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How to Design and Publish Games with Justin Gary

Justin Gary, designer of Ascension, talks about his personal process for designing and publishing games.Justin has designed and released a ton of hit games over the years and worked in lots of different segments of the gaming industry, so he has a ton of great tips and advice.

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Why to Self Publish…or Not with Andrew Lowen

Andrew Lowen, designer of Deliverance, talks about going through the process of deciding between traditional publishing and self-publishing.We talk about the pros and cons on both sides along with how to make things work if you go the self-publishing route. And be sure to check out Andrew’s game, Deliverance, on Kickstarter HERE.

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Designing Puzzle Games with Janice Turner

Janice Turner, designer of Assembly, talks about designing puzzle games.We talk about player experience, designing during nap times, how to make puzzles fun and not tedious, and more! And be sure to check out Janice’s game, Pilfering Pandas, on Kickstarter HERE.

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Designing Games that Fit in an Envelope with Ben Downton

Ben Downton, designer of Micro Dojo, talks about designing micro-micro games – games so small they can fit in a regular-sized envelope.We talk about component constraints, focus, player expectations, and more! And be sure to check out Ben’s game, Micro Dojo, on Kickstarter HERE.

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Deck Building and MORE with Josh Horsley

Josh Horsley, designer of Castlescape, talks about designing deck-building games that have more going on than just building a deck.We talk about adding boards and other components, and we get into the benefits and obstacles of creating these kinds of games. And be sure to check out Josh’s game, Castlescape, on Kickstarter HERE.

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Designing Conversation Games with Ami Baio

Ami Baio, designer of You Think You Know Me and several other conversation-based games, talks about what all goes into designing and publishing them.We talk about how to create gaming environments that encourage people to talk, listen, and enjoy chatting with each other.

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[Community Spotlight] Turning Big Games into Microgames with Joe Klipfel

Joe Klipfel, designer of Griphold Tower, discusses what it’s like to take a large, published game and turn it into a microgame. Joe has done this with Set a Watch and Gloomhaven and offers lots of insight on how to break a game down to its essence.

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[Community Spotlight] Customer Engagement, Support, and Satisfaction with Marco Pecota

Marco Pecota, designer of Legions of Steel, discusses the ways he’s engaging with the fans of his game. We talk about building a community, releasing bonus content, reaching out to your fans for feedback, and more.

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Why I Deleted Social Media from My Phone

About a month ago, I spent several hours doing a self-assessment of my life. I wasn’t sleeping well, which was a huge problem since I already wasn’t sleeping much. Usually, I can overcome a lack in quantity by an increase in quality, but when both of those things are bad, I find myself in a…

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How to Design Euro Games with Martin Wallace

Martin Wallace, designer of Brass: Birmingham and about 100 other great games, talks about Euro games and his process for designing them.Martin is one of the greatest designers of all time, and he offers tons of excellent advice based on his 30+ years in the industry.

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Getting a Job in the Board Game Industry with Joe Slack

Joe Slack, designer Relics of Rajavihara, talks about the many different jobs in the board gaming industry and how people have found their way to those jobs.Joe recently released a book devoted to this topic, so we talk a lot about what he found through his interviews and research. And you can find Joe’s latest book about jobs in…

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How to Design Social Experiences with Nick Metzler

Nick Metzler, game designer at Spin Master, talks about designing games that create excellent social experiences.We also dive into chasing dreams, overcoming obstacles, and gamification.​

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Optimizing Game Design Time with Trevor Laforce

BGDL community member Trevor Laforce discusses how to optimize your life to get more designing done in less time.We talk about habits, time management, and self-management in the context of designing games while also having a job, family, and busy schedule. And you can find Trevor’s daily planner and more time optimization content on his…

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The Board Game Identity Pyramid with Dennis Furia

Dennis Furia talks about the board game identity pyramid.The pyramid is an excellent tool and framework to help you break down a game into its main selling points and help you figure out the why, what, and how behind your game. You can find more about the pyramid HERE.

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Why You Should Crowdfund Your Game (or Not) with Laura Hoffman

Laura Hoffman, COO of Game on Tabletop, discusses the ins and outs, pros and cons of crowdfunding your game.Game on Tabletop is a crowdfunding platform specifically for board game campaigns, and Laura has a ton of experience working with creators and project managers.​

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Taxes for Designers and Publishers with Wade Hayes

Wade Hayes designer of Poetic License, dives into everyone’s favorite topic…taxes. We talk about lots of the major accounting topics designers and publishers need to be aware of.Wade is a tax pro, and this episode will be super helpful in making sure you stay in the government’s good graces (assuming you’re in the U.S.). Here’s an excellent tax guide PDF…

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Designing Roll and Write Games with Joe Hout

Joe Hout, designer of Dungeon Draft, talks about how to design a roll and write game.Joe has designed quite a few roll and writes, and we get into dice vs cards, combos, player counts, and more. And be sure to check out Joe’s game Dice in the Darkness and play along on Twitch HERE.

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BGDL Community Spotlight – Designing a Game a Week with Wayne Koenig

In this BGDL community spotlight episode, Wayne Koenig, designer of lots of games, discusses his experience and process of designing a brand new game every single week.

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Designing Massive Games with Isaac Childres

Isaac Childres designer of Gloomhaven, talks about how to design games that are massive in scope.Gloomhaven is a 25-pound box of hours upon hours of gameplay, and we dive into design challenges, player progression, marketing, and more.

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Board Game Logistics and Fulfillment with Sara Perry

Sara Perry, designer of Gift of Tulips, talks about all the many angles of shipping and logistics.Sara handles logistics for quite a few publishers (including me), and we talk about vetting fulfillment partners, shipping rates, what to think about if you’re just a game designer, and more. And be sure to check out Sara’s game on Kickstarter HERE.​

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Designing Solo Games and the Making of Hunted: Wode Ridge with Gabe Barrett

Today, it’s just me on the show, and I’m discussing different angles of designing and publishing solo games, and I’m talking through the design process for my latest solo game, Hunted: Wode Ridge.I talk about pros, cons, design challenges, the business side of things, and more. And you can check out Hunted: Wode Ridge on…

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Overcoming Failure with James Fazio

James Fazio, founder of Pique Games, discusses how to overcome failure in game design and game publishing.We talk about defining success, the danger of comparison, taking feedback gracefully, and more.

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Designing Mass Market Games with Azhelle Wade

Azhelle Wade, the toy coach, discusses how to design board games for the mass market and toy industry.We talk about “toyetic” games, patents, pitching to publishers, contraption based games, and more.

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How to Design Digital Board Games with Justin Chu

Justin Chu, founder of Mobo Games, discusses how to design board games made specifically for the digital space.We talk about the pros and cons of digital-only board games along with the many things to think about and to be aware of when traveling into this side of the market.

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How to Market Yourself, Your Game, and Your Company with Debbie Moynihan

Debbie Moynihan, COO of White Wizard Games, discusses how to market yourself, your game, and your company.Whether you’re a designer pitching to a publisher or wanting to run Kickstarter campaigns of your own, you’ll find some great wisdom in this one. Debbie also breaks down the seven P’s of marketing.

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How to Process Feedback with John D’Angelo

John D’Angelo, desinger of Runelords, discusses how to receive, process, and utilize feedback.Whether you’re talking to playtesters, gamers, members of your target audience, or anyone else, it’s important to know how to take in feedback, and it’s vital to know how to use it to make your games better. And be sure to check out John’s game,…

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Crafting a Humorous Experience with Grant Lyon

Grant Lyon, desinger of Curmudgeon, discusses everything that goes into crafting a fun and humorous gaming experience.Grant is a professional stand-up comic, and we talk about joke theory, humor in rulebooks, party games, and more.

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How to Make the Game Design Community a Brighter Place with Your Friend Ben Moy

Your friend Ben Moy, desinger of Breakdancing Meeples, discusses his thoughts on how to make the game design space (and subsequently the world) a better and brighter place to be a part of.We talk about joining communities that resonate with you, like Girls’ Game Shelf and TGC Designer Discussion, using emojis and GIFs to foster relationships, reminding yourself…

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How to Design Games for the Mass Market with Leslie Scott and Freddie Scott Vollrath

Leslie Scott, desinger of Jenga, and Freddie Scott Vollrath, designer of Slappy Camper, discuss what all goes into designing and pitching games for the mass market.We talk about what makes a game “mass market,” getting games into museums, where to pitch game ideas, and more.

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How to Write a Great Rulebook with Mike Lee

Mike Lee, professional rulebook writer, discusses how to put together a clear, concise set of rules for your game.Mike has written rulebooks for publishers like Button Shy Games, and he’s put together the most in-depth rules writing guide I’ve ever seen. We talk about cognitive load, structure, accessibility, and more. And if you want to dive deeper,…

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How to Stand Out in Retail with AJ Brandon

AJ Brandon, storefront manager at Board Game Bliss, discusses how to make sure your game stands out in retail.We talk about why some games stay on a store shelf for 2 minutes while other games sit there for 2 years. And we talk about what both designers and publishers can do to get their games noticed. And be…

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Using Math to Design Better Games with Emerson Matsuuchi

Emerson Matsuuchi, designer of Century: Spice Road, discusses how to use math to design better games.We talk about game balance, spreadsheets, mathematical models, and more.

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Designing a Real-Time Game with Travis Jones

Travis Jones, designer of Pendulum, discusses what all goes into the design process for a real-time game.We talk about time constraints, chaos, analysis paralysis, board layout, and more.

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Puzzles in Games with Shannon McDowell

Shannon McDowell, puzzle maker and escape room designer, discusses what designers and publishers need to think about when designing puzzle games and games with puzzles in them.Shannon has done a ton of research on puzzles and how they relate to culture and cultural biases for Wilfred Laurier University. And she has a great system for defining and…

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What Makes a Great Solo Game with Jeremy Howard

Jeremy Howard, reviewer at Man vs Meeple, discusses what makes a great solo game.Jeremy is super passionate about solo games, and we dive into examples of excellent solo games, capturing tension, solo modes for multiplayer games, and more. [mobileonly]To download this episode to your phone, click HERE.[/mobileonly]

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Mechanisms Master List

Sometimes it’s hard to figure out which mechanism to use in your game. Luckily, Board Game Geek put together a separate page for every known mechanism that has a definition and example games. Below, you’ll find links to each mechanism listed in the system. Board Game Mechanisms A Acting Action Queue Advantage Token Area-ImpulseAuction: Dutch Priority Auction: Sealed…

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How to Live a Creative Life with Charlie McCarron

Charlie McCarron, designer of Four Humours, discusses what it looks like for a board game designer to live a creative lifeWe talk about scheduling, self-care, betting on yourself, inspiration, and more. And be sure to check out Charlie’s game on Kickstarter HERE.​​ [mobileonly]To download this episode to your phone, click HERE.[/mobileonly]

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How to Promote a Game with Allen Wolf

Allen Wolf, founder of Morning Star Games, discusses various ways to promote a game and get the word out about it.We talk about how to contact game stores, traditional media, digital content creators, and more. [mobileonly]To download this episode to your phone, click HERE.[/mobileonly]

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Episodes

Podcast Weekly interviews about specific topics in game design. SUBSCRIBE NOW All Art & Graphic Design Business Design Theory Game Design Basics Getting Published Mechanisms Most Popular Playtesting Theme Writing Rules How to Design Games for the Mass Market with Leslie Scott and Freddie Scott Vollrath December 30, 2020 Episode 214 gabe Game Design Basics,…

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Writing Rules

Writing Rules “When designing, your goal is to generate an ‘oo-OOO-oo’ response from your players. All 3 syllables. Get them excited just hearing the rules.” — Stephen Glenn Writing the ruleset for a game is a lot of designers’ least favorite part of creating a game. Explaining how a game plays through the written word…

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Playtesting

Playtesting “Playtesting, feedback. Playtesting, feedback. Long pause. Repeat. This will never cease to be the secret to making a great game.” — Ben Pinchback Playtesting is the purifying fire that all games must go through to find out if they’re actually any good or not. Until a game is tested, it’s really just an idea….

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Kickstarter Success

Kickstarter “Kickstarter can get customers invested, both literally and figuratively, in a game before it is released. With nothing but an idea, a bit of video and a few screenshots, a developer can start building a loyal fan base.” —Jason Schreier One of the main barriers in getting games to people’s tables is money. Manufacturing…

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Get Published

Getting Published “Designing for publication and designing to play with your friends are two completely different disciplines that require almost opposite mindsets. Start there, and your life/work choices will become abundantly clear.” — Eric Lang Once your game is working well and lots of fun to play, you might start thinking about getting it published….

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Game Design

Game Design “Stop worrying about how long it will take and get started. Time will pass either way.” —James Clear Designing a board game is no small task. It takes a ton of time, effort, and dedication (along with an enormous amount of failure sometimes…). However, with the right attitude, some hard work and perseverance,…

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How to Design Games Online with Bevan Clatworthy

Bevan Clatworthy, designer of Ghostel, discusses all the different angles of bringing a game to life when you work exclusively online.Bevan has been co-designing games online since 2015, and we talk about scheduling, software, good habits, and more. And be sure to check out Bevan’s game Haunticulture on Kickstarter HERE.

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Get Started

The best information and content for game designers Your journey as a game designer starts (and continues) here with industry leading content—including in-depth free resources, popular podcasts, premium courses, and more. The Board Game Design Lab was started in 2016 with one main goal in mind: to help designers create great games that people love….

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How to Get Your Game Published

How to Get Your Game Published By GABE BARRETT Get your game in front of publishers and onto store shelves. After you’ve designed a game, playtested it a bunch, and polished it to completion, you may want to pursue actually getting it on store shelves. Now, please don’t feel any pressure to do this as…

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How to Design a Board Game

How to Design a Board Game By GABE BARRETT It’s time to get that game out of your head and onto a table. Get a behind the scenes look at the design processes of the world’s best designers Learn about playtesting, prototyping, getting published, and more. Buy It Now Get a behind the scenes look…

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About

About The BGDL is a Community The Board Game Design Lab is a community built on one central purpose: To help you design great games that people love. It started off as a podcast in 2016 when I was having a hard time finding the game design information I needed, and I assumed I wasn’t…

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Contact

Contact Services Advertising Promote your game or service through the BGDL podcast and emails. Consulting Get another set of eyes on your Kickstarter campaign. Coaching Learn how to take your designing to the next level. To inquire about services, or if you have any questions, comments, or suggestions, please fill out this form. Want To…

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BGDL+ Coming Soon

Coming Soon A brand new way to experience the Board Game Design Lab. Launching in: Days Hours Minutes Seconds To get updates, give feedback, and possibly help with beta-testing, please sign up below.

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How to Market Your Kickstarter Campaign

How to Market Your Kickstarter Campaign By ANDREW LOWEN Learn how to go from zero to funded on the world’s biggest crowdfunding site. Everything You Need Find this article along with a TON of other great Kickstarter advice in my latest book. Buy It Now Everything You Need Find this article along with a TON…

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How to Design and Publish an Expansion with Patrick Lysaght

Patrick Lysaght, designer of Commissioned, discusses the process of designing and publishing an expansion for a game.We talk about the different kinds of expansions, design challenges, and what it takes to bring them to the marketplace. And be sure to check out Patrick’s expansion to Commission on Kickstarter HERE.

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Why Game Design Matters

Why Game Design Matters By GABE BARRETT Games can change the world one table at a time. When you’re spending a lot of time designing games, it can often be easy to say something along the lines of, “What’s the point?” With so many terrible things happening around the world and with so many worthy…

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How to Playtest like a Boss

How to Playtest like a Boss By GABE BARRETT It’s time to take your playtest sessions to the next level. Playtesting is the most important part of the game design process. (Honestly, playtesting is game design.) It’s where you actually get to figure out if your game idea is any good (it’s probably not at…

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Designing Word Games with Lori Love and Lea Velocci

Lori Love and Lea Velocci, founders of People for Goldfish, discuss the ins and outs of designing word games.We talk about components, scoring systems, accessibility, fun factor, and more. And be sure to check out Lori and Lea’s game Word Hustle on Kickstarter HERE.​​

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How to Run a Publishing Company with Scott Gaeta

Scott Gaeta, founder of Renegade Game Studio, discusses his journey to become one of the most well-known publishing companies in the industry. We talk about business advice, marketing, game development, and more!

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How to Design a Polyomino Game with Frank West

Frank West, designer of Isle of Cats, discusses the ins and outs of designing a polyomino game (games with those funny Tetris tiles). Isle of Cats is one of the best polyomino games on the market, and we get into what makes these games fun, prototyping, and more.

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How to Demo Games at Conventions with Sam Stockton

Sam Stockton, founder of B.A. Games, discusses everything you need to be planning for and thinking about when demoing your game at conventions (both in-person and online).Sam has been working conventions for years, and we get into booth setup, hiring volunteers, explaining your game, and more.

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Podcast Recommendations

I always like to see people jumping into podcasting.   Here are some recommendations:   Podcast Hosting: Blubrry. They have reasonable prices and great customer service. //blubrry.com/   Website: WordPress with a podcast focused theme. Blubrry has a great widget called Powerpress that integrates shows perfectly onto your site.   Website Hosting: //www.bluehost.com/   Mic: Audio Technica…

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Designing with Tabletop Simulator with Dustin Hendrickson

Dustin Hendrickson, designer of Don’t Let It Die, discusses all the ins and outs of creating your game with Tabletop Simulator.Dustin has been working with TTS for years, and we cover basically everything you need to know to get your game on the platform and why it’s a good idea to do so.

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How to Simplify a Game with Stephanie Kwok

Stephanie Kwok, designer of Ducks in Tow, discusses the process of simplifying a game down to its best possible version.Stephanie is both a designer and a publisher, so she offers both perspectives as we talk through ways to trim, cut, slice, and dice a game so that its most fun parts shine through.

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Self Care and Dealing with Designer Burnout with Kirk Dennison

Kirk Dennison, founder of Piecekeeper Games, discusses some pretty heavy topics as we get into self-care, mental health, depression, burnout, and more.Kirk went through a pretty tough time of life a while back, and we delve into issues that I believe a lot of people are struggling with right now. We also get into strategies for…

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Dice Drafting Games with Al Leduc

Al Leduc, designer of Yukon Airways, discusses what all goes into designing a dice drafting game.We talk about balance, dice mitigation, why the d6 is king, and more!

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How to Turn Gamers into Raving Fans with Casey Hill

Casey Hill, founder of Hill Gaming Company, discusses the process of turning gamers into raving fans. Casey works for the software company Bonjoro which is hyper-focused on customer engagement and retention, so we have a lot to chat about when it comes to creating raving fans.

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Homepage

Learn and Master the Skills You Need to   Design Great Games People Love Get Started Learn Free guides to show you how to be successful in the board game industry. How to Design a Board Game Get that game out of your head and onto a table. Learn More How to Playtest like a…

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Why Game Design Matters with Gabe Barrett

In this episode, it’s just me and I’m talking about why game design matters. In a world with so many pressing issues, it’s easy to not realize how important games and game design really are. I tell some personal stories and also get into where the Board Game Design Lab is headed. And be sure…

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Designing Party Games with Alex Hague

Alex Hague, designer of Wavelength, discusses all the ins and outs of designing a party game. We talk about simplicity, expectations, scoring systems, time constraints, and more! And be sure to check out Alex’s game, The Fuzzies, on Kickstarter HERE.

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Miniatures with John de Campos

John de Campos, founder of Terrible Games, discusses everything that goes into creating miniatures for a game. We talk about the design process, materials, manufacturing, and more. And be sure to check out John’s game, Token Terrors, on Kickstarter HERE.

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Designing More than Just a Game with Malachi Ray Rempen

Malachi Ray Rempen, founder of Itchy Feet, discusses what it means to design more than just a game. We talk about branding, spinoff products, merchandise, and more. And be sure to check out Malachi’s game, Roll Camera! , on Kickstarter HERE.

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Designing Majorities Based Games with Jon Vallerand

Jon Vallerand, founder of Subsurface Games, does a deep dive into the mechanism of majorities. We talk about the best majorities based games, ways to incentivize players, interactive play, and more. And be sure to check out Jon’s game, With a Smile and a Gun, on Kickstarter HERE.​​

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Designing Games in a Series with Justin Gary

Justin Gary, designer of Ascension, discusses what goes into both designing and publishing games that continue to have new content. We talk about content creation, different types of expansions, reinventing the fun for a game, and more.

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Designing and Publishing Small Box Games with Rachael Blaske

Rachael Blaske, owner of Five24 Labs, discusses everything that goes into designing and publishing games that can fit in your pocket. We talk about design constraints, managing expectations, marketing, and more.

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The Design Process of Corey Konieczka

Corey Konieczka, one of the best designers on the planet, gives us a behind-the-scenes look at his creative process. We talk about what it’s like to work at Fantasy Flight Games, coming up with ideas, playtesting, and more. If you’re not familiar with Corey, he’s worked on these games: Battlestar Galactica Space Hulk: Death Angel…

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2020 Design Challenge Finalists

1st Place: Brandt Brinkerhoff: Oros 2nd Place: Trevor Baker: Hush Hush 3rd Place: Juan Pablo Vargas Seguel: Exoplanet Colony 4th Place: Steve Darlington: There’s Been a Murder 5th Place: Aaron Lee Kempkes: Cool Cat

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Designing Worker Placement Games with Shem Phillips and Sam Macdonald

Shem Phillips and Sam Macdonald, from of Garphill Games, discuss what all goes into designing worker placement games. We talk about creating unique mechanisms, board design, player interaction, and more.

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Designing Games for a Specific Audience with Phalgun Polepalli

Phalgun Polepalli, founder of DICE Toy Labs in India, discusses the process of defining your target audience and creating products for them. We talk about market research, community building, figuring out your ideal customer, and more. 

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How to Get Involved in the Game Design Community with Danielle Reynolds

Danielle Reynolds, designer with DMR Creative Group, discusses the many ways a designer can get involved in the game design community. We talk about volunteering, design groups, mentorships, and more. 

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The Making of INIS with Christian Martinez

Christian Martinez discusses the making of his hit game, INIS. INIS is one of the highest-rated games of all time, and we go into everything from its title to its theme to its mechanisms. 

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Designing Games that Last with Brad Talton

Brad Talton, founder of Level 99 Games, discusses what goes into designing a game that lasts. We talk about creating games that are easily expandable, are easy to get into but provide depth for long-time players, and creating worlds that players want to keep coming back to. And be sure to check out Level 99’s latest…

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What Board Game Designers Can Learn from Tabletop RPGs with Hankerin Ferinale

Hankerin Ferinale, founder of Runehammer Games, discusses what board game designers can learn from the world of tabletop RPGs. Hankerin is one of the most creative people I know, and he’s been creating RPG content for years. He has a ton of insight on how RPG concepts can improve board games.

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Creating Positive Player Interaction with T.C. Petty III

T.C. Petty III, designer of VivaJava, discusses how to create positive player interaction in your game. Most games have a tendency to focus on negative interactions between players, but it doesn’t have to be that way!

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How to Design a Collectible Card Game with Assad Quraishi

Assad Quraishi, designer of Genesis: Battle of Champions, how to design a collectible card game and how to run a company with a CCG as your main product. Assad has been designing CCGs for 20+ years and running his own CCG company for quite a while, so we’re able to explore nearly every angle of this aspect…

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How to Turn Your Hobby into a Business with Chris van der Linden

Chris van der Linden, founder of Loresmyth Games, discusses his journey about going full-time in the gaming industry and how he turned his passion into his profession. It’s no small task to turn your hobby into a business, so Chris and I talk through how to make it happen, pitfalls, failure, and what the best parts…

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Accounting, Taxes, and Game Design with Justin Marty

Justin Marty, accountant at Anders CPA, discusses everything you need to be thinking about when it comes to taxes and accounting as a game designer or publisher. Whether you want to just design games on the side, run Kickstarters, or make games your full time job, we go in-depth on everything you should be thinking about…

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How to Design Miniature War Games with Marco Pecota

Marco Pecota, designer of Legions of Steel, discusses everything that goes into designing a miniature war game. Marco has been designing these types of games since the 90s, and we go into combat systems, movement, metal vs plastic, and everything in between. And be sure to check out Marco’s miniatures packs on Kickstarter HERE.

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Designing Games that Tell Stories with Ignacy Trzewiczek

Ignacy Trzewiczek, founder of Portal Games and designer of Robinson Crusoe, discusses his company’s motto: Games that tell stories. We go in-depth into Ignacy’s design process, talk about his most popular games, and get to the heart of what it looks like to create games that have players leaving the table with a story to tell.

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The Secret Sauce of Game Design with Peter C. Hayward

Peter C. Hayward is back on the show, and we’re delving into the secret sauce of his personal design process. Hint: It all hinges on blind playtesting. Peter is a designer, developer, and publisher, so he has the benefit of seeing games from lots of different angles.​​

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How to Fund a Game on Kickstarter with Gabe Barrett

It’s just me on the show, and I’m talking about my latest book project called Board Game Kickstarter Advice.  I go through some of my favorite excerpts from the 50 interviews I did for the book and discuss why it’s such good advice if you want to fund a game on Kickstarter. Be sure to…

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What Board Game Designers Can Learn from Video Games with Charlie Cleveland

Charlie Cleveland, professional video game designer and founder of Unknown Worlds Entertainment, discusses the crossover of video games and board games and what board game designers can learn from their digital counterparts. And be sure to check out Charlie’s game, Vampire Vendetta, on Kickstarter HERE.

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Designing a Game System with Bez Shahriari

Bez Shahriari, designer of Yogi, discusses how to design not just a game but a gaming system that can support lots of different games. Bez designed a system called the ELL Deck a while back, and we get into everything a designer has to think about when working on a project that’s going to consist of more…

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Designing a Betting Game with Victoria Caña and Alex Uboldi

Victoria Caña and Alex Uboldi, designers of Gladius, discuss the design process for creating a game with betting at its core. We go into the ins and outs of balancing hidden vs open information, tension, and why people like these games so much.

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Designing Big Games with Tim Eisner

Tim Eisner, designer of Tidal Blades, discusses the design process for creating big games. Tim is a master of designing games that take up a bunch of space on your table, but his games are also super approachable.

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Designing a Farming Game with Juma Al-JouJou

Juma Al-JouJou, designer of Clans of Caledonia, discusses the design process for a farming centric game. We talk about market economies, resources, balance, and more.

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Localization with Mohamed Alqadi

Mohamed Alqadi, designer of Conqueror: Final Conquest, discusses what localization is and how you can take it to the next level.  We talk about not only translating a game but also changing the art and gameplay depending on where the game is being sold.

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Designing a Nature-Themed Game with Erica Bouyouris

Erica Bouyouris, designer of Bosk, discusses what all goes into designing a nature-themed game.  We talk about bringing a theme to life, mechanisms, art, components, and more.

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Publishing Your First Game with David Smith and Travis Winstead

David Smith and Travis Winstead, designers of 10 Gallon Tank, discuss what all goes into publishing your first game.  We talk about idea selection, creating a product, long-term planning, and more. And be sure to check out their game 10 Gallon Tank on Kickstarter HERE.

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Game Design Calendar Points

Earning points each month: -5 points for designing a game based on challenges 1-3 each month. 5 bonus points for prototyping one of the designs. 5 more bonus points for playtesting it.  -5 points for playing 4 published games. -10 points for accomplishing challenge number 5 each month. Points for Design Streaks (only score for…

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The Making of Dungeon Ball with Gabe Barrett

For this episode, I’m doing another design diary, and this time I’m talking about my monster-themed football game Dungeon Ball. I talk about how the game came to be and what went into its design process.  I also go into the business side of things and talk about the highs and lows of its Kickstarter campaign.

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Designing Adventure Games with Mike Gnade

Mike Gnade, designer of Maximum Apocalypse, Set a Watch, The Few and Cursed, discusses what all goes into designing an adventure game.  We talk about open worlds, story moments, combat, events, luck, and all sorts of other things that come together to make a good adventure game.

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Designing an Awesome Print-n-Play with Martin Gonzalvez

Martin Gonzalvez, expert print-n-player, discusses why having a print-n-play version of your game is so important.  We talk about best practices and ways to make PnP files with excellence. We also get into some game creation techniques.

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How to Market a Board Game (Part 2) with Andrew Lowen

Andrew Lowen, from Next Level Web, is back to discuss even more things you need to know in order to market a game effectively. We talk about Facebook ads, post-Kickstarter marketing, working with a marketing agency, and more.

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How to Market a Board Game (Part 1) with Andrew Lowen

Andrew Lowen, from Next Level Web, discusses everything you need to be thinking about when it comes to marketing your game. We talk email lists, Facebook, timelines, and more. There was so much, in fact, that this podcast will be a 2-part series.

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Combat Systems with Jayson Smith and Jason Zmuda

Jayson Smith and Jason Zmuda, from Gold Cauldron Games, discuss the ins and outs of various combat systems. We talk dice, cards, dexterity and more. And we analyze several “must play” games to learn how to design awesome combat. 

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Post: Gallery Example

A wonderful serenity has taken possession of my entire soul, like these sweet mornings of spring which I enjoy with my whole heart. I am alone, and feel the charm of existence in this spot, which was created for the bliss of souls like mine. I am so happy, my dear friend, so absorbed in…

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Podcasting Gear Review

A wonderful serenity has taken possession of my entire soul, like these sweet mornings of spring which I enjoy with my whole heart. I am alone, and feel the charm of existence in this spot, which was created for the bliss of souls like mine. I am so happy, my dear friend, so absorbed in…

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5 Tips For Starting A New Podcast

A wonderful serenity has taken possession of my entire soul, like these sweet mornings of spring which I enjoy with my whole heart. I am alone, and feel the charm of existence in this spot, which was created for the bliss of souls like mine. I am so happy, my dear friend, so absorbed in…

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Learn How We Started Podcasting

A wonderful serenity has taken possession of my entire soul, like these sweet mornings of spring which I enjoy with my whole heart. I am alone, and feel the charm of existence in this spot, which was created for the bliss of souls like mine. I am so happy, my dear friend, so absorbed in…

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Mixing the Fine Arts with Game Design with Chris Totten

Chris Totten, designer of La Mancha, discusses the intersection of the fine arts and modern gaming. Chris is a professor of game design at Kent State University and has written several books on game design.

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Designing a Racing Game with Omar Tarancon

Omar Tarancon, designer of Safari Turbo, discusses how to design a racing game. We talk about creating tensions, special abilities, board design and more.

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Getting the Most out of a Theme with Tobias Olsson and Samuel Sapire

Tobias Olsson and Samuel Sapire, from Tea Time Productions, discuss how they get the most out of the themes in their games. We talk about starting with a theme in mind and making the mechanisms bring it to life, and we go into how to start with mechanisms and add a theme to the mix. And check out…

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Fulfillment, Shipping, and Logistics with Toby Truman

Toby Truman, warehouse owner and product fulfiller, discusses his best advice on shipping, logistics, and saving money. This was honestly one of the most enlightening episodes I’ve done, and Toby has great tips and tricks on how to get your game into the world for the best rates.

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Time Management and Getting Things Done with Jason Brooks

Jason Brooks, designer of Legacies, discusses his best time management tips. We talk about all sorts of different ways to make time for game design, and we get into specific strategies for creating habits that make success inevitable. And be sure to check out Jason’s game, Legacies, which is on Kickstarter HERE.

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Designing Games with Your Kids with David and Jordanna Santiago

David and Jordanna Santiago, the father/daughter team behind the game Jujo, discuss their process for designing games and how other families can do the same. We talk about the importance of games as they relate to the development of children, and Jordanna gives lots of advice on how to design alongside kids. And be sure to check out their game Jujo which…

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The Making of Hunted with Gabe Barrett, Drew Corkill, and Jorge Velez

For this episode, I’m doing basically a design diary for my latest game, Hunted. I talk about inspiration, playtesting, and development, and I interview the graphic designer and the artist to discuss their creative processes. Hunted has been a blast to design, and in this episode, I go through all the ins and outs of…

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Building a Collaboration Based Publishing Company with Shawn Stankewich

Shawn Stankewich, founder of Flat Out Games, discusses how he’s building a publishing company that’s built on collaboration. Shawn’s company doesn’t hire out tasks but instead brings on team members who share in both the work and the profits. And be sure to check out Shawn’s game Calico which is on Kickstarter HERE.

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Designing Games for Non-Gamers with Adam McCrimmon

Adam McCrimmon, CEO of XYZ Game Labs, discusses how to design games with non-gamers and new gamers in mind. Adam’s company focuses on gateway games, and they’re constantly trying to get more people into the hobby. And be sure to check out Adam’s game Arch Ravels which is on Kickstarter HERE.

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Celebrating 150 Episodes! with Gabe Barrett

For this episode, it’s just me on the show, and I’m taking some time to look back at where the BGDL has come from, look ahead to where we’re going, and answer your questions. It’s been an amazing three years of episodes, and I’m excited about what’s next!

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Running an Indie Game Publishing Company with Andrew Birkett

Andrew Birkett, founder of Atheris Games, discusses what it looks like to be an indie game publisher. Andrew has been running his own game company for four years, and we do a deep dive into the ins and outs of the publishing world. And be sure to check out Andrew’s game Ruins of Mars which is on Kickstarter HERE.

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CE Marking and Board Games with Glenn Ford

Glenn Ford, the lead developer for Gaslands, discusses all the ins and outs of being able to legally place the CE mark on the back of your game box. There are a ton of misconceptions and misinformation about the process, and Glenn goes through everything step-by-step to make sure it’s crystal clear. And for more reading on…

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The Three Types of Creativity with JB Howell

JB Howell, designer of Flotilla, discusses the three types of creativity and how they relate to game design. JB is an up and coming designer who I believe will be a household name by the end of this year, and we go into a lot of the ins and outs of his own creative process.

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Designing a Civilization Game with Jamey Stegmaier

Jamey Stegmaier, designer of Tapestry, discusses how to design a civilization game. Creating a civ game is no small task, and we get into all the ins and outs of putting one together.

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Designing a Roll and Write with Odin Phong

Odin Phong, founder of Inkwell Games, discusses how to design a roll and write game. The roll and write genre has exploded in popularity over the last couple of years, and we get into why people are drawn to them and how to design a good one. And be sure to check out Odin’s roll and…

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Media and Game Design with Ann Losito

Ann Losito, Twitch streamer with Twist Gaming, discusses how to engage with media as a game designer. In today’s world, designers and publishers are more and more having to be on top of their media game in order to be successful. Ann and I get into what that looks like.

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Podcast Guest Information

Podcast Guests Thank you so much for being a guest on the BGDL podcast! Below, you’ll find all the basic info you need to have a great interview. The Basics All interviews are audio-only. Interviews are intended to be recorded beginning-to-end, but I can edit, if necessary, due to technical issues, children running into the…

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Designing 3D games with Dave Schultze

Dave Schultze, designer of Gridopolis, discusses how to design a game that not only spreads out on the table but also goes up. Dave has worked for companies like Lego, Hasbro, and Mattel designing toys and games and has a ton of knowledge on how to design three-dimensional games.

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Paying Attention to Detail with Lizzy Funkhouser

Lizzy Funkhouser, designer of Something to Fear, discusses what it looks like to pay attention to detail when designing a game. Lizzy loves to add Easter egg type details into her games to enhance the gaming experience, and we get into lots of examples and ways to add cool things to a design.

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Freelancing in the Gaming Industry with John Brieger

John Brieger, professional freelancer, discusses what it looks like to make a living working on board games. John is a designer, developer, editor, and more, and he’s been working on games full-time for about a year.

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Lessons Learned from Developing Games with Joe Pilkus

Joe Pilkus, professional game developer, discusses the lessons he’s learned from developing games over the years. Joe has worked on games from Stonemaier Games, Academy Games, and many other major publishers, and he’s been helping fledgling game designers online for years.

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Creating Magic Moments with Derek Funkhouser

Derek Funkhouser, designer of Walking Dead: Something to Fear, discusses how to design games that create magic moments. Derek is the lead developer at Skybound Games and loves designing so that players enjoy awesome moments that they’ll talk about for years to come.

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Designing Fantasy Themed Games with Wes Woodbury

Wes Woodbury, designer of Legends of Novus, discusses how to design a fantasy-themed game. We talk about world-building, combat systems, art, and more.  And be sure to check out Wes’s fantasy-themed board game on Kickstarter HERE.

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Rapid Iteration with Ryan Langewisch

Ryan Langewisch, designer of Tasty Humans, discusses how to create and update a game quickly and efficiently. Ryan recently won a 48-hour game jam and has gotten really good at the iteration process.

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Designing Worker Placement Games with Luke Laurie

Luke Laurie, designer of Energy Empire, discusses all the ins and outs of creating a worker placement game. Luke has a ton of experience with the genre with 4 more worker placement games set to come out over the next 2 years.

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4 Types of Gamer Experiences with Ian Zang

Ian Zang, developer for Deep Water Games, discusses 4 different types of gamer experiences. Ian has simplified and categorized different ways that people experience games, and he shares a lot to think about as designers.

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Designing a Narrative Driven Game with Nikki Valens

Nikki Valens, designer of Mansions of Madness, discusses how to design a narrative driven game. Nikki has designed some of my absolute favorite games and is a master of creating games that tell good stories.

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Designing a Tile-Laying Game with Bob and Ryan Craig

Bob and Ryan Craig, founders of One Day West Games, discuss how to design a tile-laying game. Their game, Monster Highway, is a fast-playing tile laying game about escaping from a Godzilla style monster, and they have several other tiling games in the works.

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Outdoor Mystery Games with Geert Sillevis

Geert Sillevis, founder of Mystery City Games, discusses how to design an outdoor escape room type of game. Geert’s game, “A Secret Sender,” is designed to help tourists experience Amsterdam while also enjoying a mystery game. (And it has a 5-star rating on Trip Advisor.)

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Designing an Engine Building Game with Elizabeth Hargrave

Elizabeth Hargrave, designer of Wingspan, discusses how to design engine building games. Wingspan is ranked in the top 100 on Board Game Geek, and we talk a lot about Elizabeth’s design process for creating the game.

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Going Pro in the Gaming Industry with Evan Derrick

Evan Derrick, designer of Detective: City of Angels, discusses his own journey and his advice on how to go pro in the gaming industry. Evan works for Van Ryder Games and has been a full-time pro for over a year. And be sure to check out Hostage Negotiator: Career on Kickstarter HERE.

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Designing Games Based on a Licensed IP with Daryl Andrews

Daryl Andrews discusses designing games based on licensed IPs. Daryl has designed a TON of games based on comics, TV shows, and movies, and he goes through lots of ins and outs on how the process works.

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Multiple Mechanisms in a Game with Darren Terpstra

Darren Terpstra, designer of Ignite, discusses designing games with multiple moving parts and several mechanisms integrated together. Ignite has quite a few mechanisms working together, so Darren has had to figure out how to make this concept work in a streamlined way. And be sure to check out Ignite on Kickstarter HERE.

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Designing Historical Games with Tom Butler

Tom Butler, designer of Patriots and Redcoats, discusses the design of historical games.  Tom has specialized in creating games based on history and has lots of interesting insight on the topic. And be sure to check out Tom’s new game, Paradise Lost, on Kickstarter HERE.

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Designing Economic Games with Adam Chunn and Woody Hutsell

Adam Chunn and Woody Hutsell discuss designing economic games. Adam and Woody have years of experience working in the real world of finance and economics and decided to design a game that translates those concepts into game mechanics. Check out their back-alley economic game set in a fantasy world, Plunderbund, on Kickstarter HERE.

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Fun AND Educational Games with John Coveyou

John Coveyou, founder of Genius Games, discusses how to design games that also happen to be educational. John is the designer of Cytosis, Subatomic, Ion, and several other well-received science based games, and he’s really figured out how to take scientific ideas and translate them into enjoyable games. 

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How to Be a Great Playtester with Peter C. Hayward

Peter C. Hayward, founder of Jellybean Games, discusses how to be a great playtester. Peter often gets paid by publishers to playtest games and probably playtests more games than anyone you know. He’s got great advice on what it looks like to be the most helpful playtester at the table. Be sure to check out Peter’s new…

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Multiple End Game Triggers with Noel Gussen

Noel Gussen, designer of Deckfighters, discusses designing a game with multiple win conditions. Noel’s MMA style card game has lots of ways to win (and lose), so we talk through different ways to add multiple end-game triggers.

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Playtesting Pro Tips with Jay Cormier

Jay Cormier, designer of Belfort and tons of other games, discusses tons of ins and outs of playtesting. Jay has been designing games for over 15 years and has a ton of experience and advice on how to get to the best game possible.  And be sure to check out Jay’s playtest journal on Kickstarter HERE.​​

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Teaching Game Design with Joe Slack

Joe Slack, college instructor of game design, discusses the ins and outs of teaching game design to other people. Joe recently went full-time in the gaming industry and is focussing on helping others learn how to bring their games to life. And be sure to check out Joe’s board game design course HERE.

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Product Management and Game Design with Patrick Rauland

Patrick Rauland, designer of Fry Thief, discusses product management and how it relates to game design. Patrick has worked as a pro product manager in the software industry, and there are tons of ways that understanding product management will make you a better designer in everything from prototyping to playtesting to running a Kickstarter. Patrick’s game, Fry…

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Board Game Design Advice Bonus Material

Check out Board Game Design Advice on Kickstarter HERE! Board Game Design Advice Book Facebook Facebook Discord

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Small Games that Pack a Big Punch with Jason Tagmire

Jason Tagmire, founder of Button Shy Games, discusses the process of designing and publishing small games that pack a big punch. Jason’s company specializes in 18 card games, and he’s become a master at packing a ton of game into a small package.​​ And check out Button Shy’s latest game on Kickstarter HERE.

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The Game Designers Documentary with Eric Rayl

For the past 3 years, Eric Rayl has been traveling around the world interviewing some of the best designers in the world about their games, their processes, and their experiences in the industry. Check out the documentary HERE.

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Programmable Action Games with Bill Lasek

Bill Lasek, designer of Koi, discusses how to design programmable action games. Programmable actions provide really interesting options for players and create really interesting challenges for designers. Bill’s game, Koi, programs fish moving around a pond, so he has first-hand experience with this type of game.

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Board Game Graphic Design with James Van Niekerk

James Van Niekerk, professional graphic designer and creator of Valor & Villainy, discusses colors, fonts, hierarchies, and tons of other concepts that you need to think about when working through the graphic design of a game.

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Designing Deduction Games with Tim Fowers

Tim Fowers, designer of Burgle Bros and Fugitive, discusses how to design deduction games. Fugitive is one of my favorite deduction games, and Tim’s next game, Sabotage, is also a really cool deduction game coming out later this year.

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Designing Area Control Games with Steven Aramini

Steven Aramini, designer of Animal Kingdoms, discusses how to design an area control game. Animal Kingdoms won the 2018 Cardboard Edison award and is a really clever, card-driven area control game.

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Designing a Negotiation Game with Fabian Zimmermann

Fabian Zimmermann, designer of Goodcritters, discusses how to design a negotiation game. Goodcritters is the most recent game in the Dice Tower Essentials line, and negotiation is the core of the game.

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Designing a Deck Building Game with Darwin Kastle

Darwin Kastle, from White Wizard Games, discusses how to design a deck builder. Darwin is a hall of fame Magic: the Gathering player and has a TON of experience designing card games. His most popular games are Star Realms and Hero Realms.

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Designing Puzzle Games with Rita Orlov

Rita Orlov discusses how to design a good puzzle game. Through her company, Post Curious, Rita designs deeply immersive games for people who enjoy a good challenge.

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Creating an Online Playtesting Group with Daniel & Connie Kazmaier

Daniel and Connie Kazmaier discuss how they put together a rather large online playtesting group for their game, Chai. They have nearly 800 playtesters in their group and go into how they’ve nurtured and developed it.

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The SEO Show

A wonderful serenity has taken possession of my entire soul, like these sweet mornings of spring which I enjoy with my whole heart. I am alone, and feel the charm of existence in this spot, which was created for the bliss of souls like mine. I am so happy, my dear friend, so absorbed in…

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Monetary Talk

A wonderful serenity has taken possession of my entire soul, like these sweet mornings of spring which I enjoy with my whole heart. I am alone, and feel the charm of existence in this spot, which was created for the bliss of souls like mine. I am so happy, my dear friend, so absorbed in…

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Everybody Loves The Sunshine

A wonderful serenity has taken possession of my entire soul, like these sweet mornings of spring which I enjoy with my whole heart. I am alone, and feel the charm of existence in this spot, which was created for the bliss of souls like mine. I am so happy, my dear friend, so absorbed in…

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Web Design Show

A wonderful serenity has taken possession of my entire soul, like these sweet mornings of spring which I enjoy with my whole heart. I am alone, and feel the charm of existence in this spot, which was created for the bliss of souls like mine. I am so happy, my dear friend, so absorbed in…

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Marked – Solopreneur Podcast

A wonderful serenity has taken possession of my entire soul, like these sweet mornings of spring which I enjoy with my whole heart. I am alone, and feel the charm of existence in this spot, which was created for the bliss of souls like mine. I am so happy, my dear friend, so absorbed in…

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Espresso – The Coffee Podcast

A wonderful serenity has taken possession of my entire soul, like these sweet mornings of spring which I enjoy with my whole heart. I am alone, and feel the charm of existence in this spot, which was created for the bliss of souls like mine. I am so happy, my dear friend, so absorbed in…

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Sweets: Vintage Show

A wonderful serenity has taken possession of my entire soul, like these sweet mornings of spring which I enjoy with my whole heart. I am alone, and feel the charm of existence in this spot, which was created for the bliss of souls like mine. I am so happy, my dear friend, so absorbed in…

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The Startup Cast

A wonderful serenity has taken possession of my entire soul, like these sweet mornings of spring which I enjoy with my whole heart. I am alone, and feel the charm of existence in this spot, which was created for the bliss of souls like mine. I am so happy, my dear friend, so absorbed in…

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Symphony Music Show

A wonderful serenity has taken possession of my entire soul, like these sweet mornings of spring which I enjoy with my whole heart. I am alone, and feel the charm of existence in this spot, which was created for the bliss of souls like mine. I am so happy, my dear friend, so absorbed in…

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Gold Rush – Fintech Podcast

A wonderful serenity has taken possession of my entire soul, like these sweet mornings of spring which I enjoy with my whole heart. I am alone, and feel the charm of existence in this spot, which was created for the bliss of souls like mine. I am so happy, my dear friend, so absorbed in…

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Rebound Sports Show

A wonderful serenity has taken possession of my entire soul, like these sweet mornings of spring which I enjoy with my whole heart. I am alone, and feel the charm of existence in this spot, which was created for the bliss of souls like mine. I am so happy, my dear friend, so absorbed in…

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Designing a Tabletop RPG with Stephen & Michael Stagliano

Stephen and Michael Stagliano discuss designing an RPG system. They’ve been working on their own tabletop RPG game, and they run a podcast, both called Tavern of Heroes.They’ve been playing and designing role playing games for years, and we have a lively discussion on the ins and outs of putting one together. These guys have an…

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[BGDL+] My Kickstarter Post Mortem

Jamey Stegmaier and I discuss what went wrong with my Kickstarter campaign and what I’m doing differently for the relaunch. Check out the relaunch of The Final Flicktier HERE.

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