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Author Topic: How to pitch the game?  (Read 5066 times)
TonyLB
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« on: February 04, 2005, 06:56:40 AM »

In the Capes thread in the Actual Play forum, Doug wrote:
Quote from: Doug Ruff
Tony,

I'm going to offer some unsolicited advice (again) - you need to find a way of using this type of experience to sell your game.

The fact that it is possible to cram an entire campaign worth of story into a single play session is not a flaw, it's a feature.

I'm sure you know that already, but have you realised the full marketing potential? Most gamers have a very limited amount of play time available, and are already committed to one or more existing campaigns and systems.

The idea that you can take this game and fit it into your existing gaming schedule with minimum effort and maximum story progression is a real selling point - it's the gaming equivalent of a Milky Bar (English reference:  "the sweet you can eat between meals without ruining your appetite.)

Of course, it can still be played to a more traditional timescale, but that isn't your USP. I strongly believe that Actual Play posts like this (and the demos that generate them) are what will sell more copies of your game.

Well, I see your point Doug, but I don't think that's all that big a deal.  It's probably just me, but I look at the structure of the game and say "Of course it's going to run faster when all of the players are committed to getting things on the table as fast as possible... after all, the game always does whatever they're subconsciously after".

I think it's a subset of the larger selling point "This game uses advanced techniques of behavioral mathematics to read your %#%ing mind, how incredibly cool is that?"

Somehow I worry that I'd be greeted with a little skepticism if that were my explicit pitch.  So maybe you're right, and I should pitch some of the more believable side-effects of the system.

Thoughts, anyone?
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Andrew Morris
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« Reply #1 on: February 04, 2005, 07:26:46 AM »

Tony, what is your current explicit pitch for Capes?
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TonyLB
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« Reply #2 on: February 04, 2005, 07:49:23 AM »

God, I could have sworn I wrote that down somewhere... apparently not.  Oy.  Now I'll have to reinvent:

"In Capes you play both the heroes and the villains.  You are rewarded when other players care enough about what you're doing to stop you from doing it.  Character loss is player victory, and character victory is also player victory.  The only way to lose is not to play."

That's not trimmed down to the twenty-five-word tight pitch that I'd prefer, but it's a direction.
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Andrew Morris
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« Reply #3 on: February 04, 2005, 08:48:11 AM »

Hmm. That pitch doesn't sell me, and I own the game.

Depending on what your 25-second pitch is trying to achieve (that's about 15 seconds too long for the average attention span, by the way), you could go in a bunch of different ways. Here's a few off the top of my head that hit on the action:

"Capes is the game that reads your mind, giving you the fast-paced, hard-hitting action you always wanted." [Blatant and obvious lies, like an RPG that reads your mind, are humorous yet compelling.]

"Capes launches you into hard-hitting action in no time flat. With zero game prep, you'll be saving the world, betraying allies, and confronting alien invaders in under five minutes." [A bit longer, but nails what you are describing more explicitly.]

"Capes is the Gatling gun of roleplaying, firing depleted uranium shells of pure action at 3500 rounds a minute!" [What gamer doesn't think Gatling guns are cool, after all?]

You can add a short tagline or slogan (which I believe you already have -- "Capes: the superhero game with heart.") to any pitch, of course.

This is all based on the assumption that we're speaking about the same thing when we say "pitch," of course. I'm using it to mean a short phrase that hooks the customer, getting them interested enough to listen to (or read) more. If that's not what you were looking for, let me know.
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TonyLB
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« Reply #4 on: February 04, 2005, 09:05:31 AM »

That's pretty much what I want from a pitch.  And interestingly, I'm one of the worst people to devise it, because my head is so thoroughly crammed up the... ahem... nether regions of the system-design.

I like all of those better than my own pitch.  Gatling guns are cool!

I'm ambivalent about "action".  I know it sells.  But Capes isn't an action game, any more than Dogs in the Vineyard is a misery game.  It is a game where people looking for action will find it, but it doesn't need action to make it go.  

What about this?  "Capes is the game that reads your mind, bringing you face to face with the stories you didn't even realize you wanted."

Yuck, that's so much weaker and less punchy.  Help!
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TonyLB
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« Reply #5 on: February 04, 2005, 09:17:05 AM »

And... ah, hell, it really does need action to make it go.

I just don't want people to think that action is all it can do.  But I may be asking too much from the pitch.  It's not really meant to communicate my soul, just grab people's interest.
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Andrew Morris
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« Reply #6 on: February 04, 2005, 09:30:37 AM »

Exactly. If someone's interested in a product, they will jump through hoops to talk themselves into it. All you have to do is grab their interest. After that, you just need material to support the customers as they convince themselves.
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