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Board Game Sell Sheets: Complete Guide

You’ve designed your game, created a prototype, and completed playtesting to make sure it’s just as much fun as you imagined. Congratulations! These are all major milestones in a game creator’s journey, and it takes a lot of work to get to this point.

Once you’ve verified that your game is fun to play, you’ve likely started to think about reaching out to publishers with your game concept.

Enter the sell sheet. If you’ve researched the board game publishing process, or if you’ve done a Google search or two about approaching publishers, you’ve likely seen the term ‘sell sheet’ at least once.

A sell sheet is a quick, written pitch for your game — like a combined ad, resume and description all in one. It makes it easy for busy publishers to quickly learn what your game is about, how it’s unique, and why it’s worth considering for publication.

From a marketing and publishing perspective, a good quality sell sheet is critical for getting your game in front of the right people and making a positive impression.

Making a sell sheet can seem intimidating, but it’s actually pretty simple. Below, we’ve explained what a sell sheet is, as well as why you need one if you’re planning to promote your board game to publishers.

We’ve also covered the art of making a sell sheet for your game and included some examples of sell sheets that you can use to speed up and simplify the process. 

Need more help manufacturing, marketing or distributing your game? Contact us to talk to our team about any aspect of the game design process and get free, actionable advice to help you make your game a success. 

What is a Board Game Sell Sheet?

You have a strong understanding of what your game is about. However, publishers and players don’t, and their time is limited. Enter the board game sell sheet. 

A board game sell sheet is essentially a one-page advertisement for your game. It’s designed to grab the attention of publishers, retailers and consumers, providing them with all the information about your game at a glance.

You can think of it like your game’s resume or a trailer for your game in paper form. It highlights exactly what’s unique and interesting about your game, how it’s played, and why it deserves the public’s attention.

A well-crafted sell sheet should include all of the key information about your game that players and publishers need, such as:

  • Your game’s name

  • A brief description of your game

  • The basics of your game’s mechanics

  • The number of players

  • Estimated playing time

  • Target age range

  • Unique selling points (USPs)

It should also not be too comprehensive. As Angus Walker of Hasbro puts it, anything that helps to “distill a concept into an easy to grasp set of key benefits” is a good thing when it comes to a game’s sell sheet. 

In other words, a good sell sheet should be kept simple, easy to understand, direct and as close as possible to your game’s core concept and gameplay mechanics.

Why You Need a Sell Sheet For Your Game

  • First impressions count. Your sell sheet is usually the first interaction a publisher will have with your game. Looking professional and clearly communicating the aspects of your game that make it special can help you stand out and create a good impression.

  • Publishers are really, really busy. Publishers and investors have limited time and lots of game pitches to evaluate. A sell sheet quickly conveys your game’s potential without wasting the publisher’s time, making it easier for you to pitch your game effectively.

  • Sell sheets make great marketing tools. Beyond publishers and investors, a sell sheet can be an excellent tool for marketing your game to retailers and gamers. It can be used in press kits, at conventions and on social media to generate buzz for your game.

  • Making a sell sheet changes the way you view your game. You know your game, but others don’t. Making a sell sheet forces you to distill your game concept down to its most essential and appealing elements.

How to Make a Sell Sheet

Creating a compelling sell sheet involves both providing clear information about your game and an engaging presentation. 

Here’s how to get started:

Recommended Software for Board Game Sell Sheets

There’s no one-size-fits-all software designed to create board game sell sheets. Most tabletop game creators use either Adobe InDesign or Illustrator, both of which have useful tool sets for creating polished sell sheets and other game documentation.

If you don’t have access to Adobe’s range of products, you can also use the following low-cost or free software to make a sell sheet for your game:

  • CanvaAlthough it’s not the most powerful design tool, Canva is more than good enough for simple sell sheets.

  • Microsoft PowerPoint. Yes, PowerPoint can be used to create a sell sheet. While it isn’t exactly rich in features, PowerPoint is good enough to make a simple sell sheet using an interface you’re probably already familiar with.

  • Scribus. An open source alternative to InDesign, Scribus can be used to make your sell sheet without spending anything on software.

An alternative to designing your sell sheet yourself is to hire a designer to take care of it for you while you work on your game. Contact us and we can connect you with a designer for your sell sheet and other board game marketing materials. 

Key Things to Include in Your Sell Sheet 

Your sell sheet should include your game’s title, a brief description of how it works, as well as all of the key information people need to know before trying it. 

Try to include all of the following information, provided you can do so without overwhelming the reader with too much content at once:

  • Game title: Make it prominent and memorable. 

  • Brief description: A sentence or two that captures the essence of your game. 

  • Gameplay mechanics: Highlight the unique or innovative mechanics of your game. 

  • Player information: Number of players, playing time, and age range. 

  • Components: List the main components that come with your game. 

  • Unique selling points: What makes your game stand out from the rest? Is it the theme, the mechanics or something else? 

  • Visuals: High-quality images of your game and its components. 

  • Contact information: Make it easy for interested parties to reach you.

Graphic Design Tips for Sell Sheets

Good sell sheets are simple, not overly complicated. Use images and design to give readers a feel for what your game is about and why it’s special, but make sure to focus on keeping things as simple and uncluttered as possible:

  • Avoid visual clutter: Too much information or too many illustrations can overwhelm the viewer. Use space wisely and focus on the essentials, which are mostly text. 

  • Hierarchy: Use font size, color and text/image placement to guide readers’ attention to the most critical parts of your sell sheet. 

  • Consistency: Ensure your sell sheet reflects the visual style and theme of your game. This helps in establishing brand identity. 

  • Quality images: Use high quality, professional images of your game. This may require hiring a professional photographer or using existing illustrations from your game.

Other Tips for a Successful Sell Sheet

  • Feedback: Before finalizing your sell sheet, get feedback from your peers, mentors or potential customers. A fresh set of eyes can often spot issues with your sell sheet that you might not be aware of.

  • Revision: Be prepared to revise your sell sheet based on feedback and as your game evolves. It’s normal for your sell sheet to go through several different iterations as you make changes to your game and how it’s positioned to the public. 

  • Print quality: If you’re using printed sell sheets, ensure they’re professionally printed using high quality paper. The quality of the print can reflect on the perceived quality of your game. 

  • Digital formats: Have a high quality digital version of your sell sheet ready for emailing to interested people and sharing on social media. It’s best to have a PDF sell sheet and an online-friendly formal, like JPG or PNG, also available. 

Board Game Sell Sheet Examples

This simple sell sheet for Fluxx communicates all of the key information quickly, from how many players can enjoy the game and target ages to pieces included with the game, its recommended retail price, and weight and dimensions for the packaging.

Another simple sell sheet for Stir the Cauldron. This lightweight sell sheet communicates player count, time commitment, recommended ages and the basics of the game using a simple layout.

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– Hersh (Founder of HeroTime)