Kickstarter is a crowd-sourcing application that lets people ‘back’ a project before it is actually completed. It is widely used for individuals who have no initial capitol or money to manufacture a game (or other project). Most board game manufacturers require a minimum of 2,000 – 5,000 games to be produced – and this could cost tens of thousands of dollars to accomplish – completely out-of-pocket for the game designer.
When a game is crowd-sourced like this, the supporters usually get a pretty good discount or deal for investing early – meaning early investors pay much less than folks would once the game hits retail markets like Amazon or Walmart. Plus in the case of Hike IT! the Kickstarter backers will be getting a deluxe version of the game with upgraded components that most probably wont be available if the game hits retail stores. It’s kind of a win-win for everyone involved.