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Publishers/Self Published - Something in Between?

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SuperStar
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Hello everyone!

Firstly i just wanted to say Hi!
It's awesome to find this huge and dedicated community :)

This is my first attempt at board games and i've been researching (a lot! 4h+ everyday, maybe should do more) for the past 4 months while finishing the prototype and playtesting. Still there is always more to learn than what we already know!

My question at this point is: Is there any publishing model that fits in the between Publishers and Self-Published?

Right now, i'm at the moment where i'll have to hire a designer, illustrator, 3D artist to get the game forward.

- If i decide to go with a Publisher (if they accept my game of course) i shouldn't be worried about designs or illustrations, because usually they have their own teams and they will probably want to make changes, so spending money would be somewhat of a waste, unless the design his made to pitch their interest. Also i will be counting with their expertise on launching the game (and all the steps it implies).

- If i go Self-Publishing, i know that i will have 100% creative control, also paying 100% of the costs and the game will be exactly has it was imagined. Buuut, i have no expertise on the field of publishing or crowd-funding.

I have time, finances, management and marketing skills, but i do not have any experience at publishing in board games. Is there any way to self-publish but count with the skills and resources of a Publisher? Will this lead me to hire an experienced team of project managers and advertisers?

Thanks in advance for all the help and to all: keep playing! :)

Bruno Braz

questccg
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Hello Bruno, welcome!

So let me explain some KEY differences in the two (2) options you have stated because I personally have done BOTH (and maybe a 3rd option too).

1. Self-Publishing.

This is the HARDER of the two roads. Firstly either A> You find your own Artist/Illustrator and Graphic Designer and pay them for their time or B> You do a Kickstarter and have people FUND the game and it's making...

I guess IF you have enough money to FUND everything on your own... That's great. Pumping in about $5,000 for illustrations and art is step #1. Then you need to worry about finding a manufacturer in China which will have a MOQ of 500 to 1,000 units. That's probably $10,000+ in production fees (but varies from game to game). Then it's FOB so you need to arrange for Freight to your warehouse which is your next concern. Knowing where to warehouse your game such that you can process orders from some ONLINE "webstore".

If you go the Kickstarter route... everything is similar except for the last step... Which is instead of just a warehouse, you need a fulfillment company which will A> Package and ship your games B> Warehouse your stock for a fee.

2. Going with a Publisher.

This is never all-or-nothing. But what it says is that a Publisher will take on the responsibility to MAKE the game a reality. Here's where it gets a little "creative"... A smaller publisher will gladly take "artistic" references or may offer substitutes based on the people they have worked with in the past. Some of them will RUN a KS on your behalf (taking YOUR game and KS-ing to make it a reality). These are smaller publisher... Larger ones may want to handle all the MAKING themselves. They may or may not consult with you. Generally speaking smaller publishers would be wise in using you as the designer to work on aspects of the game too...

Obviously I've done both... And going WITH a Publisher has been MORE successful than trying to do things on my own.

Cheers!

wob
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the best way to make a small

the best way to make a small fortune with a game is to start with a big fortune and whittle it down.
there are a few alternatives however.
1) print on demand: places like the game crafter or drivethru cards will happily print a copy of your game (can be pricey for single copies). this is good if you want a prototype+ (for pitching or as a family game). you can also sell games through these sites, but the retail price is higher (less likely to sell) the company takes a cut (less profit) and the companies aren't very active in trying to sell your game (its on the site but thats about it). you wont make much money but you will get a nice game to play and might sell a couple of copies with 0 risk.
2)print and play: if the components are generic or can be printed at home put the rules and files online (there are lots of sites to do this- try bgg). there are people that charge for the files but you cant charge much (unless you are very well known and your games are in demand). you will be lucky to make any money with PnP but lots of people will play your game (especially if its free) which could help with future projects.
if you decide to use these options you can always make a "real" version later.

Jay103
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SuperStar wrote: My question

SuperStar wrote:

My question at this point is: Is there any publishing model that fits in the between Publishers and Self-Published?

I guess the answer depends on which elements of self-publishing you want to keep, and which you want to avoid..

I'd think it would be possible to make a complete game, with art, and then shop it to publishers. That's sort of in between the two options, if you consider "publishers" to include having them do all the graphics. If the art and design are good, then I'm sure a publisher would be happy to have you have absorbed those risks and costs yourself :)

SuperStar
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Hello everyone! Thanks for

Hello everyone!

Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

- Questccg: Thanks for your input and experience.

Especially with someone with 0 publishing knowledge, like myself, probably going to a publisher might be the best option like you stated. Do you have any experience on investing your money along with the publisher? as a more integrated partnership?

- Wob: You are totally right! I'm not doing it for fortune or fame, i'm doing it just because it really drives me. But i like to be really professional on anything i do, so why not try to follow your successful steps and advice's?

That's is a nice option, print on demand, probably will make it a lot expensive to sell, but it's feasible!

Print to play, could be also possible. But the visuals and the feeling of the game wont feel as good/real.

- Jay103: Is it really a plus for a publisher to receive a finished game? I thought they would like to keep it "open" so they make the changes they feel necessary. Would this step be a bit of money wasting? Or they really consider a plus a "finished" project?

Thanks for all your feedback :) i'm new here, learning a lot and i hope someday i will be helping others too.

questccg
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Some additional thoughts

SuperStar wrote:
Do you have any experience on investing your money along with the publisher? as a more integrated partnership?

This is contrary to how business is done. The Publisher WANTS and NEEDS the IP license for the game. You as the designer hold 100% power over it until you decide to LICENSE the game to a Publisher. So two (2) things can happen: A> You forget about all the money you have already invested in the game or B> You ask to make an offsetting payment for your initial investment. So in A> it's a done deal, the Publisher assumes all additional costs to make and sell the game. In B> BEFORE the IP is licensed, as the designer you have the right to collect on prior investment if the Publisher is willing to agree to it. Put it simply, it's NEGOTIABLE (amount and when it is paid — after a KS, before Manufacturing, before retail, etc.)

The idea is that the Publisher retains 100% over the IP and has a valid license to make and sell your game.

SuperStar wrote:
Is it really a plus for a publisher to receive a finished game? I thought they would like to keep it "open" so they make the changes they feel necessary. Would this step be a bit of money wasting? Or they really consider a plus a "finished" project?

Finished is a relative term. Like 90% completed. And yes SMALLER Publishers will be interested in more completed works rather than just a hand-made prototype. Of course they deal with their own Developer(s) and would see if there are things that need "fixing" and/or refining.

So yes more advanced games in terms of the IP itself CAN be more attractive to the RIGHT Publisher...

Fobs
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I self-published my game

I self-published my game Tiefe Taschen, after it got rejected by some publishers.

For production I paid an established publisher, who brought me into contact with an experienced artist and got better conditions from producers.

After production I sent copies to many reviewers, e.g. Dice Tower. The game got some good reviews, and publishers got interested. Now it is published by Arcane Wonders as GoodCritters.

  • Self publishing is lots of work, and sometimes frustrating, e.g. if you sell only 4 games on a 4 day fair.

  • Make sure, that players like your game, before even consider to publish it.

  • Try to get help from experienced people.

  • Don't save money by low quality.

  • Ask many reviewers to review your game. If you give them one game, but trigger only 3 additional sells

  • Think about a way for distribution

questccg
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Fobs wrote:I self-published

Fobs wrote:
I self-published my game Tiefe Taschen, after it got rejected by some publishers.

Funny... I actually did the SAME thing. And I think I sold only 30 games.

Fobs wrote:
+ Self publishing is lots of work, and sometimes frustrating, e.g. if you sell only 4 games on a 4 day fair.

Yes that's why I don't want to PAY $100 just to be able to sell. I know that I probably won't sell enough games to pay for the event!

Fobs wrote:
+ Make sure, that players like your game, before even consider to publish it.

Yes that's true too... Make sure your game is enjoyable and "FUN" for some kind of demographic. The larger the better!

Fobs wrote:
+ Try to get help from experienced people.

I think it's very positive that you have reached out to fellow designers on BGDF. Many of us are experienced and have been through the process more than one time too.

Fobs wrote:
+ Don't save money by low quality.

I would rather say: "Make sure the manufacturer you work with does not cut any corners..." Be specific in your requirements (cardstock gsm, finish, die cutting, packaging, etc.) There is a lot to making a game and you will see that the more you learn the less you know ... because there are always additional steps required to making your game a reality.

Fobs wrote:
+ Ask many reviewers to review your game. If you give them one game, but trigger only 3 additional sales.

Reviewers are good. But don't expect Miracles. They can get the word out about your game. Consider having like 4 to 5 reviewers per game. Some you need to pay and they are "influencers" others are free. Try to balance between those.

Fobs wrote:
+ Think about a way for distribution

I personally would disagree about distribution. The margins are way too low. I would go with a Kickstarter followed by an Online Strategy like "Amazon" + Your own website. Depending on the price point, Amazon can offer FREE shipping. Consider things like a $40-50 game, you can get FREE shipping in the USA (and maybe Canada too... not sure). Don't try to compete with other channels, maybe think about selling DIRECT to FLGSs (Friendly Local Game Stores) in your area. Do some online research to find OTHER retailers and contact/sell them DIRECT too...

I want to go back to the 1st point: "Self publishing is lots of work"

This is very true. There is a lot to learn and while you are doing it, you don't always have the luxury of time either. It's very much a learning process and there is plenty to understand and figure out how it all "comes together".

Cheers!

Fobs
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questccg wrote: Fobs wrote:+

questccg wrote:
Fobs wrote:
+ Ask many reviewers to review your game. If you give them one game, but trigger only 3 additional sales.

Reviewers are good. But don't expect Miracles. They can get the word out about your game. Consider having like 4 to 5 reviewers per game. Some you need to pay and they are "influencers" others are free. Try to balance between those.

I wouldn't pay for reviews. I always asked reviewers on conventions or by email any many agreed to review many game if they get a copy.

questccg wrote:
Fobs wrote:
+ Think about a way for distribution

I personally would disagree about distribution. The margins are way too low. I would go with a Kickstarter followed by an Online Strategy like "Amazon" + Your own website. Depending on the price point, Amazon can offer FREE shipping. Consider things like a $40-50 game, you can get FREE shipping in the USA (and maybe Canada too... not sure). Don't try to compete with other channels, maybe think about selling DIRECT to FLGSs (Friendly Local Game Stores) in your area. Do some online research to find OTHER retailers and contact/sell them DIRECT too...

I used the following channels for distribution (maybe ways to sell the game were the better wording):

  • Crowd funding campaign: a good start to have the first copies sold before production

  • game conventions: lots of work, more to create some visibility

  • amazon: a way to sell your game without much work, especially if you choose fulfilment by amazon

  • Board game geek store: low margins, way to sell world wide

  • FLGS: Lots of work to talk to them. In Germany you should offer them a margin of about 40%, or they prefer to sell games from big distributors.

  • Distributors: they need an extra margin, so you will not make lots of profit here, but: Regarding the money, games in your house are worth nothing. If you can sell them with a low margin, it is also a success, especially since you could get a better price for production, if you ordered more games. I became member of spieldirekt, an cooperation of small and medium size publishers to distribute games.

Jay103
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Does anyone know the terms

Does anyone know the terms usually used to sell to a FLGS? I mean, yes, a 30-40% discount, but who pays for shipping costs, for example?

questccg
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I believe it something like this

Jay103 wrote:
Does anyone know the terms usually used to sell to a FLGS? I mean, yes, a 30-40% discount, but who pays for shipping costs, for example?

A store buys a case (for example 6 units) and shipping costs are included in the price of the purchase. Usually taken off from the profit you will be making in selling at 50% off. Retailers look for a 50% margin. So if your game sells for $60 USD, the retailers expects to pay $30 USD. And since it's a case of 6 (6 x $30 USD = $180 USD), that amount covers the shipping to the FLGS.

The strategy we are choosing to employ is Online Sales are MSRP + Shipping. If you decide to buy from a store who has ordered a case, you basically save money on shipping (like $10-15 USD). Again this is in the USA. International orders will cost more in terms of shipping. And international stores are not included (unless you count Canada)...

questccg
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Balance

Fobs wrote:
I wouldn't pay for reviews. I always asked reviewers on conventions or by email any many agreed to review many game if they get a copy...

Here there is an issue of "influencers". Some of the BEST and Well-Known reviewers charge from a paid preview. If you want a bunch of people who are not KNOWN in the industry ... well I'm sure your neighbor can do a review for you. BUT if you want people with CREDIBILITY, FOLLOWERS and generally the people that gamers look to for their OPINION on games, well then sometimes it is worth while to spend $100 or $200 USD on a paid preview...

I'm not saying getting FREE reviews is bad. No I am saying do a MIX of BOTH... This way you get people other gamers KNOW and then 3rd party reviews of people who are less known and give their honest feedback.

Jay103
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questccg wrote:Jay103

questccg wrote:
Jay103 wrote:
Does anyone know the terms usually used to sell to a FLGS? I mean, yes, a 30-40% discount, but who pays for shipping costs, for example?

A store buys a case (for example 6 units) and shipping costs are included in the price of the purchase. Usually taken off from the profit you will be making in selling at 50% off. Retailers look for a 50% margin. So if your game sells for $60 USD, the retailers expects to pay $30 USD. And since it's a case of 6 (6 x $30 USD = $180 USD), that amount covers the shipping to the FLGS.


So since it'll cost me $20 to ship the case, really I'm getting $160 for 6, or $27 per unit on a $60 retail price?

That's.. not awesome.

I'm going to try to set up an in-store event here next month, somehow, and I was thinking about selling to the guy for $40 ($59 kickstarter price for one) with no inventory risk.. Basically he could buy at that price for anything purchased that day at the event, making him a reasonable profit, and then if he also wanted to buy some units to stock at that point, that would be $30 or whatever.

At the moment I have about 10 units on hand I can sell.. not sure that's enough if the event is actually popular but we'll see.

questccg
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Sharing the profits

Jay103 wrote:
So since it'll cost me $20 to ship the case, really I'm getting $160 for 6, or $27 per unit on a $60 retail price?

That's.. not awesome...

It's not supposed to be "awesome". Why do you think we chose not to go into Distribution. Because the margin is 60% MSRP ... even worst than the retail discount of 50%...!

You have to understand, FLGSs are taking ALL the risk:

  • They have rent and heating to pay

  • They have employees that are required for the business

  • They need to pay for all kinds of stock up-front

Yeah basically you broke even with your KS. And it's left you probably with a lot of stock 600+ units. You can TRY to retail it YOURSELF making the 50% margin (which will probably be "awesome") or you can try to build visibility and Brand Power by dealing with some stores.

Ideally you would want to do a blend of BOTH. Make extra margins AND sell to local stores. Try not to compete with them however... Otherwise they may not buy from you if your pricing is in competition with what they offer (the stores vs. you online).

There are some good arguments for selling online. Namely, if a customer is in a more remote location, they may not have a local store. In this situation the Internet and online purchasing is a GREAT alternative.

Selling games is not a "get rich" strategy. It's small, incremental earning and the goal is Brand Power. What you WANT is to have 350 backers today and maybe 200 additional consumers (as an example not precise math) and then when you KS your next "expansion" or game, you'll have a pool of 550 people to pitch to regarding buying it...

So it's small victories and understanding that EVEN "Jamey Stegmaier" did not make a Million dollars in one try. He's had like more than 5 games from:

Viticulture, Tuscany, Euphoria, Between Two Cites, Scythe, Charterstone, etc.

The idea and principle is to GROW your audience with each and every game you release... It's a slow road unless you are very gifted like Jamey where he can pump out a game every 12 months or so.

Personally my games take upwards of a Year or more to make... So it's a slower battle and I work extensively to make sure the game is +90% finished before contacting reviewers to tell me what they think. No doubt that in some instances if you have a "bad" game, something less than your other games... You may lose some backers. So it's not only an uphill road either.

I honestly don't see why you are surprised that "Retail" is "unappealing"(?!) You should know that the STORE is making MOST of the money and while you make 50%, you also have to factor in that you PAID to make the game, the cost of ads, reviewers, prototypes, artwork, illustration, etc. So you're not getting a pure 50% UNLESS you have already PAID for the bulk of the order from your KS...

In that case, well you're making 50%. Absorbing the shipping is not a big deal IMHO.

questccg
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And for distribution...

You'll be looking for larger QUANTITIES but diminishing margins. So your $60 USD MSRP will be 60% so for $24 USD. The idea is that they should buy like 4 cases (or 24 games). Doing the math, that's $576 USD they would pump in by buying more cases. Again usually if they meet YOUR MOQ then they too would get free shipping. Maybe 4 cases is about $75 USD or so. So you would be making $500 USD on the games sold via distribution.

This means about $21 USD per game sold...

And you were complaining about $27 USD... $6 USD less but you've sold 24 games not 6 or 1, 2...

The entire play is on volume and economies of scale.

This is probably LESS appealing to you (Distribution). You can probably get away with selling some FLGSs direct giving you better margins.

Cheers!

questccg
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Stonemaier has pulled their support for Kickstarter

questccg wrote:
You'll be looking for larger QUANTITIES but diminishing margins...

Just wanted to add that IF "Jamey Stegmaier" is no longer using Kickstarter because there is less pressure dealing with distributors (because they primarily don't care when the game is going to be ready) because they know they will sell when the game is ready for sale.

Poor Jamey had some toxic interaction from KS. And although that was a while ago, I'm sure he remembers it and... well would prefer not such an outcome to repeat.

But still there were uphill battles, namely getting enough financing to manufacture over 48,000+ units for the various distribution partners.

The bottom line is this: stick to KS because it allows you to cater to a crowd. Reserve yourself the right to having Pre-Orders before delivery. And try to grow your customer base each time you try to KS...

I'm not saying it's going to be easy. But it's something to shoot for!

Jay103
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Yeah, my strategy for this

Yeah, my strategy for this game is always to sell the units, not to make margins. I can make good margins later if I can build a user base.

questccg
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Character miniatures

My recommendation to you is to develop "characters" for each of your "adventures" both Good and Evil. At the moment you are using "standies" with Punch-Outs which is fine in itself (no worries there)...

HOWEVER... At some point in time, YOU may want to get into the "Miniatures" market. But only once you have developed sufficient "characters" through several adventures.

Why? Well aside from making the model files (if you go digital versus actual sculpting), you will need to do the molds too. You could put together a GINORMOUS campaign with 100 miniatures and make a real EXCEPTIONAL product.

Again why? Because you might want to simply go in that direction. And maybe having a multi-million dollar campaign with 20,000 supporters at over $100 USD per backer might be something to be proud of... An achievement/milestone!

I think the "standies" for young kids is FINE. But as they grow older, I would suggest the minis to get OLDER kids more interested in their OLDER game and sort of REVIVE it will a MASSIVE campaign with all of bells & whistles... etc.

Personally I would "wish" this for your game! I think bringing D&D and RPGs to younger children is a fantastic idea and you can grow it with all kinds of tiles and adventures. But there MAY come a time where you'll want to "re-vamp" the design and this is just one of the possible directions...

Cheers!

Note: Let me just share you with you my thoughts. It's YOUR game and therefore YOUR vision. I'm just giving you some ideas. What I could see is IF you divide things into "adventures", each adventure has a pre-defined set of "characters" and "monsters". You could start SMALL and release miniatures for "Adventure #1"... And then CONTINUE with "Adventure #2", "Adventure #3", etc. Developing slowly a COLLECTION of cool miniatures that are customized for YOUR game and the various stories.

You don't need to do a $100, 20,000 backer campaign. Could be a 2,000 backers and $75 USD for "Adventure #1" (as an example). That could be like a $150,000 USD campaign ... Something LARGER in scale but still TIED to your "core".

And you could repeat this for your various adventures.

The only piece of "advice" that I can really give you is: TRY to LIMIT the number of monsters in rooms and/or map. I'm not really certain how your game works ... but if you have 3 Rat Standies, you'll want to LIMIT it such that when you produce miniatures, you can also lower the amount of miniatures per "adventure". So 3 Rat Standies = 3 Rat Minis...

But I think you've already anticipated this... Right???

Jay103
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I've anticipated NOT wanting

I've anticipated NOT wanting to get into the miniatures market, yes. :)

That would be several years down the road, and would probably require that my current artist gets into 3D sculpting, which is plausible.

And now we've COMPLETELY derailed this thread :)

SuperStar
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Heya everyone! Thanks for all

Heya everyone!

Thanks for all the insightful advice's and tips!

questccg: Your vision helped me a lot understanding the Publishers view, thank you. When you license your IP, usually for how long? 5 years? lifetime?

Fobs: That's an inspiring story there, never give up!

I was originally thinking in making the "fabric" prototype and sending them to review (free and paid) before deciding either go KS or to Publishers.

Your strategy feels right and correct, having reviews from credible professionals will definitely increase the chance they look more seriously into your game.

Regarding your tips, i find comforting that i'm the same line of thought :)

From your personal experience, usually how long did it take you to get the reviews?

questccg: I'm about to try some blind playtests to see some real critics. I'm a bit nervous about showing a game that is all drawn in paper. I know how the image impacts your perception and in this case, i actually feel that will help to understand the game faster and will help you to get into the thematic that i'm presenting. What's your thoughts/experience on this? Should i do blind playtests with this very first version of the game or wait until the i have the finished artwork and 3D pieces?

The idea to contact a Publisher for their contacts is actually brilliant! Should i expect a commission fee for their contacts? if so how much %?

If i can break-even, it's a damn victory! I'm not planning to get rich or famous. I do have 2 expansions planned for this game, building an user-base feels the very right thing to do!

I will make a new topic on the right place to expose the game and have your great feedback on it! I feel like i should have joined this community long time ago!

questccg
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Grass-roots derailment!

Jay103 wrote:
I've anticipated NOT wanting to get into the miniatures market, yes. :)

CMON you've got to be kidding me! :P (LOL) You're going to be the man who made a fortune with a Kids RPG turned in to a miniatures questing game!!!

Jay103 wrote:
That would be several years down the road, and would probably require that my current artist gets into 3D sculpting, which is plausible.

If you need, I know of a 3D Artist that can take a 2D illustration and TRANSFORM them into 3D Image File (for use to making molds)! I can ask if I can share his information (Name/e-mail) with you if you are interested(?!)

Jay103 wrote:
And now we've COMPLETELY derailed this thread :)

It's okay... this is an "organic" type of derailment! It's very "grass-roots"! (LOL)

questccg
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MAKE PROFIT! That's an order... LOL

SuperStar wrote:
When you license your IP, usually for how long? 5 years? lifetime?

It's usually a bit more complicated than this. Something like the Publisher has 2 year to sell or manufacture the game. Upon termination there is usually a sunset clause which is that the Publisher reserves 18 months to sell remaining inventory.

NEVER a lifetime. Usually the rights revert back to the Designer. That is okay (the design only), but you will probably need to negotiate for art repayment if the Publisher has spent monies to make the artwork.

SuperStar wrote:
I'm about to try some blind playtests to see some real critics. I'm a bit nervous about showing a game that is all drawn in paper. I know how the image impacts your perception and in this case, i actually feel that will help to understand the game faster and will help you to get into the thematic that i'm presenting. What's your thoughts/experience on this? Should i do blind playtests with this very first version of the game or wait until the i have the finished artwork and 3D pieces?

Okay once you have a WORKING prototype (Hand written), you should INVEST in "The Game Crafter" (TGC: http://www.thegamecrafter.com) and make a more professional version. It doesn't need artwork, but maybe you could invest in a LOGO and NAME for the game and print that on the backside of the cards, etc.

SuperStar wrote:
If i can break-even, it's a damn victory! I'm not planning to get rich or famous. I do have 2 expansions planned for this game, building an user-base feels the very right thing to do!

Just remember all your costs: prototypes, Facebook Ads, Paid Previews, Reviewer Copies, Artwork, Logo, Box Cover/Backside too, etc. There are a lot of moving parts and you SHOULD be thinking about MAKING some profit. Let me explain something very important that I have learned.

It's not because you NEED or WANT money that you want to make profit on a game. It's because you WANT and NEED enough money to pay for a SECOND PRINT RUN after a successful KS. Why? Otherwise what will happen is that you will sell "X" games and be left over with "Y". Once that inventory is SOLD... Will you have enough money to make a second print run??? And this is very important because if you game is POPULAR, you'll want to print more. But if you don't have enough PROFIT to PAY for a print run...

That's a whole other story. It's a bit sad: What some people do is make a MINI-KS (or KS LITE) to encourage backers to support an extra while trying to get enough funds to PRINT a SECOND RUN...

Even if they've earned $150,000 USD and PLUS. Usually most campaigns don't earn enough for a second print run. And well that is very tragic. A good game with no capital to build on it's previous success. Truly a shame.

So what this means is that you NEED and WANT PROFIT. And enough of it to be able to independently manufacture a second print run. I'm working on this as we speak. It's not greed, it's pure and simple number crunching and having a game that is independently driven by a community of players.

Imagine I'm thinking about a TCG (Trading Card Game)... We all know that TCGs are hard to bring to market. I'm working around the risks and trying to keep things very simple in terms of the "offer". Also looking to ADD "extras" that can boost the overall sales with things that HELP the players play the game EASIER. They are not essential, just optional for the gamers who a looking for a complete solution.

Just be sure to understand that if you go it alone. You want to be able to have enough profitability in a KS to re-pay for many of the expenses and also be able to say you have enough money for a reprint.

Remember those factors... because it can make a HUGE difference as you try to grow with other games!

questccg
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What is the nature of the problem?

Well you may have the finances NOW to be able to pay and make a game. What happens afterwards? Ok so maybe you'll have enough LATER to make some prototypes and pay for art. Hmm... After this MUCH LATER you maybe only have money to pay for prototypes, etc.

That's why people often say to make some money, you need even more money. (Paraphrased).

But if you have LESS and LESS money to INVEST in designing... You'll have your back against the wall. I know this because I've gone down this road and have learned with all my mistakes. I've also learned from other people's mistakes too... And have benefited from reading Jamey Stegmaier's Blog and James Mathe's Pages on KS and TableTop Gaming...

However as I explained, IF you're not MAKING money, you are losing it.

And that means if you LOVE designing (And I really do...) it will be harder and harder to continue designing if you don't see any profitability. That's a bit tragic and something you really want to avoid.

So DON'T DO IT FOR THE MONEY... Do it... because YOU CAN and WANT TO! And the only way you are going to do that is with enough PROFIT!!!

questccg
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Bryan Winter's Rant

If you watch the latest "The Game Crafter" (TGC) Video about KS... Bryan talks about the "5 times multiplier" (5x). IF a game costs you $10 USD to make, you should be SELLING it at $50 USD. Nevermind KS creators usually give money-oriented incentives... You NEED to be using that simple Factor... Otherwise you are just going to be losing money and as I explained before you'll have less and less finances to do business and continue designing cool and innovative games.

Sometimes it's the Manufacturer that tells you $12 USD. Well that means the game NEEDS to retail for $60 USD. $2 bucks is a BIG difference. If you can't get the Manufacturer to lower the price... UP it to $60 USD... That's what it HAS TO COST.

Many creators have not done this. They've "thought" about offering a KS discount to the "early" backers (I'm not talking about early bird rewards), I'm talking about LOW priced games to entice more backers... Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. Bryan say's FUCK THAT! NO DISCOUNTS. You want our great game... Be fair with us and PAY for it.

And for sure that $10-12 excludes things like artwork, illustrations, logos, customer shipping, reviewer copies, prototypes, etc. A whole BUNCH of stuff. IF we were all like BRYAN... WE'D ADD ALL THAT SHIT TOO!

And maybe instead of $10-12 USD, we'd have $20-25 USD. That means that the game is going to cost $100-125 USD... And now you see my point. It's too fucking expensive!!!

So remember, you're already giving everyone a game. Your "expenses" will be part of the sales price. But DON'T cut yourself short with too low pricing. Kickstarter and making games is a real art when it comes to all the finances. Bryan is right... We should charge more and that should be acceptable... BECAUSE if you sell your game at $50-60 USD... You WON'T have enough money for a second print run.

Careful planing, negotiate strong deals (fight for good pricing) and never go BELOW the 5x factor! Obviously "absorb" expenses and hopefully run a second print run at FULL PROFIT (100%). Don't be shy... Be BOLD. And tell people YOU WANT TO MAKE MORE GAMES!!! No profit = no more games...

From what I've seen NOBODY is ripping people off in the TableTop Segment. We're not like the @$$holes that do a "vapor-ware" video and fnck all the backers by not making anything. This hasn't happen in the TableTop Segment and I hope it never does...

But at the same time... Several of the BGDF designers have been through the KS routine... And we know that IT TAKES MORE!

Cheers...


Quoting the Famous Ferengi Rules of Acquisition...

Rule #2: The best deal is the one that brings the most profit.

And it should be followed by:

Rule #1: Once you have their money, you never give it back.

Just a bit of humor to lighten the discussion... But those of us who have been through the process know that this IS a serious issue.

Fobs
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How long did it take to get reviews?

SuperStar wrote:

From your personal experience, usually how long did it take you to get the reviews?

There is no clear rule. Just ask the reviewers. While most of them did their reviews for my game within weeks or month, there were others who lost the copy or did never answer again, but things like this always happen.

The Dice Tower review took a while, since they have so many games to review. But this was transparently communicated by Tom.

I also visited many conventions, and talked to some reviewers personally, and often got positive feedback.

To the discussion about making money: Don't do this for the money. You could get rid of thousands of copies of your game for free. But if players buy it for an adequate prize, you have the proof they like it.

questccg
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We can't all work for FREE!

Fobs wrote:
...To the discussion about making money: don't do this for the money. You could get rid of thousands of copies of your game for free. But if players buy it for an adequate prize, you have the proof they like it.

Hmm... I doubt that all of the BGDF Designers who have "broken even" with their KS campaign would probably NOT agree. At least not if you want to be "serious" with designing games. Many of those designers have not re-couped their investment in artwork/illustrations. As such they are HOPING to sell the remainder of their "overstock" (Excess Inventory due to MOQ).

Many have like 600-400 game units available.

Granted if they "gave copies of their games for free"... Everyone would surely take a copy...!

I was of the same mindset: don't do it for money. But I have learned that when people are no longer interested in your project or any NEW projects because quite frankly they are fed up of WORKING for FREE! And can you blame them??? I mean they're investing hours of work in the evenings after working a regular week worth of work to make it happen.

If this happens, people who are in the "business" of publishing games get "discouraged" and lose hope for the future and don't see any benefits to continuing to Publish games... Some people get to that point... It's sad but unfortunately true.

And if you want to keep designing unless it's only a "Hobby" that you do after hours, you need to think about making money with your designs.

Jay103
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questccg wrote: Hmm... I

questccg wrote:

Hmm... I doubt that all of the BGDF Designers who have "broken even" with their KS campaign would probably NOT agree. At least not if you want to be "serious" with designing games. Many of those designers have not re-couped their investment in artwork/illustrations. As such they are HOPING to sell the remainder of their "overstock" (Excess Inventory due to MOQ).

Many have like 600-400 game units available.


I have NO IDEA who you're talking about here.

lol

Jay103
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questccg wrote:If you watch

questccg wrote:
If you watch the latest "The Game Crafter" (TGC) Video about KS... Bryan talks about the "5 times multiplier" (5x). IF a game costs you $10 USD to make, you should be SELLING it at $50 USD. Nevermind KS creators usually give money-oriented incentives... You NEED to be using that simple Factor... Otherwise you are just going to be losing money and as I explained before you'll have less and less finances to do business and continue designing cool and innovative games.

Sometimes it's the Manufacturer that tells you $12 USD. Well that means the game NEEDS to retail for $60 USD. $2 bucks is a BIG difference. If you can't get the Manufacturer to lower the price... UP it to $60 USD... That's what it HAS TO COST.


The main problem there is that if you haven't done one of these yet, you have NO IDEA what it will cost to get landed product. You think you do. I thought I did.

As a rough approximation, I had a $10 manufacturing cost, and I estimated $4/unit extra to get it here.

But getting toxicity tests costs $$. Having proofs sent by air (may) cost $$. Do you know what your customs fees will actually be? And ocean freight costs are VARIABLE, like buying a plane ticket is variable.

So part of that 5x builds in a little for error in knowing what it is you're supposed to be multiplying by five.

Quote:
Many creators have not done this. They've "thought" about offering a KS discount to the "early" backers (I'm not talking about early bird rewards), I'm talking about LOW priced games to entice more backers... Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. Bryan say's FUCK THAT! NO DISCOUNTS. You want our great game... Be fair with us and PAY for it.

My game was $59 on KS (inclusive of shipping in US). I did not get a single comment that it was too much, even though, you know, that's a lot for "just a game". If you have a quality product, I don't think people in this segment care that much about the price (within reason). If you're looking to go mass-market (Walmart, Target, etc), that's different.

Quote:
And for sure that $10-12 excludes things like artwork, illustrations, logos, customer shipping, reviewer copies, prototypes, etc. A whole BUNCH of stuff.

Agreed. Sunk costs, not manfacturing costs.

Oh yeah, you are going to underestimate what it will cost to get something to Europe. It's a lot!

questccg
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Not just you...

Jay103 wrote:
questccg wrote:

Hmm... I doubt that all of the BGDF Designers who have "broken even" with their KS campaign would probably NOT agree. At least not if you want to be "serious" with designing games. Many of those designers have not re-couped their investment in artwork/illustrations. As such they are HOPING to sell the remainder of their "overstock" (Excess Inventory due to MOQ).

Many have like 600-400 game units available.

I have NO IDEA who you're talking about here.

lol

Actually several: you (and Heroes & Treasure), Chris Mancini (and Scrambo), Andrew Harmon (and Portals & Prophets), Artyom Nichipurov (and Guards of Atlantis).

Jay103
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questccg wrote:Chris Mancini

questccg wrote:
Chris Mancini (and Scrambo)

Any word from Chris on his mass-market opportunities?

questccg
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Mass Market and beyond

Jay103 wrote:
questccg wrote:
Chris Mancini (and Scrambo)

Any word from Chris on his mass-market opportunities?

Nothing from my end. I've not PM him about it. My assumption was that the Walmart deal was supposed to be finalized in 2019 and that the game would be a part of the 2020 Catalog (Walmart).

But at the same time, he said that Publisher is interested in Target and FLGSs around the USA. Which suggests another deal to negotiate and discussions with Distributors if they expect to bring "Scrambo" to stores around the USA (and maybe Canada).

I don't think this is an "International Play". And quite frankly the USA is big enough to support it's own "popularization" of the game. It's just getting the game out there to the stores and hoping people buy it. But I'm assuming a low entry to barrier when it comes to the price point. So he has some "good points" to what it is he is offering Mass Market stores.

Maybe Chris will post an update SOON!

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