A screenshot from Awaken Realms' website from a board game art.
Image credit: Awaken Realms

Gamefound, a crowdfunding platform launched to challenge the hegemony of Kickstarter, has been actively attracting publishers and game developers. The platform managed to raise a total of $28,3 million in crowdfunding projects, generated from across a fleet of board games campaigns in 2022.

Gamefound Overshoots in 2022, But Delivers on Strong Growth

While doing well, Gamefound actually fell short of what was a very ambitious goal, as the company sought to generate a total of $67.5 million in 2022, or 25% of Kickstarter’s 2021 revenue generated from tabletop projects. Nevertheless, the $28.3 million posted in 2022 was actually a 45% improvement year-over-year, meaning that Gamefound is actually on the correct path, and is fresh out of its beta stage, completing a first-year as a fully-fledged platform.

In the meantime, Kickstarter has definitely felt its competitor’s sting, with the crowdfunding company seeing revenue from boardgames projects decline by $33 million. Then again, the company also said that it has seen an increase in the overall number of successfully completed campaigns, so a silver lining after all.  

Gamefound is a serious competitor. Based in Poland, a country with a strong tradition in board game design, and the audience to drive entrepreneurship in the sector, the company has been building on steadily. It was averaging four campaigns during its beta, but suddenly went to launching 30 new campaigns a month shortly after exiting the initial stages of beta testing in 2022.

Both platforms still face challenges. Marcin Świerkot, the founder of Gamefound, is keen to continue growing its footprint and is confident that it may succeed yet. In a comment for Polygon, which did the original reporting, Świerkot acknowledged the clear advantages that Kickstarter still had on his company.

After all, he said, “the devil you know is better than the devil you don’t know,” and he has a point. Platforms such as Gamefound and Backerkit are rather new, and despite their recent successes, they still need to continue delivering on projects with consistency and without technical issues so as to win over consumers who often see board games as a justifiable expenditure and are willing to go big on their hobby spending.

Outlook for 2023 and How Campaigns Performed in 2022

Therefore, the goal for 2023 for Gamefound is more realistic, with Świerkot expecting to see anything around $50 million generated in revenue. Świerkot did not spare criticism to some campaigns that were underwhelming after an initial hype for them quickly subsided.

Among those are Hasbro and Wormwood’s failures to produce meaningful campaign results from some of their notable franchises and intellectual property assets. The Gamefound founder was critical of his own company, too, with Awaken Realms, publisher of many outstanding titles, to wit Nemesis, Tainted Grail, Lord of Hellas, and the upcoming ISS Vanguard, also underperforming a bit.

Świerkot also told Polygon that the board games industry is prone to big impacts from economic swings that can influence prices negatively, push shipping and production up, and generally add to the manufacturing costs quickly. That is something board games companies have no influence over, he explained.

Meanwhile, Awaken Realms’ managed to top the Gamefound campaigns list, with Tainted Grail: King of Ruin raising $4.42 million followed by Castles of Burgundy: Special Edition raising more than $3 million. 

Red Raven Games was next with Sleeping Gods: Distant Skies and some $2 million. Total War: Rome: The Board Game raised an underwhelming $721,817 but KeyForge: Winds of Exchange, the bedraggled franchise that lost its entire card-crafting software, managed to raise $1.1 million under the stewardship of Ghost Galaxy.

Stoyan entered the hobby over seven years ago and his collection has been growing at a pace his spouse has described as “concerning.” Willing to push the boundaries of the connubial bliss to its extremes, Stoyan is here to bring you the latest updates and developments from the world of board games.