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Is it possible to sell my idea only?

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sandiedog
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Joined: 12/31/1969

I've had an idea for a boardgame for several years now and have played it off and on (verbally) with friends for quite some time - everyone agrees that it's a great concept for a new adult-style party game. BUt I'm not sure I'm interested in doing all the legwork to bring the game to market. Do any companies simply buy or license an idea as opposed to a full-blown prototype backed by research, etc? I've read in other posts that there is a list on these forums of companies who accept solicitations but I have been unable to locate it. Am I better off just sending my (trademarked) idea to various companies or should I invest in a broker?

zaiga
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Re: Is it possible to sell my idea only?

sandiedog wrote:
I've had an idea for a boardgame for several years now and have played it off and on (verbally) with friends for quite some time - everyone agrees that it's a great concept for a new adult-style party game. BUt I'm not sure I'm interested in doing all the legwork to bring the game to market. Do any companies simply buy or license an idea as opposed to a full-blown prototype backed by research, etc? I've read in other posts that there is a list on these forums of companies who accept solicitations but I have been unable to locate it. Am I better off just sending my (trademarked) idea to various companies or should I invest in a broker?

I doubt that there are companies out there that buy or license game ideas. As has been said before, there are many game ideas that sound great on paper, but suck when played "live" for the first time. Game companies know this. That's why you have to make a prototype and playtest it with real people. And then you realize it's not so good and doesn't play as smooth as you imagined, and that you have to polish it a bit more, and playtest it a bit more, and... etc, etc.

You can't plant flowers without getting your fingers dirty. You have to do the hard work yourself. Game companies simply don't have time to do all the design work theirselves, they want you to do it, and then they'll buy your well playtested and polished design when it's finished.

I doubt that you have trademarked your idea, because ideas cannot be trademarked. You can only trademark names, brands and such. You can copyright a game, but only the physical appearance of it. You might get a patent on your idea, but it's expensive and probably not worth the effort. There's very little you can do to protect your game's mechanics, to be honest, but then again, not many are interested in stealing your ideas anyway, because, as I said above, an idea itself is not worth very much.

So, what I advice you to do is to actually create a prototype and test it a lot with different groups of people. Polish the idea until you think it is ready, and then offer the design to various game companies. There are several companies in the hobby industry that accept submissions. If you really want your game published by a huge manufacturer (Hasbro, Ravensburger) then you'd probably need an agent to get in.

Good luck, and success!

Lee
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Is it possible to sell my idea only?

You do need an agent. Hasbro won't even look at you unless you do. I suggest if you have a good looking prototype ready you could either submit it to manufacturers or attend a toy and game show with it. If you do this talk to as many people as you can, especially those who publish your type of game and those who show interest in your game while viewing it. Don't go unless you have a trademark and copyright for minimal protection. I had thought up my game idea 1 year ago, made a nice prototype by hand, then about a month ago made up a junior version of the same game, I took both to the toy and game fair and my junior game recieved incredible feedback. I was offered 4 deals and took a royalty deal. My junior game was only a prototype made of cardboard, bristle board and markers. But it was playable and I had done alot of play testing.
Only 2 people that I know of received offers on their game, it's a real competetive market so make sure that your game stands out from the rest by being unique.

Lee

skyeye
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Is it possible to sell my idea only?

Lee,
You mentioned that it is very important to trademark and copyright for our own protection.
How long and how much would this require? I suppose we have to do this for the USA, EU and China markets, isn't it?

Thanks,
Brian

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