Game listings on StartPlaying can be a tricky monster to grapple. You’re given a blank box and free reign to put whatever you want in it. This is by design, because only you can say what kind of game experience you want to deliver. However, that also leaves lots of room for error. So where do people often go wrong in their game description? And how can you write the best game description? We’ll get into both here, so read on. 

First, here are the three most common mistakes GMs make in their listings:

1. Their descriptions are packed with too much unnecessary information.
2. They forget to include the information players are looking for.
3. They don't grab the players’ interest. 


Often, it’s the classic GM pitfall. We think our lore is cool, but unfortunately the average player doesn’t care about our lore. They care more about how they’ll be able to change (or blow up) the story. So focus your description on what the players get to do–think of it like the back of a novel or video game box. There should be two to three paragraphs that center on an intriguing premise, characters, and conflict.

The other important thing to keep in mind is readability. Even copywriters for big ad campaigns aim to write at a fifth grade level. People are skimming on their phones all the time, so you want your information to be quick and to the point. 

This example, while seemingly informative, misses the most interesting parts of the campaign: 

You and other players will try to stop the evil council of Valendor, who oversee the city of Jenbildin. The council has been conspiring with the demon Xalesh. You will have a fun urban adventure uncovering the evil plots and saving the city.

It’s a little too matter of fact, and puts too much emphasis on people and places we have no connection to. 

This next example thrusts the reader into the story, makes the enemy known, and has high stakes: 

You always knew the council was corrupt, but you never thought their blade would be pointed in your direction. Now they are conspiring with a demon lord, and the city is going to pay for the sins of the council. You and a handful of others are the last hope before it's too late. Will you take up the blade and save the city? 

After that you can briefly mention character levels and any unique GM talents you bring to the table. Follow this example to set an exciting scene, then pair it with eye-catching art for a quality listing! 

Sep 16, 2023
Game Masters

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