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Subject: To Theme or Not to Theme rss

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Stephen Hall
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My latest game is nearing completion, and I am preparing for the next steps in the design process. It is a simple, fast, set collection card game that currently has no theme. However, it could work with just about any theme you can imagine.

As I prepare to make a sell sheet, pitch it to publishers, etc., would it be better to leave the game themeless and advertise the fact that it could accommodate any theme the publisher wanted, or should I give it a theme and then pitch the game? Or does it simply not matter?
 
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Michael Berg
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juggler5 wrote:
My latest game is nearing completion, and I am preparing for the next steps in the design process. It is a simple, fast, set collection card game that currently has no theme. However, it could work with just about any theme you can imagine.

As I prepare to make a sell sheet, pitch it to publishers, etc., would it be better to leave the game themeless and advertise the fact that it could accommodate any theme the publisher wanted, or should I give it a theme and then pitch the game? Or does it simply not matter?


I would pick a memorable theme that helps explain the rules. You want it to stick out in their mind and not come across as just another conglomeration of mechanics. Publishers are well aware that themes are changable.
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Bojan Prakljacic
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''If you have a game that you can spit&slap any theme onto it, then something is not good about that game.'' Those are the wise words of Sam Healey from the Dice Tower.



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Michael Berg
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8Oj4N wrote:
''If you have a game that you can spit&slap any theme onto it, then something is not good about that game.'' Those are the wise words of Sam Healey from the Dice Tower.


I understand the sentiment, but for small/simple/short games this isn't always the case. There are a lot of successful small games out there that can have their theme swapped without issue. The Resistance and Dominion both come to mind.
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DJ Wilde
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That depends on how you really want to market it. If you want to market it as a game that can have themes from all over and all genres or story lines, then be clear about that when you make your pitch. There are some game formats that seem to do well with this, (Legendary?)

But it may be that you will get more attention if there is a theme they can go with, and other themes can be opened up later on like with Monopoly.

It's up to you. I would go with the latter. Come up with a fun theme and rock it from there. Maybe you get licensing deals for more later on, maybe not.
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Russ Williams
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8Oj4N wrote:
''If you have a game that you can spit&slap any theme onto it, then something is not good about that game.'' Those are the wise words of Sam Healey from the Dice Tower.

A large number of excellent abstract strategy games says otherwise.
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