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rstraker
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Joined: 12/26/2013

What to do!??! I've made a game which people generally like, some groups favorite, and it's got some great official reviews -- yet it's not really getting out there -- because,,, marketing.

Any advice? besides Will Wheaton? (They haven't responded to my inquiry).

I've got 1000 eating $$ in storage here in Vancouver.

Game: http://www.escapefromsunsetisland.com/reviews.html

radioactivemouse
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Joined: 07/08/2013
These days...

rstraker wrote:
What to do!??! I've made a game which people generally like, some groups favorite, and it's got some great official reviews -- yet it's not really getting out there -- because,,, marketing.

Any advice? besides Will Wheaton? (They haven't responded to my inquiry).

I've got 1000 eating $$ in storage here in Vancouver.

Game: http://www.escapefromsunsetisland.com/reviews.html

You're going to have to work marketing. Exposure is everything.

I had my game legitimately published, I took my game to many many conventions, I had reputable reviewers (including Dice Tower) review my game, AND I got top 10 hottest games at BGG Con 2015...

And yet my game didn't sell as much as I would have liked.

Some people are just lucky. It hits the right notes, it gets into the right hands, and it sells at the right places. We honestly, shouldn't expect that we will be that Cinderella story and we should work as though we aren't.

The bottom line is that selling your game takes a TON of work. You're going to have to hit the convention circuit, talk to a lot of people, make lots of connections. Yes, it will mean spending money to make money.

Most of the time, you'll need to evangelize your game. Get other people to buy into your game, and have them evangelize the game as well.

The ideal situation is that a reputable game company takes in your game, publishes it, and they, on their name, advertises and markets it. But if you're an independent developer or your publisher is small, you're going to have to work it.

I'm sorry, there's no real way around it.

McTeddy
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Joined: 11/19/2012
^ He ain't wrong. ^

^ He ain't wrong. ^

Marketing is a full time job and it's an extremely hard one. You aren't going to solve it with cash, at least not any amount we'll ever be able to afford.

What you need is "Face Time". You need to pop up often enough that people begin to recognize you and your projects. Conventions, youtube videos, forum engagement and so on. Spend time with your targeted audience and make the most of it... sales or not.

My advice:
- Contact mid-level youtubers for free copies.
- Get gameplay videos up and circulating.
- A twitter account for interacting with potential players.
- Go to local game shops to show off the game
- Go to conventions

The reality is I was lucky. My game reached the right audience, at the right time, and we've had a small but consistent youtube presence. But I've also spent plenty of time interacting with the creators, manning our forums, hanging out with players and showing off the project at a local shop.

Even with my luck, the sales were modest. At best, there is a small number of potential players and ,unless you have an existing following, success is often about the stars aligning.

The good news is that it gets easier with every fan. The more your presence grows, the faster you'll be able to grow.

questccg
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Joined: 04/16/2011
You don't need marketing

What you need to do is strike up a DEAL with a LOCAL "distributor" in your Vancouver Area. I'm in Montreal, so I have no idea what distributors are in your vicinity. I can tell you in Montreal there are several but three (3) main players in terms of Board/Card Games.

That should to help rid yourself of 1,000 units. You can also try putting up an online store to sell copies via your website.

You should visit LOCAL stores in your area and DEMO the game with players. Like Saturday between 1:00 PM and 4:00 PM, LIVE demo of "...x..." game. And do it AROUND Vancouver.

Connect with local MEETUPS who attend places to PLAY games together. I met one group who help get me into the local circles and I have had my game demo-ed at a Mini-Con (which was an all day affair). I playtested my game with over 20 people just on that ONE DAY.

These forms of NETWORKING should help you get more word out about the game. If people PLAY the game, you can ask if anyone wants to buy it. That might help you sell a dozen units or so...

See if the local MEETUPS can connect you with STORE OWNERS. My group got me so much attention, one store owner was willing to SELL my game on consignment... That's right they were offering to give me SHELF SPACE!

That could be another way of connecting and getting some more sales. Then you do the regular bit of visiting stores, seeing if any stock is SOLD and then re-stocking if yes and billing, etc.

You will invariably become a "virtual" salesman if you visit local stores and are selling your game.

So it's not marketing you need, it's distribution and retail sales points. Also you need to DEMO your game to different crowds of people (different locations and times...)

rstraker
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Joined: 12/26/2013
Thanks for the insights

dampen expectation / marketing grunt-work / local sharing & distributing... I'll try some of these things. Thanks.

questccg
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Joined: 04/16/2011
Go LOCAL and broaden your horizons

So because YOU are the designer - it's easier to speak about YOUR game. So visiting local stores and talking with local distributors - allows you to START to establish a NETWORK. I'm not saying ONE (1) distributor is all you need...

But if you can do business in an honest fashion, well once you do get a deal with a LOCAL distributor say for 100 game sets, you can then use that as "leverage" with say an USA distributor... You can verbalize that Distribution "X" up here in Vancouver, BC has a deal to move some of our stock to local stores around the island... (something to that effect).

And tell them you have more game sets to sell... And see if they are interested in buying 100 - 200 game sets (via a larger US-based distributor).

Check out this page (from James Mathe):

http://www.jamesmathe.com/hitchhikers-guide-to-game-distributors/

In the USA, Alliance is a BIG player in the Board/Card Game distribution business... There are others there in the list... So I would privilege a local strategy first - and then if you can do that successfully contact a large distributor trying to see what they can do for you.

Cheers.

rstraker
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Joined: 12/26/2013
local - broad (reversal)

Thanks questccg, Task today -- contact a local distributor, rather than try to do it all by hand.
Interestingly our first and only distributor at this point is Alliance, which is kind of like shooting the moon -- BUT, stores still need to choose the game from their boundless catalog, and people still need to pick it off the shelf.

-- so I'll try to to it the other way around.

mcobb83
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Joined: 06/07/2016
I believe that both ideas put

I believe that both ideas put forward -- marketing and distribution -- are legitimate ways to get your game out there. Certainly landing a deal with a distributor will net you a larger market because thats what distributors do.

As a way to start, heres a few examples of board game distributors

http://www.alliance-games.com/Home/11/1/79/1156
http://everestwholesale.com/
http://www.universaldist.com/
https://www.gtsdistribution.com/

With distributors it doesn't matter if its in or near the Vancouver area (except for the shipping cost to get the games to the distributor), and you can still take your game to cons and events and share it that way.

I Will Never Gr...
I Will Never Grow Up Gaming's picture
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Joined: 04/23/2015
rstraker wrote:What to do!??!

rstraker wrote:
What to do!??! I've made a game which people generally like, some groups favorite, and it's got some great official reviews -- yet it's not really getting out there -- because,,, marketing.

Any advice? besides Will Wheaton? (They haven't responded to my inquiry).

I've got 1000 eating $$ in storage here in Vancouver.

Game: http://www.escapefromsunsetisland.com/reviews.html

Facebook/Twitter/Reddit - Have you got a facebook page for your game? Are you an active member of the various facebook/reddit boardgame groups?

Forums - Are you an active member of various boardgame forums (which ones can depend greatly on your game)

Boardgamegeek.com - have you entered your game into the boardgamegeek.com listings? This will also provide you with a place to put pictures, files, and your game will have it's very own subforums. Have you talked about your game and the development of your game on BGG?

Reviews - Do you have any reviews from even remotely well known game reviewers? If not, do so. Contact a dozen or so of the more popular reviewers and ask them if they would be interested in checking out your game.

Local game stores - go play your game on open game nights

Meetup groups - get in a boardgame meetup group and go play your game with them (don't expect to ONLY play your game though)

Conventions - get out to the conventions, local and major ones, and demo your game.

Wil Wheaton - Don't expect to get a response. Tabletop shows generally well-known games from major publishers and they've already filmed their next season (which means even if you did somehow get in it wouldn't be until late 2017/early 2018 at best).

And, as others have said, contact distributors. Where they are located doesn't matter except for shipping the games to them. Distributors are where the game stores get the majority of their games from. All-in-one services are far superior to going to each publisher individually.

OR - In addition to all of the above (except Wil Wheaton of course), run a Kickstarter!

Yes, you already have the games made. Even better! This just means your goal can be extremely low and there are zero risks to the backers! Of course this also requires doing all of the above because if people don't know about it, they won't go back it anyway.

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