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The Boss
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Hello everyone, I am seeking some advice here.

Lets say I have an idea on a new board game.
Where is a good place to find a game designer who can put together the rules for it?
How can you evaluate the quality of his work?
And what will be a fair price to be paid for the services?

I understand that both the quality of his work and compensation are subjective to many factors, but will like to get an idea.

We currently have a game designer on board and want to make sure we didn't underpay him for the services. Also he will be busy in the near future with personal things, so we are seeking a new figure to hire for an upcoming project.

Awaiting any valuable input

Chris
 
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Bojan Prakljacic
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When you are talking about game designers, do you mean the people who make games from scratch, applying game mechanics and ideas or ppl that are working on art aspects of the game, graphic design? I'm not sure from your text..

Idk about game designers, but graphic designers and artists have some fees depending on the quality of their work, how known they are and how much time they need to spend working on the game. There is a thread http://boardgamegeek.com/forum/974655/boardgamegeek/board-ga... where you can get some basic info about that.

And there are also some individuals like me, who are full of enthusiasm and joy when working on games, doing all that stuff as a hobby, and would work for free on anything just to see some of their work published somewhere.

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The Boss
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another one like me... been working for free for ever.

Well we have a theme and a basic game layout in mind. We have the graphic artists, but need someone to build a game mechanic, must be done from pretty much scratch.
 
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Well, since it is in pre-pre-alpha stage we can discuss here and share ideas, right?

I'm very good in fitting game mechanics to the theme (or designing some new ones to fit the theme), so if you can elaborate further what is your game about we can start a brainstorm here. ;]

And, it will cost you nothing!
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Markus Hagenauer jr.
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This question is difficult to answer,
bacause when the basic idea comes from you, the job you´re talking about is somewhere between game designer and editor.
And usually game desgners give a licence and get royalties (around 10% of the wholesale would be fair) while editors are payed according to the time they work (an average hourly wage for an office job).

Maybe a mixture of a poorly payed office job plus a bonus depending on the games success is the best solution in this case.
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Bojan Prakljacic
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Then, maybe, if you make a fair estimate of the number of game boxes you are going to sell (go with the lowest number possible lol), giving a 10% (although, I heard that 5-7 % is more realistic) to your game designer and dividing that with number of working days in a month, you could get a price per hour.

But, seriously, it's very hard to do a correct estimation. Any game that is freshly designed must go through rigorous beta-testing, and only when you collect the feedback from testers you will know is your design any good at all. By that time, game designer would probably get some fee unless he's working for free.
So, how to determine in advance? Hard. Unless you get Corey Konieczka, but then he will tell you how much he charge per game design himself.
I'm not sure you can afford him though. XD
 
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mads l. brynnum
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It really depends on your project, I think. If you have a game you are going to publish and have a plan for doing that, then you can simply scout for designers and find someone you like and then ask if he or she will be willing to work for a fee or royalties. In this case I would make especially certain to find someone who actually has a history of delivering - and by that I mean meeting a deadline and producing stuff.

If on the other hand what you want is someone to collaborate with, then it's a bit different. I still think you should scout and maybe approach a few designers you like, but before that you should maybe consider how much control you'd be willing to relinguish. Personally I wouldn't mind working for free on a project that might be realized, but not if I don't get a modicum of control. In this instance, however, I still think most designers would want to know what your plan is. Not because "building a prototype and then maybe pitch it" is a bad plan as such, but simply to know what to expect.

But maybe you can share a bit more about your project and what your plans are for it?

cheers
mads

 
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Jon Moffat
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I've seen 5% as a fairly standard royalty for designers, but that's usually when a company completely buys the game rights and does the development, art, etc. themselves.

The only way to judge a designer, I think, is to look at the other projects that designer has done.
 
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Craig Stockwell
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My impressions, YMMV:

If you want a 'rock star' tabletop game designer, expect to offer a 10% royalty (on MSRP*) and $1000(+) advance/kill fee. Most of the ones I know are pretty busy, so even with a fair offer, they might not have the time.

If a published designer with a credit or few will suit your needs, you could probably attract their interest with 5% royalty, and a $500-$1000 advance.

There are a number of talented designers who haven't signed a design to a publisher, and would probably work very affordably (for the opportunity). That can be good ... or bad. If you're trying to get to market on a tight schedule, perhaps it's not the best choice.

If you don't want to pay royalties, work for hire flat fee is another option -- payment on delivery, likely broken up between execution of contract, one or more milestones, and acceptance of final work. (My first tabletop game design work was flat fee). If you price it literally by the hour, it could be quite expensive -- even 500 hours (which isn't an excessive number for designing/playtesting/developing, 1000 hours might be more in-line) at ten bucks per hour would be $5,000 (or $10,000 for 1000 hours). You'd both have to make a best guess on how much time is fair to allow for the work (both in hours, and milestones).

... and the offer has to be enough to draw a designer away from working on their own projects for a publisher -- for example, if they could sign a game at 5% royalty, expected $30 MSRP, and estimate it'll sell 5,000 copies over three years ... they'd see that as $7500 over three years. But then they have to _get_ their own game signed, and hope it sells that well, and wait the time.

Good luck in your search, there are a lot of designers here, and I'm sure you'll find a match for your project! =)

* This is only one structure for royalties. I can't say if it's the most common, but it's certainly _my_ preferred option -- it's very easy to compute.
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Bojan Prakljacic
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So, now you got your answers.

Where to find them? Here. :}
How to evaluate their work? By looking at their previous work.
How much is the fair cost? At least 500 bucks in advance, promise of royalties later. :>

And if you have underpaid your game designer, don't show him this thread! XD
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The Boss
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Ok I feel better as I didn't rip off my designer, he got paid a more than fair price considering the above answers.

As for the story and graphics we are set with them, got both ready.

I need to search a person who can elaborate the mechanics of the game based on background and some other details. Sorry don't want to share too much now

Ok - lets say I want to design a board game with many miniatures, cooperative, that can also be played alone. Can anyone point me to a specific page here or point me to some names?

I do need some professional or semi professional designer as this is a real project, so no Sunday designers

Guys thanks so much for the hints and replies, very helpful. I always been in the world of miniatures, board gaming is sort of new to me. And any guidance or help is much appreciated.
 
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mads l. brynnum
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I think simply looking at games you know or like and contacting the designer is a possible way to go. Some will probably be too busy or too expensive, but you never know until you ask.

One other thing I will advise you to, though, is to share your ideas rather than keeping them tight. Nobody will steal your game idea. Seriously, nobody. But by sharing you might get valuable feedback and/or people can point you in a more specific direction.

m
 
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Bojan Prakljacic
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About sharing game ideas and keeping them tight I have a story to tell, an eyeopener I had considering the paranoia and denial that almost every new game designer goes through.

I'll keep it short.

Me and my good friend, both newcomers to board game designing were working on a card game for 2 players for almost a year. All that time we thought that we had a novelty in our hands, a ground braking mechanics in pvp gaming, with a card game that plays on a board, with lots of original ideas, and that our game will surely murder every other card game on the market considering how cool and innovative it was. Thinking that we had a 'winning horse' we were the 'paranoid mother', shielding our child in the grip of ignorance and fear, doing play-test with small groups of ppl who were going through evaluation just to be able to play our game, basically only people from our close social network.

Finally came the day to show our masterpiece to the publishers. Oh, boy... If I can only transfer into words a devastation of our spirit and our souls when we finally saw how deep in denial and ignorance we were about many things. All those 'cool new mechanics' were already done and used in many games. Even our theme was so much time re-used that it was a copy of a copy of a copy...

So, my advice, as someone who has gone through pits of hellish truths of board game designing is this: speak about your game freely and share your ideas, show them to as many ppl you can and listen the feedback. Discuss about your game with other designers. Also, play as many board and card games you can get your hands on to. You will see that originality is not an easy feat to pull off these days.


And now, a moment of silence for 'Steam-Punks' the card game that never was.
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Craig Stockwell
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rolljordan wrote:
Ok - lets say I want to design a board game with many miniatures, cooperative, that can also be played alone. Can anyone point me to a specific page here or point me to some names?

Since theme may matter (and you're not revealing it for now), let me show you how to find some designers who may be of interest --

In the BGG Advanced Search, set the following parameters:
# of Players Range: 1 to __
Board Game Category: + Miniatures
Board Game Mechanic: + Co-operative Play

In the results, re-order by Board Game Rank

Top-ranked games included Manions of Madness, Zombicide, Mice & Mystics, Kingdom Death: Monster, Shadows of Brimstone, and Gears of War.

Click on each one, and there's the designer(s). Some are BGG users (like Jerry Hawthorne, who did Mice & Mystics), which makes them very easy to contact. They may be interested in working with you, they may refer you to someone else they know, they may take a while to get back to you (or not). But that should give you a good sense of published designers who've done one or more games of the sort you're producing.

The search won't show how many miniatures each game has, but each result page will probably have a link to a rules PDF (and/or a link to an OLGS selling it) which will probably disclose the minis count.

Back on the advanced search page, you can also include or exclude themes in the category section.

Hope that helps!
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The Boss
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Ok I got the game designer cool so this is set in stone.

And many thanks to all of you for all the suggestions I got. They were like gold for someone like me entering the arena of BG coming from a different game background.

I will post later to get more input

I will need:
1) Beta Tester groups and a short blob from someone who did it before on how to handle it.
2) Reviewers where, who and why?
3) Forums and groups to join to discuss, get ideas and promote an item.
4) Publicity, channels that have a high visibility where to post about a new game.

And more hope will not annoy you with all this ha ha
 
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Kyle Carter
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1. make a print and play or use local gamestores.
2. They will review it when they get to it, so don't expect too much. The game will be best passed along by word of mouth, so make a great game.
3. On facebook there are a few groups to help get you some better ideas on how to promote it like the board game publishers group.
4. answered kinda in 3 and 2

Hope this helps and would love to work with you in the future if you need any other help.
 
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