This is part 2 of a three-part blog. In Part 1: Before the Pitch, I talked about how to prepare for a big pitching event like Mojo Pitch. You might find it useful to read that post before this. 

What you can expect

Mojo Pitch is a test of stamina. You’ll be pitching to multiple publishers – sometimes back-to-back. You need to remain enthusiastic for long periods of time. You’ll be saying the same things repeatedly. Make sure you are well prepared, have cleared your calendar for the duration and that you’ve had enough sleep the night before.

You’ll have short pitch meetings with each publisher (this year it was 20 mins for each live pitch and 30 minutes for each virtual pitch). In that time you can pitch multiple games. 

How to start

No two pitches are the same. Even if you’re pitching the same game in an identical room – your audience is different. 

  • Make sure you know the names of the people you’re pitching to. If you don’t know before you walk in – that’s the first thing to ask (and remember). 
  • It may seem obvious, but do take the time to ask the people you are pitching to… how they are… how the event is going for them… where they are (if it’s a virtual pitch)… how long they’ve been with the company. Even though you only have 20 minutes, this is time very well spent. 
  • Check if they want you to tell them anything about you, or if they would rather you get stuck into showing them some games. Be ready with a 20 to 30-second biog if they say ‘yes’. Don’t be tempted to launch into your full CV – they’re not that interested and it’s a waste of time.
  • Ask if they would prefer you to go through all the games you want to show them first – and then get feedback, or if they’d prefer to comment after each one. Their answer will affect your time management!

How to pitch

I used to be a drama teacher. One of my favourite improvisation exercises was called ‘Half Life’. The idea was that groups create a 5-minute improvisation and perform it. Then the teacher tells them they have to reduce their performance to 2 minutes. They go back to rehearse, to shave it down to 2 minutes, while still retaining the key moments or emotions of the story. Then it’s cut to 1 minute… 30 seconds… 15 seconds… and finally, it’s just a freeze frame. When I’m planning how to pitch a game, this is what I’m doing. 


Doing the Half Life exercise forces you to edit. It makes you focus on what is special about your game, what is innovative, what makes it stand out. If you only had 15 seconds to pitch – what would you say? Every time you playtest your game, refine the spiel that will become your pitch. Distil it down to a name, a strapline and a single sentence. 

Me demonstrating the ‘art’ of the freeze frame.
(Backstage during a production of Spamalot).

Make sure that when you pitch a game you start with this distilled information. Your pitch should be front loaded with the things that make your game interesting and unique. Then once you’ve piqued their interest, you can expand a bit – they’ll be listening far more intently. 

Some of the Discows

Not every game will suit every publisher. Yes, you may have spent lots of time researching. You may have even designed a game especially to suit that publisher… but that doesn’t mean they will be interested in it. As soon as you get a ‘no’, move on. I once had a ‘no’ from a publisher after just the name and strapline. It was: “This is a game about disco cows:  Discows. A deck-builder like no udder.” 

Ok, the strapline needs work, but I was surprised. I’d designed the game with their wishlist in mind. I’d chosen to pitch this game first. I thought they’d love it. What I didn’t know was that they won’t ever do deck builders because their CEO doesn’t like them. Getting the key mechanic in the first sentence let them know it was a non-starter and we moved onto the next game. 

If you feel like you’re flogging a dead horse – or in my case a dead cow – move on. (Discows is still available – in case you’re interested!)

How to show a game

Assuming the pitch lasts more than 15 seconds, what’s the best way to show your game? Well, inventors seem to have wildly different opinions on this. 

Some just take a laptop around with them and show a series of videos – one of each game they are pitching. To me, this is absolute madness. I do not need to be sitting in the room (virtual or otherwise) for a publisher to watch a video. They can do that afterwards. This is a key opportunity to connect with the person or people you are pitching to – you’re pissing that opportunity up a wall if you spend the time looking at a video. Blunt but true. 

Maybe you have sell sheets for your game that you’d like to put in front of the publisher. That’s a bit better, as at least you are talking them through it ‘live’. But again – this is something they can be sent afterwards. 

Example Pitch Boards

My Pitch Box

Nothing beats showing them the actual game. But of course – you only have 20 minutes and that doesn’t include set up, pack up and running down the corridor. If you’re pitching 6 different games, you’ve got a logistical nightmare. 

With live pitches, if you have super-quick card games, you may be able to play a round – and if that’s possible, you definitely should. If not, you could try one of these suggestions:

Pitch boards: Create large boards with your game stuck down on it. One board for each game. Make it look like a display in an outstanding primary school. Create the game in mid-play – so you can see what it would look like on the table. Show key examples of cards or resources. You’ll have the game in front of you – with no set up – just flick open the right page of the massive portfolio. I talked about these in my interview with Deej from Mojo.

Pitch box: Put the absolutely essential components from each game you are pitching in a little baggy. When you pitch that game, you’ll have only what you need – ready to grab. You can combine this with a large picture of the game laid out on the table, or your sell sheet.

With virtual pitches, it’s worth getting some foldable tables, so you can set up different games in different places and take your computer/camera to the game you have set up. Before each pitch, make sure the games you want to show are in the best locations. It’s all about managing your space.

Publishers’ point of view

Take a moment to put yourself in the publisher’s position. They don’t get breaks. They are seeing one designer after another – all day (or for 3 days with the virtual pitch). It’s exhausting. If they see 4-6 games in every meeting, there’s a danger that they’ll forget your games. They might even forget you. 

So don’t let that happen. Make sure you engage with them. Make sure you are lively, pleasant and fun to be with – even if you have to fake it. It sounds very obvious, but it’s easy to forget to smile when you’re nervous. 

You have to be enthusiastic about your games. It’s hard to be enthusiastic for three days straight – but it’s vital. Your energy is infectious. If your games make you smile / laugh / jump on a chair / moo like a cow – they are more likely to do this too. Well maybe not jumping on a chair, but I’ve definitely had publishers mooing. 

What can you do to bookmark yourself in a publisher’s brain?

Manage expectations and define success

While it’s possible that a publisher may be blown away and verbally commit to publishing your game on the spot… it’s unlikely. It does happen (one publisher told me they did this at the live Mojo Pitch this year), but it’s not common. It’s certainly not (yet) happened to me. In fact, you might be waiting a long time for feedback. 

If you go into the pitches expecting to sign a game within 2 weeks, you’ll probably be disappointed. So why not define success in a different way? Make it your aim to develop good working relationships with the different publishers. Build rapport. Make sure you come across as the sort of inventor who can create exactly the sort of games this publisher wants. It’s not about a single event. Take a longer term view.

My first Mojo Pitch was 2021. I sold no games that I pitched during the event, but I build a relationship with several publishers and had follow up pitches with many. I signed a game at one of those pitches – Spare Strike Steal, with Ginger Fox. In 2022 I did sign a game I pitched, but it took 10 months. I signed with Gamewright/Buffalo earlier this month. It was worth the wait – we had lots of discussions about the game, several rounds of development and multiple face-to-face meetings (none of which were about the game). The game is now brilliant and we’ve developed an excellent working relationship.

Spare Strike Steal. Signed with Ginger Fox after Mojo 2021.

Be ready for follow up

At the end of the pitch, before you leave the room, make sure you know how to contact them. Don’t leave without an email address. If you have time, ask about the follow up process, but whatever happens – get the email! 


The next blog will focus on what happens after the pitch. 

While I’m specifically talking about the Mojo Pitch, due to the scale of the event, I treat other pitches in similar ways. I hope this blog is useful however you are pitching.