Petter Olsen, designer of Kill the King, discusses the king of the hill mechanism. (We also might go into propane and propane accessories…)
Petter’s new game hinges on this particular mechanism, so he knows a lot about what makes it work well. You can check out his new game on Kickstarter HERE.
Petter Olsen, designer of Kill the King, discusses the king of the hill mechanism. (We also might go into propane and propane accessories…)
Greg Loring-Albright, designer of Leviathan, discusses the ins, outs, and what-have-yous of micro games. He brings up some great points about designing small games that carry a big experience.
Because we hit this stretch goal during the crowdfunding campaign, the BGDL will be sponsoring a board game design competition that will run from late April to mid July.
The goal of the contest is to give designers the opportunity to grow and improve at the process that the gaming industry follows. (And to give you a chance to be recognized and win, of course.)
When you approach a publisher about your game, the order of events is typically: pitch, sell sheet, rulebook, prototype.
So, the contest will consist of 4 rounds:
Round 1) Create and submit an elevator pitch for the best game you’re designing. The best pitches will move on to the next round.
Round 2) Create and submit a sell sheet for your game. The best sell sheets will move on to the next round.
Round 3) Create and submit a polished rulebook for your game. The best rulebooks will move on to the next round.
Round 4) Create and submit a prototype of your game. The games will be played, and winners will be decided.
(*these numbers are subject to change)
Participants in each round will receive feedback from board game professionals on what they did well and what needs to improve.
And assuming a later stretch goal gets unlocked, all finalists will receive an automatic berth in a second BGDL sponsored design challenge we’re currently calling “BGDL Design Star” that will happen in late 2018.
Jon Gilmour, designer of Dead of Winter, discusses how to design the experiences and themes that people can’t wait to get their hands on. Jon just seems to have an innate ability to design games that go hand in hand with what people are excited about, and he gives me a tour behind the curtain on how he does it.
Jon also goes into a great deal of general design advice. We talk about working on lots of games at the same time, co-designers, going full time in the industry, and more. We cover a lot in this one.
Today, it’s just me on the podcast, and I’m discussing creativity, time management, and the future of the BGDL.
I’ve learned a lot of really great stuff about the creative process, and I want to share with you some of the things that have been helping me with my game designs.
And then I want to tell you about the fun and exciting things ahead for the BGDL podcast and community.
Alan Emrich, founder of Victory Point Games, discusses how a publisher approaches the development process when taking a game from prototype to store shelf.
Alan has been in the gaming industry for four decades and brings a great deal of experience and insight into this conversation. Both designers and publishers will benefit from what he has to say here.
Artyom Nichipurov (Arty for short), designer of Guards of Atlantis: Tabletop MOBA, discusses Tabletopia and gives lots of tips and tricks on how to get your prototype up and running on the system.
Tabletopia can be an extremely useful resource for playtesting, demoing, and pitching your game.
If you need some help with the software, Arty has offered to give you a hand. You can reach him at nichipurov (at) gmail (dot) com.
Also, Arty’s game, Warpgate, just launched on Kickstarter. If you like Euro games and/or space games, check it out HERE.
Don Eskridge, designer of The Resistance, discusses all the ins and outs of creating a social deduction game.
The Resistance is one of the most popular games ever made that lets you lie directly to your friends’ faces, and Don has designed several more of these types of games, so he definitely knows what he’s talking about.
And click HERE to check out Don’s latest social deduction game which is on Kickstarter right now.
Dustin Schwartz, professional rulebook writer, discusses what makes a great rulebook and lots of tips and tricks on how to put together a ruleset that’s easy to teach and easy to learn.
Dustin wrote 40 rulebooks in 2017 and is looking to write 100 in 2018, so he’s got a TON of experience on what makes a rulebook great.
For a program that makes adding icons to word docs super easy, check out: www.fontawesome.com
Jamey Stegmaier is back on the show, and we’re talking Legacy Games. Jamey’s game, Charterstone, just came out, and it’s quite possibly the most ambitious Euro game in existence as it takes all the legacy style elements and applies them to a worker placement experience.
Jamey is one of the best designers on the planet, and after Charterstone, he’s got a TON of insight on how to design, develop, and publish a legacy game.
Matt Leacock, designer of a little game called Pandemic, discusses how to craft the player experience.
Matt is one of the most well-known designers in the world, and he’s learned how to finely tune a game to give players the desired experience. Previously, he worked for companies like Apple and Yahoo developing UX for various products, and he’s been able to bring those ideas into the board game space.
Seth Grier, vice president of Quartermaster Logistics, discusses the ins and outs of shipping, fulfillment, and fulfillment services.
Whether you’re looking to ship games out of your garage or hire a service to do it for you, this episode is for you as Seth goes into the nuts and bolts of things to be aware of when shipping board games.
Juliana and Ariel are busy moms who find time to get together and design games, and they have a ton of insight on what makes a great escape experience. Escape Room in a Box was the first escape room board game to show up when it hit Kickstarter last year, and it’s now been picked up by Mattel.
You can preorder Mattel’s version of Escape Room in a Box here. And Juliana and Ariel will even design a custom experience for your next get together here.
Andrew Harmon, designer of Portals and Prophets, discusses religious themed games.
Andrew designed a time travel game with a Biblical theme, and we talk the ins and outs of how to bring a religious themed game to life. We also talk about how not to offend too many people along the way.
Also, Andrew’s game is out on Kickstarter right now. Check it out here.
Sami Laakso, owner of Snowdale Design, discusses how to design a scenario based game.
Sami is both a publisher and a designer, and he’s been working on a campaign driven game with legacy elements for over 2 years. We discuss what he’s learned throughout the design process, and he gives lots of tips and tricks.
And you can find Sami’s scenario game on Kickstarter right now. Check it out here.
Today, Kirk Dennison, owner of Piecekeeper Games, discusses how to efficiently create new versions of a game and iterate like a boss
Kirk is both a publisher and a designer, and he’s obsessed with efficiency. He gets into some serious nuts and bolts about saving time and moving from one version to the next.
And be sure to check out Kirk’s latest game “Gearworks” on Kickstarter.
Scott Rogers, designer of Rayguns and Rocketships, discusses how to intertwine theme and mechanics.
Scott has been designing both video and board games for years and teaches game design at the University of Southern California. Scott also does the “History of a Board Game” segments on the Dice Tower and Ludology podcasts.
And the Jack Vasal Memorial Fund auction mentioned in the show can be found HERE.
Andrew Birkett, founder of Atheris Games, discusses how he started a publishing company and got his first game 200% funded on Kickstarter.
We talk about tips for pre-campaign preparation, overcoming the mid-campaign slump, finishing strong, and more.
Timo Multamaki, founder of Dragon Dawn Productions, discusses the many things he’s learned about project management and getting games across the finish line.
Timo has a team of 40+ people from all over the world working on various games, so he’s had to become the glue that holds people together and keeps them on the same page until the games are done.
Jamey Stegmaier is back, and we’re talking about the making of Scythe. We discuss the ins and outs of all the design choices that brought one of the best games in the world to life.
Evan Derrick, designer and part owner of Van Ryder Games, discusses theme and how to really bring it to the forefront in a game.
Evan designed “Detective: City of Angels” which is one of the most thematic games I’ve ever seen, so I pick his brain on what makes a theme really come together.
Danny Lott, designer of Coma Ward, discusses how to design a horror themed game and really evoke a creepy experience.
This episode has a ton of great advice, but I’m not gonna lie, it gets a little weird in the middle. (You’ll hear what I mean…) We finish strong though, haha.
Carla Kopp, founder of Weird Giraffe Games, discusses how she stays on the hustle and gets so much done in design, publishing, playtesting, and Kickstarter.
We talk about the tips and tricks she’s learned to hack her time and consistently make things happen.
Jason Perez, psychotherapist and host of the Every Night Is Game Night podcast, discusses the different ways people learn and how that should affect rulebook writing.
We go into how the brain works, what makes rules so hard to learn, and more.
Randy Hoyt, owner of Foxtrot Games, discusses how to turn a game into a product.
We go into marketability, sellability, usability and more.
Randy has been designing and publishing games for a number of years and has a ton of insight on making games that sell.
Fabio Del Rio, owner of CSE Games, discusses the ins and outs of sports themed games. We go into mechanics, marketability, licensing, challenges, success stories, and more.
Fabio has been publishing sports games for over a decade and brings a lot of wisdom and insight to the episode.
Daniel Aronson, professional graphic designer and game designer, discusses the importance of being intentional with all the graphic design in your game. We talk fonts, color choices, layouts, branding, and more in this information full episode.
Daniel is the designer of “El Dorado,” which just launched on Kickstarter. Check it out here.
Lance Myxter, the Undead Viking, talks about game reviews from a lot of different angles. Lance has done over 1000 reviews and offers a lot of insight on the different ins and outs of the review world.
He does a ton of videos for Kickstarter games and gives some great advice for anyone wanting to travel down that road as well.
Marshall Britt, owner of Yanaguana Games, talks about all the mistakes he’s made and lessons he’s learned as a small game publisher.
Hermann Luttmann, designer of Dawn of the Zeds, talks about how to design a solo game.
Hermann has created numerous games meant for only one player and offers a ton of interesting insight on how to craft the solitaire experience.
Denny Weston, designer of Kingdoms Lawn Game, discusses the ins, outs, and challenges of creating a game meant to be played in the great outdoors.
And check out the Kingdoms Lawn Game Kickstarter here.
James Hudson, owner of Druid City Games, talks about how to create a game that families love to play.
James works full time in the gaming industry, and his company focuses specifically on family games. We talk about what makes a game appealing to families and how to get noticed on Kickstarter.
Daryl Andrews, designer of Sagrada, discusses how to work on a bunch of designs at the same time.
Daryl has designed around 100 games that are either in stores, in production, or have been signed and are waiting to move forward, so he has a TON of knowledge on the subject.
Gin Yu and Alex Hall, filmmakers with Gin and Tonic Films, discuss their new web series Getting on Board.
Gin and Alex have been interviewing and following game designers around for a while and filming their different processes.
I had a ton of fun with this episode, and I think you’ll get a kick out of it as well.
Seth Jaffee, designer of Eminent Domain, discusses how to tackle that last 10% of game design that takes a game from merely good to that next level of great.
And be sure to check out the BGDL inspired t-shirt project over at IndieGoGo. Shirts are only available for a very limited time.
Richard Launius, designer of Arkham Horror, shares great, veteran advice on how to design an AI system for both co-op and non co-op games.
Tony Miller, attendee of double digit design conventions, discusses why it’s so important to attend design cons and what you need to take with you to get the most out of your experience.
Gil Hova, designer of The Networks, discusses how to manage a game’s scope and not allow it to get out of hand. We also go into a good bit of detail on abstraction and how vital it is for keeping a game’s scope where it needs to be.
Daniel Zayas, a member of the Kickstarter Expert program, discusses what the program is and how it works. He also gives some really great advice on how to run a successful Kickstarter campaign.
Gabe Barrett, founder of the BGDL, discusses why this hobby of ours matters and why game design is much more than just a fun, little activity. He also shares some stories that relate to design and talks about where the BGDL is headed in the future.
Mike Mihealsick, from Coalition Games, discusses all the lessons and insights he’s learned after facilitating hundreds of blind playtests. Blind playtesting is the purifying fire in which we truly get to find out what our games are made of, and Mike offers a ton of advice on how to navigate the process well.
Chris Kirkman, designer of Fate of the Elder Gods, discusses Cthulhu themed games and what makes them so popular. There’s just something about Cthulhu that continues to intrigue people, and even with all the Cthulhu games that have come out, there’s still a great deal left to be explored.
Morten Pedersen, designer behind the solo modes for games such as Scythe and Viticulture, discusses how to scale a game down to one player and create a great solo experience.
Morten has his own design company that focuses on creating single player systems for games and has even won awards for it. For more, check out Morten’s blog here.
Patrick Leder, designer of Vast, discusses what all goes into designing an asymmetrical game. In Vast, each player takes on an incredibly different role with different actions, different win conditions, and different ways to play. And creating a game of this scope is no small task.
The board game community is incredible, and there are tons of opportunities to help fellow designers and add value to what they’re trying to create. And in doing so, you build relationships that will likely lead to people wanting to help you when the opportunity arises.
Rob Daviau, designer of Pandemic Legacy, and I discuss how to run playtests like an absolute pro.
Rob started designing games for Hasbro before moving into the designer game space, and he has a TON of insight on how to playtest your way to an amazing game.
Brent Kinney, vice president at Panda Game Manufacturing, discusses the details and nuances of getting your game printed. We talk typical setbacks, what the different phases in the process look like, ways to make the process easier, and much more. Panda GM is one of the major manufacturers of board games in the world, and Brent brings a ton of experience and insight to the discussion.
Tom Vasel, founder of the Dice Tower, discusses some of the many things he’s learned after playing an astronomical number of games. We talk themes, mechanics, Kickstarter, publishing, trends, and tons of other stuff.
Tom has played and reviewed thousands upon thousands of games which has led to some interesting insight on what makes a great game.
Here are links to some of the resources mentioned in the show:
Edo Baraf, designer of Herbaceous, discusses the many different types of custom components you can add to your games and the challenges and considerations that go with each one. We talk custom dice, boards, boxes, inserts, meeples, sleeves, and more. (Not miniatures. That will be its own episode.)
Edo has experience with lots of custom components and offers a ton of insight on the things to be aware of when adding them to your game.
Dan Peterson, chief developer and head of new acquisitions at Mayday Games, discusses why a publisher might reject your game and how to handle it.
Dan looks at close to 200 unpublished games a year and has years of experience in finding new games to publish. This episode is packed with great wisdom for anyone wanting to travel down the traditional publishing path.
JT Smith, designer of The Captain Is Dead, talks about how to design a great cooperative game.
We talk creating tension, alpha players, and the math behind a good AI system. Personally, I think The Captain Is Dead is one of the best co-op games on the market today, and it was great to get JT’s insight on its creation.
Jamey Stegmaier, designer of Scythe, is back on the show, and we’re talking about what the schedule of a pro game designer looks like. It’s easy to have a romanticized idea of what being a full time designer is, but it doesn’t quite line up with reality.
We talk about the daily fires that have to be put out, how to be intentional with your time, ways to become more efficient, and much more.
Emerson Matsuuchi, designer of Specter Ops, goes into all the ins and outs of putting together a hidden movement game.
There are very few hidden movement games out there right now which means there’s still a ton to be explored. Emerson discusses the challenges he faced and his insights on the topic.
Ryan Laukat, founder of Red Raven Games, discusses how to create a beautiful game that is also functional. Ryan does his own art for all of his games, so he has an incredible understanding of the tug of war a designer and artist can have when trying to make a game look great but also work well for the players.
We also talk about some best practices when hiring and working with an artist.
Jerry Hawthorne, designer of Mice and Mystics, discusses the importance of story in games.
Jerry specializes in narrative driven games and has numerous games to his credit. He goes into why people enjoy story in games so much and how you can inject more story into your games. Finally, he gives great advice on what to do first when creating a story driven game.
My favorite idea from the interview: “Create a story. Not a series of incidents.”
Stephen Buonocore, president of Stronghold Games, goes into all of the ins and outs of researching publishers, contacting publishers, and pitching your game. We talk in depth on how to do things the right way to give your game the best chance of being signed. Then, Stephen closes the conversation with a couple funny stories about some epic game pitch fails.
JR Honeycutt, developer of SeaFall, goes into all the ins and outs of what game development is, why it’s important, and how you can become a developer.
People often don’t understand the difference between a designer and a developer. JR sorts out the difference and goes into the value of having a developer work on a game.
Check out JR’s article on what he learned from working with Rob Daviau on SeaFall HERE.
Richard Launius, designer of Arkham Horror, gives incredible game design advice, talks Cthulu and what makes a great Cthulu game, and goes into how to make games that create epic experiences that stand the test of time.
This episode is packed full of wisdom from a game design legend.
Jay Vales discusses how his game, Conquest at Kismet, came to be and how it got great reviews but underperformed when it came to sales. We go into the contributing factors and what other designers can learn from the experience.
We also talk about some interesting design concepts, dealing with real-life death, and how even Zee Garcia can’t guarantee you sales.
Colby Dauch, founder of Plaid Hat Games and designer of Summoner Wars, goes in depth on the challenges he faced when he started his own publishing company. We talk about business, life, and work/life balance, and we even get into not letting people discourage you from chasing your dreams.
The article Colby talks about in the show on barriers to entry in tabletop games can be found HERE.
Mike Strickland, designer of Tau Ceti, and I talk about his Kickstarter failure and what he did to relaunch the campaign to wild success. After an unsuccessful first attempt, Mike regrouped and brought in over $100k the second time around. We discuss what led to the dramatic difference.
Please note that Mike was in a spaceship while recording the episode, so you’ll notice the slight hum of the warp drive in the background. Or maybe it’s just the sound of his computer’s overzealous fan. But since we’re talking about a space game, let’s just pretend he’s on a spaceship.
Rahdo and I discuss 2 player games and how to craft an awesome 2 player experience. We go into specific mechanics that work really well in 2 player games, and we talk through how a designer can make a game scale down to 2 players effectively. After playing nearly 1000 games with just 2 players, Rahdo is an expert on the topic.
Check out Rahdo’s game runthroughs at https://www.youtube.com/user/rahdo.
Luke Laurie, designer of The Manhattan Project: Energy Empire, and I discuss all the ins and outs of working with a co-designer. Luke has worked with a co-designer on multiple projects and provides great insight on what’s good and what’s challenging about the process.
Check out more from Luke at The League of Gamemakers.
Jamey Stegmaier,Kickstarter guru and designer of Scythe, and I discuss all the things he wishes someone would have told him before he got into game design, kickstarter, publishing, and more. He gives a ton of valuable advice.
For lists of games designers should play, click HERE.
For more from Jamey, check out the Stonemaier Games website.
The Board Game Design Lab is a website and podcast that focuses on helping designers make fun and engaging board games.
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