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Classic Novel Microgame Contest

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Joined: 01/09/2009

Classic Novel Microgame Contest by Escape Velocity Games

Conquest of Orion is almost ready to deliver.  Tradecraft, a microgame, was a lot of fun to design and will be published next year.  Several other games are in the works.  Not surprisingly, we'd like to do more, and this is where you come in!

We're going to have a little contest to find some great games and then publish the winner. In particular, we'd like to challenge designers out there to design and develop a microgame based on a classic novel.

Classic novel?  Yes, though a classic poem or play would be just fine as well.  Consider the variety of public domain works you can draw from:

  1. Sherlock Holmes
  2. Alice in Wonderland
  3. Beowulf
  4. Dante
  5. Shakespeare
  6. Frankenstein
  7. Treasure Island
  8. Guliver's Travels
  9. Dracula
  10. Les Miserables
  11. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

There are many possibilities, but for the purpose of this contest, let's stick with fiction (sorry, no Encyclopedia of Needlework this time around).  Additionally, the game rights should be available (no John Carter, Disney still owns the rights).  If there are any questions about what might qualify, please don't hesitate to submit a question.  This page will be updated with clarifications as needed.

Here are the rules and some guidelines:

  1. Games must be small in size.  In particular, designs should be limited to 18 to 36 cards (poker sized), a rules sheet (double-sided 8.5" x 11"), and maybe a generic item or two.  Generic items could be things like a six-sided die, a few coins, or items that can be used as counters, but not necessarily meeples, twenty-sided dice, or cubes in 6 different colors...  Most likely, the game will not be published with the generic items included.
  2. Game themes must be family friendly.  Games do not have to be aimed at children as the audience.  Stated another way, if it were a movie, it would be rated PG.
  3. Games must be created and owned by you.  Love Letter is a great microgame, but please do not submit a Pride and Prejudice retheme for it.  However, games that you've had on the shelf for a while and can be rethemed or have previously been submitted to other contests are fine.  Do not submit games that are currently under review by another publisher.
  4. Games will be judged on how well they play, not how good they look.  Our artists and graphic designers will work on the look and feel, so don't worry if your art needs work.  That being said, is a great resource for free icons that can be used for improving the clarity of a game.
  5. Games will be judged (primarily) on:
    1. Fun - do players enjoy it, do they want to play it again?
    2. Replayability - can they play it more than a few times and still enjoy it?
    3. Interactivity - how much are players interacting with each other?
    4. Theme - does the theme influence the game design, does it fit the chosen work?
    5. Approachability - is the game easy to explain and easy to get people interested in trying it out?
    6. Testing - has the game been tested and had most of the rough edges smoothed out?
  6. All games are to be submitted by 12:00 PM EST on 9/15/2014 via our submission page.  Please include rules and all files needed to print and play the game (no physical prototype needed, it's a microgame after all).

Well, what are you waiting for?  Go design an awesome microgame!



The fine print: The contest winner will be offered a game publishing agreement with Escape Velocity Games.  Key sections from the agreement are included below:
-The Designer agrees to design for the Publisher and grant to the Publisher the right to publish, a game tentatively entitled ______________, hereinafter referred to as the Game.
-The Designer hereby affirms that he is the sole author of this game. Furthermore, he declares that, to the best of his knowledge and belief, he has sole disposal over the copyright therein and with regard to all pertinent contents. He further declares that he has not yet granted any third parties any rights to exploit the Game or that any previous such grant to any third parties has now definitively expired.
-Copyright to the Game will be vested in the Publisher. However, should the Publisher fail to market, or should fail to sell a copy of, the Game for a period of twenty four (24) consecutive months, the copyright shall revert to the Designer. The Publisher shall advise the Designer, in writing, of the availability and reversion of such copyright.
-As payment for the Game, the Designer shall receive a royalty of Five Percent (5%) of the retail price. The royalty will be payable quarterly within sixty (60) days of the last day of the 3rd, 6th, 9th, and 12th month of the year.
-The Publisher agrees to give Design credit to the Designer.
-The Designer will receive ten (10) free copies of the game.

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