Once or twice a week I meet with friends for some lunch time gaming. We meet at a restaurant down the street and we play a game. Without fail, we have at least one and usually more than one person stop at our table and ask what we are playing.
You might be wondering why this is part of the H2BaG series? We make games for people to play our games. Many people are totally unaware of what kind of games are available. Demonstrating in a public setting that the people at the next table are having a fun time that fits inside the time to eat lunch is invaluable to the future of our hobby and in turn, potentially grows the hobby.
Not only for the sake of the hobby, but our skills as designers can be improved. When people do stop, and they will, to ask questions about what you are playing; you will need to break down the game into one or two sentences. That is how much time you will have to talk about the game. In my experience, they will give a “that looks like fun” or “enjoy your game” and move on and that is all we can ask for at lunch time. The fact that people will stop and ask a question is exposure for them, a chance to spread the good word of games for us as gamers, and a chance for us as designers to practice talking about a game in a brief amount of time.
I will talk more about playing your own games in public in a later post, but playing published games is a great primer for talking about your own because the games look compelling at first glance and have a full set of rules and a finished story behind them. That will give you the ability and the confidence to talk about a game with strangers. Not to say your game might not be at this point, you might have a beautiful prototype but for the most part, the point still holds.
The benefits to playing games in public and talking about them with the people who ask about them are numerous and, for me, all I need to play as many games as I can around as many strangers as possible.
If you have any comments or questions, leave a comment here or email Chris at email@example.com
If you have made it this far, would you like to go a little farther? We have a regular Google hangout with other designers. We talk about the games we are working on and share helpful tips and ideas on how to make designing our game easier. We meetup every other Saturday. Either comment here or tweet me or email me and I will add you to the list and send you a link to the Google hangout.