How (Not) to Make a How to Play Video

How-to-play videos are used more and more for designers to show potential publishers or playtesters their game and publishers after a game has been released to teach customers how to play them. This satirical episode gives tips on how NOT to make a how-to-play video. Here’s the gist of the tips we cover:

  • Prepare so you can keep it concise.
  • Keep it short. You don’t need to say every corner case, but make sure to cover any confusing ones.
  • Use consistent terminology.
  • Use at least two camera angles so it’s not just a talking head.
  • Layer in photos to help make your point and show examples.
  • Lighting is important! Light up your face with multiple lights at different angles so there are no shadows. (3-point lighting)
  • Light up your components to show them too, but with not glare. Don’t use sleeves if they add glare.
  • Use a microphone close to you for clear and consistent audio. Clean the audio afterwards.
  • Make it easy to find the video online.

Audio Version: http://traffic.libsyn.com/theforbiddenlimb/BGBP054.mp3

 

 

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Matching Art to Your Game

How do you find the right artist for the style of game you’re making? Commence discussion! Topics:

  • Finding artists to fit your target market.
  • Identifying market segments.
  • Examples of illustrations or graphic design not fitting the game.
  • Selecting images for the Star Trek Trading Card Game.
  • What should I look for when requesting quotes?
  • What kind of budget should I expect?

Audio/Podcast Link: http://traffic.libsyn.com/theforbiddenlimb/BGBP051.mp3

Top 10 Ways to Build Your Board Game Industry Network

Today we have Jeremy and Brian’s top 10 ways to build your network within the board game industry:

Jeremy

J10 – Participate in contests.

J9 – Be easy to find on social media.

J8 – Place encouragement above criticism.

J7 – Do your homework to avoid wasting publishers’ time.

J6 – Observe Publisher Speed Date.

J5 – Go to Protospiel and Unpub events.

J4 – Attend cons where industry experts have time to talk.

J3 – Don’t view community as a vending machine.

J2 – Offer service or resource to the community.

J1 – Play other designer games.

 

Brian

B10 – Volunteer at con booths.

B9 – Run local events.

B8 – Playtest other people’s games.

B7 – Comment on blogs and YouTube videos.

B6 – Create content.

B5 – Be active on social media.

B4 – Go to bigger cons to meet elites.

B3 – Go to smaller cons for local community.

B2 – Find your local game nights.

B1 – Help others in the industry.

 

Audio/Podcast: http://traffic.libsyn.com/theforbiddenlimb/BGBP049.mp3

How to Reach Your Core Audience at a Convention

Today we discuss how to reach your core audience at a convention. We specifically hit on these points:

  • Luring on the First Day
    • Promo Packs/Where to Sell Them
    • Coupon Books
  • To Do Lists
  • Banners/Advertisements
  • Other Ideas
  • Email Lists
  • Playtesting Upcoming Kickstarter Games
  • When to Send Con Updates
  • Kickstarter Campaigns during Cons

 

Audio/Podcast Version: http://traffic.libsyn.com/theforbiddenlimb/BGBP047.mp3

 

Mailbag Episode #1

This is our first mailbag episode where we dig into these questions:

  • When do you give up on a game?
  • How do you recover from mistakes and setbacks?
  • How do you distinguish yourself from other games?

Audio Version: http://traffic.libsyn.com/theforbiddenlimb/BGBP043.mp3

Using Chipboard

Here are the chipboard-related topics we discuss:

  • Why use chipboard?
    • Feel
    • Durability
  • Why wouldn’t you want to?
    • Cost
    • Wear
    • Weight
  • 3D chipboard constructions
  • Cost analysis
  • Sizes and custom shapes
  • Standard sheets/thickness/layers
  • Finishes and coating
  • Unpub/Protospiel San Jose

Audio Version: http://traffic.libsyn.com/theforbiddenlimb/BGBP035.mp3

 

 

Branding: Naming Your Game

Finding the right name for your product, company, book or band is extremely important. After all, you’ll be pouring a lot of time and money into making it as immensely successful as it is in your imagination. So if I’ve just designed a game or started a YouTube channel, what should I name it? This question is fresh in my mind because I realized that our podcast name, The Forbidden Limb, isn’t effective, for a variety of reasons. The main reasons are:

  • It’s hard to spell. Most people fail to spell “forbidden” correctly on the first try. If someone hears it verbally from their friend, they might Google it as “forbiden lim” or something else that won’t get them to us.
  • It doesn’t describe our content. We discuss the business side of the board-game industry. Nothing that suggests or implies board games or the business is in that name. When we pop up on The Dice Tower feed, some people who would be interested in our content don’t click on the link because they don’t have a clue about what we’re about. At the same time, many who have no interest in us might click on it, start watching it, and be extremely bored.
  • It’s hard to remember. “The Forbidden Limb” is a made-up phrase that no one has probably ever used before us, so it doesn’t spring to mind when someone is trying to recall the name of their new favorite podcast. If we were the “Two Birds with One Stone” podcast, even though it has nothing to do with our content, people will have a better chance remembering it because they’ve all used the phrase “kill two birds with one stone.”

Why did we choose it in the first place? I started using it a few years ago when I was making YouTube videos on board-game strategy. At the time, I knew nothing about branding. I used it because I thought it sounded unique. It made me imagine what a forbidden limb might look like, or why one might exist. Since I built a small following with it, I thought it would be nice to keep using it and convert some of those “fans” to the new show as an initial foundation. I’m still happy with that decision, but now it’s time to go with something more appropriate. So, ladies and gentlemen, our new name is…. Board Game Business Podcast!

Beyond the podcast, we go through this every time we design or publish a new product at Overworld Games. Once we choose the theme, we need to name it something that is both marketable and appropriate for the feel of the game and our existing product line. For us, having a name that appeals to large retailers is part of our long-term business strategy, so we also consider that before choosing. In our podcast episode on this topic, Jeremy suggested that you ensure that your name makes sense in other languages if you hope to enter into partnerships with international publishers.

We are slightly regretting naming our US Prohibition game “Booze Barons”, because I’m not sure whether a store like Target would carry a product with a slang term for alcohol in the title. During our Kickstarter campaign for it, we asked our previous campaign backers for reasons why they may not back Booze Barons, and a surprising number of them said they didn’t want to play or support an alcohol-related product. You can see in the chart that over 40% stated the theme as one of the reasons they did not intend to back us.

reasons_for_not_backing_bb

 

It’s also important to ensure that the name you choose is not already used by other products or companies in your industry. If it is, you may confuse your customers or get into legal trouble. If someone else has your name trademarked, you need to keep looking for another name. A fantastic way to see if your name is already taken is by going to KnowEm.com. You can use other sites, but I like this one because it checks social media and domain availability as well.

In the end, a name is important, but don’t let it stop you from creating something. When you’re first playing around with an idea, just name it anything and keep moving. Once you know your creation will be sticking around, you can spend more time finding the perfect name. If you chose the wrong one, like we did, it will become clear before long. Then you can change it to something better.

What are some other features of a game’s name that are important to you?

For a deeper discussion on branding, listen to our podcast episode on the topic or watch the video below.