This is Starting Player's feedback on the BGG contest. We hope it may be useful for both the BGG admins as well as other publishers who are considering advertising their board games on BGG via such a contest.
We had written to Chad a couple months back on the possibility of running a BGG contest. His replies were prompt and we received all the information we needed in minimal time. Shortly after the game launch on 20th November, we got in touch with Chad on holding the contest in December. We were pleasantly surprised to find out that the first week of December was still available and was allocated to us.
Our BGG contest for Three Kingdoms Redux ran from 1st December to 7th December 2014, seven days in all. There were a total of 3,129 participants.
In the seven days of the contest, the Three Kingdoms Redux game page received over 12,700 views. Considering that we started out with 14,500, that's nearly a doubling of views.
We experienced over 200 rule downloads from the Three Kingdoms Redux rules download page on BGG. More importantly, there was over 1,350 downloads of the official game rules from our Rules and Downloads page. This implies that approximately half of the participants spent time downloading the rules and looking for the correct answers.
The wishlist forThree Kingdoms Redux lengthened by approximately two and a half pages, or roughly 60 BGG-ers. We observed that the additions to the wishlist came in two waves. The first wave consisted mainly of participants of the contest, while the second wave was made up of non-participants whom we later realised were BGG-ers who had found out about our game after it entered "The Hotness" list. We received a small but consistent stream of enquiries from BGG-ers about purchasing the game throughout the contest period.
As mentioned above, Three Kingdoms Redux was launched on 20th November. The bulk of the orders we received up till the 1st December were mainly from locals (Singaporean gamers who wanted to support our work), board gamers who found out about our game via a positive review from Heavy Cardboard and a small number who had been following our progress over the past year or so. Starting from 1st December, we received quite a number of orders with names unfamiliar to us. We can only conclude they were due to the BGG contest.
Looking back, we were initially apprehensive about spending the money to run the contest. We did not know what to expect, especially since we were small and could only afford 3 prizes. We did realise that we would be targeting the correct audience, i.e. board gamers, instead of just the general population, and therefore decided to take the plunge. The outcome is certainly better than expected and we felt it was money well-spent. We would definitely consider holding a BGG contest again if and when we design and publish our second game.