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I was wondering how hard is this to actually pull it off. Assuming you had a fun/playable game that was somewhat a niche game (like a 'strategy battle games' as my local game store labels one section of games) could an individual actually go about selling a game to the likes of FFG or a similar big name?

Just wondering, any help would be very insightful.
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Pete Belli
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#1: Follow your dream. Create a game because it gives you pleasure.

#2: There is no money* in board game design.

#3: You might get published... but see item #2.







*With very few exceptions.
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Paul DeStefano
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dragon0085 wrote:
could an individual actually go about selling a game to the likes of FFG or a similar big name?


Not really. At least not until you have half a dozen proven hits.

They all have in house designers.
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Travis Worthington
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2010 Releases ........................................ The Resistance, Haggis & Triumvirate ..................................... Now accepting submissions for 2011 releases ........................................ www.IndieBoardsandCards.com
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I am living the dream right now, just shipped 70 copies of Triumvirate out to my first paying customers.

But you have to view it as a hobby, because there really is no money in it. Just look at that "big" lawsuit with Martin Wallace - its over a $15K payment and he is one of the biggest names in the business.
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Fel Barros
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Well,

I think I am in the same boat as you, the "designer wannabe". Might not be what you expect but I am almost a full year growing the "Platypus Armada" project and now, I finally found time to invest on it. Keep in mind that you want to have fun in the process and create, above all, a fun game for you with a theme that pleases you. Try to stick with genres that you know best.

Realize people will be kinda cetic to play your design, specially during early stages with ugly prototypes. The first time you play the first ideas you get, it will suck! Some stuff will be way imbalanced and you won't find funny at all!

As for the game, try to have fun and organize your ideas. I, for one, bought a notebook for it, as I like to hand write what it's going on during playtesting.
 
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Lance McMillan
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I got into game design completely by accident. VPG was (at the time) a new game company that was playtesting Jena20, the second game in their Napoleonic20 line (a series small/simple Napoleonic games). They'd posted some discussion about the new design on the CSW website and I noticed that their map of the battlefield didn't look right -- I'd toured the area only a few months before and it was immediately apparent that a major terrain feature (a large, steep hill) was about a mile out of position. When I brought that fact to their attention, they invited me to join their playtesting team, which I did.

A couple months after that, as we were wrapping up the playtesting of Jena20, I commented that the basic Napoleonic20 system would lend itself especially well to modelling the battle of Borodino. I quickly recieved very strong encouragment to submit a game design about Borodino to them as soon as I could put an initial draft together. It took me a few months to come up with a design, but it went into playtesting almost immediately after I submitted it -- Borodino20 (my first game) was published just a few months later. In the interim, I also somehow ended up becoming their developer for the entire Napoleonic20 series (and I'm still not completely sure how that happened) -- but still, it was a start...

Now, to be honest, VPG isn't one of the "big names" of the gaming industry. In fact, it's stated reason for being is to serve as a sort of "school for game designers" as an adjunct to the classes that the owner/publisher, Alan Emrich, teaches at the California Art Institute. But by working with VPG, I was able to get my design (actually three games now, with two more 'in the hopper') published. And I got a little (tiny, miniscule, nearly microscopic) bit of money for my effort! Now that I've had one of my designs published, I'm technically "somebody" in the hobby (admittedly, an obscure and nearly invisible minnow in a big pond), but that means that I'm much more likely to be taken seriously if/when I ever consider approaching one of the "big name" companies.

Now, why am I telling you this? Because VPG is always looking for new fledgling game designers to submit stuff to them for possible publication. So, if you're serious, I'd suggest that you go to the VPG website, read the series of articles they have posted there about submitting your design to them (and all the follow-up stuff that's a part of bringing your title to print), and send them an e-mail to begin the dialogue that will probably lead to you getting your design into print. Because if I can do it, anyone can.
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Eric Jome
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dragon0085 wrote:
I was wondering how hard is this to actually pull it off.


About the same as getting a book published. Think you could do that? People do it all the time. And yet, some people can't get off the ground.

Making a board game in terms of designing one isn't very hard. Getting someone to believe you could actually make money from commercial quality production of the game might be harder. The difference between writing a story and getting a story published.

If you really want to do it, you sure can. But it's a lot of work to do it well and there's likely to be a lot of people turning you down as you go, so don't get discouraged or you'll never get there.
 
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Gary Selkirk
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Truro
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Designing a wargame or at least putting your design idea to paper is relatively easy as long as you follow these basic concepts:

1) Research your game subject very well
2) Ensure that all players have an opportunity for victory, however slight some players' chances might be. Victory can be determined by meeting certain conditions. For example - even Custer in a game about Little Bighorn must have some chance of victory, even if it only means number of the enemy killed before his command is wiped out, etc.
3) playtest the game a lot before submitting it to a game company
4) be prepared for a ton of questions and useful criticism

My designs and subsequent publication of games have taught me to be extremely patient and open minded. They include:
MISSISSIPPI FORTRESS, AUTUMN OF GLORY, LEE TAKES COMMAND, MARCHING THROUGH GEORGIA by Clash of Arms; PACIFIC AT WAR by Xeno and SAM GRANT by Columbia.

Good luck and if you need advice, insight and / or suggestions feel free to contact me.

Gary Selkirk
 
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Hey thanks for all the insights so far. Yeah I am making this game because it feels the right thing to do (compared to thinking 'oh yeah im going to make a lot of money') and I always wanted to play a game like this.

Thanks for the discussion so far.
 
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I like your point about even the 'losing' side should 'win' if they survive long enough.
 
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