So I'm trying to run a Zendo event at my school's board game minicon (it's called Rudicon if you're interested). The event submission is supposed to have a short catchy description of the event, and I know from experience I should have someone proofread mine in case I do a bad job selling it. Here's what I've got so far.

"Zendo is a cooperative puzzle game in which players use logic to discover a hidden rule, which changes every game. It has elements of Mastermind and uses Looney Labs' trademark Icehouse Pyramids as the game pieces."

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Hey!!  I didn't know you are in Rochester, Nick!!  Cool!  If you'd like, I can probably bring my giant pyramids, and maybe run some other stuff.  Giant Zendo is awesome.  I actually need to make some guessing stones in giant fFormat (beans bags are preferred, but take some time and energy to assemble. Maybe something with colored fFoam or something)

Anyway, your description looks good.  You could get into the dynamics of having a Master and Guessing Stones.  But what you have is sufficient.

What time are you planning on running your game?  I have a thing on Saturday night and I work fFriday night, but I would totally show up to play on Saturday afternoon.

Sounds great Nicholas. If I remember correctly, this con isn't for several months?

I'm not sure the word "cooperative" belongs in a Zendo description. Ordinarily, Zendo is a competitive game, with opportunities to take advantage of the efforts of other players.

 

Since Mastermind is deductive and Zendo is inductive, that comparison may not be warranted. Also, I don't think Mastermind has the currency it once did, so it may not have much explanatory value.

 

Here's my quick go at an elevator pitch: "Zendo is a game of inductive reasoning where players try to discover a secret rule by making experimental attempts to fulfill or break it. It's customarily played with Looney Pyramids, a beautiful system of game pieces that are also used for many other inventive games."

Woah, that's a pretty good one, Matt. Can I use it? And yeah, I forget that not everyone grew up on Mastermind. I've gotten more blank stares than I expected using that comparison.

Oh, and Greg, it's a lot sooner than that. March 8 I think.

Of course you can use that. It strikes me as a little too lofty in its diction; it could probably be tamed into greater vernacularity.

As a game store owner, this is the pitch I've found most useful to introduce Zendo:

"Zendo is the Looney Labs Pyramid Game and Logic Puzzle where you get to construct cool buildings (called Koans) while attempting to guess the "secret construction rule" set by the "Zendo Master" for each individual round.

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On the day of the event (as people are looking at your game table) you can say, "Zendo - Build the Koan; Guess the Rule; Become the Master!" -- I've used this phrase to good effect at local conventions.

 

The first one taunts logic puzzle fanatics, conveys the basic theme, and is on an easily comprehendable vocabulary level. (not that elevated diction is bad, but you do want to make it appeal to as many people as possible.<grin>)

The second (spoken only) one takes less than 15 seconds to catch attention and draw someone in to watch or hear more about the game you are running.

Thanks for your suggestions. I ended up going with the following, building largely on your sales pitch:

"Zendo is a multiplayer logic puzzle where players build structures ("Koans") out of colorful pieces ("Icehouse Pyramids") to try to determine what type of constructions match the secret rule set by the Zendo Master of each round.

Any number can play, length of game varies with difficulty of puzzle (pre-written beginner puzzles will be provided), feel free to jump in mid-puzzle."

Oh, and for anyone looking to attend the event, I'm asking for it to run late evening of saturday, the 9th.

Is this in March? I'll do my best to make it.

Yup. Next weekend at RIT. Pretty sure entrance fee is 5$, I assume they make most of the profit off tournaments though.

Cool. I'll be there. Do you have a set time? I didn't see it in the event calendar when I last looked. 

Check again, should be up by now. Saturday at 8PM. I also intend to enter the Dominion tournament while I'm there.

Ah, I'll be out with a girlfriend for a prior engagement, but, if it goes on for an hour or two, we'll be able to jump in mid session. 

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