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Tabletop games are exploding on Kickstarter, video games are flat

Board games and miniatures continue to be hot commodities

Kingdom Death: Monster
Charlie Hall/Polygon
Charlie Hall is Polygon’s tabletop editor. In 10-plus years as a journalist & photographer, he has covered simulation, strategy, and spacefaring games, as well as public policy.

Crowdfunding for games was up overall on Kickstarter last year, with a massive increase of nearly 30 percent. But that boost was entirely due the success of tabletop games. Video games remained relatively flat.

According to data provided to Polygon by Kickstarter, there were nearly 400 more successful tabletop campaigns in 2017 compared to 2016. Earnings were up more than $36 million, an increase of at most 36 percent. The average successful tabletop game raised $65,418 in 2017, compared to $59,181 in 2016.

It was a big year for big tabletop games on Kickstarter, however. Two campaigns in particular accounted for a big part of that category’s increase. Kingdom Death: Monster 1.5 became the highest funded game project of any kind, and the fourth-highest earning campaign in Kickstarter’s history. That $12.39 million-campaign closed in January and started shipping out to backers in the fall. Later, in October, The 7th Continent closed a massive $7 million dollar campaign of its own.

Video games, meanwhile, were relatively flat and hovered around $17 million. The average campaign earned a bit more in 2017, however — $48,184 compared to $45,360 the year previous. That’s a far cry from 2015’s high of $110,962.

Note that calculations are complicated by the fact that last year Kickstarter would only say that between 85 percent and 88 percent of money pledged went to successful game projects. We've gone with the higher numbers for our calculations.