215 – The Art of the Pitch – The Family Gamers Podcast
Welcome to Rachael and Justin Blaske! They are the brains behind Five24 Labs, recently rebranded as Poketto. They are some of the folks responsible for bringing the Mint series of games to fruition.
215 leads us into facts about how car tires are measured!?
Thanks of course to First Move Financial for sponsoring this episode.
We asked Rachael and Justin onto this episode to talk about pitching games to a publisher (and by extension, designing games).
Tip 1: Have a rulebook ready.
Tip 2: Have a sellsheet (player count, theme, playtime, what makes this game unique, etc.)
Tip 3: Don’t say the “one more thing” you’re excited about; let the other person draw you out.
What We’ve Been Playing
Food Fighter (Kids Table Board Games) – adorable, with fodder for endless food-themed dad jokes!
The Blaskes are proponents of gameschooling, so they are adding in games that fit thematically with whatever the kids are learning.
Ancient Africa: Imhotep
US geography: Ticket to Ride
Weather/climate/water cycle: Petrichor
Mythology: Similo Myths
Paleolithic/Neolithic Era: Tribes: Dawn of Humanity and Evolution
Ancient Mesopotamia: Prince of Persia: Forgotten Sands (video game) and Age of Empires (video game)
Pan Am – highly recommended!
Timeline: American History
The Crew (review coming soon!)
Cupcake Academy (review coming soon)
SNAP Review: The Kringle Caper
Asher and Claire help us review this wonderful stocking stuffer. The Kringle Caper is an escape room / mystery puzzle game in 18 cards.
Publishing and Game Design with Rachael & Justin
How can you help a kid codify a game into something that’s shareable with other people?
You need to balance not crushing a kid’s hopes with making something people can tolerate.
Most games kids make take something familiar and change one thing. Talk them through what they’re trying to do, and give them choices of different paths: how else can we achieve that goal?
Try to keep theme and originality.
How do you maintain your (parental) sanity while helping your kids in game design?
Rules must be written down.
Good attitude is necessary – especially when receiving feedback.
Parents, realize that it is natural for kids to constantly change the rules to their games. You need to communicate to the kids that adults don’t play this way.
Design restrictions are incredibly good for creativity.Rachael
The Blaskes highly recommend the Fail Faster playtesting journal (http://failfaster.ca/) – full of prompts, suggestions, and helps for observations. I think we’ll be getting a few for Christmas stockings.
Justin tells what happens when he finds an obvious flaw.
It’s amazing to watch our kids come up with games, even when they’re terrible :)
Think you have a good game? Now what?
Find people outside your family to play it. Reach out into ever-widening circles: first with close friends, then acquaintances, then send the game TO someone to try (blind playtesting). Maybe enter a contest!
Everyone loves your game and you’ve tightened up the rules as much as possible – you’re ready to pitch it to a publisher! In person, online, or at a “speed dating” event. Do your research to find a publisher that matches the niche for your game – it shows that you respect their time.
Where do you find “speed dating” for pitching to publishers? Look into conventions, whether in person or virtually. Board game design groups can help with this.
Find Rachael Online:
Go buy more games from Poketto!
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