10 Questions

Each month in the Inventor Newsletter I ask 10 Questions of an established inventor or game company. The results are posted below and will be updated monthly.

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Playroom Entertainment , (Mar '09)
as answered by Elisa Jaeger
Q - What are Playroom Entertainment's greatest hits, and how would you describe your line of games overall?
A - Playroom Entertainment produces a wide and diverse range of games, from children's educational games to family card games to in-depth strategic Euro-style games. We have greatest hits from all categories that do very well, but our top games would have to include the Killer Bunnies line of games, as well as our Bright Idea Games line.

Q - Is there anything currently that you are looking for that is different than what you have done in the past?
A - We're always looking for something different! Specifically, right now, we are looking for games that incorporate unique components, party-style game play, and have lots of player interaction.

Q - How many games do you or your company review in a year?
A - I would estimate that I review approximately 150 game ideas (sell sheets) per year and about 75 actual game prototypes that go through test play.

Q - How many games does your company usually release in a year?
A - We release about 7-10 games per year, in addition to expansions from our popular Killer Bunnies line.

Q - Do you look at games by unknown inventors?
A - Everyone is an unknown inventor at some point. We happily look at games by previously unpublished inventors, but we always want to see a sell sheet first, to make sure the concept is right for our line, before troubling an inventor for a prototype.

Q - For beginning inventors, what would be the ideal way to approach and submit game ideas to you?
A - Our company policy is to have an inventor send an email (or regular mail, although email is much faster and efficient) with a sell sheet, describing the basic game idea, target market, suggested component list and types of play testing already done. If we think the game may be right for us, we'll contact the inventor and have them send a prototype!

Q - How long does it take from the time you receive a submission to the time you say 'yes' or 'no'?
A - Honestly, it depends on a lot of factors. During "show season" or "production season," the average time can climb to about 8-12 weeks, simply because all of the key decision makers aren't all in the office at one time! However, normally, we try to shoot for 4-6 weeks.

Q - Does it depend on the time of the year, and if 'yes', what times of the year are best to submit?
A - As mentioned above, it absolutely depends on what time of year. The best time to submit, for me, is between March-June or September-October.

Q - What is the most common mistake you see from inventors?
A - The biggest and most common mistake I see is when inventors don't know the market. It is very important to do your research. Find out what titles are already produced that are similar in style to your game. Some inventors have pitched game ideas to me that are identical games to those on store shelves! Also, know your customer. I want an inventor to be able to tell me why their game fits in my line and why their target market will want to play it.

Q - If you were to give beginning inventors one bit of advice, what would it be?
A - Have people play test your game that aren't your friends or family, and have them give you anonymous feedback. Accept the fact that every game designer, no matter how fantastic they are, needs to alter their "vision" to enable smooth play and great marketing. Once your game is perfect, find a company where it fits to pitch it to.   


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