Publisher-Designer activities at UK Games Expo are a major part of the show. Here are some questions you may have about this area.
Tips and Advice for budding Publishers and new designers
Are you a game designer that has a new game design in your head or even in physical form?
Thinking about attending UKGE but not sure how to proceed?
Are you trying to find out more about how to get your game published?
Read all about it!
Here are some articles to read to get you started
In the 2019 Programme Guide we published an article "I have this idea for a game" which is an overview of how to get your game made.
Read all about how James Smith, designer of Reveal used Playtest UK and UK Games Expo to help get his game from an early design to being published by Paul Lamond.
If you are thinking about attending UKGE you have a few options to think about.
A) VISIT UKGE AND DO YOUR RESEARCH.
If your game idea is at a very basic stage and you are not sure how to proceed or if you are very new to the world of games and want to find out more about other games, about publishers etc then consider just coming as a visitor to UKGE. Try out game designs by the companies present, chat to designers. Use the visit as research.
To Follow Route A just buy an entrance ticket and turn up.
B) GET THE GAME INTO THE PLAYTEST ZONE
The cheapest approach is to book your game a slot in the Playtest Zone. Most places are free to use (you just need an entry ticket). You book a slot via the organisation, Playtest UK, who run the tables. (3 hours slots require a £12 donation to an Expo charity.)
Basically, you are allocated a playtesting table to set up your game. The Playtest Zone volunteers will invite Expo attendees to sit down and play your game. Many folk who attend UKGE are happy to try new designs and give helpful comments. This feedback is a great way to improve your game and this is a crucial stage for all designs. The playtesting sessions are allocated in 90 minutes or 3 hours slots.
You cannot use the Playtest Zone if you are selling the game.
To Follow Route B, read the Playtest Page and contact Playtest UK to book your slot. Then buy an entrance ticket and turn up.
C) HIRE A STARTER STAND
You hire a 2m x2m starter stand for £132+VAT. Add a table – say 4ft x 2ft and 4 chairs for an additional circa £20 (Or bring your own). If you have a slightly larger budget get the larger 3m x2m starter stands for £198+VAT and with a will you can accommodate two demo tables in there. This way you get 3 whole days of potential playtest and feedback. With many games that could mean dozens of games get played and you could have lots of feedback. In addition you can sell games from Trade Stands. Note that Starter stands are placed at the discretion of the organisers in standard space (never in Superior).
D) HIRE A FULL SIZED STAND.
Finally you go the whole hog and take a full size Trade stand. These can be of almost any size, shape and configuration and cost from £52.00 per sqm. So let's say you had 5m x 4m that would cost £1040+VAT. Clearly a stand of that size would allow you the space to fit in a number of demo tables, a sales area etc.
To follow Route C or D you must become an exhibitor.
E)TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE PUBLISHER-DESIGNER TRACK
The UKGE Publisher Designer Track is includes prototype testing tables, seminars and panels for games designers and publishers, networking events and opportunities for budding designers to pitch their ideas to publishers.
What is great news is that it is all free (you just need an entrance ticket)
Find out More
The Trade Hall at UKGE can seem rather intimidating. There are 400+ exhibitors with stands from 4 sqm up to 300 sqm. There are a great many amazing games out there. In order to make the most of UKGE you have to stand out and attract in the gamers to try your games.
- Make the game as good as it can possibly look. Even in the case of a prototype a bit of extra effort can pay dividends. So pay a local printer to print the game board in high resolution. Consider higher quality components etc. many publishers will have special demo versions such as giant versions etc.
- The whole stand is part of your display. Consider pull up banners, coming in costume etc. At the very least get some branded T Shirts to promote the games company.
- Help the visitor find out more. Make sure you have flyers about the game, business cards to give out. Consider placing an advert in the UKGE programme.
- Take along playtest feedback forms for people who play the game to fill in and give you feedback.
- Don't forget the Show Preview
- Don't miss out on the Publisher Designer Track of events and activities.
- Tell us your news and we will tell our customers
- For more impact think about a paid for advert in the programme or an online marketing campaign. See exhibitor pack for details.
We have an archive of our old programmes which contain many articles by designers and publishers.
Sell sheets and Rule sheets are used in our Speed Dating and Boot Camp Events (Boot Camp is not running in 2021). These FAQ's should answer your questions about them.
FAQ's about Sell Sheets
A sell sheet is a one-page document that acts as a summary of the concept, core gameplay, theme, and other important elements of your game.
Often they are presented to publishers as part of a pitch with the hope being the game will go onto publication. They can be used by a publisher as a reminder of a designer meeting, or can be provided in lieu of a meeting to generate interest in a design.
You can also use them at trade shows and conventions to convey to potential distributors and retailers the essence of the game too.
We use them to assess your game idea for suitability for our Publisher-Designer Track events.
You can find many examples of sell sheets on the internet.
This is an excellent Pinterest board full of examples:
When you meet someone, why give them a business card - can't they remember your name from talking with you? Sell sheets are a way to trigger the memory of a play or meeting, and provide a reminder of things like player counts, play time and potential components that might not have been fully explored during an introductory play during a meeting or demo.
Publishers are busy people and may be attempting to assess dozens of games rapidly. They don't have time to play each of those games fully. A sell sheet provides basic information on demand.
Likewise when we at UKGE look at your game for inclusion in our events we have to review 50 to 100 entries. A well written sell sheet is your best chance of being included in those events and making an impression on the publishers.
The software is up to you but we require that the sell sheet is a single A4 document saved in the .pdf file format.
For US submissions, PDF typically automatically scale to the standard 8.5" x 11" standard used in the US. Make sure your text and images are large enough to be scaled down if required!
PDF is the easiest way to share documents widely when different readers may have widely varied equipment including computers, tablets and phones.
A flashy design and cool font is less important that a clear well laid out sheet that contains these key features:
- Your game name
- A paragraph that sumarises the key game features
- Theme and concept
- Type of game
- Number of players
- Age range
- Images of key game elements
- Reasons why this game would sell well.
- Contact info
When you have the sheet ready click file...save as and select the pdf format.
Your game should be well developed and well playtested. Written rules should be available with the prototype, or provided electronically shortly after a presentation. Many publishers prefer a print-and-play version of the game if the game does not require any special components (such as unique game-required components, or specifically-shaped components).
A publisher should be looking at a game that is ready to publish and not just an early idea. Sometimes, you will have the opportunity at the end of a pitch meeting to talk about working designs, but presenting am incomplete, untested design to a publisher has the potential to reflect poorly on you, your design process and your future designs!
FAQ's about Rule Sheets
In addition to a Sell Sheet we ask you to submit a Rules Sheet for your game.
The Publishers can use the Rules Sheet to get a better idea of the Game Play.
The rules sheet can be an abbreviated summary of game components, turn order, basic concepts of game play and winning conditions.
A simple word document or pdf laying out the rules clearly is all that is needed.
There is no need to add images or to worry about the design of the rules. Adding headings etc can improve the clarity.
The Rules sheet should be no more than 2 sides of A4. If Publishers want more detailed rules they can ask for that after the Speed Dating.
UK Games Expo uses rule sheets to assess applications to the Publisher-Designer Speed Dating and the Boot Camp events. (Boot Camp is not running in 2021). First make sure you have applied to both using the links above.
You may then email the attachments to Richard with a subject heading of Speed Dating Documentation.