Games Design - Putting People Off Your Game

Posted by: Gregor Hutton On: Apr 17th 2010

This topic occurred to me today. It is good design and publishing to put people who will not like, enjoy or "get" your game off it as quickly and painlessly as possible.

It's much better all round if they decide your game isn't for them and that is clearly and quickly communicated to them. The earlier the better in my experience.

Otherwise they'll invest time, money and emotion in a game that just isn't for them. Into something they'll proceed to bitch about for d10 months upward.

So I think that whatever you can do in your presentation, games design and marketing of your game has to facillitate this need.

I've been successful in some ways on this, but less well than I'd like. I can go into examples if people want to.

Posted by: Joe Prince On: Apr 17th 2010

Yeah give us some examples.

Also isn't a bit of interweb whineage worth it for greater sales?
Even fuelling the hype/buzz in some cases.

Though I seem to be at the other end, I don't know of anyone who has bought one of my games and not got it...

Posted by: Malcolm Craig On: Apr 17th 2010

Joe Prince:
Though I seem to be at the other end, I don't know of anyone who has bought one of my games and not got it...

Perhaps that indicates unintentional success at just the kind of thing Gregor is suggesting?

And for the record, this is a great point that Gregor has made, and I can see some very useful hints and tips coming out of the discussion. Using Hot War as an example, I've always been clear to people that this is John Wyndham, J G Ballard, Children of Men, and Threads. Not Mad Max II, The Postman, and A Boy And His Dog.

People have very different views of what post-apocalypse fiction is. Many associate it with the tropes of Mad Max styled movies and books. Hot War is probably not what these people are looking for and it's vital that they don't buy it, then realise there's nothing in it which supports tooling your V8 up with .50 machineguns and heading out on the highway to eliminate leather-clad bikers!*

Now, that's a background-based example and I'm sure there are plenty more (both background and mechanically based) out there.

Gregor: I too would really like to hear about your examples.


*Although, Hell 4 Leather could do this admirably!

Posted by: Lynne H On: Apr 28th 2010

This would certainly be very useful, particularly looking at some of the feedback I've been getting about Cogs, Cakes and Swordsticks so far.

I think telling people it was designed to be played in a tea shop with sugar cubes for dice and a napkin for a character sheet (cheers Rich & Malcolm!) might help there a bit, but any other suggestions would be heartily appreciated.

Posted by: Neil Gow On: Apr 29th 2010 edited

I find I have to do this quite a bit because my games can easily hit an audience that doesn't get what they quite want. This is usually in comparison to Clash Bowley's 'In Harm's Way'. Clash and I have, without collaboration, fallen into a rather useful routine of signposting for our games.

Thats an example. We follow the dictum of never criticising each others games (and in truth, there is little to criticise about IHW) and pointing out that IHW is very 'trad' and BTQ is more 'indie'. I'm very lucky in that I have a contemporary 'competitor' (and boy, those commas are big) that I can signpost people to - which is great for all manner of good business reasons.


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