Thursday, August 27, 2009

Jackson Pope of Reiver Games posted some interesting stuff in his blog: Board Games - Creation and Play recently.

The linked post is about receiving submissions... Reiver is a small operation, much like Tasty Minstrel Games. Jackson says he's received something like 150 submissions in the last 3 years, and has published 4 games. Tasty Minstrel is just publishing 2 games to start, and they were games that were in the works for a long time, and had been played many many times. Going forward, TMG will be getting a lot of submissions (indeed, I've already received a handful!), some of which will make the cut and some of which will not. Jackson's post was about how to respond to all of these submissions.

I submitted a comment to the linked post basically agreeing with what Jackson had said. There are only different responses possible to a submission: "Yes, we'll publish it," and "No we will not publish it." But it's more complicated than that... the "No" response can be broken down into 3 categories:

1) We're not interested at all.

2) We won't publish as-is, but if you make changes based on our feedback we'd consider it again.

3) We won't publish as-is, but would like to work with you on improving it.

Where my job comes in is (a) deciding which of those 3 responses is appropriate for a submission that we're not going to publish as-is, and (b) if response #3, then I have to work with the designer to make the game better. That's the fun part for me, but it's also difficult to say whether a game will ever be "good enough," and how much work and time it'll take before the game would be considered "good enough."

Tasty Minstrel's next big game Belfort definitely has potential, and I think it's quickly approaching the "good enough" point - but theres still a lot of work to do on it!


Jack said...

Hiya Seth,

Thanks for the shout-out. :)

Deciding where you stand on a game is quite difficult, obviously you need to love it, but you need to be sure (as sure as you can!) that it's going to sell well.

As for the ones that are a no, that's even harder. Why? What would make it a yes?



SDS said...

Seeing that the designer if Belfort has already rated it a 10, I'm surprised it needs any work at all!

Anonymous said...

It can be helpful to both parties to include at least a phrase or two describing the reasons for rejection. For example, "For now, our thematic focus is on historical games." Criticism is trickier, but it's the mark of a company that's worth building a relationship with.

Seth Jaffee said...

I'm not sure who the anonymous poster above is, but they have a point. I know as someone submitting a game to publishers, I'd really like to know why I was getting rejected.

On the other hand, in some cases the reason is simply "we don't like the sound of it" or "it doesn't look very good to us." So I have a question for would be submitters...

If the reason for rejection is simply "I don't like the sound of this game" (be that thematically or mechanically, or based on the genre) - would you prefer to hear that directly, or would you prefer a more sugar coated "we're not interested at this time" type of response?

I should put this in a blog post rather than buried in a comment.