The Board Game Design Course

Where great games begin

Game Design

Working with a large or small publisher is exactly the same, except…

I’ve been designing games for quite a while now. At first, it was just a fun hobby, but after dabbling in this for a couple of years, I started to get more serious about it.

I focused my attention on learning the game design process and getting as much experience with this as I could. It was only about one year ago that I started pitching games to publishers. My thought was that I wanted to have some decent games to show before I took this next step.

Since that first pitch, I’ve gotten better. Both at presenting my games and at designing them.

Making a good-looking, engaging prototype, and being able to pitch this with a lot of enthusiasm to a publisher can go a long way!

I’m happy to announce that I have now signed both my first and second games with publishers. Last week was a great week. I had been in discussions with these publishers and it took a bit of time to finalize the contracts, but it’s now official.

The interesting thing is the first game I signed was with quite a large publisher, whereas my second game was signed by a smaller, local publisher.

I’m excited to be working with both of these publishers, and there will be a lot of similarities working with them, yet I foresee some distinct differences as well. While it’s important to recognize that every publisher is different and will have their own unique strengths, challenges, and ways of working with designers, here are some of the advantages and nuances I anticipate with each.

Large publisher

One of the great things about working with a large publisher is they are firmly established. They have money, relationships, and will be able to do a large print run of your game right from the start. They have the benefits of economies of scale, a marketing department, and a network for their distribution.

They do all of the legwork, allowing the designer to focus on what they do best – design games. They are experts in what they do and focus on these other important tasks.

In short, they have the resources to make things happen and have the power of numbers behind them. They’re working with quantity and can get your game out in front of a wide audience.

Small publisher

There are also some distinct advantages to working with a smaller publisher. First and foremost, your game will likely get out there sooner. Rather than waiting in a queue, it could be their number one priority, and they will be looking to release it sooner rather than later.

You will also likely have a closer working relationship with a small publisher. They may ask for more of your input and allow you to have more creative control. You may end up doing more work, but at the same time your finalized game could look a lot closer to your original vision.

What a small publisher lacks in size and resources, they make up for in speed and relationship building.

I’m really looking forward to the experience of working with both of these publishers and can’t wait to see how these two games look once they’re finalized.

What benefits do you see of working with a large publisher? What benefits are unique to the smaller publisher?

I’d love to hear your thoughts and about your own experiences.

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    Wow! You are a rock star! I knew you could do it! You’ve been a great example of how to get things done! I’m soooo proud of you and your accomplishments! Keep up the great work!

    Thanks so much, Lana! You’ve been an amazing supported for so long and I appreciate you so much!

    Congratulations. I am very happy for you. Someday I hope to go the publisher route. While I am happy to back kickstarters, I have no intention of ever running one.

    Thanks Russel! Kickstarter is definitely not for everyone. There is a big difference between pitching to a publisher and self-publishing, and you need to figure out which one is best for you. Keep working on it, and I’m sure you’ll have your game published one day.