CMON’s profits jumped 35% last year on $45m sales, thanks to huge drop in costs

  • UPDATE: This article originally referenced CMON’s gross profit, before costs, rather than its net profit, and has been amended to reflect the more practical measure

CMON, the crowdfunding board game specialist which left Kickstarter for rival Gamefound earlier this year, saw its net profit jump more than 35% in 2023 amid a hefty drop in its sales-associated costs.

The company, famous for miniatures-focused games such as Zombicide and Blood Rage, saw its net profit rise to over $1.3m compared to about $1m in 2022, according to its latest annual report.

That rise came amid a more than 20% drop in its cost of sales, with huge reductions coming via inventory, shipping and handling costs.

Global shipping container rates more than halved across most of 2023, with prices normalising after having surged more than 10x at the peak of the Covid-19 supply chain issues in September 2021.

That has had a welcome impact on board game publishers, most of which rely heavily on manufacturing and shipping games from China to customers in Europe and the Americas.

CMON revealed that more than 50% of its 2023 sales were from North and South America, with about one-third coming from Europe – both down marginally compared to its 2022 results.

Asia made up just over 14% of sales for the company, up from about 13% last year – and Singapore-headquartered CMON said it remains focused on growing in the Asian wholesale markets as well as in direct marketing and sales to gamers on the continent.

Kickstarter projects made up almost 60% of CMON’s $45m of sales last year, bringing in revenue of about $26.3m – about 40% more than the $18.6m the company made through its wholesale channel.

Those are significant numbers for the board game industry. Last month Stonemaier Games, the publisher of popular titles including Wingspan and Scythe, revealed it had total revenues of $16.7m in 2023 – down almost a third from the record $24.7m the company reached in 2021.

CMON launched four Kickstarter projects last year representing about $11.9m, with its biggest successes comprising Marvel United: Multiverse at $4.8m, Zombicide: White Death at $3.8m and DCeased – A Zombicide Game at $2.6m.

Those projects are set to be the company’s last on Kickstarter for some time, however, with CMON saying goodbye to 12 years of Kickstarter in February this year by signing an exclusivity deal with Gamefound.

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.

Gamefound has been upping the pressure on industry heavyweight Kickstarter since, and a stellar 2023 saw it bag the biggest board game fundraise of the year in 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).

Gamefound also scored five of the top 10 most-funded board games of the year last year.

David Preti, COO of CMON, said at the time of the exclusivity announcement, “At CMON we always look to innovate and provide the best products and experiences for our customers. 

“Gamefound has a number of excellent features that our fans have been asking for, and we feel their platform is a great fit for us as we move into the future. 

“We want the consumer experience to be as smooth as possible, and Gamefound gives us the tools we need so we can focus on creating great games.”

The company is currently preparing to launch what it hopes will be its biggest Gamefound project to date, with dungeon crawler God of War: The Board Game – based on the hit Playstation franchise – set to launch in a matter of hours.

Earlier this year the company raised about $1.8m on Gamefound for tabletop miniatures skirmish game A Song of Ice & Fire: Tactics.

CMON also revealed in its annual results that it planned to launch games this year based on popular IPs including Marvel, in addition to its own IPs such as Zombicide.

The company’s game development expenses rose 35% last year to almost $5m, with the company saying it planned to continue strengthening its game design capabilities and licensing of good intellectual

It said, “We strive to become a leading developer and publisher of quality tabletop games and are
optimistic about the growth and development of the tabletop games industry.”

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