So you've designed, playtested, tweaked, playtested, revamped, playtested, ad infinitum, your game and are now ready for a publisher to take a look at it. Well, Z-Man Games is looking for new games to publish. Below is what you need to know in order to submit a game to us.
WHAT WE SEEK:
1) Z-Man Games looks for original themes, or ones that are not saturated in the marketplace. If you've got a fantasy-themed game, you better have a good hook to convince us that it will sell as good as or even better than current fantasy-themed games in the market.
2) We also look for original mechanics or ones that have been used before but now offer a unique twist or a unique blend with other mechanics.
3) We are willing to publish almost ANY type of game: card, board, minis, and in any style, Euro, wargame, light, heavy, etc. The main criteria is that the game is good, unique, and fun. What we are not looking for at this moment are: deck-building games where the deckbuilding is the main mechanic, trivia, sport-simulations, abstracts, word, or party games.
4) Send us an email that describes the game a bit, including: number of players, playing time, theme, type of game, if it uses an unusual amount of or uses strange components, etc. We prefer to accept a game that is not currently being considered by another company, but can waive that restriction under certain circumstances which you can explain to us. Do NOT tell us that you think this game is the greatest thing ever, that it stands to sell millions of copies and that you know all this because your friends tell you so. Stick to the facts of the game: we will judge if it is something we can produce AND sell. Note: it can take us some time to respond to a submission request. Also, if we pass on your proposal it may be for so many different reasons that we are more than likely not going to state one (unless we decide to).
5) If we are interested in the game we will respond back with instructions on shipping your prototype: yes, we expect a playable prototype to test. Make sure the rules are clear and please include a sample turn or three (this will help iron out any possible rule issues). Prototypes must come in a box, not ziploc bag. (If a map comes with the game that is too big for the box that can be sent separately. IMPORTANT: Please put the number of players and playing time on the front of the rules. Also put your contact information somewhere on the box or rules (oftentimes I will call the designer if there is a rules issue). Finally, put the full date of the submission in the rules or box.
You will also be sent a product submission agreement which you must sign and send before or with your submission. If you want your prototype back, send along an S.A.S.E (self-addressed stamped envelope). WE WILL NOT RETURN ANY GAME WITHOUT PROPER POSTAGE.
6) As we are a small company and use outside playtest groups, it can take anywhere from 20+ weeks to provide you with any feedback. Yes, it can be sooner but we won't promise that. The time of year will affect this - sending something in the summer could take longer as we attend lots of conventions. However, sometimes, we can get a playtest group together at such conventions. Feel free to email us in 8 week increments or so for a status report. Sometimes, such "reminders" give us motivation to get a group together as soon as possible.
Good luck with your game.