Tabletop games have already raised $146 million on Kickstarter in 2021, with more than two dozen projects individually breaking the $1 million mark - putting the crowdfunding platform on track for yet another record-breaking year.
That’s the prediction from ICO Partners analyst Thomas Bidaux, who broke down the performance of tabletop games on Kickstarter during the first half of 2021 in a recent blog post.
According to Bidaux’s data, more than 1,800 tabletop games have successfully been funded so far in 2021, a greater number than either half of last year. Meanwhile, the number of games that failed to reach their funding target fell from the second half of 2020, resulting in 75% of tabletop campaigns being successful.
“The number of funded projects is ahead of the previous year if you project for a similar amount to be funded in the last 6 months,” Bidaux predicted.
Of the projects that met their goal, more than 50 raised over $500,000, with 28 raising more than $1 million. Among the most successful campaigns were tabletop adaptations of popular video games - including The Witcher: Old World, which raised over $8m, and Monster Hunter World: The Board Game, which amassed over $4.7m.
Reprints, sequels and expansions to already popular board games have also helped boost tabletop games on Kickstarter, with series such as Zombicide, Mythic Battles, Root and Castles of Mad King Ludwig all returning to the crowdfunding site.
It’s not just board games seeing record numbers; Bidaux noted that tabletop RPGs have boomed on Kickstarter during 2021. Before 2021, only four RPG projects had raised over $1m on Kickstarter - 2021 alone has seen six RPG campaigns smash that figure, with the second edition of Lord of the Rings RPG The One Ring and Avatar Legends repeatedly breaking the record for highest-funded RPG this year. (Bidaux noted that Avatar Legends was not included in the data for the first half of 2021 as the campaign is yet to conclude - it has raised $8.3m at the time of writing.)
Collectively, tabletop games have raised $146 million on Kickstarter so far in 2021 - a more than $20m increase on the amount raised in either half of last year. Last year saw the most money raised for tabletop games on Kickstarter, $236m - the largest year-on-year jump for tabletop category in five years - with Gloomhaven sequel Frosthaven becoming the highest-funded board game of all time with nearly $13m pledged. Bidaux pointed out that the money made by tabletop Kickstarter campaigns in the first six months of 2021 is greater than the amount raised by tabletop games during the whole of 2017.
“There is a good chance that by the end of the year, we can say that the amount of money raised in Kickstarter by tabletop projects has doubled in four years,” Bidaux added.
Bidaux acknowledged the new competition from crowdfunding platform Gamefound, which launched late last year and attracted high-profile projects including the upcoming Elder Scrolls: Skyrim board game and ISS Vanguard, as well as follow-up campaigns for a number of titles initially funded through Kickstarter.
“While the scale of it is far from the one of Kickstarter, there is no doubt that the campaigns that launched so far on Gamefound would have found their way on Kickstarter, probably for a similar success,” Bidaux said. “The relatively good numbers of Kickstarter for the first half of 2021 would have been even better if not for the new competition offered by Gamefound.”
Despite the second-strongest six-month period for video game projects on Kickstarter since 2015 (topped only by the second half of 2020), tabletop games continued to vastly outpace their digital counterparts. Only two projects raised more than $500,000 - Friday Night Funkin’ made $2.2m, while Coral Island saw $1.6m pledged - compared to the 52 that surpassed that figure in tabletop games.
Video games also saw more campaigns miss their funding goal; 184 projects were successfully funded in the first half of 2021, with 465 failing to reach their target. Altogether, video games made $13m on Kickstarter in the first half of 2021, versus the $14m raised in the back half of 2020.