reply to comments when they come in fast on the launch day.

Prepare Facebook ads. I like preparing my ads well in advance of the campaign, just so I can test their effectiveness on my landing page instead of the campaign when it’s live.


I hope this list helps you prepare for your own Kickstarter campaign. If I left anything off, let me know and I’ll add it 😀



Most Important Highways & Byways Updates

  • 17 days to the campaign!
  • Last week, I gave away a copy of Ticket to Ride. This giveaway contest performed unbelievably well on Facebook. This week, it’s a copy of Forbidden Island. If you want it, you’ve got a little over 24 hours after this post goes up to get it on the Highways & Byways Facebook page.
  • You can view the Kickstarter campaign page here.