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Dice variant of popular game in print

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NewbieDesigner
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I'm in the process of making a dice variant of a popular game in print. Think of something like Puerto Rico: The Dice game that plays in about 1/2 the time but still has very similar mechanics. Should I email the publisher to see if they have any interest? Contact the designer of the game first? If no interest, then what? See if there is any print and play interest? Thanks in advance.

ElKobold
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If you're confident about the

If you're confident about the design, it might be worth a shot to email the publisher.

Make sure you send them a completed game though. I.e. after you'll go through all the blind testing etc. etc.

ilSilvano
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Not a good plan IMHO

NewbieDesigner wrote:
I'm in the process of making a dice variant of a popular game in print. Think of something like Puerto Rico: The Dice game that plays in about 1/2 the time but still has very similar mechanics. Should I email the publisher to see if they have any interest? Contact the designer of the game first? If no interest, then what? See if there is any print and play interest? Thanks in advance.

This does not sound like a good plan to me.
Following your example: if the publisher wants a Puerto Rico dice game, it will certainly ask the author (or some trusted designers) to write one.
If you write a game like this, you only have one chance: sell it to that publisher, and it is a very long shot. If you fail, you get stuck with a game you cannot produce.
Note that dice game may be very expensive to produce, depending on how many different dice you have in the box.

My suggestion is: take inspiration from a mechanics you like, and build a new game around it.

NewbieDesigner
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Interesting thoughts. Dark

Interesting thoughts. Dark Moon (based on Battle Star Galactica) is an example of a game I had in mind as far as a publisher picking it up.

Perhaps the publisher hasn't thought about a dice version of the game? Also, the current incarnation is 2 player only (shouldn't be hard to scale it up) and the base game is not good at two player so I'm wondering if that is the way to approach the pitch, e.g. "Puerto Rico Das Duel".

I could try building a new game but the mechanics are 75% close to the original, enough that it feels icky to me even though mechanics can't be patented.

McTeddy
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There's nothing wrong with

There's nothing wrong with submitting a dice version of the popular game.

Depending on the contract for the original, they may fully own the right, already have set fees for producing spin-offs or Worst case, they'd talk to the designer.

That said, I'd advise against pitching as "XX: The Dice Game" Polish it and sell it as stand-alone game. You can mention that it is influenced by or has similarities to the original but make it YOUR game.

Let THEM decide that it's "XX: The Dice Game". They may even decide that with some tweaks it'll better fit a different game in their portfolio.

The more you narrow their view of the game the less likely they'll be able to see how it fits into their needs.

Gabe
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This is something Jamey

This is something Jamey Stegmaier and I talked about on the first BGDL podcast.

According to him, designing an expansion (or in this case variant) for an already published game is never a bad idea. If the publisher likes it and thinks it will make them money, they're likely to print it.

It's much easier for a publisher to continue an already established brand than to create a new one.

Now, with that being said, getting any game picked up by a publisher is difficult and even more so in this case. So, there's a good chance it won't happen. In this type of case, you're really only able to talk to one publisher, so the odds are not in your favor.

Just make sure you contact the publisher with a completely finished and well playtested game. They don't care about ideas.

NewbieDesigner
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Thanks!

Thanks!

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