How to stand out
The board game industry has grown considerably over the last few years with countless individuals trying to make a game. Crowdfunding has provided creators with the necessary tools to be able to fund their own ideas and turn their dreams into realities, it’s a great time to be a creative!
The problem however is how do you stand out, what will make people notice you, and support your game.
The challenge with this question is I can’t just tell you the answer, as if I did, everyone would be doing it and you’d no longer stand out. In fact, this leads to a wider problem where studying how to become a publisher can put you in the same bucket as everyone else. That doesn’t mean you should stop (please don’t stop reading this blog!), but it does mean we need to think outside the box.
Focus on you
The world is full of people and everyone is unique, we all have our own lives filled with different experiences that have shaped us.
You are special!
Look at your job, your hobbies, your skills, your family, your holidays, your culture, your experiences and use them to do something no one else can.
Find ways to apply them to your decisions, whether it’s the theme of a game, marketing techniques, art styles, or simply the message you are trying to sell.
I’d love to share some examples with you but unfortunately, I don’t know you well enough to focus on you. I’ll have to focus on parts of my life in the hopes that it will help you focus on your own.
My career. Before designing board games I worked in the web industry. For my first game, I used my knowledge of the internet to build a website dedicated to the game and made sure people could find it.
My career. I also designed user experiences for countless systems and learned to focus on the end user. With my game designs I don’t just focus on mechanisms and artwork, but on the overall end user experience. This helps to make my games more accessible and more enjoyable to wider audiences.
Hobbies. I love acting so I decided to make my own videos.
Hobbies. I love video games, specifically MMORPGs and decided to make one as a board game.
Hobbies. I love cats so I decided to make a game about cats.
Family. My mother trains dogs for the blind and I grew up with over 20 dogs. Perhaps I could design a game around dogs, training animals, or raise awareness for blind people?
Family. My partner is Portuguese from an incredible city with loads of history. Could I make a game that shares this culture and the cities history?
Family. My father was a snooker player and I’ve watched and studied snooker for decades. Perhaps I could use this knowledge to make a snooker themed game?
My home. I live in Bristol, an incredible city famous for lots of things, perhaps I should design a game around those?
Personal traits. I love to help others, sharing my experiences through a blog is something that I find rewarding and at the same time it helps people learn about me.
My lists go on, but this isn’t about me, it’s about you!
How to stand out?
To stand out, you need to use your strengths as these are the things that will make you different to others. It’s OK to follow general advice, to play it safe and not take risks, in fact these are the smart things to do.
Just think about the special something that you have, how you can apply it to what you do, and how it will make you stand out.
Are you a musician? Then use music to sell your games.
Are you an artist? Then be creative.
Are you a programmer? Then program something.
Do you have a hobby or a passion? Then make a game about that and make it the best game possible for others who share that passion.
You don’t have to be the best at everything, for the most part you just need to be average, as long as you have one special thing that can make you stand out like no one else can.
Frank West is a gamer and designer based in Bristol, UK. He published his first board game, The City of Kings, in 2018 and now works on other games and organising events in the local area. His goal? To design and publish games focusing on immersive themes, fun mechanics and beautiful components. If you have any questions or would just like a chat, feel free to get in touch at any time!
Georgia King (ForestNinja)
7th April 2022 at 6:43 pm
And sometimes it’s not only ONE special thing, but a unique combination of things. Perhaps within yourself, or between you and your partner. For example, if you like riding motorcycles AND you like cats, suddenly you have a lot of hilarious games ideas about a biker gang of cats! Or perhaps you’re talented at game design and your partner has a master’s degree in ancient philosophy… you could make a game about some pretty wild concepts! With the number of potential combinations of even just 2 hobbies or skills, the possibilities are endless! 🙂
8th April 2022 at 12:53 pm
I agree completely!