This weekend I had the privilege of going to EPIC Prototype Con where we were able to test and refine new games that we're working on. We tested Camping with Sasquatch, our next game. Over the course of two hours we changed it probably a dozen times but it resulted in a very tight game.
Part of the convention was a seminar by a distributor that gets games in stores. He had 8 "MUSTS" for launching a game.
1. Make the game. This seems obvious, but the subtext is, prototypes and ideas aren't going to get you anywhere. Make the game.
2. Have a sales sheet. It's a one sheet that should include the following:
- Name of the game
- Age range / # of players / Length of play stats
- 1 Paragraph of thematic wording
- Game mechanics aka, what players do
- Box contents
- Release date
- Order due date
- Item code
- Box dimensions
- Case configuration (how many per case...should be multiples of six, no more than 12.)
- Contact info
3. Be on point with your social media. Twitter, Instagram, Pintrest all help, but ultimately the only one that really matters are your Facebook followers. How many do you have?
4. BoardGameGeek.com: This is like the IMDB of boardgames. Believe it or not, ratings, reviews, hours played, etc., are all very important elements that distributors consider from BGG. Don't underestimate BGG. List your game and make it shine with appropriate, well shot photos.
5. Your website. Don't neglect it. Keep it current. A neglected site = a neglected product.
6. Newsletters. As I sat there and listened, I was able to check off the boxes of everything he was saying until it got to the newsletter. This doesn't necessarily need to be done on the launch of the first game, but is something to consider down the line as your brand and product line grows. It's a reminder to distributors what they can or should be ordering or re-ordering.
7. Product catalog. Kind of along the same lines as the newsletter, but more targeted and less newsy. Just the facts.
8. Go to shows. Showcase your game to as many people as you can. Shows will put you in front of people that will help you sell games, generate word of mouth and who knows, maybe you'll play with someone that tracks every single thing they play on BoardGameGeek and log some hours for you. It happens.
If you have any other distributor tips, we'd love to hear them in the comments below. And please check out our game What The Film?!
2. Yes, you need a script
If you think you can just wing it...don't. Write out your lines and be prepared. By this point in your games life cycle you should know it inside and out. Believe me when I say, when you see that little red light go on, it is like you are in Men In Black and Will Smith taps the button and there goes your memory. Also, be sure to write your script using your language. There is nothing more awkward than sitting down pitching your party game, sounding like Nicollo Machiavelli. Be yourself, but be prepared.
3. Use a professional
Realizing that I'm not a cameraman was the best thing that could have ever happen to me. It is almost guaranteed that you are treating your Kickstarter campaign as if it was life support. Making a game on a budget is tough. With that said, there are some things that you just have to pay a little money for. If you really know what you're doing behind the screen, then by all means, take a swing. But, if you just picked up a prosumer camera from Costco for this shoot, it is time to delegate. There is nothing more cringe-worthy than a poorly compiled video.
Though there are a ton of tips left unstated, these are the ones that really made our shoot awesome. The biggest thing to remember is to have some fun! You are doing some exciting stuff, make sure you treat it that way.
Lethal Chicken Games, enforcing fun since 2017.
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