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How Much to Charge for BG as a Freelancer?

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Anonymous

Can anyone who has published a game or worked as a game design freelancer please tell me what an equitable fee would be for a freelancer to charge an established company for designing a card / boardgame?

Anonymous
How Much to Charge for BG as a Freelancer?

Wouldn't that be handled as a royalty, or are they paying you a set rate/salary? I would push for a royalty if they're not offerring you one (I think that royalties typically range up to 5% or more).

Just curious, is it a company that came to you looking for a game design? Did you offer a game to them? Either way, congratulations!!

Zzzzz
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How Much to Charge for BG as a Freelancer?

DigiLusionist,

First I would have to ask a few questions:

1) What size is the required artwork? Size of the board? For a card, is it the entire card or just a section (like a magic card)?

2) Will the art be done in B&W, single color monochrome, full color?

3) How detailed/complex will the artwork be? (Small clip art work, full combat scene)

Now for my input, the items I stated above will effect the cost of the artwork (there are others like rendered digital image creation, or handdrawn, etc).

I talked to multiple artists/designers at GenCON this year and depending on the different factors, artwork ranged from $25 (for a single magic style image) to $3000 (though this $3000 was from a well known RPG artist) for a full color box/packaging cover. Many "up and coming" designers priced work between $25 to $1000, per item.

There was also a few that would consider a royalty and a small one time fee. For instance on designer has pricing for creating a box cover, which would cost $300 fee and X% royalty.

Not sure if this helped much, but another member, like Yekrats, should be able to help you much more then I can on this subject.

Oracle
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How Much to Charge for BG as a Freelancer?

SiskNY wrote:
Wouldn't that be handled as a royalty, or are they paying you a set rate/salary? I would push for a royalty if they're not offerring you one (I think that royalties typically range up to 5% or more).

I would never work for a royalty. You're tied into how well the game itself does. What if you spend hundreds of hours doing fantastic artwork and then the game only sells 10 copies because it's just not fun? No matter how well it does, you'll be waiting well over a year for payment, and you'll spend the wait without knowing how much your payment will be.

Your 5% figure is also very arbitrary. If they'd been freelanced out, does the person who did the design work for Knizia's Lord of the Rings deserve the same percentage as the person who did the artwork for James Earnst's The Big Cheese? In the former, there's a lot of very high quality imagages, several boards, and lots of cards to design. The design, artwork, and bits are the game. In the latter, it's only 9 different cards decorated with stick figurers. They don't contribute much to the game, but then it's a totally different game that doesn't need much in the way of bits. To further complicate things, LotR would sell a lot more copies at a much higher pricetag, so even at the same 5%, that designer would get a lot more.

I do some freelance programming, and while the work is completely different, the finances are probably quite similar. I decide what my hourly rate should be (which often varies inversely with how interesting the project sounds -- more interesting project = lower hourly rate), then estimate how long the project should take in the worst case. Multiply the two and I have my estimate. I never tell the customer what the hourly rate is or how that's defined. If you're working by the hour it makes you and the customer less happy. They'll want you to account for every hour (not fun for you), and they'll stress out about how long it takes or where you spent hours that turned out to be unnecessary (not fun for them or good for their overall opinion of you).

It's important to watch out for project creep though (extras working their way into the same flat rate). You have to very precisely define in writing what the flat rate includes. When the customer comes up with extras, you can provide an hourly rate just for that work.

Jason

Anonymous
How Much to Charge for BG as a Freelancer?

I'm asking because I might be designing a game for a company who owns their proprietary IP. Therefore, this would be work-for-hire. They would be providing the art. I would strictly do graphic design of the game, as well as game mechanics and content design.

I haven't be awarded the work yet, and may not. So at this point, this is strictly a hypothetical question. But, assuming I were to get the opportunty, and before we get as far as negotiating the fee and any royalty, I was curious to see if there was a fee range I might expect to get for work-for-hire, based on the experience of others on this forum.

Anonymous
How Much to Charge for BG as a Freelancer?

Just to be clear, are you talking about designing the game itself (mechanics, etc.) or doing illustrations or graphic design work on the game? Your original post doesn't make that clear and I may have misinterpreted your question.

Zzzzz
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How Much to Charge for BG as a Freelancer?

SiskNY wrote:
Just to be clear, are you talking about designing the game itself (mechanics, etc.) or doing illustrations or graphic design work on the game? Your original post doesn't make that clear and I may have misinterpreted your question.

Depending on the clarification, I may have been the one to misunderstand!

Anonymous
How Much to Charge for BG as a Freelancer?

Sorry if I was unclear. I would not be creating art illustrations for the game cards. I would just be designing the overall game mechanics, the rules, as well as graphically designing the game components and board. I would be utilizing supplied art for cards.

Anonymous
How Much to Charge for BG as a Freelancer?

Any thoughts?

zaiga
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How Much to Charge for BG as a Freelancer?

I don't think that there is a simple answer to this question. I know that 5% royalty of wholesale price is more or less a "standard" royalty for game designers. If you are also designing components for the game, that percentage should go up, of course. It is also possible that you could ask a fixed price for the component design and a percentage for the game design.

A lot will depend on the nuances of the contract. How long will they keep the rights to the design? Do they only want the rights for the game in USA/Europe/Asia, or the whole world? What if there will be a second print run, will you get a higher royalty then? Etc, etc.

XXOOCC once posted a contract, for the winner of a contest which never materialized. It gives a good impression of what all goes into a contract...

You can find it here: http://www.bgdf.com/modules.php?name=Forums&file=viewtopic&t=1031&highlight=

- René Wiersma

Anonymous
Re: How Much to Charge for BG as a Freelancer?

DigiLusionist wrote:
Can anyone who has published a game or worked as a game design freelancer please tell me what an equitable fee would be for a freelancer to charge an established company for designing a card / boardgame?

I recieved 5% for 3 years for my original game Jan Ken Pon which they completely redesigned and renamed to Hand2Hand. I bought the rights back including the Trademark "Hand2Hand" then I got a deal with Sony Pictures to license the Jackie Chan Adventures characters for 4 editions of H2H using the cartoon characters...I now get 100% of everything-including Sony's fees, agents fees, manufacturing costs, distributin/advertizing etc...
I wish I was just a designer again!!!!!!!!!...good Luck!...digidan

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