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Subject: Game Designer Looking for Advice rss

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saffron saffron
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Hi Forum

I've been spending the last few months developing a Board Game. It is a social game of intrigue and deception for 4 to 10 players.

I have undertaken more than 30 playtests and the responses I've received have really blown me away. I know I have something very special and I have great faith in my game.

However, I’m at a crossroad as to where to head next. Do you have any advice for a budding Game Designer such as myself?

I was planning on getting my prototype finalized and printed in time for Gen Con Indy in August and to arrange meetings with publishers.
Is this a sound plan?
Which publishers should I contact?

Furthermore, some publishers I would love to work with are not accepting submissions at this point. Am I still right in contacting them and attempting to arrange a meeting at Gen Con Indy?

I was initially planning on hiring an artist to create the cards and graphics for the game. However, I have found that some publishers prefer to commission the art themselves. Should I still get the art commissioned myself or not?

If I do send a prototype to a publisher is there any chance my game idea will be stolen?


That's just a few questions that are on my mind right now, but if you have any advice for me I would be very grateful.

Thanks,
Tyson
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Richard Morris
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No real chance of your idea being stolen - the word would soon get around about any publisher who did that, and they would then be snubbed by all the other designers. They are fundamentally honest.

In general, there is no point in getting graphics done. An exception might be if the game was absolutely dripping in theme, and a prototype without theme would not do it justice.

As for advice: read the many, many threads in this forum.

Have your playtests been truly blind: people you don't know working just from the rules? If not, do more playtesting. Hell, do more playtesting anyway. If you think you have playtested enough, you probably haven't. If you are absolutely sure you have playtested enough, then you might have done so.
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Dan Cassar
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AnnuverScotinExile wrote:
Have your playtests been truly blind: people you don't know working just from the rules? If not, do more playtesting. Hell, do more playtesting anyway.


Have to second this sentiment.

Your basic plan is on the right track. Researching publishers is an important step. Look for games that are most similar to yours, and see what sorts of companies publish them. That's a good place to start.
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Tony Gullotti
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AnnuverScotinExile wrote:
Hell, do more playtesting anyway. If you think you have playtested enough, you probably haven't. If you are absolutely sure you have playtested enough, then you need several hundred more playtests by people you don't know, while you are not there.


Fixed.

Seriously, 30 games is nothing, I have concepts with only a few mechanics done with more testing. If you have kids, see if they'll have their friends try it out. Contact all local (within an hour or so drive) high schools and colleges that have chess / game clubs and get your game to them. Contact every hobby shop/comic book shop within the same area and try demoing/seeing if they have a board game night. Especially look for ones with a boardgame night
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John "Omega" Williams
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If a company isnt accepting submissions, then meeting in person isnt going to change that. Especially since the representatives at cons for the larger companies tend to never be anyone with any say in such matters.

Look around more and see who else might be open.

As for art. Unless you plan to self publish, dont bother. 50-75% if the companies that might take your game will insist on doing their own art for it.
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Matt Riddle
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gonna echo most of this thread. See who is accepting submission and follow the procedures as listed. Showing up at Gencon prolly doenst get you anywhere unless you have some thing pre set up. art means a lot less than gameplay at this point. if your game is good, they will know it. BLIND TEST. Your family and friends are gonna like it. Thats thier job.
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Nate K
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saffronx2 wrote:


I was planning on getting my prototype finalized and printed in time for Gen Con Indy in August and to arrange meetings with publishers.
Is this a sound plan?

Quote:
Which publishers should I contact?
The ones that print games in the same vein as yours.

Quote:
Furthermore, some publishers I would love to work with are not accepting submissions at this point. Am I still right in contacting them and attempting to arrange a meeting at Gen Con Indy?


Possibly. They might not be accepting unsolicited submissions, or submissions via mail, but they might still be willing to take a look at your prototype.

Quote:
I was initially planning on hiring an artist to create the cards and graphics for the game. However, I have found that some publishers prefer to commission the art themselves. Should I still get the art commissioned myself or not?


I wouldn't recommend spending a lot of money on your prototype.

Quote:
If I do send a prototype to a publisher is there any chance my game idea will be stolen?


Sure, but it's extremely unlikely, especially if you post the rules and pictures of the prototype to the Internet ASAP. That way you can demonstrate that you had the idea first. But honestly, game companies have enough ideas and prototypes to keep them in business and publishing for years; they don't need to deal with the hassle of stealing yours.
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Ben Pinchback
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Have you put your rules on paper? That's a huge process in and of itself, and it's the first thing your game will be judged on by publishers. They'll only request a prototype after reading your rules. Spend a lot of time working on them and get em as airtight and clear as possible.
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Jay Sheely
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Quote:
Spend a lot of time working on them and get em as airtight and clear as possible.


Thanks, that's what I'm up these days. Writing, editing, editing, writing, editing.....
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Sturv Tafvherd
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Man or Astroman wrote:
Quote:
Spend a lot of time working on them and get em as airtight and clear as possible.


Thanks, that's what I'm up these days. Writing, editing, editing, writing, editing.....


It's pretty crucial, and sometimes the only way to find out if you did your job well is to use BLIND playtesters -- find playtesters who have no idea what they're getting, so they have to learn the entire game by themselves, using just the rules you've written and the components you've provided.

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Ben Pinchback
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Stormtower wrote:
Man or Astroman wrote:
Quote:
Spend a lot of time working on them and get em as airtight and clear as possible.


Thanks, that's what I'm up these days. Writing, editing, editing, writing, editing.....


It's pretty crucial, and sometimes the only way to find out if you did your job well is to use BLIND playtesters -- find playtesters who have no idea what they're getting, so they have to learn the entire game by themselves, using just the rules you've written and the components you've provided.


Quoted for truth.
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saffron saffron
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BoardGameGeek » Forums » Board Game Design » Board Game Design
Re: Game Designer Looking for Advice
Thanks for the responses so far guys. I greatly appreciate it.

So far, all of my playtests have been internal. I wanted to refine the major mechanics down to their most potent form using internal playtests first. With every playtest I made a major modification to the mechanics of the game to see what worked and why, and what didn't work and why. Using this method I now feel as though I have a highly refined game with which to do blind playtesting with.

I made this post on the cusp of transitioning from internal playtesting to blind playtesting. My first blind playtest will be this week. I plan to do a lot of blind playtesting to ensure the game is sound.

Initially, I started writing my rules down as I made the game. I found three main problems with this:
1) I would end up explaining the game in person to my players anyway.
2) The game changed so much between revisions it was a hella lotta work to keep the game book fully updated.
3) I was attempting to get the best mechanics possible by testing out new or different mechanics. It was simply not relevant to have a working rulebook. I didn't gain anything by having it.

during my internal playtesting I found that notes containing the most important rules were all that were required.

I hope this answers any questions you had. Once again, Thank you all for your advice so far.
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Joe Mucchiello
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If you don't have a working rulebook, you really have nothing to show to a publisher. Many publishers will not hold your hand while you perform playtesting. They want the game as close to finished as possible before they see it.
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