Meet Evil Hat Productions
Evil Hat Productions co-founders Fred Hicks and Rob Donoghue developed the original award-winning Fate role-playing game system in 2003, years before crowdfunding sites Kickstarter and Indiegogo even existed. The team went on to release a series of successful games based on the Fate system including Spirit of the Century, Diaspora, and The Dresden Files RPG. A decade after the initial Fate release, Evil Hat conquered the crowdfunding arena, raising $433,365 on Kickstarter for Fate Core, the fourth edition of the Fate role-playing game system. Evil Hat did not use BackerKit for Fate Core but they have used BackerKit on the four projects that they’ve launched since then.
How They Used BackerKit
Prior to using BackerKit, the Evil Hat team handled backer management primarily with “spreadsheets, overtime, and massive doses of insanity,” according to co-founder Fred Hicks. “And in the end sum it was just too damn much work, and more prone to human error, while limiting our post-campaign options for handling special cases, folks who wanted to upgrade or buy in after the fact, and so on.” The BackerKit platform simplified pledge management for Evil Hat, automatically importing their Kickstarter account and pulling in all backers and pledge-level data.
BackerKit made it easy for Evil Hat to build backer surveys that could handle custom reward packages and automatically generate SKU-complete orders ready for processing: “More and more of our campaigns needed to give backers the opportunity to define and custom-configure their rewards packages once the campaign's funding period wrapped up. On the Kickstarter platform itself there's just no easy way to do that, and most of the workarounds were pretty hideous: multiple, confusing reward tiers, free-form text field entries (that had to be human-parsed later) on the surveys, or really complicated and bewildering survey questions.” Evil Hat tried making the Kickstarter survey system work but found that “BackerKit quickly emerged as the best solution out there for solving all of those problems.”
use pledge questions and add-ons to handle dynamic rewards
Complicated Rewards? No Problem!
BackerKit’s survey system provides the flexibility to accommodate custom reward packages. Backers can answer pledge questions to pick the options that they want and the survey generates a finished order with all of the correct SKU counts.
through upgrades and add-on sales
Add-Ons, Pledge-Tier Upgrades, and More.
Evil Hat used BackerKit’s add-on features to handle post-campaign orders. According to Fred, “We've used BackerKit on four separate campaigns at this point, and I've never encountered a situation where BackerKit didn't pay for itself (and then some) through add-ons.”
The Creator Journey
Before Kickstarter, Evil Hat had run pre-order campaigns on its own, where the pre-orders funded larger printing runs and customers pitched in to help proofread books in advance of production. According to Hicks, “crowdfunding felt like the destination we were already headed towards from long before it became viable, let alone dominant, in tabletop games.” Evil Hat jumped into crowdfunding early, before BackerKit even existed, but they’re a customer now and they’ve seen the platform improve over the years.
“The options were overwhelming at first, but that's really because the tool is very robust. BackerKit's customer service was excellent — even going so far as to add new features and do code pushes in order to make sure I could get it to do what I needed. Now that we're into our fourth campaign using BackerKit, it's a breeze; the interface now does a good job of walking you through step-by-step.”
“BackerKit isn't a fit for every project — if you don't have add-ons, or some other post-campaign financial activity you need done, it's not a ‘must have.’ But for most of our projects, BackerKit is a great fit and a definite ‘must have.’”
“BackerKit’s flexibility means we can try a variety of approaches to our reward structures, through add-ons and upgrades. On our latest project, Don't Turn Your Back, we're using it to bill for shipping outside of the Kickstarter campaign, letting us be more flexible (and complex) about our shipping rates as well as keeping the shipping costs out of the campaign's funding goals.”
Evil Hat is a perfect example of an established company that has used crowdfunding to keep customers involved in the development process and, ultimately, to produce better products.
To stay updated on Evil Hat Productions’ journey, visit evilhat.com.
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