2019 is coming to an end so I want to take the time to think of the games I’ve designed this year and what stages they’re at. I know many of these games will get discarded in the new year but many of them are very promising. I am hoping that 2020 is my year for getting my first game signed! For any game I wrote rejected, it wasn’t because it was a bad game. It was because a publisher took a prototype to test and eventually decided to pass for one reason or another. Bellow is a list of the most common reasons they passed on a game.
Reasons Publishers Gave for Passing On A Game:
This game isn’t what is currently “in” at the moment.
The game could be harder or easier depending on the publisher.
We have a game with a similar theme or mechanic in the works already.
It’s not the right fit for our company.
The game didn’t playtest well enough.
Change XYZ, then we will look at it again.
None of this is bad, everything is about timing and finding the right fit and no matter how much rejection you get. Some people won’t be interested, or they will take a prototype or print & play to reject the game the next month. I found that sending an e-mail with a sell sheet is an easy way to get your name out. If I publisher bites, be prepared to set up a meeting, send a video or print & play files. I have started to see more success with this as the year has gone on. On average I schedule around 8 meetings per convention I attend. This has really helped my chances of getting my games looked at. Bellow are a few lists of games I have created this year or am currently still pitching this year. I took notes on the lengths these games have been with publishers, an estimated number of pitches they’ve been apart of and what my next steps are for the game.
Currently with HABA (6 months), Big Potato (1 month), Royal Jumbo Games (1 month), Greater than Games (under 1 month) and Glass Shoe Games (under 1 month).
Rejected by Game Wright (9 months), Social Sloth & Travel Buddy (3 months), Blue Orange (2 months), Brain Games (3 months), KTBG (3 months), Amigo (1 month) and Bicycle (2 months).
Pitched to over 20 companies at PAX Unplugged 2018/2019 Conventions, Origins 2019, GenCon 2019 and CHITAG 2019 plus through e-mail.
One unsuccessful Kickstarter in June of 2019 before trying to pitch the game at more than one convention.
I will relaunch the Kickstarter campaign with a smaller goal and most likely publish through the Game Crafter if Nut Stash is not picked up by a publisher in 2020.
Currently with Hub Games (1 month).
Rejected by Fireside Games (3 months), Weird Giraffe (1 month), Travel Buddy Game (3 months) and Roxley (2 months).
Pitched to 10 publishers at Origins 2019 and Dice Tower 2019.
I am in the process of switching the game from dice to cards being used as the passenger placement method then will be pitching the game again at future conventions.
Currently with Calliope Games (less than a month) and XYZ Games (less than a month).
Rejected by Pandasaurous Games (2 months) and Atlas Games (2 months).
Pitched to 10 publishers at GenCon 2019, CHITAG 2019 and PAX Unplugged 2019.
Taking a break from this game to see if either company signs it. The prototype is costly, so I am waiting before continuing work on it.
Currently with Calliope Games (less than a month), Glass Shoe Games (less than a month), Greater than Games (less than a month) and Pandasauros Games (less than a month).
No one has had it and rejected it after playtesting.
This game has been pitched to 1 publisher at CHITAG 2019 and 5 publishers at PAX Unplugged 2019.
This game is still currently being playtested and sent out for review by publishers to see if they are interested.
Created for the Button Shy 18-identical card challenge.
Unfortunately, did not win but I did create a fun party game that is free for download on my website.
I will not be pitching this one to anyone else.
Currently with Travel Buddy Games (less than a month), Glass Shoe Games (less than a month) and XYZ Game Labs (less than a month).
No one has had it and rejected it after playtesting.
This game was pitched to 5 companies at PAX Unplugged and 3 of them are currently reviewing the game!
This game will continue to be playtested and pitched at future conventions.
Games Almost Ready To Pitch
This is my first ever party game based on the newer dating trend of ghosting people. It has been playtested for 2 months but is still being worked on so I can pitch it to companies in a month or so.
I did submit it to the Grey Matter Games design competition. Fingers crossed it or Nut Stash wins!
2. Rubbish - Designed November 2019
In Rubbish work to dumpster dive and collect garbage tiles to sell for money to collectors.
This game has been playtesting really well. I am excited to pitch this next year! I already have a few companies in mind that may enjoy it.
3. Sedona Vortex – Designed December 2019
This is my first abstract game based on the stacked rocks in Sedona, Arizona that are used as trail markers or to show the location of the vortexes.
I had this game theme in my head for a good chunk of 2019, but I never knew how to do it until my pitch meeting with XYZ Game Labs. They said they wanted a game like SHŌBU that looked like it was found in a cave somewhere and was timelessly fun. Sedona Vortex was born from that conversation.
Currently the game rules are done, and it is being playtested. I am working on the booklet of rock set ups for the game.
I am hoping to e-mail this game to a few select publishers that might be interested in this type of game.
Games I Am Working On Finishing Prototypes For
1. Team Heroes – Designed August 2019
This game was designed and recently scrapped to go at it a different angle. Team Heroes is a comic I use to draw as a kid. I was a huge fan of comic book superheroes, so I created my own team of over 100 heroes. I decided as my passion project I would work to design a game for my characters. That will be a huge part of my 2020 game design resolution. To complete the game and have it ready for pitching. I am hopeful to get it picked up as is or by a company that will reskin the game as Young Justice, Teen Titans, X-men or Young Avengers since the game is based on young heroes.
2. Trading Post – Designed November 2019
Another Button Shy Game Design challenge that was themed after the Arizona Trading Post where local tribes would create and sell goods such as rugs, baskets, dolls and jewelry. This design wasn’t finished in time to submit to the contest, but I do plan on finishing it to pitch to Button Shy and XYZ Games if playtesting goes well. I like the idea of having games based off my life and upbringing in Arizona.
Games I Never Finished/Gave Up On
1. Excursions – Designed January 2019
This game was created to be a travel game were players are given a chunk of money and a week to go on the most amazing trip they can to claim popularity points, similar to social media “likes”. The winner is the player who uses their money to plan the best trip while gaining the most popularity. I designed an amazing board for this game and started on the spread sheets for the cards but I got distracted by other things. I never completed the cards so I could playtest this. My hope is I will get back to it or get a co-designer to help me balance the game cards out.
2. Forecast – Designed January 2019
This game was a roll-and-write designed for a contest. The contest parameters didn’t work well with the intention for this weather themed game, so I shelved it until the future.
3. Gotta Get the Gouda – Designed May 2019
This game was a roll-and-write designed for a contest. I didn’t feel inspired to continue the design of this game. Possibly I will pick it up again in the future but for now it will be left alone.
4. Caffeine - Designed June 2019
Genius Games held a design competition to design a game for Caffeine. My friend Ryan and I decided to give co-designing a try and make a deck building game.
We did not win and decided to not continue our work on the game past the competition ending.
5. What's For Lunch? - Designed October 2019
Play as lunch ladies trying to please today's youth with their new allergies and dietary preferences. I loved the theme for this but I've tried 5 different mechanics and can't quite make it work. I have tabled it until I can think of something new.
Most of my game design ideas came towards the end of the year after I ended my Kickstarter for Nut Stash. I realized that the time it took to do everything for the Kickstarter was too much for one person to handle. Since designing is what I love, I have chosen to focus more on creating and testing more of my games then pitching to publishers. I have high hopes that 2020 will be the year I sign my first game!