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Game Suggestions

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Anonymous

Okay, well, it seems my dreams may become realized. A friend of mine is in the army, over in Iraq (I promise, this is on topic). Needless to say, he is making some nice money. He also happens to be a VP in my company, Phoenix Concepts. He has given the green light and says that whatever product I decide to produce first, he will front the cash to put it on the market. The problem is, I have about a dozen or so finished and nearly finished products. I primarily deal with RPG's, but also card games, board games, strategy games, etc. (I just love gaming).
So, I suppose you could consider this my market research. What type of game would you like to see as the pilot project for Phoenix Concepts? No specific ideas (I cant's deal with liability stuff), but do we need more RPGs? RISK-esque Games? Card Games? Empire MicroManagement? What's your favorites and why? The sky is pretty much the limit.

Thanks for any input.

phpbbadmin
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Joined: 04/23/2013
My suggestion

My suggestion is to release a game that will appeal to the broadest market possible, with the sole purpose of putting Phoenix Concepts (and maybe to a greater extent, you) on the map. Then, you can release 'niche' games later that might be more fulfilling to you as a designer.

On the other hand... You have to weigh heavily the possibility that this might be the only game that you ever have that is a 'sure thing' for being published. So you may want to consider a game that would be the most fulfilling for you to have published.

The last option would be to a balance of the two; what would be most fulfilling game to publish that you would think would also sell very well; thus getting you and the company some much needed publicity.

Specifically as for what type of game to publish, I think the markets are saturated for all of them. However from a board / card game players perspective, I would selfishly want those types to be published. But like I said, with the market saturation being like it is (I.E. Too many games to buy, not enough money to pay for them all, and more importantly, not enough TIME to play them all), it's pretty much up to you in my opinion.

-Darke

hpox
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Game Suggestions

I'm not so sure going for a broad market is a good idea for someone looking to self-publish and self-market a board game. If you were thinking about getting it published from Hasbro or such, ignore the rest of my message.

Unless you have a lot of money and you can spend it on marketing, the only people who will hear about your game will be people already interested in the hobby. You probably don't want them to see your game as just another "general public" game.

That's where the niche market can actually be very useful. It's much more easy to target and get the right person interested in your game if it's filling a hole that a small bunch of people are craving for. You'll sell potentially less games but you'll produce less too and if it's good I'm willing to bet the niche will want more from you because they can make the difference between your company and another which is not the case with broad games.

The problem I see is choosing your niche and making the game they will enjoy greatly.

My 2 cents.

Anonymous
Game Suggestions

Thanks, this is just the feedback I was looking for. I do plan on putting some cash into marketing, but probably not much more than a few color ads in some of the popular magazines.
For whatever reason, my brain has been on a kick for designing tile based games. More replay value I suppose, and it prevents people from using the same, "sure-fire" strategy every time. Still, these are difficult to design effectively and more costly to produce than I'd like.
As for the niche I would go for (as these are obviously the most fulfilling to produce) I'm not sure. I would personally like to see more sci fi games on the market involving strategy. Also, I really enjoy working with that style. Unfortunately, when I work with sci-fi (especially strategy) my brain seems to spit out about forty ideas too many and the game gets bogged.
So, perhaps a simplified strategy sci-fi. If its simple enough, non-gamers may check it out. However, if I can put enough tactics and dark theme into it (without going overboard) it may also hit a niche market. Well, still thinking. Who knows, the way I work, I'll wanna make some cartoony, goofy game tomorrow.
Keep the feedback coming. This is great advice.

FastLearner
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Game Suggestions

The RPG market is unusually tough right now, I feel. It's obviously heavily dominated by d20 and you're marketing to a smaller and smaller group if you don't go d20, yet the d20 market is absolutely flooded.

Anonymous
Game Suggestions

Actually, a survey we took at GenCon two years ago showed that most gamers (85 out of 100 or so) hated the d20 system. In fact, a lot of people mentioned it even when they weren't asked. An interview we had with the owners of Holistic Design Inc. suggested that it's popularity was primarily due to the fact that the distributors love it because it is so well known. However, they also said that most of the people disliking the system were old school D&D players who didn't want to adjust. I personally love the concept of an open system for anyone to use, but I also think the d20 system is a poor system to begin with.
Besides, I have my own system that only has a few bugs to work out of it. But it is true, the RPG market is a bit tight right now. Of course, its mainly due to the popularity of other game types. I think the RPG industry just needs a new kick in the butt.

FastLearner
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Game Suggestions

A couple of things, though: (1) a lot has happened in the last 2 years, with the vast bulk of the 2ed players coming to appreciate and even love d20, (2) the release of the 3.5 edition will bring focus back to d20 again, especially for newer players, and (3) if distributors won't carry your product it doesn't matter how good it is: you're not going to sell enough to become a "name" in the marketplace at all, and imo that's key to a new company.

Anonymous
Game Suggestions

I have heard that 3.5 fixed a lot of the initial problems in the d20 system. I've only looked over it briefly though. And I believe your opinion is correct. A major mistake that a lot of people make is to think that a great idea will sell itself. I know that there's a reason major companies put millions into marketing and also try to appeal to the consumers, distributors and even shop owners.
Fortunately, gamers tend to be consistenly open to new system ideas. It is something that is assumed when you buy a new game; you'll have to learn a new system. And, even with the popularity of the d20 system, I don't think that will change any time soon.
As far as distributors and shop owners...well, hopefully good marketing and player demand can sway them.

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