So here’s the deal. I’ve got a board game idea and I really want to make it available to you. The thing is, I have absolutely no idea how I want to do that.
See, it’s not a complicated game to make. There are options. I could go through the pain and tribulation (and the $3000, and up to 36 months that it can take to get approval from the PTO) of patenting the damn thing. Which would mean having to sell a lot for a game that, honestly, probably has a fairly limited audience as games go. It’s a board game in a digital world after all. So if I make and sell it as a tangible thing (make the boards and pieces and sell them as a product), we’d be looking at a game that in the scale of production that I would expect would run 30-50 bucks for you to buy.
On the other hand, if I were to just sell you a pdf of the rules and a copy of the board for like 3-5 bucks then anybody who wanted the game could spend what they wanted making the game, which depending on what they have lying around could conceivably be very close to zero outside of what you pay to me. I would likely make as much per sale as I would on making the whole thing, and since I’ve already written the rules, I already ‘have’ a copyright on them. Plus the game would get out there faster. And that is the ultimate goal of this particular endeavor because I think it’s a lot of fun and based on playing it with friends and family it actually is a lot of fun for people who are into this kind of thing.
So seriously I’m leaning towards just selling it as files. If nothing else it would be an interesting experiment.
But hear major horror stories about this kind of thing. Patent trolls, exploitation …
But does that matter? Yeah I had the inspiration, and I put a lot of hours into working the kinks out. But if the idea gets me a few months of extra money … that seems fair.
I guess what I’m asking is, internet … can I trust you? Can I save the money and time I don’t have based on the understanding that if you find the idea interesting that it’s worth a few bucks to find out about it?
Because I really love maker culture. Deep in my soul. I grew up in small town hardware stores and sympathize with how sometimes it’s easier and cheaper to build it/fix it/make it/do it yourself. And that’s how I want to do this, but our culture … man our culture loves to suggest that it’s a bad idea to try and do something like this without covering your ass.
But maybe it’s time to stop playing it so safe. I need to think on it, but I would love to hear opinions.