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Subject: Any advice for an aspiring game designer?? rss

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Paul Elliott
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Dear fellow geeks,
I'm very excited to say that I've now designed and playtested a game. However, before I claim my little "Game Designer" badge, there is another hurdle to be overcome: getting it published. I thought that the 'Geek would be a good place to seek advice.

The game, Depth Charge, is a light and social cardgame based on submarine movies. My idea was to recreate the tension of flicks like "The Hunt for Red October" and "Crimson Tide." I handle the actual operation of the submarine in a relatively abstract manner, focusing the game on the player interactions. Much like Mafia or Bang!, there is a secret traitor loose on the sub, and everyone else is trying to stop him and complete the mission. Of course, sabotage, mutinies, and enemy vessels are all included. It plays in about a 1/2 hour and is suitable for 5 to 8 players. I've spent a few months playtesting Depth Charge with my own gaming groups (and whoever else would join me). The thematic detail and the bluffing aspects have been very well received. I think that I now have a tight, playable game, and so I want to share it with the world.

Self-publishing is not an option for me, being just a poor graduate student. So, I need to find a publisher. I will admit that I know very little about the game industry. What companies might be interested in something like this? How do I go about presenting my game to them? Any advice from the game designers out there?

I appreciate any feedback. Thanks!
Paul Elliott
 
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Tim M-L
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1. look up the board game designers forum. bgdf.com, I think.
2. have people read the rules and play the game when you are not there.
 
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Paul DeStefano
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It's a Zendrum. www.zendrum.com
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Quote:
when you are not there.


Yes.

Strangers.
 
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Stefan Alexander
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I'll second the bgdf.com suggestion.

Also, have people who don't like you play the game, and get their feedback. If you don't know anyone who doesn't like you, then people who don't know you are almost as good. But try to piss them off first if you can.
 
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Michael Nerman
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Publishing?
I think they said on one of the Geekspeaks that game publishing is similar to acting in that there's tons of competition, but different in that it doesn't pay as well. I would suggest you play your game with your friends and if you want others to play it, put files up on BGG so that people can print out their own versions. You could get it copyrighted first, if you want. Design games for the fun of it!
 
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Rich S.
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Well, this is just silly.
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From a previous post:

"I think they said on one of the Geekspeaks that game publishing is similar to acting in that there's tons of competition, but different in that it doesn't pay as well. I would suggest you play your game with your friends and if you want others to play it, put files up on BGG so that people can print out their own versions. You could get it copyrighted first, if you want. Design games for the fun of it!"

As someone who has a Masters Degree in Acting and is currently pursuing it, I would say that your advice is only half right.

It IS competitive. It IS a one in a million chance. But if everyone only designs "for the fun of it" and never tries to get their games published anywhere, then no new games will be made. Ever. That's not what we want.

Create for fun and see what you can make of it. Like any other art, you'd better love what you're doing, because the chances are slim that you'll get any money for it... but "slim" does not equal "nonexistent."

I've had people tell me from fourth grade on that acting won't get me anywhere. Probably true, but I'm having a helluva good time not getting anywhere.

ANYway. Sorry. Diatribe ended.
 
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Paul Elliott
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Thanks for the quick responses. I will definately set up a blind playtest. Unfortunately, I'm a little low on enemies.

I do appreciate the realistic assessment of my chances. I know that it's a long shot, and I'm definately not doing it for the money. No, I'm definately doing it for the fame. I just love game design, and I really want to give this a try. I know it sounds cliche, but you always fail when you don't even try.

Also, I'll definately peruse that website. Thanks.

Paul Elliott
 
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Brett David Spain
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Have I gone mad? I'm afraid so. You're entirely Bonkers. But I will tell you a secret, All the best people are.
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Quote:
Thanks for the quick responses. I will definately set up a blind playtest. Unfortunately, I'm a little low on enemies.


How could anyone have enemies with an avatar like that
 
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Michael Nerman
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I'm not talking about not making new games. I'm talking about not publishing them. You can still play with your friends, give out copies for presents, and maybe post it on the geek to download for free. I do this with my friends. I love making games, and I like playing them. Maybe if I ever create a game that's so good that my friends and I think it's amazing and can't get enough, I would consider publishing.

Similaryly, my room-mate has a degree in theatre and drama. She is involved in community theatre and loves it, but that doesn't mean she's going to try to become some kind of Hollywood Superstar...
 
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Steve Sisk
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Congratulations!
Congratulations on your game design! As a fellow hobby game designer (I'm not published yet, either), I can appreciate the effort that goes into getting a game to the stage where you can playtest it with others.

I will also second the Board Game Designers Forum (www.bgdf.com). It's a great resource for all manner of things related to the design, creation and publishing of board and card games. The admins and the members have done a great job in creating an open and welcoming forum.

As for publishing, there's a forums at the bgdf (that I posted myself) containing a list of publishers that are actively seeking submissions and others that may or may not be (you'll have to contact them yourself). It's a great place to start. Why not submit your game? You've got nothing to lose. The worst they'll say is "no thanks."

-Steve

p.s. Sorry to hear about your gerbil.
 
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Ray
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You can also try SAZ (the Yahoo! mailing list for the Game Designer's Guild )

http://games.groups.yahoo.com/group/saz/
 
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David Whitcher
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Don't look now
This is an issue that comes up all the time. I have an unpublished game by the same name. Otherwise it would seem from your description that they have very little in common other than theme. Don’t let this discourage you. A great deal of games get their name changed before they are published so this should not be a problem.

P.S. The BGDF is the best place to start
 
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Paul Elliott
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Names
Yeah, the name Depth Charge is really just a working title that stuck. Maybe I'll change it, maybe not. It's just a matter of finding something unique, catchy, and appropriate.
 
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