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Project: Dead End part 10 - Under Review

This has been an interesting month for Project: Dead End. After the last version of the game, I felt that it was extremely close to what I was looking for. I only wanted to make a few small tweaks and give it a bunch of tests. Well, that happened but at the same time something else happened: a publisher contacted me asking to review Dead End for consideration!

This a new adventure for me. Traditionally, I have been the one to approach publishers with my designs, begging them to look at my work. This time, however, a publisher approached me about reviewing a game. I had heard things like this happen, but I never imagined it would happen to me and so quickly after breaking in to the designer scene. I'm also not convinced that my status as "published" had anything to do with it. What did matter, however, is my extensive use of the Internet to promote myself. I use my website, Twitter, and to promote my work and that's exactly how I was found. The publisher contacted me through those venues. Even if the game is not picked up for publication, this event has proven to me that the energy I put into maintaining this site and my presence online is worth it.

  • The initial contact when something like this:

  • Publisher: Are you looking for a publisher for this game?
  • Me: Well, I wasn't, but I am certainly not opposed!
  • P: Can you send me the rules?

Why did I respond this way? Well, to be honest, I had planned on shopping this game around at some point, just not yet. At this point, I don't consider the game to be done and I told that to the publisher. I am still playtesting and I am still seeking blind playtests. In addition, I had planned all along to release the game as a print and play before I ever sought out publication. Part of the reason for this is that I wanted to write about the art process in addition to the design work. Writing about actual publication may be just as interesting though...

So, I sent along the rules and within a few hours I was asked to submit a prototype. I assure you, this is not normal. Publishers generally take time to discuss things internally before agreeing to look at a prototype. This particular publisher, however, is extremely passionate. It would be really cool to work with them in some capacity even if Dead End isn't for them.

What does this mean for the game? Well, things are on hold right now. I touched up the few little things that I wanted to address from playtesting, and promptly sent out a review prototype. I made the corrections to the print and play files as well, so if you are looking to play the game, get too it! I need feedback on this game. I think it is pretty solid, but I have had very little blind feedback and I'm nervous that the game will fall apart without me there to drive the action. It is a game based on player interaction but it does not force it... which means that players could potentially turtle and drag things on. I am not saying that you must play this game "in the spirit of the game," rather, I'm just nervous that it might not be apparent how it is "supposed" to be played without me there to demonstrate.

The future? Well, that depends on the publisher. Obviously, if it is picked up for publication, I am rather done with it. I have already started working on other projects and I'll be extremely excited to share those in the coming months. If the publisher does not want it, that's fine too! At that point, I'll start getting the artwork ready for a proper print and play or print on demand release. Regardless of how this shakes out, I will have the game with me at GenCon if you are interested in playing it. I'm not going to stop showing it off just because it is under consideration, but I'm not going to shop it around while it's being reviewed. That's just bad business.

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On to Part 11 >>

- July 11, 2012