The Board Game Design Course

Where great games begin

Game Design

Finding the RIGHT board game reviewers and influencers for your game

No matter how hard you try, you’re not going to be able to get your game in front of every potential backer. That’s where board game reviewers come in…

Even demoing it at as many conventions as you can, making it available on Tabletop Simulator, running ads, and talking about it with everyone you meet, there will still be a lot of people who will be seeing your game for the first time when you launch it on Kickstarter.

So, how do you get these potential backers interested and thinking of supporting your game instead of all the other games out there?

Here’s where social proof comes in.

What is social proof?

Whatis.com defines social proof as “The influence that the actions and attitudes of the people around us (either in real life or online) have on our own behaviour.”

If people are talking positively about your game, this can definitely help with your campaign. This is especially true if the people trust who is saying this.

The best-case scenario is that someone tells a friend or close family member how awesome your game looks or how they played it at some event and loved it so much they already backed it (and perhaps encouraged them to do the same).

But there are also influencers that people look up to and trust as well. In the board game world, these are often reviewers like Rahdo, The Dice Tower, Shut Up and Sit Down, and Man vs. Meeple.

People watch or read their reviews and might be influenced to check out your game more closely, especially if they find they often like similar games.

But how do you find the right reviewers for your game?

Match-making

When looking for influencers to help promote your game, you need to understand that these individuals come in all forms.

Some do video reviews. Some do written reviews.

Some will review your game and give their actual opinion (often as a paid promotion), while others will simply preview your game without necessarily recommending it, or do an unboxing, how to play video, or a full playthrough.

Some influencers work for free, whereas others charge for their services. You’ll have to look at what you have in your budget and what you’re willing to spend, or just find those who work for free.

Keep in mind that not all influencers will look at Kickstarter games. Some will only review games that have already been published.

You’ll also want to find people who will be excited about your game. Start by looking for those who have positively reviewed games in the past that are similar to yours.

If you’ve got a wild party game, find influencers who are exuberant and into that kind of thing.

If your game involves social deduction, look for influencers who love Werewolf, Resistance, and other games in this genre.

If you’ve got a solo game, find influencers who focus on solo games or at least appreciate them and review solo games from time to time.

You’re much better off finding those who will like your game and whose audience will also appreciate it.

Here are a few places you can go to narrow down your list:

https://www.dangergames.co/blog/reviewing-youtube-board-game-reviewers/

https://boardgamegeek.com/wiki/page/Board_Game_Reviewers

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x5aU7hotV3Q

How many reviewers do you need?

There is no magic number of influencers you should include on your Kickstarter page. You don’t want to overdo it by trying to find 20 different reviewers, but you also don’t want to rely on just one.

I would recommend getting between 3-5 influencers on board. Some may say no or not be as interested in your game as others, so you might end up contacting more than this.

Make sure to reach out to them about 3 months before your launch date in order to give them plenty of time. They may ask you for rules, images, or other information on your game to determine if it is a good fit for them.

Figure out pricing packages (if they charge for this) and then send them your prototype when requested. Remember, you want your game to be shown in the best light, so make sure that prototype looks great on camera.

Make sure to grab some great quotes when they provide you with the content and use these throughout your Kickstarter campaign page to give people that social proof they are looking for.

Next week we’ll look at how to work with manufacturers to properly quote your game so that you can understand what this will cost and how to price your game accordingly.

Do you have any questions about influencers and reviewers?

Leave a comment and let me know!

Want to know how to launch your game on Kickstarter and keep your campaign running smoothly? Download my free Kickstarter Checklist now!

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