Friday, November 07, 2008


Marketing is most often defined as creating demand for your product. To a lot of people that means artificially drumming up demand for your product through hype, buzz, advertising, or some other means.

But the simplest form of marketing is often to tell the right people that your product exists. I've found to be an invaluable resource for doing that, which is why I think every game designer who has an interest in marketing their game should check it out.

After getting back from Gen Con with How to Host a Dungeon, I got it listed on Board Game Geek.

I had a couple of reasons for this. One, I wanted to see if there was a market for HTHTAD among board gamers. Two, I wanted to see what would happen. In September, the month I was listed on BGG, it produced 538 hits on my Web site out of 1294 total, or 41% of my traffic.

I have no way of knowing how many of those people bought How to Host a Dungeon, but I sold 42 copies in that period, so the math suggests I sold 17 copies thanks to my Board Game Geek listing, WHICH IS PRETTY FREAKING AWESOME BUMP, in my humble opinion.

After September, the numbers drop. BGG gave me 65 hits out of 695 total, which is 15% of my traffic (and by the same math, 3 copies sold). Looking at my BGG page, I see that 11 people list themselves as owning How to Host a Dungeon. The real number is probably higher, possibly MUCH higher.

My person hunch is that possibly 1/3 of my post-Gen Con sales came from people who discovered the game through BGG, which strongly validates point 1: there is an audience for my game on BGG.

I hope that's helpful to someone who's marketing an indie board game. I'm going to post a bit more on this and talk about what I learned about BGG, and the mistakes I made using it to promote my game.

We're having a useful discussion on this over at Story Games right now as well.

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Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Idea Mine: Tutankhamen's Meteorite

In the diadem of Tutankhamen there is a prehistoric gem whose origin has mystified scientists since it was discovered. Analysis of the ultra-rare stone, which must have had incredible value when it was set, shows that it is, astonishingly, more than 90% pure silica glass, and with an age that pre-dates any known glass-producing civilization.

The true story, ferreted out by scientists in 2006, is that the stone is a fragment of meteoric glass from a region of the Sahara peppered with such artifacts. The scientists theorize that the glass was formed by a gigantic fireball, probably caused by a cometary fragment exploding in the atmosphere.

But in your game, the fragment is evidence of a prehistoric civilization, perhaps a fragment of the glass cities of the Atlanteans, destroyed in the cataclysm.

Or maybe desert vitrification is evidence of an ancient high technology war fought on this planet in ancient times.

Or perhaps, the comet was a sentient alien sentient that was hurled to earth as punishment for celestial crimes, and which even now seeks to reunite its scattered parts and accumulate enough power to ascend--a pulp classic tale that must climax with a dangerous PC-led expedition into the deepest Saharah.

Or, in your non-terrestrial fantasy campaign, desert dwelling tribes carefully guard the source of their most valuable trade good, a strange stone which can be crafted into sharpened tools and which possesses magical properties.

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Monday, November 03, 2008

Dungeon Gerrymander


Saturday, November 01, 2008


Secret project:

Playstorming got me this far, but what now?

I think I'm playtested into a corner.

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