Recommend
7 
 Thumb up
 Hide
33 Posts
1 , 2  Next »   | 

BoardGameGeek» Forums » Board Game Design » Board Game Design

Subject: Publishers to avoid? rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Matt Ma
United States
California
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmb
So I have a game that ages 12+ can pick up, but it's pretty strategic and can appeal to the older crowd as well. My question is whether I should choose publishers based on my game mechanics, or based on the art that is being drawn for it. The art is clearly to attract a divserse crowd of individuals, but I don't want to choose a publisher that may end up only pushing the game towards a limited demographic.

So the questions are:
1) Is the best strategy to just pitch it to as many people as you can and hope someone picks you?
2) Should I give up on the big name publishers as they probably won't pay attention to a no-name like me? I was told to pitch to publishers that make games I like, but those companies are big like Rio Grande and why would they ever listen to a guy like me?
3) Is there a better way to contact publishers aside from the email and hope?
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Matt Ma
United States
California
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmb
So when publishers say they want a working proto-type, they do NOT want art with it?
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Nick Hayes
United States
Los Angeles
California
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
D_Matt_Ma wrote:
So when publishers say they want a working proto-type, they do NOT want art with it?

They want functional art. They do not want you to provide the final art.
12 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jonathan Warren
United Kingdom
Wisbech
CAMBRIDGESHIRE
flag msg tools
designer
badge
"Elves are very good at board games, and I'm NOT an elf!"
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
D_Matt_Ma wrote:
So when publishers say they want a working proto-type, they do NOT want art with it?

Not necessarily. What a publisher would might do, if they like the game, is: sign you up to a contract; tweak the design of the game and change the rules; re-theme the game; get their own preferred artists to illustrate the game. This is why you should not spend money on artists if you're going to approach a publisher - the likelihood is that your art will be thrown out.
7 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Clint Herron
United States
Bethel
Ohio
flag msg tools
designer
♜ ♞ ♝ ♛ ♚ ♝ ♞ ♜ ♟ ♟ ♟ ♟ ♟ ♟ ♟ ♟
badge
♙ ♙ ♙ ♙ ♙ ♙ ♙ ♙ ♖ ♘ ♗ ♕ ♔ ♗ ♘ ♖
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
When at this stage of the publishing game, I found this podcast episode to be immensely helpful and full of sage advice for finding and submitting a game to prospective publishers:

On Board Games 45: Submit and Like It
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Brook Gentlestream
United States
Long Beach
California
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Disclaimer: These answers are all based on information I've seen on previous posts in these forums. I have no personal experience in this matter.


D_Matt_Ma wrote:
1) Is the best strategy to just pitch it to as many people as you can and hope someone picks you?

Traditionally, this is how its done. Now there are other options but in your situation, this is still a method I'd recommend at least trying first.

D_Matt_Ma wrote:
2) Should I give up on the big name publishers as they probably won't pay attention to a no-name like me? I was told to pitch to publishers that make games I like, but those companies are big like Rio Grande and why would they ever listen to a guy like me?

Definitely not. This isn't really one of those kind of industries. Publishers are either open to submissions or they are not. If they are open, they are usually willing to see ideas from anyone. However, your game may be put on a very long waiting list before its evaluated. I've heard people mention that publishers have waited a year or longer before giving a response.
I think Rio Grande even has a reputation for being very "new-designer" friendly, though I might be confusing it with Z-Man Games in this regard. The point is these publishers are your friends even if you are new.
D_Matt_Ma wrote:
3) Is there a better way to contact publishers aside from the email and hope?

Every publisher has different submission guidelines about how they would like to receive your proposal, whether or not to send the prototype, when they evaluate products, whether they'll approve products that have been publicly distributed or not, whether they need to see a demo first (at a convention), or what format they want to receive proposals in. Always read the submission guidelines and follow them to the letter. You can usually find them on the company's website.
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Hilko Drude
Germany
Goettingen
Lower Saxony
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
badge
What are you doing!? I don't even know you!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
It is generally considered bad style to pitch a game to many publishers at once, unless at a convention or other mass gathering. If you send your game somewhere, they will expect you to send it only there unless you explicitly tell them other companies have it as well. Make sure you are very open about this part, it doesn't go down well with publishers if they put thought into your game just to learn that you just sold it to someone else.
8 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ben Pinchback
United States
Leonard
Michigan
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
HilkMAN wrote:
It is generally considered bad style to pitch a game to many publishers at once, unless at a convention or other mass gathering. If you send your game somewhere, they will expect you to send it only there unless you explicitly tell them other companies have it as well. Make sure you are very open about this part, it doesn't go down well with publishers if they put thought into your game just to learn that you just sold it to someone else.

I agree if I'm at the send prototype out phase that I would stick to one at a time. But the earlier stages of emails and following the posted initial pitch steps, I would ping absolutely everyone who is willing to listen. And in fact that's just what we did.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
J J
Australia
flag msg tools
HilkMAN wrote:
It is generally considered bad style to pitch a game to many publishers at once, unless at a convention or other mass gathering. If you send your game somewhere, they will expect you to send it only there unless you explicitly tell them other companies have it as well. Make sure you are very open about this part, it doesn't go down well with publishers if they put thought into your game just to learn that you just sold it to someone else.


Odd. That's the exact opposite of pretty much every other industry I've heard of where you pitch an idea to a publisher/producer. Why does this industry have different expectations?
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
John "Omega" Williams
United States
Kentwood
Michigan
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Some companies to avoid are...
Games Workshop, WOTC, Hasbro, Steve Jackson Games, FFG, and a few others. All of these either are not accepting submissions, or have very problematic submission rules making submitting a game a bad idea.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
J J
Australia
flag msg tools
Omega2064 wrote:
Some companies to avoid are...
Games Workshop, WOTC, Hasbro, Steve Jackson Games, FFG, and a few others. All of these either are not accepting submissions, or have very problematic submission rules making submitting a game a bad idea.


GW takes submissions at all? I thought they stopped that over twenty years ago, back when they stopped all work on anything not absolutely theirs and tied into their two core IPs (Warhammer and Warhammer 40K).
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Scott Nelson
United States
Draper
Utah
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Jay from Rio Grande Games will take a look at designs if you make an appointment with him at a convention he is attending. He does not take submission pitches via email. He told me this 4 years ago, but I don't think he has changed his methods.

Another idea is to enter it into a competition and see how it goes. Pitching an award-winning game is more arrows for your quiver; more feathers in your cap; more gas in the tank - hmm, that last one doesn't work. ninja

The problem with pitching it to everyone, is if someone responds, and you send a copy, and then another responds - do you send a copy there as well? To invest time in a design in testing it would be for nil if you gave it to the other guys. Odds are, they will not look at another of your designs down the road if you treat them like that.

Look into kickstarting it if you have the art already done. Find some Chinese Connection (staring Bruce Lee?) and get them to finish the board and bits. The wingoindustry.com advertisement is above this thread as I type this.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Hilko Drude
Germany
Goettingen
Lower Saxony
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
badge
What are you doing!? I don't even know you!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
bno70_1 wrote:
HilkMAN wrote:
It is generally considered bad style to pitch a game to many publishers at once, unless at a convention or other mass gathering. If you send your game somewhere, they will expect you to send it only there unless you explicitly tell them other companies have it as well. Make sure you are very open about this part, it doesn't go down well with publishers if they put thought into your game just to learn that you just sold it to someone else.

I agree if I'm at the send prototype out phase that I would stick to one at a time. But the earlier stages of emails and following the posted initial pitch steps, I would ping absolutely everyone who is willing to listen. And in fact that's just what we did.


When I email a publisher with an idea, there are three possible answers:

- Sounds interesting, please send us a prototype.
- No.
- We need a moment to evaluate this, please give us until (XX/XX/XX)

I expect one of these answers within a week (or so - this is not an exact science). If none comes forward, I can either ask again or try elsewhere. The third option is also flexible, if no reply comes forward until the mentioned date, you can ask again. Delays happen, but all sides should be open about it.
As mentioned above, during conventions (game designer conventions in particular), it is a different matter and publishers understand if you pitch your game to several of them within a few days. Sending prototypes to more than one publisher and not informing each of them about it will potentially put you on a blacklist from that publisher, though. A number of German publishers state that on their website explicitly - if you pitch your prototype to several publishers, we will not put any thought into improvements, just test as is. So let us know what you are doing.
My experience is, as long as you are outright about what you're doing (and friendly enough, of course), you should be fine.

4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
John A. White
United States
California
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
lordrahvin wrote:

I think Rio Grande even has a reputation for being very "new-designer" friendly, though I might be confusing it with Z-Man Games in this regard. The point is these publishers are your friends even if you are new.

I got feedback/help from Z-man. I got a "process" from Rio Grande(Felt Blocked).

I will try them again if I make a euro, but only after I offer to Zev.

I would also recommend Tasty Minstrel Games but I think they have moved into the Hoyle Card Industry
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Russ Williams
Poland
Wrocław
Dolny Śląsk
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
JasonJ0 wrote:
HilkMAN wrote:
It is generally considered bad style to pitch a game to many publishers at once, unless at a convention or other mass gathering. If you send your game somewhere, they will expect you to send it only there unless you explicitly tell them other companies have it as well. Make sure you are very open about this part, it doesn't go down well with publishers if they put thought into your game just to learn that you just sold it to someone else.


Odd. That's the exact opposite of pretty much every other industry I've heard of where you pitch an idea to a publisher/producer. Why does this industry have different expectations?

"Pitching an idea" is different from sending a concrete developed prototype which you feel is publishable.

E.g. in the world of fiction, you would not send a story manuscript to multiple editors at the same time. (But you might indeed "pitch an idea" to multiple editors. And they'll probably reply that mere ideas are cheap and not particularly interesting to them; they want completed texts. I rather suppose many game publishers are the same, i.e. not "I have an idea for a zombie game, would you be interested?" but "here is my zombie game, would you be interested?")
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Alan Emrich
United States
Irvine
California
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Matt has gotten in touch with me at Victory Point Games, thanks to the matchmaking of Dave Ells. Since it turns out that we are regional "neighbors," I look forward to extending our emails to a phone conversation and, hopefully, a meeting here at the VPG factory.

As a teacher of college students preparing to go into the game industry, I'm very happy to meet new designers and explain their options for seeing their work published. Heck, we've even introduced several designers to their first published game.

So, hopefully, Mr. Ma will be reporting back on our conversations and meeting to share what we discover.

Best,

Alan Emrich
Victory Point Games
8 
 Thumb up
0.01
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
J J
Australia
flag msg tools
russ wrote:
JasonJ0 wrote:
HilkMAN wrote:
It is generally considered bad style to pitch a game to many publishers at once, unless at a convention or other mass gathering. If you send your game somewhere, they will expect you to send it only there unless you explicitly tell them other companies have it as well. Make sure you are very open about this part, it doesn't go down well with publishers if they put thought into your game just to learn that you just sold it to someone else.


Odd. That's the exact opposite of pretty much every other industry I've heard of where you pitch an idea to a publisher/producer. Why does this industry have different expectations?

"Pitching an idea" is different from sending a concrete developed prototype which you feel is publishable.

E.g. in the world of fiction, you would not send a story manuscript to multiple editors at the same time. (But you might indeed "pitch an idea" to multiple editors. And they'll probably reply that mere ideas are cheap and not particularly interesting to them; they want completed texts. I rather suppose many game publishers are the same, i.e. not "I have an idea for a zombie game, would you be interested?" but "here is my zombie game, would you be interested?")


Uh, yeah, you do, if you don't already have a contract. Otherwise it will take years for anyone to even get to your book.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Russ Williams
Poland
Wrocław
Dolny Śląsk
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
JasonJ0 wrote:
russ wrote:
E.g. in the world of fiction, you would not send a story manuscript to multiple editors at the same time. ...


Uh, yeah, you do, if you don't already have a contract. Otherwise it will take years for anyone to even get to your book.

OK, practices vary. I know that many editors don't accept multiple submissions. (And I was thinking more of the short story rather than novel market, but sorry I didn't say so explicitly.)

If one does do simultaneous submission, at least state that clearly in the cover letter. Otherwise the obvious bad thing can happen that several people all want to buy it, and you piss off all but one of them who invested their time and energy evaluating it.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Brook Gentlestream
United States
Long Beach
California
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
russ wrote:
If one does do simultaneous submission, at least state that clearly in the cover letter.


As far as I know, it's perfectly fine to send it to more than one publisher in both industries but, yes, ALWAYS state that clearly and politely in the cover letter. You don't need to name any names.

 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
J J
Australia
flag msg tools
russ wrote:
JasonJ0 wrote:
russ wrote:
E.g. in the world of fiction, you would not send a story manuscript to multiple editors at the same time. ...


Uh, yeah, you do, if you don't already have a contract. Otherwise it will take years for anyone to even get to your book.

OK, practices vary. I know that many editors don't accept multiple submissions. (And I was thinking more of the short story rather than novel market, but sorry I didn't say so explicitly.)

If one does do simultaneous submission, at least state that clearly in the cover letter. Otherwise the obvious bad thing can happen that several people all want to buy it, and you piss off all but one of them who invested their time and energy evaluating it.


Okay, that suggests an expectation that a prospective designer would not attempt to flog his product wherever and as much as he could.

Perhaps I'm just dense, but I really don't understand why there should be such an expectation. And I don't see why having several prospective buyers would be considered bad thing - what's wrong with it?
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Gordon Reynolds
Georgia
Brezhnevograd
Former Upper Caucasus
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmb
Alan Emrich wrote:
Matt has gotten in touch with me at Victory Point Games....

Sold
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Bill Eldard
United States
Burke
Virginia
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Alan Emrich wrote:
As a teacher of college students preparing to go into the game industry, . .


People actually go to college to get into the game industry? zombie
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Alan Emrich
United States
Irvine
California
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
"People actually go to college to get into the game industry?"

Game art, programming, design, even management. I've got all kinds of students at my school!

Alan Emrich

P.S. We had a nice meeting this very day, by the way. I'll let Matt tell you about it. -AE
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
J J
Australia
flag msg tools
qiagen wrote:
If I were a boardgame publisher, I would not be comfortable evaluating a design that was under consideration elsewhere.


Are they really so precious about a little competition?
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
J Holmes
New Zealand
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmb
I found the title of this thread really misleading. I assumed it would be about "bad" publishers.

Surely theres a better thread title?
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
1 , 2  Next »   | 
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.