How to use Tinder to find playtesters for your new board game.

TL;DR - Don’t*.

*But if you want to read about my success story, then this is the blog post for you!


A quick word to the wise

Nobody should be using Tinder as their main source of finding volunteers for their board game. There are loads of other resources out there (meetup.com, local gaming groups, board game stores, Facebook groups, etc.)

This blog post is just to document my experience with Tinder as a supplementary source of finding playtesters.

“Why did I choose to use Tinder?” you may ask. The correct answer to that lies somewhere in between, “I am so desperately lonely” and “I wanted to make a cool viral blog post.”


The initial Tinder experiment

Below are the pictures and descriptive text I used in my initial setup of a Tinder account.

My initial Tinder profile pictures and description. My initial Tinder profile pictures and description. My initial Tinder profile pictures and description. My initial Tinder profile pictures and description. My initial Tinder profile pictures and description.

My initial Tinder profile pictures and description.

I just made a new board game and need play testers.

If you (and up to 3 of your friends) can beat me at my own board game, I’ll buy you all 🍕.

HOW IT WORKS:

  1. Swipe right to match
  2. Find 3 hungry friends (optional)
  3. Schedule a time for all of us to play
  4. Play my board game (50 min.)
  5. If you or any of your friends win, I buy you a pizza pie ($20 max value)

Now really looking for dating but if you think I’m cute I can give you my digits I guess.

I thought the plan was foolproof and that I’d be flooded with messages from hungry people who were excited at the prospect of eating a free meal.

Turns out, I was dead wrong.

In a span of a few weeks, (with a 100% right-swipe rate on my end), I got a whopping one match. Clearly, something was going wrong here.


Introducing emojis 😏🍆🖐️💦🛏️🃏🎲😃

Wondering if my over-sized description was putting people off, I shortened it to:

Hello, I made a new board game and need play testers.

If you (and up to 3 of your friends) can beat me at my own board game, I’ll buy you all 🍕 ($20 max value)

Sore losers need not apply 🖐️🙅‍♀️🚫 Not interested in your hook ups or Insta-merchandise.

Additionally, I added several hot emojis to really spice up my Tinder game. It worked to some mild success and I was matched with seven more people in the following days.

Unfortunately, despite the shorter description, it seemed people still didn’t really understand the point.

I guess people don't really read on Tinder. I guess people don't really read on Tinder.

I guess people don’t really read on Tinder.


Swipe right for pizza

Since Tinder is mainly just a game of photos for people with attention spans smaller than your average dog in heat, I decided to change up my pictures in addition to my already shortened profile.

If my amazing handwritten board game wasn’t enough to grab their attention, then I was a 100% sure that photos of pizza would do the trick.

Second attempt photos. Now with a 100% more pizza. Second attempt photos. Now with a 100% more pizza. Second attempt photos. Now with a 100% more pizza.

Second attempt photos. Now with a 100% more pizza.

Amazingly enough, the pizza pictures combined with my newly reduced description seemed to have piqued some interest. At least the matches this time around were actually reading my profile and were seemingly interested in holding a basic conversation.

The second round of conversations were a little better. The second round of conversations were a little better. The second round of conversations were a little better.

The second round of conversations were a little better.

Unfortunately, like the majority of Tinder conversations, none of this “interest” led to anything fruitful and I was ghosted within hours of matching. I needed a better game plan.


Bigger the better

Having passed the one month mark in this experiment, I was ready to give up on meeting the perfect playtester. But I didn’t want to go down without one last attempt.

Here was my final Tinder profile set-up:

My final Tinder profile pictures. My final Tinder profile pictures. My final Tinder profile pictures. My final Tinder profile pictures. My final Tinder profile pictures. My final Tinder profile pictures.

My final Tinder profile pictures.

I figured that by including a picture of my friends and I playing the game, it might seem like I was popular and had people lining up to playtest my game (thus triggering their FOMO).

The stage was finally set, I had used all of my lessons learned to create the ultimate Tinder profile:

  1. Short and concise description
  2. Photos of pizza 🍕
  3. An eye-catching sign as the first picture
  4. Pictures of people playing my board game

Finally, after all of my hard work, I met the one.


Hitting a home run

It was the board-game-designer-using-Tinder-in-an-unconventional-way jackpot!

Matching and setting up a meeting. Click to enlarge.

Matching and setting up a meeting. Click to enlarge.

Check out Laura’s website here!

The meeting was everything I’d hoped it would be and more. We played each others games and had a great time chatting about random board game stuff.

Meeting and playing my game!

Meeting and playing my game!

They were incredibly encouraging and taught me a lot about the board game industry in general (podcasts, events, industry pros, etc.). They also told me about an annual event held in New Jersey called Metatopia–a four day conference specifically for board game developers.

Amazing! I had no idea that my Tindering would lead to such a discovery. If you guys are out there reading this post, thank you so much! I’ll post about my experiences at Metatopia some other time.

I ended my Tinder experiment with a total of 28 matches.

I ended my Tinder experiment with a total of 28 matches.

I think I’ll call this Tindering experiment a huge success.

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