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I've read the other questions on publishing games and have noticed that a few of them have been closed for being too broad. Hopefully this question will be a bit more specific.

OK I have a game in development at the moment. I'm realistic enough to realise it probably isn't the best game in the world and getting it published by a traditional company is going to be an uphill battle. So I came up with an idea about how to get round this problem.

Lets say I approach a game company and offer to pay them all the expenses they incur when distributing, marketing, manufacturing and selling my game. That way they wouldn't take a financial hit if the game is an absolute failure and I would be the one who would foot the bill for the failure. In order to encourage them to agree to the deal I would offer them a percentage share in my company which owns the rights to the game. Therefore if it fails they don't lose anything and if it succeeds they would get a percentage of the profits via dividends paid through their shareholding in my company.

My question is this. How would one go about talking to game companies and making this offer? As far as I can tell it would be a win win situation. If it fails they haven't lost anything and if it succeeds they get a share of the profits. I am aware that game companies are (and companies in general for that matter) protective of their reputation and brand name so they wouldn't even need to have their company name on the product if they are worried that it will have a negative impact on their brand.

I just don't know who the people to talk are in these game companies? I live in the UK so could try and go to some game conferences or similar and see what people say. Are there any direct lines of communication between games companies and small game designers?

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    And ruin their reputation for either being sellouts or for backing a total flop? Good luck. You'll need it to win a lottery so you have the money this would take. – Nij Jul 22 '17 at 12:15
  • @Nij I did address that point in my question where I said that they would not associate their brand with the product. Why would anyone suggest that they were sellouts? This is business not a childrens nursery, money runs businesses and people need to realise that fact. They wouldn't be backing it they would just be renting out their current processes. If I want to build a new product do I build my own factory? No you rent existing factory space. If the product sucks people don't turn around and say all products made by that factory suck because they know factories make lots of stuff. Same here – Cromulent Jul 22 '17 at 13:13
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    You have a lot to learn about business, and a lot to learn about people. – Nij Jul 22 '17 at 20:17
  • @Nij I'm sorry there seems to be some massive misunderstanding and that is my fault. All I'm saying is that I see a lot of Kickstarter funded games and they must be manufactured somewhere. All I'm asking is where are these games manufactured. I can't imagine they manufacture them themselves. There must be some factories out there that make games on demand for a fee otherwise where would the Kickstarter funded games be made? – Cromulent Jul 24 '17 at 17:01
  • No, that's not what you're asking. It may be what you want to ask, it may be what you meant to ask, and it may be what you ask after the responses you've received so far. But it is not what your question as stated currently is asking. – Nij Jul 25 '17 at 23:01
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That deal doesn't seem very likely. You plan to cover any expenses they may incur during production, marketing, and distribution, but I do not believe you have considered their opportunity cost for taking on the project. Whatever time and resources they are devoting to your game (even if you are footing the bill) could be spent elsewhere on a product with a greater expected return on investment.

It sounds like you are looking for the board game equivalent of vanity publishing (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vanity_press), which is usually not a good idea for anyone except the publisher. If you do find a company willing to let you cover all costs, it may not be as good of a deal as you think.

  • Thank you for the response. I guess I'll see if I can get it published the traditional way then. Like everyone I think I have a good idea but I know that everyone who creates games thinks they have a great idea so I know that nothing is set in stone. I'll just continue to work on it in my spare time and doing play testing and see how it goes. I'll probably also set up a website to advertise the game and try and build some interest in it before hand. At least I am having fun working on it :). – Cromulent Jul 23 '17 at 2:53
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You're far better off trying to kickstart your game if you don't think a publisher will go for it.

But then you should be asking yourself why don't you think it's good enough? And if it isn't good enough, what can you do to make it good enough. In this day and age there are some fantastic games that have been released and your game needs to compete against those games if you want people to play it.

I would suggest learning more about board game design and if this game is not good enough, either fix it so that it is good enough or create a new one that is.

Alternatively, you can use a print-on-demand service to print your game for you. There are a number of "create your own board game" services out there which will do a professional job at reasonable cost (if you only want it for yourself).

  • I have considered the whole Kickstarter thing. I'm a computer programmer by trade and have a game idea that mixes a computer game with a board game. Unfortunately that means I can't get it published by a computer game publisher because they don't do board games and I can't get it published by a board game company because they don't do computer games. So I'm trapped between the two. The only option left is to do it all myself. – Cromulent Jul 24 '17 at 17:03
  • @Cromulent, Fantasy Flight Games published the X-COM board game, which is a cross between a board and a computer game. These things exist. (Also, there's Golem Arcana, which is a board game that requires an ipad.) – PotatoEngineer Jul 25 '17 at 22:32
  • I'm no expert in this area, but I would think your chances are far greater with a board game publisher than a software publisher, simply because software is easier to distribute than a board game. So you would go with the company whose components are harder to distribute, because presumably they have that part worked out already. And board game companies already have downloadable items available (rules, etc.). – Kyralessa Aug 14 '17 at 20:01
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You might want to consider the equivalent of a Print on Demand service like Lulu. I've looked at The Game Crafter but have not used their services. You could certainly find a few other options out there with a bit of google searching (such as Print Ninja.)

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