Real Estate of Utara: Kickstarter Reward Tier Planning



We're gradually refining the reward tiers for the upcoming Utara kickstarter campaign. We're gathering estimates from various vendors and comparing them to the hard costs of our last dice run. You might recall the last update on these plans, and now some stuff has changed based on the rising costs of postage, manufacturing, etc. Here's the basic rundown so far.

Description
Explore a new world with Utara compass dice. These custom dice show either North, East, South, West, a sun or a moon on each side. They can also be used as normal six-sided dice by counting the stars on each side. Use these dice in "Lost in Utara" for unexpected trips in your role-playing games. Roll them in board games like "Tides of Utara." When you back this project, you also help create the world of Utara. Small pledges create an island, while big pledges create whole archipelagos. Explore the World of Utara with Utara compass dice.

Goal: ~$5000 in 30 Days
Given our experience with the costs of prototyping and the costs of the Writer's Dice Kickstarter, now we have a better sense of what it costs to fulfill without going red.

$1: Citizen
All backers get thanks in the rulebook.
If the campaign is successful, the map of Utara will be released as a high-res PDF to Creative Commons.

$10: Explorer (250 Available*)
You get two Utara dice, enough to play the "Lost in Utara" mini-game.
You also create and name a small island on the map of Utara. (One cell large.)
[International orders add $3 shipping.]

$20: Trader (350 Available*)
You get four Utara dice, enough to play "Expedition to Utara."
You also create and name a big island on the map of Utara. ($20: Two cells. $30: Three cells. $40: Four cells.)
[International orders add $4 shipping.]

$45: Sailor (50 Available)
You get ten Utara dice, enough for two players to play "Tides of Utara!"
You also name an archipelago on the map of Utara.
[International orders add $5 shipping.]

$100: Navigator (5 Available)
You get twenty-five Utara dice. That's a five-player "Tides of Utara" set!
You also name a sea on the map of Utara.
You also get an exclusive Dragon Chow Dice Bag.
[International orders add $10 shipping.]

$500: Cartographer (3 Available)
You get twenty-five Utara dice. That's a five-player "Tides of Utara" set!
Your name is listed in the center of the map as a cartographer. (For example: The lands and seas of Utara as discovered by Lewis & Clark.")
You get an exclusive Dragon Chow Dice Bag.
You also get an exclusive handmade ~26" square fabric map with each hemisphere of Utara printed on either side, brought to you by Dragon Chow Dice Bags!
[International orders add $20 shipping.]

$1000: Crown of Utara (1 Available)
You get twenty-five fifty Utara dice. That's two five-player "Tides of Utara" set!
Your name is listed in the center of the map as the sponsor of the expedition. (For example: "Surveyed for her majesty, Queen Jane Smith.")
You get an exclusive Dragon Chow Dice Bag.
You also get an exclusive handmade ~26" square fabric map with each hemisphere of Utara printed on either side. The whole kit comes in a wooden box, brought to you by Dragon Chow Dice Bags!
[International orders add $20 shipping.]

* And now a math problem...
I have a limited amount of real estate in which to sell of naming rights to islands (one cell) and big islands (two-to-four cells). I have about 640 whole 19mm x 19mm squares in each 24" x 24" hemisphere. I would rather not fill up the whole map with islands. By making only 300 cells available for purchase in each hemisphere, we can ensure that the map doesn't get totally dominated by landmasses. There will always be a little more sea than land.

27 comments:

  1. I like the tiers, and what's offered in them. I was taken aback by the big jump in cost from the $45 tier to the $250 tier, but your explanation of the cost of prototyping and production make that make sense.

    I wonder about the map being too crowded, also. As well, what if people don't decide to back the big tiers? Will there be enough funds generated by the lower ones to cover your costs?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Last time I offered $250-level rewards with custom Dragon Chow dice bags, they were the first items to go. :)

    The crowding might be an issue, but I highly doubt we'll sell out of the first two levels of reward. Even if we do, that only occupies less than half the available area.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I think the $1000 should have the same amount of dice as the $500. I know they get the middle of the map, but is that really worth $500 bucks with less dice?

    Also, is there going to be an option to buy more dice? A have seen that in other Kickstaters, +$10 bucks for 2 dice. Or something like that.

    ReplyDelete
  4. D'oh! I mistyped some of those descriptions. Both of those tiers listed 25 dice, but the $1000 said it was a four-player set instead of a five-player set. That's now corrected. Also, I doubled the amount of dice in that highest tier because, what the heck. :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. That makes me feel better about the area issues. It also makes me want to ask if Lyndsay would make dice bags for my SchoolDaze Kickstarter next month. That would feel like copy-catting, though. Maybe pencil bags...

    ReplyDelete
  6. Here's a question for you:

    How many backers are you averaging per kickstarter?

    You've got 609 backer-slots available in the above (600 in the lower cost tiers), not accounting for a lack of slot limits for the Sailor tier.

    Is it possible that with your average number of backers, you'll end up with a map that's too sparse? (Not that you can't create & name islands yourself if that happens.)

    ReplyDelete
  7. As this is a nautically themed game, I wanted the landscape to be mostly ocean and peppered with archipelagos. Kind of a randomly generated Earthsea.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Fair. What IS your average number of backers?

    ReplyDelete
  9. Good question!

    HBR: 110 Backers raised $3,030
    Do: 552 Backers raised $24,383
    WD: 475 Backers raised $8,435

    Is there a common baseline from that? :P

    ReplyDelete
  10. I suspect it means you'll only consume around 500 of your slot supply, so all's well. :)

    ReplyDelete
  11. Yup! I think I'll make one hemisphere the crowded one, just to make 'em a little different.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Sailor (x3) > Navigator (x1); 30 vs. 25 dice; name multiple things in the game honoring several people I care about vs. name one big thing; and the bottom line in dollars and cents---figuring an MSRP of the lovely Dragon Chow dice bag ($15)---you end up with $150 vs. $250. It doesn't add up to me.

    The experience of donating at $250 should have a sense of completeness to it; so for $250 I would absolutely expect a playmat. The idea that I would have to then go to my local Kinkos/FedEx to print the map wouldn't make sense to me (even if it wasn't very expensive). I know that for $250 I can get a handmade crokinole board shipped to me. So in this case, I do not feel an added $100 of value.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Yeah, that's a good point. Worth evaluating the various tiers to make sure that the "conversion rate" between them makes sense.

    I also think the playmat thing is super-valid for the high tier folks, and in general is my main misgiving with the project -- there's gonna be a lot of folks paying money to name a thing that they won't actually receive except as a virtual, free-to-anybody product.

    ReplyDelete
  14. The playmats are more expensive than you might think! I'll add the playmats to the $250 tier for the time being, but I suspect that the pledge level would have to increase a tiny bit.

    ReplyDelete
  15. How's it feel if the $250 backers also got the playmat?

    ReplyDelete
  16. Actually, after getting a revised estimate on the costs of producing extra playmats, I just don't think I can justify it at the $250 level. Instead, I'm reducing the $250 level to $100 and keeping the dice quantity the same, so backers would get a bulk discount.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Actually, after getting a revised estimate on the costs of producing extra playmats, I just don't think I can justify it at the $250 level. Instead, I'm reducing the $250 level to $100 and keeping the dice quantity the same, so backers would get a bulk discount.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Sweet! Thanks for the input.

    ReplyDelete
  19. My personal opinion is that the play experience of Utara is more important than the etched dice---which can feel somewhat expensive compared to other low cost games with actual molded dice done in China. For example, Martian Dice by Tasty Minstrel Games (13 dice) and Bears by Fireside Games (40 dice) which both retail at or below $20.

    If a central idea is just to get people to play the game, allow me to recommend new pledge tier options focused on a DIY approach to playing Utara (providing print-and-play resources for the game and providing an alternative to the high cost of custom dice):

    $25: THE APPRENTICE (200 available)
    1 Utara rule set
    Name in rules as apprentice, no naming on map (but get pdf of map)
    20 BLANK 16mm dice by Kaplow at GameStation.net which can be bought in bulk for $.20 or less (maybe in four base colors like white, green, blue, yellow) and then these could be hand-labeled with permanent marker or stickers (include sticker pdf)

    Your cost: $10-12 (dice $4, rules ?, baggies ?, and shipping $5 with the small flat rate box used by Carnival from Dice Hate Me Games; margin > 50%)

    $60: THE CRAFTSMEN (50 available)
    1 Utara Rule Set
    1 Dragon Chow dice bag
    40 blank 16mm dice (10 of each from four base colors)
    No naming on map, but your name in rules plus your 'shop' (for example, Dragon's Pearl Jewelry, proprietor Chris Schreiber)

    Your cost: $30 (dice $8, dice bag MSRP $12, shipping $10; margin about 50%)

    $150 MASTER CRAFTSMEN (10 available)
    1 Utara Rule Set
    1 Most Awesome Dragon Chow dice bag (pencil height)
    10 Utara Etched Dice (like from the Sailor tier)
    50 blank dice (50 of 4 base colors, but 10 of RED for open source design)
    1 name an island on the map
    1 fake ad for your business in the back of the rules on the naming pages to spice those pages up a bit (Dragon's Pearl Jewelry located on Leatherwood Island, "Pearls that are Marinated in Moon Light", proprietor Chris Schreiber)

    Cost: This is essentially the $45 Sailor tier + $60 Craftsmen tier I have suggested with an additional 10 blank dice ($2.50), a dice bag upgrade ($4), and additional shipping ($5)---which values the fake add you would make them at only $30. Your time is probably worth more than that, but personally I just wouldn't back the level above that amount.

    I know suggesting a DIY approach that does not focus on the etched dice as the primary reward is a very different take. But when I demo'd Utara at GenCon last summer with you it seemed the more dice in play the better for this game. You might see this as risky and I apologize for such a long post---but as a potential backer who has actually played the game, it's what I would want to see. Inclusive levels that focused on the game play would matter to me.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Will there only be 9 total packages available with 25(or more) dice plus a dice bag? I'm confident I can swing around $100 for such a game package, with or without the map element naming rights; but considering the populatiry of your games so far, I'm less confident about getting a pledge for one of the $100 level packages before others scoop them up.

    ReplyDelete
  21. As soon as those elite tiers get sold out, I'll open up a new tier with just the bulk discount deal for 25 dice. I might also offer more bags as a +200% unlockable reward.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Did you mean for the $45 Sailor tier to be unlimited? It seems like the same logic would hold for archipelagos as the islands from the previous tiers.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Good catch! I'm assuming there will be fewer $45 backers than $20 and $20, but just to be on the safe side I've set the limit to 50.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Well, with that being the case, I'll just have to make sure I'm one of the 5 that scoop up one of those initial $100 reward levels. Just give us all some notice as to when you're putting up the Kickstarter. :D

    ReplyDelete
  25. Oh you'll hear from me!

    ReplyDelete

Daniel Solis
Art Director by Day. Game Designer by Night.