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Same game, different theme.

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Candika
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Joined: 08/05/2008

I have a solid core design, which easily could fit with 3-4 different themes with just minor changes.

Are there any well known examples or success stories out there, where the designer have more or less published the same game more than one time, with just thematic and minor changes?

I am thinking about using my core design but in three versions, with the purpose of being able to pitch three games instead of one.
I have got the impression that theme is more important than publishers like to admit.

The ”right” theme seems to open more doors and get people more intrested than the underlaying mechanics.

Anyone else here with similar thoughts or experience?

Ryan Winters
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Joined: 01/28/2019
Off the top of my head,

Off the top of my head, Century: Spice Road and Century: Golem Edition. In general, the more abstract a game is, the easier it is to put any theme on it. Obviously, it wouldn't hurt to have an idea of how several themes might fit a game to let a publisher pick their favorite. Whether they would go through the extra effort to produce more than one version is another question.

Candika
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Joined: 08/05/2008
Ryan Winters wrote:Off the

Ryan Winters wrote:
Off the top of my head, Century: Spice Road and Century: Golem Edition. In general, the more abstract a game is, the easier it is to put any theme on it. Obviously, it wouldn't hurt to have an idea of how several themes might fit a game to let a publisher pick their favorite. Whether they would go through the extra effort to produce more than one version is another question.

I will have a look at those games to get a feel for what others have done.

My design started with the mechanics and the theme is more or less pasted on it after the core was done.

Minor adaptions have been done to support the theme.

But a couple of other themes that struck me during design would also fit the mechanics very well.

Theres a lot of work involved with making three different prototypes with different artwork etc, even if its just clipart and symbols at this early stage.

Do you think its worth the effort to do the prototypes or do you think its better to make one prototype "shine" and just mention the other theme suggestions?

What do you think is the most succesful way when approaching a Publisher?

polyobsessive
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Joined: 12/11/2015
It depends

Candika wrote:
Do you think its worth the effort to do the prototypes or do you think its better to make one prototype "shine" and just mention the other theme suggestions?

What do you think is the most succesful way when approaching a Publisher?

I think this varies massively from publisher to publisher. It is good to tailor your pitch according to each publisher to show how your game would be good for them and that you have done your research about them. Some publishers would be put off by you essentially telling them that the theme is pasted on, but some would be impressed that you have used a theme that fits their range well.

Overall though, make a great game and pitch it. If you get a meeting with a publisher, having some ideas of how to make the game fit their range even better would potentially make for good discussion.

wob
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Joined: 06/09/2017
MONOPOLY! hated by lots of

MONOPOLY!
hated by lots of "proper" gamers, but it is a masterclass in retheming/ reskinning. infact most hasbro and waddingtons games are great examples.
for "modern" games i would look at loveletter and fluxx

Taavet
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Licensing

Like wob stated many games take the base core concept and repaste appealing themes onto them: Star Wars, LotR, Dora, etc. The premise is the same but some minor additions are made for it to appeal to a fanbase and therefore SELL which is really what the publishers are after.

I can't really give you any advice from experience on approaching a publisher, however. I think a lot of it comes down to your communication with them. Feel them out, hear what they have to say, do your research about their other products and business practices and then tailor your game and presentation as best you can to suit them. Search the market for which themes are popular and selling. Search the market for which themes aren't well represented and then try to determine if that's because they are unwanted or just not yet done.

On the other side of it, I think any of the games that have published and then rethemed and republished have all been successful to start. I can't really think of any that were flops and then got rethemed and became successful. Of course there could be some and because it was previously a flop its just not well known that it started that way. Good luck, have fun!

bottercot
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Joined: 02/06/2018
Risk

Risk has so many variations and themes that it's ridiculous. While some of the Risk versions are somewhat bad, many of them are well done and unique.
I think the farthest I've seen Risk stray from its core was Risk: Battlegrounds Rogue, where it was basically just branded as Risk while having no real relation to it.

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