26 Aug

Testing for the mainstream market

Dominic CrapuchettesSome time ago I read Derek Thompson’s MeepleTown post (part 1, part 2) where he interviews Dominic Crapuchettes about his games and breaking into mainstream. Here’s a quote:

After [listening to us pitch] Wits & Wagers Amazon , the [Target] buyer was very interested – he said, “This was probably the most unique game that has ever been pitched to me. This is something I would like to play. But here’s my problem: If I carry it, it won’t sell. Here are the only things that have sold, based on my experience: One, a Hollywood license. Two, a 2+ million dollar television advertising campaign. Three, a recognizable brand name, because it’s been built up for 3-5 years in other channels, and it’s sold at least 100,000 copies previously. Those are the only three types of games that sell at Target.”

So, does this mean that you can’t break into mainstream without being, well, mainstream? Read More

13 May

The prime characteristic of gateway games

Duco, a great gateway gameThere’s a prime requirement for gateway games. It’s not that it should look cool, although that helps. It’s not that it should have a high production value, or many dedicated players or easy rules or a small footprint. All of these things help but there’s one thing that beats them all:

A great gateway game should feel familiar. Read More