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Why your pitch needs to be amazing

I was recently listening to an episode of Crowdfunding Nerds with special guest Willem Delventhal where they were talking about pitching games effectively. It was a really good podcast and it reminded me why your pitch needs to be amazing, along with how to develop your pitch over time.

They went into the benefits of pitching your game to others in the industry and how you’ll receive helpful feedback that you can then implement to make your pitch even stronger. Whether you are pitching your board game to publishers or giving a compelling reason for people to back your Kickstarter campaign, developing your pitch can be incredibly helpful to you.

Even if you are just trying to get people to playtest or demo your game at an event, a compelling pitch can mean the difference between a polite pass and a response of, “Ooh, I want to try that!”

So, let’s discuss how to create an amazing pitch and why this is so helpful to you as a designer.

First Impressions

As the old saying goes, you only get one chance to make a first impression. So, you want to make sure that impression is as effective as it can be.

As mentioned, you need to pitch your game to people so that they will playtest and provide feedback or demo your game and hopefully sign up to be notified when it is released, depending on your approach to publishing. If you don’t have an interesting way to explain what your game is all about, whether it be through the theme, how it differs from other games or some other hook, it will be difficult to get people interested.

The same goes for pitching to a publisher. You may only have 30 seconds in front of a publisher to convince them to have a closer look at your game, so you need to have your elevator speech down cold. Give them something interesting to think about. Your goal is to get them to want to know more about your game.

If you are self-publishing your game, particularly if you are using a crowdfunding platform like Kickstarter, Gamefound, or Backerkit, you need to give people a reason to scroll down and learn more about your game. This starts with the tile and description of your game and carries on through to your video and all the content on your campaign page.

People are very quick to move on to the next thing if they aren’t compelled right away. Choice is abundant out there, so you have to do something to get them hooked right from the start.

Creating a Compelling Pitch

I wrote a detailed article about how to create an amazing pitch previously, which you should definitely check out if you want to go into crafting your pitch more in-depth. However, I will summarize a few key points here to ensure you’re on the right track.

First off, I know a lot of game designers will describe a game by its mechanics. This may be fine when you’re talking to other game designers, as they understand the terminology and can relate it to other games of that type, but that’s not usually the best approach for describing your games to others.

Rather than talk about the mechanics of your game, focus on the following:

  • The roles that players take on
  • The setting of your game
  • What players do in your game or what’s available to them
  • The objective of your game
  • What makes your game unique

The example I give in the previously mentioned article is how I would pitch the game Pandemic:

“As members of the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), we’ve been tasked with stopping a global outbreak of four deadly diseases. As a team, we’ll need to travel around the world, gathering intelligence and stopping the spread of these diseases, by curing each one of them before time runs out. Each one of us will play a different role and have unique abilities we need to use in order to save the world.”

If I heard that before ever being introduced to the game, I’d probably react something like, “We have to save the world? How cool is that!”

You can see how this descriptive pitch would attract more people than describing it as a game where you use action points to move around a map and remove cubes. This doesn’t really tell me who we are in this game and what we’re trying to accomplish. Therefore, it doesn’t excite me that much.

So, stick to describing your game in terms of the roles, setting, player abilities, objective, and of course, what makes your game unique and awesome!

Wrapping it up

Before your next event or publisher pitch, take a bit of time to write out a compelling pitch for your game. It’s ok if the first version isn’t perfect. After all, was the first version of your game perfect?

Work on your pitch and test it on a few people. Ask others who have played your game what they thought was the best part. You might be able to incorporate this. Craft and hone your pitch, making it better with every new version.

Do you have a pitch for your game you’d like to share?

Please feel free to post it here and I will share my feedback with you.

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