Will people like your game?

I’ve recently been playtesting a game, and the difference in response to that game and the previous one I designed got me thinking about what makes a game successful. The diagram below massively simplifies the process:

Screenshot 2015-02-21 18.22.17

Notice that if your ideas aren’t engaging, you’re already at a disadvantage. I doubt this will come as a surprise to anyone, but I think its an important observation.

Notice also that if you fail to communicate your ideas (or your design) then once again you are hampered.

There’s also feedback loops between these three streams. If people don’t buy your game (or download it, or sign up to play it at a con, or whatever) then you don’t get past the first hurdle, and people never play it. If people don’t play your game then they obviously won’t get to enjoy it. If people enjoy your game then they will talk about it, helping you get your message out and get more people to buy your game.

So, every element in all three chains is vital. And, unless you’re hiring someone else to do parts of the process for you, you need to be able to do all four things – ideas, communication, networking and design.

Josh Fox

Rabalias grew up wanting to be a pirate. But a band of evil bureaucrats kidnapped him and forced him to work for The Man. Even so, Rabalias was patient and cunning. He escaped by gnawing his way through the walls of his prison and concealing the hole behind a picture of cthulhu. He fled to the coast, and stowed away on the Black Armada, where he worked his way up to the rank of Admiral.

3 thoughts to “Will people like your game?”

  1. It may be my inner economist, but price is always a consideration in “Will People Buy Your Game?” but as long as the price is reasonable and not excessive, then someone will buy it- you can always sell 100 copies of your game if you give it a go (to family, friends and the curious). Its making it to 1,000 copies thats the tricky part.

    Also in terms of “Will your Game be Played?”, then that tends to be in the hands of GM’s. Are people offering your game for play at home or in their groups? While sometimes the decision to play a certain game is player led, generally its people willing and wanting to run the game that makes it popular and played.

  2. And adding to Steve’s point, a GMless game has a slightly different choice in that it requires to appear fun to play and easy to facilitate, rather than fun for me to GM and hopefully fun for my friends to play.

    1. Mmmm, good points. Of course, most of this is about the particular sub-set of people who buy, run/facilitate and talk about games. It’s not that you don’t care about the folk who just turn up and play, but they’re going to have less of an impact on your sales and networking effort.

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