Think you have the next best idea for a board game since Monopoly? Breaking into the game design industry cannot be accomplished overnight and there are no shortcuts proven to help first time board game designers. Anyone can query a game publisher over mail or email, and some companies may even grant a pitch meeting with new designers. Each publishing company has their own practices on accepting pitches from outside individuals, but they do not typically purchase board games based solely on an idea. Therefore you should take every step possible to make your game worth the investment.
Write a formal game design treatment. This document must be informative and well written in addition to justifying why your board game will be unique and marketable. Tom Sloper of sloperama.com, who worked in the video game industry as a designer and producer, relates board game publishing to novel publishing. First-time game designers should work out as many details about their board game as possible, even building a prototype game, just as novelists can only attempt to sell a completed manuscript of their novel.
Copyright your game. Board game designers in the United States can protect their intellectual property by registering with the United States Copyright Office. Placing the copyright symbol on your documents can deter theft of your intellectual property, but does not have the legal power of an official registration. Some aspects of a game designer’s creation may also be eligible for a patent law, such as a unique game piece. Additionally, make certain that you are not in violation of someone’s intellectual property if you plan to use pre-existing characters or stories.
Obtain a degree from a higher education institution and earn a job in board game development. Becoming an industry insider takes several years but gives you valuable insight on how to sell your board game by working on projects to make other people’s games. According to sloperama.com, contact the company’s manager of submissions when you’re ready to pitch a board game
Learn from rejections and just keep trying. Tom Sloper of sloperama suggests working on several more ideas before coming back to your first or favorite idea. You might think of improvements to your game idea after letting it sit for several months. If you are an industry outsider, there are still opportunities to beta test games being developed or attend board game conventions for research and networking.
Matt Becht is a freelance filmmaker from Cleveland, Ohio. Becht’s college curriculum included courses in English composition, creative writing, and scriptwriting. He began writing professionally in 2009, and has been published in eHow, Trails.com, Travels.com and Golflink.com. Becht holds a Bachelor of Arts from the Scripps College of Communication at Ohio University.