BLOG: I challenge you! Honest publisher manifesto!

Grant Rodiek in his recent interview said: “You can make a game that is functional. It is relatively easy to make a game that works and is balanced.”

These are the most honest and true words about game design I heard in a long time. Let us talk about submitted prototypes today.


I have my reputation. The Trash Guy. The Delete Man. The Mad Man. The Guy who will play your prototype and torn it into pieces in no second. This guy.

How I got this reputation? I receive prototypes every single week. Every single week I find in my Inbox new message from designer who has prototype and is looking for publisher.

It’s 50+ prototypes a year.
It’s 50+ designers looking for their chance.
It’s 50+ authors who met me and got ‘Thank you, we are not interested.’ replay.
It’s 50+ prototypes I throw into bin every year.

Sounds drastic, huh? Well, I prefer to put it this way – it’s 50+ prototypes that failed me. Prototypes that were functional, balanced and boring as hell, prototypes that introduced nothing to our hobby. They worked and that’s all I can say about them. There was no reason why I’d choose that prototype over playing Bohnansa (published in 1997), Tikal (published in 1999), Tigris & Euphrates (published in 1997), Race for the Galaxy (released in 2007), Dominion (released in 2008)…

From all prototypes sent to me in 2012 I found only one that was good enough. It was called Nobles of Paris and it was released in 2013 as Legacy: testament of duke de Crecy.
From all prototypes sent to me in 2013 I found only one that was interesting enough. It was called Battle of York and it will be released in 2016 as Cry Havoc.
From all prototypes sent to me in 2014 I found only one that was freaking good. It was called Tides of Time and it was released in 2015 as Tides of Time.

I looked into 50+ designs and most of them were functional. Most of them were balanced. Most of them worked. None of them had something to offer.


Stop doing functional prototypes.
It’s not f… enough.

I challenge you. Surprise me. Deliver something exceptional. I want your best. I want your prototype that make my skin tingle. Give me more that functional prototype.
Or leave my Inbox alone.


We are bookworms. Movie maniacs. Story addicts. We grew up reading Tolkien, Howard, Herbert, Dick, Lem… We were watching Willow, Blade Runner, Never Ending Story, Robin Hood…

And yet, we don’t write books… we don’t make movies. We don’t make those things, because we make games. We make games that tell stories.