Kickstarter Conversations: Ben Pierro

There’s nothing fun about a campaign not working out. But there is perhaps no better learning experience than going through something that doesn’t work. And what’s great about Kickstarter is that falling short can just be one step on the way to funding later on. Today, I talk to Ben Pierro of Argyle Games about his experience on Kickstarter. Thanks, Ben!


BG: For those who don’t know, please introduce yourself. How long have you been designing games? What’s your favorite game? What’s the best game you’ve played recently?
BEN: My name is Ben Pierro and I am a graphic designer and artist living in Chicago.  I’ve been designing games as a hobby for a few years but it wasn’t until late last summer that I decided to try my hand at actually publishing them.  I setup a small start-up company to bring local indie designers’ games to a larger audience.
My favorite games lately have been cooperative games.  I’ve always enjoyed dungeon crawlers and Fantasy Flight’s new game Imperial Assault takes that formula and really puts a great layer of polish on it.  Each mission is challenging and I love the on-going campaign aspect.
BG: What was the project you put on Kickstarter? What makes the game awesome?
BEN: The project that just ended on Kickstarter was called Foodtown Throwdown.  It is a casual card game about building a food truck business with a heavy emphasis on humor.  It was designed as a warmup game or a gateway game – something quick and easy to setup to kick off a game night or bring new gamers to the table.
BG: Did you discover anything particularly interesting or surprising in developing the game and investigating manufacturing?
BEN:  I was surprised at what I didn’t know.  Every step of the way you learn something new, whether it’s the reality of shipping to international backers, the costs of getting a product produced overseas, how to plan for unexpected delays like labor disputes at shipping yards, etc.
BG: What do you feel is the best thing you did during your Kickstarter campaign?
BEN: Reaching out not just to board gaming media, but to food bloggers and food trucks as well.  Since the game is designed to be attractive to new gamers or people who would not consider themselves gamers, reaching out to non-game related media was a big help
BG: What mistakes did you make in the campaign that you won’t make again?
BEN: We didn’t have enough media coverage at launch.  The reviews, interviews, podcasts, and most of the social media following came during the campaign.  Since crowdfunding is a game of momentum, those things really needed to be in place before launch to ensure a strong start.  Having a strong start can give you that necessary momentum to stay strong throughout the campaign.
BG: What is your plan for the game now?
BEN: The game will relaunch in around 8-12 weeks, once more reviews and media start coming in.  This will also give me enough time to explore better options for manufacturing and fulfillment and really make sure that I can get the product out on time and on budget.
BG: Any advice for others who are thinking of doing their own project on Kickstarter?
BEN: Don’t give up, even if you have a weak start.  Keep at it and use the opportunity to learn as much as you can about what works, what doesn’t, and how to improve.  You will learn valuable lessons that you can take with you into the future, and you can’t put a price on that.  Good luck!
Big thanks to Ben. Would you like to have a conversation about Kickstarter? Let me know at

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