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Going Public with a game

6 replies [Last post]
Joined: 04/03/2010

Hi,... My name is Donna I have been lurking in the background and reading a lot of posts.. I have finally become a member and have some questions.

I have made a game and want to get it out to the public. I was worried about how my idea would be safe. After reading many posts and doing research.. I guess it really doesn't pay to patent your game but ... Should I patent? Should I copyright the rules? Should I trademark the name (the name of my game is perfect it makes the game)? Should I do all these things before going public? Does going public protect in some way? I have had the game playtested and people like it. I have a custom made prototype of my game, can go public with it but very unique would be very hard to mass produce this way(Cheap,Classy and Time consuming to make but looks like a deluxe showroom model) . Should I get a prototype game made up that can be mass produced? Where would I one of my games made up in a box ready to sell? Lots of questions, I am very new to this... simplest answers as possible.. would be great I really need some help....thanks Donna..

truekid games
truekid games's picture
Joined: 10/29/2008
Disclaimer: I'm not a

Disclaimer: I'm not a lawyer.

Ideas are cheap and a dime a dozen, the execution to bring them to fruition is the hard part. The odds of you having your game concept legitimately stolen are infinitesimal when viewed amongst the pool of possible game ideas out there. even the worst liars and cheats in the world will already have their own game ideas they want to pursue, they've no need to steal yours.

copyrighting the rules (well, they're actually copyrighted as soon as you write them, but that's not the point) offers essentially no protection- copyright only protects them as written (as in, someone can reword it and you have no protection). copyrights are more useful for game artwork than rules.

patent "protects" the mechanics of the game. if you are planning on submitting to publishers, they would pay for the patent themselves IF they think it's worthwhile. if you are planning on self publishing, you need to calculate the costs to patent amortized across your intended production run. on top of that, you need to be willing to protect the patent (meaning, pay the legal fees to do so). the government does not monitor or automatically protect things for you, you must actively pursue that yourself. moreover, even if granted a patent, a very large percentage of patents that wind up in court get thrown out based on "prior use" anyway. UNLESS you are planning on publishing yourself AND your production run is high enough that you intend to get the game into Toys R Us and Wal-Mart, I would not recommend wasting your time or money on a patent. Since you're asking us and not your CFO or board of consultants, I'd wager that's not the case ;)

I put trademark into a similar boat- unless you think the game is going to be the flagship of your new giant mass-market company, it's probably not worth your time. I've yet to see a game whose name is actually integral to the design.

If you want to submit to publishers, and you've got a prototype and rules that have been thoroughly playtested, blind playtested, and tuned, then you're ready to start doing so.

If you're going to self-publish, there are small POD companies (blue panther, guild of blades, that can help you for small print runs, depending on your needs. For larger print runs or more complex components (like molded plastic parts) you can talk to a turnkey solution (like imagigrafx or ludofact) or start scoping out companies in china.

InvisibleJon's picture
Joined: 07/27/2008
I recommend asking more questions and doing more research.

Truekid hit everything I'd want to say, so I'm going to take a different approach.

What's your goal? Is it to share your game with the world? Is it to make lots of money? Is it to start your own game publishing company to make more games? Is it to start your own game publishing company to publish other people's games? Is it to sell or license your game to an existing company and make money that way?

All of these are lots of work. Many of these are aided by professional legal and accounting help. Several of these put lots of money at risk with a low chance of return. Several of these are also not likely to actually happen. Forgive me for not doing so, but I'm not going to break down each one right now – I'm tremendously sleepy.

Before you commit a lot of time and money, I strongly recommend going to one or more industry trade shows. You'll get to see a lot of other people in a position similar to yours, learn a lot about how the industry works, make contacts, and get a clearer idea of what you're getting into. Consider the New York Toy Fair ( ), the Chicago Toy Fair ( ) , and the GAMA Trade Show (aka GTS). Depending on your game's focus, other shows may be appropriate ( ).

Despite all of my warnings, I sincerely wish you the best fortune possible. Learn as much as you can about what you'll have to do with your game when it's a real thing and the money has been spent before you spend any money. I hope you get everything you're seeking from your adventure into the board game industry.

Joined: 04/03/2010
Thanks Jon and Truekid, I

Thanks Jon and Truekid, I appreciate your responses.

Jon .. after thinking of what you said ...where do I want this to go???? I want to make some money, and get it out in the public. I am not looking for that million dollars. I want soemthing to do at home in my spare time.
Truekid, great info.... it infact has helped me make a decision.

Joined: 04/03/2010
I see there is a Playtesting

I see there is a Playtesting section on the forum... I think I might try that and see what people think on here. It is just a simple checker variant game...

rpghost's picture
Joined: 03/03/2009
I also very much agree with

I also very much agree with what was said above. You're wasting your time if you're thinking about protecting your unique/great game - esp if you want to even may some money at all when you're done. We release games in print and plan and then into print and no one in the industry has any real interest in stealing your ideas or even your prototype. There are just too many other things to go after.

If they do steal that little cool idea (say, deck building concept) - well you couldn't have protected yourself to begin with anyway. You can't protect that. Even if your lawyer says you can, to protect it or chase someone down would cost you so much money...

In fact, most publishers will NOT look at your game at all if you're being overly protective or expect them to sign some sort of NDA. Usually it's the reverse, you sign something to protect the publisher from your frivilous lawsuit.


Joined: 07/19/2010
Where to go

Hi fitwind.
Scary out there isn't it.
I have been helping a group of 6th form School girls get a new game to market, it has taken 18 months and a lot of hard work, but we are finally there. We are launching the game at the Autumn Fair in Birmingham in September.
We to had your dilemmas too.
It can be a costly business.
We copyrighted the design at first then did the trademarks once the game was in production.
Check use out at:


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