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Determine Your Kickstarter Funding Goal

Calculating your Kickstarter budget can be one of the most difficult steps in the entire process of producing a board game through a crowdfunding platform. You need to find a funding goal that you can confidently achieve, while minimizing the risk of incurring unforeseen costs. We’re here to help you estimate your Kickstarter funding goal in six steps!

1. Collect quotes from game printers in a variety of quantities.

Asking for quotes with a variety of units (500, 1,500, 2,000) right away will save you time and more importantly, allow you to see the breaking point in which your per unit/per game cost is feasible for your customer. Let’s put this into play, a smaller order (500) will have high per unit prices like $19.50 per game. However, if you get a quote for 2,000 units you may notice the per unit price drops to a reasonable consumer cost like, $10.

This is huge because you now know that you can provide your game to backers at a lower reward tier ($10) which is a much easier amount for backers to shell out – for the great value of your entire game – instead of the $20 tier level. Of course, more complex games will have higher unit prices and may well be a great value at $20, but this is a great method for any tabletop game.

If possible, request that your quotes are broken down by each component. This holistic view allows you to see exactly what pieces are driving your cost up and gives you the chance to adjust. For example, you may be able to see if swapping out a plastic piece for a wooden piece can lower your cost – or find a different piece altogether.


This will be the most time consuming step as it can take some manufacturers weeks to get your quote back to you, at least in our experience. We hope to change that with our easy-to-use custom board game pricing form(not yet live). That’s our only shameless self-promotion in this article!

2. Determine the cost of your rewards and estimate backers per tier.

Kickstarter Reward Cost Bears vs Babies

Not only do you need to figure out the production cost of each incentive, but it helps to have an estimate of how many people will pledge at each level (why produce 100 t-shirts if five people choose that incentive?). There’s no silver bullet but we’ve looked at 20 recently successful board and card game Kickstarter campaigns and have calculated the average number of backers per tier below.

Our takeaway, you don’t need to have an overwhelming amount of reward tiers, in fact 3-4 is plenty (from our research the average number of tiers offered is 5) and allows you to make your rewards intriguing enough to persuade backers to donate
– see Deep Madness for example.

Kickstarter has found that the $25 reward tier is the most popular for
campaigns. We agree, and would add, don’t be afraid to add a $100+ tier
because you just might get a couple big backers! If this tier is worth
the big bucks then it should be limited to 1 or 2 backers.

Graph of Kickstarter Reward Tiers and Backers

Based on looking at 20 (it’s a small number) successful table top and card game campaigns 90% offered a tier between $21 – $30, 75% offered a tier between $11 – $20, and 85% offered a tier between $1 – $10. The $71-$80 tier is the threshold at which campaigns start to avoid offering higher tiers. Of course without knowing how many backers donated to each tier for these campaigns it’s difficult to judge if the higher tiers are worth your while. Oh wait, we do have those numbers!

Graph of Kickstarter Reward Tiers and Backers

The first three tier options have proved fruitful for a significant group of campaigns then backers excitement starts to drop from $41 – $61. Of course, that could be the rewards offered weren’t enticing. The $81-$90 tier has a large backing, but it’s based on one campaign that makes this number an outlier. However, the $91-$100 tier offered by 4 campaigns has a decent amount of backers.

Based on our very small data base, we would recommend 4 tiers in between these ranges:

  • $1 – $10
  • $11 – $20
  • $21 – $30
  • $91- $100

The average funding goal of all 20 campaigns came out to $13,332 with the highest asking price at $100,000 for an RPG miniatures table top game and the lowest request at $1,700 for a card game in a two-piece box.

3. Estimate reward shipping costs.

This step may feel less important, but shipping costs can add up fast especially, international shipping! Of course you can always select to have the backer pay shipping, but the better strategy is to build the shipping cost into the reward tier.

Having an idea of the number of backers you’ll need per tier to have a funded campaign helps to calculate this step(see chart above for estimates). With those numbers in mind, start calculating what the most expensive shipping cost could be(packaging + shipping + postage= total shipping cost).

The biggest factor of shipping cost is weight, by creating rewards that can fit into your game box or be printed on top is clutch. Other reward ideas that won’t weigh on your shipping cost are art posters, extra cards, extra miniatures, specialty inks (foil, glow-in-the-dark) and a popular one: to include the backers likeness into the game in the form of a character.

Make a list of all the packaging supplies you’ll need and their costs: boxes (big enough for both your game and your rewards), bubble wrap, packing tape, labels, stickers, markers…have you thought of something we’ve forgotten?

Typically, Media Mail is the cheapest option for US domestic shipping while Priority Mail International Flat Rate Postage is best for International shipping.

If possible assemble a box with each reward tier and your game to get an approximate weight then calculate your postage cost using the United States Postal Services’ postage calculator. Check if postal rates are set to increase within your production timetable, and factor them in.

4. Factor in the money you’ll never see!

Kickstarter applies a fee of 5% of the funds you raise, and takes an additional smaller fee for each pledge you receive. Depending on your location, and what you raise, there are taxes to factor in as well. You should assume that roughly 10% of the money you raise will never reach your bank account.

5. Total all your costs.

Add up the cost of producing your board game and rewards, the cost of packing materials, your estimated shipping costs, and Kickstarter fees, and you’ll have a rough total for your funding goal.

6. Do research, find your magic number.

As much as your Kickstarter budget relies on crunching numbers, it is important to be flexible and adjust your total to one that feels right. Look at similar Kickstarters, both the ones that were successful, and the ones that didn’t meet their goals. How does your goal compare? If your calculated funding goal seems reasonable, we encourage rounding up a little for extra padding. Is your amount way too high? You may need to consider removing an expensive incentive item, and recalculate. Use your best judgment based on researched data, and you will reach a funding goal that works for you.