ION award winning game designer T.C. Petty III talks about his method behind how to get a board game published. With 5 signed titles, it sure seems he’s figured out the trick of it! His latest games Club Zen & Don’t Get Eated have just launched on Kickstarter with rave reviews. I caught up with TC at BGG.CON 2015 to ask him what’s the next step for designers ready to get their games published.
In this episode we talk about:
- How T.C. Got Started Designing Games
- T.C.’s Top Tip for New Game Designers
- How To Approach Game Publishers
- The Most Valuable Game Design Lesson
- How to Get Your Game Published
How did you get started designing games?
Like just pretty much anybody I just had an idea for a game. I’ve always been a creative person. I used to write a lot and really got into board games.
I suddenly wanted to start making board games. So just started from scratch just like everybody else just learning. Starting with a really terrible prototype at first and moving on from there.
T.C.’s Top Tip for New Game Designers
So I got very lucky at the very beginning just with finding publishers that ended up being friends. Right? And that’s not always the case. But what I would give myself advice for – and anybody that’s doing this, I would start by really focusing on meeting people.
Had I been doing the things that I should’ve been doing early in my career, I probably could have expedited everything much faster.
So that means not being afraid to contact publishers through social media. That means being out there and open with your designs, showing off what you have.
Because the more eyes that see it the better opportunities someone has to randomly pick up that game and say “That’s really cool! I want to publish that.”
How To Approach Game Publishers
Yeah, so the good thing is I really like board games. If you want to get into the industry you should actually enjoy what you doing, because you’ll be sticking with a lot of people who really like to do it. And they can see through it really quickly if you’re just kind of false. So for me it was more like- I liked it and found people who also liked it. Publishers are like normal people. People will have to remind me, like some of my favorite designers? I have to remind myself that they’re also just normal people too.
So they’re really happy when you say, “Oh I really like this thing.” You can even start off just by saying something really nice about them. And that can just go down into a normal conversation.
Even just sitting down and playing games with a publisher for no reason is awesome. It just puts you in a situation where you’re just being yourself and there’s no pressure. That’s just always been the best for me. It’s like- I’m wearing a tie now and that’s weird? So when I don’t do this, [*gesturing at the tie*] I have a much better rapport with everybody.
The Most Valuable Game Design Lesson
You have to have an ego, you really do.
But you have to get over your ego when it comes to the game design itself, because it’s not about your vision, it’s about what makes the game the best.
And really people just aren’t trying to bash your game or make it into something it’s not. They are looking to help! So being dismissive or not looking at somebody while they’re giving you your feedback – like being like this [*avoids looking at camera*] or whatever. You can really tell that someone is not paying attention or dismissing you.
So taking every bit of feedback and doing the best you can to integrate it into something that works and I think that new designers they want to say it’s right and it’s perfect but it’s not, it really isn’t!
My biggest advice for new designers is throw out your first design. If It’s your baby it’s probably really bad.
Like the second or third design- my first published game was my fifth design. So if you have the time just throw out a few. It will be really really helpful because feel you’ll bad later when you realize it was really bad.
How to Get Your Game Published
I would say make a decision. Make a firm decision as to what you want to do. When I went to my first one, I think I actually did it right.
I said I want to publish it this year. If I don’t get it into the hands of a publisher that is going to publish it this year, I’m going to self publish it by the end of the year.
I didn’t even know about Kickstarter or any of these crowdfunding platforms at the time that are so popular now. I just knew that I was going to get it out some way.
So if you really are looking to get it into a publisher’s’ hands, just do it. Because getting over that first hump is really important.
Even if you think the game is perfect, it’s never perfect.
So get it into as many people’s hands as possible. Get as many eyes as possible. Because hopefully a publisher contacts you!
Hopefully it’s because they just happen to play it, because you’ve been so open in playing it.
It just really helps to be out there and open and talking to people.
So just get it out there! That’s it.
Jess: Thank you!
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Behind the video
|Hailing from the wilds of Pennsylvania and from all around the internet, T. C. Petty III is also a part-time professional casino croupier. He runs a game design blog, a roundtable podcast/vidcast, a designer diary, & is quite the shy and demure chap on Twitter.|
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Thanks so much to T.C. for taking the time & letting me interview him!
Read more about T.C. Petty III on his website
What do you think of the new series? What’s your best method for getting your game published? Have a question you wish I had asked? Be sure to let me know in the comments and if you enjoyed the video, share it!