Analytics: Playing Card Projects on Kickstarter 2013 [Updated]

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Analytics: Playing Card Projects on Kickstarter 2013 [Updated]

What a great year it has been for playing card designers, collectors and cardists. 2013 has seen a surge of custom playing card decks, attributed predominantly to the use of crowd-funding as a platform. This platform is not only ideal for entrepreneurs, but for creators and designers to get their decks out into the world- bypassing the traditional method of distribution via a major company.  

Updated with 2013 actuals. Not much change from the numbers published mid-Dec. Most notable the success rate fell 1% to 44% due to increased number of unsuccessful and cancelled projects in December.

Click here for the Infographic.


Playing Card Projects

In term of numbers, here is what 2013 looks like on the popular crowd-funding platform Kickstarter:

Year-on-year, number of projects launched are as follows:

Unbelievable growth! Three years ago, only 2 playing card project was launched, Broken Spells ($6.7k) and The Portland Places: The Illustrated Card Deck ($720). Since then, the number of successfully funded projects have increased exponentially to 257 in 2013. An average of 9.4 projects was successfully funded per month in 2013 vs an average of 3 per month in 2012.

How did the 257 launched projects do?

Breaking it down by percentage, the success rate of a playing card project is 44%, on par with the Kickstarter average. At a more granular level, chart below shows each individual month of the year, by successful and unsuccessful projects.

There seem to be more traction for projects ending around the summer vacation period (Jun-Jul) and thanksgiving break in Nov.


How much money did the 257 projects raise? 

Interestingly, the most common playing card projects on Kickstarter are not blockbusters like The Name of the Wind
($589k) or Federal 52 ($149k), but smaller projects that raise $20,000 or less. 

An interesting fact is that the size of the goal has a strong correlation with funding success. The lower the pledge threshold, the more likelihood the project will succeed. This is somewhat obvious: set the bar lower, it becomes easier to surpass.

However, successful funding does not always translate to successful on-time delivery of pledged rewards. One of the main driver is under-funding. The minimum run at USPCC is 2,500 decks and it would be an incredibly tight fit for projects under $10k, taking into consideration other costs as well: Kickstarter fees (5%), Amazon payment's fees (3-5%), taxes, add-ons and shipping.

Setting a lower funding goal to attract backers is great but what happens when it is just 5%-10% above goal? Potentially, a creator would have to pay for and fulfill all of these products which costs above the funding goal leaving the bottom line in the red and be unable to fulfill their promise to good faith backers.

The ideal scenario would be to have a lower goal and reaching upwards and above. However forecasting this scenario will be a challenge and until the project clock runs down, one will never be too sure.

A funding goal of greater than $10k would be a good indicator. Higher goals means that attracting backers might be an issue. But gives you an idea though, the average final funding for all successful 2013 projects is $30k.

It is also worth noting, that generally speaking, the higher the funding goal, the more a backer needs to be convince that the creator can achieve that goal.

Having said that, the top 10 successful playing cards projects in 2013 contributed 51% to the overall funding of successful projects. Here is a look at the top 10 most funded playing cards project of 2013. Note that the most funded playing card project was 
The Name of the Wind ($589k), which took in a whopping $589k.


Of course none of these projects could have happened without backers. Approximately 98,924 backers were recorded across all projects. People who come to Kickstarter to back a project often go on to back other projects. Some back a lot of projects.

The generosity and support that these backers have shown to creators is incredible. This can be seen in the average amount pledged by each backer. Top 10 projects by backer numbers below:

On average, a backer would spend $42.67 on a successful project vs $28.08 on unsuccessful ones. This indicates successful projects have more add-ons and higher reward tier to draw more funds into the project.

A backer’s contribution to a project is much more than financial. For example, there are a number of backers (crew) who dedicate their time helping creators answer questions from other backers, this can be seen in the World's First 3D Metal and Mechanized Playing Cards  ($149k) and Sherlock Holmes  ($100k) projects.

Two-way communication contributes to the overall success of the project. Creators of successful projects such as Black Book of Cards ($85k), Call of Chutulu- The Writhing Dark ($116k) and Sherlock Holmes ($100k) regularly interacts with backers by giving them progress updates, backers poll to vote for design preference and even rare insights into the design and development process. 

With the emergence of crowd-funding platforms, backers are literally helping creators fulfil their dreams and showcase their talent to the world. What could be better than that?

What do you think of the stats? Let us know.

Click here for infographic.
Analytics: Playing Card Projects on Kickstarter 2013 [Updated] Reviewed by Ivan on 1/01/2014 Rating: 5


  1. On your Title and 3rd chart you might want to stick with the same colors Lt purple for Suspended and Dark Purple for live. It might confuse people. Would love to know which Kickstarters were suspended. Anyone know any links? Would like to check them out...

    1. Good catch Russell. Will update the charts. :)

      The two suspended projects are:
      Salvation Playing Cards ($160)
      Vict Playing Cards ($2,465)

      You can probably do a quick search on KS.

  2. Salvation Playing cards: Suspended due to copyright.

    Vict Playing cards: play=1&ref=users Seems is was canceled not suspended and they did relaunch and were successful and by reading the comments the cards were shipped out...

    "Hello to all our backers and soon to be backers! As you might know by now that we have encountered a very unique issue. Our name that we chose was very similar to another Kickstarter campaign name that was launched a month before ours. After a few days of discussion back and forth with the attorney, we came to a final decision today at 1:15pm. "The Faro Playing Card Company" has agreed to compensate us for our domain change from to our new name To see the agreement approval please look in the comments section of our kickstarter page. We also agreed to take down the name FIRO Playing Cards and replace it to Vict Playing Cards."

  3. Yeah.. Strange one that one. On kicktraq, where we get all our data from listed the project as suspended.

  4. Why don't you include all card kickstarters? Tarot, Lenormand, etc. There are many more gorgeous cards of all types being created for those who are true collectors across all genre.

    Ty! :D

  5. Agreed. Many gorgeous cards out there but for this analysis... it is easier to compare apples to apples and draw meaningful conclusions.

    Will keep that in mind in the future. :)

  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. Hi Shane,

      You are right... The Writhing Dark will be in the top 3. The top 2 are:

      Hardwood Playing Cards $89/Backer
      World's First 3D Metal $121/Backer


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