There's an awesome board game in you, and this book will help make it a reality.
In these pages you'll find wisdom and advice that will help you design great games people love.
Don't let that game just keep bouncing around your brain. Get it on a table so others can enjoy it.
Let 100+ of the best designers on the planet be your guide as you bring your game to life.
Game design is hard. Wouldn't it be great if you could ask the best designers on the planet questions to help you become better at the craft. In Board Game Design Advice, you'll find incredible wisdom from 100+ of the top designers in the industry today.
You'll learn things like:
- What Reiner Knizia would tell his younger self.
- How Nikki Valens knows when to walk away from a design for a while.
- The game Alan Moon recommends most to fledgling designers.
- How Isaac Vega gets into the zone and flow of design.
- The new belief that has helped Ignacy Trzewiczek's designs dramatically improve.
- Lessons Jamey Stegmaier learned from his biggest failure.
- The best advice Corey Konieczka would give a designer who is just
- What recent purchase has helped Jon Gilmour's designs the most.
- The life philosophy that improves Richard Garfield's game designs.
- What Vlaada Chvatil would tell you after a discouraging playtest.
- Donald X. Vaccarino's advice on pitching a game to a publisher.
- What Antoine Bauza does when he feels overwhelmed or unfocused.
And a TON more!
(The book will be around 400 pages.)
Here's the full list of the 46 designers added for the 2nd edition:
- Reiner Knizia Tigris & Euphrates, Ra, Samurai
- Nikki Valens Mansions of Madness, Eldritch Horror, Legacy of Dragonholt
- Antoine Bauza 7 Wonders, Ghost Stories, Takenoko
- Ignacy Trzewiczek Portal Games, Robinson Crusoe, Imperial Settlers
- Alan Moon Ticket to Ride, Airlines Europe, Union Pacific
- Isaac Vega Dead of Winter, Ashes, Starship Samurai
- Vlaada Chvatil Codenames, Mage Knight, Through the Ages
- Virginio Gigli Grand Austria Hotel, Lorenzo Ii Magnifico, Coimbra
- Flaminia Brasini Lorenzo Ii Magnifico, Coimbra, Egizia
- Tim Fowers Burgle Bros., Paperback, Fugitive
- Corey Konieczka Star Wars: Rebellion, Twilight Imperium, Star Wars: Imperial Assault
- Behrooz ‘Bez’ Shahriari Stuff by Bez, In a Bind
- Yeo Keng Leong Three Kingdoms Redux, Race for the Chinese Zodiac
- Ng Zhen Wei Christina Three Kingdoms Redux, Race for the Chinese Zodiac
- Carla Kopp Weird Giraffe Games, Stellar Leap, Super Hack Overdrive
- Brady Sadler Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game, Warhammer Quest, Heroes of Terrinoth
- Adam Sadler Descent, Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game, Warhammer Quest
- Mike Keller La Granja, Agra, Solarius Mission
- Wei-Hwa Huang Roll for the Galaxy
- Ole Steiness Champions of Midgard, Police Precinct, Spurs: A Tale in the Old West
- Samuel W Bailey Forbidden Stars, Rambo: The Board Game
- Scott Rogers Pantone, Rayguns and Rocketships
- Elizabeth Hargrave Wingspan
- Darwin Kastle Star Realms, Hero Realms, Cthulhu Realms
- Rob Dougherty Star Realms, Hero Realms, Ascension
- Curt Covert Smirk & Dagger Games, Cutthroat Caverns, Nevermore
- James Hudson Druid City Games, The Grimm Masquerade, Guardian's Call
- Tim Eisner The Grimm Forest, March of the Ants, Tidal Blades
- Manuel Rozoy T.I.M.E. Stories, Assassins Creed
- Sami Laakso Dale of Merchants, Dawn of Peacemakers
- Kevin Riley Aeon's End
- R. Eric Reuss Spirit Island, Fealty
- Jason Tagmire Button Shy Games, Seven7s, Pixel Lincoln
- Paul Dennen Clank!
- Michael Schacht Coloretto, Web of Power, Zooloretto
- Josh Carlson Too Many Bones, Cloudspire
- Matt Tolman Brass: Birmingham, Super Motherload, Undermining
- Juma Al-JouJou Clans of Caledonia, Green Deal
- Nate Chatellier Dice Throne
- Kelly North Adams Veggie Garden, Chibi Quest
- David Turczi Anachrony, Kitchen Rush, Crebria
- Daniele Tascini Tzolk'in, Voyages of Marco Polo, Teotihuacan
- John Coveyou Genius Games, Cytosis, Subatomic
- Peter C. Hayward Jellybean Games, Dracula's Feast, The Lady and the Tiger
- Aron West Elzra Games, Catacombs
- Matus Kotry Alchemists
The 2nd edition will also have lots of mini-interview style content in which designers take on specific topics to give their best tips and advice. Check out the BONUS MATERIAL below to see some examples.
Here's the full list of the 68 designers from the 1st edition:
- Rob Daviau Pandemic Legacy, Hero Scape, Risk Legacy
- Matt Leacock Pandemic, Forbidden Desert, Forbidden Island
- Jamey Stegmaier Stonemaier Games, Scythe, Viticulture
- Richard Launius Arkham Horror, Defenders of the Realm, Elder Sign
- Bruno Faidutti Citadels, Mission Red Planet, Raptor
- Richard Garfield Magic: The Gathering, Roborally, Android Netrunner
- Grant Rodiek Cry Havoc, Hocus, Farmageddon
- Alan Emrich Victory Point Games, A House Divided, Axis Empires
- Jerry Hawthorne Mice & Mystics, Stuffed Fables, Comanauts
- Shem Phillips Garphill Games, Raiders of the North Sea, Explorers of the North Sea
- Colby Dauch Plaid Hat Games, Summoner Wars, Crystal Clans
- Martin Wallace Treefrog Games, Brass: Lancashire, Railways of the World
- Sen-Foong Lim Belfort, Junk Art, Akrotiri
- Jay Cormier Belfort, Junk Art, Akrotiri
- Bruno Cathala 7 Wonders Duel, Five Tribes, Kingdomino
- Mike Fitzgerald Baseball Highlights 2045, Diamonds, Mystery Rummy
- Kane Klenko Fuse, Dead Men Tell No Tales, Flip Ships
- James Ernest Cheapass Games, Lords of Vegas, Kill Doctor Lucky
- Mac Gerdts Concordia, Imperial, Navegador
- Andrew Looney Looney Labs, Fluxx, Chrononauts
- Tom Lehmann Race for the Galaxy, Roll for the Galaxy, Jump Drive
- Tom Jolly Manhattan Project: Energy Empire, Wiz-War, Warhammer: Diskwars
- JR Honeycutt Seafall, Fireball Island, Tesla vs Edison: Duel
- Mike Selinker Pathfinder ACG, Lords of Vegas, Betrayal at House on the Hill
- Ryan Laukat Red Raven Games, Above and Below, Near and Far
- Don Eskridge Orange Machine Games, The Resistance, Avalon
- Donald X. Vaccarino Dominion, Kingdom Builder, Android: Infiltration
- Ted Alspach Bezier Games, Castles of Mad King Ludwig, Suburbia
- Edo Baraf Pencil First Games, Herbaceous, Lift Off!
- JT Smith The Game Crafter, The Captain Is Dead
- Gordon Hamilton Santorini
- Luke Laurie Manhattan Project: Energy Empire
- Jacques Bariot Kemet, Nefertiti
- Reiner Stockhausen Orleans, Altiplano, Siberia
- Ben Rosset Brew Crafters, Between Two Cities
- Leo Colovini Cartagena, Carolus Magnus, Clans
- Morten Monrad Pedersen Scythe, The Gaia Project, Viticulture
- Steven Aramini Yardmaster, Groves, Coin & Crown
- Randy Hoyt Foxtrot Games, Relic Expedition, Spy Club
- Jonathan W. Gilmour Dead of Winter, Dinosaur Island, Kids on Bikes
- Seth Jaffee Eminent Domain, Isle of Trains, Crusaders: Thy Will Be Done
- Cédrick Chaboussit Lewis and Clark, Discoveries
- Richard Breese R&D Games, Keyflower, Reef Encounter
- Gil Hova Formal Ferret Games, The Networks, Wordsy
- Phil Walker-Harding Sushi Go!, Imhotep, Barenpark
- Alf Seegert Fantastiqa, Above and Below, Near and Far
- Isaac Childres Cephalofair Games, Gloomhave, Forge War
- Matthias Cramer Rococo, Lancaster, Glen More
- Vital Lacerda The Gallerist, Lisboa, Vinhos
- Simone Luciani Tzolk'in, Voyages of Marco Polo, Grand Austria Hotel
- Sébastien Pauchon Jaipur, Jamaica, Yspahan
- Rüdiger Dorn Istanbul, Goa, Karuba
- Jacob Fryxelius Terraforming Mars, After the Virus
- Hermann Luttmann Dawn of the Zeds
- Hisashi Hayashi Yokohama, Trains, String Railway
- Chris Kirkman Dice Hate Me Games, Fate of the Elder Gods
- Alexander Pfister Great Western Trail, Mombasa, Isle of Sky
- Stephen Finn Doctor Finn's Games, Biblios, Herbaceous
- Philippe Keyaerts Small World, Vinci, Evo
- Glenn Drover Railways of the World, Age of Empires III, Empires: Age of Discovery
- Geoff Engelstein Space Cadets, Space Cadets: Dice Duel, The Expanse Board Game
- Daryl Andrews Maple Games, Sagrada, The Walled City
- Joris Wiersinga Splotter Games, Food Chain Magnate, Indonesia
- T. C. Petty III VivaJava, VivaJava: The Dice Game, Xenon Profiteer
- Jason Matthews Twilight Struggle, 1960: Making of a President, 1989: Dawn of Freedom
- Jeroen Doumen Splotter Games, Food Chain Magnate, Indonesia
- Stephen Glenn Balloon Cup, 1st and Goal, Rattlebones
- D. Brad Talton Jr. Level 99 Games, Battlecon, Millennium Blades
"I'm not kidding when I say that I've kept Gabe's book, Board Game Design Advice, right next to my desk ever since I first received it. Whenever I'm struggling with a design, I read the next chapter, and without fail I always learn something from the featured designer.”
-Jamey Stegmaier, Designer of Scythe
"You are asking interesting questions. These are not the standard questions which I have heard lots of times and have a spontaneous and direct answer to them. Your questions make me think a little bit more."
-Reiner Knizia, Designer of 600+ published games
“Gabe Barrett is simply one one of the best interviewers out there. He’s talking with some of the greats in the game industry, giving you deep insights into their processes and perspectives.”
-Luke Laurie, Designer of The Manhattan Project: Energy Empire
“Tons of insight from the top designers of our modern tabletop games – both inspiring and educational.”
-Sami Laakso, Designer of Dale of Merchants
"Board Game Design Advice is never far from my desk, both because it's a useful reference piece when I need help, and because it's a fun read as a fan of game design."
-JR Honeycutt, Designer of Fireball Island
- Extended audio interviews with Reiner Knizia and Tim Fowers
- James Hudson's top 3 tips for getting published
- JR Honeycutt's top 3 tips for working with a developer
You'll receive a digital copy of the book in three different formats: PDF, ePub, and MOBI. When the book is complete, you'll get an email with download links.
At this level, you'll receive a paperback copy of the book, and you'll get it several weeks before the book is available anywhere else (GUARANTEED).
See shipping rates below.
The hardback version of the book will not be available anywhere else and comes with a special edition cover. Every copy will be numbered and signed by the author.
If you order a hardback, you'll also receive a digital copy of the book, a bookmark, some stickers, and a 6 month subscription to BGDL+.
Oh, and you get FREE shipping!
What is BGDL+?
BGDL+ is a spinoff of the Board Game Design Lab podcast.
It provides members with extra podcast episodes, exclusive interviews, giveaways, and more. It's a way for game designers to take their work to the next level.
Members also get free access to design contests like the Board Game Design Challenge coming up in May.
Typically, you become a member through Patreon and pay by the month, but if you back this campaign to receive a hardback copy of the book, you'll get a 6 month membership for free (a $30 value).
If you're a registered retailer, and you'd like to get some copies to sell at your store, this is the level for you. You'll receive 5 paperback copies of the book at a 50% discount.
Shipping costs $5 for the continental United States and $10 for everywhere else.
You'll also receive a complimentary digital copy of the book.
If you want more than 5 copies, please send me a message, and we can work something out.
At this level, you'll receive a hardback and digital book, access to BGDL+, and you can sponsor 1 week of content on the BGDL Facebook page and podcast. You'll receive:
- A banner on the BGDL Facebook page
- A banner in the weekly newsletter and podcast announcement emails
- A 90 second ad before that week's podcast
First come, first served. Click HERE to see if the week you want is available before selecting this reward. Please click the "+" icon to add your name, select the week you want, hit "Update," and select this reward immediately afterward.
This is a great way to tell people about your upcoming Kickstarter or game release. Typical episodes of the BGDL podcast average around 3,000 downloads.
*All banners and ads must be approved by Gabe.
At this level, you'll receive a hardback and digital book, access to BGDL+, a bookmark, stickers, and two 1-hour coaching calls done over Skype to talk about anything game design related with Gabe.
If you've run into some design snags, need help with a Kickstarter, want another set of eyes on your project, or just need some encouragement, this is a great reward level to pick.
Dates and times of meetings will be coordinated after the campaign is over.
*The paperbacks & hardbacks are EU friendly.
Stretch goals for a campaign like this are obviously a little different than a typical project in the board game space. I can't exactly upgrade to a linen finish or add extra miniatures. So, the stretch goals are going to add more content to the book in the form of mini-interviews on specific topics.
Hey. My name is Gabe, and in 2016 I created the Board Game Design Lab with one main mission: to help designers create great games that people love.
Out of that mission came a podcast with over 115 episodes, a website full of resources, and an amazing community of designers trying to help each other become the best they can be.
It's been an incredible journey, and I can't wait to see what the future holds. If you think there's a game inside you (and I believe there is), I hope you'll come along on the journey to get it out of your head and onto a table. And don't worry, me and the BGDL will be there to help you every step of the way.
I want to say a very special thanks to Drew Corkill who did all the awesome graphics for this campaign page. He also designed the covers for the book and is doing the interior layout and design. He's a true professional and does excellent work!
And I got the music for the main video from hooksounds.com.
Risks and challenges
Overall, the risks for this campaign are very low. I've delivered several books in the past, so I've got a good grasp on how to get things done.
The cover and all the interviews for the book are done. Now, the only things left are editing, layout, and the graphic design of the interior. The books will be printed in the U.S., so there won't be an issue with the delays that typically plague campaigns that use international manufacturers.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (22 days)