So here is the situation – I liked the game and I wanted to publish it. Michiel liked Portal Games and he wanted to get his game published.
Could we then sign a contract and move on to publishing stuff, order artwork and start talking with the manufacturer about production?
No, we couldn’t.
Before we signed a contract, I had to ask Michiel a very important question. I sent him an email. It went more or less like this…
I want you to know, that once the contract is signed, I own your game. I will change it and I will not negotiate with you about changes. I will inform you about them, I will inform you about the reasons I made these changes, but I will not discuss them.
I will not ask you for permission. I am the publisher, not a negotiator.
I don’t care if you liked the event deck. If it sucks, I will remove it and I will resist your complaints. I don’t care if you like the look of the player board in your prototype. If it doesn’t work, I will remove it and I will resist your complaints.
I will take your game and I will change it. Are you prepared for that?
Play Portal Games titles. Play Neuroshima Hex, play Stronghold, play Robinson. And then ask yourself a question – Do these guys know their job? Can I trust them? Can I give them my beloved gem and see them redesigning it?
Michiel, please look at my games. This is my curriculum vitae. If you want me to work on your game, if you want me for this job, sign a contract. Sign a contract and start to cry because I will take your game and I will destroy it.
This is how it works guys. Publishers know their market. Publishers know what sells best. Publishers know what players demand. And what is most important… The publisher puts his money on the table. He prints the game. It costs a lot. The publisher has to have the full right to decide on the final product.
So here is the question. Yes, question for all of you who submit your games to publishers! Are you ready for that? Can you give me your game and leave it behind? It is a tough decision…
Michiel signed the contract. So I took his game and I tore it to pieces…