Announcement: Smart Play Games Seeks New Card Games for POD Publishing

People of Earth! Smart Play Games now seeks small card games to license for print-on-demand publication. This is a weird idea, so check out the FAQ below!

What's all this then?
After a successful run of self-published games on the print-on-demand site DriveThruCards, Smart Play Games wants to help other designers try this fast, low-risk publishing option. In time, we want to make print-on-demand a viable "farm league" funneling high-quality, customer-vetted products to traditional publishers.

What is Print-on-Demand?
To the customer, it's just like ordering any other tabletop game online. Presently, the one difference is that Smart Play Games' preferred printer DriveThruCards does not offer custom printed tuckboxes, but that will be added in coming months.

To the designer, it means faster releases, aimed directly at an engaged and connected audience. It's also an opportunity to test out niche game ideas that might not be viable in traditional publishing, but can still find a smaller devoted fan base.

To the publisher, there no need for large print runs or over-committed crowdfunding campaigns. Licenses can be written more leniently and generously for the designer, because there is less overhead and risk.

I can release Print-on-Demand games on my own, though.
Yup! And you should definitely give it a shot. More competition and higher quality games will raise the legitimacy of the model as a whole. A rising tide lifts all boats.

So why should I license to Smart Play Games?
Smart Play Games offers award-winning graphic design and art direction services, plus development, editing, and marketing from experienced professionals.

What is Smart Play Games looking for?
  • Fully playtested small card games with 54 cards or fewer. (For more info, see this post for how card count affects prices.) A small card count also makes it easier to transition a product from POD to traditional publishing.
  • Games with no need for other components besides cards. Paper and pencils are okay for scoring. It's also reasonable to expect some small tokens, but anything you can do to keep the game limited to cards is best.
  • Games with no combat, horror, or exploitative themes. Be ready to discuss re-themes if you propose Zombies vs. Cthulhu Colonialist War Game.
  • Animals seem to be a recurring theme here, with Arf, Nine Lives, Koi Pond, and Ten Pen already in our menagerie. Animal themed games will still be considered, but bear in mind that we have quite a few already. Get it? Bear? Ha!
  • Competitive games are still perfectly fine, especially if they're framed in unusual and/or family-friendly themes.
  • Games that make clever use of the physical nature of cards.

Who should submit?
Published and unpublished designers are both welcome.

We're also interested in licensing beloved, but out-of-print card games. Given the existence of low-cost print-on-demand technology, we want to make any well-loved game always available at a reasonable price.

Women and people of color especially encouraged. (Play Parable of the Polygons by Vi Hart and Nicky Case for more info on what it takes to boost diversity in a group.) Smart Play Games is a minority-owned company.

How do I submit?
You can email the gmail address smartplaygames with the subject "Game Submission: ____" and the title of your game in the blank.

If you'd just like to discuss anything in this post, feel free to leave a comment!
Daniel Solis
Art Director by Day. Game Designer by Night.