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The Game Inventor's Guidebook

Page: DesignBook.Book-GameInventorsGuidebook - Last Modified : Thu, 04 Apr 13 - 1366 Visits

Tinsman, Brian

The Game Inventor's Guidebook: how to invent and sell board games, card games, role-playing games & everything in between! / Brian Tinsman.- 2nd Edition.- Garden City, NY: Morgan James ,c2008.

263 p.:Partially illustrated; 23 cm

Includes list of publishers, brokers, website, events, sample letters and license agreement.

ISBN 978-1-60037-447-0


Summary Notes: The first section are dedicated to 6 different games. They talk about the history of the game and they interview the designer. Those chapters have been omitted from the summary. Through the book, there are also side boxes which are also interview with designer, these boxes have also been omitted from the summary. The last section contains reference information that has been omitted.

I am trying to focus my summary on practical information rather than historical information. So some sections might be summarised more than others.


Table of Contents

Section 1: How they did it

Chapter 1: Trivial Pursuit (Cheris Haney and Scott Abbott)
Chapter 2: Magic: The Gathering (Dr. Richard Garfield)
Chapter 3: Dungeons and Dragons (Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson)
Chapter 4: The Pokemon trading card game (Tsunekazu Ishihara, Kuichi yama, Takumi Akabane)
Chapter 5: Interview with an inventor (Dr. Reiner Knizia)
Chapter 6: Interview with a publisher (Mike Gray)

Section 2: How the industry works

Chapter 7: What's in it for you
Chapter 8: How new games happens
Chapter 9: Anatomy of publisher
Chapter 10: Markets for games

Section 3: Games and companies you should know

Chapter 11: Mass market games you should know
Chapter 12: Mass market companies you should know
Chapter 13: Hobby games you should know
Chapter 14: Hobby game companies you should know
Chapter 15: American specialty Games and companies you should know
Chapter 16: European games, Companies, and an award you should know

Section 4: Self Publishing

Chapter 17: What am I getting into
Chapter 18: Before you print
Chapter 19: After you print

Section 5: Selling game step by step

Chapter 20: How to invent a game
Chapter 21: Game Design
Chapter 22: Game Development
Chapter 23: Targeting Publishers
Chapter 24: Before you submit
Chapter 25: Eight Submission Strategies
Chapter 26: Contacting publishers
Chapter 27: Protecting your Property
Chapter 28: What to do if they say don't say yes
Chapter 29: What to do if they do say yes!
Chapter 30: The game industry's dirty little secret

Section 6: Details and Resources


Summary

Section 2: How the industry works

Chapter 7: What's in it for you

Good reasons to invent a game

It's Fun: Designing a game is a good experience that allows you to meet people, see your creation evolves and learn human psychology.

See your name in cardboard: Enjoy having your name on a published game.

You've Got the curse: You cannot stop yourself from having ideas.

Bad Reasons to publish a game

Your friends don't want to hurt your feelings: Do not trust your friends to evaluate how good is your game.

It seems easy: Making games clone of others is not a way to design games.
Personal note: Some people think desiging is easy because board games are made for kids and kids will like anything

It's an idea who's time has come ... and gone: Check out what is already on the market before submitting anything to a publisher.

To get rich: There is not enough money to be made to be able to quit your day job. Expect to make a few thousands dollar per year for a game.

Are you a crackpot?

Note: This is a side box, but it's so important(and funny)that I decided to transcribe it textually

Game companies are constantly on red alert for weirdos who don't get it. All these questions are based on statements made by actual crackpots trying to sell a game. Choose which statements describe you, True or False.
1. Publishers will be sorry if they don't buy my game
2. My lawyers have registred my game with the US Patent Office, Copyright Office, and Library of Congress so don't try to steal it.
3. I've been working on this idea night and day for eigth years so you know it must be good.
4. My game will make millions. Publishers should be grateful I'm giving them the chance to be part of it.
5. I've also invented a watermelon peeler and hamster shampoo that no one wants to manufacture either.
6. My board game is based on my experiences in prison will be popular because people are fascinated by the interesting world of prison life.
7. I don't feel comfortable showing it toyou for security reasons, but you have to trust me, my game is really, really good.
8. It's based on a technology that hasn't been developed yet, but all you have to do is send me some electrical engineer and I'll tell them how to invent it.
9. I'm actually the one who thought of trivial pursuit and magic the gathering before they were even released, so you know my next game will be good.
10. It's the next monopoly.

Chapter 8: How new games happens

Most companies don't have full time working designer to create new game. Instead, they ask for free lancers to supply and test the ideas while publishers only focus on publishing.

Pitching: This step is where the designer present his game and attempt to convince the publisher to invest money in it.
Note: Most publisher today now try to use Kick Starter (or other crowd funding platform) to reduce the risks of bad investment.

Manufacturing: The publisher will now start producing the game by doing the art, rewriting the rules and planning the components. It's then going to be sent to a factory that will produce the game and then send it to the distributor.

Distribution: The distributor will store games in a warehouse and the retailers will order the games from them.

Retailing: This is when a game is put on a store's shelf. There are mass market stores and hobby shops which hold different collection of games according to their target audience.

Chapter 9: Anatomy of publisher

Here are various roles that a publisher can have. Multiple roles can be taken by the same person in smaller companies.

Agent: It's a person that will search publisher and pitch your game for you. They are generally required for submitting to mass market publishers. An agent can take 30%-60% of your royalties.

Concept Acquisitions: This person search for designers to fill up missing taregt audiences or try to find a designer for a specific market

Game Developers (Research and Development): They play and evaluate your game to see if it fits their needs. They might even try to find bugs and issues with the game.

Graphic Designer: He create all the artwork for your game.

Marketing Manager: He manages the income and expenses of the game's sale. He determines how much money can be spent on advertising and how much time on the production of the game.

Production Manager: He will make all choices related to the quality and production cost of the game. He will also manage the distribution of the games.

Marketting and/or Sales Department: They will analyse the market, target audience, conflict with games already published, how easy can the game be sold, etc.

Boss or Vice President: The person who manages all the people above.

Chapter 10: Markets for games

There are 4 different kind of game market that will affect the target audience, method of distributions and the kind of products.

Mass Market: These are games you'll find in popular stores like wal-mart and toys'r us. They are mostly family or children games. All the classics like monopoly and company falls into that category.

Hobby games: They include role playing games, miniature games and trading card games. They are marketted for people between 12-30 years old. They are generally complex games that demand a large investemnt of money.

American Specialty: They are american games that does not fit in both categories above. They are generally have a lower print run.

Personal note: I am not sure exactly what the author wanted to cover with this type of market, but one thing for sure, there are "Ameritrash" games that contains a lot of war games that could fit in that category.

European: These are game published by german companies. They are semi-complex, abstract and strategic game that tries to target a larger audiance than hobby games. Many of them gets translated and shipped overseas.

Personal Note: Euro games is now a style, and many other companies are actually integrating euro style mechanics into their games. So there are much more companies in the world than german ones that publish euro style games

Others: There are many other small markets but they generally does not generate as much sales as the 4 markets above. For example, educational games could be sold to school and libraries. But the purpose behind those sales are not the same.

Personal Note: as for example, I even saw a game about social integration for teenagers having certain kind of mental health problems. So it's not the kind of game you'll buy in a game store.

Section 3: Games and companies you should know

Chapter 11: Mass market games you should know

Mass market games are usually sold in large chain stores. They are generally very easy to learn and play.

Note: Most of this chapter describe the history of the game which is not really useful for the purpose of our summary. So I'll just rapidly describe the kind of game it is. So the content found here is not exactly a summary of the book.

Monopoly: A roll and move game where you buy lan, build house and charge rent when other players fall on your space. Goal of the game, the surviving player with money wins.

Personal Note: If you play monopoly by the rules, the game will end in 90 min and 1 player will survive. The reason why most of the time it takes more time and never ends, is because players play with home made rules and most of the time they are not even awared of it.

The game of life: A roll and move game where you get a job and money, move around a board and various events happens to you.

Clue: A deduction game where the players need to find which card is hidden in the middle of the board. The players hold all the other cards and they try to find the missing cards.

Scrabble: A word game where players earn point for creating words that are placed on a square grid. They can reuse other people's letter or place their letters in certain locations on the board to earn more points.

Yahtzee: A die game where players tries to make series, pairs or many of a kind with a set of dice.

UNO: A simple card game where player needs to play cards by matching colors or numbers with the previously played card. The first player to empty his hand wins.

Taboo: A word guessing game when a player tries to make his team say the right word without saying any of the 5 taboo words.

Trivial Pursuit: A question game where players need to succeed in each category to earn a piece of pie. When a player has all the pieces he can go in the middle of the board for the final test.

Scene it: A DVD interactive game where people watch movie clip and answer questions or solve puzlles based on them.

Chapter 12: Mass market companies you should know

Hasbro (Parker Brothers, Milton Bradley): A very bg company that sells games and toys. They own many toy licences (like Gi-Joe) and they bought many companies including Wizards of the coast.

Personal Note: Harbro is hard to miss, just go to the toy section of your favorite store and probably half of the toys will be made by hasbro.

Mattel: A toy making company that made the Barbie. They mostly focus on toys than games.

Patch: A modest-size company that published children and adults game like Mad Gab, Malarkey and blurt.

Pressman: The third largest manufacturer in North America that published games based on TV show (Jeopardy, wheel of fortune) or other games like Mastermind and Rummikub.

University games: One of the top 5 companies that focus on social interaction, entertainment and education.

Chapter 13: Hobby games you should know

Hobby games are designed for people who schedule time to play games, rather than playing to pass the time. They are intellectually chalenging and targetted for kids and adults. thay are also willing to spend a lot of money on various products each year.

Personal note: Same thing here, I'll breifly describe the game.

Magic: The gathering (Wizards of the coast): The first collectible card game where players assemble a library of spell cards. Players needs to summon creatures or cast spells to destroy their opponent.

Dungeons and Dragons (Wizards of the coast): The most popular role playing game that setup the basic concept or the whole fantasy theme. D&D was based on Lord of the rings which is the genesis of fantasy.

Personal note: Originally, D&D was made by TSR, but the company was bought by wizards of the coast, who was then bought by Hasbro. So Hasbro rule them all...

Warhammer (Games Workshop): A miniature game where players assemble armies to play on a battlefield. People take the time to paint their miniature since it's a part of the hobby to do so besides playing.

Mage Knight/Hero Clix (Wizkids): A collectible miniature game which are pre-painted and made of plastic, so much cheaper, and which have base that can be rotated to keep track of hit points.

Pokemon (Wizards of the coast): Another collectible card game based on the video game.

Yu-Gi-Oh (Upper Deck Entrtainment): Anotehr collectible card game based on the manga series.

Personal Note: In the original yu-gi-oh series, the card game is not the only game that gets played, but it's the card game that got published. Yu-Gi-Oh stands for 'Master of games' and this is why there is much more games in the manga.

Chapter 14: Hobby game companies you should know

Wizard of the Coast: They became popular with magic the gathering and they eventually bought TSR And now it is owned by Hasbro.

Games Workshop: They focus mainly on miniatures games like Warhammer.

Personal note: They made in the past some partnership with other companies to make the miniatures for Hero Quest and Battle Masters

Wizkids: They designed the Mage Knight Miniature game where to goal was to make a miniature game affordable to kids.

TSR: They made Dungeons and dragons and many other RPG. A few board games has been designed by TSR.

Personal Note: Even today, a few board games get published with the D&D franchise. For example: Lords of waterdeep, Dungeon, Castle Ravenloft, etc.

Chapter 15: American specialty Games and companies you should know

This is a catch-all category that includes everything else which is not mass market or hoddy games.

Avalon Hill and Axis & Allies: They make a lot of strategy war games, and they are known for their Axis and Allies series. They have now been bought by Wizards of the coast/Hasbro.

note: Hasbro truely rules them all

Out of the box and Apples to Apples: They design mass market games which has more deep than regular mass market games but which are no sold to all mass market retailers.

Mayfair: Most of their games consist in marketting strategy German games in the US (like settlers of catan), and they do business in various roleplaying games and hobby games.

Rio Grande: another company that publighed german strategy games in US like Carcassone and Lost Cities.

Decipher and How to host a mystery: Their strength lies in the "How to host a mystery" game series which is a mass marker version of Live Action Role Playing games.

Personal Note: Decipher is also known for having designed a lot of collectible card games based on popular franchise that ended up being horrible. For example, star trek and star wars CCG are such games.

Chapter 16: European games, Companies, and an award you should know

Board games are much more popular in Europe and there is a larger variety of small publishers than in US. German games are more strategic and will sell much more in Europe than in America. German games are also know as "Designer's Games" because the name of the author is placed on the box and it can help boost the sales of the product.

Ravensberger: the largest german game company that also sells puzzles, toys, etc. They also own subsidiary game publishers like Alea.

Alea: A mid-sized company that makes games for Ravensberger.

Kosmos: A top publisher in Germany that released the famous settlers of catan which sold millions of copies. It one of the game that had strong sales when sold in US.

Hans Im Gluck: A new publisher that became popular with the release of Carcassone.

Amigo: Another top german publisher ... ( that does a lot of card games)

Spiel Des Jahres (Game of the year): This is the most coveted game award in europe. Each year a children and adult game is selected by a committee of game professional. Wining this award makes the winning game sell over half a million copy for sure. Designers who won the award are almost assured to get their next game published.

Section 4: Self Publishing

Chapter 17: What am I getting into

This book assume that you would look for a publisher to release your game, but it is possible to self publish. Still this path is very risky and could even lead to bankruptcy.

Why would I want to self publish?

  • You keep all the profit instead of getting royalties.
  • You keep control of you game, while a publisher can change anything he wants or delay it's release.
  • It might be the only way to release your game if it's too innovative. Some rejected games by big companies had huge success when self published.
  • Self Publisher could then attract companies to publish your game if there is a lot of demand for it.

Personal Note: It happened recently with "Eclipse", it was designed by a small group willing only to publish in Europe. But the demand for this game was so high and the game was rapidly sold out during the pre-order step. Some companies took the opportunity to re-publish the game in US.

Why wouldn't I want to self publish?

  • It's starting a business that can eat up 40-60 hours a week. You need to commit a part of your life.
  • Failing can place you in debt. You money is at risk
  • You need to find place to print, store and sell your games and manage all the communications.

Chapter 18: Before you print

Market Research

  • Find out what kind of customer you are aiming your game for. Try to focus on an age and type of audience
  • Check store shelves to see if anything similar exists.

Vendors

  • You can manufacture your game at one place or multiple places. Multiple places can make you save money, but it erquires much more time to manage and could lead to problems later.
  • Give al the possible production details about your game pieces so that he can reproduce accurately the game the way you like it.
  • Compare the prices, normally the more you print, the cheaper it gets. They normally want half the payment before starting to print.
  • Use the internet or the yellow pages to find a vendor.

Artists

  • Artist makes the artwork, graphic designers makes the logo, borders, icons, back of cards, etc.
  • The visual appearance of the box can convince a custommer to buy your game or not.
  • You can search artist with the internet and yellow pages (Note: Artist sometimes have website, or are part of an artist community like "Deviant Art")

Pricing and Budgetting

There are many people who takes their cut in the sell of a game making the final product sold at least 8 times more than the manufacturing price. The book gives the following example:

Vendor2.50$
Publisher (You)3.50$
Distributor3.50$
Retailer11.50$

If you are printing 5000 copies and your game cost 3$:

Production cost15000$
Artwork and Graphic Design3500$
Shipping2000$
Promotion Budget4000$
Total24500$

It can take many years before your game finally starts selling.

Financing

You could try to raise the money you need to publish your game:

  • Family and friends: Make sure they understands the risks.
  • Bank loan: You need a strong credit rating.
  • Investors: Requires to have a business plan.

Personal note: Today, crowdfunding system like "Kick Starter" is the way to go to published board games. The risk are much lower for you and your investors. There are various guides on the internet to plan kick stater publishing..

So you need to be able to sell to others that your idea is a good one.

Chapter 19: After you print

Promotions: With a low advertising budget, use social networking and communication with retailers and other important persons in the industry. Go to some games convention, it's very expensive so not a good idea to have a stand there when you start publishing. There are various conventions in US and Europe where you could do social networking.

Advertising: You can use various methods:

  • Ads in magazines:
  • In convention guide you are attending
  • You can add your game to online retailers so that your ads generate immediate sales.
  • Build a web site: pretty cheap to build and maintain, and you can build one yourself.

Selling: Your product will follow the selling chain: Distributor-Retailer-Consumer, and it's better if the consumer ask for the game and if your force distributors and retailers to buy your game when there is no consumer demand. The process can take many years because the sale flow start to increase.

Distributors: To make sure you do not have to store 1000 games in your living room, using a distributors is a good way to sell your games, especially if they like it since they are more likely to ask their retailer to take it.

Direct to retail: You can try to sell your game directly to the retailer by making demonstrations. If people like your game, eventually more people will ask for your game.

Section 5: Selling game step by step

Idea to shelf in 8 easy steps

  1. Invent your game
  2. Refine your game
  3. Research Publisher
  4. Contact your targetted publishers one at a time
  5. Send a prototype (if they ask for it)
  6. Wait for the company's decision
  7. Get Feedback and continue development
  8. Negotiate a contract

Chapter 20: How to invent a game

Target Market: Publishers want to know the target audience of your game. This will have a lot of impact on the interest in your game since publisher try to focus in a certain target audience.

Competing Products: You need to know what's is out there to make sure you do not make a game already published and to make sure you do not repeat the same mistakes. There are also some market types where competition is impossible. For example, it's really hard to make a collectible card game since it's hard to compete with maigc te gathering.

Goals of your game: Why do you want to publish your game?

Note: Some designer release them for free or do not publish them at all.

The Hook: a sentence that is used to convince players to try your game.

Note: It can also be short sentence that summarise your game. I insist on SHORT sentence (A dozen of words max). Check other games, most of them have one

Chapter 21: Game Design

This book is not to focus of game design, so it will only point out some key elements.

Reasons people play games

  • Emotional Payoff: A feelig or experience you want to give to the players.
  • Socialization: A reason to do something as a group.
  • Laughter: Non-Strategic game generate a lot of laughter.
  • Strategic Thinking: The satisfaction of executing a successful plan.
  • To express creativity: A way for players to express their personality.
  • As a hobby: Allow player to participate without playing. (For example, painting miniatures)
  • Collecting: Some player like to collect games and other stuff.
  • Common Interest: Fan of a certain theme (Ex: Trekkies playing a star trek game)

Principles of game design

  • Play Length: Try to focus on the main fun element of your game to reduce play time. Shorter games seems to attract more players than longer games.
  • Core Mechanic: It's the fundamentals decisions that must be made in your game. Personal Note: Normally you select a core mechanic and stick to it for the rest of the design.
  • Writting Rules: This is important because you will not assist every game to teach your game. Check rules of other games to see their structure and make sure your rules are read by various people multiple times.
  • Luck vs Strategy: You need to have luck and strategy. Both extremes are bad, but it's OK to have more strategic or more random games. They each have their pro and cons.Personal note: Games with more luck are lighter to play or easier to play with kids.
  • Feedback: Make sure the player know the path to victory and make sure they know who is in the lead. Perosnal note: in games where there are many small decision, you want to give some sort of feeback or reward to the players to remind them that they are progressing.
  • Catch-up Features: You can give a boost to losing players or stall the winner to allow the losing players to catch up.
  • Meeting player's Expectations: Don't be too innovative, make sure players can put to use things they know. Personal note: Making the mechanics logical to the theme is a way to do so.
  • Stakes, Risk and Rewards: Consider the game as an investment of time and energy from the player. Make sure that the reward gain from it match the investment.Example: You do not want a 5 hours game winner to be decided only by the roll of a die.

Chapter 22: Game Development

Design vs. Development: 2 steps of the design process where the first is more about finding the game concept and writting the rules while the second step is more about Balancing, playtesting and finding loopholes. Personal Note: I personally consider that the Development phase is reached when you have a working game and can now start planning the production of pieces and artwork. But even if the game is "Ready", there will still be minor changes that could be done later

Playtesting: This is the most important step, It could allow adjusting your game to player's needs. You also need to have reliable play testers who will not be shy to say that your game is bad.

Three Stages of playtesting

  • Prototype Development: Test until you have a playable game.
  • Unit Balancing: Intensively test to balance the special powers and values of your game.
  • Usability Test: Make it easy to learn and teach. Personal Note: Using the right components to make sure the game is not too fiddly for example fit in this category.

Playtestings don't

  • Don't rush in to help someone in trouble.
  • Don't believe what you want to believe.
  • Don't let a dominant personality run the session.
  • Don't take every suggestion the players make.

Playtesting do

  • Name the playtesters in the credits
  • Change the rules of the game on the fly to solve some problems.
  • Show that you have listened to the the player's feedback.
  • Give them food.
  • Give playtest goals and deadlines.

Is Development Finished

Note: This list has been transcripted directly from the book.

How do you know when your game is ready for its first audition? Before you start showing your game to a publisher, you should know the answers to the questions on this checklist:
1. Who is it for?
2. Is it easy enough for the target audience to learn?
3. Does it take the right amount of time to play?
4. Are the rules clear and concise?
5. Does it have extra parts it doesn't need?
6. How much do you think it should cost?
7. Is your prototype inviting and easy to use if you're not there to explain how to play it?
8. What will make a customer want to pick this game up and buy it?
9. What other games are similar to it?
10. Is it fun?

Chapter 23: Targeting Publishers

Around 90% of game submission does not get played. Avoiding common mistakes could increase the chances it does.

Top 10 reason games get rejected

  • 1. Poor Gameplay.
  • 2. Unoriginal Mechanics: People tend to reuse common mechanics like "Roll and move"
  • 3. Submitting a game that's not appropriate for that company.
  • 4. Too focused on theme, not gameplay: Take a game that exists with a new theme.
  • 5. Game submitted without required legal form from the publisher or with the inventor's legal form.
  • 6. Poor marketting potential.
  • 7. Not feasible to produce.
  • 8. Game depends on an unobtainable license.
  • 9. Unclear rules.
  • 10. Compete directly with another product in the company.

Deciding on a publisher

When shopping for a publisher, you should do some research and take a few things in consideration:

  • 1. They make game aimed at your game's target audience.
  • 2. They have financial and technical capabilities to publish your game.
  • 3. They publish numerous titles each year.
  • 4. They don't publish any games that would directly compte with yours.

If you worked with a publisher in the past and had a good relation, they are more likely to look at your next submission.

Chapter 24: Before you submit

At this point:

  • You should have chosen a target audiance
  • You game should be completely working
  • You should have found potential companies for your game
  • You should have a playable prototype ready to send.

Getting an agent

An agent is essential to submit to mass market publishers. For european/Hobby games publisher it's not essential, but you migt need to do more work. For specialty game market, you should not get an agent since there is not enough money to be made.

When searching for an agent, you should ask the following questions:

  • What submissions have you placed in the past?
  • Do you represent any submission or do you have certains standards?
  • How many companies will you show my game to?
  • When will you show my game?
  • What are the submission fees?
  • What percentage do you take from each sale?

Look for agent that charges submission fees of 1000$ or more and don't be surprised that they take 30% ot 60% of your royalties.

Chapter 25: Eight Submission Strategies

Internet Research: Search information about the companies: Games published so far, submission policies, etc.

Cold Calls: Call the company directly and ask them to look at your idea.

Query Letter & Phone Call: Write a letter where you present yourself and your game.

Email Inquiry & Phone call: Same thing as above but using the e-mail.

Gimmick: In very special situation, you could dress up with a funny costume when pitching, send a singning telegram, etc. But this is very risky.

Broker: Use an agent to contact them, but agents eat up your royalties.

Aproach in person: Go to conventions and trade shows where the company has a booth.

Networking: Try to know the right people in the industry. It takes time and energy but it's the most efficient method.

Chapter 26: Contacting publishers

Contacting mass market publisher: They are very hard to reach, not only you need an agent but having games already published could help. Still they are going to sell much more copies than any other publisher.

Contacting hobby game publisher: They are hard to approach, social networking should be used. Most people in this industry are passionate about game and many of them first started with their own game. The exception is Role Playing Games where de demand is much higher.

Contacting American Specialty Game publishers: It's much easier to get started with that kind of publisher. Contact them and supply them all the information they need to evaluate your game.

Contacting European Game publishers: Again, you need to do some social networking like assisting to conventions to know somebody. Like hobby markets, most people are game fans.

Chapter 27: Protecting your Property

Trademarks, Copyrights and Patents

Most of them are not well designed to protect board games. Trademarks are used to protect unique name or phrases. Patents are slow to get approved and many game concepts does not fit with a patent. Copyright protect the author's literacy, artistic and musical expression. Ideas, methods and names are not copyrightable.

The easiest protection is to check the reputation of who you deal with. If you self-publish, you should get a minimal protection.

Confidentiality Agreement

If a publisher ask you to read a confidentiality agreement, read it and sign it. Do not ask the publisher to do the same. Companies do not steal ideas, being overprotective will simply make the idea never get published.

Chapter 28: What to do if they say don't say yes

How much waiting is too much?

Some companies ask for a 6-8 week delay before giving an answer. Some companies test all their in certain months of the year. You have like 50% chance they call you back in time. Try recontacting thhem occasionnally.

Personal Note: I re-contacted a publisher after 8 weeks and got the answer that I should not contact them again when the submission was sent. So it really depends on the publisher. Don't push them too much.

Option Agreements

It consist in asking a company to give you a certain amount of money for not asking another publisher while you wait. This is very risky and is normally used with big companies.

Try Again

Send your game to another publisher. If you cannot find a publisher, you have various options:

1. Redesign your game. (Generally the Solution)
2. Wait a few year until market changes.
3. Try looking for publishers in another market.
4. Self-Publish. (I re-insist here on Crowdfunding)

Chapter 29: What to do if they do say yes!

Negotiating a contract

There are various option you can negotiate without asking extra money:

1. Opportunity to design expansions and sequels.
2. A shorter license expiration date to sell you game to a bigger publisher if it works.
3. Free copies of your game (15-20 copies seems reasonable)
4. Travel and accommodations for conventions to promote your game.
5. Freelance development for your game or other games. (For example, if you are an artist, you could supply the art for your game it they like it)
Do not push the negotiation too far if it's your first game.

How much money should I get?

Royalties can go from 2% to 12% of the sale, bigger companies pay less but sell more copies.

Personal notes: Generellay 5% of the price is the key, which makes 2.5% of the retail price. So a game sold 50$ gives you 1$.

Keeping a handle on your rights

Have the option to get back your game if it does not hit the market after a certain date.

Chapter 30: The game industry's dirty little secret

To quote the book:

"Talented business people go into investment banking, not games."

This means that the company managers can make bad decisions that can ruin a project or even a company.


Back to the Book Summaries List

Started summary on Jan 20th 2013 (time unknown) jan 23rd, 25 min Jan 24th, 20 min Jan 30th, 25 min Fev 7, 25 min Fev 13, 20 min March 6th, 45 Min March 7th, 30min March 10th, 50min March 14th, 8 min March 20th, 20 min March 25th, 25 min March 27th, 15 min March 28th, 15 min, ?30min April 3, 18 min April 4h, 5 min total: 326 = 5h 25min


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