Watch, Learn, Laugh

At Monte Cook Games, it’s important to us that our games get played. That sounds like an obvious statement, but it’s not when you realize that it’s easy for a publisher to get caught up inadvertently in the importance that their games get sold. We believe that good games that get played push sales (and not the other way around).

To further that end, we spent a great deal of time, money, and effort in putting together videos showcasing how our games–Numenera and The Strange–get played. We brought in Bold Venture Productions, and called upon our friend Jen Page, as well as MCG staffers Shanna Germain, Bruce Cordell, and myself to film a couple of brief, sample game sessions. This was a lot of fun, and I think that fun comes through in the videos.

Like what you see? Buy Numenera now!

Like what you see? Buy The Strange now!

The videos are fun to watch, but they’re also useful tools. Throughout the video, we use cutaways and graphics to explain the rules directly to the viewer. We specifically explain and demonstrate the different types of characters, the dice mechanics, using Effort, GM Intrusions, and more. Plus, watching the videos gives a very basic, beginning look at how the play of each game flows. Careful viewers will note what you don’t see–the game grinding to a halt as people reference rules, for example.

Obviously, if you’ve never played Numenera or The Strange, you’ll hopefully find them useful introductions to the games. I believe that the best way to teach is by example, and that’s probably even more true with an interconnected system like an RPG–you see all the “moving parts” working together at once and understand the larger system at work much more quickly than leaning each piece one at a time. (By analogy, think about how much easier it is to understand a gas-powered motor by seeing it run for a while first, than if you just studied each piece, one at a time, without ever seeing the finished device function.)

Even if you’re an old hand at our Cypher System games, consider sending one of these to a new player who’s about to join your game group. Better yet, send the links to all your gaming friends to show them how fun and easy your favorite game is to play. Soon you’ll have more people wanting to join your games than you can handle.

If you’re a store owner, consider showing them in your store or giving interested customers the link. Either way, it shows off the game well for people to see and decide if they should make a purchase (and when they see the fun we’re having, I bet they will). Particularly if you’ve got an asset team member ready to run a demo–show the video before the demo and it will showcase the game and teach the rules even before you start.

In my opinion, Monte Cook Games makes beautiful books that are fun to read and look great on the shelf. But for me that’s secondary to having our games actually get played.


Monte Cook

Monte Cook has written hundreds of roleplaying game products, along with numerous short stories, novels, nonfiction titles, and comic books. He is probably best known for his work on such notable titles as Planescape, Ptolus, the 3rd Edition of Dungeons & Dragons (which he codesigned with Jonathan Tweet and Skip Williams), Arcana Evolved, and of course Numenera and the Cypher System. He is a cofounder of Monte Cook Games, and is our lead designer.