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Getting games published

VicVic Registered User regular
edited June 2007 in Critical Failures
Now, I'd like for this to be a discussion thread, and not "tell me how to get my crappy game published" which I guess I kind of implied with my title.

I know next to nothing about the board gaming industry, other than what I have picked up during my other nerdy escapades. Excluding the classics like risk and monopoly, we seem to have on one hand the ever blooming business of "social board games", derivatives of trivial pursuit, truth or dare, and other games that will keep the average group of friends entertained for about 10 games over 5 parties until they get bored of it. On the other we have the strategy and dungeon crawling games, deep in nerd territory. World of warcraft the board game, game of thrones, settlers, and so on.

Now everyone, not just the people in hollywood, has a script for a movie that would be the best one ever. Is the same true for board gamers, and has anyone here taken a step on the path of being published, for good or bad?

Vic on

Posts

  • EggyToastEggyToast Registered User regular
    edited June 2007
    Not personally, but people I've spoken to usually get their foot in the door by creating a "mock game," usually with pieces from other games (the standard square/circle pieces in many euro-games are perfect, and miniatures are often interchangeable if you're doing a similar theme (fantasy, war, etc.)), and taking it to game conventions.

    I was actually surprised to hear about how many "indie designers" show up at GenCon. I always thought it was just a place to go for M:TG and D&D when I was a teenager. I suppose if one is serious, renting a table and having some copies so you can both playtest and show publishers is a great way to get about having the game picked up.

    Unfortunately my experience with game design stops at the design stage, mostly due to time and not enough board game friends.

    || Flickr — || PSN: EggyToast
  • f00fyf00fy Registered User
    edited June 2007
    Do you have a good game? Hit the streets with it man. Carve it out of wood, go visit the craft store and mold your pieces, print on sticker paper and apply it to posterboard. Whatever it takes. It doesn't have to be fancy. Playtest playtest playtest. play with everyone. get it dialed in really well. get it documented really well. test some more, then test some more.

    If people keep playing with you, you are on to something good. If everyone tries to get away, or just play to preserve your feelings, you need to work on the game some more.

    If you talk about it to everyone you meet, and make them play it, nature will run its course. Either:
    1) it will be good and word will spread, (go to #3) or
    2) you will have all the data you need to make it good. (go to #1)
    3) you will be lead to the right place to launch your game to the world (go to the bank)

    Either way, if you keep at it and never quit, you will always get to #3

    Good for you! Lots of luck!

    Bring your game to PAX, and show me how to play. If it rules, I'll tell everyone. If it sucks, I'll tell you to re-read this thread. I'll give you a chance to fix it before I tell everyone about it. =)

    f00fy

  • VicVic Registered User regular
    edited June 2007
    Thanks for the feedback peeps. Wish I would be going to PAX, but I am nowhere near active enough on the forums as a whole to feel like I dare come there. Next year, maybe.

    I think I might be onto something good actually, so I might just take your advice and get some strangers to playtest it for me. I know just the place, a gaming den/ internet cafe I used to visit occasionally when I played warhammer. The game seems to have alot of strategic depth, and simple rules that can be taught to anyone in 5-10 minutes. It's basically a strategic game of risk-like heritage, with resource management and event and "spell" cards mixed in. I posted the rules for it in an earlier thread when I was looking for a card program for making the trading cards for it. I did not get any feedback then, which is understandable since it is really rather impossible to give anyone a real feel for a game without actually making them play it, and I won't bore you by posting them again.

    The only small, irrational worry I have is that someone would steal my idea. Totally inplausible, I know, but if someone played my game and really liked it, the game idea is simple enough that making a copy would be ridiculously easy. Then again I am probably overestimating my own brilliance by thinking someone would actually want to steal it.

  • SquashuaSquashua __BANNED USERS regular
    edited June 2007
    Most good boardgames translate easily to computer games.

    Can your rules be devolved into basic logic? Might want to go that route.

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  • VicVic Registered User regular
    edited June 2007
    What, make it a computer game? I'm afraid that is not an attractive prospect. What could I possibly gain from that? Developing it into a fully fledged game is not an option, the only option would be to make some kind of online web page based platform for people to play it online, which would require dedicated fanbase to keep afloat.

  • Frosted ButtsFrosted Butts Registered User
    edited June 2007
    ...and you don't need a dedicated fanbase to keep a traditional game afloat?

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  • EggyToastEggyToast Registered User regular
    edited June 2007
    ...and you don't need a dedicated fanbase to keep a traditional game afloat?

    Well, board games are really a different beast from computer games. It's also why the idea of a MUD hasn't completely killed tabletop D&D.

    Plus, as Xbox Live is showing, playing Settlers of Catan online is fun, but an entirely different game as far as actual gameplay is concerned. I know, the rules are the same, but trading, alliances, and so on, which develop and occur naturally across a table of friends, is diminished in the online version.

    Not to mention that developing a board game only requires 1 initial sale among a group in order to initiate both a fan base and more sales. That's harder to accomplish for online games -- either the game has to be free (or else people won't try it) or everyone needs to buy/sign up for the game.

    There are a lot of game ideas that, while they're translatable to computer games, aren't really the kinds of games that you would play on a computer. So I can see why Vic would be reluctant to just plop it online.

    Not to mention that just because he's on the internet doesn't mean he knows how to code. But creating game rules and crafting a board is easy to do with just scissors and playtesting.

    || Flickr — || PSN: EggyToast
  • Frosted ButtsFrosted Butts Registered User
    edited June 2007
    EggyToast wrote: »
    ...and you don't need a dedicated fanbase to keep a traditional game afloat?

    Well, board games are really a different beast from computer games. It's also why the idea of a MUD hasn't completely killed tabletop D&D.

    Plus, as Xbox Live is showing, playing Settlers of Catan online is fun, but an entirely different game as far as actual gameplay is concerned. I know, the rules are the same, but trading, alliances, and so on, which develop and occur naturally across a table of friends, is diminished in the online version.

    Not to mention that developing a board game only requires 1 initial sale among a group in order to initiate both a fan base and more sales. That's harder to accomplish for online games -- either the game has to be free (or else people won't try it) or everyone needs to buy/sign up for the game.

    There are a lot of game ideas that, while they're translatable to computer games, aren't really the kinds of games that you would play on a computer. So I can see why Vic would be reluctant to just plop it online.

    Not to mention that just because he's on the internet doesn't mean he knows how to code. But creating game rules and crafting a board is easy to do with just scissors and playtesting.

    Why does this post quote mine?

    It clearly as nothing to do with anything I wrote.

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  • VicVic Registered User regular
    edited June 2007
    Read it again Frosted Butts.

    Even if I program the entire game, and then build the online platform required to run the game over the net, I will still have to get advertisement for it, and get enough people that are willing to dedicate a couple of hours on a game. And no, to keep a traditional game afloat you just need to sell enough games to make a profit. If everyone gets bored of it in a week, that's not my problem.

    And if I get someone to publish the game for me, then getting a fanbase would be their problem.

    Thinking about it though the game would work rather well as an online game, though I would not expect to be able to get any money that way. And I can't program at the level required to make it work anyway.

  • EggyToastEggyToast Registered User regular
    edited June 2007
    What kind of mechanics, though? I mean, to further the discussion element, I don't think people are really all that interested in the standard "race" mechanics of older games -- after all, they'll just play older games. Do newer games have to either be completely for a niche, or include elements of "euro-games" in order to succeed? Or find an audience?

    || Flickr — || PSN: EggyToast
  • DividesByZeroDividesByZero Registered User
    edited June 2007
    I've had the "convert it to a video game" pitch fired at me, too. I'm with Eggy in that I think there is a significant difference in the experience of a tabletop boardgame and one that's been coded for play on the PC or something. At the very least, everyone misses out on playing with the cool little bits. I don't know if I would be able to get my fiance playing something like Risk 2210 AD without the fact that the game just looks nice all layed out on the table.

    As for the markets for various kinds of games, I'm not really sure. I was about to say that I'm the only real boardgamer in my circle, but it's not really true. We just all have our own tastes. My fiance and her best friend love the typical party game and are always dragging out stuff like Scene It! or Battle of the Sexes or some such thing. The other guy in the group really seems to get attached to stuff with military themes, but likes things simple. He often clamors for the fairly straightforward Air Command. My best friend is frustrated by tactical/strategic games and goes for games that are cooperative. Reiner Knizia's Lord of the Rings and recently Arkham Horror get the most attention when we're spending time with him and his wife.

    Myself, I enjoy lots of different game types, but flavor is really important to me. Eurogames, in my limited experience, are kind of light on flavor, so I mostly stay clear of them.

  • SquashuaSquashua __BANNED USERS regular
    edited June 2007
    You kids play any rail games? The Mayfair ones that require crayons?

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  • VicVic Registered User regular
    edited June 2007
  • SquashuaSquashua __BANNED USERS regular
    edited June 2007
    Vic wrote: »
    Never have, sadly.

    Iron Dragon is a fun one, but you have to make sure you have all the "rules clarifications" from their site.

    Yes, even boardgames get patches.

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  • VicVic Registered User regular
    edited June 2007
    Checked up on Iron dragon, looked pretty cool. Can't quite see what this has to do with the current discussion though.

    I am planning to construct the board soon. The game is played on a board made up of 6-sided compartments, much like settlers of cathan. I'm planning to make the six sided pieces and drill a hole through them, so that they can be slotted onto a base board into a proper grid without them moving about. I just need to figure out what material to use. Ideally it would be something more solid than cardboard, but still soft enough to cut with a knife.

  • EggyToastEggyToast Registered User regular
    edited June 2007
    Balsa wood ftw. So would the hexes lead to a tile-based game, or would the board be set? I think there's an interesting dynamic between "make the board" tile games and "random each time" tile games that leads to different playstyles and gametypes.

    Lots of people just use the hexes from Heroscape, too, especially for playtesting or variants of other games.

    || Flickr — || PSN: EggyToast
  • Dr. FaceDr. Face Registered User regular
    edited June 2007
    Are there resources or good books about Game Design or Game Theory? I play a lot of games, so I of course assume I am an expert game designer, but most likely that is not the case. I'd like to educate myself but most game theory books I've found are not what I was expecting.

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  • VicVic Registered User regular
    edited June 2007
    EggyToast wrote: »
    Balsa wood ftw. So would the hexes lead to a tile-based game, or would the board be set? I think there's an interesting dynamic between "make the board" tile games and "random each time" tile games that leads to different playstyles and gametypes.

    Lots of people just use the hexes from Heroscape, too, especially for playtesting or variants of other games.

    Ooh, those tiles look awesome. I'll be damned before I buy the entire game just for the tiles though, wonder if those can be bought separately somehow.

    The game is indeed tile based. The essence of the game is balancing the three resources (food for allowing your soldiers to move and garrisoning multiple soldiers in a square, metal to build soldiers and forts, and wood to upgrade your resource production) and balancing offence with expansion.

    One of the beauties of the game is how ridiculously much variation can be had with relatively small changes. Random each time is the "default" mode of the game, where each board will offer different strategic challenges (though each player is allowed to change one tile before the game to make each starting position viable, as starting positions are random). Players can choose to place all board tiles though, either both players taking turns placing a tile at a time, making the board building a fight for both players to get themselves an advantage from the start, or one player building the board on his own, essentially making a "scenario" map for a fun themed game.

    I'll probably write the manual tomorrow, I might as well post it here.

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