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Subject: is anyone getting rich designing these games? rss

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Thomas Rylander
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Tom Lehmann? Uwe Rosenberg? Klaus Teuber? Does anyone have any indication that this is a lucrative business for the guys at the top?
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Ralph T
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Knizia might be doing okay. That's probably it. Looks like game designers live like artists. Starving ones.
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Christopher Scatliff
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Maybe not in design, but I suspect people like Aldie and Vasel are doing pretty well for themselves.
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D Steph
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I would bet that Mr. Richard Garfield is doing all right...
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Jesse Hickle
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Teuber's probably doing pretty well too with the success of Catan.
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Thomas Rylander
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do we have any data?
 
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D Steph
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Well I was brought up too polite to ask about someone's income, but I suppose someone somewhere asked them. Frankly I would however be quite surprised if they were willing to have it posted all over the internet.

S.
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Ian Madsen
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No.
 
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Shawn Fox
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According to Wikipedia, over 750,000 copies of Ticket to Ride had been sold as of 2008. I'd guess Alan Moon is doing pretty well from that... Probably somewhere around $2 per copy as a wild guess.
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Paul DeStefano
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sfox wrote:
Probably somewhere around $2 per copy as a wild guess.


For later copies and editions, that might be possible due to the guaranteed success of the line.

For the first few thousand, that's high.

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Linda Baldwin
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Knizia still has a day job as a professor, doesn't he? I don't think anybody's getting rich, although a few may be paying their bills on time.

A number of my friends and relatives have urged me (or planned themselves) to get in on this perceived gravy train ever since Trivial Pursuit came out. (My stepmother thought I should be able to make a fine living as a playtester/design consultant.)

I never stop laughing. I know a lot of game designers. A few of them actually make rent -- while they have full-time jobs at game companies. Until the next layoff, anyway. I can't tell you how many ex-employees of WotC/Hasbro I know.

Heck, I laugh when people talk about the Big Money Publishers like they're some mega-corporation, I get the giggles. Hasbro's pretty big, yeah, but Rio Grande is Jay. Maybe someone to answer the phones. Z-Man has backing now, but it's still Zev. Stronghold's a two-man op. Don't expect to see them sponsoring college bowl games any time soon.
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Scott Hill
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Carmilla wrote:
Knizia still has a day job as a professor, doesn't he? I don't think anybody's getting rich, although a few may be paying their bills on time.


I was going to post that you can tell how many of them are getting rich off game design by how many of them have other (main) jobs.
 
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Ron
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IIRC there once was an ad about Catan saying "50 million sold copies" (I assume they added the base game and expansions and spin-offs together).

So, assuming that you get one or two dollars a game, you can do the math meeple

But in the end, I guess it's only a couple of designers who would be able to make a living out of board game design.
 
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Tarjei Aasen
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I think it would be great to have a game published and considered buying a book on game design, but I'm worried that the cost would eat all the profits I'd make from the game.
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...sure...
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A few years back, I recall reading there are 10-15 gamedesigners worldwide who make a living as a gamedesigner. That'll probably include Knizia, Teuber, Garfield, Kramer and Moon.
 
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Sicaria Occaeco
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Designing? No. Selling? Yes!

Now if you'll excuse me I need to find a couple more games to get my free shipping.
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Cory J
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Well, there go all my plans... cry
 
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Manchuwok
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DSteph wrote:
I would bet that Mr. Richard Garfield is doing all right...


http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fsb/fsb_archive/2004/10/01/81...

$125 million is not bad.
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Karl
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Teuber definitely got rich from it. He actually saved his (former) daytime job with the money from game designing.
 
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JJL
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For big franchises like Catan, TTR, Carcassone, etc., you can't assume that the designer necessarily gets a piece of the action for every expansion, every retheme, etc (maybe they do, but maybe not). And even for "regular" games, you can't necessarily assume that the designer gets a cut of anything beyond the first printing. Some may, and the big names are more likely to, but probably most don't.

Generally, the publisher will own the rights to the IP so even if the publisher wants to cut out the original designer either financially or even from designing the expansion, often they can do that. But my guess is they usually don't screw the designer because he/she just made a successful game that's making the publisher money, hopefully with others to come.

Sounds like Garfield was an exception because he published Magic himself, so he was a publisher, too. And then he basically sold his company to WotC for a huge stake in WotC, so his money doesn't really come from Magic sales directly -- it comes from his smart business dealings as a business owner.
 
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Christopher Dearlove
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Carmilla wrote:
Knizia still has a day job as a professor, doesn't he?


No. He's a full time game designer. And when he had a job it was in finance.
 
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Christopher Dearlove
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JJL_WashDC wrote:
Generally, the publisher will own the rights to the IP so even if the publisher wants to cut out the original designer either financially or even from designing the expansion, often they can do that.


Do you have any evidence for that assertion? I've heard of the opposite (a designer paid for an expansion he didn't design) but not what you describe.
 
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David Nimmo
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My ambition is that my game SpyMaster, when it is published, will pay for a family trip to a game convention in the States.

Is this beyond hope?shake
 
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Jarratt Davis
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I always thought it was like art: for the love rather than the money. Mind you in the case of a particular artist (painter) ancestor of mine, it was also for money as he gave paintings away to pay off his debts.
 
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Stew Woods
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manchuwok wrote:
DSteph wrote:
I would bet that Mr. Richard Garfield is doing all right...


http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fsb/fsb_archive/2004/10/01/81...

$125 million is not bad.


I think Garfield's in a league of his own there though...

Tangent: Does anyone know if the Magic distribution model was a part of Garfield's original Mana-clash pitch, or whether it was Wizards who came up with that?


edit: Typo
 
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