What do you feel is the best way to get new players interested in a new game?
I would start out with flyers with a site URL and scan code that takes them to the website to read more. Also, a quick YouTube video that demonstrates game play would be really cool. After that, maybe offer some free demo kits to stores. They could even be printable demo kits so cost is low.
@cryptogogue_ken Do You know what The Fermat's Last Theorem is?? This unsolved problem bugs mathematicians around the world for years, and they still didn't found a definitive answer:) This is exactly what Your question is. Simple in theory, but without a definitive answer. However, I have some thoughts on the topic I want to share.
First of all, we need to define who is the 'new player'? Do we want to attract people who never played any CCG/TCG or someone who plays for years and want to try something new? I think both groups will be interested in different things about the game and we cannot treat them equally. As an ambassador of The Spoils, I saw both groups of people trying to play for the first time and never came back. That's why I want to take a step back and look at this problem from a different perspective. What turns people off about the game. I'll try to list different aspects of the game from least to most important, but be aware it's just my humble opinion. I have no experience in game design nor worked on any game in the past. If I'm talking trash, call me on it I would be glad to find out anyone else opinion.
By Flavor I mean everything surrounding the game, but without direct impact on design or gameplay e.g comics, stories, lore etc. Don't take me wrong I like when a game I play has interesting lore and characters, but I don't think it has that much influence on the player base. Bushiroad usually develop an anime for their card games (e.g Luck & Logic, Cardfight!!, Vanguard or Future Card Buddyfight). My own earliest recollection connected to CCG/TCG games is watching Yu-gi-oh anime. But I didn't play the game back then nor now. I think there's the same number of people watching anime, but not playing the game, as people who play the game and doesn't care about anime. Same with other media or even flavor text.
I heard an opinion that The Spoils failed because of adult humor and non-fantasy flavor, but for me it's BS. For me, very little people care about it. Needless to say, there's a lot of Japanese flavored CCG/TCG games, and we all know what that means:)
I could include cards design in flavor section, but I think there's a need to add a word or two on this topic as it may have a little bigger impact. We all know how first impression matters and we as a species like nice things, right? I know MTG player who once said: "I'm not going to play The Spoils, but I want some of those cards in my collection" because he liked some of the artworks. On the other hand, I bought a blister of Pokemon cards and felt disappointed. common cards design doesn't appeal to me. It was better with higher rarity cards, but I paid a good money for 10 cards and I wasn't happy about that. We're paying a lot for a piece of cardboard and we want it to looks nice - right?
And this leads us to the 3rd aspect which is a price. Playing CCG/TCG competitively is an expensive hobby. This is related to both players who never played any CCG/TCG game and players who currently play some other game. I'm living in a country where the average wage is around 3 000 PLN (~812.98 USD), but we know that majority earn much less. Spending 20 PLN (I paid this much for a pokemon blister containing 10 cards) for a pack of few cards is a lot. I understand people who are afraid to spend this much not being sure if they can invest not only that money, but also a lot of free time. Some of them have families and have very little possibility to spend a few hours a week to play a card game. On the other hand, a player who is currently investing in one game will be very reluctant to spend money on a new game and start from scratch. They invest so much already in one game, It's better for them to continue investing in it. This is called The Rule of Consistency.
Also CCG/TCG game will always suffer from being seen as 'pay to win' game. There's no way around it, but it's important to show new players that they can spend very little and still build an interesting deck, have fun, and even score high in the tournament. This is a thing that in my opinion The spoils did well. There were enough common cards which play well to build quite a strong deck. We often helped new players by handing them out some of our commons and uncommons and they perform well and had a lot of fun.
Recently I was trying to find new game to play with my friend. I was considering many options e.g Yu-gi-oh, Luck and Logic, Vanguard. I went to my local game shop and there was just Mtg. No other game was available. It cost me extra effort to go, find online shops and find out which of them sells those games. Not every person is willing to do this extra step. Not every person would set up node and mine packs before being able to play the game. They will just install heartstone, wait few hours for every update to download and play it.
This one is important to me for a few reasons. Recently I was trying to teach some of my friends how to play The spoils and it hard to do. They complained that it's a hard game which they cannot understand. I quickly found out why. We were playing with my tournaments decks. Quite a few interesting things could be done with those decks. But there was a lot to process at once as well. For a person who is just starting it's just too much.
Recently I was trying to learn "World of Warcraft TCG" and I was in the very same position. The game itself was easy enough, but I felt like there's just too many different cards tight to a specific hero type. One example is Abilities. Some of them are instant Abilities that can be played at any time (Mtg instants), normal abilities which can be used only on Your turn (Mtg sorcery) and ongoing abilities which stays in a game after they resolve and usually provide some kind of trigger. On top of that Shaman hero has Totem Abilities which are ongoing abilities with live points and can be targeted as allies... And we played with limited preconstructed decks intended for new players.
That's why game rules need to be easy to learn, but complex enough to provide a challenge for advanced players.
One more word about game tempo here. I liked The spoils because each battle was long one (~40min). It required a lot of thought and was very tiring. Exactly what I need after a week of work to reset. But listening to some podcasts I was confused by some people who consider 20min battles as long ones and states that game meta is too slow. It's not what I'm used to, but I respect that opinion. I'm interested what You guys think about this? Is 20 min spend on for one battle too long?
Dialog with Community
Do I need to explain it more? We all know what happened to The spoils. I think people responsible for developing the CCG/TCG game needs to listen to its target audience and respect their voice. In the end, they are the people who put their money into the game. I'm not saying every demand needs to be fulfilled. Sometimes a hard decision must be made, but don't be a child with Your fingers in Your ears repeating "LALALALA I don't hear You LALALA"
in Poland, there was a game called Veto!. It was an interesting local game based on polish history. One day they announced that some cards will rotate out from meta, but there won't be 'legacy' format. Prices for cards dropped overnight. Now the game is dead because they didn't cared about the very people who put money into the game.
And that leads us to the most important thing...
- Community itself
Yep, That's what is the most important thing for me. There's a lot of toxic communities out there and if Your community is like that it wouldn't attract new players. I was lucky to play with a very welcoming community. We just had fun and I was happy I can spend whole Saturday with those people. Sometimes someone new came and played with us. We also never disrespect players who enjoy other games. I hope We'll build not good, but amazing Volition community and anybody will be welcome to play and have fun:)
Agree? Disagree? I feel like I've just scratched a surface a little bit. I'm interested in each and everyone opinion:)
@dragon this is exactly the type of discussion I wanted to see. Well thought out. I agree and pretty much all of your points. Each thing is important to bring in and maintain a good playerbase and community. Community is, by far, one of the most important things a successful game needs. (How else are you going to play it if you don't have people to play with)
So, the question is, what are some thoughts on how we can bring new people into this community?
Therian12 last edited by
best way to get players is to become visible asap and build a strong supportive community who can show their friends and others the best parts of the game and create dialogue to help gain others interest. That's how i got into most of the CCG's i have played, a friend rolled up showed me the basics and i dove deep into them
@Therian12 Fully agree. I'm currently working on providing space for polish players. I want to help new players get familiar with the game. Not only with understanding of the rules, but also tech side e.g. showing them how to setup node.
@dragon It's interesting reading your thoughts about CCGs (especially vis-a-vis your experience with The Spoils). You talked about aesthetics, accessibility/availability, economics, and gameplay, and you're right that these are often taken for granted. They are topics probably worth discussing individually.
Though, the technological underpinnings of Volition are our attempts to address some of the issues (pay-to-win, spending hard-earned cash on useless cardboard, static/non-customizable art). If you play any of the online CCGs, then you know that grinding is a chore (and why I almost always lose interest), so I look at the mining aspect of Volition as outsourcing the grind to automatons. I know we're relying on people having computers and access to printers, but hopefully that means broader availability. And, hell, if you wanted to play all the rares, you could print any card on the chain and play. Could be a way to turn 'cheating' into something fun: an all-card draft or something. Anyway, like I said: much more to think about regarding these aspects of the game.
I'd recommend raising some of your gameplay thoughts/questions in another thread as well. The time to play/tempo question is interesting, because I'm actually one of those that finds ~20 mins to be about the right amount of gameplay (and what I'd consider 'long'). I see it as my ideal average time to play. And, you can always play another game, right? However, the meta stuff is probably the real question. When playing, time is pretty relative. If I'm enjoying myself, it's almost irrelevant. If you get bogged down in the meta, then 20 minutes can feel like forever. I agree, though, that the games that require more creativity and thought are more interesting to me. Yet, some people like to chill out and play wizard poker because it's low investment. I'm sympathetic to that, too...
Geez, now I've buried my response to Ken's question. I'll try not to speak for @Therian12, but I think, like him, I've never been the earliest of early adopters of CCGs. It's always been a friend who demanded I play with them, and then, you know, I get hooked. I suppose it's finding and engaging these hub players, like dragon and Therian or anyone on this board, who really drive the network effect. But, since we can't get more early than the message board of an unreleased beta of an experimental game (!!), what would you need to bring on friends? @Shawnstoppable mentioned a video showcasing gameplay. Easily digestible rules and an FAQ for setting up mining nodes (figuring out the latter is my world right now, and it's pretty hairy...might not be accessible to the non-tech-savvy at the start--though we're trying!). And, how do you discover new games? The web? Play spaces?
All interesting and valid factors raised in your assessment. Also a very interesting video (is that a Spoils action figure in the video?) that you linked and for me one of the points it brought up: The theme of The Spoils. I was one of the early artists who worked on the Spoils, and I too found the theme to be quite “out there” for sure. But they definitely did a proper job of standing out from other IPs, whether in a good or bad way, it was I think, necessarily important for a small start-up IP to differentiate itself and create its own niche, if not spawn a whole different and original genre! It was risky, but also a valid one to take. Whether or not it has appeal, or if people even care about anything other than gameplay mechanics, is a different discussion altogether I guess. Of course, it’s impossible to please everyone, but endeavouring to find that sweet spot to appeal to a wide audience is very exciting and challenging indeed.
Generating Interest / getting new players on board:
I think it would be on uneven grounds for a start-up game company to draw comparisons from games like Blizzard’s Hearthstone, Yugi-oh or Pokemon where they have a very strong lore and the mega budgets to build lore with anime, games, cinematic shorts, comics, etc. In an ideal world, I suppose we would like to see all of those things to fuel and build interest. But, reality.
However, I think Volition is a different thing altogether, as it’s Crypto. Now that’s a different kind of draw it will inevitably tap on.
Before, I didn’t know why people mined Cryptokitties. Maybe there is little else to do in terms of variety, and mining cartoon cats is more entertaining than seeing your currency just idling there. But it also became that you could earn quite a lot of money by selling/trading them off. Thousands of dollars for a digital cartoon cat drawing anyone? Well, some people are up for it.
Anyway, I have little doubt that Volition has the potential to create enough of a draw to steal a big chunk of that Cryptokitty pie. But perhaps a question is: How many of those miners coming on board will be actual card game players? Bigger question is, would it matter if it got big enough? Though I’m sure some casual miners would develop interest in the actual game itself along their mining way. Win some here, I guess.
But, say if a high volume of people from Cryptokitties and similar copycats (<- see what I did there?) came over and started mining away the finite pool of cards from the actual potential CCG players, would that turn the community off? It’s like art collectors buying and selling for profit instead of really appreciating the craft. Worse, and depriving others of it or jacking up prices here. I read that a very high volume of people coming on board to suddenly buy Cryptokitties caused Ethereum to clog up their transactions/processes? Would all of these factors deter potential CCG players? But still, it’s not stopping Cryptokitties, so…
Personally for me:
I’m not a table top card game person. This is probably irrelevant, but just to give some perspective from a non-card game person. Growing up, I never played because I didn’t have any friends who was into it to influence me, and they were very expensive back in the day for a teenager to afford. I also live in a very tiny country where card games are quite the niche. So I only bought collectible cards like the Dragonball ones in the 90s that were just collectible for fun. And then I’ve only ever played Hearthstone, which I enjoyed, but the daily brawls quickly became quite a chore for me because I didn’t have that much time on most days. I didn’t mind buying packs, but not doing the dailies made it feel like I was missing out on free packs, and gave me the illusion that I was always lagging behind if I didn’t keep up with opening free packs. It was pressuring in a casual sense, if that makes sense.
But even though I don’t play CCGs, I would on a whimsy sometimes buy random physical packs of various card games because I liked the theme/artwork.
Sorry if I’m digressing from the original question at large:
How to get new players on board?
This got me thinking: How about doing something else for the casual miners? A side mining quest option which is not part of the main card game. It could be cards or stamps that are just collectible for fun, but related to the game of course. Like Panini stickers or something. And on these, there could be bite-sized information (or secrets, easter eggs, treasure hunts) to hint at the lore, etc. You can go wild with this.
Secret Crypto Path / Treasure Hunt: Like in Ready Player One? Some items will leave you clues that can open a path towards the treasure. Once you solve the answer to the first clue, maybe you can enter a room with like say, 99 crypto doors to choose and mine open, and only one of those doors is the right one and will take you forward to the next clue, going down like a multi-layered puzzle / treasure hunt, it will give you some prizes along the way but ultimately lead you to the big prize: $100,000 + A super rare legendary over-powered card! Make the hunt deep enough to last like a year for anyone to plausibly solve all and win. Show a leader board so everyone knows who’s ahead! HAHA! Exciting and rewarding, yes? People will come and mine just for the hunt itself! You’ll probably have to hire someone with a degree in Treasure Hunt Building.
MmMmmm The Oasis...
First of all, I need to say that being an early adapter is also a new role for me. Usually, I prefer to wait until the product is finish and well polished. It works, although I regret that I found out about The spoils somewhere around 2013. I'm happy to be here when Volition is still in its early stage.
About the technical side: It's hard to discuss this as This is a relatively new area for me as well. Also, Blockchain is still developing and changing at a fast pace. At this very moment, I feel like building a collectible card game on top of a blockchain is like opening a Pandora box. There's no doubt that it solves some problems, that many CCG game suffers from (all explained in Ken's video and interviews), on the other hand, it brings problems on its own. You both brought very good points about that one. However, we're people. We need to know what is in that damn box, right:) I remember that Ken said it's an experiment and I'm very interested in how it will end up. There're many good physical CCG games (MtG, Yu-Gi-Oh), as well as digital ones (Hearthstone, Gwent). Some did very good with trying to connect physical and digital space (Chaotic - failed because of a greedy publisher), but Volition is something different. I think it's worth to make a try. I think this topic deserves its own thread where we can discuss our concerns.
I'll create a separate thread for gameplay/game design related stuff. It would be great to find out more about that topic from You guys. As I said I have not experience in game design other than watching some Extra credits on yutube, but this topic gets me more and more interested every day.
The spoils had an interesting story to tell in my opinion. It's a pity it wasn't more robust. Funny thing is I cared very little about it back then. I like the overall vibe of the cards. Especially Arcanists. But, it never crossed my mind to find out more. Recently, I read an interview with @patrick . He mentioned that spoils lore was built around an idea of industrialized magic. I dug deeper and went through all articles I could find on old The Spoils page (first one). I found many stories about how people get hooked into the game, some cards descriptions, deck builds, and events info. Hardly anything about Lore of the game. There was one more interview with @patrick I was able to find. I found comics as well. That's about all I was able to find. I wonder if there is more somewhere - except cards of course.
Treasure Hunts in games are usually hit and miss. Masquerade Was probably won by fraud. Swordquest was never finished. On the other hand Volition could make something similar to what Mr. Robot does. Every season has hidden easter eggs. It could bring some attention to Volition from Theorists community. Many games like Five nights of freedy or Hello Neighbor got pretty popular due to people who spent hours and hours overanalyzing every aspect of the game. Big prize often tend to draw some controvercy. Throwing some pieces of an interesting story here and there, visible only for those who want to take an extra step seems to be quite safe. What do you think?
How I discover new games
I mentioned articles written by people who were willing to share their story and I think all of them was similar to mine. My friend invited me to play one day at my Local Game Store and I got hooked. Just like that. This is how I'm getting familiar with new games. From time to time there's a someone who is willing to show a tabletop game he likes and teach people how to play. Last Thursday we played Aeons End and The Others. Seems like it's more or less same thing for us all:)
I think it's a Jace action figure. He's a planeswalker from MTG.
You guys made me watch "Player one ready":D
tweetch last edited by tweetch
two populations to consider : CCG gamers (tabletop and online) and crypto maniacs !
gamers will play it, crypto maniacs will mine and make spéculation on cards price (its an apportunity and a risk!)
so how to be visible for the two ?
ICO style advertisment on cryptocurrencys sites ?
Physical launch event in store, with material prizes (officials sleeves, official printed cards ... ) ?
advertisment on tabletop magazine.
have a OCTGN and Table top simulator application ready very early in the playtest process ? it will fasten the playtester work ! (have difficulties to playtest on the holydays periods...)
Hmm… Yes, I think you’re right that a passive treasure hunt would be safer. Something that is low profile and unstated until it becomes a thing when someone discovers that it exists or something. I recall in the Spoils there were leet codes hidden in some of the Gearsmiths’ cards, so they already had easter eggs going on back then. – Not sure if a treasure hunt/easter egg is even feasible at all, given the model of customisation for the cards’ artwork, and the developer’s resources available to create puzzles.
I had no idea Mr. Robot had easter eggs, and were so intricate.
Ready Player One – The book is way way better than the movie. It gives you a more rewarding experience of how hard the protagonist had to work to solve the puzzles, the obstacles he had to overcome, the excitement of discovering an easter egg, and an overall more thrilling sense of the treasure hunt. Never got those feelings in the movie. They omitted a lot of other cool things too…
Back to main topic:
How to get new players into the game?
Some more thoughts on marketing for, as @tweetch mentioned the two groups of people:
Maybe sponsoring CCG superstars to introduce the game on their Twitch streams or Youtube videos, which is all the trend now.
Perhaps marketing that really focuses and shines light on the gameplay mechanics and features, what sets it apart from other games, etc. Drive interest and excitement from the game itself, and lesser about the crypto technicalities. Make them really interested in the core gameplay first, then let them jump through hoops later about Crypto. Lol
Infiltrate current trending CCG forums like MtG and Hearthstone and stealthily plug this game. I’m kidding. LOL, so low.
- Is there something interesting and different to offer them from kitty breeding? Is there opportunity to introduce a secret gameplay? Allow me to indulge into a little story to try and manifest what I’m thinking out loud:
Paolo came home from school and started mining packs of Volition cards, and he’s been doing it for a couple of weeks now. As he opens a new pack fresh from mining, he notices that it contains 11 cards. A normal pack has only 10 cards. Why was there one extra card…? He opens it, and it says “Ghost Card.” Paolo squints his eyes, as if that would make him see clearer. This card he saw, did not look like a normal playing card. It was mostly black, with an eerie luminescent white glow behind it. The option to print it out was greyed. It was not possible to print this card!? On the card’s top, a title reads “Realm of the Outergods.” There were eight symbols at the centre of the card, one of which was bright while the others were darkened. A cryptic message below the symbols read: “I am Metachronos. Seek the others, and know the path.”
Paolo, puzzled, quickly turns to his best friend, Google. Nothing shows up. Nothing in the game forums or marketplace. So Paolo decides to post his find. People talk about it, some were intrigued, while others called it fake. Then, a tweet with the picture of Paolo’s unique card shows up on the developer’s twitter: “So it begins.” Forums go ablaze with hysteria. Paolo receives multiple offers from buyers who want this ghost card of his. What, why? It has no intrinsic value, as it can’t be included in a playing deck. Paolo however, decides to keep his cards close to his chest for now.
Weeks down the road, another guy mines upon a ghost card. Similar to Paolo’s, but with a different symbol bright while the other seven were dark. The message below was also different. It read: “I am Gigas. When all are gathered, we arrive.”
One by one, the ghost cards all appear, mined by other individuals. There were no duplicates of each ghost card. What did these cards mean? Was there a puzzle to solve? Did owning one of these cards mean that you owned one of the keys to a lock? Did you need to own them all to unlock its code? Or could people work together? Could you combine/equip them with certain cards to spawn another clue??
What if when solved, it could unlock a hidden realm of secret packs to mine? To unlock different gateways to more group of cards? Perhaps you would have to acquire all the messages to know where to look? I don’t know. Just saying. Am I digressing? Can’t seem to shake off this treasure hunt idea...
- Eliminating inconveniences wherever possible: Not sure if this is going to be done, but I think creating a feature in which one can just drag up all your cards to save into a print ready template would be great. It would help immensely for people fumbling about how to set up their cards for home / shop printing. Easing potential problems like front & back alignment or bleeding issues, etc.
@kenfoo I just don't like a treasure hunt as a marketing stunt. It makes people care for a while. However many people lost interest very quickly. Also, as I said there's a risk of controversy. However, what You describing is more like Mr. Robot easter eggs than Golden Hare to me:) And it's very good idea:) As I said, there's a big theorists community which is glad to analyze such clues and share guesses. If it fits volition theme it may be a good way to get people interested in its Universe. I like the idea of rewarding people with extra content rather than a ridiculous amount of money. Is it possible from tech side to make something like that? Isn't there a risk that ghost card will be included in a pack which won't be open for years or by a person who just doesn't care/lost access to his vallet? I think this is an idea worth further consideration. I didn't discard an idea of treasure hunt completely, I just wanted to make you aware that if done wrong it may end up badly and make more harm than good for a product.
Yes, I agreed with you earlier. I don’t mean it as a front and centre marketing endeavor.
Although I wouldn’t call it a treasure hunt or easter eggs, since it isn’t formal like a hunt, and easter eggs generally don’t give you any substantial reward aside from some interesting information. Maybe calling it a secret would be more apt.
Ghost card –
Well maybe it doesn’t belong to you even if it appears in one for your packs. It could disappear after a couple of weeks and re-appear in someone else’s pack?
Although maybe you can still sell/trade it? I suppose that depends if it just contains information, or is a key by itself.
If it’s a key, maybe you can use it to solve/unlock a part of the puzzle. But if left idle, it will re-appear to someone else. (Or maybe that’s just what it does regardless.)
Maybe there's something you can do to trap it, so it won't disappear? But until all worthy persons are found to open the hidden gateway, people will have to figure out what to do with it if it lands on their laps.
Trade! Sell! No, keep it! But offer the information! Work together! Why should I? Share the reward! Fine! But I want 65% of the loot! GTFO!
Actually... it’s all starting to sound more and more ridiculous. This is frying my brain. Maybe not so feasible! lol
Something fairly simple to implant to broaden the audience is to translate the game in various language:
A huge drawback for The Spoils I could witness in France was the fact it was not translated. Out of the five stores around my area, only one agreed to order some cards for me whilst the rest firmly denied my request; not because of the adult content but due to the language barrier.
By the way, the store that ordered some did only one event and gave up for the same reasons...
@djib6bed6o6 This has me thinking about the customizable aspect of the game. Potentially, anyone can make new art for the cards, but perhaps there could be a mechanism for localization as well. Good translations would be really important, and I wonder if we could or should crowdsource them.
Or, perhaps that's too much hassle, and Cryptogogue should just localize the game into X languages. There will always be someone missing out, though! I'll have to talk to the team about this. Thanks for keeping us monolinguals in check.