Petersen Games

Cthulhu Wars Onslaught 3

Petersen Games wanted to expand the Cthulhu Wars line. In addition, they needed capital to reprint the core game and supplements. We ran all aspects of the Kickstarter project, helping them raise over $1 million.

Kickstarter Strategy

Cthulhu Wars already had 60+ unique product SKUs before this project. With such a large line, one of the challenges was to determine which legacy products to offer during the Kickstarter. We knew we needed to offer the core game, which was in danger of going out of print. To help Petersen Games determine which other SKUs to reprint, we ran a sales analysis of each product, including current stock levels and sales velocity. Based on our analysis, and consultations with the client, we suggested they only offer 14 legacy SKUs during the Kickstarter. This allowed us to focus on the best-selling products while not taking attention away from the new offerings.

Even with limited legacy offerings, there were still 18 new SKUs we needed to account for. In order to keep communication clear to potential backers, and mitigate the risk of analysis paralysis, we structured the campaign so that there were only five pledge levels - as compared to 29 for the original CW Kickstarter.

We also gathered cost information from the Petersen Games Production Manager and, in consultation with their Financial Officer, developed a P&L analysis to determine which Stretch Goals to offer, how much to charge for each one, and what order to put them in. The task was to structure the goals to create the most possible campaign momentum, while also ensuring the client was not exposed to losing money on any given offering.

Kickstarter Marketing

Sandy Petersen is well-known. His games are loved, and have a loyal base of fans. That said, we had a couple challenges to overcome with this project.

First, we needed to update the look and feel of how Petersen Games presented their Kickstarter projects. We accomplished this by removing as many hard lines in the graphics, opting instead of a more open presentation where the white Kickstarter background flowed into the graphics. One of the strengths of Cthulhu Wars is the models, so we focused on showing off each one in a way that allowed potential backers to see what they were getting and also gave them scaling information, so they could tell how large each one is. We also scripted and produced the pitch video.

Another challenge was to assure backers from previous Petersen Games projects that the company had a firm hand on their production schedule. To do this, we included videos from their Production Manager that explained the entire process. In addition, we added a production timeline graphic so that backers would have an idea of when each part of the process would happen.

One of the best decisions we made in conjunction with the pre-launch marketing campaign was to allow the Petersen Games fan community a week to look over the campaign before it began. Not only did this help with spotting errors and potentially confusing presentation, it allowed us to get the fans excited in the days before the launch. On the first day, we saw $372,806 in pledges!

To keep the momentum going, we had a steady stream of updates written - designer diaries by Sandy, videos and images for social media, etc. In addition, we ran a social campaign that offered backers the chance to win a 3D Summoning Gate, signed by Sandy, in exchange for helping promote the campaign. Each time we unlocked a new Stretch Goal, we announced a new winner and started a new contest.

Kickstarter Results

Our financial goal was to raise $1 million from this campaign. Before accounting for orders via the Pledge Manager, the Kickstarter ended with $1,076,211 pledged.

A secondary goal was to bring in new customers. Of the 4,130 backers, 915 (22%) had never backed a Petersen Game project before.

The Stretch Goals were the fuel that drove this campaign - with a focus on additions that added both sizzle (bling) and steak (rules). Because these were free to every backer, everyone had a reason to be excited, and spread the word to their friends.

Influencers: We had really good influencer engagement. It would have been even better if we'd had more time to devote to pre-launch promotions.