Today I’m processing a lot of Kickstarter orders, it just so happens that while Escape the Nightmare and Wizard’s Academy were kickstarted at different times their manufacturing processes have finished within a week of each other. Essentially my goal is to process the spreadsheets that Kickstarter gives you into a pile of address labels. There are thousands to get through and there’ll probably be a noticeable amount of time between the first one and the last one, so if I do your label first then you might see your game a week earlier than someone whose got done last. With that in mind I thought I’d write a guide to “Getting your kickstarter game first”
When a creator downloads a spreadsheet it’s ordered by backer number. They might vary in terms of which sheet they start working on first, or whether they glue them all together in some wonderful but terrifying frankensheet, but however they do it being at the top of your sheet means getting seen sooner. The earlier you back the project, the earlier you see your game, which seems fair.
Avoid the “Complex” File
Whether you’re talking about a business paying storage fees or a one man operation that wishes he could use his living room again, nobody likes storing stuff. As such anytime I run into a problem that’ll take more than a few moments to solve, it gets tossed into the complex file and I come back to it after I’ve sorted out everyone else. I think this is best for people who are pledging too, if I have 999 backers that take a second to sort and 1 that takes a couple of days of back and forth in emails, then why make the 999 people wait for days? Minimising the total backer wait seems like the best way to go. I’m sure I’m not alone in this approach.
Pledge the Right Amount
The first thing I do with my sheet, and I’m sure I’m not alone in this, is to add a checksum column. This adds up the costs of all of the games and add ons that each backer said that they wanted in the survey and compares that to their pledge total. If the pledge is too low, that pledge gets thrown straight into “complex”. I don’t know why so many people do this, perhaps they hope that they can get an extra game by typing bigger numbers in the “How many games did you pledge for?” box. I admire their optimism, but what they’ve really obtained is a longer wait for their games.
If you type something that’s not a number into a question that’s expecting a number then the checksum will fail. If you mean zero then type the number “0”. The word “zero” the letter “O” and the acronym “N/A” all trigger the “Pledge doesn’t add up” function and gets your pledge moved to complex.
Be Sparing with Special Requests
I’m cheerful about doing things that people like on games that are going out. If your box needs a message to the deliverer because there’s something unusual about your address that’s fine. If you want a giraffe drawn I’ll do a giraffe (unless my spine is failed). I’m not adverse to signing the odd game. However any sort of special request bumps you to the back of the queue – it’s much easier to do all of the special requests in one sitting – make sure that’s worth it to you.
Sometimes I come across something that should be bumped to complex or special requests, but then see it’s that backer who made loads of good suggestions for the rulebook or was welcoming in the comments when I was asleep or whatever else and then I tend to think “Ah, go on, I’ll sort that out now then.” In fairness I probably shouldn’t, but I think that’s quite a human reaction.
The difference between being first on my list and last on my list is rarely more than a week. The difference between the postal service rivaling Hermes and your postcode being cursed can be closer to a month. At the end of the day chance is going to have a bigger impact than anything you or I choose to do!
So there you have it, the complete guide to being the first one to post “I’ve got my copy.”. Or from a creators point of view a few suggestions about minimising the average wait time and quickly assessing who’s filled out the survey incorrectly 😉 The post’s a little tongue in cheek, but hopefully showed you something interesting about the guts of fulfilling a campaign.
Ah well, back to work, that complex fail ain’t gonna uncomplicate itself.