Hi everyone. I’m the lead on this little brain-baby of ours that we affectionately call Sell Outs. I read over your posts and hoped I could alleviate a few concerns about the format of the game. But first, a link to the downloads page where you can find the instructions and the PDF with 240 cards for Sell Outs if you’re interested: Sell Outs Downloads (Don’t be intimidated by the Orangedox link. It’s just a way to track download and view numbers.)
One huge point of Sell Outs is that the cards are written in such a way that everything is open to interpretation. The problem cards themselves do not ask a question like, “How do I get my cat out of a tree?” The problems are much more open ended, like “My cat is stuck in a tree, and it’s way too high to reach.” Perhaps you have a product that can reach the cat. Perhaps you have something to destroy the tree so this won’t be a problem in the future. Maybe you think the problem is that they own a cat in the first place. The cards frequently lend themselves to unorthodox interpretations.
The features and products are also up to your own judgement. The rules encourage you to spin and morph them to work for you. You can get more specific than what the card says, and several of the cards are worded so that they can have multiple meanings. We have also seen features used to describe how the product would change the consumer’s life over instead of applying directly to the product itself.
Seemingly negative features can be spun really well, too, although it might take some extra creativity to sell it. I have seen really negative cards used to incredible effect.
To address the creativity ‘requirement’ and who the game is suited to, I find that Sell Outs has something for everyone. We’ve played with a varied mix of people, including those that don’t think they are very creative, and most of our testers would never consider themselves to be ‘actors’. You do not need to act out your cards. @ShayMonique once sold a regular multitool without really pitching it, simply because all the other options were too bizarre or excessive. We’ve seen a really shy person in a room full of people he did not know break out his Macho Man Randy Savage impression to sell an Unopened Can of Whoop Ass. It was really strange, but really so great!
To address the other game comparisons:
Funemployed: You are what your cards say. It’s too personal for me. I don’t want to act it out. I’d rather watch friends play it, who are not afraid to go nuts to win a card. Sell Outs is about the products. No one is asking you to bust out a character impersonation or silly accent. You’re just talking about how you solve the person’s problem.
Snake Oil: I haven’t played it, but it seemed like it didn’t go far enough with it’s own concept. Seemed like Compound Words: The Game. Sell Outs is probably a little closer to CAH in terms of card content. While our base set is written to be family friendly, nothing at all is stopping you from taking it to NC-17 or snuff film levels. And even though they are cleanly written, a bunch of the cards lend themselves to that interpretation. (The current version features drug references, but those will be moved out of the main set eventually.)
Superfight: Superfight allows you to pander. Like a lot. If you’re in a room full of Marvel fans, and try to convince them that Edward Cullen could totes in in a fight with flying telekinetic Wolverine cuz like omg he a shiny vampire guys, you’re gonna have a bad time. I think Sell Outs allows pandering to an extent, but it has not been an issue 95% of the time, since people are less likely to be attached to their favorite thing than their favorite fandom.
Red Flags: I haven’t played this either, but like @ShayMonique said earlier, it seems like there are cards in the game that would outright determine the decision subjectively.
@sdfostj85 We were considering a value system, where products would have a ‘value’ applied to them between 1 and 5. The features would then have a value modifier between -3 and 3. The problems would have a value of 5. When the consumer ‘buys’ a product, they give the problem to the other player, and the player gives the consumer that product. At the end, you would just add all your values and modifiers. I thought this would be interesting because as a consumer, you need to consider if giving that player 5 points is worth getting whatever they had. As the merchant, you might even intentionally mess up your pitch to try and dissuade the consumer from picking you if you accidently created a product worth a lot of points.
Our other idea is that of salary. You would need some kind of tokens, like poker chips or something similar. Every time you are the consumer, you would collect 3 chips plus 1 chip for every product you sold so far. This would allow the players to set their own prices, and could try to price gouge a player who is doing very well.
We are still sussing out a lot of details on variant play. We have a lot of variants on our site right now that might intrigue you. We also would encourage you to come up with your own variations. I think Sell Outs is open ended enough that it can be tailored to your playing group
As an aside, there’s two main things I love about this game. I love the way every pitch after the first always starts off with the playful trashtalk, with players saying something like, “Here’s why my competitors are wrong, crazy, and missing the point.” And I love the reveal of the cards. “I think we should go a different route to solve your problem. Let me tell you why you should cut off your legs so you can wear these prosthetics.”
I hope I addressed good number of concerns. This is all great feedback, and I appreciate you all taking the time to read about our game.