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Board Game Design: What Does it Take to Launch a New Board Game?

Board Game Design from presentation for backers to production for samples or retail orders.

Board Game Design: Marketing to Backers

Board Game Design: Project scope, game play, components and costs.

design and market a board game

Launching a new board game isn’t easy. If you’re serious about launching a new game then you need to prepare for and establish a startup budget. There is much more to consider than simply paying a designer for a few graphics and calling it good. Developing a game — card, board or otherwise is a multi-phase project that is going to require a certain level of commitment. We’re making the assumption that you are not a game company. Board Game Companies already have established connections with large volume buyers, choice game manufacturers for production and aren’t budgeting development the same way an individual trying to get “their idea” out their will be.

Is designing a new board game cheap? Not really, but there are certain things we can do to help streamline the process and even help you offset initial game production costs. That being said, you should be able to budget for an initial start up ranging anywhere between $3,500 and $10,000 to cover professional board game and package design to promotional and starter marketing assets. The following 3 phases outline what we recommend preparing for when taking a game idea to launch stage.

brainstorm icon

  • Step 1: Defining Your Project

    This is the the phase that has all of the initial brain storming, research, idea testing and component planning. You should have game play fairly dialed in by the time you come to us. What does this mean? This means you should actually have more than an idea for a game. You should have a list of the necessary game components required to play the game. You should have, (yes, even with rudimentary place holders, cardboard, cups and napkin sketches) tested your game to see if actually plays correctly. You should have a rough draft of your game instructions.

    From this information we will be able to put together an accurate proposal based on the scope of the project. Unfortunately, there is no cookie cutter formula for board game design. Every game is unique in requirements that range from illustrative styling to the number of game components and retail package specifications. Some of these things like box size and game components directly impact costing in later phases like the prototype and actual game production.

We will need a list of all game components and instructions on game play in order to determine the scope of the project as far as design for production. After a discussion with you regarding what you would like to see happen with this game and who the target audience is, we will be able to make our recommendations for the best retail and commercial art style for the game.

game concept art

  • Phase 2: The Board Game Design and Development Phase

    This is where your idea starts coming to life. Once we have a good directive, we can begin doing the fun stuff like illustrating the most disturbing ghouls for your dungenous adventure and creating a game board with an amazing graphic narrative to coincide with game play. We then begin retail game package concepts to make sure all of the components are snuggled securely in a package that will scream buy me when showcased at Barnes and Noble or ToysR’Us.

board game design and development

3-D Mockups 100
Product Photography 88
Limited Production Runs 93
Kickstarter Videos 72
  • Phase 3: Prepress Art and Marketing Materials

    Once your board game design is in place and your vision has become a reality ready for actual game production, it’s time to create a few prototypes. We always recommend having a marketing plan in place to launch your new game before you produce 10,000 games only to realize you now need to store 10,000 games because you have nowhere to sell them. We can create presentation quality hand prototypes or even have factory samples made for presentation if you plan on attending any trade shows. (We recommend attending some of the bigger game shows to do some research and see what others have done right to create successful games – www.gencon.com and Origins are two great ones!) Presentation is such a critical part of the game design process, for potential buyers, investors and kickstarter campaigns. Having a few actual playable samples along with some leave behind materials are going to come in handy. Many of the companies we work with in game development are very successful at generating pre-sales with sales sheets and a handful of prototypes, which enable them to cover the initial production run and move merchandise from the start seamlessly. Kickstarter campaigns are a great way to test the validity of your game for performance in the retail market. Any of the board games we have run through kickstarter that have had a lot of interest have been successful in retail outlets such as Barnes and Noble.

Just a few of the Board games we’ve worked on

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