A Journey To Self-Publish A Board Game

Sam “King of the Hilltop”

It’s funny. You have grandiose plans and dreams of accomplishing some great task or creating something grand. Your idea is awesome! A few people you don’t even know say your idea is cool and to let them know if you ever publish it. You are ready to take on the world! However, as you start into the process of creating your grand vision, you get stuck in a daily battle of conflicting choices and deadlines vying for your attention. Then after slogging in the trenches of research, playtesting, art contracts, artists, quotes, design decisions, compromises, and “killing your darlings,” you ask yourself, why am I doing this? Why am I doing this to myself!?  

The answer is simply put, to accomplish that great task or develop that grand creation. There are thousands of board game designers and developers who go through this process every year for a variety of reasons. This will be my first foray into going through this process, but I have to say, so far the process has been very gratifying despite my weeping and wailing. 

The key to staying excited about the work and moving forward is to keep the vision in your mind. Post it on your desk or your monitor. Record your progress so you can see the before and after results of your work. Keep those motivating thoughts close by, so when you start to lose the forest in the trees, you can stop and take a moment to see the whole picture and to look back to see how far you have come. 

Becoming a board game designer and publisher, like many others, has been a dream of mine for years. I have prepared as best I could: earning my MBA, working as an intern at a board game company, working in marketing over the last 7 years, creating a bunch of terrible board games to finally make a good one, and meeting a lot of amazing people. I have prepared as best as I can. I have long daydreamed ideas for games to develop, worlds to explore, and villains (heroes, too) to defeat. However, it is time to stop dreaming and do it. Like any dream, the good ones are worth fighting for. 

Accomplishing Your Dream by Leaching Off Your Brother

Ed “The Duke of BAzlandia”

Who doesn’t want to accomplish their childhood dreams of creating and publishing a board game? It’s even better when you can accomplish this with your younger brother and ride off of his genius. My brothers and I have talked for years of creating and producing a game. Early in 2019 Sam had decided it was actually going to happen. After talking to him throughout the year, things got serious. I believe it was at GenCon that I really understood his drive and that it was really going to happen. This is the point where I started thinking I can do this with him and not just be a play-tester, adviser, and opinion guy. I wanted in. I wanted the dream we had talked about as teenagers to be reality. We talked more seriously after GenCon and it was time to actually put effort into something we have talked about doing for years.

Since then, it has been a roller coaster of wonderful. The learning and research that goes into how to accomplish the dream. Meeting people in person and online and receiving incredible amounts of help. The time spent researching all the hurdles and talking to my brother. Sometimes I think I talk more to him on a daily basis than the Duchess (my wife). This upcoming year, 2020, is going to be great.

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