Marketing the OSR, Part 4 of 4: Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

To the OSR publishers, I say, don’t limit your target audience by only taking one approach. If all you say about your game is “it’s almost exactly like the LBB’s, but easier to understand”, or “plays just like AD&D back in the early 80’s”, you will necessarily limit your audience. A thousand times moreso if your game is almost only mentioned on OSR blogs, Dragonsfoot, and the Knights & Knaves Alehouse.

Branch out! Explain why your game is a good game without any reference to its pedigree whatsoever. Go forth into the fora frequented by the under-26 set, and make the case why your game is great and they should play it, on its own merits! EnWorld, conventions, IPR, fan forums (for those doing games in a particular genre or with a licensed property); anywhere the gamers are, you should be.

I think you’ll find that you get some new blood playing and talking about your game, and I think that being a Good Thing is something we can all agree on.

Written by 

Wargamer and RPG'er since the 1970's, author of Adventures Dark and Deep, Castle of the Mad Archmage, and other things, and proprietor of the Greyhawk Grognard blog.

4 thoughts on “Marketing the OSR, Part 4 of 4: Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

  1. Recruit teens and even pre-teens! They have disposable income for games. They have time to play games. That's the age most of us old folks started, I expect. I know I started in 6th grade at about 11 years old.

    I almost posted this under part 3, but it really feels like selling stuff to teens is outside of the comfort zone based on what I read on a number of blogs due to 'content' issues.

  2. Agree, agree, agree.

    Marketing stuff to those who already know what it is makes the marketer lazy and complacent.

    By implication, the customer base of existing gamers, whatever editions or games they play is going to shrink over time. Where are the new gamers coming from? Rob tells it – teens and pre-teens. They seem to have an insatiable urge to play and OSR publishers can gratify that urge. If we leave them to be snapped up by MMORPGs, then there will come a point where any publisher who wants to wean them off that will have to do so by offering a gaming experience that mirrors or matches the things that MMORPGs do – and they slide into 4e.

    We grognards don't see our games as new. For us, they (in whatever iteration we play them) have been around for years, in some cases decades. But for kids, it'll be the first time they've encountered the funny dice, the little figures, the pictures of dragons, dwarves, orcs etc. Plus nothing sells something quite as fast a a kid who is all fired up on something new and cool. And for them, paradoxically, Old School is New.

    Plus it might make us all behave ourselves a bit more if we think kids might be reading! B-)

  3. Great articles. Every publisher in the OSR should adhere to these strategies.

    As a side note, you should checkout Myth & Magic, at New Haven Games, the 2E remake. It could be a good transition for younger players who started with 3.x, From what I read (and it's not that much, I just got the book), the few changes could appeal to a wider audience. I bring it up because NHG is a new publisher and could help break new ground using the new methodology.

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