Board Game Business Podcast

John Brieger talks about some of the biggest mistakes he's made during the development process so we can all learn from them.



Direct download: brieger02final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:40pm PDT

Learn why your game needs development help with professional developer, John Brieger.




Direct download: brieger01final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:08pm PDT

We discuss the top 5 most common rough edges on a Kickstarter game so you can avoid them on yours!

Direct download: bgbp_ksroughedges_final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:12pm PDT

In this episode, we re-visit our list of top places to find art for your prototype.


Direct download: bgbp_art_sources_final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:51pm PDT

Jeremy and Brian discuss how we think the board game industry will be impacted by COVID-19. This was recorded in early April of 2020.


Direct download: bgbp_future_after_virus_final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:39am PDT

In this episode, we are going to cover a bunch of tips for you game designers to SAVE YOU TIME.

Resources Mentioned


Direct download: bgbp_time_savers_final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:12am PDT

We give you our top 5 tips for advertising your board game and how to learn which sources are best for you and your game. This is a little more focused on ads for a Kickstarter campaign, but is applicable to any type of advertising for a board game.


Direct download: BGBP086.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:37am PDT

Today we dig into the Patreon mailbag and answer these questions:

  • How do you recover from being punched in the gut?
  • What is a unique enough selling point for a game?
  • What are some component cost considerations to take when
  • manufacturing your game?
  • Should I fulfill my Kickstarter campaign myself?
  • Is it possible to manufacture games in the US?


Thanks to Mark Edwards for editing this!

Direct download: BGBP085.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:46am PDT

How has the board game industry changed in the last 5 years? Brian co-founded Overworld Games about 6 years before this was recorded so it's also a view of how things have changed between when he started publishing games and now.

Here is the top 5 list:
5) More games in big box retailers
4) It's easier to make games
3) Kickstarter explosion
2) Growth of games at conventions
1) Distribution is harder


Direct download: BGBP084.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:00pm PDT

Patron Andrew van Ingen suggested this episode on how to deal with scope creep. Here's the list we go through!

5. If some people don’t hate it, you are doing it wrong.
4. Don't let experiments linger.
3. Determine the scale, audience (learning time), price point and play time of your game.
2. Have an "always pruning" mindset. Always be thinking about the parts that aren't SUPER DUPER fun.
1. Understands that hobby gamers (and many designers) will ALWAYS ask for more.

Direct download: BGBP083.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:04pm PDT

When you're trying to build up a crowd for your game before Kickstarter or to build your resume for selling your game to a publisher, there are a lot of places to put your time and money, but some are better than others.

5. Create a Facebook page or group
4. Build/support your local gaming community
3. Use other's crowds by getting your game to reviewers and other influencers
2. Send infrequent newsletters
1. Create a landing page and funnel people to it through flyers, ads, social media, and everywhere


Direct download: BGBP082.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:14pm PDT

Jeremy and Brian give some tips for how you can better manage your day job and hobby board game business.


Edited by: Mark Edwards


Direct download: BGBP081.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:16am PDT

Jeremy and Brian cover the top 5 things that are most commonly wrong with a pitch a game designer gives to a publisher. If you're a designer, you'll probably find something in here that you can use to improve your next pitch.

Direct download: BGBP080.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:29pm PDT

When you've been working on a design for a while and you're not sure if there's enough there to keep going with it, we have some signs that it might be time to give up on it. If you want a spoiler, the signs are:

5) No market opportunity
4) Design colleagues don't ask about the status or encourage you to keep working on it
3) Too long to play/too long to explain the rules
2) Not fun enough (playtesters don't ask to play again)
1) No hook or the hook is not good enough

Direct download: BGBP079.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:15am PDT

We go over the top 5 reasons to theme your prototype and some discussion around them. If you want to have them spoiled, here are some of our notes on each one:

5) Theme makes it easier to learn your game. It drives cohesion, direction, and rules comprehension.

4) Some publishers really care about theme (like Brian) so you'll get more opportunities if your game has one. You'll get in the door. Theme sells better than math. Games are an experience, and theme tells your story.

3) A themed games is more interesting to players so you'll get more playtesters. It shows your playtesters that you respect their time and level of enjoyment.

2) Save the publisher time by showing them it is complete. A game with no theme isn't done yet and they would usually not do that work if they can avoid it. Once you're in the door, you're more likely to stay there.

1) Theme is part of the design. Why are we even talking about them as if they are independent parts?

Direct download: BGBP078.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:35am PDT

Top 5 Tips for Getting Your Prototype Played at Small Conventions


5) Teach games and then ask if they want to try your own game afterwards. (know your audience and be respectful of time)

4) Setup in open gaming and grab drive bys and/or have good signage.

3) Setup an event with local designers there through meetup/facebook so you can all play each other games. (then anyone who is interested can go out to lunch/dinner afterwards)

2) Setup official events and offer prizes/bribes. (make sure you have a way for people to be notified when they can get it and/or get their name in the rulebook)

1) Find or create your own prototype room.

Direct download: BGBP077.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:42am PDT

Today Brian interviews Erik Dahlman of Albino Dragon about the convention services he offers where his team will demo your game at his booth at various conventions throughout the year. You can get the exposure that conventions offer without the million headaches of actually doing it. To get more information from Erik about working with him, email CONVENTIONS@ALBINODRAGON.COM.

Direct download: BGBP076.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:26am PDT

In this one, we cover different methods for setting your Kickstarter funding goal, your stretch goals, how many updates to send during the campaign, and we talk about Richard's holy grail Star Trek cat game.

Direct download: BGBP075.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:24pm PDT

Learn all about Jeremy's "7 Rules for Writing Rules" and what Richard and Brian think about them. We actually disagree on this on more than most episodes!

Jeremy's 7 Rules for Writing Rules

  1. Force yourself to write your rules right away and have them ready for your first playtest with real people.
  2. Start strong. Tell a story as you give the theme.
  3. Use software to maintain your rules and keep them always up-to-date.
  4. Add notes to add diagrams later.
  5. Put a component list at the end of the rules use a component diagram with labels.
  6. Use 2nd person to specify "you".
  7. Use white space and formatted lists.


Direct download: BGBP074.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:36pm PDT

Today we discuss designing around analysis paralysis:

  • Is it a bad thing?
  • Limiting your decision space
  • Add more options/decisions as you go
  • Allowing players to "mess up" the next player's carefully laid plans
  • Companion app
  • Reference cards to make decisions easier
  • Usability in graphic design or component selection
  • Simultaneous play
  • Hidden actions
  • Keep players engaged
  • Walls of text
  • Put longer decisions at the end of a players so other players can take their turns while the other player is thinking


Direct download: BGBP067b.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 8:38am PDT

Ed Baraf sits down with Brian Henk to discuss the history of experiments tried at Overworld Games, such as using IPs or releasing a game outside of Kickstarter -- and how games have done in terms of profitability and copies sold. Going through what went well and what didn't may give other creators some insight into what they should and should not do.

Video Version:

Direct download: edo_interview.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:20pm PDT

Today we talk about how to figure out why your Kickstarter campaign is failing and how to fix it.

Brian's magic recipe for a successful campaign:

  1. A page that converts visitors into backers
  2. Get backers to your page

Converting: The video, explaining the hook, providing the content people really care about

Getting Visitors: Social media ads, building your crowd before launch, connecting with influencers, creating awareness during the campaign

Direct download: BGBP071.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:52am PDT

Brian had the pleasure of interviewing Vincent Salzillo, President of Double Exposure, Inc. His company organizes Gen Con events such as First Exposure Playtest Hall and the new First Encounter Designer Showcase (publisher speed dating) events. They also organize conventions such as DEXCON, DREAMATION, and METATOPIA. Plus they run the Envoy programs. It's a lot! This is what we cover in 30 minutes:

  • METATOPIA - A convention for game designers.
  • First Exposure Playtest Hall - A Gen Con event for playtesting.
  • First Encounter Designer Showcase - A Gen Con event where you pitch your game to publishers in a "speed dating format".



Direct download: BGBP070.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:41am PDT

Today we talk about ways to get people to play your ugly prototype! Some topics:

  • Imaginary friends
  • Design partners or other trusted designers
  • Protospiel/Unpub
  • Designer groups
  • General playtesting groups
  • Fostering an inviting community
  • Print-and-plays
  • Conventions at a free table
  • Conventions as an event
  • Other convention options
  • Digital simulations
  • Paid playtesting



Direct download: BGBP069.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:38am PDT

Today our episode is more focused on behind-the-scenes of being a Kickstarter creator. We dig into how CrowdOx works and use it as a vehicle to discuss some topics on how a pledge manager can and should be used on a campaign.


  • Paypal processors and freezes (maybe)
  • How is CrowdOx different than competitors
  • Charging shipping through PM
  • Selling old catalog of games
  • Tip jars
  • Customer data and security breeches


  • - Learn more about CrowdOx.
Direct download: BGBP068.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:37am PDT

Today we talk about how randomness affects our enjoyment of games. It's slanted towards game design, but also has some publisher/indie creator perspectives as well.

  • Low-randomness games
  • High-randomness games
  • Is randomness in games good or bad?
  • How does it affect your target audience?
  • Harnessing the power of randomness


Direct download: BGBP065.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:29pm PDT

This is the Golden Age of Tabletop Gaming Panel from Wondercon 2018 organized by High Voltage. It covers industry trends, game design basics, and how to find events and gamers in your area. The panelists are:

Will Pasquin (Gaming Guru, High Voltage)
Becca Scott (Host, Geek & Sundry’s Game The Game)
Ross Thompson (Games Marketing & Events Manager, IDW Games)
John D Clair (Game Designer, Mystic Vale, Edge of Darkness)
Brian Henk (President, Overworld Games)
Peter Vaughan (Director of Development at Breaking Games)


Direct download: golden_age_2018.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 7:25pm PDT

If you'd rather not listen to the questions and you just want to ask yourself some thought-provoking questions about your game, here is the list!

  1. Which feeling(s) am I trying to deliver?
  2. Why would someone play or buy this game instead of others? What's the hook?
  3. Which core element will keep people engaged in my game?
  4. Which decisions am I giving players that will keep people playing?
  5. Which types of players am I targeting for my game? And what is the weight and play time will it have?
  6. How many high-level strategies can you win with?
  7. What is the single core mechanic in my game? (everything else you can cut, if needed)
  8. How much downtime do players have?
  9. How do players interact with one another and does it fit with the theme?
  10. What is confusing players when they play?
  11. What player counts can this support? Can you expand that count?
  12. What will the MSRP be?
  13. Do players feel like they are in the universe/theme?
  14. Where will people be playing this game?
  15. What is my exit strategy for this game? Kickstarter? The Game Crafter? Selling direct? Pitch to a publisher?
  16. Can I make changes to the game to tailor it to the publisher I think would want to publish it?
  17. Is this game too similar to an existing game?


Direct download: BGBP066.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:48am PDT

Richard interviews Juliana Patel and Ariel Rubin who created the extremely successful Escape Room in a Box: The Werewolf Experiment that is now being published by Mattel. He learns all their secrets about in their 2,000+ backer debut campaign! Some specific topics:

  • Partnering with Mattel
  • Escape room game opportunities
  • Replaying escape room games
  • Playtesting an escape room game
  • Creating the puzzles
  • Lessons learned from the Kickstarter campaign
  • Finding your audience

Escape Room in a Box: The Werewolf Experiment Kickstarter Campaign -


Direct download: BGBP064.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:14am PDT

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 PDT

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


Kickstarter Campaign -

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

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:

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

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?

The Overworld Games policy on charities.

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

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 PDT

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 PDT

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?



Our Blog:

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

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 PDT

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 PDT

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.



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

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 PDT


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!





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

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 PDT

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 PDT


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 PDT

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



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.



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 PDT

This episode, we ground everyone with a discussion of reasons why you might not want to enter the board game industry.

  • You will lose money.
  • You will lose time, effort, and opportunities.
  • Other people will be critical of your work, not publish, or not buy it.
  • The work is not all fun.
  • Your game is not special.
  • Kickstarter campaigns and fulfillment are stressful.
  • You’ll be away from home and have to spend money on travel.

Video Version:

Direct download: BGBP048.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:33am PDT

Today we discuss how to reach your core audience at a convention. We specifically hit on these points:

  • Luring on the First Day
    • Promo Packs/Where to Sell Them
    • Coupon Books
  • To Do Lists
  • Banners/Advertisements
  • Other Ideas
  • Email Lists
  • Playtesting Upcoming Kickstarter Games
  • When to Send Con Updates
  • Kickstarter Campaigns during Cons

Video Version:

Direct download: BGBP047.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:50am PDT

This is the first episode we did after Brian moved to the Los Angeles area. We talk about tips for exhibiting at a major con. Here are some topics:

- When to pull the trigger?
   o Playtest Hall
   o Volunteer at another Booth
- Booth shape and layout
- Selling at a Con without a Booth
- Copies Sold
- Number of Volunteers Required
- Banners and Signage
- Gen Con Pickup

Direct download: BGBP046.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:02am PDT

Tips for running your Kickstarter campaign in this condensed version of a Gen Con 2016 panel!

Panelists: JT Smith, Zachary Strebeck, Jeremy Commandeur, and Brian Henk

We discuss:

- #1 Mistakes
- Kickstarter as a Business
- Stretch Goals
- Crowd Building
- Page Layout
- Reward Levels
- Naming Something vs. Image in Game
- Rules on Page
- Setting Goals





Direct download: BGBP045.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:19am PDT

At Gen Con 2016, we were on a panel to talk about lots of publishing topics. These were the folks on the panel:

  • JT Smith of The Game Crafter
  • Zachary Strebeck, the Game Lawyer
  • Jeremy Commandeur, Game Designer
  • Brian Henk of Overworld Games
  • things like:


Here are some topics we discussed:

  • Forming your business
  • Game manufacturing options (US, Europe, China, etc.)
  • Different ways to sell your game
  • Traditional and alternative distribution models
  • Game awards and contests
  • What should you do yourself? What should you pay others to do?
  • Game publishing contract royalties




Direct download: BGBP044.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:20am PDT

This is our first mailbag episode where we dig into these questions:
- When do you give up on a game?
- How do you recover from mistakes and setbacks?
- How do you distinguish yourself from other games?

Video Version:

Direct download: BGBP043.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:52am PDT

How should you use print-and-plays as a designer, publisher, or indie creator? We discuss some options!

- Advantages

- Early Feedback

- Kickstarter

- Limited or Full Version?

- What do players use them for?

- Shopping Ahead

- Evaluating Gameplay

- Evaluating Art

- Why a P&P isn’t giving the game away.

- Translations

- Other components

- P&Ps at Cons

Video Version:

Direct download: BGBP042.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:18pm PDT

Join us for a discussion on the tools you need to host your own game design convention, such as:

- Start small

   o Monthly meet-ups

   o Prototype night

- Location

   o Mom & Pop Restaurant

   o Game Store

- Getting Published Designers

- Travel and Experience

- Supporting and Nurturing Designers

- Getting Playtesters

- Publishers at Conventions

- First-time Designers at Conventions

- Untested Games at Conventions


Video Version:


Direct download: BGBP041.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:17pm PDT

Video Version:

- Make sure design is finished

- The major steps include:

    o Art

    o Manufacturing and Proofing

    o Kickstarter Prep

    o Review Copies

    o Informing Retailers

    o Shipping and Fulfillment

- Art takes longer than expected

- Break down EVERY task and element

- The order of the tasks matters

- Run aspects by outside eyes

- Where can we find an in-depth description of the process?

- What task management tools are available?

- What is the overall timeline?


Direct download: BGBP040.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:24am PDT

We sprinkle in these game balancing topics, among others, into our discussion:

  • Easy to Balance Games
  • Hard to Balance Games
  • How many playtests?
  • How to Make Adjustments
  • Cutting to Balance
  • Balancing and Adding
  • Types of Players
  • Length of Game
  • Keeping Scores Close

Video Version:

Direct download: BGBP039.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:16pm PDT

Do you have a game that you want to get into the magical land of "distribution"? We talk about how to make that happen! Some topics we discuss are:

  • What is distribution?
  • What is the structure of the market?
  • Why go through distribution?
  • What profits can one expect?
  • Why do retailers like distribution?
  • How does one get picked up by a distributor?
  • Big consolidators and distributors
  • Minimum print sizes

Video Version:

Direct download: BGBP038.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:01pm PDT

Grant Rodiek from Hyperbole Games hosts a panel at Protospiel San Jose on board game design, development, and publishing. The panel members are:

  • Jeremy Commandeur - Designer, Organizer of Protospiel San Jose
  • Brian Henk - Designer, Publisher at Overworld Games
  • Teale Fristoe - Designer, Publisher at Nothing Sacred Games
  • Peter Vaughan - Designer, Publisher, and Development Director for Breaking Games
  • Aldo Ghiozzi - Game Consolidator with Impressions
  • Grant Rodiek - Designer, Publisher with Hyperbole Games

Thanks to Jordan Nichols from Your Game Night ( for recording the audio!



Direct download: first.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:38pm PDT

We continue with our top 10 mistakes new designers make with a list from the designer perspective, led by Jeremy Commandeur.


Direct download: BGBP037.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:44am PDT

Brian makes a list of the top 10 mistakes new designers make from the perspective of a publisher and we all debate about it. This covers things like the design decisions that will make a game harder to sell. Jeremy will share his list from a designer perspective in the next episode!

Direct download: BGBP036.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:20am PDT

We discuss these chipboard-related topics:

- Why use chipboard?

o Feel

o Durability

- Why wouldn’t you want to?

o Cost

o Wear

o Weight

- 3D chipboard constructions

- Cost analysis

- Sizes and custom shapes

- Standard sheets/thickness/layers

- Finishes and coating

- Unpub/Protospiel San Jose


Video Version:

Direct download: BGBP035.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:23pm PDT

Inside the Box

In this episode, we talk about these box insert topics:

- Cardboard Inserts

- Size of Box

- Number of Wells

- Gametrayz and Other Plastic Inserts

- Broken Token Wood Inserts and Boxes

- Cost Analysis of Manufacturing vs. After-Market

- Bags of Bags

- Game Storage Recommendations in Rules?

- 13 oz. Golden Rule


Video version:


Direct download: BGBP034.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:05pm PDT

We talk about designing the back of the box. This includes:

- Legal Requirements

     - Age Limitations

     - European CE Mark

     - Country & Address

- Barcodes

- Playtime & Number of Players (Learn Time?)

- Restock Code

- Components

- Game or Scenario Description

- Simplified How to Play


- QR Codes

     - Other Games

     - Learn to Play

- Names

     - Designer

     - Artist

     - Manufacturer

- Sides of Box


Direct download: BGBP033.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:25pm PDT

We talk about naming your game and other more general branding questions, such as:
- Why we changed our podcast name
- What makes a good title for a game?
- Is a unique name important?
- Should the name work in other countries?
- Matching video game names
- Branding your game for your market
- Name that will appeal to retailers


Direct download: BGBP032.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:45pm PDT

Today we talk about manufacturing quality. Here are some of the topics:

  • Print-on-Demand Quality
  • CMYK & RGB Issues
  • Defects and Limitations
  • When are defects worth the risk?
  • Which manufacturer should publishers choose?
  • How to gauge quality
  • Quality for repetitive use
  • Does the manufacturer influence a purchase?

Video Version:

Direct download: FLP031.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:24pm PDT

Why should a prospective crowd-funding backer contribute to a campaign? Why not wait for the game to come out? We talk about our experience and lessons learned as we cover these topics:
 - Get a lower price
 - Make a better game/exclusives
 - Be a part of the process
 - Get the game early
 - Inside information
 - Back before you make your own campaign
Direct download: FLP030.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:51pm PDT

What themes should designers and publishers target for their games? Here are some topics we discuss:

- How important is being family-friendly?
- Considerations for getting into a big box retailer
- Over/Under-used themes

Video Version:

Direct download: FLP029.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00pm PDT

Learn Chris Reynolds' secrets to lay out out your crowd-funding page to give potential backers what they want to see and read. He also gives some tips on general marketing of a board game so come have a listen!

Direct download: reynolds_interview.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:12pm PDT

This is all about the fulfillment company called Send from China. We describe this service from a first-hand perspective covering these topics:
 - What is Send from China?
 - Why might I use it?
 - What are some potential pitfalls?
 - Timelines
 - User Interface
 - Costs
 - Payment Options
 - Shipping Calculator
 - Currency Conversion
 - Packaging Options
 - EU/AU/CA Friendly
 - Customer Service
Resources: - The SFC website.
Direct download: FLP028.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:45pm PDT

Brian interviews Eduardo Baraf about his company Pencil First Games and all the analog and digital games he has designed and published. He recently released Gem Packed Cards with both a card game version and a mobile version of it at roughly the same time. We talk about that and so much more in this interview.

Direct download: eduardo_interview.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:50am PDT

What's the best way to get noticed by a publisher at a convention? What annoys them? What excites them? We talk about our experience and lessons learned as we cover these topics:

 - Making Appointments
 - Sell Sheets
 - Elevator Pitch
 - Finding a Publisher that Fits Your Game
 - Publisher Speed Dating
 - Ludography
 - Demos
 - Follow-ups After a Pitch

Video version on The Dice Tower:

Direct download: FLP027.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:52pm PDT

Richard New, Jeremy Commandeur, and Brian Henk talk about writing rules for a board game. Here are some of the topics we cover in this episode:

  • Different styles of reading and writing rules
  • Rules layouts
  • Managing versions of rules
  • Rules editors
  • Sanity test
  • Reference cards vs. rules
  • Rules for an expansion
  • Blind playtests



  • The Game Crafter Sanity Tests []
Direct download: FLP026.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:29am PDT

The top 5 keys to convention preparation from the designer and publisher perspective.

Also, how do you prepare for a smaller convention? Which conventions should you attend? 

Video/YouTube Version:


Direct download: FLP025.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 8:29pm PDT

We continue our discussion on getting ready for a convention, running a booth, and getting in front of a publisher at a con. What should you put in your convention prep kit?

Video/YouTube Version:

Direct download: FLP024.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:17am PDT

Today the topic is getting ready for a convention from the perspective of someone playing games, publishing games, and designing games. How do you get your design in front of publishers? How do you get buzz going for a booth? What are the booth-goer "use cases"? How do you make the most of your convention? We tackles these questions and more.

Video/YouTube Version:

Direct download: FLP023.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:17pm PDT

Jeremy gives some more tips on running your own Protospiel event and we get more from him about how to create the right environment for game design support and feedback.


Protospiel website:

Unpub website:


Direct download: FLP021.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:40am PDT

In this episode, we interview Zachary Strebeck about legal issues in the tabletop game industry. He talks about his launch of his site for do-it-yourself contracts and he also started his own podcast called Legal Moves.

Video/YouTube Version:

Direct download: FLP019.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:10pm PDT

We cover lessons learned in talking to tabletop game manufacturers so you can better prepare for the next time you need to work with one.

Video/YouTube Version:


Direct download: FLP022.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:30pm PDT

Jeremy Commandeur hosts this WonderCon 2015 panel on Indie Tabletop Publishing. These are the panelists:

  • Jeremy Commandeur 
  • Chris Castagnetto
  • Brian Henk
  • Payton Lee
Direct download: wondercon.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:58am PDT

We talk about improving the relationship between a publisher and an artist. What are some tips to make it mutually beneficial?


Working with Artists | Hyperbole Games

Kelley McMorris illustration: Self-Published Authors: 10 Tips on How to Email an Illustrator

Direct download: FLP018.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:32pm PDT

The Forbidden Limb guys talk about different places to go to find an artist for your tabletop game.

Video Version:


  • Where can I go to find an artist?
  • What's the difference between an artist and a graphic designer?
  • How much does an artist cost?


Direct download: FLP017.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:58pm PDT

Richard Bliss hosts the Kickstarter Panel at the San Jose Protospiel. All Kickstarter topics are discussed from the following panelists:

  • Jeremy Commandeur 
  • Brian Henk
  • Teale Fristoe
  • Aldo Ghiozzi
  • Richard Bliss
Direct download: output_ks.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:04am PDT

This panel was from the 2015 San Jose Protospiel and covered design and publishing of tabletop games. It was hosted by Grant Rodiek and also had Teale Fristoe, Chris Castagnetto, Jeremy Commandeur, and Brian Henk.

Direct download: audio_inc_intro.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:58am PDT

The Forbidden Limb debuts on The Dice Tower Network with tips on finding art for your prototype.

Direct download: FLP016.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:51pm PDT

Jeremy tells us the top 9 items he believes designers should consider adding to a publishing contract before they sign it.

Direct download: FLP015c.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:39am PDT

Learn about the important clauses in a contract between a tabletop game designer and publisher. What does a contract look like and what do you want to make sure is included, both from the publisher and designer perspective?

Video/YouTube Version:

Direct download: FLP015b.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:44pm PDT

See a behind the scenes perspective of a Kickstarter campaign from Brian. The Bombers and Traitors expansion of Good Cop Bad Cop campaign ended just a couple of weeks ago and we go through all the data. Jeremy adds his backing preferences and Richard asks some clarifying questions.


YouTube/Video Version:

Direct download: FLP014.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:05pm PDT

Jeremy has returned from Unpub 5, the unpublished games convention, and he tells us all about it. We discuss the benefits of going to this kind of convention, what types of games you'll find, and tips for publishers, designers, and gamers on maximizing your experience while you're there.


Video/YouTube Version:

Direct download: audio.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:18pm PDT

Brian discusses his experience with marketing after a game release, Jeremy tells tales of fellow designers at conventions, and Richard reminisces about the buyer experience.

Direct download: FLP012.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:31am PDT

Brian lays out the methods of getting some free press by working with other designers and publishers. Jeremy drops some economics for those willing to drop some dough. Really, they each do both. Richard listens and gets a visitor from way off in 2015!

Direct download: FLP011.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:53am PDT

Richard asks Jeremy and Brian to enlighten him on who to get interested in a prototype, where and when to find those people, how to get them interested, and why. Really, all the questions but "what." You do have a prototype, right?

Direct download: FLP010.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:29am PDT

Jeremy explains the structure of a Kickstarter campaign, leaving options for POD and manufacturing open. Brian gives his three criteria for choosing a manufacturer. Richard puzzles over the benefits of different manufacturer locations.

Video/YouTube Version:


Direct download: FLP009.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:16pm PDT

Brian gives several examples of errors that can occur with either POD or manufacturing and Richard discovers the guys' tips for minimizing mistakes. Jeremy talks about getting games played by publishers.

Video/YouTube Version:

Direct download: FLP008.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:35am PDT

It's a Jeremy-heavy episode as we start a discussion on which Print-on-Demand (POD) services are available. Brian jumps in with first choices for larger manufacturers. Richard is fascinated.

Direct download: FLP007.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:13pm PDT

Jeremy geeks out on his love of all things box, while Richard explores the dynamics of sleeved vs. unsleeved tabletop game box design and Brian explains his trials and tribulations designing boxes for display and functionality.


  • Box Quality
  • Box Design
  • Box Sizes
  • Custom Game Trays


Direct download: FLP006.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:26am PDT

Brian and Jeremy discuss the current trends in what publishers are looking for, Richard reminisces about the goals and hardships of playtesting a TCG, and the guys determine if a game can ever truly be finished anyway.



  • Component Complexity
  • Playtesting a Trading Card Game
  • Late Game Modifications
  • Second Editions
  • Dealing with Erratum


Direct download: FLP005.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:10pm PDT

Jeremy and Brian explain to Richard where he can find a feedback form, the difference between Euro- and Ameritrash games, how to evaluate data (or get someone else to do it), what conventions are held for developing games, and how to make and present a sell sheet.


  • Using sell sheets
  • Participating in Unpub/Protospiel events
  • Written feedback for playtesting
  • Playtesting different types of games
  • Automated playtesting


Video/YouTube Version:

Direct download: FLP004.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:37am PDT

Richard asks Jeremy and Brian to explain how to get players to playtest a game, how to host a playtest, how to blind playtest, remote blind playtest, and track feedback.

Direct download: FLP003.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:50pm PDT

Brian and Jeremy talk to Richard about their differing views on earlybird offers on Kickstarter. It's how nerds fight.

Video version:

Direct download: FLP002.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:27pm PDT

This is our first episode where we talk about pricing a game and where the profits go when selling it in these different ways:

  • Direct from the publisher's website
  • Direct through Kickstarter
  • Publisher to Retailer
  • Publisher to Distributor
  • Publisher to Distribution Services Company

Video version:

Direct download: FLP001.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:41pm PDT

Learn more about The Forbidden Limb podcast. We introduce ourselves, give a bit of background about us, but more importantly, we tell you what you will get out of listening to this podcast.

Video version:

Direct download: FLP000.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:34pm PDT