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

NameCreatorFunds raisedBackers
NameCreatorFunds raisedBackers
FrosthavenIsaac Childres$12,969,60883,193
Wyrmwood Modular TableWyrmwood Gaming$8,808,1367,713
Nemesis LockdownAwaken Realms£5,174,153 (approx. $6.9 million)41,907
Darkest Dungeon the Board GameMythic Games$5,657,47928,842
Return to Dark TowerRestoration Games$4,054,74423,661
Wildlands by Dwarven ForgeDwarven Forge$4,005,1833,526
The 7th CitadelSerious Poulp€3,289,904 (approx. $4 million)33,353
Massive Darkness 2: HellscapeCMON$3,813,27421,763
Ankh: Gods of EgyptCMON$3,320,19623,386
Full Color Custom Miniatures with Hero Forge 2.0Hero Forge$3,106,66039,167

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

NameCreatorFunds raisedBackers
NameCreatorFunds raisedBackers
Eiyuden Chronicles: Hundred HeroesRabbit & Bear Studios¥481,621,841 (approx. $4.6 million)46,307
The Wonderful 101: RemasteredPlatinum Games¥235,320,528 (approx. $2.3 million)33,199
Pathfinder: Wrath of the RighteousOwlcat Games$2,054,33935,092
Sea of StarsSabotageCA$ 1,628,126 (approx. $1.26 million)25,589
Kindred FatesSkymill Studios$685,76910,876
My Time At SandrockPathea Games$524,7709.915
Venus Blood HollowNinetail¥37,663,844 (approx. $363,000)1,537
Anstoss 20222tainment€246,496 (approx. $300,000)3,888
Curse of the Sea RatsPetoons Studio€242,395 (approx. $295,000)5,958
The Last FaithKumi 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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