Board Game Business Podcast

This episode provides some guidelines for the situation where multiple publishers want to sign your game and how you handle it, both from the designer and publisher perspective. Specifically, we cover:

  • submitting your game to multiple publishers at the same time
  • handshake deals
  • bringing copies to a convention
  • bigger publishers vs. smaller publishers
  • asking for exclusivity
  • doing your publisher homework
  • changes to contracts
  • should I have a lawyer look over my contract?

 

Direct download: BGBP063.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:02am PST

We talk generally about publishing licensed games and specifically about the unsuccessful Total Recall Kickstarter campaign.

  • Why didn't it fund?
  • What did you do differently?
  • Likeness rights 101
  • Timing releases in a line of games
  • Hidden costs of doing a licensed game
  • Liability insurance
  • The costs of agreeing to release dates
  • Should you create a licensed game?
  • Publishing outside of Kickstarter

 

References
Kickstarter Campaign - https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/overworldgames/total-recall-the-official-tabletop-game

Direct download: BGBP062.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:11am PST

This is a panel organized by High Voltage about how awesome games are and how to grow and build an inclusive gaming community. This took place on 10/28/2017 at Stan Lee's Los Angeles Comic Con, hosted by Will Pasquin with these panelists:

  • John Clair - Mystic Vale, Downfall
  • David Zuckman - Obscure Reference Games
  • Ross Thompson - IDW and Kingdom Con
  • Chris O'Neil - Brotherwise Games
  • Brian Henk - Overworld Games
  • Will Pasquin - High Voltage

Video Version: https://youtu.be/hI_26f73APw

Direct download: cleannormalizedaudio.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:50am PST

We have another mailbag episode! These topics were suggested by listeners:

  • Are environmental concerns a factor for publishers, manufacturers, and designers?
  • How can I make my game more accessible and inclusive?
  • What kind of support should publishers donate to charity?

Resources:
The Overworld Games policy on charities.

Direct download: BGBP061b.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:39am PST

If you're listening to this podcast, there's a good chance you know someone personally who has launched a Kickstarter campaign. Did you feel obligated to back it? We try to break down this social etiquette around the subject in this episode.

Direct download: BGBP060.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:55am PST

Today we discuss how to use Amazon to sell your board game.

- Fulfillment by Amazon
- Amazon Marketplace
- Vendor Express
- Amazon Launchpad
- Getting Burned Stories
- Amazon Marketing Services
- Improving your search rankings
- Sales on Amazon
- Pricing on Amazon
- A+ Content
- VINE Reviews
- Ads on Amazon

Direct download: BGBP059.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:58pm PST

Today we talk about social media and how we should use this in the board game industry. Specifically, here are some of the questions and topics:

  • How should a game designer use social media?
  • Which social media platforms should a game designer be using?
  • How should a game publisher use social media?
  • Which platforms should they use?
  • Using social media as a phone book or for ease of contacting.
  • What's the wrong way to use social media?
  • Are there other less traditional social media platforms we should be using?
  • Are there any tools that help you more easily manage your social media accounts?

 

Resources:

Our Blog: boardgame.business

Direct download: BGBP058.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:06pm PST

We attempt to define what a reference card is, which isn't as easy as you may think, and then we pull them apart and figure out which games need them and how to design them clearly. Then we end with a Top 5 list of tips to make your reference card better. Here are some questions and topics we discuss:

  • Which games do we wish had them that do not?
  • Which games have them but don't need them?
  • Do we need one for each player?
  • The psychological effect of having a reference card.
  • Can a game be too simple to have a reference card?
  • The cost of a reference card.

Top 5 Tips for Designing a Reference Card:
#5) No Walls of Text
#4) Use 1 Double-Sided Reference Card
#3) Whitespace is Your Friend
#2) Make Them Visually Distinct
#1) Use Symbols

 

Direct download: BGBP057.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:24pm PST

Today we talk about designing and publishing games for a particular market. Here are some of the topics/questions we cover:

  • What's a target market?
  • Which markets are commonly considered in the board game industry?
  • Identifying the market that's right for your game.
  • Should I use elements to my game to fit a particular group of consumers?
  • Do publishers have a specific market in mind when they are scouting games?
  • How do things like ease of play and length of play factor into a market segment?
  • Should I design a game for a specific market?
  • Should designers put their target market on their sell sheet?
  • Are there specific conventions where you'll find publishers for specific markets?

 

Direct download: BGBP056.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:34pm PST

Here are our top 7 ways to improve your playtest feedback quality. If you want a spoiler, here's the list!

  1. Ask negative leading questions. Trash/talk down your own game
  2. Stay focused and interested in every word play testers say. Don’t defend anything. Don’t break their flow.
  3. Focus on problems and steer away from solutions.
  4. Ask about feelings.
  5. Explain what type of feedback you're looking for.
  6. Record Audio
  7. Get anonymous feedback at least once and late in the process.

Resources:

 

Direct download: BGBP055.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:02pm PST

How-to-play videos are used more and more by designers to show potential publishers or playtesters their game and by publishers after a game has been released to teach customers how to play them. In honor of April Fool's Day, we give tips on how NOT to make a how-to-play video. I know, we're not supposed to tell you, but we really don't want people actually taking our advice. Here's the gist of the tips we cover, but backwards:

  • Prepare so you can keep it concise.
  • Keep it short. You don't need to say every corner case, but make sure to cover any confusing ones.
  • Use consistent terminology.
  • Use at least two camera angles so it's not just a talking head.
  • Layer in photos to help make your point and show examples.
  • Lighting is important! Light up your face with multiple lights at different angles so there are no shadows. (3-point lighting)
  • Light up your components to show them too, but with not glare. Don't use sleeves if they add glare.
  • Use a microphone close to you for clear and consistent audio. Clean the audio afterwards.
  • Make it easy to find the video online.
Direct download: BGBP054.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:50am PST

 

Today we go through a quick overview of each iteration of our design process from a tool perspective. We discuss which of these tools work well and which ones we've used in the past. We also cover some of the software we use to stay connected to our designer partners. See the list below of everything we mention!

 

Resources

 

 

Direct download: BGBP053.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:45am PST

We discuss licensed games and the specific challenges associated with making a game from them. If you are granted the rights to make a card game based in the Star Wars universe, how do you make a game around it? Or should you make the game first and try to acquire the license later? Here are some questions we answer:

  • Should I design a game for a license?
  • How much does it cost to get an intellectual property?
  • Do you pay up-front or are there royalties or both?
  • What does the schedule/deadlines look like?
  • What impact does this have on your cash flow?
  • How do you learn enough about the chosen universe?
  • What kind of help can you expect from the licensor?
  • Can you add to the universe?
  • Are there any conventions that you should go to related to licensing?

 

Direct download: BGBP052.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:47pm PST

How do you find the right artist for the style of game you're making? Commence discussion! Topics:

  • Finding artists to fit your target market.
  • Identifying market segments.
  • Examples of illustrations or graphic design not fitting the game.
  • Selecting images for the Star Trek Trading Card Game.
  • What should I look for when requesting quotes?
  • What kind of budget should I expect?

 

Direct download: BGBP051.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:06am PST

 

Some predictions for what will happen in the board game industry in 2017.

  • Legacy Games
  • Quality Kickstarter Exodus
    • Otherwise, Kickstarter Growth Continues
    • Will Quality Go Up or Down?
  • Company Mergers
  • Component Diversification
    • “Meeples with a Twist”
    • Chipboard Constructs
    • Display Games
    • Unexpected Components
  • Storytelling Games
  • Deluxe Editions
  • Game Exchange System
  • Local Game Stores Evolve
  • Increase in Import Games
Direct download: BGBP050.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:32am PST

Here are Jeremy and Brian's top 10 ways to build your network within the board game industry:

 

Jeremy

J10 – Participate in contests.

J9 – Be easy to find on social media.

J8 – Place encouragement above criticism.

J7 – Do your homework to avoid wasting publishers’ time.

J6 – Observe Publisher Speed Date.

J5 – Go to Protospiel and Unpub events.

J4 – Attend cons where industry experts have time to talk.

J3 – Don’t view community as a vending machine.

J2 – Offer service or resource to the community.

J1 – Play other designer games.

 

Brian

B10 – Volunteer at con booths.

B9 – Run local events.

B8 – Playtest other people’s games.

B7 – Comment on blogs and YouTube videos.

B6 – Create content.

B5 – Be active on social media.

B4 – Go to bigger cons to meet elites.

B3 – Go to smaller cons for local community.

B2 – Find your local game nights.

B1 – Help others in the industry.

Direct download: BGBP049.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:24pm PST

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