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Subject: Toni Darling campaign? rss

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Mark Turner
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I am not very impressed by Mage Wars running ads featuring a scantily clad cosplayer to promote the game. It's so old school... is this really the strategy for expanding the playerbase?

I know nothing about this person, and wish her the best, but she looks so bored by the game in the videos, and advertising a card game by featuring a woman in a steel bikini smacks of desperation.

Come on MW - you are better than this!
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Derry Salewski
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Re: Toni Darling campaign = lowbrow and cheesy
I am impressed.
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Re: Toni Darling campaign = lowbrow and cheesy
MrMT wrote:
I am pretty unimpressed by Mage Wars running ads featuring a scantily clad cosplayer to promote the game. It's so old school... is this really the strategy for expanding the playerbase?

I know nothing about this person, and wish her the best, but seriously - she looks so bored by the game in the videos, and advertising a card game by featuring a woman in a steel bikini smacks of desperation.

Come on MW - you are better than this!

This is so horrible! I mean.. look how much clothing she has on... way too much.
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brian d
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Re: Toni Darling campaign = lowbrow
MrMT wrote:
I am not very impressed by Mage Wars running ads featuring a scantily clad cosplayer to promote the game. It's so old school... is this really the strategy for expanding the playerbase?

I know nothing about this person, and wish her the best, but she looks so bored by the game in the videos, and advertising a card game by featuring a woman in a steel bikini smacks of desperation.

Come on MW - you are better than this!

I agree and had the same reaction.

Women's looks are used to sell all kinds of products and Arcane Wonders is hopping on a solid, time tested marketing band wagon. Sexy sells and I'm curious how much this is all costing Arcane Wonders and what their return on investment will be.

Personally, I'd rather see a woman who is a fan of the game discuss strategy and demo examples or play games. This game has incredible depth and interesting card combos are abundant. There is also a distinct lack of full game play videos on the net. If she's scantily clad then bonus, but at the end of the day I'll be taking note of interesting things she has to say about this game's depth.

I watched the initial Toni Darling Mage Wars video and it was just a unboxing. That's a common youtube video and, imo, isn't using these marketing dollars to their full effect. I'd say have Toni play a couple dozen games of Mage Wars off camera, *then* strap on the steel bikini and get on camera for some games and analysis. Have her do post game analysis/reviews of games between Mage Wars play testers. Cosplay the mage she's playing. You could even charge people at GenCon to play games against Toni in full cosplay. Theme her outfits to different time slots/days so people have a reason to come back to the booth. There's lots you can do with a girl in a steel bikini.

It'll be interesting to see how this marketing effort unfolds. So far its off to a slow start and very atypical. Best of luck Arcane Wonders.
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Wait, you mean they are paying money to a (very) minor celebrity for telling you to buy a product even though she personally doesn't has any interest in it?

PS: Arcane Wonder's upcoming campaign to promote the Forcemaster (mimicking the spell Force Push)

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I'm looking forward to other 'live action' pics to represent various mages coming to this thread.
 
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Mark Turner
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Shelfwear wrote:
Wait, you mean they are paying money to a (very) minor celebrity for telling you to buy a product even though she personally doesn't has any interest in it?

PS: Arcane Wonder's upcoming campaign to promote the Forcemaster (mimicking the spell Force Push.


Love the Will Wheaton! A funny, tongue in cheek campaign would be far more interesting.

As for the minor celeb... Well, of course people pay for celeb endorsements, but this is so blatant, and does not feel in any way plausible. She portrays no affinity for the game (not in the 2 videos so far). And the down the top of the low cut t-shirt shots in the first video are embarrassing.

Mage wars is pinning its marketing here on the allure of an attractive model wearing a male fantasy outfit. Is this what works in geek card games? For my part, this makes me less likely to get it. It feels really archaic.
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David Murray
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I agree - it all seems very archaic. It is just amplifying a problem I am having getting my group to play the game. The game is excellent, but my group is mixed, male and female, the female portrayals in the game just put some of my group off and so Mage Wars hardly gets a look-in
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Jonathan Challis
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scifiantihero wrote:
I am impressed.


Me too...
 
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Ray
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I do agreethat iI'm not a fan of the combination. I think she is a great cosplay model and MW is one of my favorite games.

The collaboration probably sounded great on paper, but kinda fizzled. While the camera shots are conducive to a bit of eye rolling, her lack of interest is apparent.

I have the same issue with Felicia Day. Her passion either really shines through or it doesn't on her projects.

Arcane Wonders has a tough road to hoe. It's a smaller game company that has a very popular product but has the potential to be huge, in my opinion.The main mission now is to get it in the hands of new players. Introduce it so it's greatness can be discovered. ☺

With the app, and some other products coming down the line, I'm confident this will happen. Right now it's about covering all bases. For those that love the game, try to introduce it to people if you can. A person really can't watch it and be drawn in as easily as if they are guided by a player through apprentice mode.
 
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Scott Everts
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Meh, if Toni Darling doesn't care, why should we? In that picture above she's not showing anything revealing; she's covered much more than women at the beach.
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Joseph Chipperfield
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I too find the campaign a little disappointing.

I've had a hard enough time trying to persuade people in my gaming group to get this to the table without Arcane Wonders undoing my work with this campaign. I like Mage Wars and I want to share this game with as many fellow players as possible, both male and female, but campaigns such as this one make it much harder to battle the perception that fantasy-themed games are only played by maladjusted adolescent males.

Once a year my gaming group run a small tournament of 2-player games (nothing serious just a bit of fun). We pick a game and then usually everyone does a quick rules learn (often buying the core set to swat up further). I lobbied hard this year for the game to be Mage Wars but I was outvoted in favour of Netrunner precisely because of the absence of chainmail bikinis in the latter game. Perhaps rightly, my gaming group thought that the more balanced representations of gender in Netrunner would broaden its appeal amongst the group. That is a potential sale of 8 copies of Mage Wars that Arcane Wonders has lost to its competitor. Obviously 8 copies alone is hardly serious for Arcane Wonders but if such things are being repeated in gaming groups around the world then it could lead to a serious problem.
 
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Brook Gentlestream
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The campaign isn't really for us though. We already know Mage Wars is a great game and have pre-ordered our expansions. The campaign is a missionary effort to help those poor souls yet to experience the game...
 
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Scott "Tox" Morris
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Hello everyone,

I'm the VP of Business Development for Arcane Wonders, and as part of my duties, I'm in charge of sales and marketing.

That said, first and foremost, I'm happy to see this discussion and the thoughtful responses. I completely understand that this program may not strike a chord with everyone and if it has offended anyone, I personally would like to apologize for that. It is not our intent to ever upset anyone.

Our partnership with Toni is designed for non-Mage Wars players, and specifically, targeted at the Cosplay community, in which, Toni is very popular. Currently, she has over 200K followers on facebook, and her Lady Thor and "Bride" (from Kill Bill) are very popular creations of hers that are iconic to her followers.

The goal of our video series with Toni is simple; follow the experiences of someone new to our game, learning it, playing it, and discussing her likes and dislikes with it. From them, we hope new players, including the fans of her that she will reach with this, will see how someone can pick up our game, develop with it, and say to themselves, something along the lines of, "I like the look of that game... If Toni likes it, perhaps I should check it out too."

Toni is not a professional game reviewer and we're not looking for her to provide a Tom Vasel or Undead Viking type of video. We're simply looking for her to genuinely provide us a glimpse of her experiences while playing the game. I will directly say that we heard feedback from the first video loud and clear and provided that to Toni and her team, requesting discretion for future wardrobe choices when recording.

We are a small company, 5 people in total that work full time, and a good handful of volunteers acting as ambassadors to help promote the game. We have an opportunity with Toni's appearance at Gen Con, and our contest we are running there, to introduce our great game to many more people. Growth of players overall means larger gaming groups, larger communities at organized play, and more opportunities to play the game we all love so much.

I fully understand that not every choice we make as a company will make every fan happy. I do know that we have received some very positive feedback around this campaign as well too. Our goals will always remain the same; make a great game that provides a great experience, and grow the game and fan base.

I try to be as transparent as possible, so if anyone would like to reach out to me, please do feel free, anytime, about anything. I can be reached via geekmail of course, or you can contact me anytime at ScottMorris{at}ArcaneWonders{dot}com for questions or comments.

All that said, I'd like to thank everyone who is a fan of our game. Nothing helps Mage Wars more than passionate fans and we have some of the most passionate, intelligent, and fun players around the world to help this great game continue to be excellent and grow.

Thank you,
Scott




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Toni Darling
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Brook Gentlestream
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eviljelloman wrote:
Also, the image they're using to advertise Mage Wars is her dressed as THOR. It's like they aren't even trying


Scott Morris wrote:
and her Lady Thor and "Bride" (from Kill Bill) are very popular creations of hers that are iconic to her followers.
 
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I think Americans just have a problem with semi/naked bodies (maybe excepting California/Florida).

We have girls walking down the street in bikinis or equivalent like that, sitting around university campuses and parks, and no-one bats an eyelid. Lots of girls in my gaming circle, and none are remotely taken aback by this. Nor would I have a problem viewing that picture at work and being seen to do so (and I've written and enforced more than a few IT Policies, with acceptable workplace use).
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Mark Turner
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Kelanen wrote:
I think Americans just have a problem with semi/naked bodies (maybe excepting California/Florida).


No, this is not the criticism at all. I have no problem with semi-naked bodies, in the right context.

The criticism is that a woman dressed in a skimpy Thor outfit is being used to market a game that ostensibly has nothing to do with her or skimpy Thor outfits.

If this game had a player base of women who play in male fantasy outfits, and she was one of them, this would be appropriate. But it doesn't. So it feels fake.

It therefore comes across as a cynical effort to attach this woman's sex appeal to the game, designed to attract those who enjoy looking at her pictures so much that they join her fan club.

That's not a crime, for sure, but it is out of tune with the prevailing ethos - especially following all the controversy around booth babes at games and tech shows. The blatant down the boob shots in the first TD MW video were so old school they were breathtaking.

It all adds a maladjusted adolescent male vibe to the game, which is off-putting to many and quite possibly self-defeating. And most of all, it's unnecessary.

This is a very good game. There are many other ways of advertising to its demographic. Be funny. Be original. Be challenging. Try something intriguing and quirky. Heck, be sexy but in a modern equal opportunity way. This 'look at the sexy Thor outfit, buy my game which has nothing to do with it' approach, by contrast, is unreformed 1980s - and not even in an arch self-referential way.

It's not the end of the world, but it appears to be an aesthetically bad call. Ultimately, I guess, the sales figures will tell the story; maybe they will prove that the campaign gave value for money, but there are better ways to do this stuff.
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MrMT wrote:

The criticism is that a woman dressed in a skimpy Thor outfit is being used to market a game that ostensibly has nothing to do with her or skimpy Thor outfits.


Do you also object to much of the artwork in the game, and specifically anything with the Adramelech Warlord on? Or the Forcemasters' spray-on clothing over her cleavage?

It all looks good to me...

MrMT wrote:

It therefore comes across as a cynical effort to attach this woman's sex appeal to the game, designed to attract those who enjoy looking at her pictures so much that they join her fan club.


Why not, sex appeal is used in marketing of everything, and has been done since the year dot. As a former Marketing Manager let me assure you that all marketing is cynical...

Whilst I don't cosplay myself, I work at and visit many places where it's the norm (MCM/Comic-Con for example) and these girls are common, even prevalent. Honestly, I think you have a very conservative viewpoint...

We have a half naked female BeastMaster in my RPG campaign, complete with bare breasts and enchanted nipple rings. Some maladjusted adolescent? No, that's the character of a 27 year old woman who's an ardent feminist...

I understand your point, I'm afraid I just disagree with it in it's entirety. Fantasy artwork is awash with semi-naked men and women to the point that it's a heavily defining feature (and enjoyed by both sexes).

Personally I think Toni looks fantastic in the ads, and if this brings a new demographic of player into the game, then that will be fantastic. I really don't see many who would otherwise be interested, being turned off of it...
 
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For those who would rather watch fully dressed, intelligent women discuss the game play of Mage Wars (in more of a Tom Vasel style review), you only have to go as far as BGG:
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/video/36422/mage-wars/starlit-c...

Maybe Arcane Wonders could hire the Starlit Citadel staff next time...?
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iNano78 wrote:
For those who would rather watch fully dressed, intelligent women discuss the game play of Mage Wars (in more of a Tom Vasel style review), you only have to go as far as BGG:
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/video/36422/mage-wars/starlit-c...

Maybe Arcane Wonders could hire the Starlit Citadel staff next time...?


Agreed! Starlit Citadel reviews are awesome!
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Mark Turner
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lordrahvin wrote:
iNano78 wrote:
For those who would rather watch fully dressed, intelligent women discuss the game play of Mage Wars (in more of a Tom Vasel style review), you only have to go as far as BGG:
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/video/36422/mage-wars/starlit-c...

Maybe Arcane Wonders could hire the Starlit Citadel staff next time...?


Agreed! Starlit Citadel reviews are awesome!


Exactly. They are the real deal!
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Joseph Chipperfield
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Toxziq wrote:

I fully understand that not every choice we make as a company will make every fan happy. I do know that we have received some very positive feedback around this campaign as well too. Our goals will always remain the same; make a great game that provides a great experience, and grow the game and fan base.


Thank you Tox for you response to this topic and explaining the thought process behind the campaign. I appreciate that you as a company want to promote your product as widely as possible and I, as a fan of Mage Wars, fully support your efforts as I too would like to see more people being brought to the game. I also appreciate that Toni Darling is a successful individual in the cosplay community and that by getting her to show the game to her fans, then the profile of the game is certainly raised amongst those fans.

I guess where the consternation comes from in this thread is that, at least in my board game group (and this appears to be the case in other board game groups too given that this topic has come up in Arcane Wonder's own forum too), having images of Toni in revealing attire promoting the game come up in google when searching for 'Mage Wars' will leave most of of my female friends a little cold and means that getting them to try the game is a difficult sell.

I can also understand this reluctance: if the gender roles were swapped and that a female friend of mine was trying to get me to try a game in a genre that had been typically more geared towards a female fanbase (lets say a romance genre for the sake of argument), then seeing an image of greased up Adonis dressed in bunny ears to promote the game would not make me more positively predisposed towards that game. In fact such a marketing campaign would reinforce the sterotype that romance games are only for woman. Now the fantasy genre has not have a good track record in its depiction of woman in the past but, over time, we are starting to see contributions in the fantasy genre with more rounded female characters. I believe that Arcane Wonders would do well to continue this progressive trend (I would also implore you to be careful with your card art in this regard too).

Cosplay definitely is its own subculture and I appreciate that within this community costumes can span quite a range along the scanty spectrum. I certainly don't want to give the impression of criticizing either Toni or her costumes: cosplay isn't for me but I'm glad there are people who do dress up in cool costumes as I love seeing them around the convention circuit. She also has the right to dress in any way she chooses. However, I do feel that by marketing to her fans in this fashion, Arcane Wonders risks alienating a lot of players in the board game club circuit. This has certainly happened in my club (see my earlier post) and I'm sure it is happening elsewhere too.

What it comes down to is this: there are a lot of board gamers (myself included) who do not know much about the cosplay community. When they see marketing campaigns such as this, they don't see a advert targeting the cosplay community and adhering to their norms, they see a rather cheesy sex-sells campaign. Adverts, when seen outside their targeted group can be interpreted very differently. Yes, try to expand the player base but not at the expense of other player bases.
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David Murray
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Scott, thank you very much for responding - it is much appreciated. I am not offended by the advertising campaign, only a little disappointed as it makes it harder for me to get the game on the table due to its archaic portrayal of women...
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Personally, I have no problem with using a beautiful woman showing a bit of flesh to advertise a product. Many pictures in card games display similar beauty.

However, I was quite surprised when, in my job as a children's worker, an 11-year-old girl decided not to use a Zombicide character because it was showing to much cleavage.

+1 to the wisdom of children.
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