Minutes from the "Publishers Introduce Themselves" Workshop
21st Goettinger Game Designer's Conference 2002
May 25th, 4:00-4:45 PM, Town Hall, Goettingen
Like every year, the "Publishers Introduce Themselves" Workshop was presented at the Goettinger Game Publisher's Conference to introduce game publishers and their company profiles.
Even though in 2002 there were many publishers present at the conference, and even though the conference hours were clearly extended (for four hours!) on Saturday, unfortunately not all publishers sent representatives to the workshop. In this year, Ravensburger and Goldsieber were not present at the workshop. However, Eurogames and Coppenrath attended for the first time. Cornelia Rist from Ravensburger told me afterwards that nothing had changed as compared to 2001. Therefore, I added excerpts from the minutes of the last few years to this protocol. Ulrich Bauer (Goldsieber) informed us that the parent company Simba will go on producing Goldsieber games. He and Joe Nikisch will from now on work as game editor freelancers for this company. The statements from recent years apply here as well. Amigo, who did not attend either, have the same profile as before, too. Reinhard Staupe (former Berliner Kartenspiele) is now responsible for the card game department at Amigo.
The independent editor Christian Beiersdorf, who works for Coppenrath, is searching for games that would fit into their book program. Primarily for the character FELIX (see www.spiegelburg.de), he is looking for games that appeal to the nine- to ten-year old age group. Besides, he is looking for games with a horse theme for smaller children up to twelve-year-olds. He is also looking for games along various themes for very small children, from age two up. He recommends that all authors of games for young children playtest their prototypes in kindergarten classes. He wants rules that include pictures and will ask for prototypes in case he is interested.
Eurogames, first timers at the workshop represented by Uwe Walentin, is looking for complex and simple family- and card games, not children's games. He would like a short description of the game, including pictures when possible. Prototypes and game ideas for the small "Blue Games" line are of particular interest.
Markus Nikisch, who follows Anja Wrede and Karin Pennther of Haba, is looking for games for three- to six-year-old children that would be nicely rendered in wood. Please do not submit card games or abstract games. The company produces six to eight small and large games per six months (Essen/Nuremberg). Additionally, Haba is looking for designs for educational games. The creation of a prototype is not necessary, as this is done at the publisher's. Initial contact is by telephone or e-mail. It is decided in advance if a prototype shall be sent to Haba. An initial submission of the rules and a short description of play will suffice. Pictures are always helpful. Allow eight to ten weeks for the publisher to review the rules, as they receive many submissions. Haba usually sends an acknowledgement of receipt with information naming whom you can ask questions. The editors are also open to answer your questions.
The two-man team from Hans im Glück is represented by Dirk Geilenkeuser. The "small" publisher produces "only" three to four games per year aimed at families and adults. The lower limit would be something like "Carcassonne" and there is no upper limit. In this context, he suggests that a very complex game is to be expected from Munich soon. First contact should be by telephone, followed by sending the game's rules.
Baerbel Schmidts, an editor for Klee (Kosmos) attended the workshop with her new co-worker, Sandra Dochtermann. She briefly characterized the profile of Kosmos. She is looking for games for children ages four and up. In particular, simple, entertaining family games. She would like to be sent the game's rules. In a submission, the author should describe what is special about his game. The game will be tested with groups of children.
New in the Kosmos game line is a segment of Schyns-games, those by Barbara Schyns.
Kosmos has approximately four two-player games in the works for the year. It is critical that for this small game line, no abstract game prototypes are submitted. For the new line, "Spiele für viele" (games for many), Kosmos is looking for prototypes that are not too complex, in which the theme is not tightly bound. Additionally, one or two bigger games come that are named the Luedtke "Ausstattungsspiele" (high production games). For these, the publisher doesn't shy away from greater material requirements. For TM, the discriminating niche remains. The makers of TM, to which even Klaus Teuber belongs, want in this line to bring out "everything we desire."
For first contact, Kosmos would like a phone call followed by a submission of game rules, including photos when possible.
Schmidt-Spiele from Berlin, represented by Jürgen Valentiner-Branth is looking for licensable ideas for games for children (Maus, der kleine Eisbär, Janosch). For family and adult-oriented games, Schmidt is not looking for any simple two-person games. Submissions may not exceed a game length of 90 minutes. "Interesting new components" are expected, whatever that means. Submissions should include game rules including photos.
Winning Moves looked for a new editors team for itself. Four game authors were placed under the name "Team Annaberg." Here we find Marcel-André Casasola Merkle (a.k.a. "Rebel", "Traitor") und Christwart Conrad (a.k.a. "Vino"), then Jens Peter Schliemann ("Daumen drauf") and Bernhard Weber (a.k.a. "Downtown", "Laguna"). Christwart Conrad represented Team Annaberg in the workshop. The team wants no games for children, but are looking for family- and adult-oriented games, including more complex games.
Not represented (information comes from the 2001 workshop):
Uwe Mölter, who works as an editor for Amigo, is looking for card games, family games and especially children's games. In the opinion of his effervescent daughter, who claimed him completely during the workshop, he will definitely soon become competent in the subject of children's games. In the initial submission, he would like a short description of play and an idea of the game's duration.
Ulrich Bauer was forced to represent Goldsieber alone this year, as Joe Nikisch was ill. Ulrich Bauer and Joe Nikisch are looking for game developments for six to eight novelties per year. Among them, family games suited for children six years old and up, family- and adult-oriented games. They have a lot of latitude as they offer a wide selection. That includes everything from simple Zockerspiel up to "angefreakten family games." Game suggestions submitted to Goldsieber are also seen by Abacus-Verlag. This small publisher is mainly a card game publisher that can also work with supplemental material (i.e., dice). In board games, Abacus puts out new editions. For a submission, after contacting by telephone, send the rules along with a detailed list of game components, as everything must fit into standardized boxes. A short introduction is fruitless, as the game mechanics must be clearly presented; the theme is irrelevant.
Lothar Hemme represented the entire program of Ravensburger. The industry leader is looking for ideas for children's games, among others that can be rendered three-dimensionally, in the price range between 20 and 45 DM ($25-55). Lothar Hemme referred particularly to the often-underrepresented line of portable games that are conceived for children age four and up. Authors who get a game published in this segment of the market can count on high production runs. A new generation of authors became successful with this approach. Aside from that, Ravensburger is looking for educational games for pre-school and grade school children, which by playing teach substantial cultural technology. The company is also interested in the expansion of the "Think-Reihe" (Thinking Series). For this, they have its own edition. Sought are training programs for adults 30 years and up who want to shape up their grey matter. In the area of family and grown-up games (8 years and up), the spectrum of offerings ranges from "Sagaland" up to "Tikal/Torres." From this schedule, a simple family game (i.e., "Zauberberg"), a middle family-game (in this year "San Marco") and every one to two years a complex game (like "Java") are planned.
For submission to Alea Lothar Hemme suggests that Stefan Brück, successful editor with this Ravensburger branch, seeks sophisticated games with more complex rules.
Telephonic first contact is desired. Sending game rules, a conceptual description and a photo follows this.
Not attending in Goettingen this year were Clementoni and Drei Magier Spiele ("Three Magi Games"), but for these firms, last year's information is valid:
For the first time, the firm Clementoni was represented in Goettingen by Mr. Gross and Mr. Hoffmann. Since 1993, Clementoni has had an entire program in the German market with its own production and own distribution, and for two years, they have also included designer games. The Italian firm has supported well-known authors like Wolfgang Kramer and Reiner Knizia. Clementoni is interested in diverse family game offerings, looking for board games, and no card games.
Initial contact should be via e-mail or telephone.
Johann Rüttinger, with his small but definitely successful company Drei Magier Spiele (Three Magi Games) has the goal to become a "proper publisher." In his remarks, he dealt briefly with the history of the publishing house, how it particularly stressed his relationship with Alex Rudolph, which lead to several successes ("Venice Connection" - "Sonderpreis Schönes Spiel" (special prize for beautiful game), 1996; "Rüsselbande" was nominated to "Kinderspiel des Jahres" (Children's Game of the Year) 2001). The Drei Magier publisher produces six games per year. A print run of 3000 copies are possible for a small publisher. His selling is less targeted at the larger chains, Johann Ruettinger has had good success working with many small and engagierten shops. He is not looking for large games, but sees his game material on the other side of the "Pöppelgrenze".
Call or write for initial contact. He would like at first to receive a detailed copy of the rules.