Sunday, October 27, 2013

Demos For You and Me - Part 2 - Running the Game

In part 1 we covered what you need to do ahead of time when running a game demo. Let's talk about what you need to do while you're running a game. This is where you're going to sell the people on the game, this is the actual test drive so make sure it's as smooth and wonderful an experience for the players as you can.

I'm going to assume that you've done the stuff in part one and have a tailor made adventure to introduce people to you game. What's going to make them feel like this is the best game experience in the world. Now here are some things you need to keep in mind over the next 2-4 hours.

I'm going to start with one of the most important ones, because it filters down to the other ones.


There, that's out there. Yes you aren't wearing a three-piece suit, or even dress down to business casual, but if you're running a demo you can't forget that this is your business setting and you should remember that. You need to act professionally at all times. That means the things you wouldn't do because you're in a business setting, don't do them. Just don't. It doesn't matter that you're at a bar, convention space, church basement. You are selling something to someone, be professional about it.

2. Address your players directly

I'm putting this one out there because I have seen this, and have many people come up to me and tell me about this happening to them. You need to address your players directly. By addressing them directly, I mean look at them when you speak to them. It's not that hard. You look at them when you talk to them. You don't have to stare them down, you don't have to gaze lovingly into their eyes, you have to just address them as a person.

You'd be surprised how hard this is, apparently, for a good number of people who run games at events. It is also one of the larger complaints that I have heard from a wide variety of people. There are many stories about people not looking at people when they talk to them at a game, or addressing all questions to someone else at the table.

You can't do that. Can't, can't do that. One it makes the game not entertaining for that person. It's also a potential sale you are leaving on the table.

3. Make sure everyone has their moment

This is standard kind of GMing advice, but it doubly applies here. You want to make sure that every person at the table has a moment to be amazing. Otherwise they're going to get bored and think your game isn't worth buying. Part of that is making sure those moments are in your adventure, but another part is making sure that you give the player those moments in the game.

It's like the "Let the Wookie win" part of demoing a board game. People are more interested in buying your product if your product gives them an experience that they want to have.

4. Have fun

Ultimately we're all just playing a game. Remember that, and have fun when you're demoing a game. If you're having fun, the player can pick up on that and it will infect their play as well. Nothing can ruin a game like not having fun, or being bitter. That includes being bitter about other people's products. No one gets excited by negative marketing, so don't do it.

I'm sure there are more, but these are the four things I think you need to think about when you run your con game.

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