I often browse many kickstarter forums (mostly the groups on Facebook) and I often see the question come up of “Should I include a Print and Play (PnP) in my campaign?” Whether you decide to offer it for a price or give it out to everyone free of charge, I definitely think it is a good idea to include a Print and Play in your Kickstarter campaign. This post will explore all of the reasons why I feel the way I do.
I have included Print and Plays in all of my campaigns. Typically, I will offer a low resolution, black and white version for free to everyone who comes to the campaign page. I will also offer a high resolution, full color version for a low cost ($5) as a reward tier.
So why do it?
The main reasons for including the print and play (both free and low cost versions) are:
- It affirms to backers that you are confident in your game – Backers like to know you believe in your game. What better way to show backers how much you believe in your game than offering a try it before you buy it? You are so confident that backers will like it, you are willing to give them all of the game to see for themselves. Confidence in your product is key when you are selling it to thousands of potential backers.
- Backers can actually try it before they buy it – This will give many backers who are on the fence a chance to actually play the game, love it, and maybe that extra push to get them to back! And if they didn’t like it, at least they found out before backing, getting sent a game, and then telling you how much they hate your game they just spent a lot of money on (don’t forget, everyone has different tastes!).
- Backers can see everything included in the game – Painting a complete picture of your game is very important when you are running a campaign at the same time as many other games. Giving backers an opportunity to see all of your cards (the text and artwork, variable abilities, actions, and events) included in your game will definitely make a more lasting impression than just listing that your game includes a certain number of unique cards.
- A low cost PnP saves international backers some money if you have very high shipping charges – although you should do your best to get shipping costs down for all backers, sometimes it just does not work out that way. However, why should you deprive some potential backers the joy of playing your game because costs are too prohibitive? Offer a low cost PnP so that backers can decide if they would like to print the game out themselves and save a few bucks. At least they get the chance to play your game and help spread the word of how good it is! Word of mouth is key in keeping the game alive post kickstarter fulfillment
What are the cons to offering a Print and Play?
I can imagine that it would be more difficult to come to terms with offering a full PnP for a cards only game (all of my games have come with unique components that I felt put the game reward level significantly above the PnP level). You might be afraid that someone is going to steal your art and print your games for themselves. The reality is that it is very unlikely someone is going to steal your game. First off, if they were going to print your game themselves once they have the files, chances are that their final product will either be more expensive or worse quality than the game you will be producing. Second, if someone is going to actually steal your art and print their own games to sell, the community would definitely take notice. The board game community is very small and close-knit. If someone were to steal your files to print themselves (in a more malicious way than just playing it themselves at home), they would severely tarnish their reputation amongst your fellow board gamers.
As previously mentioned, I have offered a PnP in all of my campaigns and see hundreds of downloads per game during the campaign, so backers definitely take advantage of this opportunity. The word around the block is that the most common reason for downloading the PnP is to see all of the components, not actually playing it. I know that personally, I have actually played one Kickstarter PnP. I loved it and went back to the campaign to immediately back it.
I know it is a little bit of extra work to make a PnP, especially for a larger, component-intensive game but I definitely think it will do more good for your campaign than you realize. Go get those PnPs assembled, link them in your campaign, and overfund like it is your duty!