Lesson #19 – Using Tabletopia to Drive Interest in Your Campaign

I recently concluded my Kickstarter campaign for Groves. During this campaign, I found many ways to help spread word about the campaign but what surprised me the most was how interactive people were with our Tabletopia version of the game. I expected potential backers to be interested in the prospect of playing the game digitally but I did not realize how many would actually play it. We were lucky enough to get data directly from Tabletopia and this post will dive into all the juicy details on how Tabletopia helped drive interest to our live Kickstarter campaign.

What is Tabletopia? ^

Tabletopia is basically a digital interface where players can play games together online. Games do not have the rules or actions programmed into them, just images, so players are required to perform actions like flipping cards, rolling dice, and following rules or abilities manually. Tabletopia is free to use and you do not even need an account, I just log in using Facebook.

How can Tabletopia Help Your Campaign? ^

Glad you asked.

It gives players a chance to try it before they buy it!

This is the most obvious way Tabletopia can help your campaign and it is an important one!  Backers who are on the fence or want to know if your game is any good will have a direct opportunity to play the game and decide if it is for them! This method also saves your backers the trouble and ink required in printing and constructing a print and play. With so many games being on Kickstarter at the same time now, it is important to provide backers a simple and engaging way to try your game out and determine if it is something they want to invest their money into! You need that extra edge if you’re going to stand out!

Backers become more engaged in your campaign and help to promote it

As previously stated, Tabletopia gives your backers a chance to try your game out. What happens when your backers play it and love it? They tell people about it, that’s what! To me, backers spreading love for your campaign by word of mouth is the single most effective method of engaging new backers. Also, if other potential backers ask questions about your game either in the comments or on Board Game Geek, you have an army of people willing to answer questions and spread love for your game!

It is another place to point potential backers towards your campaign

We added the link to the Kickstarter campaign into the description of the game so that whenever anyone played the Tabletopia version, there was a link for the campaign right on the page. Games on Tabletopia that are also on Kickstarter are linked under their “Kickstarter” sort which appears on the front page. I am not sure if there were not a lot of games that did this, if we were lucky, or if my timing was just right, but EVERY time I went to their homepage of www.tabletopia.com, I saw Groves on the front page under the Kickstarter section. This was amazing because I did not even plan on Tabletopia as a marketing strategy but more as a tool to incorporate similar to a Print and Play. Seeing our game on the home page meant more people just browsing Tabletopia would find our game and this was very exciting! More eyes on our game meant more potential traffic to the Kickstarter page, which means more potential backers.

In game example of Groves on Tabletopia

You can connect with your backers by playing a game with them!

This was another unexpected advantage of Tabletopia that was probably my favorite outcome that came out of the platform. I was able to play a game of Groves with my backers! People back your campaign for a multitude of reasons, including a belief in you and a drive to help bring your product to life. What better way to engage your backers, build your community, and thank than for their support than by playing a few rounds of your game with them? I posted a few updates mentioning that I would be hosting a few games on Tabletopia and set up a few tables at certain times and just shared the links with the backers so they could sign up for seats at the table for the time that was most convenient for them. We played a few games and it was SO MUCH FUN! We had a blast doing this and I highly recommend it if you want a fantastic way to interact directly with your backers!

The Data ^

So how many people actually played our game and for how long? We were lucky enough to get all of the data from Tabletopia and it turns out a lot of people played our game on the platform during the campaign. The data included is the entire period of our campaign from day before launch to day before close (June 5th – July 5th, 2017).

We ended up having 155 unique players play the game for 78 hours in just this one month.  We had backers mention during the campaign that they played the game, they really enjoyed it, and they backed because they knew it was good and they had the chance to try it out.

Final Thoughts ^

I really think that this data and all of these reasons are more than enough to encourage everyone to consider taking the time to upload your games into Tabletopia when launching a campaign. It will get more eyes on your campaign, will instill confidence in your product, and it will connect you to your backers in the best way possible, at the (digital) table!

7 thoughts on “Lesson #19 – Using Tabletopia to Drive Interest in Your Campaign”

  1. Hey Dan! Good article, I’ve been hoping other designers would share their experience with these platforms. A couple quick questions if you don’t mind. 1. Were you using 100% final assets for Groves on TT? 2. How did you make your game fully public? I have messed around with TT a bit, but in order to get the game fully public for trial do you need to email the TT developers? I was able to set up and play my own games, but I don’t think it was ever fully public, not sure. Thank you again!

    1. Hey Carl, thanks for the questions! We did not use 100% final as the files were not completely finished but we did use some final versions of files.

      Making the game public was a matter of simply requesting the developers to do so (as you mentioned).

      Good luck and let me know if you have any other questions!

  2. Very interesting.
    How long before the campaign did you release it on tabletopia? What would you say is the best period to release it?

    1. Thanks for the comment Petter! We released the TT version of Groves about a week before launch. This allowed us to try it out a few times before linking it on the campaign.

      This timeline worked well as I think it being new helped sort it to the front page of TT while the campaign was live. Though I can also see arguments for having it o there longer so more people will have played it by launch.

      Let me know if you have any other questions and thanks for reading!

  3. Dan, how did you find getting your custom tiles working on Tabletopia? I have messed around with getting some hexes set up for my game Tribal Conflict, but it I could not get them to behave nicely. I am still a few months out from needing it to be working re KS and getting people playing, but that was the major roadblock I encountered.

    1. Hey Elgar, thanks for the comment. I am not sure what you are asking here. What exactly is going wrong with the files you are entering in?

      Thanks for reading and please clarify so I can try to help!

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