Making a game is just the start of getting it on gamer’s tables around the world. Countless people have made games. Some with the intention to simply try it out on a weekend with their friends, and others, in hopes to be picked up by a publisher.

A handful of the more popular board game publishers

When it comes to getting your game published, traditionally, designers would take their games to a publishing company, similar to how a book author would take their work to a publisher. These companies specialize in understanding the business side of the industry. They perfect the art of marketing, have connections with manufacturers, distributors, and retailers; they go through extensive research so they can invest in games they think will be successful. I am sure there is plenty more but that at least gives you an idea of how extensive the process is.

Self-publishers have to go through all of those same processes. So why would we subject ourselves to all of that extra stress and work? Well, in the process of traditional publishing, there are only so many games a publisher can pick up. Because of this, publishing companies have a fairly extensive vetting process to get noticed and once a game is picked up by a publisher, it typically goes through many revisions directed by that publishing company. Some companies work more closely with the designers than others but ultimately it’s the publisher’s call.

To be honest, this wasn’t really an issue for us. We understand, even more so now after running our own Kickstarter campaign, that there is a lot of work involved with publishing games. We value the extensive processes all of these publishers have gone through and continue to go through. We have had the privilege of playing many games that are on the market thanks to big-name publishers.

We decided to choose Kickstarter because we wanted to create not just a game, but a community. It is important to us that we listen to the feedback given to us by playtesters and gamers and filter through those requests to make games that they will cherish and enjoy and know they had a part in helping create. We don’t think we can do a better job than publishers by any means, quite the contrary, but we do realize that we would be missing out on much of the great opportunities we have already had and hope to continue to have, seeing the games we make to the end.

Now does this mean we will never take our games to a publisher? The short answer is no. We are constantly evaluating what makes the most sense for the longevity of the company and so we want to make sure to keep it all in perspective. What we can say is that we aren’t interested in handing off our designs to a publisher and walking away. We want to see it to the end, even if we are leaning on the backs of those who are much more experienced in the industry than we are.

We have also discussed other ways of self-publishing without using the Kickstarter platform. Because Kickstarter has become more commercialized, the entry-level of getting a successfully funded game has only increased. Although this platform was originally designed to help startups and small businesses get their feet off the ground, it has attracted all levels of competition, even the larger, more established companies. Large publishers usually have a lot more money to spend on marketing than startups do.

The way the Kickstarter algorithm works is similar to most digital platforms; the more people that are visiting and ultimately backing a project, the more Kickstarter promotes and features that project. This means creators typically need to do a good deal of outreach before they launch their campaign. Luckily, bags of money isn’t the only way to get your project in front of interested gamer’s eyes, but the alternative takes a lot of hard work and time and that is something we are dedicated to doing.

Whether or not Kickstarter ends up being the platform that gets the ball rolling, we are dedicated to giving it another go before we venture down other avenues. Although unlikely, we may need to start smaller and produce fewer games domestically before sending our game to a large manufacturer overseas, but we aren’t closing ourselves into any box this time around so that we can stay flexible based on how well the Kickstarter campaign does. I say unlikely because many factors have changed after our first launch. We know we were asking for way more money than we should have been for our first Kickstarter. Much of that money was to pay other people to do work that I didn’t know how to do at the time, or at least not on such a large scale. Some examples of these tasks would be things like managing pledge rewards, gathering all of the needed shipping information, and sending rewards.

Over the last year, my wife and I have started another side business where we do all of those things. We sell products all around the world and it has demystified the whole process. This allows us to be able to handle these extra processes ourselves and not have to pay others to do it. If we severely overfund and have thousands of pledges we need to fulfill, then we have the flexibility to pay for those services afterward but even if we have 500+ backers, that is something we can handle ourselves.

Another assurance we have for our next launch is we have earned more personal assets that we can put toward this project to bring that funding goal down even lower.

Without a doubt, the most important thing we learned from our last campaign is that we need to invest in building our community. You are the one who is interested in Gnomes and Wizards and Amist. You are the one who is invested in joining us in this endeavor and we want to find more ways to bring you in on these projects.

We are eager to push forward with a Kickstarter relaunch for Gnomes and Wizards and we hope you are as excited as we are. Even though we have learned a lot, we still find it valuable to have a backup plan if things don’t go as we plan. That’s why we have been considering starting off producing a smaller amount of games domestically, but we will keep that option in our back pocket as we continue to make headway towards a KS relaunch. We hope all of this information gives you extra reassurance of our dedication to making games that you will love.

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