Feb 20, 2006

Face to Face

I sent the prototype in early August 2005 and was waiting on Out of the Box Publishing before I would respond to Mayfair. Mark had said that they would evaluate it in late September. Halfway in between those two things was GenCon 2005. I was there mainly to play in the Star Trek CCG world championships (in which I would end up making top 16) and get some boardgaming in on the side (inluding winning yet another Ideology: The War of Ideas tournament to keep my streak alive). However, I knew that OotB would be there. So when I had some free time on Sunday after being eliminated from day 3 of Trek, I went over to the exhibit hall to meet Mark.

Of course I wasn't expecting him to have anything to say about my game yet, but I felt that a personal connection with a publisher is never a bad thing. It could only help me if, when he got around to testing my game, he remembered meeting me. Actually, it could hurt my chances if I made an ass of myself, but that hadn't occurred to me at the time.

Anyway, when I arrived he was demoing a new game that was basically a dutch auction combined with paper-rock-scissors bidding game with a desert island theme pasted on. The mechanic was somewhat interesting, but the game felt thin overall.

I watched patiently until the demo was over and then introduced myself. At first he didn't remember me but when I mentioned Programmer he did. This is sort of a toss-up in terms of gauging interest. He mentioned a couple of aspects of it that he found interesting and I told him a little about the backstory of my initial inspiration for the unusual theme and mechanics.

We talked for a bit about the submissions process. He said that he gets about 1,000 concept submissions a year. Out of those he asks the most interesting ones for rulebooks. From those he chooses about 100 to move to the prototype submission stage. Finally, out of those 100 prototypes he chooses about 8 to publish.

This was both promising and forboding. My concept was strong enough to be in the top 10% of submissions. However my prototype would have to be in the top 10% of THAT 10% to have a chance at being published. We talked about the industry in general for a short while before I had to run off for a tournament.

I was glad that Mark and I had had a chance to meet, but those numbers had a large impact on me. The rest of my trip I would be thinking about those numbers and trying to figure out if I should be happy or morose about them. Indeed, those numbers would be running through my head for over a month as I waited for the final answer.

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