Indie Board Games!
"I have never made my own board game."
That is a sentence I can no longer say! In fact, I now have designed two of them! At the time of this writing, one is about 70% complete and the other is roughly 30% complete. I am not at this time going to go into details or mechanics of the games themselves, but rather will tell you a little about how this all happened. Full details on each game will definitely be posted as they are finished!
I honestly don't exactly know how the idea of making my own board game came about. What I can tell you is that the first game actually started out as an iOS game. The turning point came when I was wire framing the game code up and came to the realization that the mechanics of the game were going to be above my current coding level. This, I will admit, was a bit of a letdown, but I still very much wanted this game to exist. Well, at damn near the exact moment I came to that first realization, the thought of, "what about making it a board game?" entered my head! What? That is crazy talk!
Now, thinking about making a board game is one thing; it's entirely another to actually go through the process of creation and manufacturing. Once I decided that this game was going to become a physical board game, a whole other set of obstacles came up. When you are writing a piece of software, it is pretty straightforward: you write the code, test it, and publish it to one of the many "no barrier to entry" application markets, or even just pedal it from your own website. You may need someone to help you with design and so forth, but for the most part you can do everything with readily available and free tools.
When you start talking physical goods, everything changes. You are now in a very different world. You can come up with the idea, and maybe prototype some game parts and pieces, but what about making actual game boards, cards, and so forth? This was about the time I found myself doing A LOT of research on Google to figure out how others have gone down this path. If you are willing to pre-buy 15,000 units of your game then you can probably get a game printer to run that for you. I definitely am not looking to turn this into a full time job; I really only wanted to have a couple copies made for myself and maybe a couple to give to friends. What I needed was a company that would create the various parts in a more "print on demand" style much like Blurb does with books. So instead of having a room full of games that I realistically will never sell, I can just order them one at a time as needed. After a bit of googling, I found just the place that does exactly that! TheGameCrafters.com are exactly what I was looking for. They make it super easy for you to go from concept to completion.
- Create your game idea.
- Create all the art for the game board, cards, etc.
- Submit for printing.
- Game shows up on your doorstep a few weeks later!
This is, of course, slightly over simplified, but honestly not by very much. For the first game I came up with, after building some prototype boards and game pieces, Valerie and I played through the game enough times to work out any play mechanics bugs. She also gave some great input on how to make the game even better! After that, we got all the art put into the .PSD templates (huge thanks again to my awesome wife for helping with this part of it!) that TheGameCrafters provide, and then uploaded them to their website. Aside from printing all the boards, cards, manuals, and various other printed items, they also have a very large selection of game pieces and tokens for almost any kind of game you can think of.
Once you have all the parts picked out and added to "your game", you can then publish it to their shop as well so others who are looking around the site can purchase your game if they wish. TheGameCrafters have a pretty standard revenue split setup for the selling: you pick a price above whatever the base cost of parts is, and that profit is split 70/30 between you and them. Pretty damn good I would say, considering you have $0 upfront investment.
If you have ever wanted to make your own board game or card game, I would definitely check out TheGameCrafters.com; they make it very easy to turn your idea a reality. I am having so much fun making physical games, and it is such a different creative process than working on computer based projects. I look forward to announcing the 2 games I am working on to everyone very soon!