Tabletop day has come and gone, and for those of you who weren’t here, well, you may have missed some great prizes and gaming, but we still have a few extra expansions and demo games hanging around. In particular, the good folks at Thinkfun gave us a very large stack of WordaRound, so there’s still something like twenty copies of that to be given away. Other remaining freebies include the terrifying poster of Wil Wheaton, arms outstretched and a sinister gleam in his eye. Wonder why nobody took that…
Anyway, on to the review! Some weeks ago, I’d had a discussion with a few folks in the game industry about if the concept of “play and win” promotions was a viable thing. Some theorized that it would kill sales because people would wait, hoping to win, while others believed added exposure could only help. Obviously, such a question needed to be solved with Science(aka, playing and giving away lots of games).
So, we tested with three games, all of which are reasonably new, not extremely well known, and not, yknow, terrible(an important qualifier). The list was Tahiti, What the Food and Capo dei Capi, and I tried to keep a rough count of plays of each…though I fear I missed a significant amount due to leaving the shop midday for Captain America. I regret nothing. Still, of the games I saw, Capo had 10 plays, Tahiti, 13, and WtF, 38. All of the games garnered additional sales as a result, (Capo: 2, Tahiti: 1, WtF: 3), though sadly, due to distributor issues, our WtF inventory actually ran dry during the day. Coupons for the respective games good for the entire month were provided to players, so it seems likely the people who wished to wait to win(and yes, several people did express such a desire), might return if they found the game compelling.
All three games were pretty well liked, but the favorite, WtF, had an advantage in that it was most flexible in number of players, had the quickest to explain instructions, and had a fairly short playtime, allowing more players to enjoy it. This was particularly beneficial as usually one or more players would stick around from the preceding game, and they would teach the newcomers. While this happened with all games to some extent, it was most frequent with WtF due to the larger player size. The logical conclusion is that party games are more conducive to quick demos and giveaway promotions than more involved games….but also that players do appreciate such events, and they appear to be a solid way for designers, etc to introduce folks to new games.
Many thanks to those who provided promotional materials, publicity, and of course, to all the gamers who came out to play!