How to Make Money by Licensing to Board Game Publishers
Cashing in On Your Board Game Designs
You're here because you created a board or card game and you believe it has commercial value. Now you're wondering what it it'd be like for a publisher to handle the production, marketing, and distribution of your game while you sit back and cash the royalty checks...
Okay, let's not get too far ahead of ourselves. There's a big gap between you designing a prototype and the game hitting the marketplace. Let's make sure you haven't skipped any big steps, shall we?
Is Your Game Ready for Review?
First, make sure your prototype has been thoroughly play-tested and gameplay is tight and the rules are clear. Publishers aren't interested in conceptual ideas nor half-finished designs. Your game needs to play cleanly.
Second, your game needs to be clearly different than anything else out there. This will take some research and perhaps asking around, but this is an important step. Publishers are not looking for copycats! BoardGameGeek is a great resource, since it has a huge database of existing board games as well as a community of game fanatics that can provide you with valuable feedback.
Third, is your game fun? And I don't mean fun for you to play, or just your friends and family. The game needs to be fun for a target audience. Once you've identified that audience, you'll be looking for a publisher with a game line that matches it.
The Key: Be Ready to Pitch Your Product!
If you want to maximize the chance of getting your game accepted by a publisher, you'll want to understand their product line and what your game can add to it. Respect their game submission guidelines. View your submission the same way you would as if you're applying for a job at a company. You're trying to differentiate yourself from other applicants, demonstrate your value, and interest them enough to start a dialogue.
Lastly, be patient! Communication between you and a publisher takes time, as does playtesting and production if you get that far.
Best of luck to you!
Board Game Publishers that Accept Submissions from Game Designers
Hasbro only tends to work with professional inventors and brokers for outside submissions, but securing a licensing deal with this company may be the equivalent of hitting the jackpot; there may not be another toy/game outfit that can match their rea
- Steve Jackson Games
Favors simply, humorous, family games.
- Out of the Box Publishing
Product line includes family games that are interactive and play fairly quickly.
- Wizards of the Coast
Huge publisher in the hobby games market. Won't directly accept submissions directly from the public, and recommends contacting an agent, broker, or industry professional to get your game reviewed.
- University Games
Focusing on family games that encourages imagination and interaction amongst the players. Note: the above submission guidelines is a direct link to a Word document, so you must have access to Microsoft Word on your computer to view. To access their h
- Z-Man Games
Click on the "Submissions" link in the left hand navigation. Z-Man Games is a small publisher that will consider any type (card, board, minis) of game as well as any style (Euro, wargame, light, heavy, etc.). Their main criteria is that it is "good,
- Cambridge Games Factory
The kinds of games they're looking for include: * Stand alone, non-collectible card or board games (expandable is fine) * Simple components (e.g. chips, dice, pawns)--nothing electronic, no custom molding * Not dependent upon licencing (e.g. specific
- Super Duper Publications
This company publishes fun and educational materials for kids, which includes games and cards.
- Winning Moves Games
Specializes in classic and retro family-oriented tabletop games and puzzles. Does not accept unsolicited outside submissions, but may work with certain professional inventors.
- Smart Zone Games
A small publisher with offices in the United States, New Zealand, and Israel. Looking for strategy, puzzle-oriented, and card games.
Books on Licensing Your Board Game Designs
These are best books I've found on the subject, and is far more comprehensive than I can be on this Squidoo lens.