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Brief advice to would-be game designers/developers:
(last revised 27 April 2012)
First, once its available (summer 2012), read my book Game Design: How to Create Video and Tabletop Games, Start to Finish. Publisher's web page for the book. The book can be pre-ordered. Because McFarland's first market is libraries, you have an alternative not practically available for most books: you can request that your library order a copy. Many public libraries will respond to suggestions/requests, though many of those want more than one person to make the request.
My book does not really address marketing, especially for tabletop games, it is about design. For tabletop marketing, read Game Inventor's Guidebook by Brian Tinsman. This tends to cover marketing far more than design, but it's short and sweet. Unfortunately it's out of print, but sometimes a used copy is available through Amazon.
Another book with this marketing orientation, but leaning more toward toys and mass-market, is Paid to Play by Keith Meyers. (There's also a kindle edition.)
If you have a game that is based on or resembles another, published, game, it is probably best not to mention that game unless you know it won't put off the people you're talking to. For example, there are a zillion modified versions of Monopoly, and to say "Monopoly" to a publisher is the kiss of death because they've heard it all before. If you've really fixed Monopoly, it won't resemble Monopoly any more, so don't mention it. (Not so long ago, for classes I was teaching, I modified Monopoly. In the end the result doesn't resemble Monopoly, and if I ever pursue it further it will be as a company ownership and development game.
There are a great many video game design books, though none, really, that go into nuts and bolts (which is why I wrote mine). Many discuss funding, but the nature of funding has changed so much in the past few years that you need a very recent book.
There are several online sources for tabletop game designers.
The Boardgame Designers Forum is an online discussion group that can be useful for many purposes. I don't check it regularly, but it has many regular inhabitants. http://bgdf.com/
Boardgamegeek, a general online discussion group for boardgames, has a game design section with many interesting dicussions going back years. http://www.boardgamegeek.com/
USENET rec.game.design is mostly useless, often overrun with junk.
Yahoo Groups Board Game Design often involves questions by novice designers, and sometimes more meaty design questions. There is a lot about self-publishing. The archives are all there, so read all those old discussions and messages! http://games.groups.yahoo.com/group/BoardGameDesign/
gamedesign-l is a Yahoo Group that addresses video game design.
Some articles I've written are on my own web site at: http://pulsiphergames.com/gmarticles.htm
(Disclaimer: I own Amazon stock.)
"Always do right--this will gratify some and astonish the rest." Mark Twain
"A designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away." Antoine de Saint-Exup'ery
"A teacher is never a giver of truth - he is a guide, a pointer to the truth that each student must find for himself. A good teacher is merely a catalyst." (Martial Arts quote)
"We have met the enemy, and he is us." Pogo (Walt Kelly) "Enjoy the Journey"
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