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Two humble questions from a foreign novice

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Mugenjin
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Joined: 11/23/2010

To begin with, I should apologize for my terrible English: I'm Lithuanian, I speak and write in Lithuanian and Russian; however, English is a bit of trouble for me.

I would like to ask two general questions on game publication, and I will be grateful if someone provides the answers.

1) I have designed a game. I play-tested it numerous times and it works just fine. It's a simple and fun dice game - a little bit random, but it's fast and agressive and it has, in playtesters' opinion, catchy "Take this!" mechanism. I've written the rules in English, and though some minor corrections (especially grammatical) need be made; the game is pretty much fully developed. I am currently designing the sell sheet for possible publishers. Also, however optimistically delirious this statement may sound, I think that the game would sell good. The real problem is - this game is based on a famous movie franchise. Thus I would like to ask: which publisher(s) would agree to take on a game which is already based on a licensed product and overcome the difficulties of contacting the film corporation – or shall I try to contact the corporation directly?

2) I’m a citizen of Lithuania. I live in Vilnius. Sure, my motherland is a part of the EU, but doubtlessly it’s not a part of the UK or the US. Is there still any hope in offering my games to the American and British publishers, bearing in mind the fact I live abroad, or is my case lost from the very start?

I Thank You for Your kind attention.

ilta
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Joined: 12/05/2008
Your English is very good for

Your English is very good for a non-native speaker. No need to apologize at all.

Most publishers who you'd be able to get a hold of as a first-time designer (ie small publishers) won't be interested in dealing with the hassle of a licensed property. Movie companies will ignore you completely, without exception, and may possibly respond by telling you to stop your efforts.

That said, if the game company likes the mechanics of the game they will be able to separate out the theme and re-theme it, or if they LOVE the mechanics and can't separate the theme, they will contact the company.

(Aside: many games get re-themes along the way, in fact. In some cases, an abstract game is GIVEN a licensed theme, as in the "Princess Bride: Storming the Castle" game, which was originally the hang-gliding -- yes, hang-gliding -- themed "Temple of the Monkey."

http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/35524/the-princess-bride-storming-the...

End aside).

The point is, the theme is much less important to a publisher than the game-play and mechanics. If those are solid (and more than "my friends like it" solid; we're talking complete strangers picking it up, reading the rules without your input, and then enjoying it) then you should be fine.

I don't think being a foreign citizen is likely to present a problem in the basic sense; although of course being able to meet in person is good for any project (both to sell it to the publisher, and during the publishing process), it's not by any means required. Follow the submission guidelines for the publisher and you should be at the same level as any other American or British designer. And remember, many game companies are in Germany.

Dralius
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Joined: 07/26/2008
ilta wrote:The point is, the

ilta wrote:
The point is, the theme is much less important to a publisher than the game-play and mechanics.

I don't think this is true for all publishers. Look at Hasbro for example. They will make a licence game with no plan to republish it after the buzz of the movie, etc.. wears off. Most the licence games they publish are junk.

ilta
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Joined: 12/05/2008
Yes, but Hasbro is the

Yes, but Hasbro is the perfect example of a company that won't look at a first-time designer's unsolicited license-themed submission (or, I believe, *any* unsolicited submission).

For a company of that size, the process would be:

- acquire a hot license
- have an in-house designer or frequent collaborator knock something out using that license
- publish
- move on

There are already so many strikes against him in this scenario that his time is much better spent pursuing a smaller publisher and being willing to drop the theme.

ReneWiersma
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Joined: 08/08/2008
Hello Mugenjin and welcome to

Hello Mugenjin and welcome to the BGDF!

To answer your second question first, I am from the Netherlands and my first game was published by an American publisher (Z-Man Games) and all contact we had about the game was through internet. Your actual location doesn't matter much in this digital age. Also, a lot of game publishers are based in Germany.

A licenced game are usually published by the big boys, like Hasbro or Ravensburger. Unfortunately, these are also the hardest to approach, usually only through an agent.

What I would suggest is finding a publisher who publishes games in the hobby market that are similar in complexity and target audience as the one you currently have. Find out if you can contact them through email and pitch the idea that way. Ultimately a publisher will decide what theme they use for the game. They might ditch the licenced theme and go with a slightly altered theme. It's up to them.

Markus Hagenauer
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Joined: 12/04/2009
Which movie are you talking

Which movie are you talking about?
Maybe some publishers already have a licence.
"The Hobbit" for example would be at Fantasy Flight and Kosmos. But for Hobbit games, I´m affraid you are a little late.

Mugenjin
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Joined: 11/23/2010
I'm grateful for Your kind

I'm grateful for Your kind and plentiful advice. People are incredibly helpful and friendly here. To answer Markus' question, I'm talking about "A Nightmare on Elm Street" franchise. I've posted the rules on several fans' forums; however, I feel that this particular dice game would be more successful published than in "Print and play" format. Also, as I have already stated, a few corrections need to be made, but overall the rules are finished, play-tested and ready for blind play-testing. Maybe I should share it with people on these boards?

Markus Hagenauer
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Joined: 12/04/2009
Cardinal and Victory Games

Cardinal and Victory Games have published a Nightmare on Elm Street game. Maybe first aks them, how extensive thier licenc deal is, and if they would be interrested.

The horror theme would fit to Twilight Creations.

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