Start to Finish: Publish and Sell Your First Board Game

Making games is hard. It’s really hard. Making my first game was simultaneously the most confusing and exciting experience I’ve ever had. That’s why I’ll walk you through every step of the process.

 

Game Development 101
Childhood Version of War Co

A Crash Course in Games

Let’s start from the ground up and talk about all the super simple basic elements that need to be understood to make great games.

Paper Test of Highways and Byways

A Crash Course in Game Development

A catch-all term for everything that is associated with making a game – that includes game design, product development, marketing, promotion, Kickstarter/crowdfunding, fulfillment, and selling..

Five Levels of Communication through Game Development

Five Levels of Communication through Game Development

When it comes to games, there are a handful of truths that are very important to realize. Ideas don’t mean much. Execution is everything. Communication is key.

Self-Publishing

Choose Your Own Adventure: Self-Publish or Not?

Without a doubt, the most compelling reason to self-publish your board games is the fact that you have complete creative control.

What to Expect When You’re Making a Board Game: Time, Money, and Effort

Game development is a lot harder than you’d expect. It takes a lot of time, a lot of money, and a lot of hard work – both mental and emotional.

Paper Test of Highways and Byways

The Art of the Play Test: Designing Tests and Keeping Records

Because the path to seeing a creative project to completion is so vague and subject to change, you can’t focus on your plan. You have to focus on your methods.

Wall Clock

How to Master Time (So You Can Make Games)

Staying organized and managing your time well are critical to self-publishing a game. There are a lot of things to do, a lot of things to track, and a lot of time that needs to be spent.

The Board Game Industry: Powers That Be & The Hype Machine

This is not a post about what you need to do, think, or spend to make a game, nor is it a post about board games themselves. This is a post about the players in a much bigger game: the board game industry itself.

Bankrolling Your Game’s Development

Creating board games can be an expensive affair. A lot of people do not want to admit this to themselves.

5 Games to Make You a Better Board Game Dev for $64.63

To help you get started in your board game development journey, I’ve made a list of five classic board games which you can pick up, all combined, for just $64.63.

How to Choose Your Board Game’s Theme

Games, at their core, might just be a series of mechanics and rules, but themes keep us from feeling like we’re playing out the logical conclusion of mathematical functions.

Game of Darts

A Crash Course in Marketing and Promotion

Marketing covers a wide array of activities that convince people to care about and eventually buy your game. Marketing is best understood as an ongoing process that breathes itself into everything you do as a self-publishing board game developer.

A Crash Course on Kickstarter for Board Games

“You mean you can put your business idea on there and people will just pay for it? OMG!” Well, yeah. That is how it works when you look at it from a distance. Yet up close, this initial impression almost entirely wrong.

A Crash Course on Board Game Fulfillment

Success is not the endgame of Kickstarter projects. Many people think that when a project is funded, that’s it – it’s a victory. This couldn’t be farther than the truth. As many as 84% of Kickstarter projects fulfill rewards late.

A Crash Course on Selling Board Games

Selling is one of the most nerve-wracking and technical parts of getting a small business off the ground. You must absolutely master it to achieve the financial success you desire when self-publishing a game.

How to Work Alone in the Board Game Industry

There are a lot of advantages that come with working alone. You get complete creative control. On contentious decisions, you always get to make the final call.

How to Work in a Team in the Board Game Industry

In order to give you a sense of what it’s like to work on a team, I’ve reached out to the three members of Undine Studios – Ben Haskett, Sarah Reed, and Will Reed. They made Oaxaca: Crafts of a Culture.

Performing a Board Game Autopsy: Learning from Your Mistakes

In a business context, autopsies don’t help us diagnose death, but rather failure. It is a way of helping us learn from our mistakes and adjust our behavior accordingly. A business autopsy is when you use evidence to determine why and how a project failed.

Designing & Developing Your Game

How to Design the Core Engine of Your Board Game

The core engine of a board game is what’s left when you strip a game of mechanics and obstacles. The core engine is a mix of the objective of your game and the feelings you want it to evoke.

How to Play-Test the Core Engine of Your Board Game

First things first, in order to test the core engine of your game, you need something playable. It doesn’t have to be fun, challenging, or meaningful. Your game, during this very early stage of development, just needs to be an activity which can be completed by following instructions.

How to Design the Mechanics of Your Board Game

Game mechanics are how we bring the core engine of a game to life. Jesse and I will explain further.

How to Play-Test the Mechanics of Your Board Game

How do you know when a mechanic has been tested well? How do you know when to keep a mechanic as-is, refine it more, or drop it entirely?

How To Design the Rules of Your Board Game

Rules provide directions on how to execute activities within a game. They explain, limit, and clarify. Game rules are how we regulate the mechanics of our games so that they are consistent with the messages we want to send to players. I’ve brought in Sean Fallon, the mastermind behind Rift Shifters and Paths so that you can get two viewpoints instead of just one.

How To Play-Test the Rules of Your Board Game

Guidelines for writing good rules really boils down to learning the art of instruction and communication. I’d say the main tool set for understanding and wielding that art form is empathy.

Start to Finish is a work in progress. Here is a rough list of what’s still to come!
Designing & Developing Your Game
  1. Developing an Inner Narrative for Your Game
  2. Testing the Inner Narrative of Your Game
  3. Developing a Game that People Will Talk About
  4. Developing a Visually and Physically Accessible Board Game
  5. Developing a Mentally Accessible Board Game
  6. Developing an Inclusive Board Game
  7. Optimizing Your Rule Book
  8. Drafting Board Game Specs for Your Printer
  9. Drafting Functional and Technical Specs for Your Artist
  10. Finding Artists & Graphic Designers
  11. Managing Artists & Graphic Designers
  12. Finding a Board Game Printer
  13. Ordering and Testing Samples of Your Board Game
Marketing & Promoting Your Game
  1. Defining Your Marketing Strategy
  2. The Magic of Content Marketing
  3. How to Be Seen on the Internet
  4. How to Generate Traffic for Your Kickstarter or Website
  5. How to Build up a Twitter as a Board Game Dev
  6. How to Build up a Facebook Page as a Board Game Dev
  7. The Art of the Newsletter
  8. Building up an Instagram as a Board Game Dev
  9. Getting Your Game Reviewed – The Process
  10. Appealing to Reviewers
  11. How to Get Noticed on Reddit without Looking Like a Doofus
  12. The Art of the Board Game Convention
  13. The Art of the Board Game Livestream
  14. Creating a Great Board Game Press Release
  15. Be My Guest: How to Get on Podcasts and Blogs
Kickstarting & Fulfilling Your Game
  1. Spreading the Word Early
  2. The Math of Kickstarter: Realistic Time and Money Estimates
  3. Let’s Talk about Tax and Legal Issues: Kickstarter Isn’t all Fun and Games
  4. Perfecting Your Kickstarter Campaign Page
  5. Kickstarter Fulfillment: Ordering a Print Run
  6. Kickstarter Fulfillment: Sending Products to Americans if You’re an American
  7. Kickstarter Fulfillment: Sending Products to Other Countries if You’re an American
  8. Kickstarter Fulfillment: Going through a Third Party
  9. How to Have the Perfect Kickstarter Launch Day
  10. How to Keep Kickstarter Momentum through Updates and Stretch Goals
  11. How to Keep up with Your Kickstarter Timeline after the Campaign
  12. How to Take Pre-Orders when the Campaign Closes
Selling Your Game
  1. People Judge Books by Covers: Making Your Board Game Box Gorgeous so People Buy It
  2. How to Set a Price for Your Board Game
  3. How to Sell Your Game at Conventions
  4. How to Keep Momentum after Your Launch
  5. The Magic of Advertising
  6. Other Ways to Sell Your Game