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New Major US Publisher accepting submissions!

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richdurham
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Just added to our publisher list is the newly formed division of US Playing Card company, "Bicycle Games." Yes, as in Bicycle playing cards.

They are accepting submissions! Here is the Publisher List link.

For your convenience, here are the details of their requirements:

  • Party or Light Strategy Games
  • Low complexity and easy to teach
  • <1 hour to play
  • Cards as a primary component of the game
  • Games designed for the modern-day mass market tabletop player with a focus on being a great vehicle for face to face social interaction.

Link to their game submission form

Good luck, BGDFers!

The Professor
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Great stuff!

Rich,

Thanks for your assistance to this wonderful community!

Cheers,
Joe

polyobsessive
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Cool

Thanks for the info, Rich.

I just had a click through their submission process, which seems reasonably straightforward.

Worth noting that they say that: "We require all submissions to have some art developed in order to be considered."

This only crops up if you click that your game has no art developed. It is not entirely clear what this means, but there is an option for "prototype art", so hopefully they are just setting an expectation that you have made some effort on presentation, rather than expecting you to necessarily provide final artwork.

FrankM
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Artwork

polyobsessive wrote:
Thanks for the info, Rich.

I just had a click through their submission process, which seems reasonably straightforward.

Worth noting that they say that: "We require all submissions to have some art developed in order to be considered."

This only crops up if you click that your game has no art developed. It is not entirely clear what this means, but there is an option for "prototype art", so hopefully they are just setting an expectation that you have made some effort on presentation, rather than expecting you to necessarily provide final artwork.

I hope this is true, since one current design of mine has amateurish prototype art on the cards, but nothing approaching marketable.

Ali Ludlow
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Thank you!

Good to know.
Thank you!!

lewpuls
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Scam?

Perhaps I just missed it, but I see nothing on the US Playing Card site about this. The link you've provided is at Wufoo.com - whoever that is. How do we know this is legitimate?

I'm especially suspicious if they require some art. How many legitimate publishers use art developed or obtained by a designer? Virtually none.

So is this a scam for someone to get their hands on a lot of games?

lewpuls
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Fishy

I have to add that a response (especially the response they specify, which is an offer to publish or license or third party) within 10 days also sounds really fishy. And what's this third party stuff? That would fit with someone pulling a fast one, then offering on games to publish them as a third party.

Turn on your skepticism neurons.

questccg
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Let me do my job ...

And I'll look into the matter further. Thanks for pointing out those details, I will validate (or disprove) them... As soon as I know if this IS a SCAM or not, I will post an update (comment) in this thread and make any corrections to our Publisher's List (if required).

Keep you all posted...!

Update: I have officially contact the Bicycle Brand of the US Playing Card Game company to see if this is REAL or a SCAM.

Update #2: I have personally looked into the website a little - and they are asking MANY "Personal" question regarding Identity. I personally would never submit my identity information (even IF it was legit) - for risk of identity theft.

I hope to get news sometime tomorrow - during the afternoon.

lewpuls
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My Bad

Ah, I see I misread the terms, whoever-it-is is asking to be notified by the designer if the designer gets an offer, they're not offering to respond in a short time themselves.

I tried searching online for any word of a new division of USPC. Not a word.

lewpuls
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Found it!

I went to icv2 and searched for bicycle. Yes, this seems to be legit:

https://icv2.com/articles/news/view/38233/bicycle-games-tabletop-game-st...

"United States Playing Card Company has launched Bicycle Games Tabletop Game Studio, a new publishing arm which will produce adult party, party, and light strategy games. The company promises “superior quality, artfully designed components,” and that the games will be produced primarily in the U.S.

The new game studio’s name is derived from Bicycle Playing Cards, United States Playing Card Company’s flagship brand of playing cards, its primary product line through its 150-year history. The company produces 90% of its products at its Erlanger, Kentucy manufacturing facility. "

There's a description of their first game; it seems unlikely icv2 has been conned.

wufoo.com, by the way, is a subsidiary of surveymonkey that enables online forms; anyone could be using it.

questccg
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Glad you found "something"

But it dates back to August 6, 2017. There does seem to be a registered website "http://www.bicyclegames.com" which is registered to the USPC company... But the page is BLANK.

So either they folded already or they don't have a website(?!) Which is possible but strange for such a LARGE company - not having a website seems to be another "Red Flag".

Something still doesn't feel "right" (as Dr. Lew originally said "fishy").

I'll wait for the "Bicycle" Company to respond as they should be aware of another flagship company using the "Bicycle" brand... I tried contacting "customer service" ... and hopefully they will write back soon.

For now, I'll still keep it as "Under Review"...

richdurham
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This is legitimate.

Seriously, all. I appreciate skepticism and critical reading habits as general rules. So I hope you all can also appreciate the origin of this information was a primary source. In this case the USPC company's Innovation Project Manager, Maria Sowers.

questccg
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Ok Rich...

I still find it strange that there is "No Website"! But since you say it is legit, well there is no reason to prove the contrary.

Sorry. I just started to wonder with the absence of a Website, then all of the personal information required (by the form), etc.

It seemed like an illegitimate spoof of a real company.

And then the categories in the form seemed "incorrect" too. What has "Marketing and Development" got to do with "personal information" (They ask identity questions under that category)... Again strange.

Just things that struck out at me... However no worries if this information came directly from USPC Company. That's a trusted source.

Super-Tooned
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Hey Rich!

Thanks bro.

Super-Tooned
Elliot Brooks
Twin Eagle Graphics
Independent Game Studio

FrankM
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Some caution

questccg wrote:
I still find it strange that there is "No Website"! But since you say it is legit, well there is no reason to prove the contrary.

Sorry. I just started to wonder with the absence of a Website, then all of the personal information required (by the form), etc.

It seemed like an illegitimate spoof of a real company.

And then the categories in the form seemed "incorrect" too. What has "Marketing and Development" got to do with "personal information" (They ask identity questions under that category)... Again strange.

Just things that struck out at me... However no worries if this information came directly from USPC Company. That's a trusted source.


They aren't mutually exclusive possibilities... the division might not actually be launched yet and someone with advance knowledge spoofed them.

Not sure how likely that is, but I've seen less likely premises serve as the basis of a game :-)

questccg
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Well I'm going to wait

Hopefully my e-mail to the Bicycle Company will result in either a Yea or Nay. It might be news to them too... And so they'll have to contact USPC Company and validate that the branding being used is okay and the proper rights are being respected with regards to the Bicycle Company.

Just weird on how the form is put together too...

It doesn't seem like a US-Citizen made the form. Looks like someone from China or Overseas who speaks English but is not an American put together the form...

It's also HIGHLY plausible too. Because I've checked the careers section and they deal with China and Polynesia for outsourced manufacturing. So maybe that can account for the "glitches"... IDK. Just thinking.

I'll wait until I get the response directly from the "horse's mouth" and Bicycle Cards tell us yes this is a new division or no this is a spoof.

Cheers all... It's great to know we have a very scrupulous group of designers who think with their heads first!

questccg
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No longer accurate

lewpuls wrote:
...I'm especially suspicious if they require some art. How many legitimate publishers use art developed or obtained by a designer? Virtually none...

Actually Dr. Lew, this is happening more and more frequently with SMALLER Publishers. They don't have Graphic Designers and Illustrator on staff. They focus on managing Manufacturing Quotes and handling fulfillment centers, and generally run the Kickstarter because of their previous KS successes.

But usually these publishers would like to have a PREVIEW of what your game will look like before setting up an agreement to make, sell and promote your game.

So smaller Publishers (which can sometimes be a 1 person company) are not able to handle ALL the details. Maybe they produced their own games and Kickstarter those - and have built up a following. Their next step is to look for OTHER games and see if they can bring those to fruition.

Take for example "Jason Glover" ("Plague: The Card Game")... He produced and designed "Zogar's Gaze", "Dig Down Dwarf" and the popular "Plague"... I think he's taking a break from looking for OTHER games and focusing on his own designs -- but there was a time he was KS-ing 2 to 3 campaigns a year (other designers works).

It seems like if you build an audience of 2,000+ backers, you can pretty much continue to find GOOD/GREAT games to add to your own personal library of games you "PUBLISHED". And that's sort of what Jason was doing... Adding more NEW games that he found to be interesting and had an appeal to merit being published.

So while Jason does his OWN artwork for his OWN games... I'm sure he'd prefer if someone had their own artist lined-up and ready to show some samples about HOW the game could look like...

Cheers.

lewpuls
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Art

Daniel Solis does his own art, for small publishers. Makes it much easier to sell the game to the publisher. There was a gent whose main job is making art for games, who designed a game and supplied the art (naturally). But US Playing Card Company isn't going to be a smaller publisher, surely? 2,000 units is a failure for a large company. No large publisher looks for designer-made art.

Also, if ICV2 describes in detail Bicycle's first game (Nailed), they must be in business. But nothing on the website? This smacks of their subsidiary being "some guy in China."

I haven't gone deep into the form yet. Perhaps a company in China convinced USPCC this would be a good deal, and that explains the doubtful features. But it doesn't say much about USPCC. Remember, I could not find a single reference to the subsidiary on the main site! (Might be there, but if so, buried).

lewpuls
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bicyclegames.com

From whois.net about bicyclegames.com

Updated Date: 2016-02-10T06:48:50Z
Creation Date: 2010-02-14T19:53:17Z

So the URL itself is nearly 8 years old. And it isn't surprising it's blank, but you'd think whoever was marketing these new games would have started something there.

lewpuls
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I have submitted a

I have submitted a "game".

It's a strange form. It appears to be made for those who have self-published (not those who license), e.g. requiring a crowd-funding URL and a video link (I had to just list my website). Yet early on it asks if you have a prototype (choices yes or no) How could you have these two if there's no prototype? At one point I saw a stage for personal information shown above, but I didn't get to it, nor is it listed initially.

"How many games have you developed that are currently in-market? *"

What does "in-market" mean? Games that have been published? Games that are currently in print? Games that are announced to be published? Or what combination? No idea.

They require you to upload rules or a "sell-sheet." Fair enough, but I wasn't letting these people see my rules, given the oddities I've noticed. I don't do sell-sheets (which are supposed to be for convincing retailers to stock your game, not a function for someone who licenses games to publishers), I uploaded a one-page description.

"Do you have art developed for this game? *" Choices are:
"No
Yes prototype only
Yes Final"

What? Do these folks just want to put their name on what would otherwise be a self-published game, and take most of the money? Or perhaps has already been self-published? That's what it looks like right now.

*Shakes head*

questccg
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Very fishy...

lewpuls wrote:
It's a strange form... What does "in-market" mean? Games that have been published? Games that are currently in print? Games that are announced to be published? Or what combination? No idea...

"Do you have art developed for this game? *" Choices are:
"No
Yes prototype only
Yes Final"

What? Do these folks just want to put their name on what would otherwise be a self-published game, and take most of the money? Or perhaps has already been self-published? That's what it looks like right now.

*Shakes head*

My sentiments exactly. Like I said, the FORM doesn't seem to have been created by an American... Most like a Chinese partner or elsewhere with English not being the #1 Language. I can "understand" or "assume" what they are implying... But it's definitely ODD.

Like you said Dr. Lew - Fishy...

questccg
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I wouldn't apply...

lewpuls wrote:
Daniel Solis does his own art, for small publishers. Makes it much easier to sell the game to the publisher. There was a gent whose main job is making art for games, who designed a game and supplied the art (naturally). But US Playing Card Company isn't going to be a smaller publisher, surely? 2,000 units is a failure for a large company. No large publisher looks for designer-made art.

But MAYBE "Bicycle Games" inc. are working on a limited staff and budget. The USPC Company may be big ... but that says nothing for this off-shoot.

Like I said, the website is BLANK. (http://www.bicyclegames.com)

So who knows if these people have any money to pay for services... such as Graphic Designers and Illustrators (Artists). They may be starting on a very limited budget and use other games to propel "Nailed it" as one of many games they have brought to the market (Published).

Sort of build up a "repertoire" of games rather QUICKLY... Something like that.

Anyways - I don't "trust" that form.

questccg
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Strange too!

richdurham wrote:
Seriously, all. I appreciate skepticism and critical reading habits as general rules. So I hope you all can also appreciate the origin of this information was a primary source. In this case the USPC company's Innovation Project Manager, Maria Sowers.

Strange how "Maria Sowers" is listed as one of the "Game Designers" of "Nailed It"?! Did she "design" this game...?

Maybe Dr. Lew can explain all that legal mumbo-jumbo you need to agree to?!

On her profile page it states: "The United States Playing Card Company".

The game "Nailed it" was supposed to be launched in November 2017. Funny no website promoting "Nailed it" especially when it comes to the USPC Company.

I don't know something just doesn't feel right. The Form, the Website (or lack of one), no promotion, no KS, a BGG entry (is Maria Sowers a Game Designer)?!

FrankM
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New and improved blank

questccg wrote:
Like I said, the website is BLANK. (http://www.bicyclegames.com)

Yes, but according to the metadata it's version 1.1.7 of that blank page.

According to Internet Archive, it had placeholder websites in 2002 to 2004 (as if it was registered but never used), and has been blank for quite a while.

questccg
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IDK what to think!

FrankM wrote:

Yes, but according to the metadata it's version 1.1.7 of that blank page...

I guess we all agree... Very strange indeed!

P.S.: No news from the Bicycle Cards company's Customer Service. They may be as surprised as we are! LOL

richdurham
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All brands.

The upcoming Bicycle Games is not necessarily a subsidiary of Bicycle Cards, which is just a brand name. The internet sleuths probably noticed that Bicycle Cards is just brands owned by Newell Brands, which also owns USPC (a subsidiary of Jarden Corporation, which is a conglomerate owned by Newell).

The big takeaway is that sometimes Global Market Megacorp (tm) doesn't know how to talk with the hobby industry, nor do all their moving parts go at the same speed.

questccg
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I just think Bicycle Cards would be aware...

Because "Bicycle Games" is using the very "similar" Branding as "Bicycle Cards". And as a larger company, you would expect them to have a website... Or have some kind of promotion of "Nailed It"! At least somewhere especially if it was supposed to be launched in November 2017...

Look I'm not saying they're not legit. I'm just saying it is a bit suspicious ... That's all. I think a few of us feel that way. A bit of caution is usually for good measure.

We'll see if more develops over the coming months...

lewpuls
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It's more a question of

It's more a question of preparation and competence, than legitimacy. "Final art"? Never heard of a competent publisher wanting final art from a submitter.

The lady in question is on LinkedIn as having been with PSPC in the innovation position for a year and 5 months. She and the co-designer of Nailed It have no other designs listed on BGG. And there's been no marketing for Nailed It, and a blank website. Altogether, it's likely legitimate but sounds half-baked.

questccg
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Strange too!

lewpuls wrote:
..."Final art"? Never heard of a competent publisher wanting final art from a submitter...

Well Dr. Lew, my game "TradeWorlds" is an example of Self-Publishing via "The Game Crafter" (TGC) and still looking for a Publisher to represent my game. In my case "Outer Limit Games" (http://www.outerlimitgames.com).

When I approached them, we knew they were a Father & Son team who had just launched their own game (Tau Ceti) ... and were interested in other Sci-Fi games too. Since my game was in limited production but already HAD artwork for the "Early Edition" of the game... Mike & Stan did a complete re-design for the look of the game - and WOW! Took the game from "nice" to "awesome"... Virtually the game was re-designed (with the exception of "core" gameplay and the original artwork).

They also loved the artwork my artist had done. So they've contracted my artist in the extension of other scenarios, portrait cards and a couple extra expansions too. So it can happen and like I said, some people search TGC for GEMS to "re-publish" and offer a greater audience through a Kickstarter or traditional distribution...

lewpuls wrote:
...And there's been no marketing for Nailed It, and a blank website. Altogether, it's likely legitimate but sounds half-baked.

Very true. But questionable... And that's why so many "little things" seem to be "wrong" (or at least dubious). I'm in no way trying to dis-credit them... Another thing which is "different": they ARE looking for Party Games! Most Publishers are NOT.

I'll be the first one to wish them all the success in the world. I'm not a hater or anything like that... I was just off-put by how "strange" everything regarding this company seems to be.

chris_mancini
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BOOM! Submission made.

Well despite all the debate to the legitimacy of this, I've gone ahead and submitted a game. If anyone cares to see a short video of it, you can check it out here:
https://youtu.be/08WNY12Ep9s

It's one which has gotten some light discussion here on BGDF; let's see if any word comes back from the Bicycle team. I've had it completed for years now, pitched it to companies a few times but not nearly enough, and it's been sitting on my shelf of prototypes for too long!

Thanks Rich for letting the group here know!

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