Paul Bender and his business partners, Christopher Badell and Adam Rebottaro, thought they'd come up with a fun way to raise money for an expansion of their fantasy card game, Sentinels of the Multiverse.
But the entrepreneurs — who operate their Greater Than Games out of a warehouse in Olivette — had no idea just how popular their capital campaign would become during an incredible run last November on Kickstarter. Their campaign set up numerous pledge levels to encourage fans to help them raise money to cover printing costs for the new game. Those donating $5 would be personally thanked on Sentinels of the Multiverse's website. Donors who gave $10 would get a special die to use in the game. A gift of $25 earned you a special card to use while playing. The rewards kept improving from there — including getting your likeness actually incorporated into their new version of the game as a cartoon character on one of the cards — at the $300 level.
To encourage even more giving, the partners made the fundraising a team sport, rewarding everyone who donated if total contributions exceeded certain benchmarks.
Hours after throwing the switch on Kickstarter, the donations began pouring in. In less than a week they'd reached their goal of $12,000, and it didn't stop there. Soon they had amassed $15,000 in donations, then $20,000 and $25,000. When the giving came to an end 30 days later, the partners had taken in $27,880, representing 232 percent of their goal.
"We had a great response to the core game when we launched it last August," says Bender. "But, frankly, we didn't know if the enhanced version would get any funding at all."
Kickstarter proved Bender and his partners wrong. It also allowed them to get a sense of what demand would be once the expanded game is available for sale this spring.
"Based on the Kickstarter success, we did a much bigger print run," Bender says.