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7 months later: update on production thread

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Anonymous

In February, I posted in the "Production Forum" about advise on how to promote my game. Actually, a lot of people have helped me on this board with their advise and words.

My name is Baba Ali and I made a game called Mecca to Medina. Its a middle-eastern theme production card game

(original thread http://www.bgdf.com/modules.php?name=Forums&file=viewtopic&t=2131&highlight=muslim

7 months later after this original thread and so much has happened. So here is the update:

My games arrived on April 25th, 2005 and on three days later, I started selling them. After traveling to 2 conferences, showing the game to locals, and getting a website, the games have been doing much better than I predicted. Actually a bunch of amazing things have happened:

1. After 5 months of selling the game, almost 900 games have been sold and numerous vendors have sold out of the Mecca to Medina games.

2. Another shocker has been that almost 1/2 of the games sold on muslimgames.com have been to non-Muslims.

3. I was recently given a suggestion to start a blog to track all of the stuff that has happened so I did. You can find it on http://muslimgames.blogspot.com or goto http://www.muslimgames.com and click on blog.

4. A game caught the attention of the media so the Mecca to Medina game ended up in a bunch of newspapers and was even a guest on a radio show.

5. To top it all off, the CEO of Bridges TV channel (cable) asked me to fly to New York to do a 1/2 TV show on the game which will air next month

6. The game is now sold in numerous stores around the United States and in the U.K.

It sounds like all highlights but it wasn't. Actually, there were numerous setbacks in the last 7 months. The worst has been an error in the instruction booklet which is quite embarrassing. I understand that its all a learning process and this being my first game, its a truly a "learning" experience.

I just wanted to thank all those who have helped me with the numerous questions I kept asking. For those working on this game, this is the best board out there for advise and help. There are lots of knowledgeable people on this board so ask!

I try to keep my blog updated often. Recently, I was wondering how far my game has reached....I mean how many cities is the game actually being played in. So I started the "Show us where Mecca to Medina has reached" promo where people who have the game take a picture of them and their game in their city. I just started this last week and I'm getting lots of pics.

Very cool! Very motivating!

Brykovian
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7 months later: update on production thread

Awesome post, Baba ... thanks for the update and congratulations on the success you've been seeing.

-Bryk

Hamumu
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Joined: 12/31/1969
7 months later: update on production thread

That's just amazing! I think this is another example of how nailing a specific niche really hard is the best way. Generic Fantasy Game #743, even if it's got the greatest rules and coolest box art ever, is just not going to hit big without massive marketing. But if you've got a very specific hook you can play on, you can get attention in that niche, and really succeed. I think there's something vertical vs. horizontal to say about this, but I can never remember which is which in terms of markets

Congratulations! Now you have customers... build them a second game!

zaiga
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Joined: 12/31/1969
7 months later: update on production thread

Hamumu wrote:
I think there's something vertical vs. horizontal to say about this, but I can never remember which is which in terms of markets

I think this is an example of vertical marketing... unless I'm mistake in which case it is horizontal marketing! ;)

Seriously, congrats on the game becoming a success!

Stainer
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Joined: 12/31/1969
7 months later: update on production thread

This is not really vertical or horizontal.

Vertical is Donald Trump style.

Horizontal is Sir Richard Branson style.

Rob

Anonymous
things i learned...

Although my game is meant for a niche "Muslim" audience, I never expected 1/2 the games (on www.muslimgames.com) to be bought by non-Muslims.

The challenge I had was that people from the middle east generally play only 3 games: chess, backgammon, and a variety of games with a deck of cards. That's about it. No monopoloy, no scrabble, not even a word game....etc..etc...

Thus, it was quite a challenge to get them to convince them to buy my gme. I figure about 1 out of every 10 people we talk to buys the game which is very good. The thing that I can't figure out is why 9 of those 10 people don't buy it. Now, if they thought the game was boring and stupid, fine...I can handle that. Instead they say things like "Wow, this game is awesome. This would be a great game for my kids. Thank you" (and they walk away). I kept feeling like a kid at a science fair showing my invention. It was very wierd. My investors say that 1 out of 10 people buying the game is great but I look at it as 90% of the people are not buying the game.

I made my game simple so it could be taught in less than 5 minutes. The problem is that most of my niche audience don't want to spend the 5 minutes to learn about something that is foreign to them. Eventually, the pitch was shortened to just "35 seconds". Mecca to Medina is a production game, similar to Settlers, but has a balance of luck & stradegy. Think of it as Setters for the mainstream. Even with the simplier version, I watch many people even simplify it even more when they played. They didn't use all the options, they were just happy with collecting and trading resources. Although, that sounds very boring for me (since I'm a gamer), they loved it.

At the end, my goal was to make a game for my niche audience, not myself. I'm happy I didn't fall into that trap. The game is far from perfect but those who play it really enjoy it.

faith27
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Attracting the 90% of the market

I have looked at your website and your video (neat idea with the visual instructions), and was quite impressed. In fact I have e-mailed you or whoever picks up the e-mail to discuss how I can get involved with your marketing strategy.

I am based in london and know of a variety of ways to attract more customers in this region. As a muslim myself I understand how confusing it is when some people are all talk and do nothing about it. Why they do it I don't know.

Anyway drop me a message to talk, I think your product is exciting and would love to try it out.

eiman21@yahoo.com

Axe
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Joined: 12/31/1969
7 months later: update on production thread

babaali, Very nice. How much of it did your manufacturer design? It looks very professional IMO.

Lor
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Joined: 12/31/1969
7 months later: update on production thread

Baba-

Hearty congratulations on your recent successes.

Quote:
Although my game is meant for a niche "Muslim" audience, I never expected 1/2 the games (on www.muslimgames.com) to be bought by non-Muslims.

That should not surprise you! Games can be communication devices, teaching tools, as well as fun pasttimes. They are indeed bridges of understanding between cultures.

You might even take another look at your rulebook for the second edition- -since it is being celebrated as a bridge between cultures -- seek to widen its audience even more -- and maybe another 900 games get shipped!

The website is beaituful as well-- but you need to supply your video in QuickTime MP4 as well as Windows Media. (Quicktime is the video champ in my business.)

copycat
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Joined: 12/31/1969
rules!!

congratulations on your success! i visited your site to see the rules, and i have a suggestion:

i noticed that the rules are in PDF format (~30MB) i have dialup, and the rules would take hours for me to download. if you were to offer them in text, or rtf format as well, they would be more accessable to the bandwidth-challenged.

thank you.

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