Games broke funding records on Kickstarter in 2020, despite the pandemic

Games continued to flourish on Kickstarter this year, with tabletop games — including board games, role-playing games, and gaming accessories — leading the way on the crowdfunding platform. Video games were also up, with two Japanese games earning more than any other in that category.

Successful campaigns for tabletop games and accessories earned more than $233 million in 2020, up from $176.3 million in 2019 — an increase of more than 32%. Despite the ongoing global pandemic, fans of hobby gaming showed up for Frosthaven, the sequel to the hit dungeon crawler Gloomhaven. Isaac Childres bested 2016’s reprint of Kingdom Death: Monster by earning just shy of $12.97 million in his campaign. The final product is expected to ship in March 2021.

Massachusetts-based Wyrmwood Gaming surprised many by breathing life into the high-end gaming furniture market left vacant by Geek Chic, which went out of business in 2017. Its Kickstarter campaign for a modular gaming table was the second-most funded tabletop campaign of the year, earning more than $8.8 million. Tables are already in production, with the majority expected to begin shipping in 2021, despite CEO Doug Costello stepping down after employee complaints.

Most-funded Tabletop Kickstarters, 2020

Name Creator Funds raised Backers
Name Creator Funds raised Backers
Frosthaven Isaac Childres $12,969,608 83,193
Wyrmwood Modular Table Wyrmwood Gaming $8,808,136 7,713
Nemesis Lockdown Awaken Realms £5,174,153 (approx. $6.9 million) 41,907
Darkest Dungeon the Board Game Mythic Games $5,657,479 28,842
Return to Dark Tower Restoration Games $4,054,744 23,661
Wildlands by Dwarven Forge Dwarven Forge $4,005,183 3,526
The 7th Citadel Serious Poulp €3,289,904 (approx. $4 million) 33,353
Massive Darkness 2: Hellscape CMON $3,813,274 21,763
Ankh: Gods of Egypt CMON $3,320,196 23,386
Full Color Custom Miniatures with Hero Forge 2.0 Hero Forge $3,106,660 39,167

Meanwhile, video games sprung back to life after years of anemic growth. Kickstarter’s vice president of community Luke Crane attributes that to continued outreach to Japanese creators.

“We’re committed to continuing to develop Japan,” Crane told Polygon in an interview. “The culture of asking for money in Japan […] for a creative project is very different than it is here. We’ve been working with the communities there and trying to understand what it is they need to be comfortable to launch, and also building up partnerships [in that country].”

Most-funded Video Game Kickstarters, 2020

Name Creator Funds raised Backers
Name Creator Funds raised Backers
Eiyuden Chronicles: Hundred Heroes Rabbit & Bear Studios ¥481,621,841 (approx. $4.6 million) 46,307
The Wonderful 101: Remastered Platinum Games ¥235,320,528 (approx. $2.3 million) 33,199
Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous Owlcat Games $2,054,339 35,092
Sea of Stars Sabotage CA$ 1,628,126 (approx. $1.26 million) 25,589
Kindred Fates Skymill Studios $685,769 10,876
My Time At Sandrock Pathea Games $524,770 9.915
Venus Blood Hollow Ninetail ¥37,663,844 (approx. $363,000) 1,537
Anstoss 2022 2tainment €246,496 (approx. $300,000) 3,888
Curse of the Sea Rats Petoons Studio €242,395 (approx. $295,000) 5,958
The Last Faith Kumi Souls Games £210,075 (approx. $280,000) 4,053

Two high-profile campaigns from Japan finished first and second overall in the video game category. The first, Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes, aims to deliver a classic Japanese-style RPG in late 2022. That campaign, a spiritual successor to Konami’s Suikoden series, earned the equivalent of $4.6 million in August. The Wonderful 101: Remastered — which received praise here at Polygon and at other publications — was also funded and released this year with the help of nearly $2.3 million from Kickstarter backers.

For 2021, Crane said his organization is looking once again to Europe as another growth market. He cited the recent launch of Kickstarter in Poland as a something for fans of tabletop games and video games alike to keep an eye on. He hopes that the financial success of CD Projekt Red’s Cyberpunk 2077 could inspire more Polish creatives to bring their work to the Kickstarter platform.

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