When I think back to the summer of 2017 when I started this journey, I sometimes ask myself: why did I decide to start developing a tabletop game?
I always arrive at the same answer: because the game that I want to play doesn’t exist yet.
Some games have come a little close, but not close enough for me to halt production on my game, drown my someone-beat-me-to-the-punch blues in some Lagavulin, then pick myself up off the floor and get to designing the next game that doesn’t hasn’t been made yet.
Wasn’t this supposed to be about your inspirations?
Sorry, I got distracted by hypothetical defeats for a moment…where was I? Ah yes—my inspirations. It’s not enough for one to want to play a game hasn’t yet been created. You have to want to go through the painstaking steps of developing that fun thing in your head until it becomes a fun thing on the table. There are many joys in doing this. The biggest being that other people get to play your game. When other people find what you made to be fascinating and entertaining, you’ve achieved something great.
But before you can complete this great bundle of joy, you’ve got to overcome a lot of hurdles. You’ve also got to stay motivated for years and not lose sight of the prize. Luckily, the tabletop community is filled with people who love to play! It’s also filled with hopeful tabletop game designers, much like myself.
OK, so who else’s silly pie-in-the-sky dreams do you follow?
That’s rude. They’re not just dreams, they’re turning them into a reality! They’re pouring their heart and soul out into their games and giving it their “all” dammit! Shut up! I’m not crying, you’re crying—jerk!
Here are the places where I connect with people’s very real visions and goals for making tabletop games.
The Nerdlab podcast (Apple podcast link) is relatively new, like my blog. What it lacks in tenure it makes up for in experience. The host, who I only know as reddit user u/dr_draft, shares their experience with the other aspects of crafting a tabletop game: planning the project.
It’s important to treat your tabletop game as a project to plan, break down, and manage. (I care about it so much that I wrote a previous blog post on this.) u/dr_draft shares this philosophy and provides tips on things like crafting a project charter. It’s worth a listen!
r/tabletopgamedesign and r/boardgames
I know about the afore mentioned podcast because I frequent a fantastic tabletop game design subreddit: r/tabletopgamedesign
This is a fantastic place to provide and ask for feedback, advice, experiences, and potentially connect with others (both hopeful designers and people who’ve seen success with their games) in the industry.
r/boardgames is a fantastic subreddit to share your gameplay experiences and catch reviews.
That’s all well and good but don’t you want to know how the pros do it too?
Of course! There’s only one professional tabletop designer blog that I care to follow, and that’s the Stonemaier Games blog.
Jamey Stagmaier alone has written several inspirational and informational posts on how to design, kickstart, manufacture, and ship a game to customers through fulfillment facilities around the world. He also wrote the book A Crowdfunder’s Strategy Guide (Amazon link) to discuss how he has been able to successfully raise over $3.2 Million cumulatively with his 8 crowdfunding campaigns. This is the only book that I’ve read which clearly and honestly details the crowdfunding environment and how to potentially harness it.
Is that it? What about that one site…?
I could go into detail about boardgamegeek.com but I think that’s the one resource that a lot of people are familiar with. I also personally think that it’s a beast of a website and needs a massive interface overhaul. That said, I use BoardGameGeek (BGG) frequently for board game reviews…but find it difficult for design advice and feedback. But it was established in the year 2000 and it looks like it’s been stuck there ever since. (Now I’m reminded of that Conan O’Brien skit.)