Thursday, April 16, 2015


As I have recently become interested in figuring out the nuts and bolts of publishing a board game I have been joining facebook groups and reading blog posts and such on the topic.  I haven't found much of use in terms of actual game design but I am beginning to get an idea of what the financial side of game design looks like.

It is terrifying.

There are *so* many people out there pouring out board games and publishing them.  A few hit it big and end up on everybody's shelves but 99.99% of them go absolutely nowhere and end up in the dustbin.  Many of them do far worse than the dustbin and end up costing the designer a ton of money as they desperately try to sell their games to no avail.  Whether it be constantly travelling to conventions to try to harangue manufacturers or just laying down the cash to self publish the story is the same:  Scraping out tiny amount of money at best, or losing a bunch at worst.

Now the creation side of game design is amazing.  There are so many communities out there of people building games that work together to make all kinds of interesting things and that is a really cool thing to see.  The terrifying part is just the money side, where people try to make a business but can realistically expect to make no returns at all... even making minimum wage for the hours they put in is pretty much an impossible dream.

There are just so many of designers and games out there I can hardly imagine trying to compete with all of them.  Even if you have a really top notch game it is such a lottery to become one of the ones that actually makes a bunch of money, and obviously 90% of the games aren't in the top 10% so there is a huge amount of drek being pushed out too.

I want to get my game built, made up pretty, and produced so that people who read my writing or know me IRL can see what I have created and have fun with it.  But man, I am so not on board with pouring all of myself into that cosmic lottery and hoping for the big score.  The Stoic voice inside me tells me that putting my happiness and success so much in the hands of other people is a foolish endeavour - I should do what I know will make me happy, which is to make games that are beautiful and not worry about whether or not people out there want to hand me fistfuls of money to play them.

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