How's my shilling sound

So i'm working on a one sheet for my new game Sweet Agatha. Below is the ad copy for it. I have some concerns and i figured you all (as both the buying public and some people who try to sell games) could help.

My questions to you: Does it whet your appetite for the product? Does it confuse you about the product at all? Do you want to know more (like in a good way, as in you want to pick it up and read some)? Do you want to know more (in a bad way, as in this doesn't say enough)?

Some things were left out on purpose, to keep the info short and sweet. Those things are: Mention of my last game "Primitive," Mention that Agatha is played by Kiirstin Kuhi, the totally awesome (and radiant) lead singer of NYC-based rock band Ground To Machine, Mention that the game will have a special gen con price, lower than it will be in stores or online after the con, Mention that I will personally hug anyone who picks up the game (ok, thats not true, i was just seeing if you were paying attention).

On with the copy...

Gen Con 07 will see the forthcoming release of Kevin Allen Jr.'s new work "Sweet Agatha." The project is designed to exist as a bridge between the worlds of traditional fiction literature and the story telling hobby.

Sweet Agatha is collection of gorgeous full color artifacts including several photos, a poster, and a 20 page journal. These items all tell the story of the titular character's mysterious disappearance, casting the reader as the only person looking for the answers. As the reader progresses through the stylish, and oftentimes very cryptic journal they are instructed to cut the object apart. Page by page, the journal becomes harder to decipher; the mystery more oblique, until finally they are left with a tattered cut-apart thing and perhaps more questions about the vanishing than they started with. The material cut away becomes the clues to solving the mystery. At this point the reader gets to share the experience with a friend, and together they complete the story of Sweet Agatha through competitive, collaborative storytelling.

Sweet Agatha is a roleplaying experience unlike any other. Not quite a game, and not quite a novel it is a unique product pushing the boundaries of both mediums.

Comments

  • I would personally like to see a little more about the fiction/play experience before going into the physical object itself, I recognise the object is critical and unusual, but the story is the thing that will sell or deter me.

    Put another way, I'd personally like to know it's a mystery first, and then be told how the physical artefact brings that to life, rather than hear about the artefact first. Others may of course vary.

    Good luck :-)
  • Kevin, slap a stand-alone line like "Who is Sweet Agatha, and what happened to her?" before the rest of it. You need a grabby hook.
  • I wouldn't highlight the fact that the book gets destroyed. I mean, it's cool if I receive it as a present, but in general it would deter me from buying it: no replay/reuse value (as I understand this.)
  • Posted By: AnemoneI wouldn't highlight the fact that the book gets destroyed. I mean, it's cool if I receive it as a present, but in general it would deter me from buying it: no replay/reuse value (as I understand this.)
    Yeah there's gonna be a free PDF for replayability, and i could argue that your getting better one time entertainment than most movies but really i'm not going to say all that. I see the cutting the thing apart as a major feature of the product.

    What do others think? Do you guys see that as a stopping point?
  • I think if you concentrate on the destroying part of the game, that's what people reading about it will concentrate on as well. It may be a major feature of the product, but it's not really major feature of the game. Does that make any sense?

    I agree that it would be preferable to start with a really nice hook that will grab readers by the collar and get them intrigued, then go into the physical elements of the game, and then talk about the cutting of the book if you wish.
  • I liked it. I think it needs a bit of a hook at the fron, but you have my interest. The cutting th book up bit doesn't deter me at all.
  • The only bit that was jarring in your description was the word "thing". It seems like there should be a better word to use in "...with a tattered cut-apart thing" than "thing".
  • Or use the hook: "Who is Sweet Agatha, and what happened to her? Destroy this book to find out!"
  • Hi, Kevin. Have you given any thought to whether Sweet Agatha could be an ashcan edition for the Ashcan Front? It sounds like it might be a good fit, but that's entirely up to you, of course.
  • Posted By: Joshua BishopRobyOr use the hook: "Who is Sweet Agatha, and what happened to her? Destroy this book to find out!"
    Yeah, something like that for sure to catch interest. The deconstructive element isn't a problem, it's a feature.

    TEAR ME APART.
  • DESTROY SOMETHING BEAUTIFUL

    Bridge the gap between fiction and gaming.

    Solve a mystery with scissors.

    SWEET AGATHA

    You're tearing her apart.

    Coming -- GenCon 2007.
  • Thanks guys, this stuff is really very helpful. I love "destroy something beautiful" thats really jinky.

    no one has mentioned the clarity issue? am i to take that to mean you all get it?
  • Yeah. I think I get it.

    I think the biggest problem with your copy is that it doesn't hook me into wanting to destroy your book. Cutting the book into pieces is odd AND it is destroying the product I paid for. You're going to have to hook me in order to get me to buy it. Fred's copy suggestion is much closer to doing this.
  • Seriously, the "destroy something beautiful" vibe (not to mention the "destroy something I paid for" squicks me.
  • I expect that the "destroy something" vibe is going to squick some people. It doesn't really do anything for me unless presented in an interesting way. I figure I'm not in the primary group that this game is designed specifically for. However, I am in the group that with some good marketing could actually buy the game. Some folks aren't going to buy it regardless of marketing.
  • Posted By: GaerikSome folks aren't going to buy it regardless of marketing.
    always a truth. and something that is hard to keep in mind (i want to get EVERYONE interested, and that will never happen, and thats fine). There are always people who are going to be turned off to the idea of breaking something they purchased.
    Posted By: AnemoneSeriously, the "destroy something beautiful" vibe (not to mention the "destroy something I paid for" squicks me.
    Yeah, destroy something beautiful is a little messed up. It's from fight club, Ed Norton says it before he pummels Jordan Catilano into quasimodo-dom. But it's also an exciting prospect and it gels well with my them. You have to sacrifice things you care about to get things you ultimately care more about. Destroy probably isn't as good as Sacrifice, as thats really more the feel, but beautiful is big for me. Agatha is beautiful (she's a hot hot hottie) and i'm presenting her in a really loving light. One of my big design goals is to get you to fall in love with her. More so than simply cutting the book up you are given a couple of snapshot photos of her. In play you end up having to give these away to your friend, who is instructed to not give them back or to destroy them in front of you. The game is rife with this stuff, it makes good sense to use it as the hook.
  • I like the entire concept. I also really, really like Fred's short ad copy example.

    As to the squickiness - of course it's squicky, it's supposed to be. That's part of the draw, the fascination. It won't be for everyone, but one of the benefits is that it should immediately let people who aren't interested in it know that they aren't interested.

    The only problem I see is that since playing requires destroying the physical artifact, I personally would want to buy (at least) two copies - one for playing and one as a keepsake. This makes price more of an issue than it normally would be, since I'd be shelling out double (or more), or none at all.
  • Yeah, i definitly understand the desire some might have to retain a "collectors version." The entire product comes in a sealed envelope, so almost any level of interaction is going to force a level of disassembly. I'm trying to price the product accordingly to the notion that people might want to buy two, or alternatly turned off to paying X for something they know will break.

    Also, at cons where the product is sold a "browser" copy of the contents will be publicly available, so you can see some of what your getting (but not nearly all). As i get closer to release i'll put up pages and snippets of the contents on the web so people can get a feel for what comes in the envelope.

    There will be a "back of the book" blurb on the envelope, so its not totally unaccesable, fear not.
  • On a purely practical level: to offer some replay value, do you plan on offering the various documents in your game as PDF files that can be reprinted? You could have the CD included in the envelope.
  • There will be a PDF online that gives you all the material from the original product (plus some new stuff, actually) but presented in a very different manner. This PDF is totally free, but it doesn't feature any of the instructions included in the physical product (so you need the original to play. The rules sheet doesn't get damaged).

    I like to compare it to seeing a movie in the theatre and then getting the DVD. DVDs give you a lot, things that you didn't get with the film, but the experiance changes in two ways. One: the physicality is differant, ie; your watching the tv instead of in a movie house (the pdf looks differant from the print version). Two: You already know some of the secrets, and you've already witnessed an ending, so some of the magic is gone, but now you can pay attention to things you may not have noticed the first time around. Also, by the very nature of the game you can have a totally differant game experiance (story wise) the second time around.
  • Fred = shilling master. I suggest listening to his wisdom.
  • edited March 2007
    I tried to focus on creating copy that was solely "sound-bite" phrases that worked as advertising slogans for the game. I think the ad copy actually needs to AVOID clarity to some extent. The ad copy should present the mystery, not explain it.

    Thus:

    SWEET AGATHA - Destroy Something Beautiful

    SWEET AGATHA - Solve a Mystery with Scissors

    SWEET AGATHA - You're Tearing Her Apart

    Each of these are designed to present something that intrigues the prospective customer and draws them in to buy the product as their only means of satisfying the mystery you've presented.

    Promo copy should create appetite.

    Say something hungry.
  • Kevin, I can't offer any real constructive criticism unless I know the target audience. Where will this copy be read? Who's going to be reading it?
  • Here is my revised copy, taking the above suggestions into consideration. I'm going to mail it to Ken Hite later this evening (in leu of this thread)

    One morning sweet Agatha was gone, vanished without a trace leaving everything behind. Her apartment was reduced to a collection of objects from a life interrupted. It falls on you to find her, but in order to do so you must make some hard choices. You will have to destroy something you care about to save something beautiful.

    Gen Con 07 will see the forthcoming release of Kevin Allen Jr.'s new work "Sweet Agatha." The project is designed to exist as a bridge between the worlds of traditional fiction literature and the story telling hobby.

    Sweet Agatha is an engrossing mystery presented in a collection of gorgeous full color artifacts including several photos, a poster, and a 20 page journal. These items all tell the story of the titular character's questionable disappearance, casting the reader as the only person looking for answers. As the reader investigates the stylish, and oftentimes very cryptic journal they are instructed to cut the object apart. Page by page, the journal becomes harder to decipher; the mystery more oblique, until finally they are left with a tattered cut-apart thing and perhaps more questions about the vanishing than they started with. The material cut away becomes the clues to solving the mystery. At this point the reader gets to share the experience with a friend, and together they complete the story of Sweet Agatha through competitive, collaborative storytelling.

    Sweet Agatha is a roleplaying experience unlike any other. Not quite a game, and not quite a novel it is a unique product pushing the boundaries of both mediums.
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