Pitching Games to AEG- Updated Dec 5 2020
The New Normal
I am John Zinser CEO of AEG but my current title and job is Director of Creative. This means I’m responsible for making sure AEG makes the greatest games we can. And that’s where you come in.
The time of Covid has certainly changed the way we review games and develop them. In 2019 AEG staff members were gathering at the awesome AEG Larkstone house multiple days each week, playing games and reviewing submissions in person. That is no longer happening.
We have adapted. Now, for AEG, it’s Zoom Calls, Videos, and Tabletop Simulator. But the goal is the same – find great games. TTS has proven invaluable as we not only use it to see game submissions, but also to test our games in development.
OUR PROMISE TO YOU
Our strategy is to publish fewer games and sell more copies of each.. If we publish your game, it is going to get a lot of promotion and attention in the marketplace. This will translate into sales and more royalties for you. This isn’t just corporate talk, in the last three years we have:
- Increased the sales of most new games we have launched.
- Increased the number of games that get reprints
- We have had excellent success on Kickstarter.
- Increased our international business ten fold.
AEG’s success in these areas have led directly to increased royalties to our designers.
You can learn more about our strategy in this blog –Publish-fewer-new-games
SUBMITTING A GAME TO AEG
First, we recommend that you join our design community. The link to the Facebook forum is here.
Or you can Email AEG
If you prefer to email your pitch you can make a submission at Creative@alderac.com We ask that all submissions include;
- A sell sheet.
- A 3-5 minute how to play video. (We understand that you are game designers not film majors. We are not rating the quality of the video just info on the game presented.)
Here is a summary of our process:
GATE 1. Sell Sheet: This is a quick glance for us. We are looking for something that makes this idea stand out , an idea or combination of ideas that makes us want to take a second look at this game.
GATE 2. Rules Play Video: We are asking for a 2-to-4 minute play explanation video with each new submission. We understand that these can be tough to make and we are not looking for slick production quality, but we are looking to confirm that there is something interesting in the pitch to open this gate.
(5 out of 100) 95% of game submissions DO NOT make it past this part of the process.
GATE 3. TTS Full or Partial Play: The next step is a play session of the game. We are now requiring that designers provide us with a TTS version (preferred) or Tabletopia of the game and join us for game play and teaching sessions.
(1 out of 10) 90% of the remaining games DO NOT make it past this stage in the process
GATE 4. Stress Test: The few games that make this final stage now go through a stress-testing phase. This is where we play as much as we can to see if the game holds up after 5 to 10, or maybe more, play sessions. If we like a game we keep playing, and this is also when we talk about what it might become and how we might develop it into an AEG product.
Of the games that we stress test, (1 out of 5 ) 80% of these games DO NOT make it into contract and into our development wheel.
GATE 5. The Development Wheel: This is where work begins on contracted games. I would love to say that every game that makes the wheel gets to press. There was a day when that was true, but now I think that only about (7-10) 30% of these games DO NOT make it to press.. We have also reached a point where a game might not go to press even after significant investment in art, graphics, and all of the other preparation. This is just the nature of the beast, and is just as likely to be due to an external factor like a similar game hitting the market first, as it is to be due to a development issue.
WHAT TYPE OF GAMES IS AEG LOOKING FOR?
We are looking for games with a unique take on old mechanics. Games that have addictive game play, in the way that once you have played it, you want to binge play it for a week. We want to publish games that are still fun to play after 10 sessions.
KEY ADVICE 1: When we list a specific style game below we are looking for games that have a new way of looking at that mechanic or category of game.
KEY ADVICE 2: Know why your game is FUN.
NOTE: Games listed in () are games AEG staff are currently or excited to play in the future for fun.
Engine Builders (It’s a Wonderful World, Fantastic Factories) AEG loves engine builders, deckbuilders, bag builders, and pool builders.
Tableau Engine Builders (Terraforming Mars, Wingspan, Space Base) These are just fun and we think there is still lots of room to innovate here.
Card Drafting (Through the Ages, 7 Wonders) We are always interested in new ways to draft cards (Cat Lady) or interesting things you do with them once you get your cards.
Heavy Euro (Teotihuacan) We have a team of developers who play a lot of heavy euros for fun but have yet to find the right one for AEG.
Co-Op (Spirit Island, The Captain is Dead) We see a lot of cooperative games but nothing so inspired that we feel challenged to get it back to the table.
Adventure Game (Gloomhaven, Nemesis) Ambitious in scope but driven by a simple engine. Perfect for Kickstarter.
Worker Placement (Lords of Waterdeep, Five Tribes, Istanbul) A game where you send your workers to do interesting things and when and where you place them matters.
Push Your Luck (Quacks, Sheepy Time, Cubitos) We love push your luck games. We double love push your luck engine builders. Sheepy Time and Cubitos are two games we are releasing in 2021 with very different push your luck mechanics.
Card Crafting Games (Mystic Vale, Dead Reckoning,Canvas) Card Crafting games or games that use clear card tech in a unique way.
Infinitely Expandable (Smash-Up, Unmatched) Games that have solid base games that are great but you can do expansions from multiple genres or licenses.
Big Game Night Games (Cat Lady, Point Salad) BGN is a play event that we run at Gencon and PAX. For a game to be a good BGN game it needs to be inexpensive to make and most important easy to teach and learn. We put 1000 butts in seats at the Gencon event and everyone gets a copy of the games we debut. THE Marketing for those games is the BGN event so ease of play is important.
New Ideas (Magic, Mystic Vale, Dominion) Games that have a new component or mechanism that can be used in multiple other games the way we have built a strong line of Card Crafting games.
WHAT AEG IS NOT LOOKING FOR
Games that are only fun if the players are fun
Adult themed games (R rated like Cards Against Humanity)
Thank you and good luck getting your game signed soon.