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New boardgame dev

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BenMora's picture
Joined: 02/13/2012

Hello BGDF members! My name is Ben Mora. I am a boardgame enthusiast! My dining room wall is devoted to my collection of games. I have been producing a game with the hopes of getting it published or publishing it myself. Not sure yet which route to take. Any advice will be awesome! I will look around here for answers and probably also post in another thread the question of self publishing vs. hiring a publisher.

The game I'm making (without giving away details) is unlike any boardgame that I am aware is on the market, but is of a genre that is known and loved by most gamers.

Cogentesque's picture
Joined: 08/17/2011
Hiya Ben! Pleasure to meet

Hiya Ben!

Pleasure to meet you mate - sounds like you will fit in very well round here :)

Ok so!

1) There is never (voice of experience here) any reason to NOT show people your game ideas. NO ONE will steal your idea. You cannot copyright/patent a game mechanic in any country and as such if somone wanted to "steal" your game, they could do so once you had published it. By telling everyone about your game you benefit tremendously with the collective experience of professionals which you would otherwise be completely devoid of. Also if you were still worried about people stealing your ideas, would it not be better to have thousands of people vouch that you were the inventor of the game and have loads of timestamped threads on loads of internet forums around the world? And wouldn't this also raise awareness and be an entirely valid marketing strategy for your game as well?So first that.

-great info about self publishing.
For the long answer, read all the posts contained in the list, for the short answer: Don't self publish. You need to run a business to self publish - if you are running a business: you could run any business; running a business to do with boardgame supply will realistically never make you money and as such, if you are running a business to make money, you should probably do it one of a hundered easier ways.
BUT that is in relation to publishing and marketing the game yourself entirely, basically to become "a publisher". UNLESS - you get involved with kickstarter which is a recent super-trend in indy gaming. We are currently at quite a good time for indy gaming on this front as well, you will still need a distrbutor/publisher like Springboard or similar company but releasing your game through kickstarter is entirely possible :)

That should be some very good information for you to crack on with Ben!

Hope I've helped

tl;dr -tell us what your game is about and what mechanics are you using?


Joined: 01/06/2011
I can only comment about what

I can only comment about what I would expect, but if you are going to pitch your game to publishers:

1. Find out if they are accepting submissions. Most (including myself) have requirements/guidelines on their websites. Check mine out here for an example:

2. If it fits what a publisher is looking for, then email them, introduce yourself, the game, etc. By "introduce" I mean sell...we are a small publisher and I can't tell you the number of times I've already heard "there is no game out there like this" or "unique" or something similar...tell me about your game, what makes it interesting, about new mechanics, gameplay, number of players, genre, your development process, playtesting process, etc. The better job you do of that in the email, the higher chance you have of me wanting to see a prototype. (Again, just speaking on how I view submissions.)

3. Have a nice prototype made. Don't go hire an artist and have things professionally made, but a functional protoype with all the proper components, maybe some free art used, and most importantly, well-written, clear rules. People like Andrew Tullsen can help make a nice prototype..he runs Print N Play Productions. I'm not saying it has to be that nice, but scribbled directions on sticky notes won't get it done.

4. If a publisher looks at a proto, expect to wait months, not days or weeks, for a response. I'm currently running a kickstarter campaign and getting one game ready for pre-press, and I can't even say how much time I spend on that. Now multiply that for a bigger company that has a large product line. It could take them a while to get around to your game.

5. Have fun with and re-work your game until you feel it is perfect. Even then, changes might be made. If you are willing to live with changes a publisher might make, then you are on your way! This should maybe come earlier in my list, but I'm just shooting from the hip as I type this.

Best of luck to you!

Brent Cunningham
Wishing Tree Games

BenMora's picture
Joined: 02/13/2012
You are a genius! I hadn't

You are a genius! I hadn't thought of it that way. Well, I think I will follow your advice, however I think what I have to share is still too vague even for me. I haven't brought the idea to a point that I am ready to share and get feedback.

I believe what makes a novel idea is largely in the idea being the first of it's kind. In that regard, and because of what you say about game mechanics not being copyrightable, I still think it important to conceal what makes this game different so as to make sure that it only gets imitated well after it has been established as the first. When I have more concrete ideas about the game, I will then share what it is all about.
Think about it, if the Beatles had released their first album today, they really wouldn't get very popular. But when they came out, their brand of music was still young and new, and they were HUGE! Likewise I think there are countless "mediocre" or "average" artists today who would have been HUGE had they come out way back then.

Thanks for your good advice! I look forward to sharing my ideas with you!

zipplockbag's picture
Joined: 01/12/2012
I've talked to a few people

I've talked to a few people who thought they had a unique idea, either with mechanics or theme. but after recognizing the idea, i can point to a multitude of games that have already done what they think is brand new. Everything that has been thought of has been done, nothing is new. However, there are variations and twists that can set you apart and that is the secret to making a great game.

Cogentesque's picture
Joined: 08/17/2011
Hiya ben! Thank you, I am by

Hiya ben!

Thank you, I am by no means a genius, just been here a while :)

Ok so, you understand what I mean but still want to hide the idea incsse it becomes HUGE (like the beetles example). I would echo what ziplock bag has said, I am sorry to break it to you Ben, but if you tell us a little bit about the game mechanic (just a little bit) I could almost (almost) guarantee you that we would be able to find at least 3 titles that share a concept with your idea. That's just how games design works.

Honestly, I would say that there have been NO entirely new ideas in game design since settlers of catan. And even if you think your idea is new, as just said, we could probably find some examples of it not being.

I would highly reccomend you telling us a little bit about it and how it works so we can give you a list of 10 or so games that share ideas with yours - so you can gain a really broad knowledge of similar game tropes and save yourself re-inventing the wheel.

In keeping with your analogy reguarding the beetles, they were not entirely original you know. Originally a skiffle band they were called "The Silver Beetles" (before the quarry men and the blackjacks) as a tribute to Buddy Holly's band the crickets. Why did they do well? Well they were quite manufactured to mimic the looks and mind set of contemporary germany at the time (thats why they had the trademark "mophead" fowrward brushed hair made famous by german students at the time) Then, with a brilliant musical ear, they rode the waves of a social revolution (That would have happened without them!) and and this from wiki:

"The Beatles' earliest influences include Carl Perkins, Elvis Presley, Little Richardand Chuck Berry, whose songs they covered more often than any other artist's in performances throughout their career.[...]Of Presley, Lennon said, "Nothing really affected me until I heard Elvis. If there hadn't been Elvis, there would not have been The Beatles".[..] Other early influences include Buddy Holly, Eddie Cochran, Roy Orbison and the Everly Brothers. The Beatles continued to absorb influences long after their initial success, often finding new musical and lyrical avenues by listening to their contemporaries, including Bob Dylan, Frank Zappa, The Lovin' Spoonful, The Byrds and The Beach Boys, whose 1966 album Pet Sounds amazed and inspired McCartney. Martin stated, "Without Pet Sounds, Sgt. Pepper wouldn't have happened ... Pepper was an attempt to equal Pet Sounds"

How bout we rephrase and imagine a little:

Purple Pawn Interview with Ben Mora about his amazing new smash-hit game GAMETITLE:

PP: So ben, tell us about the initial starting of your game, and how it became so famous...

BM: Well PP, even though my little X mechanic, without all this previous influence, and my BGDF contempories, GAMETITLE would have never happened..."

So to be as big as the beetles, you need to ride the waves of a social revolution and you need to be a damned good game designer.

To ride the current social revolution to be famous like the beetles?
I quote myself from my first post: "UNLESS - you get involved with kickstarter which is a recent super-trend in indy gaming. We are currently at quite a good time for indy gaming on this front "

To be a good game designer?
The learning and knowledge that we have, is, at the most, but little compared with that of which we are ignorant.

BenMora's picture
Joined: 02/13/2012
Thanks for the advice guys!

Thanks for the advice guys! I'll take it to heart. I don't believe that there is nothing new under the sun though. There is ALWAYS something that nobody has thought of.

While I will say that (as you all expect) none of the individual game mechanics I am using are anything new. I might use them in a way that is slightly different than where I was inspired from.

I consider myself a boardgame enthusiast and have lots of friends and family who are into it to. If I haven't heard of a game, chances are that none of my friends have either. I am usually the one doing the introducing of a game. I tell my idea to my friends and they seem to agree that there isn't a game quite like it. If there IS a game out there that is just like what I thought was my original idea, and none of us have heard of it, then I have to assume that the company that makes it is not effectively reaching what I would consider it's prime demographic, so I will try to do it better.

I am going to be putting together a prototype and share pics with you guys and describe how the game works. Hopefully very very soon. I am so busy at work lately but I am devoting time to this now.

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