The answer: Ask.
(It’s really tempting to leave this entire article with just that, but let’s be a bit more helpful. ; )
When asking a reviewer to do review your game remember a few tips:
- Decide how many prototypes you can [afford to] make.
- Research your reviewer options (list below), and select 1.25x the number of Reviewers as you have Prototypes. (Some will say ‘no’ for various reasons.)
- Send them a nice personalized email, asking if they’re available, and tell them a short blurb about your game, about yourself, and your personal deadline for the review.
- Remember: Not every reviewer likes every game. Some say “know who likes what kind of games”, but most reviewers like most kind of games or they wouldn’t offer to play most of them. There are many exceptions. We recently got turned away on a review for TKA because the person preferred “easy to learn, plays in less than 1 hour” games. So be honest when describing your game to your potential reviewers.
- Even if they’re paid, they’re still a person. Treat them accordingly.
- They’re giving you their time, paid or not. It’s important to respect that.
- Ask. It’s unwise and unfair to assume that they can, have time, or would want to. The paid ones are often the most heavily booked. Hence, popular enough to get paid to play board games! (what a life!)
- Make a decent and complete prototype to send them. It need not be 100% professional, but it should be at least printed. Don’t send a hand written one or a PnP to print themselves. Print in color where you can. (Consider what their video will look like with your game in it.) 99% of reviewers will not assemble your PnP, do it for them. (I suggest using Print n’ Play Productions or The Game Crafter to make “professional” ones.)
- Seek to obtain several reviews, minimum 2. Shoot for 3+ if it’s an easy (or inexpensive) to produce card-type game. Multiple reviews = better press and more outreach. Plus, nobody wants all their eggs in one basket.
Two tips for when you get the reviews back in:
- When you read/watch them, extract key quotes you can use for your site & banner ads. And try to keep the quotes short. Two sentences max. – 3 sentences from 3 reviewers will do more to the eye and for trust-building than 3 sentences from 1 reviewer.
- Finally, and this is critically important: Promote that reviewer! They offered you a service, probably for free, that cost them time and money repay them in kind to help build their audience. Tweet it, post it to facebook, drop the link on Reddit (or ask your buddy to), link to it on your company page, and obviously, link to it on your Kickstarter page where you quote them.
Need a list of reviewers? We’ve got good news for you…
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