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Article #7 – How to make a Budget!

You’re here because you want to start a Kickstarter but you have no idea:
A) How much it’ll cost, thus…
B) How much you’ll need to raise, nor…
C) Where to even start.

Start here.

Let us begin with a bulleted list of everything you’re going to need to pay for (EXPENSES / “Liabilities”) along this journey, by major category; then discuss possible sources of income (ASSETS).  On the next page, Article #7.2, linked below, we’ll break down each bullet point into greater detail and provide a budgeting spreadsheet that you can download (for free) to help itemize your own unique budget.

(As with the rest of our articles, this largely discusses game manufacturing, but most budget items are ubiquitous; simply replace any game term with your relevant item/term where necessary! : )


(Major categories arranged in relative order of size, by greatest, to least, cost.)


  1. Your Main Game’s quote (from manufacturer)
  2. “Overbilling” (be prepared for this sneaky game changer)
  3. Your Add Ons
    quote (from manufacturer) (optional)
    independently ordered (for self-fulfillment) (optional)


  1. Freight shipping
  2. Fulfillment (3rd party – Amazon/Shipwire)
  3. Fulfilled (self – game, bonus items/add ons)


  1. Sculpts for minis (3d or physical)
  2. Box artSword Pencil
  3. Board
  4. Character art
  5. Card art
  6. Graphic frames & backgrounds
  7. Symbology
  8. Text & Numerics
  9. Promotional art
  10. Misc tokens
  11. Company Logo
  12. Lastly – Graphic Design (arranging all this into final products)


  1. Banner Adverts
  2. Networking
  3. Reviewers
  4. Conventions


  1. Sales tax
  2. Bar Codes
  3. Prototypes
  4. Business Cards
  5. Promotional Items (Flyers, Postcards, etc.)
  6. Software Upgrades (Photoshop, Movie Editors, etc.)
  7. Hardware Upgrades (Depends on the software upgrades)
  8. Incorporation Fees & State Franchise Taxation
  9. Hired help
  10. Yourself

FeesFee percent red

  1. Kickstarter & Amazon Fees
  2. Pledge Manager Fees (not part of initial budget, but seemed worthy of a mention).

Ok, now that we have the massive list of EXPENSES covered, let’s talk ASSETS.


Sources of IncomeDollar Sign

  1. Your wallet
  2. Panhandling
  3. Asking your Father to sell half his property so you can have your inheritance early so you can squander it on a life of debauchery and board gaming.
  4. Kickstarter Funding

Since #s 2, & 3 aren’t going to work out for you very well, and #1 is probably a lost cause or you wouldn’t be on Kickstarter… you really only have #4 to go on.  Don’t worry.  It’s doable.  Trust me.

Let’s pause for a chat….

First, if you don’t have an answer (good or bad) to every one of the above items, you should NOT launch your Kickstarter yet.  You do your backers (and self) a great dis-service if you haven’t figured out the above before you ask them for money.  Because if you haven’t figured out the above, then you’re guessing at the amount of money required based on other kickstarters you’ve seen, and that’s a terrible idea that will let you down.

But don’t worry – you CAN, and will, figure this out.  I’m going to help you.

Click here to be brought to part 2 of this Article, the “Detail by Detail” page with a downloadable Budget Spreadsheet that you can make your own.




  1. joseph pilkus
    October 8, 2015 @ 5:40 pm

    Along with what I’ve read by James Mathe and Jamey Stegmaier, this is a must-read article for anyone attempting to run a Kickstarter campaign…or simply want to have their game produced in a professional manner. While I wish that I had this available to me when I started, there’s something to be said for failing the first time and having the opportunity to learn so many facets of running a business. Anyway, great series of articles!



  2. John Wrot!
    October 9, 2015 @ 4:29 pm

    Thank you Joseph for saying so. I hope it helps a lot of people. Both the people running the Kickstarters, and the people getting product from them. And thanks for sharing your thoughts. I hope you have a great round 2!


  3. Candice
    July 7, 2017 @ 8:00 pm

    Hello. I just wanted to know how you LITERALLY got started with the idea itself. It is hard to trust anyone with your idea. Did you go to Legal Zoom first to get your idea patented? Or did you approach a business attorney first? You need your idea copyrighted and patented for safekeeping, right?


  4. John Wrot!
    July 8, 2017 @ 12:47 pm

    I got started by creating a Role-Playing-Game for my friends. That evolved into a mini-game (or 9). One of them THEY liked so much they told me to publish it as a stand-alone board game. I took their advice. ; )

    As for the legal protections, it really depends on your product. If it’s tech, keep it on the down-low. People can recreate tech pretty easily. If its a board game, you have zero to worry about. People love playtesting new games and the culture of gaming is very open, safe, honest, and friendly. Nobody steals each other’s ideas here. It’s pretty awesome. So go get your playtest on!
    …besides you can’t patent a game. You can TRY to patent a single mechanism, but even that’s so easy to get around. You’re safe in gaming. : )


  5. Alberto Vasquez
    December 30, 2021 @ 7:58 am

    excelente las informaciones, yo soy creador y tengo tantas ideas que me parecen muy buena porque son muchas veces complementos o necesidades de las personas, pero al no tener dinero ni conocimiento de las otras arreas que implican completar el proceso tengo temor de continuar por el posible robo de las ideas, al no saber de leyes, patente, costo de envió, programación etc. siento el temor de lanzarme con estos proyectos, pero con este tipo de información de Cómo hacer un presupuesto, apoyo financiero por kickstarter mas lo que dice John Wrot Aquí nadie se roba las ideas de los demás pues probare con uno de mis juegos, gracias por subir este tipo de información que de verdad organizan a ese emprendedor que esta en el aire y no sabe como empezar.


    • John Wrot!
      January 17, 2022 @ 3:05 pm

      Gracias, Alberto. I’m glad the information here helped you and helped gives you some peace about your ideas.


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