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What is the one thing?

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pdstephens's picture
Joined: 06/18/2015

I'm curious: Once you have designed a game, and you are in the process of marketing for self publication or going through a publisher, what is the ONE thing that seems to be the biggest challenge building an audience for your game?

questccg's picture
Joined: 04/16/2011
I can definitely answer your question...

Getting people INTERESTED in "your"game.

We have a 94% Anonymous Art Test score, we are "Father Geek Approved", we have a very "positive" review video from "The Undead Viking" and gamers/playtesters say that our game is very good!

With ALL of this... It still seems like people are "hesitant" or stand-offish about actually BUYING a copy of the game.

But the truth is EVERYONE knows SOMEBODY who would enjoy the game... How do you convince the people to "spread the word around"? How to do you get people to exchange e-mails about how GOOD the game is?? How do you establish a network of people who are actually EXCITED to play or own a copy of the game???

IDK maybe publishers are supposed to SKIP this step and make deals directly with either "distributors" or FLGSs in their network. I think this is how they push about 1,000 Games to the US/Canada market. They've had YEARS of SELLING or MAKING games - that kind of network you cannot BUY or hope to achieve in a few months, not even in a year.

I'm trying to make deals - but so far nobody has come to me and said: "I'd be interested in selling your game..." People who know about it HERE have been great in ordering copies and supporting the effort.

But my figures are relatively small compared to a magnitude of 500 buyers.

It's a very tough gig to SELL a GAME. Even if people enjoy playing it... They are not necessarily interested in OWNING the game. The type of gamer who WOULD buy it is probably aged 9-13 and doesn't have a PayPal Account or Credit Card to actually BUY the game. It's their PARENTS. And "Father Geek" said his kids loved the game... he is waiting for the Final Product once the sale is over.

And so it's a definite challenge ... trying to get word out about the game!

Joined: 12/25/2012
I'll take a stab at this,

I'll take a stab at this, although I haven't finished my game design and I've never self-published or marketed a game.

There are two major challenges that I can see to building an audience for a new game:

1) Having a game that attracts/keeps an audience.
2) Putting the time and energy into building an audience.

It goes without saying that your game needs to be of the quality that will attract an audience, and also keep that audience. A game must have high quality art and gameplay that is balanced and exciting. These are clearly relative to the player, but it's worth mentioning that if the game doesn't have the quality art or gameplay, people won't want to play it.

Another game killer (again, my hypothesis) is probably how much effort the publisher puts into marketing the game. Spend a lot of time selling your game to potential players, publishers, other designers, distributors, etc. This doesn't just mean posting on Facebook or taking your fliers to your Favorite Local Game Store. If you are self-publishing, maybe you need to drive out to the other 10 game stores within a 40 mile radius; maybe you should visit publishers at conventions and POLITELY ask if they would be interested in a demo of your game. (If you are self-publishing, I've read you could consider putting game fliers of other publishers in your game box, sounds like a good opportunity to network and they get free advertising).

In the end, my main piece of advice would be to spill your time and energy into getting your game out there. Be bold! Ask a game store if you could set up a demo and pass out your flier. Try to set up a meeting with a distributor or publisher.

Good luck!

pdstephens's picture
Joined: 06/18/2015
Thanks guys. This is very

Thanks guys. This is very interesting. What are the steps you take online to try and get the word out?

Joined: 12/25/2012
Remember I don't have a game

Remember I don't have a game made or ready to publish, so I don't know many right now. In case you haven't already guessed, here are the obvious outlets: Design Forums goes without saying
-social media (Facebook, Twitter, Google+... It's particularly most useful when you follow and have have board game reviewers and players that follow you.)
-If you have a blog, use that.
-Paid advertisements on board game sites.
-Pay board game reviewers to do a video review.

The Professor
The Professor's picture
Joined: 10/25/2014
Social Media is your friend


I've been part of a very successful Kickstarter (KS) recently, and my fellow designers did outstanding work a full year before launching the KS through Facebook, Twitter, and having their own website to which they could direct traffic.

If you're going to self publish, it is incumbent upon you to get the word out early. Also, having a presence on BGG is a must. Failing to do that ignores a great many interested gamers who can ask questions, read the rules, and have another dialogue point for you.


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