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Selling new players?

Started by xternal, January 11, 2006, 10:02:20 PM

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Quote from: coffeestain on January 09, 2006, 01:51:01 PM
So, I'm having a really hard time getting new players (new, as in new to DitV and new to this style of gaming) through character creation and a town in one sitting, though I have lots of opportunities to do just that. 

This is an aside, so you can pm me or start a new thread if you'd rather, but I must ask.

How did you initially sell these new players on the game?  I'm in a bind.  Little RPG experience or connections myself.  Played a few sessions of trad stuff.  I'd love to buy and try this game.  Problem is, I don't know the best approach to interest anybody in the game (insert, "Ever thought of just asking?" joke here).  Any advice in regards to how you "sold" it?


Xternal, welcome!

You should feel totally free to start new topics yourself, instead of relying on my to split them.

I'm very interested to hear people's answer to your question. My approach goes like this:

"So, um, yeah, I designed this game, it's, um, about [lowering voice] teenage Mormon gunslingers, and I, um, think it's kind of cool, but, like, you probably aren't interested..."

And it's TOTAL CRAP.



Thanks for the split.  I'll keep it in mind.

All I can really come up with so far is getting everybody drunk, and watching a bonanza/kung fu marathon, so, yes, I'd love responses.

Lance D. Allen

I can't say as I've much experience in getting people to play as I've only played it with my normal group, but the way I usually preface any description is to paraphrase Paka's description of the game.

"It's a game about pseudo-Mormon gunslinging Paladins" which usually raises a few eyebrows and gets me the opening I need to explain. I think though that unless your friends are already interested in indie stuff or the description grabs them, the best bet is to get one or two friends who are willing to humor you, and just run it. If they're willing to check on the web, find a couple of the more impressive actual play threads and have them check them out.

I'm thinking about trying to rope some of my old D&D/SCA buddies into a one-shot some time, so I may have more input on this topic in the future.
~Lance Allen
Wolves Den Publishing
Eternally Incipient Publisher of Mage Blade, ReCoil and Rats in the Walls

Andrew Morris

I just scream, "It's fucking Pseduo-Mormon paladins in the old west!" over and over until they relent to playing. If needed, I smack 'em in the face with the book (or sometimes a replica cap-and-ball revolver).

Or...sometimes I just mention that it has some of the most elegant mechanics ever created. Then I go into how the conflict resolution system actually supports cool thematics by making "gaming the system" and "adding cool story stuff" one and the same. Mentioning that it is functionally impossible for the dice to give me a result I don't think is cool helps, too.
Download: Unistat


Vincent, you should not lower your voice on the "teenage mormon gunslingers" bit.  It gets people telling you why you're wrong, wrong, wrong, which is exactly what you need in order to sell the game.  Did I not tell you my GenCon story?

Waiting outside the doors at GenCon, before the dealer's room opened, I got into an argument that covered (among other things) the Constitution, moral relativism, the purpose of the Supreme Court, religious history and the Magna Carta.  Lots of people getting very wroth, and all that.  When the door to the room opened I said "Okay folks, I gotta go.  If you've enjoyed this conversation then you need to buy Dogs in the Vineyard, the game that is all about moral principles and arguing them passionately.  You can get it at the Forge Booth, #1322."  I got sales too ... people came by later in the day, found me and said "Hey, where's that wolf game you were talking about?"

But here's my brief sales pitch (in case you don't want to get into such a discussion):  "In this game you play the spokesman of God.  You come into a town that's rife with sin and trouble, and everybody wants you to tell them what God wants from them, and so you do.  And the GM watches you in awe and horror, and says 'Wow ... that's what God wants?  Cool,' and the other players say 'That is one sick, twisted God we just made,' and you say 'Yeah, but the world is a screwed up place, what're you gonna do?' "
Just published: Capes
New Project:  Misery Bubblegum




I've had success with a few different methods depending on who I approach.

1)  Make associations to media.  Saying, "Hey, want to play pseudo-Mormon gunslingers dispensing justice in the old west?" is a hard sell.  Inviting a bunch of your friends over to watch The Boondock Saints and, while they're all hyped up about it, saying, "Hey, if you guys liked that, I've got this awesome game to try." really works well.  Insert Star Wars or Equilibrium or LA Confidential or, hell, Desperado.  It doesn't have to be completely accurate, you just want to capture a part of Dogs play that really gets them salivating.  Hopefully it's judgment and faith, but maybe it's horses and guns.  Whatever works.

2)  Telling your friends you really don't want to run/play anything else because you really don't enjoy it works or, at least, worked for me.  Be honest, though.  If this is how you feel, let 'em know.  If not, don't lie to them.

3)  To some of my friends, I sold the mechanics, not the setting.  The name is actually pretty ambiguous. 

"So, I got this new game called Dogs in the Vineyard."

"Cool, what's it about?"

"It's about judgment and justice and being totally fucking cool.  The neat thing about it, though, are the mechanics.  They're like nothing I've ever seen before."

"Yeah?  Show me."

So, yeah, it looks like my method is pretty much to not sell the setting (unless, for some reason, I thought someone would really dig it) and sell the concept or the rules first.  I'd say the best angle of attack is to target the appropriate media your friends really like.  Get them to the table and the game basically sells itself.  Be prepared, hit them HARD, show them not only how to do the things they're doing but why they're doing them.

That's really all I've done, and everyone has come back for more.  Vincent's game really does speak for itself once you show people how to listen.



Quote from: coffeestain on January 11, 2006, 10:43:36 PM
1)  Make associations to media.  Saying, "Hey, want to play pseudo-Mormon gunslingers dispensing justice in the old west?" is a hard sell.  Inviting a bunch of your friends over to watch The Boondock Saints and, while they're all hyped up about it, saying, "Hey, if you guys liked that, I've got this awesome game to try." really works well.  Insert Star Wars or Equilibrium or LA Confidential or, hell, Desperado. 

Thanks to all for the helpful responses so far.  This suggestion seems like it might be right up my alley.   It gave me the idea to check for westerns on netflix, maybe I'll run across something.  Too bad "Pale Rider" is an older film, that sounds about right.  Maybe "Open Range", I have a friend who loved that film.  If I'm reading it right, movies with average, even flawed heroes who stand up against seemingly overwhelming corrupt forces seem in line.

Levi Kornelsen

To sell other gamers, I get my hardcore game group together, and try to knock their socks off.

They sell all the other people I sometimes play with by means of their gleeful frothing.


Quote from: coffeestain on January 11, 2006, 10:43:36 PMSaying, "Hey, want to play pseudo-Mormon gunslingers dispensing justice in the old west?" is a hard sell.

Of course it is, in those words.  The technical description is "magic psycho Mormon cowboy preachers!  WHEE HAH!"  (You can explain the pseudo-Mormon part later.)  That sold my current group pretty fast, especially when I yelled and jumped up and down, as if I were riding a horse.

If you're having trouble, try adding "with Guns!"

Adam Biltcliffe

I can't speak for how well this works in the long-term, since the first DitV session I'm running is tonight, but this was how I sold one of my players on it:

"Basically, you play ass-kicking missionary troubleshooters who are responsible for looking after the people, and you have absolute authority to solve their problems however you like, like you can redefine the doctrine so they're right, or you can tell them off, or you can just kill everyone."

"That sounds kind of like Paranoia."

So I'm like, nooo, it's so not like Paranoia, but I get her interest long enough to humour me going and grabbing the book and reading the passage about Brother Zachary and his Steward. Then she goes very quiet for a while, and then says:

"Whoa. Um, ok. That's so not Paranoia. Let's play it."



Actual play.  As usual, it's all about the actual play.  If they won't play it, read them some.
"In our game the other night, Joshua's character came in as an improvised thing, but he was crap so he only contributed a d4!"
                                     --Vincent Baker


I raved about it.  Total socially inappropriate fanboy behavior.  Everytime RPG's came up, for like, a month, I'd open my yap and be like "Dogs!  It's a totally cool game!"  "Mormon Paladins in an old west that never quite was!"  "A game where 'Who guards the guardians is you!'  And the guardians are the characters!"  "Conflict resolution!"  "Dice!"  "Coats!"  "Guns!"

And so on.  Frankly, it was sometimes awkward, a little embarassing and often a bit rude (but never a lot rude!), but it worked, and we all had fun when we did play it.

I write games. My games don't have much in common with each other, except that I wrote them.

Levi Kornelsen

Quote from: Blankshield on January 12, 2006, 04:03:54 PMI raved about it.  Total socially inappropriate fanboy behavior.

As soon as you get three or more people raving, it stops being innapropriate.

It becomes a society unto itself.

And, if the raving sounds good, it becomes a society people want to join.


You said three on purpose, didn't you?