OK, I’m committed to doing a Kickstarter for my steampunk/gearpunk poker deck now. Many thanks to those of you who weighed in on it last time!
So… now what? Lots of things, it seems, most of which I’m already busy digging into. Mostly, plenty of research on what it takes to make this happen, mad schemes to make it cool and appealing, and finding ways to spread the word far and wide. Thanks to those of you who have chimed in and spread the word a bit already!
A few questions, then:
Scrusi suggested plastic cards instead of paper cards. The one plastic card manufacturer that has returned my email has a minimum order of 1500 decks (750 sets of two), at $8/deck. That adds up fast, to big, scary numbers for a freshman Kickstarter. I’ll be looking around for more numbers, but that’s a starting point at least. Paper decks will be cheaper, I assume, but they need to be a fair bit cheaper than the price I’d get at a Print on Demand place like TheGameCrafter.com (about $10/deck) or else there’s not a hugely compelling reason to try to leverage the economy of scale and bulk discounts. Sure, a Kickstarter will probably bring more potential customers just via publicity, but I’d really like to get a better deal for everyone as part of the bargain.
So… I’m still looking at pricing. I’d really love to hear what you all think, specifically about what vendors might be optimal in the ol’ cost/quality spectrum. Paper or plastic? (I know, plastic cards will be more durable, but are they worth triple the cost or more? How many players care enough about quality to pay that much more?) What about brands? Bicycle has a well-oiled pipeline for Kickstarted decks, and the ability to license their brand name (extra cost, maybe extra perceived value), and a 56-card standard deck that would allow for two cards to be super special Kickstarter rewards. They also offer custom tuck boxes, which seem like a Good Idea. That’s certainly not the only route, though, but there are a lot of vendors out there.
…and then there’s the art questions. I’ve done 12 of the 14 portraits for the face cards, and they lend the suits themes, as well as highlighting important 19th century people. I like the group I have… but it would be nice to open up the roster and let backers who want to be more involved get their portraits included. I didn’t start this with Kickstarter in mind, so I didn’t leave room. One thing I’ve considered strongly is to make the baseline historical figure deck available as a Print on Demand product, and point it out in the Kickstarter, but then open up all of the roster for people to buy into as a special limited edition of the deck. What think you?
Secondly, and this is perhaps more esoteric… just as an artifact of my design, I’ve altered the layout of the suit pips on the number cards. This is one example.
I chose to do this because of graphic design considerations (the large corner braces), and the desire to make the layout rotationally symmetrical on all cards. (Pip orientation aside, of course.) I like how it turned out, but it’s not traditional. Does that matter to you? Again, maybe this is where I offer the original elsewhere, and make the Limited Edition (gee, that term is starting to look official and all special-like) use the traditional form.
Offering the original as a paper Print on Demand deck opens up the option to make the Kickstarter a plastic deck project, too… but again, do enough players want plastic cards to make it worthwhile? Maybe this means two Kickstarters in the end, the first one in paper, the second one in plastic? I’m really not sure on these things since they are largely based on predicting what people might want. That’s why I’m asking now for as much feedback as I can get. Will you please help me spread the word and get some opinions collected?
I do have some other stuff planned, some spiffy extras to sweeten the Limited Edition, one of which I’ll tease a bit here: I work in 3D modeling programs most of my work day, so I’m adept at 3D work. I spent some time at home the last two evenings and whipped this up, and put it in my Shapeways shop. (The home of the Gearpunk dice, which dye and paint up pretty well.)
Spade Token (Shapeways render)
It’s derived from the Spade suit pip. It’s as big as it is (almost 4×3 inches) to make the gears functional. I can make a smaller version, certainly, but the gears would fuse. It’s a costly beast, even in plastic. I’m going to try to hollow it out a bit to save on cost, but it’ll still be biggish to make those gears work. I’m not sure the gears would ever work if it’s printed in metal, though, so maybe smaller is the way to go anyway to give plastic vs. metal options. I like that large version, but it’s a bit unwieldy and, well, expensive.
Anyway, thanks for stopping by and reading, and I’d love to hear what you all think!