Gamefound turns up heat on Kickstarter after scoring 2023’s biggest tabletop fundraise, half of the year’s top 10 most-funded board game projects

Tabletop games-focused crowdfunding platform Gamefound has upped the pressure on industry heavyweight Kickstarter thanks to a stellar 2023 which saw it bag the biggest board game fundraise of the year.

Gamefound began life as a Kickstarter pledge manager in 2015, before Marcin Świerkot, the founder of board game publisher Awaken Realms, set his sights on beating the crowdfunding giant at its own game in the tabletop sector two years ago.

Świerkot hoped 2022 would see the company take in $67.5m, representing 25% of the tabletop revenue Kickstarter had recorded the previous year – a total it fell well short of at $28.3m, despite a big rise in revenue, Polygon reported in February last year.

This year the firm has outdone Świerkot’s initial $50m prediction, pulling in $56m in total crowdfunding from projects despite Kickstarter’s continued dominance and the rise of fellow upstart fundraising platform BackerKit – another former Kickstarter pledge manager which exited its beta phase last summer.

Gamefound scored a huge win in 2023 by bagging the biggest tabletop fundraising campaign of the year, with sci-fi survival horror game Nemesis’ standalone expansion Nemesis: Retaliation raising more than $12.1m – the third biggest board game crowdfunding campaign of all time behind Frosthaven ($12.9m) and Kingdom Death Monster 1.5 ($12.3m).

While clearly an explosive success of a campaign, Gamefound also proved it had strength in depth by scoring five of the top 10 most-funded board games of the year.

They included The Witcher: Path of Destiny ($6.4m), S.T.A.L.K.E.R The Board Game ($4.7m) and The Elder Scrolls: Betrayal Of The Second Era ($4.6m).

Kickstarter scored big raises of its own with games including Battletech: Mercenaries ($7.5m), but was kept from holding all of the remaining five slots of the top ten by BackerKit’s Gloomhaven Grand Festival campaign ($5.5m) – a powerful early success for the new platform.

Gamefound revealed in its annual roundup that it also reached one million users and saw 167 new creators join the platform.

Świerkot, the CEO of Gamefound, said in the roundup, “Those are some ‘sexy’ numbers, but they don’t tell the full story. I believe that Gamefound was able to bring a lot of value to both creators and backers and that added value always makes me most happy.

“Our team works really hard, and it is all worth it, seeing a creator making their dream project come true, or backers appreciating our newest feature.”

He cited important features the company added last year as being central to its success, including making tax more streamlined, providing the option to pay in instalments, and quality of life improvements for creators such as a new analytics section and dashboard.

Kickstarter has not released its own 2023 figures. The firm saw revenue from its tabletop projects fall by $33m in 2022, Polygon reported last January – the first time in almost a decade it suffered an annual decline in the segment.


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