We are currently open for submissions. Please read the guidelines below carefully; we will reply if you follow them.
To submit your game to us, send Alan a short e-mail (email@example.com) highlighting why your game would be a good fit for Stonemaier based on the guidelines below. Include the specs for the game (player count, game length, and category). If we are interested, we will ask you to send a pre-recorded video of you explaining the game and playing a few rounds with friends (no edits are needed–just upload it to YouTube).
Alternatively, we sometimes consider submissions this way:
- In person at a convention (Gen Con)
- As a participant of our annual Design Day. We don’t actually hear pitches at Design Day, but we look at all the games other designers bring to it.
If you are a game designer who is interested in submitting your game to Stonemaier Games (Jamey will see it first), please consider the following guidelines:
- Carefully read our 12 Tenets of Game Design.
- We’re looking for tabletop games (not RPGs) that capture our imaginations.
- The player count must accommodate a minimum of 2 players (we’ll probably add a solo variant to take it down to 1) and an upper range of at least 5, 6, or greater. We’ll ignore submissions for 2-4 player games.
- We’re looking for event games–the featured main course at game night, not the appetizer or side salad–that play in 1-2 hours.
- We’re looking for unique games–your game must feature something that has not been done before.
- A player’s turn should be short and simple, and players should dictate the flow of play, not the game. If your game has a number of phases (either within each player’s turn or within each round), please don’t submit it to us.
Your Game Must Be:
- Fully Created, Not Just an Idea: Ideas are easy. Actually taking a game from a concept to a fully-formed creation is a completely different matter–that’s what we’re looking for.
- Polished and Playtested: Part of our role as the publisher is to playtest and arrange for blind playtesting of your game beyond the scope of what you can do. But it’s still your responsibility to extensively playtest (and blind playtest) your game before sending it to us.
- Playable: The #1 mistake we see is that the prototypes we receive are unplayable, either due to the rules, the lack of reference cards, or other factors that could have been solved by blind playtesting. You get one chance to make a first impression, and if that involves an unplayable game, we’re not going to publish it.
- Thoughtfully Graphic Designed: Another part of our responsibility is to make the game look great in terms of art and design. However, submitting your game to us without any art or thoughtful design will make the playtesting process very difficult. Please use placeholder art that reflects how you view the world of your game, and be intentional with your graphic design for the final prototype–user interface matters. Do not commission final art, though–that’s our responsibility as a publisher.
- Rules: We need to be able to figure out how to play the game by reading the rules. Just as with any written work, confusing writing, poor English, and numerous typos will negatively affect our impression of your work. A Microsoft Word file is completely fine, but please try to insert examples and photographs/images throughout the rules.
- Flexibility: We may love your game, but there’s still a high chance that we’ll have some changes we want to make it better and make it more marketable. Please be clear with us up front if there are certain changes you will never consider. If you won’t consider any changes, you’re not a good fit for us.
- Unique: We’re looking for unique themes and mechanisms–please, no pirates, zombies, Cthulu, or trains.
- Hooks: Your game should have one or more hooks.
If you have a game you think we’d enjoy, please send the video overview to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If we really like what we see, we’ll request a prototype (not a PnP). You can make the prototype or have a service like The Game Crafter or Print and Play Games make it. We’re happy to return the prototype to you if we’re not interested in the game (you would pay for shipping).
Why Would You Want Us to Publish Your Game?
- We’re small. Not that big is bad. If you’re able to get the attention of a major publisher who wants an initial print run of 30,000 copies of your game, by all means, go for it. But if you want a small, savvy, personal company to get your game out there to the world, we think you’ll enjoy working with us.
- We’re passionate. We’re not trying to pump out games that we barely know or care about. Rather, we focus a ton of time, energy, and money on games we truly love, the games that we’re happy to share with the world as if they are our own. If you want that type of passion and drive at the helm of your game, you’re at the right place.
- We love games. We truly love tabletop games. Hopefully you will find that to be the case for any publisher, but it’s worth mentioning that our love of games is why we do this. We’re not in it for the money–we’re here to connect thousands of people with memorable, fun gaming experiences. If that’s what drives you too, we can build amazing things together.
- We’re a partner, not an employer. We want to make the best version of your game. That means collaborating with you to make sure we stay true to your vision while enhancing and elevating various aspects of the game. We will ask for your opinions, thoughts, and permission throughout the process.
- We’ll be honest with you. If you’re deciding between publishing the game yourself via Kickstarter or submitting it to publishers like Stonemaier, please consider the pros and cons of each. If you self-publish, you can build a business, you have full creative control, and you’ll make more money if the game is successful…but it will involve a lot more work. If you just want to design games and do nothing else, submitting to a publisher may be a better fit for you.
If you’re just getting started on the game design process, here’s a video to let you know what you’re getting into: