Ben Byrne
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Indulge me with a fantasy scenario for a moment.

Let's say I've designed a game, shopped it around, and found a publisher interested in publishing it (ha!). What would that agreement typically look like? Flat fee up front? Royalties as a percentage of revenue or profits? Creator credits and control over expansions?

While I'm sure there's loads of variance, what would be a good deal? A raw one?

Any thoughts or links appreciated... I'm sure there have been threads on this but I've had trouble tracking them down as most seem to focus on other aspects of the "designing a game and getting it to market" process.
 
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mike
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mike
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Jokes aside

It really depends there is no standard answer, because it's going to vary by publisher and designer and may even vary between the same publisher and designer on different contracts

Unless you're Reiner Knizia or Richard Garfield or one of the very fortunate few to do this full time, there isn't a stock answer like hey you can expect a 5% royalty or X% advance fee or X% upfront + a back end deal

It's also going to depend on what state the game is in when you present it to the publisher.

Can they take the game as is and move to production or will it need further development, more play-testing, revising the rules, changes to the art work or design, etc
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James Mathe
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I blogged a bit about this topic here:

http://www.jamesmathe.com/alien-first-contract/

James
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Ian Richard
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Yep, it all varies.

Remember that not all publishers are created equal. Someone like FFG bring so much of an audience to the table that a lower percentage would still be worthwhile. A "Good" contract with them could with look awful when you look at the benefit of a smaller publisher.

The other thing is that you're negotiation skills will come directly into play. If you've got a good game and can sell it for all it's worth, you might be able to get a higher than average result. If you lack those skills, you probably will be getting a lower result than others.

Then you factor in the distribution rights, first-right to design, and other non-monetary clauses... and there are a bunch more things influencing it's worth. It can be well worth taking a smaller percentage if you are gaining benefits in other ways.

Every agreement will look different depending on the priorities of both parties. There are so many variables at work that you really can't give an honest answer here.
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