You’re building a room escape and you want future players to give you some up-front cash. Kickstarter may be a viable option, but you’re going to have to work for it. Many of these fail.
1. You’re not in a major metropolitan area
If you aren’t located in a major metropolitan area, then you’re off to a bad start.
New York City, San Francisco, and London are great markets for Kickstarter due to their dense, tech-friendly, geek-friendly populations.
Realistically, the people who back you need to live in, or very close to where you plan to open. You’re not shipping them a product.
If you aren’t in a population dense area, then you should reconsider that Kickstarter.
2. You didn’t make a video
Seriously, spend some time looking at successful Kickstarters before creating your own.
Successful Kickstarters have a ton of engaging content that is well-produced and answers all of a potential backers’ questions.
3. You made a video and it’s lame
Dramatic music, poor lighting, and a boring monologue aren’t going to cut it. These could even turn people off because a boring video could imply that your game is equally lame.
Commit to doing this right or just don’t do it.
4. You aren’t offering a reason to back
I know that you’re in love with the idea of your room escape. I’m also sure that the people you’ve told think it’s going to be awesome as well.
But you’re asking strangers to give you money in return for a promise that they will have fun on some future date. You need to sweeten the deal.
If you’re asking people to pay for full price tickets (or worse, more than full price) on a Kickstarter, then you’re out of your mind.
These tickets need to be heavily discounted. No one wants your junkie tshirts or stickers. Give your players a good deal.
Remember that your backers have no financial interest in your success. They know that you’re going to open the room escape whether your Kickstarter succeeds or fails. They can easily buy tickets once it’s open.
If you want strangers to commit to you, then you’ve got to give them something in return.
I’ve had this tab open since, more or less, a month ago, because at least some UK exit game owners seem to be using Kickstarter a different way. They will be funding the development of the site themselves and then use Kickstarter aiming at a relatively small target, nominally to enhance the site in certain ways. In practice, they’re using it as a tool to gain publicity and pre-sell early tickets – maybe a little like you might use a social buying site, or similar.
Case in point: Red House Mysteries, which successfully funded a reasonably low goal. The twist is, contrary to your principle 1, it did it in a rural town of just 120,000 people or so.
(The other example I’m thinking of for the approach I discuss here is Enigma Escape, which plausibly claimed to be using £55k of its own money and successfully raised another £5k, but this was based in London.)
My observation of UK room escape Kickstarters has been that they have been more sensible, and better produced than a lot of the ones we’ve seen in the States.
That being said, the UK is also approximately the size of the State of Oregon. Anyone within the country can conceivably visit any escape game. That’s not realistically the case in the United States.