Feb 8, 2006

The First Round of Submissions

After Programmer: Battle for Bandwidth was finalized (I thought) it was time to begin submitting it to publishers. I looked at several publishers submissions guidelines and followed the instructions. Here are two examples from companies that would later contact me back with continuing the process:

From Out of the Box Publishing:

Congratulations on your new game idea!

Out of the Box Publishing is always looking for new and innovative designs that fit for our growing line of games. If you would like us to consider your game for publication, please observe the following submission guidelines:

  1. First, email a basic description and overview of your game idea directly to me (mark@otb-games.com). Make sure that you include the following information:
    • Age ranges
    • Time needed to learn the game
    • Time needed to play the game
    • Components
    • Brief description of play and winning conditions
    • Proposed theme

  2. If we feel that the information that you provided in step 1 appears promising, we will request a copy of the rules, more detailed information or both.

  3. If we are still interested after step #2, we will request a prototype for more extensive playtesting.

  4. Out of the Box Publishing will not consider any product submission requiring a signed non-disclosure agreement .....sorry, there are no exceptions to this rule.

Since we plan on releasing 4-6 new products each year, I would be delighted if your game turned out to be a good addition to our line!

Thank you for your confidence in Out of the Box Publishing.

Mark Alan Osterhaus
President

From Mayfair Games:
For legal reasons, only William Niebling will look at new game submissions. This insures that no employee of Mayfair Games is influenced by your design ideas.

If you would like to have us consider your game, you need to send a memo (like a Resume for your game) to:

William Niebling
Director of Submissions
Mayfair Games, Inc.
P.O. Box 1023
Ann Arbor, MI 48106

or via email to: submissions@mayfairgames.com

This memo should outline the following items:
• Topic nature of the game (ie, a game about ....)
• Who is the expected market for the game (family members between ?-? or males between the ages of ?-?)
• How does your game fit into the style of games which Mayfair currently produces?
• What is the most interesting facet of the game which could be used in an interesting Marketing approach?
• Is there any similar game to your game? Which ones?
• Has the game been published before?
• What other games have you published?

We are not so interested in the game mechanic, as we are why this game will fit Mayfair's line well. Never send us a prototype unless we specifically request it. If an un-solicited prototype is received it will be immediately destroyed, for your protection and ours. We are always working on games of our own and we would like to protect your idea.

I hope that this assists you in your quest to be published as a game designer.

Thank you,

William Niebling,
Director of Submissions P.O. Box 1023
Ann Arbor, MI 48106
On July 27, 2005 I sent the following to OotB:
Ages 12+

Takes about 5 minutes to learn.

A 4-player game takes about 45 minutes.
A 3-player game takes about 30 minutes.
A 5 or 6-player game takes about 1 hour.

The only components are cards, normal size, about 120 of them (exact set of cards is slightly in flux at this point, but it will stay between 100 and 130).

Players take turns building a shared "computer program" using code cards that pass a scoring token among them in different ways. Players also have event cards that can help yourself or hurt opponents. Every round new code cards get added to the existing program, then it is run, scoring points accordingly. The player to first reach a certain number of points wins the game. (3 players = 12 points, 4 players = 9 points, 5 players = 7 points, 6 players = 6 points)

The theme this is built on is that of players taking on the personae of computer programmers (hackers, really) battling each other over a network.
And the following to Mayfair:
• Topic nature of the game (ie, a game about ....) Computers, Programming, Hackers, and the Internet

• Who is the expected market for the game (family members between ?-? or males between the ages of ?-?) Technology-oriented males over the age of 12

• How does your game fit into the style of games which Mayfair currently produces?
It best fits because its theme is one that you haven't addressed in your line of games. Just about every game you make seems to take place in or prior to the Industrial Age. This game's theme appeals to a different segment of the population. In addition, like most of your games, every player's move affects the utility of all of his opponent's cards, so current Mayfair players would appreciate the interaction of the gameplay.

• What is the most interesting facet of the game which could be used in an interesting Marketing approach?
The most interesting facet from a marketing standpoint is the theme, which is relatively unexplored in the current American game market which seems to be oversaturated with fantasy and midieval games. The mechanics of the game also lends itself to being able to learn to play on a computer, making it easier to attract people who don't necessarily go to gaming conventions but still enjoy playing games.

• Is there any similar game to your game? Which ones?
Programmer's Nightmare (http://boardgamegeek.com/game/3564)
Like my game, has players building a program, but that is really where the similarity ends. The mechanics of how it plays out are vastly different.
Input/Output Game (http://boardgamegeek.com/game/13312)
The game description makes it sound like it is about constructing a program, however, I cannot find a detailed gameplay description of this game.

• Has the game been published before?
No.

• What other games have you published?
I was a designer on the upcoming expansions for "Star Trek CCG Second Edition" titled "To Boldly Go" and "Captain's Log". TBG is planned to release around the end of August 2005. The lead designer is Mike Girard (mike.girard@decipher.com).

I would be happy to answer any further questions you might have. Thank you for your time.
What responses did I get? Tune in same bat time, same bat channel!

3 comments:

  1. Mike Vroom4:04 PM

    Interesting how differently the two companies wanted their submissions. Well, here's to hoping. Programmers is excellent, and I'm hoping it is published by one of them soon.

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  2. This all occurred a long time ago. I doubt that either of these companies will eventually be the one (knock on wood) to publish Programmer.

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  3. Mike Vroom1:08 AM

    Ah. My mistake. Still, pardon my optimism, but I feel Programmers has excellent publishing potential.

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