How to promote a game

by Gil Hova

So, in case you didn’t notice, I have a board game out!

Prolix came out in September, and I couldn’t be more excited.  Now the challenge is to spread my excitement to others.

I’ll let you in on one secret of being a published designer: the angst doesn’t end once the game comes out.  I know I’ve come out with as good a game as I’m capable of designing, but that and a dollar gets you a donut. Most publishers don’t have the budget or time for a large ad campaign to support their games, so the legwork is left to the author.  This sounds unfair, but is in fact how it works in the world of book publishing as well.

So, it’s time to shamelessly self-promote!  Here’s what I’m doing.

  • Running the game at local game conventions.  I’m kicking myself for missing ComiCon this weekend, but I aim to hit most of the other area cons to demo Prolix.
  • Donating copies to reviewers.  I just sent a bunch of copies out today for reviewers.  Of course, I don’t expect the reviewers to slant their review either way because they got a free copy.  Unless you believe Roger Ebert pays for all the movies he sees?
  • Appearing on podcasts.  You can hear me in a week or two on The Dice Tower talking about the challenges of designing a word game.
  • Submitting Prolix to the Mensa Mind Games awards.  This wouldn’t apply for most games, because Mensa tends to skew towards lighter family fare.  Fortunately, that describes Prolix pretty well, and I think it has an outstanding chance of doing some serious damage at the Mensa awards.
  • Discussing self-promotion on my own blog.  How very meta.

Here’s what I’m not doing.

  • Paying money for ads.  I simply can’t afford an ad campaign of any effective size.
  • Making appearances at game stores.  I’m not a “name” yet, and anyway, most game stores cater towards 15-year-olds playing Magic, which isn’t exactly Prolix’ target audience.

I mention both of those because they’re what most people are suggesting I do to promote the game.  I wish I had the money and name recognition to pull both of them off!

So that’s that.  In the meantime, why don’t you hop by BoardGameGeek and take The Prolix Challenge?