Designer Dave Eng makes his First Pitch to a Game Publisher in the sixth entry of the Air Sloop design journal.
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The time had come to start presenting the game to publishers. I was attending PAX Unplugged in 2018 when I had the opportunity to meet some publishers who were going to be at the event. One of them was Jonathan Gilmour (@JonGilmour) from Pandasaurus Games. Jonathan is best known for games like Dead of Winter, Dinosaur Island, and Wasteland Express Delivery Services. I hadn’t played these games extensively prior to meeting Jonathan; however he was an established designer, so I took his thoughts seriously.
Some of the more pointed notes I received after the pitch included a need to balance the type, quantity, and opportunity to pick up certain goods on the map. I had scaled the game (or at least I thought) to make is so that goods became increasingly rarer from black goods all the way up to green goods. However our play demonstrated that wasn’t the case.
Jonathan indicated the year in design I had dedicated to the game so far was already a pretty quick turnaround. He felt the core loop of the game was pretty strong and he liked what he was doing.
If Pandasaurus Games was interested in licensing it (which they eventually decided to pass on) the game would need to be re-themed. I indicated I was okay with that since I was prioritizing a finished and published game rather than a game that stuck to the original theme (which already had been heavily modified).
After only a 20-minute pitch I got all of these notes and more. I thought that my game was ready for publishers to see. Yet after this interaction I wondered if I might have to go back to the drawing board…
About The Designer
Dave Eng EdD, Principal is an intellectual and creative educator, designer, and researcher who combines games, theory, and technology. Dave has played games for most of his life. As a result he studies game design, creates games, and teaches others how to use games for education and learning. Find out more at www.davengdesign.com
Fun Fact: Dave has been seasick in every time zone.
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