Larry Z
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I'm developing a small print-run game (perhaps 1000 copies) which I plan on self-publishing and self-promoting. I estimate that it is about six months away from release. For those of you who have been in this situation, can you advise me as to the best time to begin promoting the upcoming game, and how much information should be released when? Of course, one extreme would be to keep everything secret, and not release any public information about the game until it is printed, and until some token sales have been made. The other extreme would be to have a highly publicized website for the game, complete with the rules available for download, art samples, the final (as opposed to working) title of the game, a form for feedback, etc. Of course, there are many options in between. I see pros and cons to the various ways of handling the matter. Can anyone make any suggestions, or share how they handled promoting their upcoming self-published game? Thanks in advance.
 
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Jackson Pope
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Personally, I try to publicise as much as possible early on. I post the rules when I have the final versions available (and the time to web format them), and discuss the design and progress on my blog. I don't do much publicity here on the Geek or Board Game News until the game is available though.

Cheers,

Jack
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Christian Marcussen
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Larryfromcarync wrote:
I'm developing a small print-run game (perhaps 1000 copies) which I plan on self-publishing and self-promoting. I estimate that it is about six months away from release. For those of you who have been in this situation, can you advise me as to the best time to begin promoting the upcoming game, and how much information should be released when? Of course, one extreme would be to keep everything secret, and not release any public information about the game until it is printed, and until some token sales have been made. The other extreme would be to have a highly publicized website for the game, complete with the rules available for download, art samples, the final (as opposed to working) title of the game, a form for feedback, etc. Of course, there are many options in between. I see pros and cons to the various ways of handling the matter. Can anyone make any suggestions, or share how they handled promoting their upcoming self-published game? Thanks in advance.

The highlighted part of your post would be my advise. The closer you can get to that, the better.

A year ago I was in your situation. We went public with as much info as we could and generated a lot of interest (including publisher interest!). So in my experience that's the way to go.

Ofcours the main issue could be that it backfires and people think your stuff does not look that hot. But on the other hand, this would be nice to know before printing 1000 copies.

Go for it! cool
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J. Alan Henning
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Definitely promote as much as possible -- people often plan their game purchases in advance. Some BGGers also like to be among the first to buy a game, so they appreciate being an early adopter.

It's tough to determine how many to produce. You need to produce thousands to get the costs down, but without distribution it will be tough to sell even 1,000. I'm interested in what others suggest for a print run, but if you figure many new GMT games sell in the 2,000-3,000 range, then 1,000 may be too many for a newcomer.

I wish you the best of luck with your launch! Sounds exciting!
 
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Jackson Pope
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I've done the construction by hand at got everything digitally printed to keep costs down, and I've done (and almost sold) 100 of my first game and am doing 300 of the second game I'm publishing. With nearly 50 pre-orders I should sell out of that one too in time. 1000 is a lot (as mentioned above) and trying to shift them all yourself without a distributor will be hard. But nothing worthwhile is easy...

Cheers,

Jack
 
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Jackson Pope
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ced1106 wrote:
Hmm. I've seen self-promoting done at local game groups, as well as game conventions. Tablestar games did this, and you can find one of their published games on this site -- with a well-received review by Tom Vasal!

There's also another boardgame site for designers. Maybe they can be of help. Anyone have the URL?


aka. Washu! ^O^
Try the board game designers' forum: http://www.bgdf.com

Cheers,

Jack
 
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ɹǝpun uʍop ʞǝǝƃ
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CaptainJax wrote:
I don't do much publicity here on the Geek or Board Game News until the game is available though.

Any particular reason why you don't promote much here on the 'Geek before release? I would have thought it to be a good testing ground of the potential market by posting the rules...
 
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James Davis
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mr_lunch wrote:
CaptainJax wrote:
I don't do much publicity here on the Geek or Board Game News until the game is available though.

Any particular reason why you don't promote much here on the 'Geek before release? I would have thought it to be a good testing ground of the potential market by posting the rules...

Problem with advertising on a site like this is if you dont live upto expectations youve just lost a good chunk of the market. People remember who you are and youll never live it down. If you push your game on here too much people will just over look it. Its a very difficult tightrope to walk.
 
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Jackson Pope
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jamesdavis wrote:
mr_lunch wrote:
CaptainJax wrote:
I don't do much publicity here on the Geek or Board Game News until the game is available though.

Any particular reason why you don't promote much here on the 'Geek before release? I would have thought it to be a good testing ground of the potential market by posting the rules...

Problem with advertising on a site like this is if you dont live upto expectations youve just lost a good chunk of the market. People remember who you are and youll never live it down. If you push your game on here too much people will just over look it. Its a very difficult tightrope to walk.
There's two other reasons, one:
Heavily publicising before release can come across as spamming if you're not careful, whereas after release you get free publicity in the form of session reports/reviews/images being posted by people who have played/own the game, which does not come across as spamming.
Two:
I make my games largely by hand in my spare time, so I can't cope with masssive rushes. Having all three hundred of my next game pre-ordered would be terrible, as it would take me months to fulfill some of those orders which is bad customer service.

Cheers,

Jack
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Larryfromcarync wrote:
I estimate that it is about six months away from release. For those of you who have been in this situation, can you advise me as to the best time to begin promoting the upcoming game...

I'm very familiar with that situation as my game was about six months away from release a year ago. But now I reckon it's more like 2 or 3 years away from release as I've decided to completely overhaul the rules. Again.

Serious questions: on what basis can you consider a game to be six months away from release? Isn't six months a bit of a delusion? I mean, until you've put the game through enough blindtesting to satisfy yourself that no further tweaking is needed, you can't predict with any certainty how much longer you'll need. And once you've reached that magic point, you're pretty much ready to roll - no?
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ɹǝsɐɹɟ
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Back in the days when there were less maps we played every map back to back
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mr_lunch wrote:
CaptainJax wrote:
I don't do much publicity here on the Geek or Board Game News until the game is available though.

Any particular reason why you don't promote much here on the 'Geek before release? I would have thought it to be a good testing ground of the potential market by posting the rules...

Three words - Tide of Iron devil
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Jackson Pope
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Rainsiko wrote:
Larryfromcarync wrote:
I estimate that it is about six months away from release. For those of you who have been in this situation, can you advise me as to the best time to begin promoting the upcoming game...

I'm very familiar with that situation as my game was about six months away from release a year ago. But now I reckon it's more like 2 or 3 years away from release as I've decided to completely overhaul the rules. Again.

Serious questions: on what basis can you consider a game to be six months away from release? Isn't six months a bit of a delusion? I mean, until you've put the game through enough blindtesting to satisfy yourself that no further tweaking is needed, you can't predict with any certainty how much longer you'll need. And once you've reached that magic point, you're pretty much ready to roll - no?

There could easily be 6 months of design/production to do - it takes me almost that long and I'm just producing by hand. If you had to do the artwork (or get an artist to do it for you) and then send it all off to the printers, and get the bits delivered it could easily take that long. More if you're getting it made in China.

Cheers,

Jack
 
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Marco Fuini
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Putting up a website early gives opportunity for feedback. If you are not pushing it, people wont get bored by the time you are ready to start seriously marketing. Another benfit of early public notice is that it offers some degree of worldwide copyright protection. Getting that website up early also helps getting listed sooner on searchengines.

A month before launch seems a fair time to start really pushing the marketing, how long before do the big guys do it? It's a build up, start slow and get everyone really excited/interested closer to the time.

We have used our website for years now, getting feedback, sales etc and havnt even started marketing or approaching publishers or distributors yet. In fact all our sales have been word of mouth and website driven.

Our initial print run was 100-250! How we managed to keep it cost effective still amazes me! I think 1000 games is probably the minimum quantity if you dont have the right contacts. Anything less makes the unit price too high. Complexity/simplicity and production values can determine
 
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Shaun Derrick
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Given that when I released The World Cup Game http://www.boardgamegeek.com/game/23604 I was not prepared at all for the advertising and marketing side. I was aware of boardgamegeek, but had only flirted with it briefly. I never had my own website and based my decision to publish almost wholly on playtesting results from UK games conventions and family meetings. The learning curve has been steep and expensive, but it's something I really wanted to do.

The World Cup Game took 8 months from initial idea to published game - very fast indeed. Whereas I have another game called Tribes and Kingdoms that I have worked on for 2.5 years and I am still not entirely happy with it. I have done little to advertise T&K just in case it never makes it into production. Some people will see non-publication as a negative attribute towards the designer, but it should not be the case. All games should be playtested and discussed before publication. It is only sensible to accrue as much feedback as possible. However, plagiarism in the games industry is rife - there are just so many similar games out there that many ideas are not original at all; so giving too much away might be risky.

I guess, in the end, you will do what you feel is right. You can have all the advice in the world but gut feeling is often the best way of making decisions.
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