Every now and then a game comes along that so amazing and obviously cool (sticky is the word Seth Godin uses) that everyone has to play it. No gimmicks, no programs, no TV ads, just see it, buy it, hooked.
Then there's the 99.99% of games. They need a little help. Ideas spread like viruses, and a game's popularity is no different. When people "catch" the a particular game's bug, they get into that game. Our game, Clout: Fantasy, is pretty sticky. When people play it, an above average number of people like it and buy it. Not everyone, like one of those .01% freak games, but enough.
Right now there are several Cloutbreaks. (Clout+Outbreak. Yes, I'm too clever for cable TV) Arizona, New Hampshire, perhaps NY after NY Comicon, and others. Thusfar, as Hidden City Game's organized play manager, I've been focusing on tournaments and our forum. These tools are great at what they do, which is keep the bug alive. They aren't as good at spreading it. I see the virus staying strong with those that have caught it, but I want to see those red dots on the map multiply, not just stay bright (and eventually fade!)
It was obvious from Gencon Indy 2005 that demoing the game is the only way to go for Clout. Ads don't work, descriptions don't work. Demos.
I've only recently understood the power of the demoing volunteer. They are the people that spread the virus. They are the ones who put more dots on the map. When you want an idea to spread, the most important thing to have is people spreading that idea.
Make it easy to spread the idea.
Make it rewarding to spread the idea (not just stuff, but recognition and appreciation!)
Make sure you have an idea worth spreading.
The idea I'm working on is a collectable throwing game. What's your idea? Are people spreading it for you? If not, why not?
Lastly, ads don't spread ideas. They just get in our way so we ignore them. Only people spread ideas.