Wednesday, March 25

Playtesting Again

Things have been going pretty well from a forward planning point of view the last couple of weeks. Sales are very slow at the moment though, as all my distributors have decent stock levels so I've just got to sit back until they sell through and re-order.

Last week I played It's Alive! and Sumeria at my Tuesday games night (and took two pre-orders for Sumeria from three players) and then at my Thursday games club I played Sumeria and Carpe Astra (and took two Sumeria pre-orders from three players). All the games were well received and the interest in Sumeria was very encouraging. On top of that I'm starting to get a few more Sumeria pre-orders. I'm thinking of doing an 'Introduction to Sumeria' review on BoardGameGeek. It would include photos of the prototype, and an explanation of the rules and how the game plays. Usually BGG reviews also include a critique by the reviewer, but my obviously-biased position would preclude that. I would hope that the review would boost awareness of the game and build some hype, but the risk is it's seen as blatant shilling and leads to a backlash against me, my company and the game. I'm not sure if it's a good idea or not - what do you all think?

I've now sent all the prototypes of Wreck! (working title!) to the competition winners, and started to get some pretty positive feedback on that too. Of course the copies heading to North America won't arrive for several days - the early feedback is from the UK.

In addition, today I had my first playtesting session with some of my Tuesday night boys. A couple of them get a day or two off during the week, and they are very keen to help me playtest on those days. Since I'm keen to do playtesting during the day this works out really well for me. We played three games, a couple of games of Wreck!, one of a new card game that I hadn't yet played and a couple of another game which I'm seriously considering. All three games were well-received, but there are some theme issues around the new-to-me card game. We're going to meet up again during the day one day next week, hopefuly this will become a fairly regular thing.


mads b. said...

Concerning BGG and "shilling", why not write a session report that explains how the game works? That way you can get your message out, but since it's not tagged as a review, people can't accuse you of shilling.

David said...

For me, as long as the writer is honest about all facts and opinions, I'm not bothered at all, no matter what his relationship to the game.

However, I would urge extreme caution. There is a vociferous population on BGG that have some extreme views on what they call "shilling." And any use of the word "shilling" over there has a strong negative connotation. I'm also not sure that a session report instead of an "introduction" review will make a difference. I've seen very strong reactions to people simply giving their own games a high numeric rating (which seems like a perfectly innocent and honest action to me).

byronfrombyron said...

I think the session report would probably be the better route. As far as shilling the game, you can put a disclaimer at the very top: you're biased, and you admit it. It would likely be a good idea for a press release/ game design forum topic as well.

Concerning rating one's own game: I just don't believe that you should rand something you designed, and that probably extends to publish. It's a conflict of interest kind of thing: you're skewing the ratings/rankings of the site (which is supposed to be largely unbiased) in favor of your work.

Jack said...

Thanks for the opinions, guys. I don't rate any of the games I publish for just the reason Byron said - I don't want to skew the ratings. Obviously I really like them, or I wouldn't have thrown my money at them!

I'll think a bit harder about the review/session report issue...



Todd said...

As long as you put a clear disclaimer at the top, I'd find it quite useful. I encourage you to post the information.

Pinebars said...

Perhaps you could send a news release to They publish a lot of articles relating to new games and forthcoming games. I'm not sure exactly how they use news releases from publishers, but you could just send it as FYI to W. Eric Martin, the editor of the site, for him to do with as he pleases. If he thinks its interesting or newsworthy he could publish it, and if not, then at least he would be on the lookout for your game in the future.

Jack said...

Hiya Pinebars,

I've got a pretty good relationship with Eric (hi Eric!) and he's going to do a preview of Sumeria in the coming weeks.