Re: What do you look at when you buy a game?
- Numerous things...
Does it play fast? Is it easy to run for the GM? I hate over complicated games.
Is it adaptable? If I like the rules in general, can I easily adapt it to any genre I feel like playing?
I don't care much for specific game setting books based of popular shows, movies, or books. I like the generic general rules. I bought a lot of the GURPS generic worldbooks (like Space, Time Travel, etc...) to make my own gaming universe.
- This was supposed to be a short reply but it's turned into a monster, hopefully the detail will be useful though.
Reviews & buzz
I always try and find out as much about something as I can, on the game's homepage, RPGNet, other RPG sites and comments on forums etc., if it's got the community buzzing with the right "keywords" and is a setting I'm remotely interested in then I've started to buy in already before seeing much, if any "content".
I would never pay as much for a PDF as a print product, probably the max would be half. I just find print editions to be much more useful (I have only ever printed two full PDFs of games, one of which was FATE 2.0).
I'm always interested to see what you get, a glimpse of the contents page and/or the index (actually the index is more useful) is a boon. Failing that, just a page count of "true content", including art, is good!
A brief summary of the setting
Not a detailed blow by blow history, almost no game needs these anyway, so that would put me off from the start (historical sourcebooks excluding!), generally just a summary of the themes and the setting, what's different, why this game, the USP.
No, not a mega million dollar deal. What I'm looking for is the inside to tie up with the website, with the reviews and buzz etc., however it's still the website which does the initial sale not a preview.
I take any art visible to be indicative of the games artwork, if it fires my imagination then it gets me interested. Often a company has spent a lot on interior artwork and that's where it stays, fixed between the covers never to be seen by human eye, break it out onto the website, let me know what you we're imagining putting it together so I can imagine it as well.
Something often overlooked, even in a "major" print release
A bibliography. If I know, and can research, the resources used by the authors, I can get a feel of the sorts of things that have influenced the game and whether they align with my own views/tastes. Also, not just a listing of the resources but links to them, for best practice, one to buy/acquire (Amazon/eBay), another for additional info (generally the best fan site you can find, or a good official one).
Some free goodies
A star/continent map, a character sheet (interactive/form please, not just for printing, but that'll do at worst), maybe even a free adventure (this generally has no effect on whether I buy, it just backs up/reinforces the company goodwill), maybe some art/paper mini's/mini's maps as well, just about anything really!
An up to date website
I want the company's website to reinforce any impression I have of the game to date, or to exceed (or create) it. All of the above would be good. If there is news I want it to be recent, I do not care if the last five visible entries are about their lastest game, this is what I expect, in fact I would go as far as _making_ the last visible entries all about the latest game, even if they are just days apart. This makes the company feel alive. If there is only old news (1 year plus), you are better off relegating this to another page, even if just until the next release and media frenzy.
For some companies that do some of these examples, sorry too tired to provide links, just Google:
Savage Worlds - oodles of goodies, plus a pretty jazzy/arty website not reliant on flash etc.)
Cubicle 7/StarBlazer Adventures - RPGNet buzz & goodies, artwork
Witch Hunter: The Invisible World - a true mass of free adventures, reviews on RPGNet (the setting is right up my street), conversely a pretty poor website generally
Steve Jackson Games - complete bibliographies for all of their books (or so they say, I've not checked!)
Yes this does take time, and some times not a little money, I appreciate that, but I also appreciate the effort and it means I am more likely to dip into my pocket.
Finally, possibly the most basic lesson is, *make it easy for me to buy your product*. Put purchase links very prominently, when you redirect me take me to the cover and the Buy button before all the other stuff, make me at most one click away from the Buy button from any of your products and make the shipping rates very easy to find (essential for a UK purchaser of a print product). And if you only sell through DriveThru, make that link your Buy button (i.e. easy to find)
As a caveat, these are just my opinions, I have no experience in selling anything (I'd be useless on The Apprentice) but I have bought quite a lot. Also, sorry if some of this comes across quite "preachy" it's not my intention at all.