Wednesday, June 9

Rollcoaster Finally Falls Off Tracks

So I hinted that there might be some exciting news coming soon on my blog. Sadly this isn't it.

After I announced that I was closing the company I had several enquiries from people interested in acquiring either some or all my stock or even a share in the company. Despite being obviously very disappointed to be closing down the company after three and a half years, this interest in buying bits from me was a silver lining as it meant I might be able to pay off my debts and even possibly re-coup a small chunk of my initial investment.

Then, just over a week ago I went to a meeting with another UK publisher: Spiral Galaxy Games to discuss the possibility of a co-publishing deal for Braggart, the fun card game I've been alluding to on my blog for many, many months. It was a productive meeting, we came up with an agreement we were both happy with and it looked like Reiver Games was going to rise from the ashes and continue publishing games. I contacted the designer and the artist I had lined up, everything looked good, everything was go. We were going to try to get everything ready for Essen in the hope I could get a stand booked at the last minute (it was already past the booking deadline).

The designer had already seen the contract (though not yet signed it) and was up for it, but he wanted to finalise the game before signing the contract. The artist needed to get working immediately, and wanted me to sign a contract with her. I was a little wary about signing the artist's contract before the designer's one was signed as I didn't want to be left carrying the can if the designer dropped out.

After a chance meeting with the designer at the UK Games Expo it became clear to me that the designer wanted to finalise the game before signing the contract so that he could negotiate a new contract where I didn't have the right to change anything - he wanted complete control over the game design (which I can understand - it is after all his baby). Sadly, that meant that he was not interested in signing my standard contract (which give me the right as the publisher to make changes to the game as necessary after seeking input from him). With the designer pulling out, I'm left owing the artist a couple of hundred quid for the early artwork she's done (which was fantastic).

With no hope of publishing that game, and nowhere near enough cash in the company to publish anything else any time soon I'm back to shutting the company down. I've sold a bunch of stock to a UK distributor and now I'm trying to close a deal to get rid of the rest of the stock to a publisher in the US.

The last couple of weeks have been very intense. First very down, then very up then down again. Fortunately, on another front things are looking up as I've got a chance to work with a former employer in Newcastle on a short-term contract. It'll give me a chance to refresh my IT skills and add some recent experience and a recent reference to my CV.

25 comments:

Mal said...

Pity. But would you not consider the designer's preferred contract, where he gets control over the design?

Anonymous said...

If the designer wants his own contract perhaps he should stump up half the production costs. He can't have control without the risk.

Mal said...

I just figured the game might've been refined enough already to not require any further changes i.e. he might be happy with it already, but wants to prevent Jack changing it.

Was that the case, Jack? Guessing not...

Jack said...

Hiya Mal,

Anon has it right. The publisher is the one who takes the risk and hence gets the final say over the version. Allowing him to sign a contract where he's got me over a barrel and he gets to choose what goes in and comes out would be a dangerous move for me. I was mostly happy with the game, but I'd already gone back to a previous version because he preferred it to the one I preferred.

Cheers,

Jack

SunLion said...

I can't believe this seems to have gone tits up again Jack. *Really* sorry to hear it.
I think that designer sounds like he needs a talking to by a group of other British games designers, but our next meeting is not until 10th July. Think he might want to come? Maybe you'd rather he didn't by this time.

Jack said...

Hiya Charlie,

Yeah, I'm disappointed. Dunno if he'd be interested in coming along. I probably won't be able to make it anyway, I'm going to be working away from home for the next few months so weekends will be my only time at home with The Wife.

Cheers,

Jack

Kevin said...

I agree. The designer needs to understand that the publisher takes all the risk and, therefore, should have most of the control and, likewise, get most of the profit. I hope things look up for you somehow, Jack. If you wish to read it, I posted another blog post about your situation. Nothing I am really looking for your input/comments on necessarily; it was just my musings, but I thought I'd let you know it's there. (startingplayer.com)
I'll say a prayer for you that all goes well.

Jack said...

Hiya Kevin,

Thanks for your good wishes and prayers.

The problem mostly boiled down to the fact that although I think there's plenty more sales to be had, the cost of advertising the products was such that I would have frittered away what little margins I had.

Cheers,

Jack

Dirk said...

Good luck with your new job Jack.
I think the designer makes a big mistake. I know how it is working with you and it was great.

Jack said...

Hiya Dirk,

I'm glad you enjoyed working with me - it was a pleasure working with you too.

Cheers,

Jack

Ben said...

Life is full of ups and downs, but i'm sure someone as talented as you will bounce back and hit the heights soon enough, so chin up!

Marcus said...

Any news about Reiver Games? Will you visit Essen 2010?

Jack said...

Hiya Marcus,

No news as yet, still trying to sell the remainder of my stock. I'll not be attending Essen this year, the cost is way too prohibitive without a new game to sell.

Cheers,

Jack

Marcus said...

I did not meant attending with Reiver Games but just you.

Wanna play a game of Sumeria there? :-)

Jack said...

Hiya Marcus,

It's very unlikely I'll be there in any capacity I'm afraid :(.

Cheers,

Jack

Mads Sorensen said...

That's really a shame :/
Best of luck in the future ;)

Jack said...

Hiya Mads,

Thanks :)

Cheers,

Jack

Bri said...

Hello
I would like to inform you that your blog has been added to our little aggregator
http://boardsblogs.blogspot.com/
Greetings

Jack said...

Hiya Bri,

Thanks!

Cheers,

Jack

daje10 said...

Nothing new here with you Jack? You have not posted annything for a couple of months is every thing good with you?

Jack said...

Hiya Daje,

I'm not too bad, been very busy with work, but I hope to starting posting again here fairly soon.

Cheers,

Jack

seema said...

nice

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