Some of our games went home with two publishers if they didn’t care about exclusivity, so it was smart of us to bring two copies of each game! We are so SMRT! One publisher was doing print and play and Hasbro wanted us to mail him copies afterwards as he didn’t want to carry all of them back with him. So we got rid of all of our prototypes with the exception of Herdables. Boo. And we had just found a way to make the game even better too. The good news is that Huch and Friends likes that game and was interested in publishing it (and gave us the OK to pitch to other publishers at GenCon). So now we will let them know about the recent changes and that might motivate them to publish it!
Our fourth post on all the pitches we had with publishers at this year’s Gathering of Friends! You can read the previous posts here:
We met with Stephan from iEllo and we were surprised that he liked the first game that we started pitching to him: Chainables. We actually hadn’t pitched this to many other publishers because we had brought it last year and found that a language game wasn’t a top priority with a lot of the German publishers! But Stephan really liked it and wants us to submit a Print and Play to his partner to try it. Of our other games, Stephan really liked What’s That and Zombie Slam. When we were pitching What’s That, he was nodding and getting the idea of the game – but then when I said the last part of the pitch – that everyone has to work together and figure out the commonality between everything – he lit up and said, “I want it! Let’s play – but I want it!” That felt good! He also liked Herdables and said if we could make it play up to 4 players then we should submit it.
We also played Ignotus with him and he was digging it right up until the end. The game had players getting rid of tokens – but the endgame proved to be a bit of a letdown as one player could have 1 token left and no one could do anything to stop it. He had liked it up until that point and then had to pass on that one. He did want to take Chainables, Zombie Slam and What’s That though – so…win!
Afterwards I was sitting with Sen and Josh Cappel and asked them to help me figure out how to fix Ignotus. As we were playing Josh was not really liking it because he doesn’t like deduction games. His thought is “you either 100% know it or you 100% don’t know it” and so he wasn’t too interested in the game. We persisted and Josh almost flippantly said that the game would be better if we could bluff. Hmmm –that’s interesting. We immediately tried it and it worked awesomely! Now it wasn’t about getting rid of your tokens but by gaining points – which you could only get if you guessed someone’s Goal Card. I met up with Think Fun and Huch & Friends again to let them know about the changes and they were both happy with the new direction for the game! It’s amazing to me that some of our games got interest from publishers – then we changed them while we were at the event and had to re-pitch them! I am way more confident with both Ignotus and Lions Share because of the changes we made though!
Our final meeting was with Cedrick from Repos. We kept seeing him while he was playing a game (like the 7 Wonders expansion, Babel) and we almost never met up. Fortunately we caught him on the last night he was there as he was heading back to his room for the night – lucky!! The only game we showed him was What’s That. We had shown him this game last year but we worked all year to improve the App and eventually it became so late that we decided to re-pitch it to him. We asked him if Repos had any ability to make apps and he whipped out his iPad and showed us the 7 Wonders App that is launching soon. It looked pretty damned amazing. We were convinced that they could do this game!! He left with his continued interest in the game and since the Gathering we have set him up with the App and are anxiously waiting their thoughts on the game once they playtest it in their offices.
So that’s it! A whirlwind of 10 days! Here’s a summary of the games we brought and the interest we got from publishers:
What’s That: Repos, iEllo, Mercury
Lions Share: Huch & Friends, Hans Im Gluck
Zombie Slam: iEllo, Mercury, Huch & Friends, Zoch
Rock Paper Wizards: Z-Man/Filosofia, Stonghold Games
Herdables: Huch & Friends, iEllo, Days of Wonder told us to connect with Blue Orange
Pig Goes Moo: Zoch
Ignotus: Think Fun, Huch & Friends, Abacusspiele
Towers of Nakh: Boo – no interest for this one. Weird – I thought this one would have appealed. We’re going to see if we can simplify it more, but I think it was a pass for most because of trying to think in 3D space was hard for many. I think there’s a publisher out there for this though!
That’s it for all of our pitches, but I have one more post about what else we did at the Gathering: play games! 🙂
More picks! This time I think there’s only 1 of a publisher rep though…Stephan Brissaud from iELLO (pronounced “Yellow”, if you were wondering). Here he is playing Ignotus.
Jay and I played this iELLO game, Phantom Society – oddly, a logic/deduction game as well, with William Attia and Martin Ethier. They played the ghosts and they CRUSHED us.
We also met the owner of Funagain.com during that pitch. He was looking to establish a fulfillment service specifically for small publishers that ran Kickstarter campaigns. Maybe we’ll here more about that in the future! No pic, though…
After all our pitching was done, we got to play a lot of other games, including the following:
Coconuts from Mayday (monkey-shaped catapults fling coconuts into cups)
Machi Koro from Pandasaurus (Setminion or Dotters of Catan – whatever you choose to call it, it’s awesome)
And of course, some Tichu from AbacusSpiel. Here’s Jay’s best hand of the game – a straight from 2 to the Ace that he got to play after I played the dog in the first play of the hand.
We played the prototype Prime Time, designed by our friend, Gil Hova (Prolix, Battle Merchants). Canadian ex-pat Greg Daigle (Hawaii) joined us in as well.
And those of our fellow Game Artisans of Canada, Martin Ethier, Michael “Call me Max” Xuereb and Al Leduc (FrankenDie).
Can’t hardly wait until next year!
Days of Wonder and Ystari
Our second meeting was an impromptu meeting with Cyrille from Days of Wonder and William Attia (designer of Caylus and Spyrium) from Ystari. I knew William from last year, having played many games with him, and struck up a conversation with him and Cyrille. Even though I knew that none of our current games would really fit with either company, I asked if they were open to looking at some of our new prototypes. The event had just started and they weren’t busy so they decided to look at our new games!
I was right – we didn’t have anything that fit with either company! But that’s ok – they were really interested in a game I designed by myself – foolishly titled Ignotus (Latin for Unknown) – and they just wanted to play it because they liked deduction games. They both enjoyed playing it! Cyrille also gave us a contact at Blue Orange as he thinks our game called Herdables would fit well with them! How nice!
Every year I have pitched to Matthias from Abacusspiele and every year he has taken one of our games back with him, though they have yet to publish one of our games. Daryl Andrews, a fellow Game Artisan and myself set up a table full of the prototypes that we wanted to show off to him!
I like Matthias and got to play a few ‘real’ games with him at the event throughout the week – including a really late game of Tichu one night – and he was happy to look at what we had to present this year. I showed him what we had and we played through a few rounds of Ignotus and Zombie Slam. He liked both of those and requested rules for each to be sent to him so he could assess them further. Yay – 3 for 3!
We met up with Frank from R&R Games because he had a contract for us to sign for a game that we pitched to him last year called Pop Goes the Weasel. We had been negotiating it previous to the Gathering and so it was the perfect time for all of us to convene and sign multiple copies of the contract. He also let us know that they have been doing focus groups with it already and that they will most likely change the name of the game. Apparently the title makes parents think that the game is purely a kid’s game and not a family game. They’re not sure what the title will be yet – but they’ve also already replaced the mulberries with bananas! We’re pretty cool with these kind of changes since they’re based on a business decision that makes sense. This is another reason why it’s good to partner with publishers who have access to doing things like focus groups!
We didn’t end up pitching any of our new games to Frank this year since he said his plate was now full of family and party games and that they were actually looking for more Euro style games – which we didn’t have this year.
This was a nice surprise as we’ve never pitched to Zoch before! Zoch is a pretty big deal in Germany, especially with thei big hit Ghost Blitz. We knew we would have a game or two that Zoch might like! The Zoch representative, Andreas, ended up being a good friend throughout the Gathering. We played many games together – including some fun Zoch games like Polterfass and Leg Los! After pitching our games he expressed a lot of interest in Zombie Slam! He expressed some concern that Zoch wouldn’t do a zombie game though – especially if it had guns in it, but he really liked the mechanic. We chatted and found out that he probably could do it with ‘cute’ werewolves and no guns. That could work!
Andreas mentioned that they were looking for a quick reaction game for next year so Zombie Slam might fit the bill. We also told him about our game Pig Goes Moo (previously called Ei-Ei-O!), which we didn’t bring for some reason (d’oh!). He expressed interest in that one too and asked us to mail it to him asap.
Next up we’ll regale tales of pitching to the likes of Huch & Friends, Toy Vault, Mercury, Hans Im Gluck, Think Fun, iEllo and Repos! Wow!
Ystari’s William Attia (who just celebrated a birthday – Bonne Fete!) and Cyrille Daujean (DoW) burn their brains to try to figure out what’s what in Jay’s solo effort, Ignotus.
Jay pitches our card game, Lions Share, to Andreas (Zoch).
Fair is fair, so we learn how to play Polterfass aka “Rumbling Barrels”, a dicey betting game, from Zoch with Andreas and Jasmine (Hans im Glueck). One of our faves from the con!
One of my personal favourites is a great drawing game where you use bits and pieces to create items for people to guess. The twist? You lose materials as you play, so you have less and less bits to draw the items with as you progress! I *slaughtered* everyone at this game. Andreas gave it to me to take home! Game recognizes game.
Later, we get Andreas to try out a game, Topsy Turvey Towers, from a fellow Game Artisan, Daniel Rocchi.
~ Sen-Foong Lim