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Subject: Attention Game Designers rss

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Todd Rowland
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AEG is looking for innovative new designs for a line of board games releasing in 2010 and 2011. The games are set in a renaissance city, and the mechanics and theme of the individual designs can explore various aspects of life in the city, (mercantilism, politics, crime, war, etc.) From board, to card, to tile, or other games we are not limiting the type of games we are looking at. As far as play style or experience it could include any style of play from resource management, economics, area control, and more. Euro-style and American-style, nothing is off the table as long as it is fun. Innovation is a bonus!

If you will be attending Essen and think you have a game that fits please come visit the AEG booth 9-70 and ask for Todd Rowland or Mark Wootton.

If you will not be attending but would like to submit a prototype to AEG please e-mail customerservice@alderac.com and we will get you a game submission form right away.

AEG is also looking at other less specific games that do not fit the above theme for our 2011 and 2012 schedule. Again the only limiting factor is that it is fun. We look forward to meeting you and playing your games.
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tim Tim TIm TIM TIMMY!!
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Great Offer, thanks for the heads up, that is very cool of You!
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Wim van Gruisen
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I have this design for an adventure game set in a fantasy oriental/Arabic city. It could be ported to a Western Renaissance setting, though. I'll come and visit your booth next week, and see if you're interested.

Do you have more information about the city? Maps, religion, races, key figures? Are we talking about Cadwallon, BTW?
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Todd Rowland
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No it is not Cadwallon. Any other information will come in person. Thanks, and looking forward to seeing the designs!
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Gláucio Reis
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AEGTodd wrote:
The games are set in a renaissance city,
It's very nice that you are willing to give new designers an opportunity, but that sentence turned me off. Why a restriction on theme? And a theme that has been used to death in Eurogames?! I don't think I need one more game set in Renaissance Italy, much less a whole series (OK, you didn't say Italy, at least). But what is worse is that the restriction probably excludes a number of good designs. Well, it certainly excludes my game, Kingdom of Heroes (and yes, it is a Eurogame). soblue
 
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GSReis wrote:
AEGTodd wrote:
The games are set in a renaissance city,
It's very nice that you are willing to give new designers an opportunity, but that sentence turned me off. Why a restriction on theme? And a theme that has been used to death in Eurogames?! I don't think I need one more game set in Renaissance Italy, much less a whole series (OK, you didn't say Italy, at least). But what is worse is that the restriction probably excludes a number of good designs. Well, it certainly excludes my game, Kingdom of Heroes (and yes, it is a Eurogame). soblue
Adding a little more context:
AEGTodd wrote:
AEG is looking for innovative new designs for a line of board games releasing in 2010 and 2011. The games are set in a renaissance city, and the mechanics and theme of the individual designs can explore various aspects of life in the city, (mercantilism, politics, crime, war, etc.)

AEG is also looking at other less specific games for our 2011 and 2012 schedule. Again the only limiting factor is that it is fun. We look forward to meeting you and playing your games.
They are willing to look at other themed games. If I had to make a guess about why they specifically mentioned the renaissance city, I'd say they are planning to commission art for one setting and reuse some of it across several games.
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Wim van Gruisen
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Not speaking for AEG here, just speculating:
GSReis wrote:
AEGTodd wrote:
The games are set in a renaissance city,
It's very nice that you are willing to give new designers an opportunity, but that sentence turned me off. Why a restriction on theme?
I can imagine that the company wants to develop a collection of games set around one single theme. Not such a strange idea, really.

GSReis wrote:
And a theme that has been used to death in Eurogames?! I don't think I need one more game set in Renaissance Italy, much less a whole series (OK, you didn't say Italy, at least).
AEG develops RPGs and card games as well. Good chance that the theme is not chosen at random, but feeds into their other activities.

Bottom line: AEG is looking for game designs that fit their product strategy. It is not looking at what game designers can put forward, to put a product strategy around the jumble of ideas that that would produce.

Still, if you have a brilliant design, you can always propose it to them. If it is good enough, I guess they might be willing to give it a place in their product line.

Edit: resolved jumbled quote structure
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Gláucio Reis
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spearjr wrote:
They are willing to look at other themed games.
I had totally missed that. blush Thanks for pointing it out!

Whymme wrote:
I can imagine that the company wants to develop a collection of games set around one single theme. Not such a strange idea, really.
You missed the "beaten to death" part.
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Todd Rowland
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GSReis wrote:

You missed the "beaten to death" part. :)
Mayhap one should wait to see what is done with said theme before one makes broad assumptions about it. ;)

But yes we are also open to many other themes, game types, etc. Hope to see any you might have!
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Gláucio Reis
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AEGTodd wrote:
Mayhap one should wait to see what is done with said theme before one makes broad assumptions about it.
Certainly the mechanics can be very different, but a Renaissance theme is a Renaissance theme. Unless you are talking about alternate history, like in Magnifico.

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But yes we are also open to many other themes, game types, etc. Hope to see any you might have!
I've already sent the e-mail asking for the game submission form. Of course, you may also want to follow the link to the game page, above. The rules are available. In fact, the whole game is, but it's not a small game and I suppose not many people have assembled their own copy.
 
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Wim van Gruisen
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GSReis wrote:
Whymme wrote:
I can imagine that the company wants to develop a collection of games set around one single theme. Not such a strange idea, really.
You missed the "beaten to death" part.
Actually, I didn't. See my re-edited post (originally there was some jumbled quotation structure which hid my reply; that's solved now)
 
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Todd Rowland
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Whymme wrote:

Bottom line: AEG is looking for game designs that fit their product strategy. It is not looking at what game designers can put forward, to put a product strategy around the jumble of ideas that that would produce.

Still, if you have a brilliant design, you can always propose it to them. If it is good enough, I guess they might be willing to give it a place in their product line.
That's about accurate. We have a specific product strategy with the one theme, however if you have a great game concept that doesn't fit that particular strategy and/or theme, we still want to know about it! We have multiple game lines going at once, so there's no reason we can't find room for the next classic (assuming you have it...).
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Wim van Gruisen
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GSReis wrote:
AEGTodd wrote:
Mayhap one should wait to see what is done with said theme before one makes broad assumptions about it.
Certainly the mechanics can be very different, but a Renaissance theme is a Renaissance theme.
Lots of things can be done within a Renaissance world. Lots of things happened during the Renaissance which can all lead to game themes. Some ideas:
- Political or economic conflict between equal powers (city state vs city state; prince vs prince, merchant vs merchant ...)
- Political or economic conflict between unequal powers (merchant house vs church vs nobility)
- Artists seeking patronage, or competing on who is the best artist
- Discovery of lost knowledge - travelling the continent to find classical texts
- Inventors competing for the creation of new inventions.
- Explorers like Marco Polo
- Religious wars
- Given the fact that the Renaissance is (usually seen as) the basis of modern society, you could even do some time-travel like game, where the players are trying to affect the present time by changing what happened in the Renaissance. Having a talk with Luther the evening before he hammers his theses on the church door, convincing him to change a few of his theses, add a few others, and Protestantism might take a whole different turn.
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Dave Mansell
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This is an excellent opportunity. Thank you for it. Is there any kind of deadline you're looking at?
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Todd Rowland
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Currently no.
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Todd Rowland
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Just as an update, we've received a ton of great responses to this. We're currently working hard on some Legend of the Five Rings planning for 2010, but in the next weeks we'll start sifting through the many prototypes we've received, so if you're still on the fence and want to get a submission in, we're still accepting. Thanks!
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Andrew Oakey
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Well hopefully the british postal strikes haven't stopped my prototype being one of the many you've received!
 
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are you still accepting?
 
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Filip W.
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Is "in a city" meant literally or could countryside and/or several cities be included?

EDIT: Didn't see the date on the original post. I guess this is closed then.
 
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Todd Rowland
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We're still accepting!

And the city could include the countryside, but not any adjoining cities.
 
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Kevin Long
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UGH! on the beaten to death standard you are trying to uphold - i hope you get some great designs and end up trashing the old aproach to legitimacy
 
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Andreas Pelikan
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In the light of this call for submissions, I find the paragraph at the bottom of http://www.alderac.com/contact/ quite irritating. I'm not implying nasty practice, especially since the opening post specifically advises to request a game submission form from customerservice@alderac.com . However, I would regard it as appropriate if the proper submission procedure would also be detailed on said page.

I came across this paragraph in search for an example of an inviting publisher's website. Remembering this thread, I expected to find warm and welcoming words there. While I'm tempted to quote the statement in it's present form, I'll refrain for two reasons: 1) copying legal text is a sensitive issue and 2) if we'll find warm and welcoming words there in the future, it's no use remembering the present wording.
 
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Neil Wehneman
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I am a lawyer, but I'm not AEG's lawyer or your lawyer.

Here's the text in question:

Quote:

All unsolicited submissions (whether by email, on paper, by fax, posting on a list server or any other means) of storylines, characters, cards, names, drawings, design mechanics and other material (hereafter referred to as “The Work”) shall become the property of Alderac Entertainment Group, Inc. a California Corporation (hereafter referred to as “Alderac”), upon said submission of The Work to Alderac. By making the unsolicited submission, the submitter thereby assigns all of the submitters rights, title and interest, including copyright and trademark, in and to the intellectual property in The Work to Alderac. Alderac shall thereafter have the right to use The Work in any manner Alderac chooses, which includes the right to publish the Work, reproduce the Work, alter The Work and license The Work to others. This agreement may not be modified, except by a writing signed by Alderac and the submitter concerning The Work. Alderac shall not have any duty to publish the name of the submitter as the author of The Work.
This provision applies whether the submission is on paper, through email, fax or list serve.
This is standard boiler-plate to protect AEG from people sending in unsolicited submissions while AEG is already developing something semi-similar, and then have the submitter sue AEG over AEG's independently developed product. It's covering AEG's rear end over potential nuisance lawsuits.

As you noted, AEG wants people to request and use their "User Submission Form", which likely delineates what rights different people have. That's just good practice. Additionally, the form would be a writing signed by the parties and explicitly avoiding the boiler-plate paragraph. I don't see how AEG has done anything wrong or worthy of disapproval here.

All that said, copyright can be a complicated area of law, and the default rules can sometimes yield counter-intuitive results for the unwary. (Example: you hire a freelance photographer to shoot your wedding, and pay him $100,000 to take pictures. Who holds the copyright in the pictures? By default, it's the photographer, regardless of how much you paid to have them taken!)

AEG (hopefully) has their own legal counsel, and anyone seeking to work with a commercial entity like AEG should probably get their own lawyer too sooner rather than later. It's easier to get any questions or issues sorted out on the front end than litigate it later.

Oh, and for someone seeking an overview of copyright, here's a free audio series I produced a few years ago with a friend and professor who now heads the Copyright Advisory Office at Columbia University. (For the record, I set the curve in his Copyright Law class ).

http://copyright.columbia.edu/copyright/copyright-in-general...

- Neil Wehneman

EDIT: clarifying post to focus upon AEG's User Submission Form
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Andreas Pelikan
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landaras wrote:
I am a lawyer, but I'm not AEG's lawyer or your lawyer.
Wow, that's the first post of that kind I see labled IAAL instead of the familiar IANAL.

I should clarify my point: on their website AEG invokes the impression that they are not looking for submissions and are accessible to game designers only through personal contact on conventions or by employing an agent. The indemnification-paragraph is fine, but not user-friendly. In conjunction to that, what about adding something like:

Quote:
Note for game designers: if you think you have a game concept that would fit our portfolio, don't submit it right on. Instead, send an email with the subject 'Submission form request' to customerservice@alderac.com ...
My apologies to AEG for talking in third person. I like the gorgeous components (e.g. The Adventurers: The Temple of Chac) and the dense atmospheric settings of your games.

Edit: this is an issue if a game designer has no notice of the present thread, and wants to figure out whether AEG would accept submissions. When seeing the contact page, I in that situation would move on to the next potential candidate. Knowing this thread, I probably would consider AEG (if I had a matching game concept).
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Neil Wehneman
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I agree that some sort of user-friendly summary that you suggest would be advantageous for all (without necessarily eliminating the boiler-plate that follows). That way potential design partners aren't put off, and AEG is able to continue to cover its rear.

- Neil Wehneman
 
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