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Subject: Is this short pitch good? rss

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michael brown
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If anyone would look over my brief pitch and critique it, I would be appreciative.

You can comment inline here, or the pitch is below.

Thanks!

<edit #2>
Here is the latest version of the pitch:

Hungry Oni, 2-4 players, 15 minutes, Rules: http://goo.gl/hext06

Hungry Oni is a quick, lighthearted game about a picnic-crashing Japanese ogre. Play cards to curry favor with the Oni and use food to stave off its hunger, because eventually it will eat the player it likes least - and its favorite player wins the game!

The Oni is a fickle monster, however, and its mood changes often. A strategy that was surefire a few seconds ago might be suicide now. Navigating the ever-changing demands of the Oni is the only way to win.

Hungry Oni was a finalist in the 2015 Ion Award game design competition, and has been refined and playtested since then. It packs a lot of fast-playing, humorous interaction in a small box! I think that it would fit your line of games nicely.
</edit #2>

Hungry Oni, 2-4 players, 15 minutes, Rules: http://goo.gl/hext06

Hungry Oni is a new take on a market simulation, where players attempt to manage their hands of cards and play them in an order and manner that will make a monster that wants to eat them eat the other players instead. Gameplay focuses on controlling the value of your actions and maintaining your individual favor with the monster, so that when the game ends it decides to eat the other players instead of you. Though players are eaten in the game, there is no player elimination, because once a player is eaten the game ends immediately. The actions of each player can affect the other players in a major way, so player involvement and interaction is high. The game is also so fast, that players do not get much down time between their turns. This game also wouldn’t require a large box - a box the size of Timeline would do, because the game has a small amount of components, and the cards only contain one piece of information on them, so they can also be small. Quick, strategic play, a humorous story, and cool japanese ogres, make Hungry Oni an exceptional choice for a new light strategy game.
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Rob Harper
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To be honest, you lost me at "market simulation".

In general, your first sentence should probably be a really snappy summary of the overall experience you are going for, without any reference to game components, mechanisms, etc. "...A game where you curry favour with an ogre in order to avoid being eaten." Or something like that.

Then I would go on to give a little more detail about how the game plays and who the target audience is, as well as one or two features that make the game stand out. And split the paragraph up into bite-sized mini-paragraphs.

Don't forget to say how many people can play, how long the game takes, and how you win (in broad terms).

I would also try to avoid superlatives and hyperbole.

Who is this pitch for? Potential publishers? Players? Kickstarter backers?
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Paul DeStefano
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This is a very confusing and convoluted description.

Quote:
Hungry Oni is a new take on a market simulation, where players attempt to manage their hands of cards and play them in an order and manner that will make a monster that wants to eat them eat the other players instead.



Don't say a new take. It's a waste of marketing words. Let the reader decide what's new.

Don't say attempt. They DO manage their hands.

Don't say play them in an order and manner. It's awkward.

Shorten and clarify.



Quote:
Hungry Oni is a market simulation card game, where players manage and play their hands to make a monster eat opponents rather than themselves.




The entire things can be trimmed in a similar way. What you have there is not all that brief, but it can be with editing.
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DJ Wilde
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As you've been shown, you need to simplify. Reading this pitch was like trying to wade through waist deep peanut butter; very hard to do.

When giving a marketing pitch it's very similar to making a blurb for a book. You don't want to lose your reader because they have to decipher anything. Take Paul's example (perfect)though I wonder if the term 'market simulation' is going to be just too much of a turn off. A good hook may be something like:

Convince the monster to eat someone other than YOU.

Anyway, don't let that get you down. I think you can make this come across really good. Show us the redo!
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Geert Vinaskov
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"Hungry Oni is a light strategy game set in Japan, in which players manage cards to make a monster eat the other players. Gameplay focuses on making the monster like you, so it decides to go after the other players. The game ends when one player gets eaten. It packs a lot of fastplaying, humorous interaction in a small box!"


As an example, I took your blurb and shortened it. Just took a minute or two.

Write generals instead of specifics, since that triggers the imagination of the reader. I won't repeat the hints given in this thread, but they're very useful.

Also: It's about Onis (demaons) and ogres. And a monster. Is this monster the demon? I'd replace all instances of monster with demon.

Edit: I think you have a really good theme.
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michael brown
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I'm at work waiting for a meeting, so I can't write a long reply.

Thanks for the feedback. I appreciate it, and will work on a rewrite over lunch. If there is enough time I will also try to respond to individual posts, but lunch might not be that long.
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Ben Pinchback
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Geert Vinaskov wrote:
"Hungry Oni is a light strategy game set in Japan, in which players manage cards to make a monster eat the other players. Gameplay focuses on making the monster like you, so it decides to go after the other players. The game ends when one player gets eaten. It packs a lot of fastplaying, humorous interaction in a small box!"


As an example, I took your blurb and shortened it. Just took a minute or two.

Write generals instead of specifics, since that triggers the imagination of the reader. I won't repeat the hints given in this thread, but they're very useful.

Also: It's about Onis (demaons) and ogres. And a monster. Is this monster the demon? I'd replace all instances of monster with demon.

Edit: I think you have a really good theme.

This is a huge improvement.
Not always, but in general, mechanisms don't excite people and sell games. What you are doing, Who you are. Those concepts get attention. Then the mechanisms can shine once you've roped em in.
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Ken Lewis
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Geert Vinaskov wrote:
"Hungry Oni is a light strategy game set in Japan, in which players manage cards to make a monster eat the other players. Gameplay focuses on making the monster like you, so it decides to go after the other players. The game ends when one player gets eaten. It packs a lot of fastplaying, humorous interaction in a small box!"


I embellished the above description to give it a little more "flavor".

Hungry Oni is a fast playing, lighthearted strategy game where each player manages a hand of cards designed to get a picnic crashing Oni to eat the other players. Gameplay revolves around getting the Oni to like you so that it will consider eating the other players instead. The game ends when one unfortunate player gets eaten by the Oni.
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michael brown
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Thanks again, guys!

Here is what I am currently looking at:

Hungry Oni, 2-4 players, 15 minutes, Rules: http://goo.gl/hext06

Hungry Oni is a fastplaying, lighthearted strategy game where each player manages a hand of cards designed to get a picnic crashing Oni to eat the other players. Gameplay revolves around getting the Oni to like you so that it will consider eating the other players instead. The game ends when one unfortunate player gets eaten by the Oni.

It was a finalist in the Ion Award game design competition, and I have cleaned it up and playtested it more since then. It packs a lot of fast-playing, humorous interaction in a small box! I think that it would fit your line of games nicely.
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Andrew Rowse
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Are you assuming that the reader knows what an Oni is?

'Fastplaying' isn't a real word, though that shouldn't necessarily stop you from using it! It depends whether you think the publisher is a fan of newly-coined words or not.

The gameplay description doesn't match the rules - saying that getting the Oni to like you makes it consider eating other players suggests that there is an element of randomness to the Oni's choice, and that he may eat more than one player. The rules are actually that the Oni will eventually eat the player he is least fond of. There's also no mention of who wins the game.

Perhaps something like:

Hungry Oni is a quick, lighthearted game about a picnic-crashing Japanese ogre. Play cards to befriend the Oni and use food to stave off its hunger, because eventually it WILL eat the player it likes least - and then its favorite player wins the game!


For the second paragraph, give some context to when the award was and try to use aspirational language - perhaps like:

Hungry Oni was a finalist in the 2015 Ion Award game design competition, and has been refined and extensively playtested over the past year. It packs a lot of fast-playing, humorous interaction in a small box! I think that it would fit your line of games nicely.

It looks like a neat game!
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DJ Wilde
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theTrueMikeBrown wrote:
Thanks again, guys!

Here is what I am currently looking at:

Hungry Oni, 2-4 players, 15 minutes, Rules: http://goo.gl/hext06

Hungry Oni is a fastplaying, lighthearted strategy game where each player manages a hand of cards designed to get a picnic crashing Oni to eat the other players. Gameplay revolves around getting the Oni to like you so that it will consider eating the other players instead. The game ends when one unfortunate player gets eaten by the Oni.

It was a finalist in the Ion Award game design competition, and I have cleaned it up and playtested it more since then. It packs a lot of fast-playing, humorous interaction in a small box! I think that it would fit your line of games nicely.


MUCH better! It's a tiny bit repetitive but that may be hard to avoid (and is the story writer in me talking more than the game marketer). I can't help but think you don't even need the second sentence as it says pretty much the exact same thing as the first. But this really nails it well. Short and to the point, grabs the attention right away. Keep it up!
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Nibble Wut?
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How about something along the lines of:


"Hungry Oni, 2-4 players, 15 minutes, Rules: http://goo.gl/hext06

A small group of gamers are enjoying a lazy afternoon in the park, when a Hungry Oni gate-crashes their picnic - players have to manage their hand of cards to charm the Hungry Oni into not eating them! This fast-playing, light-hearted strategy game ends when one unfortunate player gets devoured.

A finalist in the Ion Award game design competition, this small box game has been further cleaned up and play-tested and is now ready for your consideration."

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Die drei ??? und der geheimnisvolle
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Selling a game with cards designed to get a picnic crashing Oni to eat the other players sounds like it could be illegal.
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Ken Lewis
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Giant_Monster wrote:
Geert Vinaskov wrote:
"Hungry Oni is a light strategy game set in Japan, in which players manage cards to make a monster eat the other players. Gameplay focuses on making the monster like you, so it decides to go after the other players. The game ends when one player gets eaten. It packs a lot of fastplaying, humorous interaction in a small box!"


I embellished the above description to give it a little more "flavor".

Hungry Oni is a fast playing, lighthearted strategy game where each player manages a hand of cards designed to get a picnic crashing Oni to eat the other players. Gameplay revolves around getting the Oni to like you so that it will consider eating the other players instead. The game ends when one unfortunate player gets eaten by the Oni.


Based on some of the other suggestions and looking at the rules maybe this simpler version will work better:

Hungry Oni is a fast playing, lighthearted strategy game where you use cards, and your lunch, to try and convince a picnic-crashing Japanese ogre not to eat you.
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michael brown
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Thanks a bunch to all involved! I love how it sounds now.

I wrote up a synthesis of all of your changes, and showed it to my wife. We talked more about it, and here is the 4th iteration:

----
Hungry Oni, 2-4 players, 15 minutes, Rules: http://goo.gl/hext06

Hungry Oni is a quick, lighthearted game about a picnic-crashing Japanese ogre. Play cards to curry favor with the Oni and use food to stave off its hunger, because eventually it will eat the player it likes least - and its favorite player wins the game!

The Oni is a fickle monster, however, and its mood changes often. A strategy that was surefire a few seconds ago might be suicide now. Navigating the ever-changing demands of the Oni is the only way to win.

Hungry Oni was a finalist in the 2015 Ion Award game design competition, and has been refined and playtested since then. It packs a lot of fast-playing, humorous interaction in a small box! I think that it would fit your line of games nicely.
----

I think that it sounds much better than it started!
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Isaac Shalev
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I think you can improve it further. Here's my edit:

Hungry Oni is a lighthearted game about what happens when a Japanese ogre crashes your picnic! Play cards to appease the Oni and stave off its hunger with food, because eventually it will eat the player it likes least - and its favorite player wins the game!

Hungry Oni was a finalist in the 2015 Ion Award game design competition. It packs a lot of fast-playing, humorous interaction in a small box, and is suitable for x-y players ages z and older.
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Andrew Rowse
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I REALLY like the choice to 'curry' favour

I would be tempted to avoid the word 'suicide', as it's difficult to predict which people have been touched by actual suicide in their life, and will not necessarily be predisposed to thoughts of whimsical fun by its mention. Perhaps use 'dangerous folly' instead?

Or milk the food metaphors further with something like:
'A surefire strategy can turn to custard in just a couple of turns' (assuming that Americans actually use this expression!)
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Keith Presley
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KAndrw wrote:
Or milk the food metaphors further with something like:
'A surefire strategy can turn to custard in just a couple of turns' (assuming that Americans actually use this expression!)


We don't- not in my neck of the woods anyway. And that is a shame, because it's a great expression!
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michael brown
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I agree that suicide was a bad choice - how about "fraught with danger"?
It isn't as strong, but the company I am pitching this to is in the US, so "turn to custard" would probably not be readily understood.

<edit>I think I am going to bed. Feel free to continue, but I will likely not read anything else till tomorrow.</edit>
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Andrew Rowse
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To be honest, I think you could drop the middle paragraph altogether. It's gist is basically that the game state changes and players need to play tactically rather than follow a single strategy the whole game - ie that the game has depth. That's good to know.

BUT - you were a finalist for the Ion Award, and that strongly implies that Hungry Oni has depth. It makes sure that anybody who comes away from the first sentence thinking 'this sounds like a trivial and superficial game' will be forced to revisit and think 'but if that were the case then it wouldn't have got anywhere in the contest, so I guess there must be more to it'.

Brevity is a virtue. Though clearly not one that I adhere to.
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Jon Vallerand
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KAndrw wrote:
To be honest, I think you could drop the middle paragraph altogether. It's gist is basically that the game state changes and players need to play tactically rather than follow a single strategy the whole game - ie that the game has depth. That's good to know.


I would keep it, but merge it with the first paragraph. I don't think those two lines warrant an additional one.
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Geert Vinaskov
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KAndrw wrote:
To be honest, I think you could drop the middle paragraph altogether. It's gist is basically that the game state changes and players need to play tactically rather than follow a single strategy the whole game - ie that the game has depth. That's good to know.

BUT - you were a finalist for the Ion Award, and that strongly implies that Hungry Oni has depth. (...)

Brevity is a virtue. Though clearly not one that I adhere to.


Agreed. I'd just smuggle the word "strategy" or "tactical" back into the first paragraph. (ps: I realize strategy/tactics are very different)

Remember that at first everyone was saying it was way too long. Don't be tempted to make it long again.

In my language we have a saying that goes: "Schrijven is schrappen", meaning something like "Writing is deleting". Delete everything not strictly necessary, delete everything that doesn't excite the reader.
Or to say it with numbers: If you delete 50% of your sentences, the remaining ones will have twice as much impact.
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Quote:
I think that it would fit your line of games nicely.


That feels very awkward. I would remove that altogether. It's okay on a forum if you're making a recommandation to someone else, but it doesn't belong to the back of a box. The first person simply isn't professional, and of course, since you want to sell the game, you think it fits in every collection and you want everyone to get it.

It ruins the rest of the pitch to me, which is otherwise well written, except for the suicide part, which, I agree, should be changed into something more family-friendly and more in adequation with the theme.
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Rob Harper
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Razoupaf wrote:
Quote:
I think that it would fit your line of games nicely.


That feels very awkward. I would remove that altogether. It's okay on a forum if you're making a recommandation to someone else, but it doesn't belong to the back of a box. The first person simply isn't professional, and of course, since you want to sell the game, you think it fits in every collection and you want everyone to get it.

It ruins the rest of the pitch to me, which is otherwise well written, except for the suicide part, which, I agree, should be changed into something more family-friendly and more in adequation with the theme.


That's a good point. This is a part that should be personalised for individual publishers: "Your games, X and Y are of similar levels of complexity to Hungry Oni, and Z is themed in Asian mythology. Hungry Oni would fit well into this range because, while it would appeal to a similar audience to your existing games, it also offers a different style of strategic choices and would allow you to market it to the strategic picnic-lovers demographic."

Yeah, that's terrible, but hopefully you get the idea.
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Ken Lewis
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theTrueMikeBrown wrote:
Thanks a bunch to all involved! I love how it sounds now.

I wrote up a synthesis of all of your changes, and showed it to my wife. We talked more about it, and here is the 4th iteration:

----
Hungry Oni, 2-4 players, 15 minutes, Rules: http://goo.gl/hext06

Hungry Oni is a quick, lighthearted game about a picnic-crashing Japanese ogre. Play cards to curry favor with the Oni and use food to stave off its hunger, because eventually it will eat the player it likes least - and its favorite player wins the game!

The Oni is a fickle monster, however, and its mood changes often. A strategy that was surefire a few seconds ago might be suicide now. Navigating the ever-changing demands of the Oni is the only way to win.

Hungry Oni was a finalist in the 2015 Ion Award game design competition, and has been refined and playtested since then. It packs a lot of fast-playing, humorous interaction in a small box! I think that it would fit your line of games nicely.
----

I think that it sounds much better than it started!


When I read descriptions I like a certain flow to them but your revision seems to stop flowing for me at "because eventually" that sentence just feels "off" to me.

The second paragraph seems like overkill as does mentioning that the game has been refined and playtested, it should be a given that your game has been refined and playtested.

Also, how prestigious is the Ion award? Is it even worth mentioning that you were a finalist?

Your pitch should tell them just enough to get them interested in playing your game. If you tell them too much you risk creating certain perceptions about your game that might turn out to be unfavorable. You need to find that sweet spot between too much and not enough. I think your current revision is too much.
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