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Guilty by association?

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kungfugeek
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While I don't want to get into a discussion about the inappropriateness of the Suicide Bomber card game, I was wondering if any of you game designers (or wanna-be designers like myself) would be less likely to submit designs to Bucephalus Games, because of their publication of Suicide Bomber? Or, to broaden it out a bit, are there publishers you will avoid because of the content of some of their games?

I met the Bucephalus Games people at GenCon and thought they were very nice and friendly, and seemed very open to game submissions from unknowns and new designers. I'm just not sure I'd want my first game to be associated with the same company that made Suicide Bomber.

What do you think?

http://www.purplepawn.com/2008/10/room-for-more-bad-taste-suicide-bomber...

Dralius
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Suicide bomber is out of

Suicide bomber is out of place in their product line which includes several for younger players like living labyrinth. They seem to have an identity crisis, can I expect as a parent (pretending that I have children for this discussion) to buy a game for my children from Bucephalus Games and be certain that the content is age appropriate?

This won’t affect me as a game designer from submitting games to them but they may have hurt themselves in the market.

SiddGames
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Less Inclined

Just me, I would be a little less inclined to submit a design to them. As far as I'm concerned, there are plenty of publishers out there I can submit to without questionable games on their catalog...

clearclaw
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Not a problem

I have no concern for their other publications. More simply, I am happy to not have my game bought and to not have it played by those who would be concerned by their other publications.

gameprinter
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Should the question be...

Should the question be, "Will publication of this game make consumers and retailers less likely to buy their other games?" If the answer is yes, then maybe you should think twice about having them publish your game because it affects your pocketbook. If the answer is no, then it doesn't matter.

clearclaw
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Money is not all.

I do not design games in order to make money. Several of the game publishers I buy games from are also visibly not in the market in order to profit financially. I view my games, my designs, as statements in an ongoing discourse, on, about and surrounding games and game-like things. My games are part of a larger conversation and that conversation is what is most important to me.

gameprinter
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Valid point

If you have the ability to choose where your game is published, then by all means exercise that choice. Money is most definitely not all that important in the game industry. The monetary rewards are, for the most part, uniformly bad.

Still, I've never thought of the games I've played or produced as part of a larger conversation. I'd be interested to hear more of your thoughts on that since I've always evaluated each game solely against its own canvas. Does it play well? Is it a good simulation? Is it well produced? Etc.

clearclaw
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Quite. A great way to turn a

Quite. A great way to turn a pile of money into a (much) smaller pile of money.

Perhaps unusually my designs include an Acknowledgements section which credits not only playtesters, but also other designer's and their games that significantly affected/inspired/illuminated my design. Sometimes the relationship is indirect, a question of vaguely similar solution spaces perhaps, and sometimes it is very direct. 'Ohana Proa for instance credits both Martin Wallace's Age of Steam and Benjamin Corliss' Wayfinder. The Age of Steam connection is obvious and direct, deliver things to other things of the same colour over player-claimed routes, but the Wayfinder connection is more indirect and refers to the similarities in optimal path-finding for both games, plus the fact that both games sort their randomly placed componentry during the course of the game.

I play many system-games, games like the 18XX or other train games which all exist with a much larger coherent field of fairly tightly related concepts (money, shares, networks, connection values, etc). Almost any new game within that space extends the conversation of such games in some way, if only by putting familiar bits together in a novel fashion. The result is that the larger mass of games become a sort of meta-conversation with individual games just picking out a particular intersection of highlights. The result is a seeming continuum of thought, of a sort of slow discussion which extends from Wabash Cannonball to 1830 to Age of Steam to West Riding to Lokomotive Werks to Medieval Merchant to 1825 to Canal Mania to Empire Builder to....etc.

gameprinter
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System Conversation

I can see how variants within a system are part of a larger conversation. Or even multiple titles covering the same theme or historical period. But does Suicide Bomber really have a conversation with Age of Steam, so to speak? I can see conversations extending across genres - the way card-driven mechanics have spread to all facets of simulation gaming, for instance - but even if you did a card game using many of the same mechanics as Suicide Bomber, but put a Shrek license on it and called it "Shrek and the Attack of the Gremlins" or something, it wouldn't be a part of the same conversation except in the most esoteric gaming forum way.

I don't know that, from a practical standpoint, there'd be a connection between two very unrelated games published by the same publisher. For instance, Avalon Hill published "Look at the Schmuck on the Camel" and Advanced Squad Leader. One teaches players Yiddish. The other teaches players that no matter how elegant the system, you can overchrome it to the point that you need a law degree and the patience of Job to learn it. :) That's stretching it a bit, but even if you focus on the games that AH came out with around the same time as Look at the Schmuck - Air Baron, London's Burning, Global Survival - there's not much to hang a discussion on.

Which brings me back to my original post. I probably shouldn't have said "pocketbook". It was more of a shorthand for "I don't see that this one game, which might be out of place with the rest of their line up, will affect the designer of another game for the same company in an adverse manner, except through possible lower sales".

Anyways, I'm not trying to dis your idea. It sort of intrigues me. I tend to look at trends or memes or schools of thought, but don't think of them as dialogues so much. Besides, it's rare that I get to do more than nuts and bolts posts on manufacturing! :)

clearclaw
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gameprinter wrote:But does

gameprinter wrote:
But does Suicide Bomber really have a conversation with Age of Steam, so to speak?

A little more tenuous than some other connections, but yes, it has a connection.

gameprinter wrote:
I can see conversations extending across genres - the way card-driven mechanics have spread to all facets of simulation gaming, for instance - but even if you did a card game using many of the same mechanics as Suicide Bomber, but put a Shrek license on it and called it "Shrek and the Attack of the Gremlins" or something, it wouldn't be a part of the same conversation except in the most esoteric gaming forum way.

I very much see it as part of the same conversation as I see them as the same game. They effectively identical. I do not consider theme to be part of a game's definition.

gameprinter wrote:
Besides, it's rare that I get to do more than nuts and bolts posts on manufacturing! :)

I appreciate those sadly rare contributions. This is an interesting market in interesting times.

gameprinter
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clearclaw wrote:gameprinter

clearclaw wrote:
gameprinter wrote:
I can see conversations extending across genres - the way card-driven mechanics have spread to all facets of simulation gaming, for instance - but even if you did a card game using many of the same mechanics as Suicide Bomber, but put a Shrek license on it and called it "Shrek and the Attack of the Gremlins" or something, it wouldn't be a part of the same conversation except in the most esoteric gaming forum way.

I very much see it as part of the same conversation as I see them as the same game. They effectively identical. I do not consider theme to be part of a game's definition.

You are technically correct, of course, in that it would be the same game. But the different THEME would change the conversation entirely. Right now, the conversation on Suicide Bomber is that it's a political landmine (pardon the pun). Take the politics out of it, and we have a very different discussion. :)

clearclaw
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Ludism

It may change the conversation among players during the game, yes, but that's not the conversation I'm interested in. I'm interested in the somewhat more academic conversation among ludists.

gameprinter
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Depends on the Ludist

clearclaw wrote:
It may change the conversation among players during the game, yes, but that's not the conversation I'm interested in. I'm interested in the somewhat more academic conversation among ludists.

Sorry, I meant the overall discussion, not the table talk.

If by ludist you mean "frequent posters on gameboardgeek.com" then you are correct and I am not. If by ludist, you mean a more rigorous academic discussion of games and philosophy, then I think we're both correct: me in the day-to-day sense and you in the ludological sense. :)

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