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Experience submitting prototypes to publishers

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Mads321's picture
Joined: 08/12/2012


This is my first post here, after I've been lurking for quite some time.

Never had any reason to submit a post 'till now. So here it is:

I've designed a boardgame, and after a long consideration (I'm not an artist, nor do I have any formal training in the arts of "photoshopping" etc.) I decided to do a complete graphical layout of my game. The theme was chosen among a lot of different themes, all fitting the game-mechanics quite well (with a bit of a background story of course).


I was considering trying to get the game published, but before I try doing so, I tough it best, to have the best (you guys) amongst aspiring designers, to give me a bit of feedback (hopefully).

In short terms, I wonder if it would be wisest for a game like mine, which suits an innumerable potential themes, to be sent to publishers more or less "themeless" - or if it would be better to get a "blank" prototype manufactured, and send this copy to various publishers in stead, with a paper describing all the themes I could think of, for the game?

For the graphical layout, I went with bugs (insects) for the theme. Attached is a preliminary version of the game with that theme.

ANY input/feedback on the above questions, as well as general comments to my theme is more than welcome!

Joined: 02/14/2012
Imo, the best way is to give

Imo, the best way is to give the game an initial theme you personally believe the best for the mechanics. When submitting the game proposal to the publishers you can add a note where you offer several alternative themes which could work with the game as well. This shows that you're thinking like a pro (you're willing to negotiate with publishers to meet their needs) and that you are paying attention to the bottom line as well. A lot of good games get rejected because their theme does not fit the publisher's current program - if you're submitting an awesome fantasy-themed game and they already have one in production they will reject you. If you offer them retheming, say substitute orks with robots or animals, they might seriously reconsider your proposal.

Personally, I'd strongly reccommend not sending your proposal to different publishers at the same time. If two or more publishers find your game interesting you might find yourself in an awkward position where you have to reject the publisher... and that is a big no-no, unless you're an established designer superstar. Id advise you to do your publisher research very thoroughly and send the game to ONE publisher whose product line seems most compatible with your game (similar but not TOO similar, different but not TOO different.)

I have a great "ninjas storming a castle" game which I planned to send to Z-man... but realized they already have a, believe it or not, "ninjas storming the castle" game. My mechanics are completely different, and i mean COMPLETELY different from their game, but there is no way in hell they'll publish it as it is. So now, I have to reconsider... Re-theme the game for Z-man (robots? goblins?) or send it as it is to someone else. This is just an example of how important it is to pay close attention to publishers - if you want to be successful in this game you do need to interact with the publishers and the market at large.

So, find ONE publisher and send them your proposal. Then forget it until you hear from them, that's right - FORGET IT. Take your mind off waiting (one to two months at minimum) by working on a new game. The reality of game design career is that you should always have several prototypes and proposals making rounds with various publishers until some of them "stick." Don't be a "one-game johnny" - keep plugging at it and once your first game sees publication all your other games will have a much better chance of being published.

Good luck!

Joined: 06/07/2012

Without knowing anything about the game, and just going off something launching an assault on something else, how about -

Bears vs Bees - raiding honey combs


King Canute vs Neptune - competing for domination of the beach. One unleashing waves and the other resisting or channeling them to diminish their impact.

Mads321's picture
Joined: 08/12/2012
First of all: I really

First of all: I really appreciate the input! Thank you for that!

Everything you mention about not sending a game to several publishers etc. absolutely makes sense.

Also, I will take you up on the proposal to (try to) forget about a submitted game, and work on the next in stead. I think this as also quite crusial for the creative process of creating something new. I don't want to end up with two versions of the same game..

Secondly: I'm completely amazed that Z-man already have a "Ninjas storming the castle"-game out. What are the odds? This is also making me do additional research on games similar to mine.

And lastly, I will absolutely also do my homework, before approaching a (read: THE) publisher. Is there anywhere online I can find a list of publishers accepting prototypes? Maybe even one with a short description of each publisher? I've found several shorter lists, each with overlapping publishers on them (so basicly 1-3 new on each), but most of them are quite dated..

Again, thanks for the inputs. I really appreciate it!

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