The 10 Most Successful Board Game Kickstarters, Ranked
Board games have become one of Kickstarter’s champions, with many high-profile success stories. Able to secure a market and raise funding in advance, Kickstarter board games can afford to be ambitious and experimental, whether through the use of new IPs, deep and detailed mechanics, or materials high quality like figurines.
While not every board game on Kickstarter brings in millions, several projects have caught the attention of thousands of backers. Achieving at least several million dollars in funding, Kickstarter saw board games achieve notorious success before they became anything more than an idea.
ten Darkest Dungeon brought the stressful video game to the table
Board games that are adaptations of popular video games often do well on Kickstarter. Already a surprising success as a video game, darkest dungeon came to Kickstarter in 2020, promising to recreate the tense game of attrition and dark frame in a tabletop format.
The campaign received funding of $5,657,479 from nearly 29,000 donors. Propelled in part by the popularity of video gaming, it has seen darkest dungeon becoming fully supported almost instantly with a number of stretch goals also achieved. Although darkest dungeon is not yet fully released, an online demo is playable at table simulator.
9 Tainted Grail: The Fall of Avalon is an Arthurian co-op adventure
Although a lot of board games are competitive experiences that pit player against player, cooperative games have flourished in recent years, especially on Kickstarter. Tainted Grail: The Fall of Avalon is one of them. It is a narrative cooperative adventure game in which 1 to 4 players fight their way through a world full of Arthurian and Celtic mythology.
Tainted Grail: The Fall of Avalon earned $5,938,963 in support on Kickstarter and saw a physical release in 2019. It has since seen waves of distribution and expansions, including in other languages, which were released through 2022. Additionally, a video game called Tainted Grail: Conquest came out and a video game adaptation of The fall of Avalon is in development.
8 Nemesis: Lockdown is a standalone sci-fi horror expansion
Awaken Realms is doing very well on Kickstarter and has a number of notable successes. In addition to Tainted Grail series, another game that has reached the highest ranks of Kickstarter board games is Nemesis: containmenta standalone expansion to the previous Awaken Realms title, Nemesis.
Nemesis is a sci-fi horror game, featuring players as unlikely survivors trying to resist the horrors that pursue them. Confinement is playable without the base game, but also compatible with it. The game expands the playable list, enemies and other materials. It raised $6,220,340 from over 41,000 backers.
seven The Witcher: Old World kills table monsters
Attracting fans of books and video games, The Witcher: Old World uses the decor and the monsters of the witcher series, but keeps the action away from Geralt de Riv. Instead, players control one of five Witchers and seek to explore the world, experience adventures, and slay monsters.
old world can be played competitively or cooperatively; players work together to defeat formidable threats or seek to outdo others with their exploits. The game raised $7,020,146 on Kickstarter. Despite a scheduled release in June 2022, the game’s release was pushed back due to production complications.
6 The Binding Of Isaac: Four Souls Requiem Captures Its Video Game Origins
One of the most popular Roguelike games ever made, The Binding of Isaac is a complex and difficult video game. It is designed for the player to repeatedly fail until luck and skill sees them succeed. Much of this energy is brought to its video game adaptation, The Binding of Isaac: Four Soulsincluding its expansion, Requiem of the Four Souls.
Requiem of the Four Souls takes the faithful translation of the base game and adds even more mechanics, characters, and modifiers to help the board game stand out and capture its origins even more. Relying on positive word-of-mouth to four souls, Requiem of the Four Souls secured funding of $6,720,471.
5 The 7th Continent – What Goes Up Must Come Down adds a huge amount of exploration content
On Kickstarter, board game expansions can do as well or better than the base game itself. The 7th Continent is an exploration board game inspired by the Choose your own adventure books, guiding the player as they explore a mysterious new landmass and attempt to break a curse plaguing them.
What goes up the most goes down is an extension of The 7th Continent, adding hours of additional content and exploration for players. It far surpassed its parent game, receiving $7,072,757 in support on Kickstarter before release.
4 Exploding kittens break records
A simpler and lighter game than most other Kickstarter successes, Explosive kittens is an elimination-based card game. Players must draw cards from the deck while avoiding the titular kittens, which remove a player from the deck when drawn. They use their other cards to manipulate draws, watch play, and interfere with other players.
Came out with a goal of just $10,000, Explosive kittens earned a total of $8,782,571 from over 219,000 backers, becoming notable and newsworthy for their support. Explosive kittens held the record for the most backed project on Kickstarter, while also being at the top of the top-funded list.
3 Marvel Zombies combined a beloved game with good licensing
Zombicide is a zombie apocalypse board game that has seen great success in numerous iterations on Kickstarter. The most successful of these versions is Marvel Zombiesadapting the game for the beloved Marvel comic series, also recently seen in What if….?
With rules to play as zombified heroes or the last superpowered survivors of humanity, the game expands on the basis Zombicide rules established in several ways. The combination of previous successes and Marvel’s intellectual property has seen Marvel Zombies reach $9,032,583 on Kickstarter and began physical production.
2 Kingdom Death: Monster 1.5 Updated A Modern Classic
One of the most popular craft board games of recent years is Kingdom Death: Monster. It’s a dark and nightmarish game that takes place in a dark world where player characters hunt monsters to improve their settlements. Kingdom Death: Monster became infamous and popular for its spooky imagery and twisted storytelling, as well as its high-quality miniatures.
Kingdom Death: Monster received an updated set of rules and more availability with Kingdom Death: Monster 1.5. Due to the high prestige of the original game and the quality of the improved rules, Kingdom Death: Monster 1.5 quickly proved immensely popular on Kickstarter. It earned $12,393,139 in support and far exceeded its lofty expectations.
1 Frosthaven is the sequel to a beloved game
Few games have been more successful in recent years than dark haven, a tactical dungeon-crawler that tells an evolving narrative campaign as players experience it. Although modestly successful on Kickstarter, dark haven quickly attracted prestige. It is described as one of the best board games ever made.
So its sequel, Haven of Frostaroused immediate interest. Haven of Frost received a total of $12,969,608, well beyond its goal of $500,000. It is the highest funded game ever backed on Kickstarter and is scheduled for release in September 2022.
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