Lessons learned from the HN Crimewave KS

Hello Ryders! 

Well today I want to talk about Hostage Negotiator: Crime Wave (HNCW) and hit a few highlights of the Kickstarter process and fulfillment now that shipping is pretty much wrapped up and most of the backers have the game.

Let's start with the positives... and there are too many to discuss all, but I will pick a few that stand out to me.

  1. Our backers are AMAZING. I'm sure every KS project creator thinks this, but for us it is true for sure. How incredibly supportive and understanding people can be always brings me joy.
  2. Guest designers for the Abductor Packs - this was a great success and we loved working with other designers to expand the game.
  3. Packing Configurations - ultimately this worked out well and even though it was stressful at times from an administrative standpoint, making 4 packing configurations each with a different subset of products packed right inside the HNCW box was the right call. It simplified shipping and fulfillment a great deal.
  4. Speaking of Shipping and Fulfillment - using Quartermaster Logistics was a great success! You can read more about that on the Stonemaier Games blog as I discussed that with Jamie. Short story is they and their fulfillment partners are awesome!
  5. The Secret Envelope - this is the best Stretch Goal we have ever done! We cannot say what is inside it, but putting a secret envelope under the insert - and the reactions we have gotten to doing that - has been the best thing ever.
  6. Customer Service - this is an area I really believe we shine. Every challenge that comes up is an opportunity to "Wow" one of our customers. We take CS very seriously and will do at least what is fair, and many times go above and beyond expectations.

And a few things to improve on...

  1. Production delays - This game was a BIG effort. Overall there were 14, yes FOURTEEN, product SKUs involved with this project. That is a lot of content to quality check and manage. I think we actually handled it pretty well, but ultimately I overestimated how quickly we could get it done. It didn't help that our PM at the manufacturer was replaced in the middle of the project. 
  2. Marketing - we had a great many backers! I am the first to admit however that marketing is not my strong suit. Evan has a lot of experience with this, but due to how much work is involved with graphic design and daily operations, it is often difficult to devote a lot of time to Marketing. We have to figure out a way to make it happen.
  3. Retail Distribution - Don't get me wrong, I have nothing but good things to say about our fulfillment company, Impressions and the various distributors, but I truly believe that HN and HNCW would sell really well at places like B&N and Target. The box sells itself, it really does. And it is pretty clear now that solo games will sell. We have to figure out how to get the game even broader exposure and get it into more hands. I think HN is a great candidate for mass market retailers. We just have to figure out how to get someone to give HN a shot...

So a little bit just thinking out loud today. I hope that gives you all a little bit of a glimpse into what we think about and how we are always using past experiences to inform future decisions.

Have a great September!

A.J. Porfirio