When the time comes to start talking about your game to people outside your core play testing group; have a well rehearsed elevator pitch.
Can you sum up your game in less than a minute? I am not talking about the full publisher pitch. I am talking about the one paragraph pitch to a slightly interested friend. What can you say that is going to grab them and make them ask another question out of interest; rather than obligation?
Note: I consider your core play testing group to be your loyal buddies that are willing to suffer through the early growing pains of your game. Outside of this group, you should have an elevator pitch ready to go at a moments notice.
There is a huge benefit to having an “at the ready” elevator pitch early in the process. In a casual setting, you might be asked what you are working on these days. If you are like me, posting your design sessions on social media, people might ask specifically about the games you keep posting about online. If this is the case, you want to be able to give a confident elevator pitch about your game. This doesn’t have to be the full description of your game, but you want to think about what parts of the game are going to peak your audiences interest. What is going to get them to question two or three about that game. Depending on the audience, you can tailor your pitch and make comparisons to games they may already know and enjoy.
Real Life Example: I was at a friends birthday party where most of the guests were outside of my regular friends. I started talking about one of our games and thought nothing of it at the time. One our way home, my wife says to me, “did you notice all the guys listening in on you talking about your game?” Honestly, I had no idea….missed opportunity to include interested people and potentially ask if they wanted to try it out at a later date.
In our experience, the biggest benefit of having an at the ready EP is when we take our game to the game store and test it with our fellow designers where store patrons can walk by and see the game. Because your game on the table is something that the gamers in the store have never seen, they will ask what you are playing. Give them your brief pitch.
If you are able to talk about your game with confidence and a well practiced EP, gamers will give you what I like to call “designer credibility”. Designer Credibility doesn’t mean gamers will think you have a good game, my experience has taught me that gamers are impressed you have brought your game to a public forum with a prototype and a group of people trying out your game.
Elevator Pitches are extremely important because you will have more chances to deliver and EP about your game(s) than you will have chances to get people to sit down and play. Mainly due to time constraints, but even when you are playing a game, people will walk by and ask what you are playing. Take the two minutes to stop and explain your game to the passer by, the people testing the game will understand. Elevator Pitches are an early form of face to face marketing for your game and a first chance to open the door to more players and more future fans/buyers of your games.
If you have any comments or questions, leave a comment here or email Chris at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you have made it this far, would you like to go a little farther? We have a regular Google hangout with other designers. We talk about the games we are working on and share helpful tips and ideas on how to make designing our game easier. We meetup every other Saturday. Either comment here or tweet me or email me and I will add you to the list and send you a link to the Google hangout.