Friday, July 16, 2010

Another indie publisher

I've run across a guy, Johnny Wahl, who's farther along than I am self-publishing his own game, called Conquer the Kings. It's a chess variant that supports up to four players on a new board, with piece placement up to the players. Looks like an interesting game, although I'm not enough of a chess player to know how it would go.

More interesting to me is the production and marketing. He's gone pretty high-end with the board and box, printed in the U.S., and he's ordered standard chess pieces from China. The artwork is neat. He's got pictures of the production run, which is really interesting. It looks like (from one of his picture captions) his initial print run was 500 games, and I bet they cost him a lot with those numbers and parts - probably at least $15 a copy, maybe more, which would make the game very difficult to sell through distributors at his $34.95 retail price. But chess is a huge market, and he might find enough folks to buy up those 500 directly without having to go through distribution.

The website and publishing project comes across very much as a labor of love, which is neat. He's living the dream, as I hope to do, although I'd like to do so in a way that has at least a chance of financial success. Wahl has also got an interesting post up on his testimonials page - basically a kindly-worded rejection letter from John McCallion, boardgames editor for Games magazine. That piqued my interest, because Matt Worden (of recently got a mention from John for his game Jump Gate, sold through, but with far better artwork and game design than other games available at TGC.

I wonder if I can get my games reviewed in Games? Sounds like great publicity, and it sounds from both of these tidbits that Mr. McCallion actually does take the time to look at the things he gets sent, even if they're not in professional packaging or available in retail stores. Intriguing.

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