Why You Should NEVER Send Me Your Game Ideas (And Where You Should Send Them)

OK, so my first post is going to be a rant.

I have to wonder if my business name is gaining a better reputation, or if I’m easily found by an Internet search, or, if there are more people being creative today. The latter is a whole other blog post.

I’ve been in business for 12+ years. I began as Thwaprs Company (yes, there’s a story behind that name, no I won’t divulge it), changing to Gontza Games in 2008. My board game, MINDFIELD, the Game of United States Military Trivia, entered the marketplace in January, 2003. My two children’s card games, Pass the Grogger! and Christmas Cards became available in July, 2008.

When I started, there was little information about what to do and how to do it, and of course, no Kickstarter.

I learned by asking questions, and being rebuffed most of the time.

I share information with others because I remember how frustrating it was to start out.

I have dozens of ideas in various stages of development.

I do not ask other companies to publish my ideas, nor do I invite others to share their ideas with me.

I’ve been deluged lately with outside submissions. I do not accept outside submissions. Nowhere on my website does it say that I accept outside submissions. Of course, it doesn’t say that I don’t either, and I’ll have to correct that after I finish ranting. But I design all my own games, and do not buy ideas from others.

So, for those newbies out there, here are a few words of advice:

1. Check a company’s website to see if they accept outside submissions before sending anything. And please, please, please do not send your precious idea through email to any company who hasn’t asked to see it! I always answer the sender, telling them in bold capital letters, that I do not accept outside submissions. (Yes, I know I have repeated that endlessly, but I want to get the point across.)

2. Send a query letter! In my opinion, it’s not just for hopefuls in the literary world. Ask the company if they would look at your idea, in the hopes of buying/licensing it. Don’t send anything without asking first.

3. NEVER, and I repeat this, NEVER tell a game company that your family and friends played it and love it. That is tantamount to putting a big yellow arrow over your head that says NEWBIE – no clue. I don’t care if your family and friends loved it, and I’m almost 99% certain other game companies won’t care either. Unless your family and friends include Gary Gygax … which of course, people in the industry will understand why that’s just not possible. Your family who loved it could consist of six-year old boys who think farting is fun. Or 97-year old Uncle Joe who can’t hear anything and answers yes to every question. Playtest your game with strangers, who will be absolutely honest with you and tell you if a mechanic works or not. Oh, yes, make that gamer strangers. People who are your target audience.

4. If you find a company that accepts outside submissions, make sure you follow the guidelines on their website. Another way to make connections is to attend conventions like Metatopia or ChiTag.

Good luck to all.

OK, rant over. Thanks for listening. ;-D

Ann Stolinsky
Owner, Gontza Games
Partner, Gemini Wordsmiths


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