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Crowd Funding vs Publisher

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Krimika's picture
Joined: 06/14/2012

Hi, I'm new to the forums, and most importantly, to board game design.

I just wanted to hear your thoughts on getting a game to market and your publishing experience. What do you think about "self publishing" by crowd funding a game on sites, like Kickstarter or Indiegogo? Do you have any experience in that area? How does that differ from handing it off to a publisher?

I put "self publishing" in quotes because sometimes you're developing a small company to do it. Other times you're just an individual who has nowhere else to go.

Let me know what you think. Thanks guys!

Dralius's picture
Joined: 07/26/2008
Self Publishing My experience

Self Publishing

My experience in this is limited. I first hand produced the abstract game Cannon selling them directly to the customer. I was also able to get a few online stores to stock them but that was like pulling teeth. I then switched to having the games produced for me. It’s allot of work and very time consuming even if I you have someone produce them for you. That is why I eventually licensed Cannon to Blue Panther LLC and Nestor Games.

I have also done Print and Play games. Although there is not much work once you have the game complete the volume of sales is relatively small, basically coffee money.


Crowd funding is a good way to get capital to self publish but again self publishing is a lot of work. Setting up a successful campaign is also a huge project that requires tending. My game Tahiti published by Minion games and due out soon was funded through kickstater. Besides myself there was a crew of artists writers and the president of the company working on it to make it successful.

Licensing to Publishers

Can you guess what I am going to say. It’s a lot of work but in a different way. To be successful you need to research what companies want your type of game. Not every publisher publishes every type of game. Then you need to find out their submission policies and follow them to the letter. Not following directions makes you look unprofessional and difficult to work with.

Be patient because if you’re lucky enough to have your game accepted for review it usually takes month for them to decide if they want to publish it. If they decide to publish your game, and this depends on the publisher, they may ask you to make changes which could take you months to complete or they may choose to make the changes with or without your input.

It’s not over yet because most publishers will take a year or more after that to get the game to market assuming there are no delays. I have two contacts I have been waiting to have fulfilled for 3 years now. Legally the contacts give me the right to cancel them if they take more than 2 years. Since it took 4 years to find a publisher for them and I have no prospect for these games at the moment I’m letting it ride.

lewpuls's picture
Joined: 04/04/2009
Designer or marketer/producer?

I think it was Greg Costikyan who said something like, do you want to be a game designer, or do you want to be a producer and marketer? If you self-publish, you've become the latter. (He said it much more elegantly.)

Furthermore, we saw at GenCon this year lots of people with stars in their eyes about Kickstarter and how it was going to let them follow their dream. The panelists tried to disabuse people of their notions. KS works best for those with track records, people who are known to have created successful games. An unknown is VERY unlikely to successfully raise money via KS (not saying it's impossible, just very unlikely). Don't base your decision on what you think KS might provide.

It's a difficult business, competition from free-to-play video games on one side, from hundreds of tabletop games published each year so that even a good game rarely get much attention (or sales). The RPG market collapsed years ago, except for a few big publishers. This may happen in the board and card game market, who knows.

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