I have a common problem.  I have developed several worthwhile games, ready to line shelves of game stores and make the world a better place.  Yet there are no easy avenues to get them produced.  

I have been wondering for years if a game designers' guild would help.  If all the wannabe game designers like me collectively took a stake in each other's games, and pushed games forward.  I could imagine establishing a means of producing small-run games at low cost.  We could contribute our individual strengths to help each other get over humps in the design process.  We could leverage our collective energy and use Kickstarter or other resource to get funding.  We could enlist smaller printers to generate production quality games.  We could collectively establish distribution channels.

I have a vision, a detailed plan, and even a domain name ;)

I would love to know - how does this idea sound to you?

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Same problem, David. Wish you the best of luck!

The wonderful thing about a good game is that it will sell itself. If you can get anyone to play it. Word of mouth is the best marketing campaign any industry can have, but getting it can be hard. You're yelling in a hurricane, and not a single soul can hear you. 

The idea of a designers guild is awesome, but I'm dubious about the longevity of such an entity. Community can be created, but it doesn't have to be legislated. 

I have some personal solutions that I would love to share. 

The first is a little near and dear to my heart. Find a high school, find a college. either of them will be hard up for cash. I plan on approaching them/students and telling them that if they start a games club, or have one already, I will donate x amount of my products to them. With print on demand websites, this isn't too hard of a task too do, and it's reasonably cheaper than other options. 

I would say you could even go as far as approaching a game or hobby store and donating a copy or two of a game for them to demo. When they start getting demand, you start printing more. 

But I would love to work with you to find the right balance of giving things away for free, and being more assertive with our market. 

Michael,

Many thanks for your reply!  Some good ideas.  I agree with the broader mission to open new markets for games.  You have a neat idea with schools.  I suggest that we could be more effective if we did this kind of activity in a more collective way.  So we both go to schools and bring along each other's games, for instance, and have double the impact.  

Why do you think that a guild would mean legislating?  My thought is it would be voluntary, like this forum, albeit with a bit more shared sense of responsibility.  E.g. members would be encouraged to participate in someone else's project.  If done right, the guild would play a little bit like a MMORPG in that you have a character and get credit for missions.  Instead of XPs we would earn proficiency points in different areas/disciplines, in a manner that mirrors the real world.  E.g., if you help a project get marketed, you level up in marketing and earn some virtual gems associated with the game.  If the game ever pays dividends, those gems pay real dollars.  Silly/fun stuff like that.  I see the bigger challenge to get it off the ground.  Once it got going, i would be pretty self-sustaining I would think.  E.g. the Guild's annual game packs (including our top games form the year) would be a hot holiday purchase.

In any case, I'd love to get your guidance on how to take some completed games to the next step.  What are your games?

I guess what I mean by legislation is that we wouldn't actually have to incorporate or form a formal guild, but it looks we're on the same page. 

I really like the idea of trading games and bringing all sorts of games to bear. It would be great to form that sort supply chain. 

I agree with you that we have a great community here, and your MMO idea is very analogous with some of the features of Gameful. I feel that there is a great foundation, but I wish the feature development was more transparent. is there a Dev blog somewhere I don't know about?

 I'm still developing most of my projects. my background is in business and marketing, so I'm just hoping to be able to help on that front.

Count me in!

i was just surfing along when i saw on top content "if we banded together, would we have better success?". i am totally new to game design and i think you have a great idea. a designers guild in witch all work together and achieve almost pro-status games, eventually anyway. to even think that all that work could be done in such a way as playing a "game" to sell games and make money so that the people making games can sell more games is genius. 

You should really do this. My dream has always been getting a game i made to the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) and i can see me and all the other people who contribute to this guild getting there. Just think, the whole world will see what games should be and they will feel the messages that the game designers have pounded into their creations. it may just sound like im blowing hot air but i'll go till i drop to pursue my dream and i know a couple others who will do the same. i'm just 17 but i'll go with this seriously if your willing to start up the guild.  

Friends,

Imagine that Cicatricks were to join gameguild, and create a profile of a level 3 marketer.  He then shows his prowse in 1 or 2 projects by contributing to the marketing and successful launch, then he'd get to level 5 marketer.  When he launched his own game project, others would feel particularly compelled to join this project given his master marketer satatus.  Joining a project means more than just responding to a forum post.  You would expect to have a special responsibiltiy to really help.  The +1s would be tallied.  Badges or magic items that you earn would have real world weight.  Shares in profit could be given voluntarily, based on amount of contribution.  Giving the Guild a share of the profits could earn badges and the satisfaction of helping the community.  

And let's not forget there should be special rewards for going good, like benefiting charity and saving the planet from climate change should be worth a +1 at least.  ;)

1 way it gets exciting is in putting the weight of our rather large guild community behind our wares.  Or behind a democratically chosen subset of them.  We could deliver a wizard which helps match a buyer to the ideal game for them, based on our testing.  Could use data mining and Amazon-style recommendation technology to provide such matching (I design similar systems for a living).  Compare this with the haphazard tagging of boardgamegeek or thegamecrafter.  

So if we were even moderately successful, we could have:

  • numerous would be designers, all closed out from the exclusive commercial world
  • hundreds of new products
  • thousands of hours of experience ready to identify best channels for production, marketing
  • some new strategies for targeting our blue ocean of products to a diverse world of customers

The product could be like a stone soup.  A legally savvy person adds proper legal materials.  A design person adds cool graphics.  A drupal developer (I have some experience but am no master) helps build the custom features.  A video/production gal or guy puts together a good youtube video.  We put it up on kickstarter with the help of someone with such experience.  We all market it to our gamer friends.  With such a base of support, its success on kickstarter would almost be a certainty.  We raise the $30K it would take to build the custom features and we're off!

It's. as. easy. as. connecting. the. dots.

Then lets get started. You've got my vote. I'll help you out. 

Cicatricks,

Awesome!  $30K was a shoot-from-the-hip number.  Probably need less.  

Here is a rough suggested path forward.  Short deliverables.  Normally you start with a wireframe, showing the design.  I believe best would be a functional wireframe of sorts.  That is, we would build, a simple yet partially-functional prototype.  This can be used to demonstrate what we are building and make sure we are working in the right direction.  I recommend using some open source technology like Drupal.  Drupal offers an out-of-the box CMS, that we can configure rapidly, to have quite a bit of functionality.  

As the prototype takes shape, we could spread the word to assess interest.  We would ask the game designing community to sign up, create a profile, and register their projects.  

When we get a bit of funding we could flesh out the different pieces.  E.g. 1 piece is the profile.  It should have a system for capturing a member's various attributes.  Here are some attributes I can think of

Conscience - one's social consciousness.  Different levels are described, such as

1: eager to get started

2: has read books about the world, and has a socially aware moral compass

3: volunteers at least an hour per month for charitable causes and/or contributes significant money to charities

4: volunteers an hour per week or more

5: volunteers over 10 hours per week

6: volunteers half time or contributed to the foundation of an organization with real impact

7: volunteers full time or founded an organization...

Reference links required to declare yourself higher than level 3.

Graphics: One's graphical ability (similar set of levels)...

Management: One's ability at project management...

Development: Creation of game ideas and game systems...

Design:

QA: Playtesting, etc.

Results: follows things thru

Could have these attributes correspond to various personality measures.

Another key design area is the actual modeling of the projects, subprojects, goals, a system for rewards and credit and +1s for micro contributions.  

It seems a first step should be to put together a design document describing all this stuff in more formal detail.  Where is an appropriate place to share & collaborate on such a document?  In this thread?  In the new prototype site?

Other ideas?

I put together the beginnings of a project plan for gameguild.org here

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1tQcJgVRamwKTPKBK0TKmGGtwcPfD4SE...

If you'd like to make contribution just let me know!

Hi

I'm 16, a high school student and I happened to come across this and found it to be very interesting. The idea seems kind of obvious to me and first of all, I'm wondering if there's a site that is already doing such a thing, and if not, I would love to help make this a reality with whatever little experience I have.

Overall, love the idea and would love to help out.

Houle,

Thanks for your interest.  Here is what I know of out there.  I certainly welcome anyone else who can share their knowledge.

online forums (e.g. this website, bgdf.com, discussion areas within boardgamegeek.com) - These fulfill a great service for helping people get answers to questions and find kindred spirits.  I believe most true collaboration that results is somewhat ad-hoc and uncommon.

thegamecrafter.com - Allows you to create and make salable a board or card game.  No collaboration.

Some frameworks for the design of video game have active communities that operate like helpful forums.

I believe one thing new here, with the Game Guild, is a shared sense of ownership.  People would (hopefully) not only post helpful info but ensure that key hurdles are cleared.

Dave

I am sure I am missing something else.  Especially 

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