As you might have noticed, the past few years have brought a tabletop gaming renaissance. This has been thanks, in large part, to crowdfunding (you might have noticed, we have a bit of a Kickstarter tabletop game habit here at GeekDad). Well, Hasbro, along with their newly-minted partner Indiegogo (man, if only I could have been ringside for the Kickstarter/Indiegogo shootout for this deal), is looking to tap that market by running a crowdfunding competition, the “Next Great Game Challenge.” Any guesses as to what they’re looking to find? Take it away, press release!
Starting today, Hasbro will call on game designers nationwide to share their ideas for a new party game on www.nextgreatgamechallenge.com. Five game designers or teams of designers will be chosen as finalists and will be invited to launch campaigns for their concepts on Indiegogo and will be promoted on Hasbro’s partner page. The grand prize winner selected by Hasbro will receive $10,000 and a trip to Hasbro headquarters to meet with and work with the game development team to help make his or her party game a reality.
So pretty great, eh? As long as you’re a designer and have a solid idea how to run a crowdfunding campaign. This kind of screws the little guy, right? Well…
The challenge begins today on www.nextgreatgamechallenge.com where designers can submit ideas through September 30, 2015. The five finalists will be announced on October 30, 2015 and will officially launch their campaigns on Indiegogo to obtain funding and build fan support. Hasbro and Indiegogo will work with the finalists to build their campaigns and offer support. The campaigns will run until December 1, 2015 and the grand prize winner chosen by Hasbro will be announced later in December. Ideas will be evaluated by a team of Hasbro game experts and designers who will be specifically looking at each concept’s gameplay mechanics, theme, potential for ‘fun-ness’ and viability.
So, for all of you who have been sitting on a blockbuster idea, but didn’t have any idea where to start, Hasbro and Indiegogo will help you get things off the ground. I think that there’s still a distinct advantage for those who have run previous crowdfunding campaigns – they know what works and what doesn’t to entice backers. But hopefully between a professional gaming publisher and a professional crowdfunding company, they’ll help even things out.
This will be the the first time Hasbro has worked with a crowdfunding company. It’s also the first project I’ve seen led by the Hasbro Gaming Lab, a team at Hasbro that’s “dedicated to connecting with the growing gaming community to discover and develop great new games.” So it sounds like they’ve finally realized that the legion of tabletop fans over on BoardGameGeek represent a market of deep-pocketed fans that Hasbro has yet to reach.
So who stands to win from this contest, other than the designer that gets their game published? Well, we got to talking around the Ol’ Miskatonic Watercooler here at GeekDad’s deep-sea headquarters and came up with a few points:
1. Hasbro wins because they get a new game for relatively cheap, and get to branch out safely into crowdfunding without expending a lot of their own resources.
2. Indiegogo wins because it gets their name out there in a crowdfunding market that is dominated by Kickstarter.
3. The designer wins because they get their game professionally published and get a cashout that’s actually better than your average crowdfunded payday. The potential downside for them, based on our initial assumption, is that the designer would give the rights to their IP to Hasbro (Update! After reading through the Challenge Terms, it seems that designers do retain their IP rights – so this gets even better… Bummer, though: they specifically say no 50-foot game boards. So no Cones of Dunshire for you!).
4. The backers most certainly win: The game will be polished by pros, produced on time, and be of solid quality.
This will be an interesting experiment to follow, and I’m looking forward to see what kind of ideas are presented. If you’ve always toyed with the idea of becoming a game designer, or just didn’t know if the world was ready for your hatching spider egg party game; head over to the contest site and put your name in the hat. My opinion? Any time you can get your feet wet and be supported by industry pros at the same time is a win-win.