Announcing: The 2016 Great Hook Contest!

Hook sells games.

Unless you’re designing solely for yourself, then a a good hook is your game’s greatest asset.  Hook is the difference between a breakout game and a rejection letter.  Without a hook, your game will be lost in the noise pit of a saturated game market.

We define “hook” as a game’s ability to create a uniquely desirable experience for its players–either through its narrative, aesthetic, systems, or interactions.  Stephen Buonocore, head of Stronghold games, is notorious for requesting only games that are unique “thematically, mechanically, or funtastically,” and hook is exactly what he’s looking for.



The 2016 Great Hook Contest

Coalition Game Studios is proud to host and sponsor the inaugural Great Hook Contest!  Here’s how it works:

  • To enter, send the name (or working name) of your game, a blurb, and an optional media attachment to with the subject line “Great Hook Contest.”  The blurb should be a brief written segment about your game, and the media may be audio, video, or an image.  Together, they should convey your game’s hook, and convince us that your project is uniquely desirable.
  • Entries close on November 24th.  On December 1st, we will announce the winners that the Coalition team feel have the best hooks!

The Fabulous Prizes

  • First Place – A promotional code for a free Coalition Game Studios service, to include six sessions of blind playtesting, a Critical Evaluation Report, our Playtester Survey Spreadsheet, and a free upgrade to our 30-day Collaborative Consulting development service!  (Value starting at $158)
  • Second Place – A promotional code for $50 off any Coalition Game Studios service!
  • Third Place – A promotional code for $25 off any Coalition Game Studios service!

To learn more about the services Coalition Game Studios has to offer, check us out at



Submission Guidelines

Brevity is important when it comes to hook.  If you can’t convince us that your game is unique in a timely fashion, then your hook is buried.  As such, limit your blurb to 200 words, and your audio or video submissions to less than sixty seconds.  Submissions that exceed these guidelines will be disqualified.

The contest closes on November 24th.  Entries received after midnight (EST) will not be considered.

Please do not send a physical copy of your game.  It will likely not make it to the table, and it certainly won’t be shipped back to you.

Submissions are confidential, and your game’s blurb and media attachment will not be shared without your permission.

Only one submission per contestant, please!

Please do not submit any games that are already published, and do not submit any games that would require us to sign an NDA.

Each submission will be evaluated by a panel of judges from the Coalition Game Studios team of game developers.  Our developers will not be permitted to enter this contest.


So…why should I give my ideas away?

As always, Coalition Game Studios is a confidential service.  We do not disclose or distribute information regarding any games we handle without the owner’s expressed consent.  Only the names of the winning designers and games will be featured in our blog.  This means we have no interest in using your ideas in any of our own designs, and we will not be publishing any further contents of your submission without your direct approval.

Still worried about people stealing your ideas?  The threat of theft may not be as prevalent as you think.  Daniel Solis’s blog features an excellent entry regarding this common misconception.


We’re looking forward to hearing from you!


  1. Could you state in the submission guidelines how many entries a person may submit?

    • Updated! Thanks for the suggestion–only one submission per contestant please.

  2. Your services require sending the prototype? Or it is possible for you to make the prototype by yourselves based on files and list of components (cards/dice/cubes/etc)?

    • You can send us a prototype, or we can assemble a paper mock-up for a $10 upcharge. Certain restrictions apply to what we are and aren’t able to assemble, and any images or PnP files to help us are much appreciated.

      For purposes of this contest, the winner’s entire bill would be covered–including the mock-up!

      You can read more about the specifics of our services at

  3. May I enter a game still in concept stage? I just had the idea on Sunday, but I think it has some distinctive elements and a lot of potential.

    • Absolutely!

  4. I find that different Hooks work for different audiences. Do you find Dominion more “uniquely desirable” then Rhino Hero? What about Pandemic Legacy vrs Spot It?

    • Hey Al, great question–and sorry it took so long to reply!

      Hook isn’t something that’s quantifiable, unfortunately. We intend to judge the submissions on what we believe would have the greatest overall appeal in the hobby game market.

      Hope that helps!

  5. Today’s the day – looking forward to seeing the winners!!

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