I speak with a lot of new designers who have been working on their first game for a long time and are looking into the next steps. They want to know whether they should search for a publisher or self-publish their game.
My first response is to ask them what they hope to achieve, I don’t give them any additional information and listen carefully to what they say.
There is a big difference between being a game designer, who spends their days designing games and pitching them to publishers, and a self-publisher who is running a business and only gets to design games for a small amount of their day.
However, once in a while I’ll suggest a third option which I think for some people, is the right answer.
This is because we don’t all need to become game designers for a living and sometimes we are happy with our current lifestyles. We enjoy our jobs, have little spare time, and want to concentrate on our friends and family. We designed a game because it was a fun hobby and now the game is finished, perhaps it is time to move on to other things.
The third option is to just make 1 copy of the game, using print on demand services such as Board Games Maker you can make professional copies of your game yourself. It’s certainly not cheap for just 1 copy, but the likelihood is you’ll be spending far more time and money searching for publishers or if you opt to self-publish.
In this scenario you can have a professionally printed high quality game on your shelf that you can tell people you made, and you can simply enjoy it for what it is. You can even opt to print a few extra copies (which will be much cheaper than just 1) to hand to friends, or even pass on to your children if you wish!
If you want to change your life by looking into a career in board games then that is a wonderful thing and I wish you all the best in the journey, and I hope this blog helps you in doing so! But if you’ve just enjoyed the process of making a game as a hobby then it’s OK to not go all the way.
You have to find what is right for you and be sure not to let the pressure of other people’s expectations push you into a path that you don’t want to travel.