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Crafter Con 2015 Video: What to expect from distributors

The Game Crafter - The Leading Print On Demand Game Publisher

In this recorded session from Crafter Con 2015, Dave Cook at Zipwhaa shares his experience of working with distributors as a small board game publisher. Click here to watch the video on Youtube.

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Woah that was...

The worst possible scenario about how people get "sucked into" Game Design.

And how there is next to no support for advertising in distribution. The whole you're hot for 90 days is a very discouraging fact. Also the whole you are no longer in business or your game is no longer selling because one distributors no longer wants to carry your product seems like a type of fraud...

Somebody needs to start a "better" "TableTop Game" distribution company with more focus on advertising games, getting games out into the public's hands.

They've done it with ideas (crowdfunding) and shipping (fulfillment centers)... now somebody needs to look at traditional distribution and say: "We're Distribution 2.0, we not only push what sells, we advertise games that are good and need visibility."

Seriously this video is very discouraging... Sorry IMHO.

Update: "Game Salute" was supposed to sort of be a mix between a Publisher, a fulfillment center and a distributor. But I'm not sure how operations have been going lately. I have seen some failed "Game Salute" Kickstarters...

Update #2: I can picture the Google's advertising methods to be easily effective in 2.0 distribution.

What I mean is each game has "X" amount of visibility. Once you go over "X", then it's another product "Y" that gets sold.

Sort of like there is a ceiling into the number of "X" games sold per month, same goes for every other game. Sort of like a even playing ground based on $$$. So let's say "X" earns $1,000/month, that's 20 games at $50 each. Now "Y" earns $1,000/month, that's 40 at $25 each.

Just some ideas - not a definite system...

Any one else agree?

Does the whole "going into debt" for a game (design) sound ludicrous and paying off debts of one game with the next game - somewhat a "dire" circumstance to be in???

And if you are paying the debts for Game #2 with the earnings of Game #3, why would you continue this insanity and go into distribution when it's costing you "money" to continue?!?!

I don't know IF the person in this video actually is presenting a "reality" or is it "his reality"? To get a product into distribution seems like a HUGE milestone/accomplishment. I don't even think Kickstarter games get this opportunity.

What does anyone think?


Has anyone else looked at this video?

I'd like to know what other designers think? Is this the past, present or future???

I got about 4 minutes in and

I got about 4 minutes in and couldn't get through the rest. Every time he walked away from the podium the sound was too horrible to listen to.

I am pretty sure, in answer to your question about reality, that this is his reality. He is speaking entirely of his experiences, starting way back in 2001 (?). Some people are more than happy to have the profits from Project#1 pay for #2, and so on down the line because they love putting out games. This is not always the case, but it does happen. Just as some games that get published still fail miserably and lose money. Business is business and every one is different.

However, Kickstarted games most certainly DO get into distribution, all.the.time. It's a matter of making the right contacts, getting the game into the right hands and often getting a deal set up before the KS is even live.

And yes .. you're "hot" for 90 days, but that doesn't mean it's the end after that. Most things these days are only hot for a very brief period of time and then it levels out. If you're lucky you then have (relatively) slow but steady sales for a few more years. That's the holy grail of board games really. To be Evergreen (steady, consistent sales year over year after the initial hype has died out). So being Hot for 90 days should not be discouraging; it's a fact of life today for all industries really.

Sorry about the audio

We're aware of the audio issue with this video. The session before Dave's ran long and so we didn't have time to prep him in terms of staying by the podium and repeating questions for people watching on the live stream and recorded sessions.

It's not obvious when watching this video but he walked away from the podium a couple times because he had his games on a table over there. While the audio gets light at points it's still audible and we thought his session was full of some useful information. In addition, it's honest. Very honest. Which is good when you have new game designers with incorrect assumptions about distribution.

There will be an upcoming recorded session with Bob Maher Jr. He's the president of ACD and he talks about the various aspects of distribution. All of the videos we're edited are currently up at (scroll to the bottom of the page). More are coming out all the time.

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blog | by Dr. Radut