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Table Top Death Match

7 replies [Last post]
Joined: 11/25/2010

Does anyone have advice or experience relating to the "Cards Against Humanity"-sponsored "Tabletop Deathmatch?" (

I've been encouraged to enter a game there, but am a bit unsure of the costs/benefits of doing so. And, does anyone know if entering would preclude me from showing the same game to publishers?

Thanks in advance for any advice...

T hardy
Joined: 11/09/2013
i checked out the link. seems

i checked out the link.
seems to be an awesome contest and i do plan on entering it.
i think you being honoured at the conference at gen-con and getting published by cards against humanity ad magic are the only things in it for you.
but im guessing you don't want the second thing. im not sure but i guess that getting published by ad magic is only a voluntary prize. the design is yours. you can always give it to another publisher as long as you don't commit to give it to ad magic.
but im not a 100 percent sure. you might wanna contact cards against humanity to actually find out.
thanks for the link by the way!

Joined: 12/22/2011
I entered last year, but

I entered last year, but wasn't a finalist.

I believe that one of the terms of entering the contest is committing to using AdMagic to publish your game if you are the winner. Thus, you would be unlikely to get much attention from another publisher, since you are already locked in.

mattgo's picture
Joined: 05/19/2014
Tabletop Deathmatch advice

Hey folks,

I'm a Tabletop Deathmatch finalist (our episode, Penny Press, just ran last week -- check it out at and can offer some advice about this year's contest.

First, check out what CAH's Max Temkin said about last year's entries:

There's a lot of good advice about what pitfalls to avoid.

CAH is interested in promoting self/indie-published works, as opposed to the big guys, so that's the point of the contest. They want to help the finalists make games outside of the mainstream commercial channels to improve diversity of ideas, designers, and to eliminate some of the 'middleman costs' levied by distributors.

You can do whatever you want with your game -- CAH is clear about you owning your game and ideas -- but they'd like to help you down the self/indie publishing road.

Note that AdMagic is more of a printer than a publisher, though they will work with you to self-publish your game. They won't do extensive playtesting/editing as a traditional publisher would. AdMagic is good people, so you'd be in good hands.

Final advice on the application process: Don't be too wordy. Really think about the 'what makes your game special' question. And get your game out on print n' play and/or blind playtesting.

Let me know if you have any more questions.


Joined: 08/28/2008
Hi Matt, I heard from one of

Hi Matt,

I heard from one of the other finalists, that it isn't allowed to publish your game until they reveal the real winner of the deathmatch (months later). Is that true and do you know if they will keep doing it like this?



mattgo's picture
Joined: 05/19/2014
Hello Aerjen! They've asked

Hello Aerjen!

They've asked people to keep quiet about who won and who lost, so I suppose publishing before the contest finishes might signal one way or another. But we never signed any rights away or anything like that -- CAH was clear that we can do what we want with our games, but they hope we respect the contest and their self/indie philosophy. If you break the spirit of the contest -- revealing who won/lost, for example -- they might be less likely to help you promote your game when the contest wraps up, but again, there was no contract or penalties.

They may be more clear about what is and isn't allowed this time around, but I'd bet you'd still have control over your game.


Shinyhat's picture
Joined: 09/25/2012
RE: Aerjen

Hi, I'm Marcus and my game (Discount Salmon) was also a finalist in the Deathmatch last year. Cards was very clear about it being a design contest for which they'd provide the prize. You maintain complete control of your game. The rules might be a bit different this year. They've mentioned offering artistic design help and having fewer finalists, but the core concept will be the same.
As far as restrictions go, I don't think they're really imposing any. One of the finalist games, Jupiter Deep, has already been picked up by Twilight Creations and is available for purchase right now as Jupiter Rescue. I think they'd prefer more discretion for the sake of suspense, but they're not requiring it.
Overall, it was a fun experience that I learned a lot from and there's no real downside to trying for it.

Joined: 11/20/2013
TTDM Finalist advantages

Hey, Robert here, the other half of Penny Press. I just wanted to add that this is a chance to get the attention of people you ordinarily would not get your game to. Rodney Thompson (Waterdeep), Mike Selinker (Pathfinder Card Game) and Paul Petersen (Smash Up), amongst others, are all great and respected designers. There was also at least one publisher in the room (Asmadi). And Loading Ready Run made a little episode of each individual game.

If you manage to get through the hundreds of game submissions and are selected as a finalist you are in for a fun ride.

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