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Subject: Made a board game rss

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Vince Krochak
Canada
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Hey all,

I have no idea if I'm in the right place, but I'm here in the hopes I'll be pointed in the right direction at least.

Long story short, I invented a board game almost 10 years ago, had a blast playing it a few times with friends. I JUST found it again after thinking it was lost forever in a move and after playing it again, I want to take it to the next level and see if I can actually get this to market.

It's a fully functioning game with all the parts and pieces, but I have no idea where to begin the publishing process.

Or ius this just something I should throw on Kickstarter?

Any and all replies welcome thanks!
 
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Jacob Schoberg
United States
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Wisconsin
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Before looking for publishers or kickstarting it or something, I can suggest one huge thing:

Have more people playtest it. People you don't know. Put up a print n play and receive feedback from people who don't know you.

Then playtest it some more. Try and break your game. Find ambiguous rules and clarify them.

Then playtest it some more.

Then, maybe, look in to trying to get it actually produced. Remember, the board game market is huge now, and it's very likely that no one is going to be as excited about it as you are.

Also, playtest it more.
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Vince Krochak
Canada
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lol yeah I hear that.

I did a ton of that 10 years ago. Left the game at a local pub for a full summer and it was one of the most played games. I was surprised how well it went over.

But I should re clarify my question as it pertains to a suggestion you made.

I realize publishing is last stage, but what I need to know is how to copyright the game as it's my full intention for strangers to play it and critique it and try to break it.

 
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Stephen Rochelle
United States
Huntsville
Alabama
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You have copyright by the act of creation, and intellectual theft of an unproven boardgame prototype from an unknown designer is not something you should spend one minute of time worrying about.

Instead, per the above (and counter to your "I've done that" statement), you need to playtest. You need to playtest now. You need to playtest with new people. You need to playtest with people who have no reason to soften their criticism because of their relationship with you. You need to playtest with people who will go out of their way to break the game and its rules. You need to get the game playtested by people who are not with you, without you teaching the game, offering advice, or answering questions.

You also should check out games that are like yours but published now; creating and publishing any game is hard enough, but finding success with a ten-year-old game is going to be markedly more difficult. The marketplace has evolved and your game has not.
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digitaliris wrote:
lol yeah I hear that.

I did a ton of that 10 years ago. Left the game at a local pub for a full summer and it was one of the most played games. I was surprised how well it went over.

But I should re clarify my question as it pertains to a suggestion you made.

I realize publishing is last stage, but what I need to know is how to copyright the game as it's my full intention for strangers to play it and critique it and try to break it.



In the US (probably similar in Canada) the copyrightable portions of your game were copyrighted the moment you created it. That is to say the artwork and any text including cards and the rule book. How the game actually works and is played cannot be copyrighted. There is a very small chance you could patent part of the game, but it would have to be very novel or have the right sort of physical element. Patents are the realm of lawyers though so you'd have to hire one to do it right if it can be done at all.
 
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Stephen Rochelle
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Also, on the topic of "should I Kickstarter?":

The board game community on Kickstarter expects projects to be finished, polished products ready to send to the printer, or near enough. Maybe for a game with a heavy art component you can swing having art done on 1/4 of your cards and waiting for funds to do the art on the others, but that's about the limit of what a successful game project isn't going to have finished. So, that's Step 1: do you have a professional-grade product in hand ready to sell?

Next is the realization that running a Kickstarter has nothing to do with designing a game. You're taking off your designer hat and putting on a small business owner hat. You have to get quotes from various manufacturers, many of whom are overseas. You have to be ready to synthesize quotes from multiple manufacturers, depending on complexity. You have to get a shipping solution from the manufacturer to your warehouse. Don't have a warehouse? Better have a lot of garage space or the like to repurpose as a warehouse. You have to get a shipping solution from your warehouse to your backers. Particularly given that you're in Canada, you have to deal with an international shipping solution. You have to figure out what customs duties are going to be and how to present that to prospective customers so that you don't get caught in the backlash. You have to figure out the budget and the overhead so that you (well, your company, because you did remember to incorporate something to protect your personal assets, yes?) don't go bankrupt when you promised people shipping for $10, and collected $9/backer for shipping, and then it costs $22/backer to ship the game.

These are all solvable problems. There are solutions and intermediaries whose business purpose is to streamline all of this for you (at a cost). But none of them are fundamentally about the passion and dream of being a game designer. Make sure you're also fine with the passion and the dream of running a small business if you're going to run a Kickstarter. And if you're not -- try to sell your game to a publisher instead (even one that uses Kickstarter). It's a lot simpler.
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Brad Johnson
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Illinois
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I completely echo everything everyone above said about testing, testing, testing. (And don't forget the part about listening to your testers' feedback and trying to make appropriate improvements.)

After that, my questions are: What is the style of your game? What modern game do you feel is most similar to it in concept and execution? What are the key mechanics?

There are some very distinctly different sub-markets within the boardgame world. A few of the key ones I would mention would be:
* Euro - Elegant mechanics, usually lightly themed, usually emphasizes resource management and abstract strategy over conflict simulation.
* Ameritrash - Highly thematic, most frequently conflict-oriented, usually high-production components (lots of miniatures).
* Wargame - Historical conflict simulation.
* Abstract - No theme, usually perfect information, frequently 2-player. (Think chess.)
* Party - Trivia, group activities, etc.

There are more, including miniatures, collectible, roleplaying, and others.

Depending on the "class" your game falls in, you would probably be looking for very different publishers.

No matter what type of game you have, my advice would be to get some attractive playable copies of it and take it around to game conventions where publishers hang out. A lot of these cons have formal or informal demo areas where you could get people, hopefully including publishing contacts, playing your game. Visibility is key.

PS - I really don't think anything that anyone just "throws on Kickstarter" has much chance of success. If you look at successful Kickstarting campaigns, they seem to take as much or more work themselves than just publishing and selling the game yourself.
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