Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Why do Video Previews of Boardgames work well?

I recently finished a video component preview of the map artwork and functional design in the upcoming Frontline General: San Pietro Infine game. A direct link to the video may be found here: Link (52mb .MP4 format, use Quicktime to view). The video previews the map for San Pietro in its entirety, shows the area of coverage, explains the functional elements (symbols) and how they are used to replace traditional hexagonal terrain types, and provides a brief intro to the game using period photos courtesty of

The video creation and editing took roughly 15 hours for this 15 minute video- part of that time no doubt due to my lack of experience in video editing and learning new software. I used the 30-day free trial of Camtasia Studio 9 by Techsmith, the same company that makes Jing, which is a lower-cost stripped down version of Camtasia (with no editing capability and more limitations). I really like Camtasia for its editing features, but at $300 for a licensed copy, I may stick to the cheaper full version of Jing for future less-complex vids.

Why did I spend the time to do this you may ask? Well there are several reasons:
  • Videos provide visual and audible communication all at once. I can clearly show you what I am talking about and point to it using screen capture.
  • Videos provide motion and animation and the ability to focus your attention on a single element. With the screen-capture approach, I can zoom in to key points and features, get your attention focused on them with highlighting tools in Camtasia, and quickly move to the next point.
  • Properly edited videos become polished productions that not only preview elements of games but can also be used as tutorials for players learning the game post-release, eliminating a lot of rules reading.
  • Showing how something works and talking through it is often much easier than putting it into words, even if it takes a while to talk it through correctly.

I've already mentioned the software I used for this video which I do recommend if you're interested in creating video previews of your games. However, you may want to start with the free version of Jing before diving headfirst into editing, just to see how it works. Once you've used Jing to create a few screen capture vids with your own voice-over, check out Camtasia to see the wealth of features it provides beyond Jing's functionality. The free 30-day trial is fully functional, which is nice, but as I mentioned, the full $300 pricetag for the key to unlock it after 30 days is expensive.

Use of videos to preview boardgame elements works well for all of the reasons mentioned above and for the simple reason of quickly presenting your games visually to a potential customer in a polished format that could impact their decision to buy.

1 comment:

  1. Scott Nicholson here, from Board Games with Scott. Your estimate of one hour per minute is what I've been saying for years.

    See, what will happen is that you will replace comfort with the system with refinement. So, the time doesn't go down, but the end product quality goes up. It still takes all of that time.