Courting a Game Publisher – DO’s and DON’Ts

Energy Empire


Courting a Game Publisher – DO’s and DON’Ts

pitching a game to a publisher
Believe it or not, there is an etiquette when submitting (pitching) your game to Publishers. Publishers receive many submissions and just like submitting a resume for a job, the simplest things can turn Publishers off. To a degree it’s like courting- there are Dos and there are Don’ts that most Publishers expect. I reached out to a few of my Publisher friends, and of course, I’m also a Publisher, to assemble a short list for you Game Designers out there to follow:

pitching a game to a publisher


  • Research Publishers and only contact those who are likely to be interested in your types of games. Don’t waste everyone’s time by attempting to submit your war game to a casual game company. Same goes for themes that might be a turn-off to the Publisher you’re submitting too.
  • Check a Publisher’s website for submission guidelines before you do anything else.
  • Read the Publisher’s submission rules and clauses – some even take ownership of your submission
  • In most cases, it’s acceptable to contact multiple Publishers at the same time about interest in your game. But please tell the Publisher that you are doing so.
  • E-mailing Publishers is fine. Make sure you put a 1-paragraph description of your game near the top of your letter. Try to include the “hook” for your game that makes it unique.
  • List the game’s vitals: play time, age, # of players, primary mechanics, expected retail price
  • List the game’s components – just totals of each item (like cards), not details
  • List the game’s target audience: Euro-gamers, Ameritrash, Casual gamers, Party gamers, etc
  • Send 1 small picture of your game with the initial inquiry or be prepared to send several pictures of your prototype on request
  • Include a link to the PDF rules or provide them on request
  • If you can, make a game sales pitch / short play video or even a sales flyer. It’s easier to watch and listen or gaze at a summary sheet then read through a long email to figure out what your game has to offer and what makes it stand out.
  • The best thing you can do is schedule time (beforehand) at a convention to meet with the Publisher to demo your game in person. Not all publishers have the time at conventions but personal demos work best
  • When creating a prototype, consider layout and use clip art graphics. Try to approximate what you think the final version should look like.
  • When you send your prototype to the Publisher make sure it’s a fully functional prototype with all the bits (including dice) in it. Don’t make the Publisher hunt for bits.
  • When submitting a prototype, including multiple copies of the rulebook.
  • Write only once a month at the most for an update but once a quarter would be best. Publishers are busy and get a lot of submissions.
  • It is acceptable to ask for a final answer or the game back if it’s been a year or longer. This can be a double-edged sword though – it puts some pressure on the Publisher to take you seriously but they might not have the time and just send the Prototype back.
  • You may be required to pay shipping if you want your prototype back, but most Publishers will pay.
  • Keep improving and testing your game while you are waiting
  • Take your game to conventions and local meet-ups and game store game nights. Get people to play your game and listen to as much feedback from as many types of people as you can.
  • Be flexible on the potential theme, component, or rules changes / development proposed by the Publisher.
  • Offer to work with the Publisher’s developer to test their proposed design changes and to continue to develop the game.
  • Offer to help with promotion of your game, including Kickstarter if applicable, as well as upon release. Most Publishers are small 1 or 2 people companies and your personal help promoting the game will go a long way. But make sure you get permission before releasing any artwork or details on final products.
  • Write a rulebook that can be blind-tested. This means that you don’t have to explain the game and someone can learn it without your help. This is very hard but the better you do the more likely the Publish is to have a good time learning your game. Of course, their editor will hack it apart later, but you need a good start.
  • Make sure your rulebook has an accurate parts/contents list.
  • Be prepared to move once the Publisher says they want to go with your game. It’s GO TIME and you need to keep up.

pitching a game to a publisher


  • Don’t write a long email on the first contact.
  • Don’t go into a long story about your development of the game.
  • Don’t go into a lengthy description of the game’s theme. Publishers may want to change the theme for many reasons, such as using art resources they already have or simply prevent the theme from overlapping with another release. You can explain how a certain theme could enhance the game but don’t look like you’re going to fight the Publisher if they want to change it.
  • Don’t submit a game similar to a game a Publisher already produces.
  • Don’t send a game that requires an IP license
  • Don’t ask for an NDA or imply you’re worried about your IP. This is a big newbie question and a turn-off. Many Publishers will not even give you a second thought after that.
  • Don’t bother to patent your game idea as it’s probably not useful and very expensive.
  • Don’t worry about a Publisher stealing your game idea. They don’t have the time to redo all your work. They have plenty of ideas of their own they’d like to work on.
  • Don’t submit more than one or two games to a Publisher at a time. Pitch the game you think that Publisher is most likely to print. You can always return later.
  • Don’t set any hard deadlines or time frames for getting you an answer about your game unless you’re prepared to take it back right then
  • Don’t hire an artist / friend to work on your game unless it’s for free or willing to be thrown out. That’s not your job and most Publishers will not accept it. You are offering a working game design and nothing more to the Publisher.
  • Don’t be unwilling to make changes. Designers should be flexible to changes in design, components, and theme. The more established you become the more authority you’ll gain over these decisions but ultimately remember that it is the Publisher who is taking the biggest financial risk publishing the game so they need to do what they feel is the best chance for success.
  • Don’t send copies of the same prototype to multiple Publishers (or even ask them). Once you’re at the prototype stage with a Publisher it is usually understood that they will be exclusively working with you till they make their decision.
  • Don’t nag weekly about the status of your game. A Publisher has to get your game in front of several people and play it a few times. They have other games to look at too. Reviewing a prototype usually takes months. If you nag the Publisher they’ll just mail the prototype back or throw it out.
  • Don’t send unsolicited prototypes to Publishers.
  • Don’t submit game ideas to Publishers. They only want fully developed games. If you don’t think it’s playable out of the box, don’t submit it to a Publisher. This does not mean there won’t be more development suggestions from the Publisher.
  • Don’t send a publisher a Collectible Card Game (CCG/TCG/TMG) – we don’t have the money to create and market a game that will be DOA. Make it a non-collectible game in a box or LCG
  • I’ve learned this later in life and I’ll assume most of you are younger… so: Don’t make excuses. Whether it’s your Boss or your Publisher, they don’t want to hear about your issues and problems and excuses. They want to know when to expect results and for you to meet your deadlines.
  • Don’t run a Kickstarter campaign and then attempt to look for a publisher. Some publishers won’t touch your game after you have run a crowdfunding campaign for it already. Contact them before and leverage their marketing to make the best of crowdfunding.

More Reading

Publishers Answer: Would You Reject a “Good” Game?

Game Lab Podcast: Pitches & Sell Sheets

Speed Dating

I also run some Designer/Publisher Speed Dating events at GenCon and BGG.CON and other events. They are a great place to get 6 minutes in front of dozens of publishers in one night. These are scheduled in our FB forum: Card & Board Game Design Guild

Some more info from the perspective of designers and publishers was posted over at the League of Game Makers:

Geek Lists

Games Published after attending a Speed Dating event:

Games Published after attending a Protospiel event:

Tabletop Generation is also a valuable resource for showing off your prototypes:

Publishers I know are accepting submissions:

(Updated: 9/2015)

Action Phase Games Sit Down Games Alderac Ent. (AEG) Albino Dragon
Ape Games Arcane Wonders Asmodee Atlas Games
Bezier Games Breaking Games Catalyst Games CGC Games
CMON Limited Crafty Games Cryptozoic Czech Games Edition
Dan Verssen Games Escape Velocity Games Foxtrot Games Flatlined Games
Floodgate Games Foam Brain Games Gamelyn Games Game Salute
Gozer Games Greenbrier Games Grey Fox Games Gut Bustin’ Games
Indie Boards and Cards Leder Games Mayday Games Mayfair Games
Minion Games Mirror Box Games Nauvoo Games Renegade Games
Rio Grande Games Smirk & Dagger Games Spartacus Publishing Split Second Games
Stoneaier Games Studio 9 Inc. Stronghold Games Tasty Minstrel Games
The Flux Capacity Toy Vault Upper Deck USAopoly
V&C Games Valley Games Wishing Tree Games Z-Man Games

Some pretty common threads in what hobby publishers are looking for and more telling, NOT looking for…

Not Interested:
– RPGs
– CCGs
– Variants on classic games, like a chess or poker variant
– Games thematically dependent on acquiring a license.

+ family games, but they need enough meat on the bone for more serious gamers
– overly-heavy games
– CCG’s, RPG’s or wargames
– Thematically no sports game, zombies or fantasy

+ Any games that can be translated and good in all languages.
– Games that we can’t make changes or already in production, send your projects to the distribution team instead
– Concept around a trademark, without the rights
– Older game with a new theme, without the rights

+ card games – edgy or humorous
+ games that don’t require a lot of bits
– abstract
– educational games

+ medium to light games, about 30-60 minutes in length
+ unique themes and gameplay
– zombies, sci-fi, or D&D type of fantasy themes

+ Accessible and engaging strategy games
+ Light to medium Euros
+ Card-only games
+ Open to abstract games
+ Open to games with children’s themes
– Heavy Euros
– Party games

Not Interested:
– Variants on classic games, like a chess or poker variant

+ Lightweight card games or medium weight Euro-style games
+ Nothing over 3 hours play time for board games, 45 minutes for card games
+ New or interesting theme – Space or Steampunk fine
+ Unique hook or interesting game mechanic
+ Should have a good number of players – 4 minimum, 6 preferred
+ Worker placement
+ Co-operative or competitive
+ Exploration games
+ Games where something is built
Not interested:
– Zombies
– CCGs, Deckbuilding
– Dice or “press your luck” style games
– Party games, Trivia games
– Children’s or Sports games
– 2-player games

+ science fiction, military & Weapons
+ realistic, or plausible fantasy w/o magic
+ mad scientist, monster building, robots/mechs/cyborgs
+ traiter dynamic, moral ambiguity (tough choices)
+ tactical miniature combat
+ trading, leveling, ecomnic, resource management
+ modular terrain, worldbuilding
+ micromanagement of simcity/civilization style games
+ worker placement
+ voluntary co-op or voluntary pvp, not forced.

+adventure games
+asymmetrical games
+fantasy games

+teach in 5-20 min
+euro & party games
+light fillers with unique bits

+ Unique theme with a great hook
Not Interested:
– deck builders
– party and trivia games
– sport simulations
– abstracts
– educational games
– word games
– twists on classic games

+ Family Games
+ Party Games
+ Ideally no individual game turns
+ Light Strategy Gaems 1 hour or less
+ Crazy simple with lots of replayability, but with interesting decisions
– Heavy/hard-core Euros games
– No Wargames

+ roundless seemless play
+ medium-heavy euro games

+ Small dice games
+ medium-heavy euros
+ interesting card games
+ space / fantasy
– Party games
– word games
– children’s games
– zombie stuff
– horror

+ board games
Not Interested:
– no overly complicated games

+ Unique with a great hook
Not Interested:
– party and trivia games
– sport simulations
– abstracts
– educational games
– word games
– twists on classic games

Don’t forget to join our Facebook Group for more interactive discussions:

Tabletop Game Publisher’s Guild

Tabletop Game Kickstarter Advice

Card & Board Game Designers Guild

Check out these pages…

Editable Google Doc of Publishers (Thanks Aerjen Tamminga):

BGG Publisher’s Accepting Submissions List Publishers List

Some more writing on this topic:

10 Tips for Writing Board Game Sell Sheets

How to Create a Sell Sheet

Pitching games to publishers at Gen Con 2013 – Part 1

Don’t Throw Games at Publishers!

Pitch Like a Pro

How to Explain your Game To an Asshole


 10 Takeaways from Pitching to a Well-Known Publisher

30 Things I Hate About Your Game Pitch

Happy Gaming!
~ James

Written by: James Mathe
Energy Empire



  1. Fred Wallace on

    Sir, I have a powerful christian game submission………are you accepting board game submissions with christian content……….or know anyone accepting them?….thank you for your website with great information do’s and don’ts,
    Fred Wallace (game designer)

    • I only accept games if the theme is the second most important aspect. We did publish Kingdom of Solomon which is a great classic Euro-Game with a historical/religious theme. Submissions should be sent to contact for though not here.

  2. Stephen Avery on

    Nice article. Really concise with some good common sense items in there. I like how you added publisher links at the bottom as well. Good Job.

  3. Great article, and I agree with all of it – except one item, but since it’s an important one, I’d state it :
    “Don’t send copies of the same prototype to multiple publishers”

    Given that most publishers, even after receiving a prototye they asked for, can wait one year or more before giving an answer, sending prototypes to only one at a time means that you accept to wait for years before your game can be published – and often it’s obsolete or out of fashion before this time. I think sending to three or four pulishers at once is always acceptable, providing they lnow about it. I’m sure several of my games would never have found a publisher if I had waited for a definitive answer from one before sending the prototype to another.

    • Thanks for the comment Bruno! Most publishers I talked to don’t want to see a prototype till they are really interested and at that time they expect that the rug will not get pulled out from under you. I guess the best answer is just ask the publisher if it’s ok to send the prototype to others. They can’t tell you know unless they agree to give you an answer in a reasonable time on your game.

  4. Really great post; it’ll definitely help us refine our pitch for Gen-Con. One question for you: We’ve got a self-published game that’s doing really well on that we’d like to start pitching to publishers, but if publishers are asking for exclusivity, will the fact that there are ~20 copies out in the wild be a detriment?

    • I’m afraid that’s going to be a show stopper for some (like Zman) and a positive for others. So it’s all over. To me it’s a good sign you have a game far enough along and liked enough for people to buy and play it. So it’s a positive for Minion Games. But for many other larger companies its a show stopper.

  5. Ivan on

    Just a quick note, Stronghold Games doesn’t accept unsolicited game submissions. I tried to contact them and got a speedy negative response.

  6. I was wondering what a typical budget for artwork would be for a game with a box cover (obviously), game mat and about 100 cards. I’ve dealt with artists before, however I was self-publishing so my budget did not need any approval.

    However on my current Work-In-Progress (WIP), I have approached a publisher who asked me to submit artwork along with my game’s rulebook. I already had an artist in mind and so we agreed to do three (3) cards and the box cover for the game. I paid him for his work thinking I might be able to fully develop the remainder of the artwork with this artist.

    The publisher responded and said they thought the artwork I sent was “Great”! However we have not discussed the budget for producing the artwork. We are only at the playtesting stage (they – the publisher – want to playtest my game). I guess more discussions will follow if they like playing the game…

    I know what professional artists charge and have negotiated fair budget for my artist – but I was have second thoughts, worried that my artwork budget may be too high for the publisher…

    Note: Obviously this publisher was interested in knowing what kind of artist and artwork I could provide.

    Note 2: I feel very blessed to have met and worked with my artist to produce the sample artwork. I too am fond of the artwork. A sample can be seen on BGDF at:

    Anyhow I would just like a range (not an exact budget) for this type of project (100 cards)…

    Thank you,


  7. Thanks James for all the good and free advice. Especially the do’s and don’ts of courting a game publisher since I am looking for one. Also thanks for the list of companies accepting and not accepting.

  8. Hi – two real quick questions that have held me back for years on even trying to publish my millions of game ideas –

    1) I have a couple of pretty strong ideas for board/card games that are each very focused on a specific career. It aims to be hilarious , but, admittedly, only people in that field would “get the joke.” However, I think the action and everything else about it would truly be successful and something everyone in that field could relate to – no matter what level they are currently at. (LIke I said, I have two different career-focused game ideas like that). My question is – is this WAY to niche? I can imagine publishers would say it doesn’t have enough of a market or TV/movie hook to sell itself, but…is it worth a shot if I am passionate about it? I think I’ve seen games for lawyers, etc. (This isn’t) but have yet to see games about these two fields of work).

    2) Which brings me to my next question: though these two professions are quite prolific and not at all obscure, one of them is (ahem) a bit on the NSFW side. Which might actually give it more marketability, idk. Unlike a voyeuristic , college frat, drinking or silly party or badly written sex couples’ game, this is from the inside…and players can have experience in the field or not.

    So I guess my question is – are their legal issues with this? Is the subject matter (escorting, daily life of) something most publishers won’t want to touch with a ten foot pole, or do you think there might be a real interest? I have a TON of ideas on this game – ready to go in my mind. It wouldn’t be just gratuitous and it also wouldn’t just be some “feminist” educational rant. It would be a tried and true, hilarious, real, sad, down to earth, realistic yet too hot to be boring, kind of game. A cast of characters, too, so you get losts of points of view and stories, not just from one person.Are there adult publishers that specialize in this or should I try mainstream “party” board publishers??

    Last question,I promise (and thank you in advance to everyone for your help!) : I know it is as old as the wind to copy other board games – especially Monopoly – but one of the game ideas I have currently uses Monopoly as its model. Is that stupid? Publishing chance killer? And lastly, is that even legal/possible? Would I have to pay for license or buy serial rights? Is it in the “common domain” yet?

    Thank you again to everyone and all who can take the time to help me with these questions. Though I worked in book publishing for many years and can you whatever you would want to know about that – I know absoilutely nothing about getting a game publishged, but it has always been a dream of mine. (I used to make games – all the pieces ths cards, board and everythign , when I was as young as 3rd gradew and all the kids would paly it at recesss with the nuns and they all LOVED them)!

    OK – enough babbling from me. Thank you again – so so much!!
    Erika Whitmore
    P.S. Also, my first job in college was at a game store (this was before video gaming was really taking off) and a friend had devloped a game that we could not keep on the shelves. At Christmas we had a waiting list to buy it a mile long. I cannot find him OR his game ANYWHERE. Does any know or have heard of a very cerebral yet fun word / vocabulary board game, I think it was called “Articulation” – in a black box – very plain – came out around 1988 or 1989 – designed by Kermit Heartsong I think his name was….? Thanks!


    • Good questions. I’ll try to be brief as much of this is covered in my blogs. 1) If your game is a niche of a niche it will be hard to find a publisher but you can use Print on Demand services like or to get your game out there at least. Of course that leaves the layout and artwork management in your hands. 2) There is a market for most every theme and if you’re going print on demand then you should have no issues. But if you’re looking for a publisher, again you’re limiting yourself. But hey, look at Cards Against Humanity – it has sold HUGE and is a very un-PC game. There shouldn’t be any LEGAL issues as it’s a form of freedom of press/expression. 3) Yes it’s pretty taboo and shows lack of creativity or understanding of the industry to rip off Monopoly. That’s not to say it hasn’t been done and work- but on Kickstarter and in the Hobby Game Industry it will not sell well. Good luck, but my best advice is read the rest of my blogs!

  9. James –

    Superb info. – thank you.

    I want to develop and self publish my game. Then put it on Amazon (I also own a small chain of stores) and advertise it on radio and appropriate cable shows.

    I have th econcept down pat and the capital to do it (I think) but don’t know how to get to the next step.

    Any ideas?

    Thanks again for your contribution –

    Jan Glaser

  10. James –

    Superb info. – thank you.

    I want to develop and self publish my game. Then put it on Amazon (I also own a small chain of stores) and advertise it on radio and appropriate cable shows.

    I have the concept down pat and the capital to do it (I think) but don’t know how to get to the next step.

    Any ideas?

    Thanks again for your contribution –

    Jan Glaser

  11. kYnn Chen on

    Hi James,

    Thanks for the wonderful guidelines for people who would like to get into the industry.

    There are a few questions that I would like to ask:

    1. What are the chances for publisher to accept game from game designer outside of US or Europe? Will they even consider it or they won’t even bother due to logistic and all sort of other technical problems?

    2. Let’s say the game is really good and they accepted it. Does the game designer need to travel to US/Europe to sign the contract? Do they accept paypal as a method of payment or the game designer must have an US bank account in order to receive payment?

    Thanks in advance.

    kYnn Chen

    • 1) Happens all the time. Usually you keep the game mostly icons so that language translation isn’t hard to do. Just the manual.

      2) Most publishers will accept signed PDF electronic copies. Some have you mail them physically back and forth. But no you don’t have to meet in person. Many publishers will use GenCon or Essen though to arrange a meetup with people from other countries.

  12. Darren Broad on

    Thanks for this. I note this post is from 2013, but is the “Publishers I know are accepting submissions” list still current?

    • Mostly, I update it from time to time and most constantly look for games. There are many more new publishers though that might not be on the list.

  13. Darren Broad on

    James, I’m wondering why Minion games is not interested in deck builders. You don’t like them? Too many in the market already? Something else?

    • Darren, yeah, too many out there already and Minion Games (me) doesn’t like to duplicate or pile on with game ideas. We like to try new things … though sometimes that’s not very financially successful.

  14. Adebayo Babatunde on

    Hello James, I am glad to come across this write up. I am not in the US or in Europe…your response to one question above indicated that some companies collect games from other continents. I have a mathematics board game that I am producing in Nigeria, can you let me know companies that will be interested in producing such games. I would not mind if you can stand as an intermediary. I will send you all the details. Thanks.

    • It’s called “Localization” where companies bring over successful games from other countries to print in their local languages. The key here is that they already have good sales records. The second element is it’s mostly modern eruo board and card games. Not educational or mainstream type products. A math game would find little interest in my cirlces.

  15. Adebayo Babatunde on

    Mathematics is a universal subject and it has been discovered that a lot of people tend to hate the subject as they grow older. The concept is to keep people close to mathematics from basic or elementary school till they are out of secondart or college. The game is in english language and it is a board and card game.

  16. Hey James, great article! Say we launched our Kickstarter, realized we bit off a bit more than we can chew, and did not reach the funding goal.

    Do you think it would be still be worth contacting publishers? Any general advice?


    • Absolutely. The publishers just don’t want your already funded and created game (usually). They like to make some tweaks for marketability and costs and put their logo on it and be the first to market with it. Mainly cause there is a lot more to making and selling a game then just creating the actual working game.

  17. hey James, this is a great article. I found it to be one of the best sources for this subject by far!!
    i had a question about finding a publisher for a game we have created with some more adult themed gameplay.(nothing to crazy, just a crime based theme and really silly art and card titles). If there are any publishers that you may think of please let us know! we had a very good response at bgg.con and the unpub events but don’t know how to self-publish or have the base to do so.

    thanks for this article again!

  18. Eric Francis on

    Hi, James!

    You wisely advise us not to submit a game if the publisher already has a similar one in their lineup. I have a tangential question.

    What about submitting a game with similar components, but different theme and play? For instance, I’m working on a tile-laying game with hex tiles and standees or figurines. Since Matagot/Bombyx already publishes Takenoko, which means they are familiar with producing hex tile games with figurines, would that be an incentive to consider mine since its theme and play are very different? Or is look-and-feel similarity just as applicable as game-play similarity?



    • I don’t think similar components are of any issue and as you say it may be helpful. Though anyone can make hex tiles easy enough figures are another matter.

  19. Karen L Salstrom on

    Are there any niche publishers? I’m looking for one who will mfg/publish a Catholic board game. Thanks.

  20. Steve Davies on

    Hi James, first of all I want to thank you for all of this work, it has proven to be an invaluable resource for me this past year.

    Secondly, I have been developing a child friendly worker placement game that is simple enough for younger children whilst being weighty enough for adults to enjoy. Do you have any recommendations of which Publisher(s) I should approach with my design please? Thank you.

  21. Kevin David Queen on

    hey, what’s the reason publishers won’t touch a game after a Kickstarter campaign, does this include publishers who will run a kick starter campaign of their own; is this because of taxes or something else entirely?

    What would be the definition of a monetary partnership between a creator and a publisher, the guys on salary or something else? I look at all these small game publishers and think why aren’t these guys merging to form a company and create momentum in the marketplace.

    Is it really such a good idea to trust my investment in the hands of someone who doesn’t have enough get-up-and-go to build a sustainable brand?

    • Kevin David Queen on

      To clarify my last comment “Is it really such a good idea to trust my investment in the hands of someone who doesn’t have enough get-up-and-go to build a sustainable brand?” — Looking at this as an investment, a lot of these publishers are one and two person teams, what if something happens to them — heaven forbid — am I gonna have to sue to get my game back. these are private companies and I have no way of knowing what their finances look like, is there a way I can have this conversation and remain professional?

      • Well, that’s the same with anything, you need to do your research, get legal papers in order that cover all the issues, and trust someone to do it right. If you’re that afraid of such things, do it yourself or avoid any indie publishers.

    • Publishers don’t want to (99% of the time) print a game they had no say in, didn’t take to market, doesn’t have their logo on it, didn’t market themselves, and already sold to a bunch of people without them. Only if your game is a huge hit and they see 10x more sales for the future with it, do publishers take a chance on reskinning a game that already went to Kickstarter. And 99 out of 100 times your game isn’t going to do that well on KS to see that happen. So they just don’t bother to look at KS for games to publish into distribution.

  22. Susan on

    Hi James, Great info, just wanted to leave a Red Flag note for anyone submitting to Mattel thru their idea portal…I too assumed my info would be protected by a silent trust agreement, however – I submitted a card game I created called “Cinco”- and they did ask me promptly for the rules to the card game, which I was debating on sending. Meanwhile, just two weeks after I had submitted to them, Mattel applied for Trademark of the name “Cinco” and stole it from me before I had the chance to file for TM. YES, this actually happened. I had a friend attorney look into it, and it’s legal. I had done my TM search prior, and it didn’t exist- now that name is owned by Mattel, and the filing date is just prior to my game submission. In corresponding with them, they denied that it had anything to do with my submission. To be clear, I never sent them my game rules. Also, I agreed to all of their terms by checking a box on the portal, and after my attorney reviewed it carefully, I basically agreed to ONLY make a deal with them and no other publishers on my game. That being said, my decision to change the name and release it under another banner is what I’m doing now. 😉 Hope this gives insight.

    • Susan on

      Sorry, what I meant was that their TM date is just prior to them asking me for my game rules…..following my submission. Thanks

    • While this may suck and look bad… since you didn’t have your game in print anywhere it’s not that big of a deal to just choose another name. Don’t be overly attached to the name they “stole”. There are 100’s of names and creative plays on words out there to work.

  23. Anna Hughes on

    My husband has designed, produced several educational games that he has been playing at his school and the kids absolutely love playing. He has many more that he is designing- he’s on a roll- My question is- since it’s educational it’s been hard to find help on how to market- he has several teachers wanting to buy and has been getting calls about the games – he hasn’t gone to any conventions yet – he has many ideas that haven’t been put to paper – can you steer us in the right direction or give us any info?
    Greatly appreciated-

    • Sorry, I don’t have my experience in that field… I’d suggest he goes to a Toy and Game Fair in Chicago or NY as they are more mainstream. Also look to see about going to a teachers or education convention/trade show.

  24. Jonathan on

    First: this is a great and very helpful post – Thank you!
    I do have a follow-up question regarding your suggestion to send a prototype only to a single publisher: is this applicable if you are contacting publishers in multiple countries? For example, if publishers in Germany and the US have both requested a prototype, is it acceptable to send the prototype to both, or does the suggestion still apply?
    Also, if a publisher agrees to publish a game, are they likely to support the game’s publication in other countries, or is it the designer’s responsibility to continue courting publishers?

    • It’s fine if you let them both know. The point is when they ask for a prototype they are pretty serious and would like to know if they have to deal with it in a more expedited manner or that someone else is also knocking on your door.

      As for other countries – depends on the publisher. Small pubs usually outsource that to another publisher. You could license by the language yourself too.

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