dboeren (Elder Things, The Dude Ranch, participant in countless card game discussion boards) linked to an article by Daniel Fackelman on Stimhack about building a local community around Netrunner. Daniel specifically addresses Netrunner and uses language specific to the game, but the basic principles hold for anyone looking to drum up and sustain interest in a game designed even in part for repeated plays and fine-tuning that you find in card games. I particularly appreciated this passage:
The entire game industry is built exclusively on disposable income. There are thousands of other games competing for the investment of each wide-eyed Explorer looking to a new world to claim as their own. Netrunner is a relatively inexpensive game to play, however, it still requires an investment of credits. Credits well-earned at demanding jobs with torturous hours and co-workers that make fun of these folks for liking Dungeons & Dragons or quoting Star Wars.
In the end, this is a hobby. It shouldn’t be work or unfun. So it’s a little weird to think of yourself acting as a salesman in pursuit of enjoying a hobby, but it can work. There are more games to play now than ever before. Convincing someone to try this particular game is going to be equal parts sharing your passion for it and helping them figure out what about it appeals to them, and is worth their attention and money.
Daniel goes on to describe a bit of how one might introduce the game to a casual passer-by. I need to bone up on that. I taught Netrunner last week for maybe the third or fourth time. I still do not have a patter or rhythm down to explaining how it plays, and why one thing is good and another bad. One of my big takeaways from being a Man in Black for Steve Jackson Games was the benefit to outlining a loose sort of script in teaching the basics of a game, and how one can pack information into a turn so the demo is more than parroting the rule book, step by step.
[HT to dboeren’s post to the Doomtown forum on Boardgamegeek.]