Kickstarter challenger BackerKit notches biggest crowdfund yet as Gloomhaven Grand Festival soars past $2m goal

BackerKit‘s bid to take on crowdfunding giant Kickstarter has scored a major success after Gloomhaven publisher Cephalofair passed $2m for its first campaign on the platform.

Cephalofair was a high-profile loss for Kickstarter when it revealed it was switching to BackerKit’s newly-announced crowdfunding programme last summer, having previously raised close to $18m over seven years of Kickstarter campaigns.

The company made the jump in the wake of Kickstarter’s determined push to use blockchain technology for its platform – a strategy it has since heavily rowed back on in the wake of pushback from creators.

The timing was perfect for BackerKit, which launched its crowdfunding operation 12 months ago after a decade as a Kickstarter pledge manager and back-end services specialist.

Cephalofair has raised more than $2.3m from over 10,000 backers so far for its Gloomhaven Grand Festival, with 24 days of the fundraise still to go.

That raise has already become BackerKit’s biggest yet, outdoing the $2.05m raised for Restoration Games’ second printing of Return to Dark Tower.

Gloomhaven’s first edition is currently the third-highest-rated game on BoardGameGeek, having spent a record five years and two months in the top spot until being ousted by Martin Wallace’s Brass: Birmingham in February.

The Grand Festival crowdfunding campaign includes pledge options for the second edition of Gloomhaven, the new Gloomhaven RPG, the second printing of Frosthaven and an option to buy Gloomhaven miniatures.

BackerKit co-founder Maxwell Salzberg told BoardGameWire Cephalofair’s “support and encouragement helped to catalyze our efforts to build a crowdfunding platform – which is the most ambitious endeavor in our company’s 10-year history”.

He said, “It means so much to us. We are still in Beta and will only begin inviting the broad creator community to run campaigns on BackerKit Crowdfunding later this summer. 

“The Cephalofair team is truly exceptional in their craft. We’ve been awed by their games and accomplishments.”

He said, “We’ve been fortunate that a range of big name game publishers – including, among others, Monte Cook Games, Restoration Games, Greater Than Games, and Evil Hat Productions – have chosen to run campaigns on our platform during the Beta phase.

“…our approach [with Gloomhaven] has been a bit different primarily because Cephalofair’s team has so many great ideas about what structures need to be in places to promote engagement between creators and backers.

“There has been a lot of idea-sharing between the two teams about how best to build in platform and other features that facilitate more quality, two-way interactions between the project creator and backers.

“This is certainly our largest campaign yet to launch on BackerKit Crowdfunding, but we’ve been a part of preparing for, marketing, and fulfilling hundreds of million-dollar-plus campaigns over the years.

“In some ways working with Cephalofair on the Gloomhaven Grand Festival is an extension of that same work we’ve been doing, with the added wrinkle of course that we needed to build the platform to host it.”

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