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I designed a board game that is similar to chess, but on a hexagonal board and fundamentally different in a number of significant ways. For instance it can be two or three player, and the moves of every piece have full rotational symmetry. I have played a handful of people, and most everyone who likes chess really enjoys playing my game. My audience is probably a niche of people, maybe 50-60% of people who enjoy chess will want to try my game.

It's not urgent, but at some point I want to seriously pursue selling it. What's the best path of action to take, especially if I want to keep the rights to the design?

  1. Refine details with a focus group - to get feedback
  2. Patent the game (somehow?)
  3. Bring to gaming conventions to get feedback
  4. Draft up a business & marketing plan
  5. Start to manufacture and sell online

Is this a good plan? Can anyone speak from experience?

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    For what it's worth, I would strongly advise against this. There is a VERY small market (50-60% of chess players is ludicrous - I can't get 50% of IRL chess players to try Chess 960, and it's free + created by one of the best in the game's history). There are many game design websites, including a subforum on BGG. A thorough reading of these should dissuade you. Again, design is good, but this is one way you can fail before you start. – The Chaz 2.0 Aug 17 '20 at 14:35
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It's important to play test your game A LOT with strangers. Watch people read your rules. Things you think are easy to understand people will struggle with!

You may find play test groups local to you. With global lockdown there are a huge number on online play test groups if you can make a digital version of your game. Details are here. https://cardboardedison.com/playtest-groups. I take part in these groups and they are extremely useful.

With regards to trying to find a publisher or self publishing there is an absolute mountain of information online particularly on the Cardboard Edison website.

I will say is there a huge amount of competition out there. You are describing what is called an abstract game. There are countless abstracts games on the market already so for it have a chance it would need to stand out. I'm finding playing in playtest groups lots of game from people who have only played a few games, if you're going to design a game I recommend playing as many different games as you can to learn what works.

I personally wouldn't bother with a patent, the industry is so interconnected that if anyone was going to steal an idea this would be widely known. I also don't think you can patent a game mechanic anyway.

My friends who have self published via Kickstarter are doing so because they want to release a game, not because they want to make money. Kickstarter is also a huge investment in terms of time and money upfront making prototypes, videos, marketing etc. Self publishing friends have described it as doing a full time job as a hobby.

I'm currently talking with publishers about a game I've spent last 16 months working on and have been play testing online with strangers. Through online groups I'm fortunate enough to have been able to speak with published designers, My understanding with talking to to them is that designers is that you would get about 5-8% of the wholesale price as a royalty. So if a game has a retail price of about £50 the designer will get about £1 per copy sold.

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