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Anatomy of a Hit... Accessibility

Michael Mindes
United States
Mountain Green
Utah
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A quick self-promotional note: I am relaunching my personal blog where I discuss business, marketing, taking action, and more. One of the aspects will be an interview series of those that are successful in their chosen field/dream. My blog is found at: http://michaelmindes.com

Hopefully this will be twice a week. The first interview will be with none other than Bruno Faidutti, and will post on Friday morning. So, please check it out, subscribe, become a fan, and spread the word about the blog. I will greatly appreciate it.

/End Self Promo

I hope that thus far, you have been enjoying the series about the anatomy of a hit. Today, we will discuss how accessible a game is. I look at this from the angles of:

*Ease of learning
*Ease of use
*Ease of teaching
*Theme

Lets get into it! Remember, if a game is going to be a sales result hit, then it needs to be played a lot.

Ease of Learning

Games get played more often if they are easy to learn. I remember one evening that I started to read the rules for Caylus. I personally feel good about my ability to read rules, but I chose to stop reading the rules and not play.

If you want your rules to be easier to comprehend, then do the following:

*Strip them of any superfluous information.
*Maintain a common tense, voice, and point of view.
*Provide summaries of what is in each section.
*Maintain a common lexicon through the rulebook and if this can matchup with common game mechanisms that is even better.
*Provide good visual diagrams of what the text actually means.
*For the high-tech, provide QR codes which direct to rules explaining videos.
*Remove as many unnecessary words as possible.
*Provide comical interlude to make the experience of reading the rules more enjoyable.

Ease of Use

With ease of use, I am referring to the actual game play use of all of the various components and mechanisms of the game. I played and personally really like Roads & Boats, but the game requires a ridiculous amount of physical bit manipulation.

My copy of Railways of the World has coloration issues where the blue and purple are hard to tell apart, even for those that are not color blind.

Be careful to monitor for issues that are a stumbling block to being able to fully play a game.

Ease of Teaching

Most people do not want to read rulebooks and would prefer to just be taught a game. Now, as a publisher, you will have no control over how other people teach your game, unless you provide actual teaching videos via smartphone and QR code technology.

However, if a game is simpler, it will be easier to teach. Also, if a rulebook is structured in a good order to teach the game, then people will later be more likely to tech the game in that fashion.

Theme

Sometimes, theme will cause a person to just not want to play, buy, or own a game. Now, you should not worry about trying to please everybody here, that will just lead to failure. However, you should remain consistent across the entire brand of a company. Fantasy Flight Games does a great job of this with their goal to be the best publisher in the fantasy, sci-fi, and horror themes.

Conclusion

This is an area that I am still learning much about, and I wish I could share more. However, if you want to generate a hit, Accessibility is a key component.
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