What they don’t tell you about being a board game designer

So, you’ve decided to become the world’s most revolutionary Indie Board Game Developer. Now you’re sifting through board game blogs, how-to-guides, & Kickstarter resources that you have a hunch will help you in your quest. My goal with this blog is to back the truck up and let you know the good, bad, and ugly of being a game designer.

Gamers are brutal.

Gamers are opinionated creatures. Your games are going to get cut apart, analyzed, used, chewed-up, and spit out! It’s important that you separate your primary demographic/target audience from the people who you aren’t focused on reaching. This is going to be hard, because your natural inclination will be to want everyone to love your game: alpha gamers, casual gamers, party gamers, kids, & even good ol’ Meema. Understand that there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all board game playing experience. It would be better for your company to choose a design lane and stick in it. Try to identify with a niche group of people. Maybe start with a group of people who are just like you.

This is going to be the hardest thing that you have ever done!

You have a dream…a dream to fund your family, dream car, and rib-eye steak dinners from the blood, sweat, and tears that you invest into your gaming products. You will realize that this is harder than you thought. If you aren’t in it for the love of the game, then I would rethink your business plan. Hear what I am saying — you can absolutely make a living off of designing board games, but the road is long and bumpy. So be ready to stick through it!

No amount of tricks & tips is a substitute for a great product!

In order to make a successful game, no matter what tricks, tips, and techniques you learn on the World Wide Web, nothing works better than having a great product with a great presentation. As board game designers, we need to be laser-focused on creating the best brand and game-playing experience that we can. We need to be intentional with every detail surrounding our game:

  • Game Mechanics
  • Component Design
  • Brand Aesthetic
  • Marketing Voice
  • And more…

In the end, your goal is to release a fun and innovative game-playing experience that helps shape and impact the gaming industry. Just put out some sweet, table-shaking, damage-dealing, dice-throwing, game-playing goodness for the world to enjoy!

We are better together!

You may be the most talented, freak-of-nature, board-game-creating extraordinaire this side of the Mississippi, but trust me — you can’t do this alone. You will need a nice, not-so-little, network of people who believe in you. Feedback is your friend! The more people that you allow to use their strengths to help shape your product, the better place you will be in come campaign time. Plus, it never hurts to have homies repping your game with you.

You have to do what works for you.

There are people who are willing to share their knowledge with you, like Jamey Stegmaier, James Mathe, and others like us. These people all have awesome things to say, however, in the end you will be charting your own course. Do what is right for you. Do your own data capturing and experimenting to figure out what is going to work to move your products and help you achieve your goals.

In the end, you are going to have a long, challenging, and fulfilling journey and hopefully we are able to learn together! Connect with us. We are always looking for friends.

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