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Launching a new Publishing Company

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Warden
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Joined: 02/19/2013

BGDF crew,

I recently launched a new game company to publish my game COMMISSIONED. I have received some good feedback from people on this site, and wanted to keep you in the loop. COMMISSIONED is a 2-6 player, historically-themed, cooperative, board game with a simple deck-building mechanism. The players act as the early Christian apostles, and work together to strengthen their faith decks (unique to each player), grow the church, collect the New Testament, and overcome persecution. The game takes one hour to play, and does not require any knowledge about Christianity. For more information, check out:

www.charagames.com

I am going to launch a KS in early summer. Please, feel free to tell anyone you know who might be interested. Thanks again, BGDF for the support, encouragement, and advice!

questccg
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A little confused?!

Are you launching a GAME or are you planning to publish OTHER people's games??? The title of the topic is "Launching a new Publishing Company" and your post is all about a religious game you designed that you want to Kickstart.

Update: I took a look at your website. And from what I gather you are interested in Publishing Christian content. I wish you both the best success but I wonder if this might be too narrow of a category. If you have the ability to help ONE (1) other designer by publishing HIS game, well then you could call yourself a Publisher for sure...

But being that your opportunities seems to be rather "limiting", I can forward you this gentleman's name "Rick Schworer", he called himself a Bible Nerd and his card game was supposed to be about all the Heroes and Villains in the Bible. He said he put the game on the backburner but maybe you want to speak with him and help him out.

If you are both interested just Private Message (PM) me and I will send you his e-mail...

Unfortunately my game is looking for a Publisher - but it is not Christian content.

Warden
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Clarification

questccg,

I can understand your confusion. Right now, my company is getting ready to launch our first game (which we designed). In the future, we would be interested in working with other designers on games with Christian themes. Our big requirements will be that the game is both fun and not "preachy." Right now, we aren't accepting other designs because we are still mapping out the manufacturing/distribution network. Things are coming together nicely, but we don't have the ability to handle any more right now. If Rick is still looking for a publisher in about 6 months, have him contact me! Good luck in your own hunt for a publisher!

questccg
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Warden wrote:If Rick is still

Warden wrote:
If Rick is still looking for a publisher in about 6 months, have him contact me!

Sure I'll pass the information along. He just wrote a book and says his dream card game is on the backburner... But as I told him, some Publisher are interested in game ideas as opposed to a fully developed game.

I'm sure with some help - it could be a good game! I personally like the premise of the "Heroes vs. Villains" of the Bible. Plus the flavor text on the cards was direct quotes from the Bible - which was pretty cool also!

Soulfinger
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For my ten cents, the problem

For my ten cents, the problem that I have with most Christian-themed games is that they trivialize Scripture. That's not a commentary on the game that you are suggesting, Warden. I just find most of the merchandise at Christian bookstores to be blasphemous, as though Jesus threw the merchants out of the temple so they could set up shop across the street selling WWJD bumper stickers to the guy who cut me off in traffic. The holy Word of God ends up on coffee mugs, t-shirts, and game cards with the same reverence and forethought as a Deep Thought by Jack Handy. That makes for a fine balancing act when selecting a game to play with my son, and so we play secular games.

It doesn't seem to me that most people care about this, but what I look for foremost in a Christian product is responsible sourcing. My father was frequently tasked with setting up factories in China, and the course material that he taught later in life included the question, "What do you do if an employee approaches you, asking to hold an after hours Bible study on company grounds?" You say no, obviously. Atheism is state enforced in China, and allowing this would be a criminal offense that could result in jailings, fines, or even seizure of the factory. Yet, the bulk of Christian products are manufactured there even considering the low pay and work conditions afforded the laborers. I find crucifixes with a "Made in China" sticker affixed to them to be one of the most ironic statements in Western culture.

I would also suggest that you look into Servant Leadership while finalizing your business model and look into what the companies with the best Corporate Social Responsibility reputations are doing. It's easy to find a Christian-owned company furthering a political agenda, but much harder to find one with a Christ-based agenda. I firmly believe that a company defines itself and its products by the example that it sets, not how much merchandise they can fit Jesus' name onto, and I believe that Scripture supports this. I wish you well in your new venture and with your upcoming KS.

Warden
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Very Thoughtful Insights

Soulfinger,

Your comments are spot on. We have felt the same. Our goal in establishing this company was to do something different. If I have read your post correctly, you have identified three major areas of attention: the game, the means, and the intent. I would like to speak to each of these.

Games with pasted-on Bible themes produce two results: terrible games and terrible witness. Bible scattergories, bible cranium, and bible trivia games are blatant mass market attempts to harness a market. When you play them, they aren't that much fun, and the group is not generally improved by the experience. Commissioned (our first game) is designed to immerse the player in the historical experience of the early church. In as much as they want to, players can feel the hardship, wonder, and faith experienced by early Christians. By definition, scripture is used in context. The scripture itself, however, is kept in a theme appendix. If you want to learn more about that event in history, look it up. If not, keep the game rolling.

The means are important, because you can work against your purpose in your execution. As we prepare to manufacture our game, we looked at companies in the US, Germany, and China. We did not pick simply on price. We ended up picking a company that runs a factory in China, but has Western management, and explicitly establishes good conditions for its workers in China. Actually, they were quite a bit more expensive than the other Chinese manufacturer we quoted. The US and German manufacturers would have forced a retail price increase from $45 to $80. This would have effectively killed the game, and any potential impact it could have.

The company's intent is just as important as the game. Here is ours: Joy. People experience joy through their relationships with God and other people. We make games designed to build those relationships through shared experience. Experience joy together! Chara means joy in Biblical Greek. Chara Games exists to provide a means for Christians to strengthen their faith through gaming. It also provides a non-threatening way to approach Christianity with non-believers. None of our games, however, will be "preachy" or proselytizing.

I totally understand your experience. I have had it myself. I hope that Chara Games can offer a new way for Christians to merge a great hobby with their faith. I would appreciate any feedback you might have. For more info, check out:

www.charagames.com

Thanks again for your insights!

The Professor
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Joined: 10/25/2014
Wishing you the best of luck!

Warden

Both questccg and Soulfinger have touched on several of the themes or comments I would have offered, so I'll simply wish you the very best of luck in your endeavors. Over the past few years, I've noted nearly three-dozen Christian-based card and/or board games on KS, and not one reached it's goal. Maybe there were design flaws, poorly written/edited rules, or something much less tangible...did it lack "inspiration?" Now, at the risk of sounding "preachy" ~ which is not my intent ~ definitely take those comments presented here and elsewhere into consideration as you move forward. Again, a game that involves one's faith beyond pasted-on theme would prove valuable.

Cheers,
Joe

EthosGames
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Thank you for your thoughtful

Thank you for your thoughtful responses Soulfinger and Questccg. Like The Professor I have many convictions and thoughts along the same lines. Instead of risking getting on a soap box, and repeating what you said so well, I just want to communicate my solidarity.

Warden, I will keep you in my prayers as you and your wife proceed with this venture. It looks like a tough project but based on what you have put forward here and on your website it has a chance to be something well worth the effort. Your ethos (another greek word I like ;-) is spot on and I look forward to seeing what Chara Games produces in the future. I hope to back COMMISSIONED when it comes out on KS and will be glad to provide thoughtful feedback if that is something you would be interested in.

Blessings,

Caleb

Warden
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Joined: 02/19/2013
Thanks for the Encouragement

Joe and Caleb,

Thank you for your encouragement, thoughts, and prayers. We had a setback this week in which a european distributor backed out after learning our game had religious content. It was not our first encounter of this kind, but it was discouraging. It means a lot to hear you guys recognize the challenges facing a project of this kind, but also the importance of producing a seriously good, seriously fun, Christian game. If you would like updates on the game's development, send me a email at:

plysaght@charagames.com

I am only going to send things out monthly, but it will keep you informed. Thanks again!

The Professor
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Development Offer

Warden,

I apologize for not asking earlier...are you in need of a Game Developer? While I can't promise you a Publisher, I'm working with several designers at the moment, two in the U.S. and one in Australia. What I can promise is a serious review of your rules, 3-5 play-tests with written feedback, and the opportunity to discuss any game aspects via Skype or ooVoo. Today happens to be a day of fun-related work. I'm meeting with all of the designers over the course of the next few hours.

Anyway, your game may have been completely vetted through the process, and if so...great! If not, know that there are members in the community looking to assist you.

Cheers,
Joe

Warden
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Joined: 02/19/2013
Game Development

Joe,

I appreciate the offer. Those are few and far between, and I appreciate them for what they are. I consider Commissioned done at this point. I would still send you a prototype to play for the feedback (always looking for new opinions), but I only have 1 at this point. The others are already out for other reviews. I will be doing another round of reviewers in March/April. If you are willing, I might send you a copy then. How does that sound?

The Professor
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Joined: 10/25/2014
March/April sounds perfect!

Warden,

As I'm in currently in the throes of play-testing, developing, or co-designing four separate games at the moment, I'll definitely need the time to breathe. Yes, please circle-back with me toward the latter part of February and I'll work with your schedule.

Cheers,
Joe

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