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Games have now made $1 billion on Kickstarter – and tabletop projects are leading the way

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Game crowdfunding projects have now topped $1 billion in pledges on Kickstarter, with tabletop games responsible for the lion’s share of the impressive figure.

Kickstarter announced that its ‘games’ category – which includes board games, video games, card games and puzzles – has brought in more than a billion dollars from 3.2 million backers across almost 17,000 successful projects since the crowdfunding website launched in 2009.

Tabletop projects, which cover a mix of board games, miniatures games and tabletop RPGs, were far and away the biggest genre within games, contributing 69% – $687 million – to the total.

That’s almost three times the $237 million pledged to video game projects – the second-largest sub-category – during the same period. Third on the list were ‘playing card’ projects, including a variety of tabletop card games, with $25 million raised.

Analyst ICO Partners previously estimated that tabletop Kickstarter campaigns made $192 million in 2018 alone – ten times the amount made by video games – and were responsible for nearly 30% of all the money raised on Kickstarter as a whole last year. More tabletop campaigns than ever were launched on Kickstarter in 2018, with almost two-thirds successfully funded. By comparison, less than half of all games projects successfully reached their crowdfunding target.

Not only are more tabletop games being funded, they’re making more money, too; the number of tabletop projects that saw over $500,000 pledged doubled last year. 

The two most-funded games projects to date on Kickstarter are both tabletop games: Kingdom Death: Monster 1.5, which raised $12.4 million in early 2017, and Exploding Kittens, which gathered $8.8 million from over 200,000 backers in 2015. Kingdom Death: Monster 1.5 is the fourth highest-funded project on the whole of Kickstarter, behind two iterations of the Pebble smartwatch and the Coolest Cooler.

It’s not only tabletop games that have made millions – tabletop-related projects have also found huge success. One example includes the campaign for an animated show based on roleplaying actual play series Critical Role, which is currently sitting at $10.5 million – making it the fifth-biggest Kickstarter of any kind to date – and is still live at the time of writing.

“The tabletop space on Kickstarter has always been diverse and it is constantly evolving,” Kickstarter’s head of games Luke Crane told Tabletop Gaming. “Playing cards, card party games and miniatures board games have all had major moments on the platform. But the movement I'm most proud of comes from RPGs. There are so many fantastic indie RPGs launching on Kickstarter, it's like a mini-Gen Con every day.”

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