Start to Finish: Publish and Sell Your First Board Game

 

Making your first board game is really difficult. For me, it was both the most exciting and the most confusing experience I ever had. That’s why I’ll walk you through every step of the process.

You are making a creative work. Bringing your ideas to life for the first time comes with unexpected delights and disappointments. Never is this truer than in board games.

For your reading pleasure, Start to Finish comes in five parts. Click any of the icons below to get started, or simply scroll down 🙂

Board Game Development 101

How to Design & Develop Your Board Game

Board Game Marketing & Promotion

How to Recover from Failure in Business

How to Run & Fulfill a Board Game Kickstarter

 

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Board Game Development 101


Childhood Version of War Co

A Crash Course in Games

I stumbled into this industry with vague dreams and a desire to make some cash. I’d like to save you the trouble I had when I started making board games.

 

Board Game Pieces

A Crash Course in Game Development

Board game development is everything that makes a game – game design, product development, marketing, promotion, crowdfunding, fulfillment, and sales.

 

Five Levels of Communication through Game Development

Five Levels of Communication through Game Development

In game development, sometimes you can say exactly what you mean – such as in the rule book. But mostly, your game needs to be “felt” more than “learned.”

 

Self-Publishing

Choose Your Own Adventure: Self-Publish or Not?

Self-publishing board games can kill the magic of game development for you, depending on what drew you to it in the first place. So should you self-publish?

 

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

Let’s say I’m a new board game dev. Hardly know a thing about making games. I ask you how long it’ll take to publish my first game. What would you tell me?

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

Play testing is time-consuming and it’s really easy to run out of people to test with. You need to make every single play test productive and worthwhile.

 

Wall Clock

How to Master Time (So You Can Make Games)

Lots of people make board games. Most people quit. You don’t have to be one of them. Time management skills make a HUGE difference!

 

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

The weird feeling of selling stems from selling bad stuff or selling to the wrong people. You have to come to peace with it to ride the Hype Machine.

 

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Bankrolling Your Game’s Development

Creating board games can be an expensive affair. A lot of people do not want to admit to themselves. Bankrolling comes with self-publishing.

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

To help you get started, 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

Game mechanics are how we bring a board game to life. Take away game mechanics and all you’re left with are abstract ideas.

A Crash Course in Marketing and Promotion

Marketing is something I put tons of time and thought into. As a board game dev, you need to understand marketing, even if it seems tricky from far away.

A Crash Course on Kickstarter for Board Games

Kickstarter is not a magic money machine. A lot of people cling tight to the old myth that you can simply start a campaign with a good idea and get funded.

A Crash Course on Board Game Fulfillment

84% of Kickstarter projects fulfill rewards late. Fulfillment is more complex than people give it credit for, and you can see the painful impacts.

A Crash Course on Selling Board Games

The two basic forms of selling in the board game industry are simple: play the game with people and ask people directly if they want to buy it.

How to Work Alone in the Board Game Industry

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

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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 & Will Reed.

Performing a Board Game Autopsy: Learning from Your Mistakes

In business, autopsies don’t help us diagnose death, but rather failure. A business autopsy, use evidence to determine why and how a project failed.

 

How to Design & Develop Your Board Game


How to Design the Core Engine of Your Board Game

The core engine of a board game is left when you strip a game of mechanics and obstacles. It’s a mix of the objective and the feelings you want 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.

How to Design the Mechanics of Your Board Game

Game mechanics are how we bring a board game to life. Take away game mechanics and all you’re left with are abstract ideas.

How to Play-Test the Mechanics of Your Board Game

Game mechanics are how we bring a board game to life. If you don’t play-test them right, though, you’ll sentence your game to death.

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How To Design the Rules of Your Board Game

Rules provide directions on how to execute activities within a board game. They explain, limit, and clarify so our game mechanics work.

How To Play-Test the Rules of Your Board Game

Writing good board game rules boils down to learning the art of instruction and communication. Write the rules you’d want to read!

How to Tell Great Stories Through Board Games

Telling stories is one of the most essentially human instincts. Whether or not we mean to, we tell stories through games.

How to Test Your Storytelling Powers & Make People Connect with Your Board Games

Storytelling is a human instinct. Whether or not we mean to, we tell stories through games. Embrace storytelling no matter how thematic your game is.

Bringing it Together – The Board Game as a Project

Board games are more than just what’s in the box. They’re the marketing, the advertising, and the footwork of the game developers who made them.

How to Develop Visually and Physically Accessible Board Games

Tokens you can’t tell apart by touch, tiny text, random placement of game symbols, poor contrast, paper money…all of these can make games less accessible.

How to Develop Mentally and Emotionally Accessible Board Games

This is one of the hardest categories for a modern designer game to do well within – how do you make a game cognitively accessible experience.

How to Develop Inclusive Board Games

When under-represented groups look at a shelf of board games and see only white men staring back at them, it makes them think “is this for me?”

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How to Make the Perfect Board Game Rule Book

It’s easy to forget your own rules for a living, breathing project! Once a game is released, though, the rule book is both for teaching and for reference.

How to Create Board Game Specs and Files for Your Printer

Choose the right materials, understand the basics of board game manufacturing, and legal and distribution requirements… Let’s make game specs!

How to Create Specs for Your Board Game Artist

Asking for art can be one of the most daunting parts of the game development process. So let’s talk to a real board game artist to see how to do it right!

How to Find Artists for Your Board Game

I will usually start my search on Deviant art in the Job forums. There are many great undiscovered artists there, and those artists definitely deserve a chance to prove themselves. I will also use another website called Artstation.

How to Manage Artists on a Board Game Project

Artists are very important to creating a board game. Making sure they are happy and understand the needs of your project is critical to your game’s success.

How to Find a Board Game Printer

You will have to print 1,000 copies or more if you go with offset printing. That means finding a great board game printer is absolutely necessary!

How to Order and Test Samples of Your Board Game

Whether you are printing review copies, looking to test your game with better parts, or simply see your ideas come to life in a beautiful way, ordering print-on-demand samples can be really handy.

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Need help shipping your board game?
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Board Game Marketing & Promotion


How to Choose & Use a Board Game Marketing Strategy that Works

Choosing a marketing strategy is a tricky beast. Marketing is all about finding, keeping, and pleasing customers. Simple to explain, but hard to master…

How to Use Content Marketing to Sell Board Games

One of the greatest forms of marketing, my personal favorite, is content marketing. You market yourself by sharing information with potential customers.

How to Rise Above the Noise of the Internet & Get Noticed

We’re in an unprecedented era of creativity made possible by the internet and low barriers to entry. There’s a lot of noise, and you want to get noticed.

How to Generate Traffic for Your Board Game Website

You need to make people interested in what you have to say and what you have to offer. How do you do that? Simple: generate traffic. Let’s talk about how.

How to Get Big on Twitter as a Board Game Dev – Revisited in 2018

You have to slowly build your reputation. Twitter lets new board game devs draw attention to themselves with fewer barriers than ever before.

How to Build up a Facebook Page as a Board Game Dev

You can find the most people in North America on Facebook, making it the world’s de facto online water cooler. It’s huge for board game devs.

How to Build a Mailing List and Send Newsletters as a Board Game Dev

I’m a big fan of mailing lists in board gaming. Sending email newsletters to well-targeted mailing lists is one of the best ways to engage customers.

How to Get Started with Board Game Conventions as a Board Game Creator, Part 1

Board game conventions have a certain mystique to them. The potential of reaching out to so many customers is enticing, and besides – they’re a lot of fun!

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How to Get Started with Board Game Conventions as a Board Game Creator, Part 2

Board game conventions are the flashiest events in board gaming. They are wonderful gathering places for board gamers. But are they a place to sell games?

How to Live-Stream Board Games

Whether you use Tabletop Simulator or video cameras capturing gameplay on the physical tabletop, a live-stream can be a great way to share your game online.

An Inside Look at the Board Game Review Process

Having your board game reviewed for the first time can be nervewracking. A board game review doesn’t have to feel arbitrary and mysterious, though.

How to Use Reddit as a Board Game Dev

Reddit: the word that strikes fear into internet marketers everywhere. That’s part of the magic of Reddit, though – it’s not to be bought and sold.

Why & How to Make Press Releases for Your Board Game

Press releases sound really fancy and formal. It’s not. They’re just well-crafted emails that you send to bloggers and journalists.

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How to Recover from Failure in Business


How to Diagnose Failure & Move Forward as a Board Game Developer

When you take on big, risky creative endeavors, you take on a lot of risks. You will find yourself out of your comfort zone. Sometimes, things fall apart.

Passion isn’t a Pitch and 5 Other Ways to Misunderstand Board Game Kickstarter as a Marketplace

Let’s talk about six really common ways board game Kickstarter campaigns fall apart. You don’t want to commit one of these six deadly sins.

How to Recover From Failure as a Board Game Dev

Failure can negatively impact your reputation, but there are ways you can manage failure to minimize its impact, or perhaps even make you more popular.

6 Ways to Avoid Despair and Move Forward After Failure

When we take on projects that are bigger than we are, failure becomes part of life. Success comes from what you learn from a string of failures.

 

How to Run & Fulfill a Board Game Kickstarter


Your Board Game Kickstarter: Why & How to Spread the Word Early

If you’re making a board game for Kickstarter, you’ll find lots of advice. That’s great, but they don’t answer the question of “why spread the word early?”

Kickstarter Math: How to Deliver Your Board Game On-Time and Within Your Budget

In 2012, as many as 84% Kickstarter projects were fulfilled late. So what’s happening and how can we prevent you from suffering the same fate?

5 Things I Wish I Knew About Law & Tax Before Kickstarting My Board Game

Few things are more confusing than taxes and laws. Instead of leaving you to Google and experiment on your own, I’ll share a few experiences I’ve had.

How to Create the Perfect Board Game Kickstarter Campaign Page

There’s no shortage of complex tasks that come with a Kickstarter. One task, in particular, seems to get more attention: creating the perfect campaign page.

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How to Order a Print Run for Your Board Game Kickstarter

After an enormous amount of work creating, testing, and promoting your board game, it’s time to order a print run. How exciting!

Fulfill Your Board Game Kickstarter: Sending Products Within the USA

Fulfillment is one of the trickiest parts of any board game Kickstarter. That’s for good reason: the devil really is in the details.

Fulfill Your Board Game Kickstarter: Sending Products Outside the USA

Fulfillment is the trickiest part of any board game Kickstarter. Your inventory goes through freight, customs, and warehouses…all before your customers.

How to Have the Perfect Kickstarter Launch Day

Kickstarter success is a holistic process, not a particular moment when things click. Well, usually. The one exception to that rule: Kickstarter launch day.

How to Keep Up Your Board Game Kickstarter’s Momentum with Stretch Goals

Stretch goals! Everybody who goes to Kickstarter with hopes of publishing their board game desires to not only fund, but to achieve many stretch goals.

How to Keep up Your Board Game Kickstarter’s Timeline after the Campaign

You’ve spent months, if not years, leading up to your board game Kickstarter. But with great money, comes great responsibility…

How to Take Pre-Orders when Your Board Game Kickstarter Ends

Even if you can’t get your game into stores, you can always set up shop online, whether through Amazon or through your own site. Perfect for pre-orders!

How to Make a Beautiful Board Game Box

Not only are board game boxes beautiful, they are also iconic. People love looking at a pretty board game box – just check out Instagram sometime.

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Need help shipping your board game?
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How to Price Your Board Game

So you’ve designed a board game. Perhaps you’ve even begun to make arrangements for publishing. But how do you price your board game? Read on for insights.

How to Keep the Hype Train Going After a Board Game Kickstarter

Unless your Kickstarter is a blockbuster, you won’t raise enough to print the game, quit your job, and fly to Hawaii. It’s just stop one on the hype train.

How to Advertise Board Games Online

“I love advertising!” That’s not a sentence you hear spoken out loud often. There is a good way to advertise board games online, and we’ll talk about that.

How to Sell Your Board Game Outside of Kickstarter

You’ve finished your game. Now there’s one massive question: “what next?” How do you sell your board game outside of Kickstarter?

Need help on your board game?
Join my community of over 1,700 game developers, artists, and passionate creators.
Need help shipping your board game?
Check out Fulfillrite, a business partner of mine. They've been shipping board games for over 10 years!