A great way to create engagement and buzz about your board game is to be active in the many facebook board game groups. If that is not enough you can also create your own group. This week´s guest has done exactly that and is the man behind the active and engaging facebook group called Board game exposure.
So Martyn Poole, tell us a bit about yourself before you started BGE
I grew up playing games like Cluedo and Risk but as I grew older I moved on to computer games. I have owned every console going and it was my main hobby until I met my partner nearly 7 years ago. Having a family puts into perspective how you spend your time and instead of wasting several hours into a RPG or the latest Call of Duty I came across a game that bridged the gap of the two hobbies. Heroes of Normandie was the first modern board game I owned and that was quickly followed by several more and a guest blogger role at a retailer.
Why did you start the BGE group?
As I was blogging for Zatu I noticed a huge difference in US and UK reviewers. The ones from across the pond had all the latest games sometimes even before they hit retail or Kickstarter. I also noticed that when I approached a lot of the US publishers for games to review they would say no me as the cost of shipping was to high.
I came across a game called Rise of Tribes that was right up my street and I set about trying to prove that a UK based reviewer could be beneficial regardless of the cost to ship. I played and reviewed this game then offered the game to other people, this is when I came across Nick and Chooi two board game fans that took the game and shared thoughts across Facebook and Nick even did a video review for it.
The idea of BGE was created and since then we have had easily over 100 games sent to us to review, we now have 6 reviewers and are continually growing.
Your group reached over 1000 members really quickly. What did you do to reach that number so fast?
I was amazed how quickly the group grew and even more so when you take into consideration that it was a secret group until it reached 800 members. I think being a fresh new face with new ideas helped but I think the biggest key was that I spoke to every member during its early stages and asked what they would want from the group. This helped shape the group to what it is today but also made everyone feel part of the community.
What is your biggest tip on how to create a following?
I am very modest, so I do think some of the success is luck and timing. I created the group at a time when the industry was booming. That being said the groups Engagment figures are amazing and this is down to keeping the group secret for so long and having a large established core that are there out of choice.
A lot of groups offer giveaways (BGE included) but they then don’t monitor who is entering the group after, we do. I have questions set up for you to answer on entry and this again means that 99% of people who try to join want to be part of the community. A groups total member count is not the holy grail its how active the group is. Engage with the members and create topics that they want to be part of and you will be well on the way to creating your own community.
You recently quit your day job and joined the game industry. What happened?
Yes I have and I remind myself of that every day, Its scary but exciting. At Essen myself, Final Frontier and Thundergryph games sat down to discuss some ideas we had spoke about in the past. Basically, I will be working with both of them to bring a new dedicated PR service to this industry. I managed to leave my job and start working with both of them on the foundations of this. It’s a great opituinity and one I can wait to tell you more about, when the time is right 😉
Do you have any role models in the board game marketing industry?
Tantrum House are the main ones I look up too as they are consistently putting out quality content
You started a reviewer scheme in your group, how does that work.
It was what started BGE. Its basically you send me one copy of your game and I will get you 3 to 4 reviews on separate channels within an agreed timeframe. This is a free service where you only have to pay shipping to the first reviewer (and custom charges if applicable) and the rest is covered by us.
What is your comment in the debate about paid vs unpayed reviews?
I would not trust a paid review, BUT I do think a reviewer deserves something for his time. The Board Game PR service I mentioned will have something that will bridge this gap and reward reviewers for being honest, reliable, and active.
You are also developing your own board game at the moment?
I am co- designing one with Final Frontier the guys behind Rise to Nobilty. We have made Robin Hood and the Merry Men, a semi co-op game based on the Robin Hood lore. It’s a worker placement, resource management game with combat. We have included most things I can remember that is associated with the tales of the outlaw. If you want to ambush a carriage, place traps for the Royal guards, rob the rich, rescue players from jail or enter an archery competition you can. For me as a huge fan of Robin Hood I wanted to make it thematic, fun and eye catching, I was delighted when Ivana, Vojkan, Toni and Maja offered to help make this come true. We will be on Kickstarter Q1 2018 and we have some amazing things planned for the lead up to the campaign. You can sign up and follow along here
Anything else you want to add?
I am helping Thundergryph out with their latest Kickstarter which will launch on Jan 2nd you can check out the game here.