When Kickstarters Fail – Peter Newland and Wizard Dodgeball

When Kickstarters Fail – Peter Newland and Wizard Dodgeball

Full Disclosure: I really like Wizard Dodgeball as a board game, backed the Kickstarter, and have played on a first-run set sent to me by Peter Newland of Mind the Gap Studios. However, sometimes, Kickstarter’s fail. Wizard Dodgeball was one such Kickstarer. Despite his best efforts, Peter Newland was unable to reach the goal of $42,000 by September 2nd of this year. In the aftermath of this failed Kickstarter, I wanted to ask Peter about the experience, and what he learned from it.

We hear all too often about wildly successful Kickstarters, but there are a ton of Kickstarters that do fail: according to Kickstarter’s own statistics, Game Kickstarters only have a 34.6% chance of success (Odd Fact of the Day: Dance Kickstarters have the highest rate of success at 68.47%). As much as we love to hear about a tiny team making a game that gets 350% of its funding goal, there are still very good games that do not get the funding they need.

So, I asked Peter about this fact, after he had gone through the experience himself, and here is what he said:

Q: What was the experience of having your Kickstarter for Wizard Dodgeball not make its funding goal like? 

A: The kickstarter not funding was a little tough but I’d actually been expecting that after the day 1 numbers. Which was both good and bad. It let me get mentally ready for failure but I did have to keep pushing myself through the entire month. As a generally pessimistic person, being optimistic for a month while showing my games at local demos, Gen Con, and PAX was a stretch. It helped that, for the most part, everyone enjoyed playing the game.

Peter Newland showing off Wizard Dodgeball at PAX PRIME '14

Peter Newland showing off Wizard Dodgeball at PAX PRIME ’14

Q: What did you learn from this failed funding effort?

A: The two biggest things I learned were A).you don’t understand how invisible you are until you try something like this and B). I shouldn’t have set my launch date before I’d gotten everything put together. Specifically for B., the demo copies to the reviewers and the press notifications should have gone out well more than the week before. For ZtoZ, which is launching October 13, I’ve already taken care of both of these issues. The first point is more of a catch 22. It’s hard to get notice until you attempt something like this which means the first time out is going to be tough without a lot of support from people that are already well connected.



Peter showing his dedication to the campaign after reaching 10% funding.

Q: How are your going to change the campaign for funding moving forward?

A: For the relaunch I’m planning at the end of January, first I’ll be getting some art put together as that was actually mentioned a lot more than I had expected. Also, there were 5 reviews that were just about ready to go live when the campaign ended so those should be ready to go on launch day so I’m ready in that area. And I’m talking with my manufacturer about reducing the number of copies by finding a different source for the custom dice which should help the campaign feel more attainable. Other than those and looking into including an expansion idea, I’d love to know what was off putting or caused people pause when looking at the game and campaign so I could address those concerns. I’m also going to be getting in touch with the backers and mailing list to see if there was something I could be doing better.

I’d like to thank Peter for taking the time to share his experiences with Indie Hangover. As was mentioned, his new Zombie Party game, ZtoZ will be launching its own Kickstarter on Oct. 13th. We’ll make sure to let you know our thoughts on the game once the Kickstarter is up and running!

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Editor-in-Chief of IndieHangover.com. With a soft spot for epics, sagas and tales of all types, Jacob approaches games as ways to tell stories. He's particularly interested in indie games because of the freedom they have to tell different stories, often in more interesting and innovative ways than Triple A titles.