David Sirlin Uses Pandante To Show Us How To Successfully Reboot a Kickstarter

We can rebuild it. Stronger, faster, and better than before!

$28,777 out of $30,000.

That's how much money was pledged to David Sirlin's Kickstarter Pandante, when the project was cancelled on October 29th, 2013. Pandante was cancelled over a week before funding would have closed on November 7th; just $1, 223 shy of meeting the funding goal. But now Pandante is back, rebooted, and has already smashed past the funding goal with over $35,000 pledged so far in under two weeks.

Pandante, a unique and elegant tabletop game loosely inspired by Texas Hold 'Em, is about gambling, lying, and (more importantly) pandas. More information about the game itself and the original Kickstarter can be found in our own GameSkinny interviews here and here

Out of the Ashes

Lots of Kickstarter campaigns end without meeting funding goals. It's just how the platform works: not every project can be funded. But not many campaigns are cancelled within days of being successful because the creator wants a new chance to do it better for his backers. This is what happened with Pandante. Sirlin wanted a chance to make the Kickstarter more appealing, offer better backer options, and get things right the second time around.

"Everyone loved the gameplay, but I didn't really reach the market of high end poker chip connoisseurs I had hoped."

When we interviewed Sirlin, only two days into the original campaign, we asked: "If you were to redo the Kickstarter, what would you change?" Of course, there wasn't much to say that early in the campaign. But now that Sirlin has successfully "redone" his Kickstarter, he is pretty damn qualified to answer that!

In exclusive correspondence, David Sirlin had this to say:

"Everyone loved the gameplay, but I didn't really reach the market of high-end poker chip connoisseurs I had hoped. Board gamers said again and again that they wanted some pretty good poker chips rather than super expensive ones. 

"So the new campaign has a high-end option costing just one-third of the old high-end option. The chips are now clay, too. I added a travel version, some Kickstarter exclusive promo cards, and stretch goals to that will let deluxe set backers get limited edition Blivand Yomi decks for free. There's also a $5 discount on the standard version for Kickstarter backers.

By lowering the prices and also offering potentially free stuff through stretch goals, I think it will help mobilize backers to do more tweeting and spread the word. It seems to have worked so far! We raised $20,000 in the first 24 hours."

The poker chips mentioned refer to the original high-end ceramic chips that would be included in the luxury edition of Pandante. By removing this expensive option in favor of a cheaper alternative, providing more backer rewards, and lowering prices, the Pandante reboot is already enjoying a much higher degree of Kickstarter success.

In the first GameSkinny interview about Pandante, Sirlin had a wealth of insight about what makes a successful Kickstarter campaign; it is worth the read if you want a real behind-the-scenes look at what goes into the Kickstarter process. One quote really stuck out in relation to this new rebooted Kickstarter campaign:

"It needs to be as incomplete as possible. It needs to have the maximum number of pieces possible, lots of non-essential pieces. That way we can can sell a low-cost version, then have like 100 different ways you can spend more to add more pieces."

Sirlin's Pandante reboot shows us a powerful example of the nuance in this advice and the thought that must go into a successful project. Remove expenses, add more pieces.

If you are looking for more details about the game you can visit the Pandante Kickstarter page, or visit the website. Keep track of the development of Pandante by following David on Twitter @Sirlin or on Facebook.


This article is part of a series called [Kick It], where we chat with developers and creators about Kickstarter.

Do you have a Kickstarter campaign or project you'd like to see talked about on GameSkinny? Drop me a tip for future [Kick It] articles on Twitter @ZacaJay!

Or, you know, write about it yourself!


Published Feb. 8th 2018
  • Stephanie Tang
    Featured Columnist
    Really cool. I love Sirlin's games so much, but I simply have no one to play them with if I bought them. :(

    I remember I got a message from Kickstarter or somewhere about the Kickstarter reboot but it linked me back to his old Kickstarter's page and then I got distracted and didn't bother looking up the new one. Good to see other people weren't so easily --ooh cicada!

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