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State of the Game: Business As Unusual!

Jack Donaghy I'm NOT.

Full disclosure: I'm NOT a businessperson.

I'm a lot of things, but I've never made any money as an entrepeneur. And as I've read (and it seems a fair contention), if you're not an entrepeneur, the game BUSINESS is none of yours. (I know it's an old link, but I thought the title was perfect!)

Like I tell kids in my class: just because you like PLAYING video games, or even have made a mod or two for your faves, doesn't mean you really want to get into the business of designing them.

With that said, I went and made this game in my spare time because I felt passionate about it and I was learning things along the way. I've had a lot of fun with it, and now it's at a point where it's doing all the things I had hoped it would (and a few I hadn't even imagined!).

So what now?

I knew my design goals for the game, but what are my goals NOW?

Well, I think at the very least, I'd like people to PLAY the thing. I'd like to keep making more expansions, too - mostly because now that I think in tropes, I can't watch a show without one finger on the pause button and a pen handy, but also because Genre-bending plots were one of my original design goals. I REALLY want to publish a COUPLE of Genre games, mix 'em, and play a Supers vs. Zombies or Kung-Fu Cowboys In Space mash-up!

After doing some research, it seems there are a few options for achieving these goals:

1) Go with Gamecrafter.

Essentially, a vanity publishing option. This would lead to a price around $40, with about $10 of profit per game; all the stuf you read says profit should be 4 to 5 times the price of production. I'd couple this with a Kickstarter, which would need to sell something like 150 games or so in order to meet their bulk price requirement (a lower number because there are a LOT of cards in the game!).

The nicest part? Gamecrafter can print it all - boxes, cards, the works - and send it to people for no extra money or hassle!

The rough part? Well, getting an LLC liscence to allow any profit on the game at all would cost $800 in CA, and lead to tax shennanigans. Ew. This means most of the profits would get eaten.

2) Go with a publisher.

This would involve figuring out how to sell my stuff. I've read a nice blog on selling from the Bamboozle Brothers and even arranged a sell sheet, but hawking it seems like quite a bit of legwork and research. I don't have the money or time to travel to too many conventions, either.

There's also the bit where I give up creative control. I think I'm pretty open to change - heck, playtesting and making beta versions was ALL about re-writing EVERYTHING - but it is a bit scary. That said, I think if someone were interested, I'd be all in.

3) Try to sell solo.

Eek. I've read up on this and chatted a bit with a few folks, and it's scary. I'm not going to overbuy and stock games. I don't have the time and cash to invest in a big run. I probably don't have the time to invest in shopping for a manufacturer AND distributer.

... and yet, isn't this the brass ring?


Thoughts? What would YOU do? Seriously - do tell! I could use the advice!

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