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Publishing My Game

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GiddyAlien
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Joined: 09/16/2014

Hello everyone,
I recently joined BGDF. I took up game designing not long ago and have finished my first game design. It is called "Macbeth: The Last Stand" and as the name suggests, is based on Macbeth by William Shakespeare. I am currently looking to have my game published. Are there any notable game publishing companies you guys can recommend for me to contact to get my game published? It is basically a strategic war card game.

MarkD1733
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Joined: 07/05/2014
many, many publishing companies...

While I have not dealt directly with anyone, there are many companies out there. If you have not gone to look at a list, you can do so on www.boardgamegeek.com. Without knowing your specific situation, I have two comments/questions:

1) Have you playtested it? Do you have prototype/rules set. If not, you probably do not want to approach any publishers until it is thoroughly playtested with a functional (not perfect) prototype/rules set. Again, while I have not gotten to that step myself, I can tell you that playtesting is the most important thing to be done. I have listened to many interviews and industry experts who all say this same thing.

2) Again, what I have heard is that you should do a more targeted approach to finding a publisher. Because there are so many publishers out there, it is important to do homework on them to find someone whose portfolio of games suits your game and vice versa. If you know of games you really like yourself, may be start by researching those companies to see if there is a fit. Once you have someone interested, it is best to decide whether you will want to work with them. I have also read on this forum that it is "bad business" to "shop around" once you have decided this and begun the work together. This way you can try and develop more of a partnership with someone who is willing to invest themselves and also work with you for future products.

So, in summary: Make sure it is playtested and you have a prototype and rules set. Then start with games you like and then use www.boardgamegeek.com to search out publishers. Hopefully, I have represented a couple of points of view accurately for you to guide you.

Now all that said, the one company that jumps out at me for your specific theme is Victory Point Games. They have some smaller, highly thematic games. I liked the looks of their recent product, Villainous Vikings. Hearing "MacBeth"...I felt some similarity in theme on the surface. They are well known with some innovative games, but they certainly not the only ones out there.

GiddyAlien
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Joined: 09/16/2014
I have actually done 1 round

I have actually done 1 round of playtesting. I playtested my game with random people in this trial run. I have edited my rulebook based on it. Many commented on the difficulty level of my game and I have simplified my game to make it easier to understand and play. Is 1 round of playtesting enough, or should i have another trial run?

Also, on a side note, would it be better to self-publish or to get a company to publish your game for you? What are the pros and cons of these 2 options?

Thanks alot for your help by the way Mark.

MarkD1733
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Joined: 07/05/2014
Playtesting, playtesting, playtesting

While I cannot speak to any firsthand accounts of a publisher saying yay or nay to my game with only a single playtest, I will say this...

I listened to all of the Dice Tower University podcasts where they interview all the designers, publishers, etc in the industry. I have listened to and read a lot of blogs and forum discussions. And aside from maybe an artist or a distributor, the designers and publishers across all spectrums resoundingly say that you need to playtest more than you think. They don't want a game that isn't proven in rules, components, etc. If it's only half-done in their eyes, they will most likely not be interested. There too much work for them to potentially do.

Not to scare you off on this, but in some instances, we are talking hundreds of plays and certainly playtests with people you don't know (because people you know might not be 100% honest with you to avoid hurting your feelings or dampening your spirits). Also, letting people play cold needs to happen...give them the game the rules and simply let them have at it. Don't attempt to teach them the game. Don't tell them strategy. Etc. That provides a real test of everything.

All that said, I would think you need more playtesting to prove your game out to a much wider audience.

As far as publish vs self-publish? Do you have lots and lots of expendable cash? Do you care if you potentially lose money? If you are in that boat, self-publish. If you don't have either of those situations, I think it makes sense to work with industry experts (i.e., publishers and game developers) who can potentially take your game to the next level. I guess a question might be, what is your goal with making this game? Just to make it? To make money? Become a legend :-) That understanding might guide how you proceed. Good luck!

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