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Which theme makes the most money?

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lucasAB
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So I have a card game. The card game is simple, basic, and fun, and I think I can get it produced this year in the fall. But here's the "thousand-dollar" question: which theme would be best suited for it?

Right now the game can be just about any theme. Currently I could have it be
- A Western: cowboys vs. bandits/gauchos
- 1066: Normans vs. Saxons
- 16th Century dueling: pirates vs. whoever
- Whatever you can think of

What theme would sell best in today's market? I would love to make it a western-themed game, but I don't know if that will sell well with our average American consumers.

Any help is appreciated!

apeloverage
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Looking at 'the hotness'

on the front page of boardgamegeek.com , there are 10 games with a fantasy theme, 6 science-fiction, and 2 horror (Arkham Horror and Last Night on Earth: The Zombie Game).

So there are three more themes which are popular (and can be combined).

metzgerism
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It's definitely...

...Fantasy/Medieval. Not necessarily in the realm of dragons and magic and stuff, but more back to "simpler times," especially with unadvanced/rudimentary technology. Think Renaissance or earlier (without the religious oppression, of course).

Next up is Science Fiction (effectively a techno-fantasy), probably followed by the 1940's.

If you really want a fun challenge, use 1957-1971 U.S.-Russian relations.

lucasAB
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Thanks, anyone else?

Thanks guys for your outstanding comments. But I'm still hooked with the western theme. I don't suppose there are any western movies coming out anytime soon, oh well. I am aware that the UK is going to be getting a television mini-series about 1066 at the end of this year or early next, maybe I should do a 1066 game.

Anyway, thanks! Any one else who wants to express their opinion on the situation?

lucasAB
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Study at BGG

I just took a count of "the hotness" on BGG and came up with these results for basic themes:

fantasy ------ 11
sci-fi ---------- 5
horror -------- 3

historical ---- 25
modern ------ 6

Fantasy - are games like Small World, dungeon crawls, you get the point.
Sci-fi - are games like Battle Star Battlestar Galactica, Race for the Galaxy, etc, anything involving space ships and aliens(not to be mixed up with cold war space travel).
Horror - zombie-like-games.
Historical - is anything from the dark ages, 19th century, medieval, World War II, ancient etc...
Modern - anything after World War II.

DavidBradbury
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Well if you're not going to

Well if you're not going to switch, why bother asking? That said, western's in my experience are pretty well accepted. I don't think you need to conform to a specific theme to have a marketable game. That said, giving the player something they can't connect with won't really do much. I'd keep with the western theme as that seems to be something you feel strongly about, and as a result, you'll likely produce something more enjoyable for the player. =)

Traz
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oooohhh.... pirates, ARH!

The Pirates vs. Whatever looks intriguing. Especially if you give it a US tie-in. How about -

19 Century Marines vs Barbary Pirates? That's historical and semi-topical and I don't recall anybody digging into THAT theme so you'd definitely be ahead of the crowd!

Speaking of which - I made up a pirate joke..

Q: Why will a Pirate say the letter 'R', but he won't say the letter 'A'?

[To get the answer, you have to say it out loud in your best Pirate accent - "AArrrhhhh!'].... ready?

Wait for it!

A: "Because when a Pirate says 'AARRRHHHH' ['R'], they knows yer a Pirate! But when ya says 'EH' ['A'], they think yer Canadian!"

apeloverage
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lucasAB wrote:I just took a

lucasAB wrote:
I just took a count of "the hotness" on BGG and came up with these results for basic themes:

fantasy ------ 11
sci-fi ---------- 5
horror -------- 3

historical ---- 25
modern ------ 6

Fantasy - are games like Small World, dungeon crawls, you get the point.
Sci-fi - are games like Battle Star Battlestar Galactica, Race for the Galaxy, etc, anything involving space ships and aliens(not to be mixed up with cold war space travel).
Horror - zombie-like-games.
Historical - is anything from the dark ages, 19th century, medieval, World War II, ancient etc...
Modern - anything after World War II.

Bear in mind that 'historical'

i) covers a lot of different themes. Someone interested in a medieval theme isn't necessarily going to be interested in an ancient Greek theme.

ii) a lot of historically-themed games will be 'eurogames', and so the high numbers might not reflect the theme's popularity among the general public.

ReneWiersma
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Sheep.

Sheep.

jeffinberlin
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You want to make money from

You want to make money from game design?

Seriously, stick with what you like, and if a publisher picks it up, they'll change it to what they think they can sell anyway.

simpson
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Quote:But here's the

Quote:
But here's the "thousand-dollar" question: which theme would be best suited for it?

Having done advertising for a number of years, I can tell you that themes mean nothing without a hook. Figure out your hook.

Example A (game sans hook): Medieval Fantasy themed card game
Example B (game pro hook): The Murder of King Arthur CCG

Themes with hooks help build two marketable game traits; curiosity and expectation. With the example B above, a player can have the curiosity of how the game topic will play out (intrigue, plots, the murder of a famous person) with the expectation of how the game is played (card game mechanics).

Also, if you plan to pitch-sell to a publisher, be prepared to have a theme revisited and changed. The game theme should be interchangeable with little mechanic or topical change.

Example B (original game hook): The Murder of King Arthur CCG
Example C (slight alteration to game hook): The Assassination of Jane Austen CCG

Sidenote: When it comes to figuring out "marketability" for a game, use your best & closest asset -- yourself. If you are a game designer, then there is a good chance you are a gamer by nature. Use your sense of game appeal to see if you would play your own game.

simpson

lucasAB
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Just to let you know

Just to let you know, I don't want to design games to make gobs of money, but I want to be able to pay for the manufacturing costs, hiring artists, and my time. To do this, I am looking for the best ways to market my game which includes; theme, price, graphic design, advertising, promotions, story, and of course, appealing gameplay.

Thanks for your advice! I will probably make it a western for many reasons. I may present my game to the BGDF chopping block for opinions in a few weeks, so.... check back!

fecundity
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Off-topic, pedantic aside

simpson wrote:

Example A (game sans hook): Medieval Fantasy themed card game
Example B (game pro hook): The Murder of King Arthur CCG

Off-topic, pedantic aside: The counterpart to "sans hook" (without hook) would be "cum hook" (with hook).

simpson
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Quote:Off-topic, pedantic

Quote:
Off-topic, pedantic aside: The counterpart to "sans hook" (without hook) would be "cum hook" (with hook).

Yeah but it just looks dirty

Dirg
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simpson

simpson wrote:
Quote:
Off-topic, pedantic aside: The counterpart to "sans hook" (without hook) would be "cum hook" (with hook).

Yeah but it just looks dirty


Which in turn would probably sell more games lol

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