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Printing, publishing and protecting

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Stardragon
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Joined: 12/16/2009

Hello there.

I'm a newcomer here, having only recently stumbled across the site while blithering my way around the internet. From what I've seen it's a fantastic resource, and I have a feeling I've only just scratched the surface.

Something that's been on my mind for a bit, though, is the question of printing and manufacturing board games, boxes and the like. I'm at that stage where I'm torn between sending out my game to an agency or a company, and going it alone and trying to do it myself, though as a recent ex-student with almost no means I can't help feeling that I'm going to HAVE to license it out. Then there's the question of protection, patenting and design rights: a lot of people say 'protect, protect, protect!' while others seem firmly to imply that the money spent on that could be better used elsewhere... though if you do that, what's to stop someone cloning your idea?

Frankly, my head is spinning. I'm tired of being poor and I'm tired of working for someone else - though I appreciate fully that there's a lot of hard work involved in getting anything going.

I apologise for the incoherent, undirected ramble... that's how I feel right now. Which way to go? what to do next? and, above all, just how am I going to afford any of it?

InvisibleJon
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Joined: 07/27/2008
A few thoughts...

Stardragon wrote:
A lot of people say 'protect, protect, protect!' while others seem firmly to imply that the money spent on that could be better used elsewhere... though if you do that, what's to stop someone cloning your idea?

Y'know how hard it is to actually publish your idea? It's hard for them too. It's (generally) not worth it to steal an idea, since you'll spend a lot of time and effort to publish it, then take a formidable hit to your reputation once word gets out.

Stardragon wrote:
Which way to go? what to do next? and, above all, just how am I going to afford any of it?

If you'd looking to game design and publication as a means to make a living, you may want to consider other directions to channel your energy. Licensing is very unlikely to make you wealthy, unless you manage to license a large number of games that become very popular. Publishing is also unlikely to make you wealthy.

That said, you'll want to contact publishers who accept unsolicited submissions. There's a page full of them at http://www.bgdf.com/node/621 Going to game conventions and meeting them face to face is also a good move. Of course, going to cons costs time and money, so...

You could also go the pay-to-download print-and-play route through RPG.net or another online pnp portal.

I wish you good fortune in whatever path you choose.

the_Ben
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Joined: 12/23/2008
Welcome!

First of all; Welcome to the forum, Stardragon!

Being only an aspiring designer myself, I completely understand where you come from. I don't have any published works as of yet, but there are a lot of folks that seem to be of the opinion that self-publishing and promotion is the way to get started. I am exploring this avenue currently, and am excited to see what I can accomplish. You've certainly come to the right place for advice - a lot of experience here on the forum.

Benster
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Joined: 10/28/2009
Stardragon, welcome. Another

Stardragon, welcome.

Another option not mentioned here is the print-on-demand (POD) avenue. A good example is a relatively young company called the Game Crafter (thegamecrafter.com) which you could take a look at. Again, this particular POD company is less than a year old, and it is yet to be seen how much foot traffic they will get for sales, but they put out a respectable product and give you options in building a game for sale. I purchased a number of christmas presents there and was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the games that shipped to me.

They don't do much promotion work, and leave that instead to the designers to do for themselves. So you'll have to take advantage of BGG and other sites to promote your work and try to generate sales through the Game Crafter site.

The main advantage to a POD service is that you don't have to put up any money. Instead, you simply upload all the materials for the game, and the POD service will print per-order and then pay you a royalty for the sale that you determine when you set the product price. The downside is that one-off printing makes the product a little more expensive to the consumer.

It's worth a look. Self-publishing is a big financial commitment and will be more than a full time job, but from what I've heard, it is a rewarding experience even if it doesn't pay well. Licensing and selling to the big boys is very difficult to do, and you lose a lot of control, but they take on most of the risk.

Good luck, whatever you decide, and I can tell you that personally I have found this forum to be a fantastic resource, so make sure to stop back in and use it. People here, as a rule, are remarkably helpful and friendly, and a lot of them know a hell of a lot about doing this sort of thing, so newcomers like you and I can learn a lot!

Dralius
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Joined: 07/26/2008
who knows

Stardragon wrote:
Frankly, my head is spinning. I'm tired of being poor and I'm tired of working for someone else - though I appreciate fully that there's a lot of hard work involved in getting anything going.

Unless you have a good head for business you'll be no less poor as a publisher than in any other field. Publishing is about marketing a product regardless of what that product is.

The appeal of working for ones self is obvious but not everyone has the skills to be successful as their own boss. This isn’t to say you can’t learn the skills given time and ample effort. I started out in 2003 and have learned allot here and been able to start a career. I never quit my day job but who know I might be able to retire early because it.

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