Crowdfunding on Gamefound starting with ISS Vanguard!

#pledge manager
Before we go into details, let's take a step back. 

Gamefound was an extremely ambitious project from the very start – in development for over 4 years now. Our goal was pretty simple – to create the best place possible for Board Game creators to communicate with their community and make awesome games. Our beginnings were really humble and, iteration by iteration, we changed from an awkward (and pretty ugly, let's be honest :P) pledge manager to one of the best tools out there for board game creators to manage crowdfunding campaigns.

Fast forward to today – we have over 10 experienced specialists with the sole purpose of making Gamefound an amazing tool and we are not stopping here. 

We have handled over 250 projects and gathered a community of 330 000 users.  

By offering the Pledge Manager service for free, we’ve managed to help creators using our services save almost €4.5 MILLION! 

To some people, offering services for free may seem strange or suspicious. But we have always said that we never considered it free. We gained a huge value from that. The gain was creating a trusting community of creators and backers. With their help, we could keep upgrading our system to make sure we create a great platform. For us, the trust we built together in the community has the greatest value.

Now, it is time for us to take a big step forward and introduce something that we were working on for quite some time – the dedicated board game crowdfunding platform. 

However, we don’t want to merely copy other crowdfunding services, as this would be pretty much pointless. Obviously, we also have very well-known features such as the pre-launch page and “notify me” button. We are bringing in a lot of functions that we hope will make the whole process much better! While most of these functions are still “Work in Progress”, they will show you the direction that we want to take. 

Let’s start with the backer’s side of things!  
Comment section 

While working on the comments, we wanted to give the users tools to navigate through the flood of comments. During popular campaigns, there are hundreds of messages every day and sometimes it’s hard to make sense of them. Therefore, we introduced a few things:

  1. Hashtags, where you can sort things by topics, for example, #rules #miniatures, and so on; 
  2. Likes of the comments and sorting by most popular; 
  3. Threaded replies, where you can respond to each other;
  4. Extra visibility of creators/collaborators and, in the future, different badges for backers, too! 
Stretch goals! 
We have also created a dedicated feature for stretch goals. Now, you can see what stretch goals are up next and how much you are contributing while pledging. Stretch goals get unlocked immediately when their completion thresholds are met!
Everything happens automatically, as it is a part of the system. No more meddling with huge graphic files and doing things by hand. On top of that, as a backer, you will have a nice edited list of extras you unlocked in the project. 

We will also be introducing add-ons that you will be able to actually add to your pledge right away. You don’t have to calculate how much you have to increase your contribution. Instead, just pick what you want, add it to your pledge, and boom – you are good to go!
You will also have a nice summary of all the possible add-ons with clickable information if you need more details. 

Certainly, pledges are the core of any funding. Here we have added visual components to present the details of each pledge level, so you know exactly what you will be getting! 
In addition, both pledges and add-ons may have a few possible variants to choose from. This is really important for language editions of rewards. You will know exactly what component is available in which language and you will be able to pick it right away! 
Campaign mini-wizard and navigation

We also wanted to make the whole process easy for a newcomer. Therefore, we have created a special “mini-wizard” (as we call it) that will follow you while scrolling the project and show you the recommended pledge or redirect you to pledges and add-ons. 
Once you pledge, there will be information about your pledge and the possibility to change it at any moment you want! 
On top of that, from the project’s main navigation menu, you’ll be able to access “Your pledge” – a place that will help you see a summary of your pledge, its status and all the details. You will also be able to modify it there. 
Those are the biggest highlights, but it’s too much to accurately describe in a blog post. We can’t wait until you will get to test all of it yourself! 
BUT! backers are just one side of things, we also wanted to make sure that creators will have an easier life😉 The less time creators have to spend on management and administration stuff, the more they can focus on creating amazing board games! 
Transition from crowdfunding to pledge manager 
Through the years, we have learned the importance of the pledge manager in fulfilling the deliveries. There are so many aspects of it, such as logistics, production, and billing. We have built tools to help with all that (and we will continue to do so in the future), but most importantly, everything will be in one place now, and transitioning from a successful campaign to a pledge manager will be seamless. 
Features of pledge manager

We already have a bunch of supporting tools in the pledge manager which help creators a great deal. Here is the list: 
  • Advanced shipping tables, 
  • Advanced product modification and management, 
  • Communication module (updates/comments/FAQs),
  • Dashboard tracking the most important information, 
  • Marketing module, with tracking links, 
  • Advanced user management with different groups.
What else is planned for the creators? 

We want to add even more features! We hope that those of you who have already used our platform can attest that we do listen to feedback and try to develop better and better tools. What’s in store? 
  • Comprehensive invoicing support,*
  • Redesign of the shipping configuration pages (a lot of quality-of-life upgrades), 
  • More communication features, 
  • More analytics, 
  • Production cost calculator. 

* Gamefound can create invoices for all your pledges! You can then export each of them as PDF or get a summary in Excel. Currently, a few creators have “beta” access to invoicing, but we want to make it available to everyone in near future.
How will crowdfunding start and when will it be available? 
First, for a proper pilot project, we have prepared Awaken Realms' next major game – ISS Vanguard (check out the draft here!). After that, we will have a closed-access adoption period, when only a few selected crowdfunding campaigns will be launched. 
We will use this time to make sure we have a good vetting system in place, as well as a mature and properly usable project setup area for creators. We've estimated that after 4-5 months we will start accepting project inquiries from everyone interested! 

If this sounds interesting to you and you think you would like to publish your project on Gamefound, drop us an email at (same email if you are looking for a free pledge manager😉).