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What does the market look like for rules light wargames?

6 replies [Last post]
Joined: 01/06/2011

I've been doing a bit of research on how to go about publishing a game that I've been working on for a while now, but one question that I have found no answer to is what the market for my type of game actually looks like.

I have designed a rules light hex based medieval style wargame (more specifically a tactical wargame, not a strategic wargame), and as the only other game that I have played of this type is battlelore (mine is a bit more rules light than this game, with no illustrations my core rules are about 1½ A4, with another 1½ A4 for unit specific rules & terrain rules, although this will grow as I will design more scenarios that will require new units), I have no idea how popular these games actually are.

I have a lot of faith in my game, and the people that I have played it with seem to have enjoyed it, but the question is, is this a genre that a publisher would be interested in, or should I save myself some time & effort and let it remain a hobby project?

Joined: 04/14/2009
Try BoardGameGeek

Hi Fnord,

You might try asking on as well. The folks there might give you some good information.

As a personal note, I don't really stick to one genre or another....a good game is a good game so it wouldn't matter to me if it's a war game. If it's good, I'll play it. Have you only playtested with friends? If so, I recommend some playtests with people you don't know to get unbiased opinions. I'm sure there's a boardgame store in your area that hosts game nights where you could enlist some new people to try out your game.


Joined: 01/06/2011
I'll check out BGG's forum,

I'll check out BGG's forum, and post a similar thread there. Thanks for the suggestion!

The reason why I'm a bit worried about war games in particular is because I have no idea how flooded the market is, or if there is any demand for these types of games, which will matter if I look for a publisher, and I would also have to create a decent prototype, which would cost a bit of time & money (my game does at least not use any strange components, everything can be done with cardboard counters, paper maps & 2D6) (self publishing is sadly out of the question, I don't have the time nor resources to do that).

I've mainly playtested it with friends (2 different gaming groups), but there is also one gaming group that I found online that has done a bit of playtesting. Sadly the only boardgame store that I know of has no specific gaming nights or similar, unless you play Warhammer, Magic or Pokémon. Most of the time one can't even find a table because of all the card gamers, so we boardgamers tend to play at home. But I'm trying to get my friends who play boardgames to enlist their friends as well.

SiddGames's picture
Joined: 08/02/2008
Memoir 44 and Commands &

Memoir 44 and Commands & Colors series are both going strong, and the new Battles of Westeros is a similar system with a Game of Thrones theme, so I think it is definitely a popular market segment. I'm guessing the publishers of those games would not be interested in cannibalizing their existing players, but other publishers without a game of that sort might be better targets for you.

Joined: 01/06/2011
So the market for these games

So the market for these games is not oversaturate, yet there is a demand for them. Thanks for that, it will encourage me to make some more scenarios & then find as many game testers as possible. Hopefully I'll be able to send my game to a publisher within 4-6months (I take game testing seriously ;) )

Momerath's picture
Joined: 01/16/2009
In the field of "light

In the field of "light wargames", Small World springs to mind. This game doesn't use hexes and is fantasy-themed. It is very popular and has several expansions - look it up on

Getting published is not easy, regardless of the game or its genre. However, you have nothing to lose by contacting a few of the publishers who will look at unsolicited designs. There's a listing of such companies floating around on this site. Check out their websites - especially their product lines, mission statements, and submission instructions. Shoot them an email if they look like a good fit. If they don't respond, try elsewhere. If they turn you down, maybe you'll learn from their reasoning how and why your game is or isn't marketable. If they ask to see a prototype, great! Just understand that they might still turn you down.

I say all of this so that you understand that yes, finding a publisher is a chore. But if you've really put the time into making something great, then you have nothing to fear by putting yourself out there. Good luck in any case.

Joined: 01/06/2011
Ah, Small world, I've looked

Ah, Small world, I've looked at that game, and it looks rather nice. My game is radically different from that one, but I guess that it might appeal to roughly the same type of people.

I'll look for the list of publishers and hopefully I'll find some that seem like good candidates. And if they don't like my game then *shrugs* it won't be the end of the world. I don't make a living designing games, I make a living designing molecules ;)

And yes, I'm fully expecting to be turned down by most publishers. I can't imagine what a job it must be to go through all the boardgames that are submitted by people like me. I do at least hope that my game will be better playtested than the vast majority of those that are sent in (I did by the way find another group online who will test the game during the week).

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