bgdgofutah
Board Game Designers Guild of Utah

How do I get my game playtested by the guild?

We require that you attend three meetings and officially join the guild before you can have a game playtested at a guild meeting.

 

How do I join the guild?

To join, you need to attend three playtest meetings (see our Calendar for Meeting Date/Times/Locations). Once you've attended three meetings, you can submit a request to join our closed Facebook Group. All of our group communication occurs through this community, which is open to members only.

 

Are there any fees associated with joining the BGDG?

No.

 

What is the BGDG and how long has it been around?

The group began in 2006 when Greg Jones, then manager of Game Night Games, began gathering contact information from various customers and other individuals who had expressed an interest in designing games. The guild's first meetings were informal once-a-month gatherings held after hours at Game Night beginning in January 2007.

Eventually the group decided on the name Board Game Designers Guild of Utah, a charter was created, officers and panels were elected, the meetings moved from after-hours gatherings to regular store events, a second monthly meeting was added, semi-annual business meetings were arranged to conduct group business, a private online discussion group was set up for the guild, an official logo by guild member Ryan Laukat was adopted, and the meetings became more formalized.

 

What kinds of games are playtested at the BGDG meetings?

We focus mainly on the type of board games and card games called Eurogames. If you're unfamiliar with this term, some popular examples are The Settlers of Catan, Ticket to Ride, and Carcassonne. Even though we focus on Eurogames, we'll playtest any game that can be tested during a meeting.

 

I have an idea for a game but don't know where to start. What should I do?

Check out the Resources section of our website. We have an extensive list of links to various board game design–related articles, component and prototyping resources, and game submission options.

 

I'm worried about people stealing my idea. What should I do to protect myself? Should I copyright my game design?

This is perhaps the most commonly asked question, and the truth is that it's not really the issue that many people make it out to be. There have already been millions of ideas for games circulated, and the likelihood of someone coming up with something that hasn't been done in a related way is highly unlikely.

If you're thinking about copyrighting your material, you should know what that will and won't accomplish. 

As far as publishers are concerned, they won't steal your idea because they simply have too much to lose over doing something like that. The Eurogame area of the board game publishing industry is actually a very tight-knit group of publishers and, if one of those companies were to actually steal an idea from a designer, it would have tremendously negative consequences. Most well-known publishers are very honest people who will treat you fairly.

 

When is my game ready to be presented to the guild?

We playtest games at all levels of development. If your game is still in the early stages, we ask that you make it known to the people who would potentially be playtesting your game. However, we ask that you have a working prototype if you want it formally playtested in one of our meetings. If you aren't yet to the stage of having a working prototype, the best thing would be to informally ask for feedback from other members of the group about the direction you are going with your game concept.

 

What kind of feedback should I expect to get from the guild?

In a word: honest. We try to help each other make our games better. The only way to do that is through honest, direct feedback. Often, designers don't want to hear what's wrong with their game. Instead, they simply want validation for what's right with their game. If you bring a game to the group and have us playtest it, be prepared for feedback that could cut to the core of your game concept. It's not uncommon for designers to have to completely re-evaluate the fundamental mechanisms in their games after a playtesting session with competent playtesters who are able to point out key flaws in the game play.

When providing feedback, we use standardized evaluation criteria to help keep the feedback focused. See " BGDG Playtester's Feedback Guide" Guild Documents

 

What does it mean for a game to be "guild-approved"?

It means that your game and prototype meets a standard set by the BGDG and is of publishable quality. This is intended both to help guild members improve their games and to assure potential publishers that it's worth their time to look at a BGDG game. See "BGDG Game Approval FAQ" Guild Documents

 

When is my prototype ready to submit to a publisher?

Your prototype doesn't have to look like an already-published game with professional artwork before it's ready to submit to a publisher. Simple clipart is fine so long as the layout of the game is efficient, clear, and allows the game to play easily. Doing things like hiring an artist or professionally printing a prototype is usually overkill.

Also, keep in mind that publishers don't just look at games from the standpoint of "Is it fun?" They also ask themselves whether the cost to print the game, and therefore the final retail price, will be too high compared to the gameplay value. For this reason, we try to help each other find ways to eliminate or simplify the components in order to make our games more commercially viable.

Finally, you'll want to make sure your rulebook is thorough and clear. Usually, you'll be sending off your prototype to people who have to rely solely on your rulebook for instructions on how to play the game. If your rulebook isn't clear, they might never actually play your game, or they might not play the game you intended.

 

How long does it take to get a game ready for publication?

Usually the answer to this question is "longer than you would anticipate." Some designers spend several years on their games before the designs are finally ready to submit, and even then there might be further revisions in the publisher's development process. So, be ready for a long process.

 

How do I get my game published?

You have two options:

  1. Self-publish the game.
  2. Find a publisher who is willing to publish it for you.

The second option requires finding a publisher who's interested enough in your game to make the financial commitment to publish it. Getting noticed by a publisher can take years, and many publishers don't take unsolicited game designs. So, again, be ready for a long process. 

 

If you want to self-publish your game, be ready for a large financial commitment. Some designers use crowd-funding sites such as Kickstarter or Indiegogo to help raise funds.

 

How much money will I make if a publisher decides to publish my game?

This varies from publisher to publisher and also depends on your reputation as a designer. One common arrangement is for the designer to receive royalties on a per-copy-sold basis of about 5% of the wholesale (not retail) price of the game. Thus, the more copies of the game the publisher sells and the more print runs the game goes through, the more royalties the designer receives. But again, this is only one possibility.