SUBMISSION GUIDELINES

If you have created a game and would like to submit it to our attention for publication, please read the following carefully and completely.

We are accepting game designs from both new and experienced (and anywhere in between) game designers, across most genres, from anywhere in the world. You don’t need an agent to submit a design to us! In fact, we’re more likely to work with you if you don’t have an agent as we like to work with our designers to complete their vision, not with some third party.

What we are (and are not) looking for!

I Will Never Grow Up Gaming is interested in tabletop card and board games (not RPG’s) with easy to understand rules, reasonable play time (15-60 minutes) and that are preferably designed for 1 to 5 players. We are interested in all manner of abstract, strategy, war games, and fast-paced, high player interaction card and board games. We will also look at supplements for our own lines.

We are not interested in role playing games, sports games, collectible games (of any type – especially CCG’s – no way, move along), “party games” (think CAH or Wits and Wagers for example), word games (think Bananagrams), strictly “educational” games or variants on classic games. We are also not particularly interested in games requiring custom miniatures, or anything requiring an Intellectual Property (IP) that you don’t already own the rights to. If your game has already been published elsewhere or previously funded (or is currently live) on Kickstarter, we’re not interested in that either.

We prefer games that aren’t listed on BoardGameGeek (yet!) and have not yet been web published (Print and Play, digital or otherwise).

Keep in mind we’re not 100% locked into this list by any means, but please take it into consideration when you submit games to us.

We’re always looking for games that capture our imaginations, even if it’s outside of our normal comfort zone, but everyone has their limits!

What we love!

We would really like game designs that have a large number of the following features;

  • Fun! Yeah, this is subjective, but we want to publish games that are fun to play
  • Immediacy! Designs should require minimal set up and have relatively light rules so that players can get into the game quickly
  • Interaction! Players should be able to interact with each other, rather than just their own game pieces. Table Talk is encouraged!
  • Strategy! Meaningful decisions that determine a win or lose and diverse strategies should be viable paths to victory
  • Theme! We love themes that grab your attention and help sell the whole experience
  • Immersion! The more the players can imagine they’re in a story, as well as a game, the more they feel invested in it
  • Solid Mechanics and Rules! Your design should be solid and your rules should be clearly written and well edited
  • Innovation! Original concepts are highly sought after rather than thin variants on existing products. Send your poker options, chess and re-skinned RISK elsewhere
  • Sells itself! Concept and design should sell itself rather than relying on marketing muscle or in-store placement

Not every design will shine in all of these areas, but without a good match in at least several of them your design we will probably pass on your game.

What to Submit?

First, before you go any further, you should email us a proposal to submissionsatiwillnevergrowup with the subject line “Game Design Submission – GAME NAME”.

Your proposal should briefly describe your game (in one page or a sales sheet), and include the complete rules for your game. If you have a photo of the prototype, mid game perhaps, that would be extremely helpful too! It’s always better if we can picture what’s going on in the rules.

If you’re really serious or ambitious, send us a video about your game, including a little bit of the game play itself.

The submission must include (in English):

  • Number of players (min/max/suggested)
  • Average Game Length (based on play test times)
  • Suggested minimum age
  • Components list
  • Goal of the game – How to win and/or lose
  • Complete, actual game play rules (please .. please .. spell check!)

However, if your design is not at the point that you could send us a functioning, playable prototype the day after we request it, get it there first, THEN send us the proposal. We want functioinally finished designs, not just ideas for games. If all you have is a rough idea, get to work and finish it up first!

Once we have received this information, we will read through and get a feel for your game to see if it is a good fit for our roster. At that point, we’ll let you know how to go about sending us a prototype and what the next steps will likely be.

This process can take several weeks but we will get back to you with an answer either way, as soon as humanly possible. If the process is going to take more than 4 weeks, we will send you a message to let you know. If you don’t hear from us for 4 weeks after sending a proposal, send a follow-up email to inquire about its status as it may have been missed in the hectic day-to-day!

If you are also making a submission to other publishers, common courtesy would dictate you let us know. We won’t hold it against you; if we know of another publisher that would be a much better fit for you we’ll be sure to let you know that as well!

If we’re interested in publishing your game after we review your prototype, we will offer you a contract that includes ongoing royalties and complimentary copies of the game when it gets published. If we’re not interested, we will let you know and send your prototype back to you at our expense.

We love games and we want to publish exceptional ones! We’re always happy to get new designs that surprise us and we hope the next one we get is yours!

IF WE LIKE YOUR PITCH: We’ll contact you and arrange to see the game in more detail through one of the following:

  • Pre-recorded video of you and your friends playing the game
  • A prototype sent to us
  • In person at a convention

Your Game Must Be;

  1. Fully Created, Not Just an Idea: Actually taking a game from a concept to a fully-formed creation is a completely different matter–that’s what we’re looking for. Ideas are important. Your idea is important. It may even be brilliant. The challenge of any game design is actually executing those ideas! An idea only has value when it is executed, and it only has a lot of value when it’s executed well. It takes a tremendous amount of courage to turn an idea into reality. It then takes a tremendous amount of time and effort to turn that reality into something functional, much less something great. So if you’re offering someone your idea in exchange for them to execute it, you’re basically asking them to do 99.99% of the work. That’s not a partnership.
  2. Polished and Play tested: Part of our role as the publisher is to play test and arrange for blind play testing of your game beyond the scope of what you can do. But it’s still your responsibility to extensively play test (and blind play test) your game before sending it to us.
  3. Playable: The #1 mistake we see is that the prototypes we receive are unplayable, either due to the rules, the lack of reference cards, or other factors that could have been solved by blind play testing. You get one chance to make a first impression, and if that involves an unplayable game, we’re not going to publish it.
  4. Thoughtfully Graphic Designed: It’s our responsibility to make the game look great in terms of art and graphic design. However, submitting your game to us without any art or thoughtful design will make the play testing process very difficult. Please use placeholder art that reflects how you view the world of your game, and be intentional with your graphic design for the final prototype–user interface matters. Do not commission final art, though–that’s our responsibility as a publisher.
  5. Rules: We need to be able to figure out how to play the game by reading the rules. Just as with any written work, confusing writing, poor English, and numerous typos will negatively affect our impression of your work. A Microsoft Word file is completely fine, but please try to insert examples and photographs/images throughout the rules.
  6. Flexibility: We may love your game, but there’s still a high chance that we’ll have some changes we want to make it better and make it more marketable. Please be clear with us up front if there are certain changes you will never consider. If you won’t consider any changes, you’re not a good fit for us.
  7. Unique: We’re looking for unique themes and mechanisms–please, no pirates, zombies, Cthulhu, or trains. Jamey typically does not enjoy stock games, tactical combat games, hidden-movement games, party games, take-that games, punishing games, programming, and dungeon crawlers…but there are exceptions to those preferences.
  8. Hooks: Your game should have one or more hooks. The key to a great hook is that it grabs your attention. It stands out in a crowd. The hook is the element or elements of a product that catches your eye, draws you in, and makes you want it.

Things We Look For;

  1. Quick beginning and organic end: Streamlined setup with (at most) minimal pre-game choices, and preferably an organic end-game trigger.
  2. Ability to plan ahead before taking your turn (you shouldn’t have to wait for the previous player to complete their turn to be able to decide what you’re doing on your turn).
  3. Limited analysis paralysis with choices displayed on player mats, game board, etc. This also manifests in a reasonable amount of information on display, not dozens of cards and tiles with detailed text that players need to read from across the table.
  4. Interesting choices are better than luck. If there are elements of randomness, players should be able to mitigate that randomness and/or make decisions based on random input (instead of, say, strictly rolling dice to determine the outcome). Agency is very important; it means that players have control over their fate.
  5. Rewards and forward momentum, not punishment and backwards movement. Players should feel like they’ve progressed during the game to a superior position than at the beginning, and the mechanisms should support this (i.e., engine building).
  6. Intuitive to learn and retain. The design of the game should take into account the learning experience–ideally, new players can be presented with a few core rules and start to take turns due to the presentation and order of operations. Retention should also be a factor, enabled by few to no rules exceptions.
  7. Connection between theme and mechanisms. Mechanisms should be designed to keep players immersed in the game instead of reminding them they’re playing a game.
  8. The potential for dramatic, memorable moments in a game is difficult to achieve, but it’s a huge plus when the game allows and encourages them to happen.
  9. Board games are tactile experiences. We love games with some type of appealing, exciting component. It can be as simple as the cardboard Tetris-style pieces in Patchwork or as complex (yet important) as the wheels in Tzolk’in.
  10. Variable factors to create re-play-ability – it’s a huge bonus when you can’t play the same exact game twice, even if you try!
  11. Multiple paths to victory. Various game subsystems should be equal in their ability to reach the winning criteria.

Protection, Copyright, Patenting, NDA’s etc.

There is no defined law to protect your ideas from being copied. However, the small size of the market and relative small economic implications make it not worth it. Besides our honesty, of course, we have dozens of games that are being developed at any given time and simply don’t have the time or energy to ‘steal’ your idea.

If you’re expecting a Non Disclosure Agreement (NDA), then don’t even bother; we’re not interested. We WANT you, and everyone who works on or sees your game, to be excited and willing to talk about it to anyone and everyone, and their dog!

Prototypes

We ONLY require a prototype if your game has made it successfully through a series of preliminary tests.

The main characteristic of the prototype must be playability, not beauty. It is better to have some easy to print PDFs with horrible drawings than a wonderful 3D masterpiece that is impossible to reproduce and may, ultimately, be changed completely.

Placeholder art is perfectly acceptable, though you should already have a good graphic design layout in place.

DO NOT SEND US A PROTOTYPE UNLESS WE ASK FOR ONE!

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