Votes for Women shrugs off Facebook ad ban to raise almost $200,000 after huge show of support

Votes for Women, the critically acclaimed card-driven wargame about the fight for women’s suffrage in the US, has raised almost $200,000 for its second edition Kickstarter campaign as backers turned up in droves after the game’s adverts were banned by Facebook.

Publisher Kevin Bertram told BoardGameWire earlier this month that the campaign stood to miss out on up to $60,000 in funding after Facebook repeatedly banned ads for the game, claiming it featuring a “sensitive social issue”.

Bertram had lowered his hopes for the Kickstarter total to about $120,000 due to the cancelled advertising – but a wave of support after the ban news broke, including more than $32,000 in a single day, pushed the total above what he’d been expecting if the Facebook ads had run their full course.

More than 780 new backers pledged to support the game in the four days after Facebook ad ban emerged – outstripping the number that had committed to the campaign in almost four weeks before that.

Comments added to the game’s Kickstarter page included:

The $194,000 raised for the second edition print run is about 6.5-times more than Votes for Women collected for its first edition Kickstarter towards the end of 2020.

Tory Brown’s debut game, published by Fort Circle Games, catapulted both designer and publisher into the board gaming limelight following its release in 2022, picking up widespread praise from reviewers including Polygon’s Charlie Hall, who named it one of the year’s best board games, and game design luminaries including Undaunted series co-designer David Thompson.

Awards recognition soon followed, with the game picking up nominations for best wargame and best thematic board game in the 2022 Golden Geek Awards, best early modern wargame in the 2022 Charles S Roberts awards, and last month scooping the 2023 Summit Award celebrating the historical board game which best succeeded in broadening the hobby.

When BoardGameWire contacted Meta about the ad ban two weeks ago, we were told by a spokesperson four days later that, “The ads were removed in error and have since been restored. We apologise for any confusion caused.”

Bertram pointed out that ‘unbanning’ had come too far late for all the ads he had been trying to schedule since the beginning of 2024, and by the time the ban was eventually lifted he’d already had to commit his advertising budget to other avenues.

He told BoardGameWire he did manage to get one ad fully live on Facebook with just a couple of days of the campaign left to go, but described the results as “pretty inconsequential”.

Anyone interested in trying out Votes for Women for free digitally can do so through the Rally The Troops website.

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