How to Self Publish a Board Game
“Wouldn’t it be cool if”, you say, and a week later you are developing ideas for your own very cool board game. You have wanted to do this forever, but every time you had an idea, you did nothing with it. Well, this time, you are going to make it happen, and here is one way to do it.
Hone your idea. Draw and re-draw the board. When printing, anticipate that colors printed on paper may not match the colors on your computer screen.
Write and Re-write the Rules
Like a good story, a good game needs a beginning, middle, and an end, and something driving the players through those components. Bounce ideas off of people whom you trust will keep your idea confidential. Eliminate loose ends, redundancies, contradictions, and weak ideas. Write simply. Use pictures to illustrate ideas that are difficult to explain. Make your rules as short as possible.
Find the Pieces
Early on, think generally about components (markers/pawns, cards, money, spinners, dice) as they will likely change before the game is complete. Keep in mind that each additional component will increase your production cost and decrease your profit.
Once you have a working concept, build a basic prototype and test the game on a group of trusted people. The exercise should test major mechanical components, check their comprehension of the rules, and, most importantly, tell you if the game is fun. Be receptive to ideas and criticism.
Back to the Board
Go back to work fixing flaws and focus on fine details like piece selection, colors, etc. Once the mechanics are solid and you feel that you have brought the game as far as you can, retest the game with a new group of subjects. (Consult with legal counsel on ways to protect your idea.) Seek feedback about specific attributes of the game and listen to what the group likes and dislikes.
Once you have what you feel is a "finished product" consider hiring a graphic artist to refine the look of your product and design packaging. Vet the artist by reviewing samples of prior relevant work (as prior relevant experience is a must), comparing rates, and interviewing the artist about his or her process. Once you chose an artist, have her supply several different concepts that vibe off of your idea, so that you can choose the direction you want the project to move in. While the artist is working on packaging, obtain a UPC code (that bar code you will need in order to sell your product in the United States) so that it can be incorporated into the packaging design.
Hire A Manufacturer
Approach this similar to how you would approach leasing a vehicle (because you may lay out a similar amount of money on your initial purchase). Like leasing, you need to contact many manufacturers, compare pricing, and evaluate their level of responsiveness to your questions. Get samples and referrals because you need to know you can trust them as you will likely lay out significant funds to place an order and, especially if they are located outside of the US, your recourse against them will be limited if you are dissatisfied with what you get in return.
This topic is too broad to cover in this article. But, for starters, you may wish to retain a customs clearing house to assist you in clearing your games through United States Customs. You should probably also hire a professional mover to transport your games to you from the warehouse as this is one of those things that is harder than it seems.
Once you have your product, get it out there! That’s a lesson for another article.
By Charles V. Weitman, Pochecko Games
Godzilla versus King Kong, Poker versus Chess, Star Trek versus Star Wars--these and others great battles came to mind as we developed Pochecko, a board game in which players battle with markers and blockers to build 5 card poker hands.
Here are some other equally great, yet some how lesser known battles that continue to wage inside the minds of many:
Cats vs. furniture. Winner: sadly, the cats. Quality, craftsmanship and affordability are no match for the vengeance of feline boredom. The cats have an app and it’s my couch.
Reality TV vs. my sanity. I cannot stand reality TV. (Shows about cooking and flipping houses are excused.) May the fad end soon. Winner: aspirin companies.
Pot vs. incense. Somebody please tell my neighbor that no amount of church fragrance will exorcise the smell of cannabis from his apartment and, by proximity, mine. Try opening a window or 12 and toweling your door. Loser: my apartment.
Randomly accumulating heaps of garbage vs. livable space (a.k.a. toys vs. the living room). Parents, you know what I’m talking about. It gets bigger each year and there’s no stopping it. Maybe we can move out and hope the next people won’t notice. Maybe someone will finally invent that do-hickey that converts matter into energy so that we can finally do something with all the naked dolls and action figures poised as tripping hazards. Winner: Toys ‘r’ us.
Dark chocolate vs. well, almost everything. Outcome: Chocolate. Winner: me!
". . . especially fun . . ."
Armin Brott, Parents@Play
It's poker meets chess!! Get your copy of Pochecko today!