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Made in us
Napoleonics Obsesser




MN

Before I get too far, let me first say if you are trying to get rich designing games, you may want to go back and re-think your methods. I could make more money recycling cans I find on the side of the road then you can do with game designs. Secondly, I am a strong believer that you should design games because you can not help yourself and feel compelled to do it; even if you do not need to!

With those two caveats out of the way, let's talk about how you can make a bit of scratch to help self-fund your hobby efforts. So far, I am familiar with a handful of ways which I will try to cover here. I do not think this is an exhaustive list, so if there are others or you have additional context please add on to this post.

1. Get Published by a Publishing Company- This is the most "conventional" method. Typically, you submit a pitch to the publisher via their submission process and they accept it. They send you a contract and you deliver the game and get paid based on the guidelines of the contract. This could include an advance, commission on sales, flat rates, etc. The key component is that you have a professional publisher with a known distribution channel.

2. Self-Publish- In today's day and age, you do not need an established publisher to push product. The Internet allows all sorts of opportunity to self-publish. This can be print-to-order books, PDFs, or other modes. Probably the most well-known version is Wargame Vault, but you can also go traditional self-publishing and print out a bunch of books on your own dime and take them from place to place to sell too. The downside is that you need to create your own distribution channels and path to the marketplace.

3. Donation Services- Again, the magic of the internet. Essentially, people who like what you do can voluntarily choose to donate to you via Patreon, PayPal, or other similar services. There is no expectation for a return on goods or services, it is a free-will donation. They give you money to help support you making games. The downside is that you probably need to create and audience in the first place.

4. Kickstarter/Go Fund Me/etc- Typically, you pitch a product and people choose to give you money or not. This is different from donation as the backers usually expect something in return for their money. They want a product. I have not seen many "Rules Only" projects from these venues, but I do not keep an eye on these venues. This suffers many of the same challenges as Self-Publishing.

Indeed, many of these options can be combined into a full-spectrum strategy. For example, I have used Option 1 and 2 combined together. I could see in the future trying to expand into option 3 as well. The more content and distribution channels you can support, the more potential money you can make. However, the more channels you support the more you have to "work" at your hobby.

This is just a brief and high-level overview of ways to try to self-fund your hobby of wargame design. I am sure I missed something so feel free to add on. If you want to talk about something in more detail, I encourage it as there is a lot I need to learn about this subject. I look forward to sharing knowledge and learning.

Do you like Free Wargames?
http://bloodandspectacles.blogspot.com/ 
   
Made in us
Decrepit Dakkanaut






SoCal, USA!

I'm not sure that there's any money to be made by an amateur game designer beyond covering one's costs. If you want to go big, it takes *real* money up front, mid 5-figures from what I can tell.

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Made in us
Napoleonics Obsesser




MN

 JohnHwangDD wrote:
I'm not sure that there's any money to be made by an amateur game designer beyond covering one's costs. If you want to go big, it takes *real* money up front, mid 5-figures from what I can tell.


Completely agree. It is more about breaking even, building a portfolio, and working for a big break for us small timers.

Do you like Free Wargames?
http://bloodandspectacles.blogspot.com/ 
   
Made in us
Longtime Dakkanaut






Los Angeles

Great topic, Easy E.

I am currently working on a project and looking at Option 2 as the primary means of publishing, and since you have experience in that area, what programs do you recommend for layout? I was eyeing Xara Page & Layout designer, but have zero experience in this area so I don't know if that is a decent program.


Regarding the other options, it seems like Kickstarter, despite its ubiquity and ease of use, can easily become a mire for small operations - especially if the campaign is more successful than anticipated. Particularly of concern are the inflated expectations of backers due to mega Kickstarter campaigns from companies like CMON that cram a ton of "freebies" into the main pledge, which is often something a small start up or garage operations just can't compete with. It seems, at least based on some of the reactions here on Dakka, if a campaign isn't dripping with free add-ons and other incentives then the campaign is deemed a failure. Kickstarter just seems like a bad idea these days since small game makers get easily drowned out by the latest flashy campaign.
   
Made in us
Napoleonics Obsesser




MN

 DarkTraveler777 wrote:
Great topic, Easy E.

I am currently working on a project and looking at Option 2 as the primary means of publishing, and since you have experience in that area, what programs do you recommend for layout? I was eyeing Xara Page & Layout designer, but have zero experience in this area so I don't know if that is a decent program.


Regarding the other options, it seems like Kickstarter, despite its ubiquity and ease of use, can easily become a mire for small operations - especially if the campaign is more successful than anticipated. Particularly of concern are the inflated expectations of backers due to mega Kickstarter campaigns from companies like CMON that cram a ton of "freebies" into the main pledge, which is often something a small start up or garage operations just can't compete with. It seems, at least based on some of the reactions here on Dakka, if a campaign isn't dripping with free add-ons and other incentives then the campaign is deemed a failure. Kickstarter just seems like a bad idea these days since small game makers get easily drowned out by the latest flashy campaign.


I completely agree with your Kickstarter comments.

For layout, any system you are comfortable with will do the job. I actually have used Microsoft PageMaker, Micorsoft Publisher, and PowerPoint for publishing. I actually find PowerPoint has all the tools I need to get a good PDF level product for people. I focus on selling PDFs and people who want PDFs typically want them to be usable on their tablets, and want less chimes and whistles for quicker load times.

If you look at the path Robey Jenkins (Precint Omega) used it is a pretty good template for getting yourself going in wargames design.

If you are going Print-on-Demand something a bit more robust may be a better choice. If you get involved with the book (like novels, poetry, fiction and non-fiction) self-publishing community, they have a lot of great resources and insights from software, lay-out discussion, to cover designs.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2018/12/06 23:07:29


Do you like Free Wargames?
http://bloodandspectacles.blogspot.com/ 
   
 
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