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Publishing lessons

Board games & crowdfunding


13th July 2023 2

I pride myself on being open and accessible. I try hard to provide tools, build communities around my games, and give people a way to reach out if they need to. From being able to comment on nearly any page on this website to my activities on social media, my newsletters, live streams, Facebook groups, and BoardGameGeek forums, there are many ways for you, me, and anyone who enjoys my games to interact.

It is a wonderful thing to be open and connected, but the honest truth is that the vast majority of people who buy my games don’t really care. Most people wouldn’t go to a publisher’s website or join a Facebook group. They want to buy a game and play it, and that is absolutely fine.

This is one of the biggest challenges with creating physical products. While I interact with tens of thousands of people, there are hundreds of thousands of people playing my games. If I create something new, whether that be a new game, an expansion, or a fix to the existing game, I have no way of reaching them.

An interesting case for this which I saw recently is the new vision-friendly cards for Wingspan. Stonemaier Games created a special pack of cards to help make the game more accessible, but how do they inform the 1.7 million people who own the game that they are now available?

Race to the Raft

I have been thinking about this problem for a long time, and with Race to the Raft, I am trying something new.

On page 8 of the rulebook, I have included the following section.

I am offering free additional content to anyone who visits my website and giving them the option to sign up for emails that will send them further free content in the future.

Additionally, I have included three small tokens in the box that are only used for this extra content. On page 19, there is a second statement about the free content’s availability.

The idea is to provide someone with a big incentive for taking the extra step that actively improves their experience of the game, like receiving a free Christmas themed scenario at Christmas, while not lessening their experience if they opt not to do it.

The critical part to this succeeding is that I have to maintain the trust between myself and the person subscribing to the content. I cannot send them marketing emails or directly advertise other products, as the relationship here is about providing ongoing scenarios that keep the game fresh and alive.

However, when I send a new scenario out, I do think it would be acceptable on rare occasions to include an additional one line of text at the end of the scenario email, informing them of key information around the game.

I don’t expect that everyone will rush to sign up, but even if just a few percent of game owners opt in, that’s still thousands of extra people who I have now started building a direct relationship with.

Race to the Raft will be releasing in retail around the world on August 17th, so it will be a while before I can see how this goes. But the pre-orders are shipping, and I have already seen a good number of people sign up.

Have you seen any other games finding ways to interact with you via the contents of the box, outside of using an app?


11th July 2023 0

Sometimes things go wrong and sometimes those things are so bad that fear starts to set in. After years of planning, you don’t want to fall at the final hurdle so having a plan for when things go wrong is critical.


6th July 2023 8

One of the biggest decisions a publisher has to make is whether they should move forward with a game. Whenever I start on a new project, I’m constantly challenging myself and asking questions to better understand if this should be my next game.


29th June 2023 2

If you want to play a board game, then you only need two things: a game and a surface to play it on. However, something I have noticed over the years is that many creators only focus on the first of these two things, and they leave it up to the player to worry about finding a big enough surface.


27th June 2023 2

Making board games for a living is hard, but so is starting any business! I only have to walk down my local high street to see how many businesses have come and gone over the years. You need to get a lot of things right if you want to stand a chance of succeeding. Let’s take a look at a few reasons you might fail and how we can avoid them.


20th June 2023 0

I have started to notice that early access is becoming a common feature of pre-order campaigns for video games and honestly, I’m not sure how I feel about it…


15th June 2023 0

Running a business can be hard work, and you alone are responsible for managing your time so that you can enjoy relaxing moments before things get tough. It's a critical part of being successful, and I would recommend that everyone learns to identify their own big events.


14th June 2023 0

I have just finished watching the internet show Elevated which focusses on helping lesser-known creators be found. There was a lot to discover, could this work in the board game industry?