Recommend
3 
 Thumb up
 Hide
26 Posts
1 , 2  Next »   | 

BoardGameGeek» Forums » Board Game Design » Board Game Design

Subject: How much should I license our Board Game for? rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
christopher gabrielson
United States
Utah
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
mbmb
Now that we have launched and delivered (90% at least) we have started to receive offers from game publishers to license the game in other countries, in particular Germany, Poland, Denmark, Holland and Russia. One company wants a world wide license, except for English.

I have no idea how much to ask for, up front fees, what percentage, whether on gross or net or what. Anyone have any experience or advice to offer on this subject? The offers range from 2% to 6%, but I am unsure of how to respond.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
dennis bennett
United Kingdom
spend lots of time in the SF Bay Area
California
flag msg tools
designer
more of my stuff at www.dennisthebadger.com
mbmbmbmbmb
i'm mostly clueless. sorry.
All i can tell about licensing is from my (limited) experience as a textile/fabric/surface designer.

Why do they want a worldwide license? Few companies are even capable of using a world wide license. Worst case they'll end up selling and promoting your game in only 2 or 3 countries, but you'll never see you game published anywhere else… and you won't have the rights to ever get your game published anywhere else anymore…
I'd be really careful with worldwise licenses and i'd guess that any company that knows awhat they're doing won't even ask you for "worldwide".

I'm also not sure what industry standards are in the game industry, but i'm guessing that licenses will have a time limit. So in case a company gives up on your game in 3 years time you'd have the option of finding a new publisher.

There are loads of examples where companies own the rigths to stuff (music, movies, games) and just can't be bothered to publish the stuff, and the artist (who gave up his rights) has no way of seeing his work published.

be careful!
8 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Björn von Knorring
Sweden
Uppsala
flag msg tools
The picture is a swedish cartoon-figure Herman Hedning. English info here: http://www.hermanhedning.com/eng/
mbmbmbmbmb
I have no idea and can only give you some general ideas that are mostly useful in situations liker these.

1. Try to make them say some numbers first. Ask if they have a standard contract for this kind of thing. If you´re unsure it´s usually better to have them make the first move.

2. Try to findpeople you like and want to work with. Then the other things will more likely sort itself out. Trying to sign a contract with a person/company you don´t really trust and try to close all loop holes is a bad idea.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
dennis bennett
United Kingdom
spend lots of time in the SF Bay Area
California
flag msg tools
designer
more of my stuff at www.dennisthebadger.com
mbmbmbmbmb
myth1202 wrote:


1. Try to make them say some numbers first. Ask if they have a standard contract for this kind of thing. If you´re unsure it´s usually better to have them make the first move.


That.
If they don't have a standard contract they can show you and allow you to show other people to ask for feedback they won't be worth working with.

You shouldn't even have to ask them for this.
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Keith Sink
United States
Seattle
Washington
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmb
I've only sold rights to other countries on a video game once, so I'll try to give you some things I would do.

1. Limit the time they can have the rights. "x" amount of years/months, whatever. You don't want them setting on the world rights forever while you find another company that wants to publish it.

2. Don't give away the digital rights unless they pay for it. You might turn your game into a video game, or someone else might want to buy the rights to do that.

3. If you don't feel like the contract is easy to understand, then please see an attorney.

4. If you are unsure of the reputation of the company buying, I would recommend asking for a lump sum up front. If it takes off over there, you loose out. But if they set on it, change the art to something horrible, or otherwise destroy its saleability, you get something out of it.

That's all I can think of right now.
11 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ben Carter
msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
shockmoth wrote:
Now that we have launched and delivered (90% at least) we have started to receive offers from game publishers to license the game in other countries, in particular Germany, Poland, Denmark, Holland and Russia. One company wants a world wide license, except for English.

I have no idea how much to ask for, up front fees, what percentage, whether on gross or net or what. Anyone have any experience or advice to offer on this subject? The offers range from 2% to 6%, but I am unsure of how to respond.
Unless that company that asks worldwide rights has the track record to prove they can exploit those rights well and make you money, I'd stick with selling rights to smaller territories. You don't want to be tied into a contract with someone who can't deliver.

In short: research the companies that are sending those offers.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
C C
msg tools
Advice from the world of product licensing:
Never accept a percent of net.

Look for other games they've licensed, contact the designers of those games.

Get either cash up front or a performance/revert clause.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Sturv Tafvherd
United States
North Carolina
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb

This one, right?

I know nothing about licensing. But I agree with one of the advice given... work with people you trust and enjoy being with. And I'll add this: when you do, it won't matter how much the license pays.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Nathan Bentley
msg tools
You know, I can't help but feel that maybe there should be a thread in the stickies along the lines of "How not to get screwed by a publisher."
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
John "Omega" Williams
United States
Kentwood
Michigan
flag msg tools
designer
mbmbmbmbmb
Maltodextrin wrote:
You know, I can't help but feel that maybe there should be a thread in the stickies along the lines of "How not to get screwed by a publisher."


Read contract. Re-read contract. Re-re-read contract. Check their website and elsewhere for hidden clauses. Check their history for past problems. Check their current projects to see if they arent just buying your game to bury it so its not competing.

Read the contract.

If necessary get a lawyer versed in board gaming contracts.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
J J
Australia
flag msg tools
Omega2064 wrote:
Maltodextrin wrote:
You know, I can't help but feel that maybe there should be a thread in the stickies along the lines of "How not to get screwed by a publisher."


Read contract. Re-read contract. Re-re-read contract. Check their website and elsewhere for hidden clauses. Check their history for past problems. Check their current projects to see if they arent just buying your game to bury it so its not competing.

Read the contract.

If necessary get a lawyer versed in board gaming contracts.


Getting the lawyer to look at the contract should be one of the first things you do.
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Zachary Strebeck
United States
Santa Clarita
CALIFORNIA
flag msg tools
mb
JasonJ0 wrote:
Omega2064 wrote:
Maltodextrin wrote:
You know, I can't help but feel that maybe there should be a thread in the stickies along the lines of "How not to get screwed by a publisher."


Read contract. Re-read contract. Re-re-read contract. Check their website and elsewhere for hidden clauses. Check their history for past problems. Check their current projects to see if they arent just buying your game to bury it so its not competing.

Read the contract.

If necessary get a lawyer versed in board gaming contracts.


Getting the lawyer to look at the contract should be one of the first things you do.


Good advice. The lawyer can also do the negotiating for you - it gives a certain legitimacy to your bargaining that you alone can't always provide.

Also, someone earlier mentioned getting a number from them first. This isn't always the best tactic. Sometimes you want to put out the first offer, in order to "anchor" the number higher than they would ever go, so you are starting negotiations at a higher level. Letting them come out with 2 percent starts things really low and makes it more difficult to go higher if that is an absurdly low offer for you.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
christopher gabrielson
United States
Utah
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
mbmb
BoardGameGeek » Forums » Board Game Design » Board Game Design
Re: How much should I license our Board Game for?
Thanks for the advice! The company we 'LIKE' the best and get-along with is Black Monk Games. The reason they suggested a world wide licensing is so that they could then handle all re-licensing in other languages. Sure we would share the percentage with them, but they MOSTLY DO licensing and have 10 years experience with it. So we are considering it.

Someone told me once that if you have to have a contract with someone, then you shouldnt do business with them. I think that may be slightly extreme, since having a contract lays out expectations and obligations clearly for everyone. But the general sentiment is sound I think. But in order to get to that point we just wanted to double check what OTHERS are licensing their games for to publishers in other countries that want to localize your game.



1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Zachary Strebeck
United States
Santa Clarita
CALIFORNIA
flag msg tools
mb
shockmoth wrote:
Thanks for the advice! The company we 'LIKE' the best and get-along with is Black Monk Games. The reason they suggested a world wide licensing is so that they could then handle all re-licensing in other languages. Sure we would share the percentage with them, but they MOSTLY DO licensing and have 10 years experience with it. So we are considering it.

Someone told me once that if you have to have a contract with someone, then you shouldnt do business with them. I think that may be slightly extreme, since having a contract lays out expectations and obligations clearly for everyone. But the general sentiment is sound I think. But in order to get to that point we just wanted to double check what OTHERS are licensing their games for to publishers in other countries that want to localize your game.


That's pretty terrible advice. Contracts exist for a reason - when everyone is still friends, you plan out what will happen if things go wrong. No one wants a business venture to end up in fighting, but it happens all of the time. This can happen even more often when it's a friendship at the beginning, because there is more than just business involved there. It's definitely worth the effort and money, in my opinion, to get a contract in place first.
8 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
dennis bennett
United Kingdom
spend lots of time in the SF Bay Area
California
flag msg tools
designer
more of my stuff at www.dennisthebadger.com
mbmbmbmbmb
shockmoth wrote:

Someone told me once that if you have to have a contract with someone, then you shouldnt do business with them.


Reverse advice: don't do business with the person who gave you that advice.
27 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Nathan Bentley
msg tools
bprevas wrote:
zackiechan wrote:

Also, someone earlier mentioned getting a number from them first. This isn't always the best tactic. Sometimes you want to put out the first offer, in order to "anchor" the number higher than they would ever go, so you are starting negotiations at a higher level. Letting them come out with 2 percent starts things really low and makes it more difficult to go higher if that is an absurdly low offer for you.


This is important. They are going to know if you ask too high, but you won't know if they ask too low based solely on your limitation in experience. If you let them lead, you risk having them set a cognitive anchor very low; particularly if they know that you have little experience.

You should strongly consider a lawyer, particularly one who has experience with licensing. There are contract terms that you would never even think of that could have significant consequences in the long term; having someone on your side with that experience can be really useful in avoiding pit falls or getting taken advantage of (not that you necessarily will, but hypothetically).


So what generally is considered too high, too low, and average? I understand this will vary by type of contract (if you're getting a cut of the net, or gross, etc.) But having a firm idea of what you should expect would be pretty helpful. Even if it's just a target number you give to your lawyer.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jake Staines
United Kingdom
Grantham
Lincolnshire
flag msg tools
designer
mbmbmbmb
shockmoth wrote:

Someone told me once that if you have to have a contract with someone, then you shouldnt do business with them.


I think that's really good advice, on two conditions.

1) Really emphasise the "have". If you have to have a contract with someone, it implies that you can't trust them to be decent without one, and you don't want to get involved with people you can't trust because you'll always be second-guessing them anyway.

2) Have a contract regardless. Having a contract you don't need is better than not having a contract you do need.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Zachary Strebeck
United States
Santa Clarita
CALIFORNIA
flag msg tools
mb
Bichatse wrote:
shockmoth wrote:

Someone told me once that if you have to have a contract with someone, then you shouldnt do business with them.


I think that's really good advice, on two conditions.

1) Really emphasise the "have". If you have to have a contract with someone, it implies that you can't trust them to be decent without one, and you don't want to get involved with people you can't trust because you'll always be second-guessing them anyway.

2) Have a contract regardless. Having a contract you don't need is better than not having a contract you do need.


So you're saying that it's NOT really good advice. Agreed.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Binh Vo
msg tools
Bichatse wrote:

If you have to have a contract with someone, it implies that you can't trust them to be decent without one


I don't think it implies that at all. Contracts aren't just about trust, they're about getting the details down first, because people aren't always going to agree later about what the "decent" thing to do for all sides is. That's why contracts aren't just written as "Both parties agree to be decent henceforth."
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
dennis bennett
United Kingdom
spend lots of time in the SF Bay Area
California
flag msg tools
designer
more of my stuff at www.dennisthebadger.com
mbmbmbmbmb
shockmoth wrote:
The reason they suggested a world wide licensing is so that they could then handle all re-licensing in other languages. Sure we would share the percentage with them, but they MOSTLY DO licensing and have 10 years experience with it. So we are considering it.



That could be great, but it could also mean that you essentially lose any control over your intellectual property.
How will you track royalties? Will you have say in them expanding your game? Do they have rights to license merchendise?
What does "worldwide" mean? African markets? Asian markets?
"worldwider" sound slike a bit of a red flag to me...
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jake Staines
United Kingdom
Grantham
Lincolnshire
flag msg tools
designer
mbmbmbmb
MuKen wrote:
Bichatse wrote:

If you have to have a contract with someone, it implies that you can't trust them to be decent without one


I don't think it implies that at all. Contracts aren't just about trust, they're about getting the details down first, because people aren't always going to agree later about what the "decent" thing to do for all sides is.


Put it this way:

There are a number of people who I would trust implicitly and I don't think I would ever need any kind of contract with; largely, this is my immediate family and very good friends. There are a number of people I feel I can trust well enough for various reasons to not need formal contractual obligations to compel them to treat me decently, and I've done small amounts of work under such conditions in the past and will happily do so again... but, you know, if I ever got involved in seriously large pieces of work or for large consideration, I'd still want a contract in place for exactly that reason - just to make sure that we don't ever have any chance to have a disagreement as to what being decent to each other means. Hence my second point! I'm pretty sure I could trust my current boss at my day job to pay me my salary in return for turning up to work every day without a formal contract of employment, and if a contract were for some reason out of the question I wouldn't feel that I couldn't work without a guarantee of being paid... but if I were starting the job again tomorrow I'd still prefer to sign one.


Conversely, there are people who I don't think I could trust to be decent to me without being in some way legally compelled to be. I can think of a couple off the top of my head who are such selfish and arrogant people that I'm pretty sure that they would be looking for any excuse to get out of their moral obligation to pay me for work done if we just had an informal agreement. I wouldn't want to be bound to such people by contract, because firstly I'm pretty sure they'd constantly be looking for ways out of their obligations anyway, and secondly - and more to the point - such people are generally unpleasant to deal with and more stress and hassle than they're worth. Even with the contract that compels them to pay you.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Sean Boyll
United States
Kuna
Idaho
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Why not just ask them all what they are offering while also telling them that you are asking the same thing from the number of other companies that are interested? That way you find out the ones that are really interested and what the average offers are.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Lewis Pulsipher
United States
Linden
North Carolina
flag msg tools
designer
mbmbmbmbmb
SPBTooL wrote:
Why not just ask them all what they are offering while also telling them that you are asking the same thing from the number of other companies that are interested? That way you find out the ones that are really interested and what the average offers are.

Exactly.

Saying "get a lawyer" is glib advice, but always depends on a comparison of costs and what you're likely to earn. And assumes you can find a lawyer who understands games and foreign licensing, and that could be difficult.

I doubt that licensing to one company that then licenses to others is going to maximize your earnings, given you've already had inquiries from several countries.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
monchi
Canada
Burnaby
BC
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
This is just me, but more often than not if you are dealing with a company that is used to doing something they will have standard forms, practices and have set numbers. If they have experience in this kind of thing it would stand to reason that they have contracts and numbers they have used in the past. Any company that is worth doing business with knows and understands what numbers they need for something to make sense.

Granted it would seem like a company might ask you to offer numbers in order for them to try and get a better deal that they might offer you, but good companies don't tend to work this way.

One thing I would caution against in giving one company the keys like this is that you need to know they have equal interest in all the markets they are proposing to promote you in. It is very common for companies to want to ask for exclusive for the largest possible territory as it eliminates all competition and means that even in the markets they don't service well they are guaranteed the sales. The upside of dealing with one company is that you have one company to deal with. When I work out exclusive contracts like this I will put in outs. I will base things on performance and expectations. So if expectations aren't met you aren't stuck in a bad deal. Trail periods are good ways of protecting yourself, but it is important to allow enough time to give someone a chance to make a go of it.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Zachary Strebeck
United States
Santa Clarita
CALIFORNIA
flag msg tools
mb
I worked for a time in worldwide film distribution, and we had both types going. For some films, there would be various regional deals with distributors who were specific to those regions. It seems to be the way to go, so that you ensure that they have good connections to that region and can do a better job distributing the game there.
However, you could also build into the contract some kind of a termination clause where the deal terminates if they don't make a certain amount of money/ship a certain amount of units after a certain amount of time. This could result in lost time, though, and time is money! You'd also have to then find a 2nd distributor for that region, probably the same one that you snubbed when you chose the single worldwide distributor.
Another option is to get a minimum guarantee up front that counts against royalties. That way you are guaranteed an amount up front.
It's more of a fact-sensitive issue, depending on what kind of coverage the various regional distributors can offer and what the money is like.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
1 , 2  Next »   | 
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.