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ION Award Game Competition

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spoelzing
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Dear Board Game Designers,

You are invited to submit your prototype board game to SaltCON's Ion award. Here's what you want to know.

1. This competition will be the Sundance Film Festival of prototype games.
2. The competition is open to everyone who isn't related to a judge or draws a paycheck from one of the companies doing the judging
3. Your prototype abstract must be submitted by December 31st.
4. You will be notified if you are a finalist by February 1st so you can get your plane ticket to Salt Lake
5. Any designer who has developed the game with a club or guild will be given priority over independent designers. The theory is that guild tested games have gone through a much more rigorous design process, and we want to reward that. However, if you’re flying solo, you’ll still have a great shot at making the finals. The preference is used to break ties.
6. The judges tentatively this year are:
FRED distribution and all their subsidiaries like Eagle and Griffon
Games Unplugged
Mayday Games
Out of the Box Games
Sanity Studios
Sunriver Games
Valley Games
More are on the way.

7. Of the 6 finalists last year, 4 were taken back to some of these companies for further evaluation.

You can find out everything you want to know at: www.saltcon.com or
http://www.saltcon.com/pdfs/Feb-2010-SaltCON-IonAward-Rules.pdf

We hope to see you February 26-28 regardless of whether you've made the Ion Award, or you're coming to play at our convention.

Best Regards,
Steve Poelzing

InvisibleJon
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Read the rules and submission form...

FYI: Looks like no limit to number of entries, but it's $5 per submission.

Open question for Steve: Can you tell us hat the abstracts are graded on? Specifically, I'm wondering how much weight is placed on prototype quality (Since you want a picture for each game).

truekid games
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definitely knowing the grade

definitely knowing the grade scales is important- for example, if "easy to learn" is a category that gets ranked, then that means i wouldn't even consider submitting a medium-heavy or heavy game, just because rules length would probably kill it in committee (so to speak)

Willi B
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no fly guy?

I don't know that if I were to be a finalist I would make the trip... is this a concern?

Dralius
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Too bad

“The game designer must attend SaltCON and be available on February 26th from 8:00 am to 3:00 pm. Further details will be sent to the game designer with the acceptance letter. “
 
Considering they require your attendance but promise nothing but a plaque to the winner is a bummer. I do abstract games regularly and I think I might have a good shot at this but I don’t have the time or money to go to Utah. It would be great to get a chance to show a game directly to a group of publishers but that’s a crap shoot to be sure.

Willi B
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hmmm...

Well if this is true and the market for abstracts being what it is, I'd lose money if I won and got published more than likely. I cannot see the time and plane ticket without a guarantee of either re-compensation or a contract that would exceed the amounts.

The designers presence in these contests is largely about "pimping" their event and adding prestige to it - but there should be a realistic point of view in this somewhere.

seo
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Dralius wrote:I do abstract

Dralius wrote:
I do abstract games regularly

Just a note: I don't see anything in the contest rules about the games being abstracts. The rules talk about game abstracts, not abstract games.

That said, I agree that requiring the finalists to travel seems absurd.

Chelator
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Eligibility requirement

In the list of eligibility requirements it states the prototype board game cannot have a government issued copyright. What is the reasoning behind this requirement?

Dralius
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woops

seo wrote:
Dralius wrote:
I do abstract games regularly

Just a note: I don't see anything in the contest rules about the games being abstracts. The rules talk about game abstracts, not abstract games.

That said, I agree that requiring the finalists to travel seems absurd.

I must of misread item #4 "The game must be complete by the time of abstract submission"

InvisibleJon
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My guess...

Chelator wrote:
In the list of eligibility requirements it states the prototype board game cannot have a government issued copyright. What is the reasoning behind this requirement?

My guess: Publishers find copywritten games less appealing to deal with because it limits their options for licensing and purchase.

fecundity
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InvisibleJon wrote: My guess:

InvisibleJon wrote:

My guess: Publishers find copywritten games less appealing to deal with because it limits their options for licensing and purchase.

That's nonsense. Every game design is copywritten the moment you set it down on paper. And there's a registered copyright can be sold or optioned just as readily as other rights.

InvisibleJon
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Yep.

fecundity wrote:
InvisibleJon wrote:

My guess: Publishers find copywritten games less appealing to deal with because it limits their options for licensing and purchase.

That's nonsense. Every game design is copywritten the moment you set it down on paper. And there's a registered copyright can be sold or optioned just as readily as other rights.

True. I was thinking back to when I knew less about how copyright and patent worked. Perhaps the original poster / contest managers hold this belief.

Regardless, it is an odd limitation to put on the submissions.

jeffinberlin
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Strikes against

Having to be there in person is definitely a strike against entering the competition (no chance for me:))

If they were to award the winner with a free trip to the convention, however, that would be a nice prize. Don't the winners of Sundance get something besides a plaque?

It's true, though, that simply winning a competition or being a finalist doesn't ensure the game will get published. ALL of the Hippodice finalists get taken back with the publishers to playtest (with their other 400 game submissions) and only a very few every get published.

The exposure for game designers is still good, of course, as it is not easy to get your foot in the door with a publisher who does not know you, but these contest rules are guaranteed to make their competition more provincial. Pity.

compman
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Clarification of the term "Abstract"

The term "abstract" is common in academia and is used to refer to a summary given of a particular written work - typically presented at the beginning - that provides the reader with an understanding of the subjects, methodologies, and conclusions that are contained within the paper. So, submitting an "abstract" in this context has absolutely nothing to do with an "abstract game". It refers to submitting a thorough summary of your game so that one can get an understanding of what your game is all about without having to read the entire rule book.

truekid games
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and it's a suboptimal term to

and it's a suboptimal term to try and carry over into boardgaming, where it already has a meaning ;)

compman
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To be completely fair

truekid games wrote:
and it's a suboptimal term to try and carry over into boardgaming, where it already has a meaning ;)

To be completely fair, I see boardgamers make the mistake of using terms without clarifying them all the time in their game explanations. I'll see someone teaching another player how to play Puerto Rico and they will say "after you have taken a role" without providing the simple clarification that that phrase means you select one of the role cards for yourself (while simultaneously forgetting to clarify that the brown cards off to the side with the pictures on them are what they are referring to with the term "role cards").

The funny thing is it's quite common for people who are really good at a game to be the one's who really suck at explaining it because the terms are so familiar to them it simply doesn't occur to them that those same terms might not be familiar to someone else.

I'm sure anyone here on the site who has written a rule book for a game they have been designing and developing for a long time and then had that rule book read by someone else can attest to the fact that we all make this kind of mistake from time to time.

spoelzing
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What are the abstracts graded on

Thanks for the great question. The final "grading" is judge dependent. The judges will simply rank which games they want to see, and then we'll collate these scores and invite the highest ranking games. My suggestion is to look at the list of judging companies and submit games you think might be of interest. The judge for Out of the Box prefers lighter party games, while FRED prefers a wider range of games. Each judge has equal weight.

I hope this helps.

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