Rediscovering the Joy of Gaming

I'm BilboAtBagEnd. I've been away from gaming for a while. I return to it with great joy and some trepidation.
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Kickstarter and the Importance of Writing Really Good Copy for a Game

Ava Jarvis
United States
Bainbridge Island
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When I'm looking at a Kickstarter short description—or indeed, any game description, say in a catalog or on a website—I don't want to know what mechanisms are in the game. Yes, it's true. I don't even want to know what broad theme category your game falls into.

You may think this makes me a crass buyer, but here's what your listing of mechanisms and theme doesn't tell me: it doesn't tell me how the game feels or even what the game means.

No list of rules can tell me what a game feels like as I'm playing it. And definitely no listing of mechanisms will do that. And if we're really, truly honest with ourselves, it's the feeling of gameplay that wins over even the most hardcore of Eurogamers. There's a huge difference between a game that is a collection of mechanisms and one where everything works together, whether merely mechanically or also thematically.

So tell me: as I sit and play your game, what will I feel like? Am I going to feel the pressure of the bottom of the ninth inning in a baseball game, as in Bottom of the 9th? Does this give me the feeling of playing those Street Fighter games, but in a card game on my table, as with BattleCON: Devastation of Indines? And in a more literal vein, are you somehow unique while being a game that can be played with families, like Floating Market?

This kind of description is information, not just fluff, and is more relevant than telling me that your game uses auctions and set collection with a fantasy theme. To be frank, while I like those mechanisms, I have been burned by enough games, professionally published and kickstarted, to not be terribly thrilled on hearing them.

As long as we're on the topic of good copy writing, your first paragraph needs to continue carrying the theme of what you've laid out with your short description. This is the time to demonstrate how your mechanisms support what you've laid out (indeed, we can call your short description your thesis). And your second paragraph ought to be just as compelling.

It's the difference between people looking at pledge levels and people passing over your Kickstarter in the face of the plethora of boardgames out there.

We must acknowledge that pretty art just ain't doing it anymore for a Kickstarter. Nowadays you need to be serious about copywriting. Either hire a good copywriter if you can't write it yourself, or if you do write it yourself, have people experienced with this kind of thing review it who'll give you an honest opinion.

Thanks to

Brett Myers
United States
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for the inspiration.
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