Recommend
1 
 Thumb up
 Hide
19 Posts

BoardGameGeek» Forums » Board Game Design » Board Game Design

Subject: Looking for Board Game Agents of Integrity? rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Lance Hoag
United States
Asheville
North Carolina
flag msg tools
badge
Ludological Labs
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Howdy,

Can anyone recommend agents for the board and card game industry who have a proven track record of success, particularly in regards to the big box store.

Unfortunately, a few less-than-scrupulous Board Game Agents have marred the reputation of that industry service leaving confidence in agents a bit questionable.es.....oh, and of course honest and trustworthy?

Cheers,

Lance
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
mike
United States
columbus
Ohio
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Do you have a game you’re trying to get into distribution to big box retailers?
Or do you have an idea for a mass market game?


If you’re looking along the lines of walmart, target, toys r us etc you really want to go to one of the national toy industry shows, that’s where retail buyers are going to be at and they are the ones who decide what toys are on the shelves at the mass market level. There is the NYC toy fair each year there is also CHITAG in the fall. You can get information for both through the toy industry association website. They also have a group on linkedin.

If you have an idea for a game that’s a completely different matter
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Paul DeStefano
United States
Long Island
New York
flag msg tools
designer
badge
It's a Zendrum. www.zendrum.com
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
MeepleManiac wrote:
a few less-than-scrupulous Board Game Agents


Some say few, some say all...
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Lance Hoag
United States
Asheville
North Carolina
flag msg tools
badge
Ludological Labs
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
80sgamer wrote:
Do you have a game you’re trying to get into distribution to big box retailers?
Or do you have an idea for a mass market game?


I have a polished party game prototype that I believe has evolved to the point of being ready for the big time. It has been in development and play-testing over the past couple of years. I envision it sitting on (better yet...flying off) shelves of big box stores like Barnes and Noble, Toys R Us, Target, etc...along side games by Hasbro, NorthStar, etc...

I searching for agents or brokers who can foster interest from publishers that have a long-term presence in big box stores like Hasbro, North Star Games, etc...

I found this at Habro (via a BoardGameDesignersForum thread):
http://hasbro.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/36
suggesting that I contact the Toy Industry Assoc., but this is not likely to provide personal recommendations from actual game designers that have taken this path to success with a trusting relationship with a specific agent or broker.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
John "Omega" Williams
United States
Kentwood
Michigan
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Most companies that are accepting games do not require an agent.

Those that do require an agent, require specific ones and are pretty much running a temp agency scam system where you can end up giving the company more than you will ever get payed.

Also, how polished is your prototype? Art? Near ready to sell proto? Guess what? Many companies will actually write you off as wasting needless time on glitze than on the game design and playtesting.

Its not necessarily a kill point, But any company that does their own in-house art is likely to pass, as may others. Its these little pitfalls that get the new and even veteran designers.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Paul DeStefano
United States
Long Island
New York
flag msg tools
designer
badge
It's a Zendrum. www.zendrum.com
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Hasbro does not deal with outside designers. They do for hire work only.
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Nate K
United States
Utah
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Whatever you do, DO NOT pay an agent to look at your game. If they require you to pay them up front, it's a scam. Just move on.
7 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Nick Hayes
United States
Los Angeles
California
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Omega2064 wrote:
Also, how polished is your prototype? Art? Near ready to sell proto? Guess what? Many companies will actually write you off as wasting needless time on glitze than on the game design and playtesting.

I don't agree with this point. Game companies will look at ugly prototypes and pretty ones. As long as the game is playable, it doesn't matter at all what the prototype looks like. These companies only look for three things:
-Is the game fun?
-Will it be inexpensive to produce?
-Does it fit into our line?
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Paul DeStefano
United States
Long Island
New York
flag msg tools
designer
badge
It's a Zendrum. www.zendrum.com
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Black Canyon wrote:
Omega2064 wrote:
Also, how polished is your prototype? Art? Near ready to sell proto? Guess what? Many companies will actually write you off as wasting needless time on glitze than on the game design and playtesting.

I don't agree with this point. Game companies will look at ugly prototypes and pretty ones. As long as the game is playable, it doesn't matter at all what the prototype looks like. These companies only look for three things:
-Is the game fun?
-Will it be inexpensive to produce?
-Does it fit into our line?


The art just has to be neat. Just assume they will throw out any art you give them, and plan accordingly.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
mike
United States
columbus
Ohio
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
If you really think it is for the mass market then I would look into www.chitag.com/ for this year it’s in the fall or www.toyassociation.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=toy_Fair for next year. Also if you are on linkedin head over to the Board Game Design Group, there are a number of people there who have published games through toy retailers vs. the hobbyist publishers, have been to these shows and can give pointers, may have contacts etc.

That is if you think this is something that should go to the Hasbro/Mattel size companies

Also worth checking out though is the GAMA Trade Show www.gamatradeshow.com/

Other option is to look at some of the current party games that are similar to yours and see who the manufacturer, publisher, toy company is and see if they accept submissions
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Philip Migas
United States
Akron
Ohio
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
MeepleManiac wrote:
I envision it sitting on (better yet...flying off) shelves of big box stores like Barnes and Noble, Toys R Us, Target, etc...along side games by Hasbro, NorthStar, etc...


Wow. How do you know? Maybe you could make Millions....
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Lance Hoag
United States
Asheville
North Carolina
flag msg tools
badge
Ludological Labs
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Omega2064 wrote:

Also, how polished is your prototype? Art? Near ready to sell proto? Guess what? Many companies will actually write you off as wasting needless time on glitze than on the game design and playtesting.

Its not necessarily a kill point, But any company that does their own in-house art is likely to pass, as may others. Its these little pitfalls that get the new and even veteran designers.


The art is polished for what it is...a prototype, but it is not professionally produced, and probably not head-turning, ready-for-printing quality. I would suspect that some of the art design, if not all of it, will be scrubbed in favor of some other art design vision per in-house graphics dept that is based on knowledge of market research rather than limited to what I can personally produce from scratch, thereby avoid any copyright/royalty issues.

 

1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Lance Hoag
United States
Asheville
North Carolina
flag msg tools
badge
Ludological Labs
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
80sgamer wrote:
If you really think it is for the mass market then I would look into www.chitag.com/ ... or www.toyassociation.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=toy_Fair .

Also worth checking out though is the GAMA Trade Show www.gamatradeshow.com/


Is it possible or even a popular tactic that an unknown game designer can just attend or invest in a booth without intention of self-publishing and be noticed by the big fish who might have interest in picking up the game for publishing? Would an agent who has the right experience, networks and inner-circle passwords have a better chance of gaining the attention of the right audiences that have publishing power and getting the game in the big box stores next to Cranium and Wits and Wagers?
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Nick Hayes
United States
Los Angeles
California
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Everyone has to start somewhere. I strongly recommend you watch the film "Toyland" by Tim Walsh. It deals exactly with what you're on the verge of going through right now. The film talks a lot about the toy industry in general, but interspersed throughout are Tim's efforts to get his toy/game published.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Philip Migas
United States
Akron
Ohio
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
How long does your game take to play?
How long does it take to teach?
Why do you want to pitch to Hasbro or Mattel?
There may be a better fit for the game in the Hobby Market.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Lance Hoag
United States
Asheville
North Carolina
flag msg tools
badge
Ludological Labs
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
pmigas wrote:
How long does your game take to play?
How long does it take to teach?
Why do you want to pitch to Hasbro or Mattel?
There may be a better fit for the game in the Hobby Market.


Game play time is 45 mins for 2 teams, and longer if more than 2 teams. Learn the game in 5-10 mins.

I tend to think of party games often to be too light for most hobby gamers, and more attractive to family gamers. When I go to Target, I will see more party game titles than hobby game titles...FriendlyLocalGameStores tend to have fewer party games on the shelves than big box stores. I'll bet that Target alone sells more Cranium than all the hobby/FLGSs combined. I am assuming that many people and companies have done serious market research to know where people tend to shop for party games. Working from this assumption, I see that Hasbro and North Star games seem to have what it takes to dominate the shelves with this type of game at these big box stores. A smaller percentage of 20,000 units sold is likely to be much better than a larger perentage of 2,000 units sold. Having this kind of presence in the box stores is a very difficult nut to crack, and I need to hook my wagon to these companies. I feel that I need someone that can get past the gate keepers and get inside these inner circle. How's that for carpet bombing with cliches?

All this rambling rambled and I am still an unpublished noob.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Matt Lee
United States
East Meadow
New York
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
80sgamer wrote:
Also if you are on linkedin head over to the Board Game Design Group, there are a number of people there who have published games through toy retailers vs. the hobbyist publishers, have been to these shows and can give pointers, may have contacts etc.


Just also be aware that just as many are people in the LinkedIn groups who have experience outside of the hobby market with very bad ideas what will work. I've had the unfortunate experience to see advice that simply does not work in this industry be trotted out as gold and the unfortunate results that come from it.

From my personal experience and connections, getting a game into a big box store is less about an agent and more about it attracting the attention of the buyer for those stores. They see hundreds of games from publishers/agents/hopeful designers/distributors/and anyone who goes to the big shows like at Dallas or the Toy Fair.

Except for suggestions by very trusted partners, these buyers do try to objectively evaluate a product based on their perceived audience and how they feel about the game itself first, then they will run test sessions to see if the game works for them and find out delivery dates. Mainly, the buyers are concerned about getting delivery of a good number of copies for tests, so unless you are going to self-publish (along with all of the risks and effort involved), I'd suggest finding a publisher to deal with that aspect. It's not for the faint of heart and the time involved may be far longer than you'd be comfortable waiting.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Philip Migas
United States
Akron
Ohio
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
45 minutes is long. Northstar is where it is because of alot of work over a long period of time. There are plenty of hobby companies that do party games. You don't need an agent to approach a hobby company like Out of the Box, Buffalo, Tasty Minstrel or even Indie Cards and Games. The first order may not be 20,000+, but it would get published.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Paul DeStefano
United States
Long Island
New York
flag msg tools
designer
badge
It's a Zendrum. www.zendrum.com
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
MeepleManiac wrote:
A smaller percentage of 20,000 units sold is likely to be much better than a larger perentage of 2,000 units sold.


Do not assume a percentage is paid. That requires accounting, which is just another pesky expense for Hasbro.

$500-$1500, thanks, bye.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.