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   Author  Topic: Tips for promoting Arimaa  (Read 5174 times)
megajester
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Tips for promoting Arimaa
« on: Jun 5th, 2010, 3:16am »
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I hope this is the right section...
 
I've made a couple of carefully-worded posts in Turkish chess forums (off-topic sections of course) about the Arimaa site, and also the wikipedia page and rules video I translated into Turkish. We may have a spike in interest from Turkish players in the next few days. Smiley
 
Do you think this is this a good way to promote Arimaa? I'm thinking we've just made a rockin' tutorial video, how can we get chess players to watch it? It'd be great if we could make it go viral in the abstract strategy gaming world, though I'm not sure how we'd do that...  
 
Just in general, do you have any ideas about how people like me can help to promote Arimaa? I know Omar's been doing this for years and Fritz and others have tried different things. I wonder if those who've already been promoting Arimaa would have any specific pointers for people who'd like to help out...
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Fritzlein
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Re: Tips for promoting Arimaa
« Reply #1 on: Jun 5th, 2010, 6:46am »
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You basically know my thinking on this score.  I tried to pitch Arimaa to attendees of the Board Game Geek conference.  I found that most were uninterested, and those that were interested almost all happened also to like chess.
 
My experience with chess players is that they are receptive to Arimaa, but they are unimpressed with rules and mechanics.  Many chess players are obsessed with ratings, so the range of Arimaa ratings (roughly 1000-2600) is important to them, especially if you can convince them that we know what we are doing with our rating system.  In particular, we can assure them that it is on the same mathematical model and same scale as chess ratings.
 
Also chess players are used to studying chess.  They would expect a good game to have lots of books to read and commented games to replay.  We can't compete with chess on this score, for obvious reasons, but it helps to marshal the material we do have: one book and a second in the pipeline, the commentary videos linked from the game room, the recordings of live commentary, the wikibook, Adanac's write-ups of World Championship games, scattered strategy discussion in the chat room, forum and game comments.  We can't (yet) say that Arimaa is easy to study, but we can make a strong case that it is the type of game that people are naturally inclined to study, and that those who do study Arimaa show long, steady learning curves.
 
As for Arimaa's advantages over chess, a very light touch is sufficient.  Chess players who dislike draws will notice with little prodding that Arimaa is drawless.  Chess players who dislike memorizing openings will have the thought themselves that the variable setup might invalidate opening theory.  Chess players are, for the most part, not blind to the flaws of their game; trying to convince them that their game has flaws is wholly counter-productive.
 
Arimaa's computer-resistance is a very hit-or-miss point; some chess players are impressed by it while others are irritated if you emphasize it too much.  Perhaps the latter feel indirectly threatened, as if you are saying chess is a bad game because computers can play it well.
 
Thus my shtick is mainly variations on the theme of Arimaa's depth.  The ratings prove we have already discovered a bunch of depth.  It needs to be added that we are still discovering more depth every year.  A 2100 rating five years ago was a World Championship contender, and now is Jean-fodder.  Since 2004 the rating of the top player has increased by approximately 100 points per year.  The reality of increasing depth can be reinforced by talking about different playing styles that are all successful, different evaluations from the top players (e.g. chessandgo and I disagree about whether a camel hostage is worth more or less than a cat), strategic tradeoffs such as a material for a goal attack or material for a horse frame, etc.
 
I will be curious how other promoters of Arimaa are received, and whether their experiences jibe with mine.
« Last Edit: Jun 5th, 2010, 6:52am by Fritzlein » IP Logged

megajester
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Re: Tips for promoting Arimaa
« Reply #2 on: Jun 5th, 2010, 1:30pm »
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Thanks Fritz for crystallizing your thoughts on this, though I'm sure it feels like you keep saying the same thing over and over...
 
I was really asking about practicalities, more "where" to stick my poster than "what" it should say, if you get my drift...
« Last Edit: Jun 5th, 2010, 1:35pm by megajester » IP Logged

omar
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Re: Tips for promoting Arimaa
« Reply #3 on: Jun 12th, 2010, 9:44am »
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on Jun 5th, 2010, 3:16am, megajester wrote:
I hope this is the right section...
 
I've made a couple of carefully-worded posts in Turkish chess forums (off-topic sections of course) about the Arimaa site, and also the wikipedia page and rules video I translated into Turkish. We may have a spike in interest from Turkish players in the next few days. Smiley
 
Do you think this is this a good way to promote Arimaa? I'm thinking we've just made a rockin' tutorial video, how can we get chess players to watch it? It'd be great if we could make it go viral in the abstract strategy gaming world, though I'm not sure how we'd do that...  

 
In the past I've done press releases relating to Arimaa (you can find them on the News page). For example announcing the results of the Arimaa challenge. I've used services like send2press.com to have them distribute the release to their list of media contacts. I've found that these don't really generate as much publicity as I thought they would. Other times someone unexpectedly mentions Arimaa in a popular forum and it generates way more traffic than I would have ever expected. I think the dynamics of how people get news that is relevant to them has changed quite a bit due to the Internet. Though I would like to do more press releases about the yearly challenge match or other important events relating to Arimaa, I haven't been because distributing the news through conventional channels just doesn't seem to be very effective. But posting Arimaa news to the off-topic section of related forums sounds like a good idea. I think if we combine a good press release with a small postings linking to the press release in the off-topic section of relevant forums it might actually be a good way to promote Arimaa without it being considered spam or abusive. To do it effectively we would probably have to coordinate a bit. For example if the Arimaa video wins the contest, I could write up a news blurb about it and make it available on the site. Then we would have to coordinate posting it to various forums. We should make a list of forums to post to and who would be posting to each. It would make sure we don't double post and that the posting is done hopefully by someone who already has an account on the forum and has posted to that forum before. Also it would make sure that we aren't posting too often and that what we are posting is news worthy.
 
Quote:

Just in general, do you have any ideas about how people like me can help to promote Arimaa? I know Omar's been doing this for years and Fritz and others have tried different things. I wonder if those who've already been promoting Arimaa would have any specific pointers for people who'd like to help out...

 
Although I've focused more on trying to increase the awareness of the challenge, Karl, Jean and others have done much more than me in trying to promote Arimaa. I think promoting Arimaa is too big a task for any one individual. It can be done up to a certain level, but a coordinated effort when there is something news worthy I think would be much more effective.
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Arimabuff
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Re: Tips for promoting Arimaa
« Reply #4 on: Jun 12th, 2010, 9:52am »
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Any ink is good ink, even when it's not actual ink.  Grin
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leo
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Re: Tips for promoting Arimaa
« Reply #5 on: Jun 14th, 2010, 2:51pm »
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I generally target gamers of any background, but the results don't seem to obey any obvious pattern that could generate good tips. Many people look interested in the beginning but finally prefer sticking to their old favorites. Now that I have an Arimaa set I think I'll be able to be more convincing though.
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chessandgo
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Re: Tips for promoting Arimaa
« Reply #6 on: Jun 17th, 2010, 11:46pm »
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I've spend a few minutes presenting arimaa in one of my poker coaching videos on french community poker-academie.com sometime in april (iirc?), but I'm not sure if it resulted into more new french players at all. If it's hard to interest chess players then poker players must be a nightmare Smiley (edit: come to think of it at least one player gave me a positive feedback on arimaa ^^)
 
Looking at the recent new players, I see
 
Guest13149                1291        1        France        -        May 26 10:29 pm        jean daligault told me !  
 
haha Smiley
« Last Edit: Jun 17th, 2010, 11:48pm by chessandgo » IP Logged

toby1kenobi
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Re: Tips for promoting Arimaa
« Reply #7 on: Jun 20th, 2010, 5:55pm »
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I think if it got onto Slashdot there would be a lot of traffic coming through - hopefully not too much though (A regular occurrence is that websites go down, because the traffic is too heavy, immediately after they are linked from a Slashdot article. This is called being "slashdotted")
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Re: Tips for promoting Arimaa
« Reply #8 on: Jun 20th, 2010, 8:20pm »
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While I no longer read slashdot, that's how I first learned of Arimaa.
 
Janzert
« Last Edit: Jun 21st, 2010, 8:16am by Janzert » IP Logged
Fritzlein
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Re: Tips for promoting Arimaa
« Reply #9 on: Jun 20th, 2010, 11:29pm »
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Unfortunately, Arimaa is not likely to be slashdotted again unless the computers win.  The fact that humans win year after year is boring.  So we won't get that kind of publicity unless the Arimaa Challenge falls and it is too late.
 
Supposing the Arimaa Challenge stands firm, I'm not sure what could give us a big bang.  Maybe the conversion of a chess grandmaster to Arimaa?  Maybe sponsorship by Google?  Probably we just have to settle for the slow, steady growth of the community that we have seen until now.  Success breeds success, even in the absence of booms.
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megajester
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Re: Tips for promoting Arimaa
« Reply #10 on: Jun 21st, 2010, 2:04am »
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What about the festival?
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Fritzlein
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Re: Tips for promoting Arimaa
« Reply #11 on: Jun 21st, 2010, 10:30am »
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on Jun 21st, 2010, 2:04am, megajester wrote:
What about the festival?

I hope the festival is a big success, but to me it sounds more like the type of thing to increase Arimaa's retention rather than draw in lots of players who have never heard of it before.  There are lots of borderline members of the community that might not show up regularly, but would turn out for a special event.  That's good and important for building up Arimaa, but a rather different type of promotion than a major news mention that draws in brand new people.  If we try to spread the word about the Arimaa festival, my hunch is that the events it has to offer wouldn't sound super-cool to folks who have never played Arimaa even once, but will be a big draw for casual fans who have already played a few times.
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megajester
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Re: Tips for promoting Arimaa
« Reply #12 on: Jun 21st, 2010, 10:55am »
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on Jun 21st, 2010, 10:30am, Fritzlein wrote:

I hope the festival is a big success, but to me it sounds more like the type of thing to increase Arimaa's retention rather than draw in lots of players who have never heard of it before.  There are lots of borderline members of the community that might not show up regularly, but would turn out for a special event.  That's good and important for building up Arimaa, but a rather different type of promotion than a major news mention that draws in brand new people.  If we try to spread the word about the Arimaa festival, my hunch is that the events it has to offer wouldn't sound super-cool to folks who have never played Arimaa even once, but will be a big draw for casual fans who have already played a few times.

You're basically right, but I still think that if we publicise the schedule, there still might be some who would be intrigued, and poke their heads around the door to see what's going on. Much like if you're walking somewhere on a weekend and you see an exhibition in a market square or a park.  
 
Especially the promise of an all-day live webcast, and an interview with Omar and/or Arimaa champions should get some passing interest. Methinks...
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Re: Tips for promoting Arimaa
« Reply #13 on: Sep 2nd, 2010, 3:15pm »
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on Jun 20th, 2010, 11:29pm, Fritzlein wrote:
... I'm not sure what could give us a big bang.  Maybe the conversion of a chess grandmaster to Arimaa? ...

 
Well, I hear that Kasparov has retired from competitive chess! Perhaps he's looking for a new challenge.  
 Shocked
 
Someone could always take a chance, suck up the cost of a set and/or book (book would likely be better), find his mailing address and fire it off to him. Who knows, perhaps this one-in-a-million shot in the dark could at least produce a positive blurb from him.   Grin
« Last Edit: Sep 2nd, 2010, 3:16pm by qswanger » IP Logged
Fritzlein
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Re: Tips for promoting Arimaa
« Reply #14 on: Sep 2nd, 2010, 11:24pm »
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Do you have a current mailing address for Kasparov?  I have sent several books out to chess grandmasters / chess promoters such as Susan Polgar and Maxim Dlugy, but so far no response.  Ah, well, I can write it off as a business expense; I didn't publish to make money anyway.
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