Submission Guidelines

Jellybean Games is always open to submissions.

To submit, first make sure you have read through our publishing criteria. Games that do not fit our criteria will not be considered.

Publishing Criteria

Jellybean Games publishes tabletop games that are fun for the whole family. Think “Pixar, but for board games”.

1. We are looking for games that are simple enough to teach children.

All of our games are easy enough that kids can play them by themselves. This means that they have:

  • fast, simple setups (eg “Shuffle the deck and deal 4 cards to each player”)
  • clear choices on a player’s turn (eg “Query a player, ask a player to dance, or make an accusation”) and
  • easy-to-understand victory conditions (eg “The first player to get all of their Tiger Cubs home is the winner.”)

Good rule of thumb: if adults find it confusing or overwhelming, children are unlikely to have a good time.

2. We are looking for games with enough strategy to be engaging for gamers.

All of our games have enough depth of play and interesting decisions that they work as great “filler” games for experienced gamers, or can be used as gateway games for people new to the hobby.

The rules should be simple, but the path to victory shouldn’t be obvious.

3. We are looking for games that grown-ups and children can play together, while being engaging for both sides.

All of our games are designed to be simple enough for kids to understand, complex enough for gamers to have a good time, and fun when the whole family plays at the same time.

This is way harder than it seems.

4. We are looking for games with broad player-counts.

We don’t publish games with only 2 or 3 possible player counts. At a minimum, your player range needs to be:

  • 1-4 players
  • 2-5 players
  • 3-6 player
  • 4-8 players
  • 5-10 players

Broader than the above is better, as long as your game is interesting and fun at all counts, and doesn’t rely on “dummy players” when there are fewer players.

An interesting solo mode is always a plus, but not required.

This is a mandatory item. Games with a smaller player range will not be considered.

5. We are looking for games which we can turn into a series or line of games.

All of our games have the potential to be expanded out into a line, like the Treasure Hunters games (Scuttle!, Ninjitsu!, Brains!).

Worth noting – sometimes we are able to see ways in which your game could be further developed to have sequels/expansions. If you don’t see how this is possible, it’s not necessarily a deal-breaker.

6. We are looking for games with fun, marketable themes.

Our games are bright, colorful, with themes that have broad appeal. Basically, if you can see your game being turned into a Saturday morning cartoon, it’s something we might be interested in!

As well as that, your game’s mechanics need strong thematic connections. “Who am I? What am I trying to do? How am I doing it?” – the answer to these questions should be obvious within the rules of your game.

We are open to abstracts and family games (such as Show & Tile), but your game has to fulfill our other criteria and blow our socks off. If our socks remain on, we are not going to publish your game.

7. We are looking for games with strong table presence, or which lend themselves to stunning art.

Jellybean Games makes gorgeous games. If your game can be made gorgeous, we’d like to have a look.

As well as that, we’re always on the lookout for games that have great table presence. We want people to stop and watch people playing your game.

This can be because of a component, or because of the physicality of playing your game, or simply because it has a unique way of showing off the amazing art we’re going to put on it.

NOTE: Your prototype does not require original art. Pictures pulled from Google Image Search to give an idea of what you think it should look like are fine. We are almost certainly going to redo the art, so don’t put too much time/money into this aspect of the game.

8. We are looking for polished games with unique and interesting mechanics

The market is crowded, and there are hundreds of new games released each month. We are looking to publish games that aren’t like anything else out there.

Your game can’t just be good. In order to catch our attention, it needs to have something that no one has done before, or be a whole new take on an old idea.

If your cool central mechanic can be described in a single sentence, that’s a big plus.

Here’s a question that your game should be able to answer: why should this be specifically a tabletop game?

9. We are looking for games which are fun after dozens – or hundreds – of plays.

All of our games are just as much fun in the hundredth play as they were in the fifth, if not more so. We’re not looking to pick up games which can be solved, or which have a predictable, static setup.

Your game – before expansions, before sequels – needs to have enough variance and content that I’m still discovering new tactics or combinations the fiftieth time I play it.

(This is not only because we want to sell the best games we can, but also because I will be playing your game throughout the development, publication, and sales process. Every game that we publish, I will end up playing hundreds and hundreds of times. Give me something I’ll never get bored of.)

10. We are looking for games which will retail between $30 and $50.

We now have multiple card game lines, and are looking to move into larger games.

There’s no one simple way to estimate the MSRP of your game, but if it’s only the size of a deck of cards, it’s too small, and if it doesn’t fit into your car, it’s too big.

If your game meets all (or almost all) of the above criteria, we want to hear about it! Email peter at beard dot blue (why yes, I do have the world’s coolest email address) with a sell-sheet. Your sell-sheet should include:

  • The title of your game.
  • The player range and run-time.
  • A brief summary of how it works (make sure to mention what’s unique and interesting about it).
  • A list of all components in your game (eg “25 cards, 2 custom minis, 30 dice (2 unique types), 30x30cm board”).
  • Your contact details, including email address and phone number.
  • A photo of what it looks like to play the game.

Your email should contain a mention that you’ve read this page. If you don’t hear back from me within two weeks, feel free to follow-up, but it probably means it’s a no. (We get a lot of submissions!)

A playthrough video or pitch video is appreciated, but not necessary for us to consider the game. If you’ve had other games published, mention them in your email (with links to their BoardGameGeek pages).

What are we looking for?

As long as they fulfill the above criteria, we’re interested in anything, from role-playing games to roll-and-writes to dexterity games to escape rooms to worker placement games. Thematically, we’re open to anything family-friendly, especially ants. I really want to make an ant game.

Nicole loves time travel, so if you can wow us with a time-travel game, you’re already two steps ahead.

Why publish with us?

We don’t publish anything that we aren’t absurdly proud of; even if you think your game is the best it can possibly be, our development process always finds a way to improve it. We work hard, polishing your game and strengthening any part of it that could even remotely be considered a weak spot.

Then, once we’ve finished developing it internally, we go through an extensive blind playtesting process – this helps us clean up the rules (both the rulebook and the game’s mechanics in general) and make sure that there are no broken strategies.

Lastly, we make all of our games absolutely stunning. If you want your name on something beautiful, working with us is the best way to make that happen.

We’ll check in with you every step of the way, to make sure that you’re proud of the final result. We’re interested in building positive relationships with designers, and offering support and advice where we can.

How do I know if my game is ready to submit?

When people are asking you for the chance to playtest it. If you’re finding it an uphill battle to get people to play your game, it’s probably not what we’re looking for it.

Once people are consistently excited to play your game, write out the rules and get some new players to learn it from the rules, without you there to answer questions. This is called blind playtesting, and I consider it a vital part of the game design process.

Remember, I’ll likely be learning your game from the rules. If you want to make I’m able to evaluate your game, make sure that I can actually play it (correctly).

How do I send you a prototype?

If we want to check out your game, we’ll let you know!

Worth noting: unless you live in Los Angeles, we aren’t able to return prototypes.