Revisiting the questions – Why should I buy Game X?

Back at the end of July I asked the question Why Play Tabletop Games? and a few others too.

I’m going to revisit each of these over the next few days and ask them in a different sort of way.

Why should I buy Game X?

Let’s assume for a moment that the game interests you already.  Let’s also assume that your fellow gamers are likely to be interested in it for the same reasons you are.  But what is it about Game X that makes you choose to play it?  The reason I’m asking the question is because I’m never really sure that games get their pitch correctly.

The constituent parts of that sales pitch involve –

  • Theme – Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Historical/Horror etc
  • Artwork
  • Blurb on the box/book

These items combined are the face value sales pitch.  The reason you’ve decided to pick it up and have a closer look but not necessarily the reason why you’re going to want to play it.  This is an important step for any game as once you’ve got it in your hand you’re more likely to actually buy it.  But what comes next?

This is where I think a lot of games are disadvantaged or perhaps even let themselves down.
A sealed product cannot be perused any further and the potential purchaser is really limited in how they take their decision making beyond what they’ve already gleaned from the external product.  This leads them to reading or hearing opinions from a vast array of online resources and the retailer themselves.  Not a bad thing but is there not more that a manufacturer can do here?
An “open” product gives you a chance to read the introduction and other parts of the game.  How often though does a product introduction start off with a “This is how to play” section rather than a “This is WHY you should play” section?

For me there should be more stuff on the why people should play Game X in a highly visible way on the product itself.

But what do I mean by that?  Do I mean the social benefit stuff?  Well that’s kinda a yes and a no.  I’d love to see a quick and simple graphic that tells me if the game is a resource management game, a mathematical game etc etc but I don’t really think that’s what I’m after.
I’m after a more robust hook than “oh doesn’t this look cool!” from a game.  Give me backstory, tell me what role I’m playing in the game, intrigue me, give me an example of play WITHOUT mechanics, show me all the components laid out in an actual play situation etc etc.

Or am I asking for too much?