A few years ago, I decided to give the digital CCG Hearthstone a try. After playing intensely for a few weeks, I set it aside forever, but one thing has stuck with me over all that time: The animation of opening a new pack in Hearthstone is absolutely stunning.

I know how good it feels to open a booster pack of Magic the Gathering, but I had my doubts that Hearthstone could even come close to capturing that feeling. However, what it lacks in tactile sensation, it makes up for in sound and animation.

You “place” a pack in some kind of runic vault, which glows briefly before pushing the pack towards you. The pack quivers and pulsates, bursting at the seams. Then, finally, as the music crescendos, a burst of light splits open the pack, pushing the 5 cards into their respective positions. Check it out here:

Let’s bring this over to crowdfunding: Has a project ever made you feel this way about a stretch goal reveal?

I didn’t make this connection until I saw what City of the Great Machine was doing on their project updates. Every single stretch goal unlocked is paired with a Hearthstone-like video (but gearpunk themed). For example:

These videos start with the same animation of gears turning and unlocking something, followed by the funding level for the current goal. Finally there’s a moving image of the stretch goal itself, with any text large enough to pause and read.

I’ve been watching the videos without sound, and the visuals make sound unnecessary, which I always appreciate. Also, if you want to skip the video, there’s a big image lower on the update where you can see all of the new content.

I really love this entire approach to stretch goals. Honestly, as a backer I rarely pay attention to stretch goals anymore, but if more projects made the reveals as exciting as City of the Great Machine, I would tune in for those updates.

In fact, the Hearthstone approach makes me want to not know what the next stretch goal is–I want it to burst out of the video as a surprise. That probably isn’t a great approach for some backers, but it’s easy for me to not look at the next goal.

The one thing I might change is that on the project page itself, a backer must scroll way down on the page to see what the next stretch goal threshold is. With this much effort put into these amazing reveals, I’d recommend putting a thin banner at the very top of the page (or on the core image itself) that states the next stretch goal amount. (Or just use Gamefound, which cleverly places that information at the top of the page.)

What do you think of this approach by City of the Great Machine? Have you seen other projects use the Hearthstone method of revealing stretch goals?

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Also read:

The Current State of Stretch Goals (2019)

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