Project Post | Creating a board game prototype

Creating a board game prototype. It was past time I shared a new project on my blog, and in this post, I wanted to share my efforts in making a board game prototype.

These are some of the processes used for creating a board game prototype for a past client – ( Conway Council ).

I would like to say that the initial brief was simple, and in truth, it was simple, on paper at least. But it was also simple to point out vague.

Nuances came up that I had never experienced in my career so far. I could tell that the people commissioning the project, were not familiar with working with board game designers, and that was fine.

I was also there to help and guide them.

From the outset, I knew I would need to roll my sleeves up to make a playable game. Like the image shows.

Board game prototype for streetwise board game

What I gleaned from the initial brief:

  • The board game needed to be educational
  • Palatable for teenagers
  • And teaches teens about the hard knocks of life ( and youth homelessness )

Conwy Council was going to use this game with charity organisations such as Shelter and other companies based in Wales.

“teach children about youth homelessness”

Core steps and processes used in making this prototype

  • Discussed the initial brief. After a basic telephone call.
  • Create the first brief ( the entirety of the project was actually several smaller projects ).
  • Created very rough rules
  • Creating the initial game mechanics based on the rules
  • Visual design, characters, rules, packaging, and general graphic design art direction
  • Created a mockup – in full colour
  • Ran first playtest
  • Refined game
  • Create a design-ready prototype for photography and further development
  • Worked as the middleman, project manager, and between client and ad prototype manufacturer
Divider

Creating a board game prototype ( overview )

The aim of the game was to create something that teaches children and teenagers the dangers of youth homelessness. It is the ‘gamification’ of how to better manage personal finances, and work with general property pitfalls and debt. All these situations can lead to you losing your house and home.

The message of the game was stark, but we needed to establish a way to make the game both enjoyable, educational, and palatable.

For the brief, I was initially given a spreadsheet of depressing phrases that were more akin to a sad flashcard game than a board game. I used these phrases and situations as inspiration for the game mechanics. These phrases acted as a springboard.

After all, the main purpose was to create an educational game with a root meaning: try to look after yourself and not end up homeless. That, would be my hook for how you lose the game.

“I didn’t want to make the game so hard and depressing that it completely crushed the players’ souls. The game ‘could’ be beaten.”

But even with the best-laid plans, and being careful with money, things can occur. That is another core mechanic built into the rules. It was another lesson subliminally buried in the core game play.

Divider

1 ) Crafting the basic rules

When creating a board game prototype, a viable game mechanic and rules are essential to a game that is both playable and fun.

I hate it when you buy a board game and realise that gameplay is not only flawed but utterly broken. I feel cheated.

When making the rules, I didn’t want to make the game so hard and depressing that it completely crushed the players’ souls. The game ‘could’ be beaten.

Nor did I want to make a game that could be cheated. This is why playtesting your game is important. and with strangers better still.

These rules were alpha-tested by me.

Notes were taken, the game was enhanced, and artwork was then ( Note then, after making a playable mock-up) created.

Here is more on creating a mock-up for creating a board game prototype.

Divider

2 )The first iteration of the game

In the very early form of the game, I constructed it from bits and pieces from my studio and my partner’s office. Nothing fancy.

Creating a board game prototype the initial game pieces

Photo taken from the earliest iteration of the game.

When creating the early form of the board game prototype, here is an example of those bits and pieces.

Creating a board game prototype – Alpha Scrap Components

  • Post-it notes
  • Bits of bric-a-brac as game pieces
  • A sheet of white A3 paper
  • Note paper
  • Scraps of paper as currency

As I said, nothing fancy at all when developing the game mechanics.

It was whatever I could fashion together to make a playable game. For this project, this was all that was required, but you can buy prototype kits also.

Once I had established some very basic rules and core game mechanics. I then set about testing what some of the different cards might work and play like.

cards and tokens

When creating a board game prototype, this is a crucial stage! Before graphic design was even considered. They game needed to be half-decent to play.

Seeing what components you need earlier in the development process rather than later, will save time, money, and headaches. You can then move on to the graphic design stages and artwork. Which brings me to the next part.

Divider

3 ) Characters & the visual design for creating a board game prototype

Once the first iteration of a playable game was created, I stress-tested the rules. I then set about creating some initial visual design for the game – the graphic design.

I sketched out some characters, titles, the general look and feel of the game, and the cover of the box of which there were several iterations. And a segment for the game board for the client to see. I will often refer to this stage as ‘Early design, design roughs, early development or first phase of development’.

There is no use in creating an entire project only to show the client at the end something they don’t like. Make life easier on yourself, and create a sample. Speaking of which, here is a sample from this projects of some of my process and journey.

Initial artwork for a board game ( design ideas )

Creating a board game prototype early idea generation

in this part, you can see me experimenting with different card designs to present to the client. The preferred cards would be funneled and developed further in later stages.

Character illustration for board game
Characters
Cover artwork

Creating a general look and feel for the cover and some of the typographic experimentation. This is in essence part of the cover and box packaging ( including the cover art )

Creating a board game prototype early board segment

An early sample of the game board! More game board design can be seen either in this post – snakes and ladders game or The London Pub Crawl.

Divider

4 ) Graphic Design & Core Components ( Development )

Below are some of the components I designed and illustrated for the prototype. After the first stages of the visual design which was a large part of the project, the ideas that were short-listed were developed further.

These designs were readied in Adobe Illustrator before being imported into a cutter guide. These cutter guide templates and PDF’s were then sent off to a factory for a batch print. ( although I made a more basic version for further playtesting )

The same premise was similar to the cards, rules and the first designs, only polished and developed further.

Here is another post on how to import text into card artwork using Indesign.

The developed graphic components

Card design for the board game
event card designs
Creating a board game prototype developed board segment for game
Top down of board game visual
Creating a board game prototype full game board graphic
Tokens for a board game - illustration

“Then playtest it again. And then… when you have had enough. Playtest it once or twice more. “

5 ) Playtesting

When creating a whole game, I always advise my clients to play test their games, and this project was no different.

Being the one at the helm of making a fully working game, I wanted to practice what I preach. And if money would have allowed, I would have carried out more player testing on a wider audience.

For those of you wondering how to make a board game prototype ( 3rd party link ) Never ‘ever’ skip this step, playtest your game.

Then playtest it again. And then… when you have had enough. Playtest it once or twice more.

I have a post here ( the play test of a client project ) that goes into greater detail. This is another important stage when creating a board game prototype.

Creating a board game prototype board game play test photo

6 ) Take notes from the playtest, and adjust accordingly

After watching real players play the game on 3 separate occasions, I took notes on people’s play styles.

People playing board games try to break the rules. Many players I have witnessed when creating a game will try and break or circumnavigate ( cheat ) the core rules or ‘interpret’ the rules differently. There is no right or wrong here, you need to observe and shut up as a board gamer developer and see how people may realistically play your game.

Remember this when making a board game.

For this project, I had to tweak some of the rules, re-jig the board, and amend the artwork after running the latter playtests.

Although I was by and large relieved, not much needed to be amended. Mostly re-working and some graphical aspects of the board, and rewording. This comes under “development”.

Divider

7 ) Final Stage – helping the client get a prototype made

In addition to coming up with the core design, the rules, making a playable prototype, play testing, and everything else in-between, that is involved with making this game.

I was commissioned to liaise and organise a prototype production of the game.


Basically, I helped to guide the client through the first iterations of making a viable, polished prototype. ( and the batch production ) I amended or prepared the artwork as was necessary for prototype makers.

Here are some photos of the board which I took on my bridge camera, and isolated on white in Photoshop.

Printed game board
Creating a board game prototype game board in action
Divider

Creating a board game prototype | The Unique Challenges

This project came with a range of different and unique challenges that I’ve never encountered before.

Initially, I wasn’t given an exact brief outside of “make a game”. The initial brief that was given to me amounted to little more than a set of unfortunate key phrases listed inside an Excel spreadsheet.

This did not amount to a full brief. I had to convert these statements listed in Excel, from a long list of misery into a playable game to educate children and teenagers about youth homelessness.

Here are some details about the projects, and lessons I may have learned!

Wordy

Fundamentally this is an educational game and not a game for fun sake.

With each card, there would be a short paragraph describing an ‘event’ and whether a point is lost or gained. In addition to this, there would also be the Welsh translation.

The cards were very busy as each card needed two statements placed in them. Saying that the space became tight was an understatement. Some cards needed to have the amount of text reduced to fit.

Instead of creating 2 different languages for the game, 2 languages were usually next to or near to each other which did offer some unique challenges for the graphic design. This was carried through not only on the cards but all visual and written components of the game. I feel I managed to make it work though – just. Please observe this card again with the double language on a single face.

Unable to read Welsh

I have nothing against the Welsh language, I just don’t know how to read or write it.

With this in mind, this is potentially one of the most unusual challenges I’ve had to work with on a project. Not being able to read or write the copy whatsoever, even at a superficial level posed a significant challenge for this project.

By and large, I technically didn’t need to know how to speak, read or write in Welsh. But, when copying and pasting the Welsh language onto the cards, even by happenstance, I couldn’t flag any issues.

You may be correct in assuming as I am not the copywriter, that I don’t need to worry about it. But in the same breath, I needed my client to complete and finish this project. I needed to be paid. And generally the more eyes on a project, the more likely you are to pick things up and share your concerns. I was unable to do this here.

Waiting and relying on their team to spot or change their mind with the wording on an already very wordy game, made this very challenging to work on in the latter stages.

Not being able to read it, even at a basic level, slowed the project down at the last hurdles as I could not make edits to the text properly from my side, it was then that I thought about this type of article, how to edit card text for your game would be very helpful for my clients.

A member of their team could amend the text on their side, For me to spot these edits was near impossible and impractical in both capability, time, and budget.

I spy with my retail eye

With my past experience in both designing and creating mostly flat 2D products and games. These past products and projects have always been with retail intention at the fore.

As a designer, I was sympathetic to the product and helping a business make a sale, not all designers think like this, especially junior designers or design generalists. Not all graphic designers, think and operate in the same way. I was taught how to design for retail, build a brand, etc.

I understood that the packaging needed areas for barcodes, addresses, strap lines, age badges, warnings etc. In addition to all of this, making games appealing to the masses and shelf-ready.

This post here shows some of my past retail packaging.

For this project, the above didn’t necessarily apply, as it was for demonstration purposes mostly in an educational setting such as a school or town hall.

Retail design example

I hope that Conwy Council took care of this game and that children are enjoying it, and playing today… and perhaps better off than some of the characters I created for the project as part of the vector art.

Project Post | Creating a board game prototype, Testimonial



Jimmdesigns is the perfect partner for anyone interested in creating a board game.  Jimm supports with all aspects of creation from the initial concept, design process, development, play test sessions, through to the production of the prototype and manufacture. 
Jimm is able to break down the complex processes into easy to follow step-by-step actions for individuals who are new to the game making process. 

Jimm has essential contacts in the industry and is able to manage all stages of the process.  We highly recommend Jimm’s services, he is extremely patient and flexible with timescales and concepts” 5****

Faye Willet – Conwy Youth Service

And that concludes making ‘streetwise’

Or if you need a board game designer, please get in touch

3rd party websites ( Dragon Bone Games )

How to edit text on your card artwork in Adobe Indesign – No fuss

How to edit text on your card artwork in Adobe Indesign! This short tutorial shows you how to make some quick and easy edits to the text in your card artwork in Indesign. This post also covers some general text frame editing.

Editing your playing cards should not be difficult if you know how, and have the right tools.

It should be noted that this article focuses purely on the card editing stages, and not the whole card creation process.

This is a general help article to edit text on your card artwork in Adobe Indesign. You don’t need to be an Indesign guru or know your way around data merge to follow this.

How to edit text on your card artwork in Adobe Indesign – No fuss

In addition to editing text frames in your cards, this post will also help if you cannot edit text in Indesign.

This tutorial is ideal for those that just want to jump and edit the text quickly and hit save. It’s short and sweet, quick and dirty – no fuss. Or however else you want to describe quick text edits for game cards. The same applies to editing text too.

Troubleshooting tips are at the end of this article if you are having difficulties selecting the text box for example.

Common Question | Ways of editing the card text in Adobe Indesign

It is quite common for me to hear “how do I edit text on the cards” after I have created the initial prototype for a client.

With the card artwork, it is often in my client’s interest to know how to edit the text themselves or assign somebody else to edit the text. This is especially true in the late stages of production or mass production for various reasons.

One being, I’m not a copywriter profession!

Divider

How to edit text in Indesign on your card artwork – put simply

In order to edit the text easily, open the document in Indesign ( if you’ve not done so already). Select the card face you want to edit, ( use the pages panel ) and change the text. You will then need to save your work or export it if you are intending on sending the work to print.

That is the simplified and short answer to editing the game card text in Indesign.

How to edit text on your card artwork in Adobe Indesign – No fuss

I cannot edit text in Indesign!

If you are finding that you cannot edit text in Indesign or you cannot edit the text on the cards. A few of the reasons could be either the text frame is locked, the layer is locked, or you need to override the master page template.

You can read more on editing your text frames in Indesign at the bottom of this post.

6 Steps to editing text in your card artwork In Adobe Indesign

1 ) Open up Indesign

Assuming that you already have Adobe Indesign installed, in order to edit the text you will need to have Adobe Indesign open.

If you don’t already have Adobe Indesign, you can download it. ( make sure to download from Adobe – DO NOT BUY OR DOWNLOAD from an unknown source )

Make sure that you have permission to install the software and that your computer has the technical requirements to run Adobe Indesign.

*Friendly Disclaimer | Adobe Indesign is not run or owned by myself. Indesign is part of the Adobe Creative Suite. I cannot take any responsibility for any loss or damage incurred should you download any 3rd party software or Adobe Indesign. Please take precautions!

Please check all the requirements from their official website before downloading. ( Adobe Creative Suite ) And make sure that you download the software from a safe source. Do not use any unauthorized 3rd party platforms when downloading InDesign. ( also based on past experience )

2 ) Open up the card artwork

You can either ‘Open’ the artwork from the ‘File’ drop-down menu in Indesign ( File, Open – Select artwork ) or you can open the artwork by ‘dragging and dropping’ the artwork onto the application icon from your desktop.

Or if you have your recent items window on view when you start up Indesign, open your document this way.

Tip – Don’t overwrite your original card artwork!

As a tip, I would strongly advise that you create 2 versions of your artwork and leave the original intact. If you edit the text, change something and save over the original artwork ( ruin it by accident ) you won’t have a way of back-stepping from this mistake.

Create another version! And avoid editing the original version. A piece of advice from past experience.

3 ) Navigating the card artwork for your game

Theoretically, you now have your card document open in Adobe Indesign. It will look something like this.

If you have used a template or a file such as the one shown in this article, then you should be able to scroll up and down through the cards. As you scroll up and down, you should see the back and front of your cards.

How to edit text on your card artwork in Adobe Indesign – No fuss

Or, as an alternative way of finding the card you need, go to window > pages. If this tool panel is not already open.

How to open and close Window/pages panel ( Adobe )

4 ) Select the card you wish to edit

You can either scroll up and down to go through the cards, which is okay for smaller decks, but not as efficient if you have a larger deck. Or if you have your ‘pages’ window open, you can double-click on these to jump to the card you want to edit. This is a faster and more effective method of navigating through your cards.

( Handy tip! Did you know you can see which page you are on at in the bottom of InDesign interface when you are editing the card you want to edit? The illustration above has a close-up of ’19’ to show this. )

5 ) Find the text box ( interacting with an Indesign text frame )

Assuming that you have now selected the card you wish to edit. Go to the text box ( as shown below ) click on it, and edit your text!

Tools you should only need!

If something has gone awry, here are some simple steps to follow.

How to edit text on your card artwork in Adobe Indesign – No fuss
  1. ) Make sure that you have the ‘selection tool’ active.
  2. ) Go to the box or area you wish to edit.
  3. ) Double-click the text box.
  4. ) Find the word or sentence you wish to edit.

If you are having trouble being able to edit the text or some of the text, this bit of troubleshooting may help. Cannot edit text in indesign – help!

6 ) After you have edited the text

Now that you know how to edit one text box and all has gone smoothly, you can edit any basic text box in these card files.

Once you are happy with your work and your edits just make sure to save your work. You can save your work by going to file ‘Save’ or ‘Save As’. Or by pressing CTRL+S ( Apple + S ).

7 Bonus Step ) Exporting your file for print

It should be noted that this process is a bit more nuanced and may require more experience and skill in saving your work correctly. It can be easy for somebody inexperienced ( or with experience! ) to run into difficulties when setting files up for print.

Remember, when doing this that you are shouldering the responsibility for all the print production for your cards. If you would like somebody to share the burden feel free to get in touch or read more here. Card game design.

  • ‘Export’ your file as a PDF’
  • Remember to Select all pages if you wish to save/export all pages for print.
  • Double-check that the images are above 300 DPI when exporting ( otherwise you will get a low-res file )
  • Check that it is in CMYK
  • Hit ‘Export’ and select a location

This is a simplified version of how to edit text on your card artwork in Adobe Indesign. The added end step also instructs how to save your work and export it for print.

Divider

Troubleshooting Game Card Editing in Indesign – cannot edit text in indesign!

When looking at how to edit text on your card artwork in Adobe Indesign, sometimes it is not as straightforward. There can be issues such as locked layers, master pages being selected, or even limitations with hardware.

Here are some troubleshooting steps for editing the text on your cards.

How to edit text on your card artwork in Adobe Indesign – No fuss

Why can’t I select the text box? I can’t edit my text frame!

This could be down to a couple of reasons as to why you can’t edit the text box in your file. Here are some of the potentially straightforward and obscure reasons as to why you may not be able to edit your text :-

You don’t have enough ram/processing power on your computer

If your computer is struggling to run Indesign properly, an odd quirk that can show up is an inability to edit or select text boxes.

Possible solutions:

1 ) Turn off other programs such as Outlook, Your Web Browser, and other non-essential applications to see if this loosens up some grunt for Indesign. Remember to only close nonessential programs

2 ) Change the view to low-res draft mode. This can also make InDesign less taxing on your computer.

3 ) If you have tried all of the above. With a minimal amount of applications still running to allow more resources to go to indesign, close Indesign and re-open it to see if this does the trick.

The object is accidentally locked

There could be a couple of reasons as to why you can’t edit the text in your Indesign document. And, fortunately, the fix for this can be as simple as unlocking your text frame to get it working again.

Here are a couple of ways to check if you have a locked object. Unlocking text frame solutions in Indesign:

– The Object has been manually locked! This is a simple case of unlocking the object. To make sure the object isn’t locked go to > top menu > and check the drop-down for the Object – Unlock all on spread. Here is an image showing the menu option.

( Here is some more accurate information from Adobe on where to find this exactly – unlocking objects )

– Your text frame is on a locked layer. Alternatively, your text frame could be on a ‘Locked Layer’. On your ‘layers tab’ in the interface window, check to make sure the editable text layer ‘is not locked’. ( With a padlock on )

You want it ‘unlocked’ – you may also need to open the ‘layers’ window open.

– You are editing the wrong layer. If you cannot edit your text, it can be as easy as having the wrong layer selected. And, having the layer you want edit locked. Make sure you have your correct layer selected and that you are unlocking the correct layer!

You are trying to edit a master template

Another potential reason that you may not be able to edit the text is that you are trying edit from A, or the Master Page. A way to check is to:-

  • Select the card ( page )
  • Right click
  • And “Override Master Page Properties”

*Just remember not to override and edit the Actual Master template. This may otherwise change the text or design on ‘all of the cards’ or pages. ( remember what I said about keeping a backup? Always, keep a back up file!)

Divider

Thank you for reading and editing the text on your card artwork in Adobe Indesign

That is a share of my experience on how to both easily edit the text on any card artwork or card artwork template for your board game. And, how to edit the text in Indesign – when you cannot edit text in Indesign.

Hopefully, this post has saved some time, money, and headache. Feel free to share this post if you feel it is helpful.

If you would like help in designing a card game or creating some illustrations for your game please get in touch.

Freelance Card Design

Final bit of advice on how to edit text on your card artwork in Adobe Indesign

My final bit of advice on editing your text on your card artwork would be to hire a professional if you are doing this as a DIY thing for your business. Or at least find somebody that knows their way around Adobe Indesign, how to save it etc.

Although I appreciate that budgets can’t always make this a viable option it is still potentially the better option.

Getting somebody that is experienced can save headaches later on.

Other helpful design posts

External Websites Around Creating games

Freelance Design services for cards games – Copyright Jimmsdesign.co.uk

How to sell your board game and make money

Creating a cool game is one thing, making a game that sells is another. This post covers how to sell your board game and make money in easy to follow stages. As an acknowledgment of my skills and experience, I have co-created successful party games in the past.

The Commercial Director’s informed games commercial success in figures. This was also fairly recent as from 2017 onwards.

The games that I was involved in creating earned £200k in revenue – nothing to sniff at and this post will share that information.

How to sell your game and make money!

Intro – Monetising your game after creating it

Your number 1 priority should be making a great game that people can play and enjoy – don’t deviate from this principle. Making a halfhearted job and ‘just shipping’ it will backfire in the board gaming community.

If you want to sell your game in the future, make a good game!– don’t cheat your audience into buying a terrible product.

Creating the game – approach

My approach to creating a game was a bit different from many I feel. it didn’t come from an insatiable need to express my artistic desire or tell a narrative that will revolutionise the world.

The game as created based on a ‘ready’ market that didn’t need educating on what the game was.

We based our concept on a pre-existing model and try to improve upon it – it wasn’t left to chance and gut feeling when developing the game and all of its expansions. The actions were deliberate and researched before the game was created.

You have a look at one of the early editions here. Which takes you to Amazon, or you can get the general idea from this image.

Quality of game
We wanted to create a game people would enjoy!

We created a UK version of the game that filled a gap – it started as an idea and evolved it something that was bigger and more potent over time and became its an entity that could stand on its own 2 feet.

3 main approaches to selling your game

Moving on, here is a quick overview of how to make money from your game.

  • 1) Sell it retailers or individual shops
  • 2) Pitch it to games publisher or distributer
  • 3) Use a crowdfunding platform such as Kickstarter or IndieGoGo

How to sell your game and make money through publisher/distributor and earn over | 200k

I was involved in creating a party game that earned over 200k in turn over in one year and over 100 k (give or take) in subsequent years.

Game in action

Selling your game directly to a publisher or game distributor can bare large financial fruit. An advantage of getting your game in front of a large game distribution company is that they can sell your game in large quantities too. They have the channels, marketing, catalogues, and contacts. – You may, or may not!

So how do you get your game in their inventory?

You pitch to them

How to pitch your game to a seller and make money – wholesale

In order to look the professional, your game will need to look the part – eg be ready to ship, be affordable to buy and come with any marketing so you can to prove the game exists.

Don’t leave to much to the imagination, look as ready as you can be.

In order to pitch your game to the correct people, it will come down to knowing the right people. A previous colleague of mine used various methods to find the correct contacts, here are 2 I can recall worked well:

1) Finding them on LinkedIn

2) By going to shows and arranging meetings.

Pitching a game to a large distributor isn’t easy, but things with the best rewards rarely are!

My role in the process of winning such business (in addition to product creation) was to create pitch boards with renders and mock-ups of the games. These were often followed up with marketing PDF’s for buyers at the companies skim through.

I will let you in on a little something else also, should you get in with a successful game

Upsell your game to move toward a 200k gaol

So, you have a proven track record with a distributor, you have sold the game and now what do you do?

We gave them more – although there was a challenge here, we didn’t have more to give – initially anyway.

At this stage, we conceptualised prototypes of expansion packs and extra games and then pitched the “Final game” to the distributor via ‘mock-ups’ on a pitch board which may have still be in the concept stages.

*The games weren’t manufactured until an order was placed.

I won’t lie to you, this can be a risky way of creating a product. You should try your utmost to get a batch or set of prototypes ready to get around this risky approach.

These pitches and subsequent pitches which were driven by the commercial success were won with what was said and what was shown on the boards. At the best of times, a prototype of the game was made.

Pitch artwork for game
How to sell your game – use pitch artwork, This is an illustration down to the box and shadow.

So, that is the power of the pitch – don’t underestimate it and considering the potency of your game and whether it can be scaled.

Did that party game really earn 200k?

I think for the first run of the Family Edition of the game, from one single order – it was approximately 200k turn over in orders, and $150K in profits according to the Commercial Director. And more additions of the game were created.

So, yes – 200K then even more over the years. As it was it was being sold in other countries and snowballed.

How to sell your board game and make money | shop & retailer

As part of your strategy to either grow your wealth or hit a 200k target (or any number), you should consider selling your game direct to a large retailer. As above, the process of winning the business and selling your game to high street stores such as WH Smiths in the UK you should explore the tactics of pitching and trying to win business.

For the sake of clarity, I will discuss the steps in order to sell your game to a high-street store and what was involved in the process.

  1. Make sure you have your game ready. The more you have it together, the better this will be for you when you try to pitch your game
  2. Dot your I’s and Cross your T’s – in other words make sure you have all conformity, barcodes and product information ready.
  3. Is the product ready to be shipped? – fulfilment. Retailers like it to be straight forward and not have to worry about getting and unprofessional product etc. Have a warehouse or fulfilment centre ready to meet demand if the retailer places an order?
  4. Build Trust – Retailers don’t want to take foolish risks. If there is an indication of an existing market or you have sold games before, consider putting this in your proposal.
  5. Packaging – in retail, the packaging is more important than you may realise. The box art and how it looks on a retail shelf is incredibly important to a retailer and to the person buying the product. You need to make your product stand and look appealing. Its the box that may sell the game in the end.

It could also be worth noting that if you are yet to make or manufacture your box but have the artwork to utilise the visuals to create a planogram. This will help sell the dream and make your game look a little more real to the retailers.

These are some of the keys points I have been involved in when both collaborating and creating a proposal to a retailer.

This point was, in addition to the method of selling your game to the distributer a large contribution to it’s a financial success.

How to Kickstart your game and earn over 200k – if only knew.

Kickstarter Template Graphic
Kickstarter template graphics

Although, I have yet to be involved in creating a successful Kickstarter that sells 1000’s of unit most of my experience comes with working with retailers.

Companies have earned millions on Kickstarter

A website such as Stonemaier games covers lots of hints and tips on how to create a Kickstarter and make a success of it. If you have a moment you should take the time to read some of the articles.

I would also like to mention the games companies that made Bears VS Babies and Throw Throw Burrito, both of these board games were hugely successful on Kickstarter before going onto nailing it in retail. I have seen these games in Waterstones, John Lewis, WH Smiths & others in passing.

Both of the games had a huge fan base and used Kickstarter to its maximum potential. They used Kickstarter for what it does best – to validate a product and get ready for the next big step.

That next big step… conquer retail.

If you are intending on launching a Kickstarter anytime soon …. don’t launch unless you have a crowd waiting to place an order and buy your game!

Your crowd is crucial to a game’s success on the likes of Kickstarter. No crowd? Probably no crowdfunding either.

If you want to hit the bigger numbers get all of you marketing up to scratch first and then roll it out. If you are struggling there is no shame in canceling your campaign and moving it to another day.

Kickstarter is a great way of getting your product validated and tested before going to retail. I have written a post here on how to design a Kickstarter page.

How to sell your board game and make money – summary

I hope this post was useful and offers some insight into selling your game to the big retailers and distributors. As mentioned above, the large sum of money was earned through selling to a retailer and distributors.

If you would like to know a bit more about the making of the party game, you can view the post here and read at your leisure. This post discussed more of the design stages as opposed to the money aspect of the game creation.

Selling your game – my credentials.

I am a designer with 10 years’ experience and I have been involved in creating party and card games! Whoop whoop, if you would like to know a bit more about my services you can read more about my freelance card game design and get in touch.

Thank you for reading how to sell your board game and make money, if it was useful feel free to share.

“how to sell your board game and make money”

Other useful posts about games :

How we made a successful card game for retail

How to create a Kickstarter page

Packaging design examples

How do I design an email marketing campaign for old leads?

So “How do I design an email marketing campaign for old leads?”… overview.

This post offers some potent tried and tested methods you can implement into your email marketing campaign to get those old leads to sit up and pay attention! They may be asleep now, but hopefully, by the end of this list, they will feel as refreshed as your with your marketing ideas.

Reading on – nuggets of juicy information on how to design an email marketing campaign for your old leads. Rock on!

Get responses from old email marketing leads - picture of old people
Get a response from old email marketing leads!

Who are your ‘old leads’?

A good starting point, who are your old leads? Why do you regard them as old? What have they done to warrant being targeted and regarded as ‘old’. Another way to look at your old contacts and subscribers is to view them are as loyal customers and clients. The list below covers tried and tested ideas, but perhaps a good place to start is how you perceive them, and how in turn they may come to perceive you.

1 ) Most important, offer something ‘they’ want

I wanted to start with this point as I felt it was actually the most obvious but possibly most overlooked. If you are failing to get the enquiries or interest are you failing to engage the reader? Are you selling a product that they no longer want or need? Are you talking about a topic they no longer care about? If so, how can you change it?

How to do it

Make your marketing about ‘them’ and their business – not yours. Tell and show them how you can help them to grow.

Fulfil their needs first!

2 ) Offer a loyalty scheme

So they have been on board for a long time but there has been no activity from them? You could potentially offer a discount to try and coax them back to life and become an active subscriber. Give a bumper service to the loyal ones and offer a reward.

3 ) Treat your ‘old email marketing leads’ as special customers.

In the body of your email consider using wording that makes your trusty old subscribers feel special and acknowledges that they have been loyal for a long time. Perhaps, writing a message along the lines of :

“Dear (name), as a loyal customer we have decided to offer you (x service) for a limited time. The company wouldn’t be where it is today without its loyal customers such as yourself and that is why we have decided to offer you this excellent reward!”

4 ) Talk about something new

It’s a very strong possibility that your old leads are bored with what you have to say, your brand your message anything and everything – people get bored very easily, and especially the internet user. In the past, I have noticed a strong correlation in campaigns with the wording “New” generally pushing more interest. So, create something new, or talk about something new.

5 ) If you have a tidy list, address them directly

If you have a contact list with all the personal *contact names as and where they should be you could write an email campaign addressed directly to them. But this only works as well as the cleanliness of the list. For example :-

Clean List

Dear Dave Higgins

Vs Untidy List

Dear 123 at qwqwq

Why is the second example like that? Because the name field was left with a trash name or a number in the field because somebody forgot to change it or the subscriber didn’t give you their actual name.

In other words, the form – personal name – form field will pull in whatever data is in the “name” column. be it good or bad.

6 ) Change up your email design to catch the attention

Visuals do work. Have some catchy images, logos and importantly a Call to action! Click me!

How do I design an email marketing campaign for old leads - example
Example of a responsive mailshot

My Old leads – They are still playing backgammon?

Made it this far down the list eh and your old email marketing leads still haven’t turned their heads away from their game of backgammon? Don’t worry just yet, we still have some thoughts and ideas yet that will hopefully help you in getting responses! Continue reading – How do I design an email marketing campaign for old leads!

7 ) Use stats and numbers

Analytics’ data or sales figures can be a good way or proving how good your service is – with numbers! It makes you look authentic. I also believe (my opinion) people love data and numbers as it makes information easy to digest.

Hey! don’t lie about your numbers or stats. There will come a day when people won’t believe what they read – if that day hasn’t arrived already.

8 ) Use a timed offer to encourage an urgent response from your old leads

I have mentioned this in a previous post (link) but placing a timed response or a limited offer can encourage urgent action. This approach can be a little pushy in my opinion but I can’t deny that I have seen it used effectively including by myself.

9 ) Consider who your old leads are – your message, your tone.

This is important, who are you talking to? Your messaging needs to resonate with them. It needs to talk to them and it needs to be useful to them – create good content for your quality readership. Connect.

10 ) Solve their problems, help with their pains

Companies/businesses/people have pains – not ones for a real doctor, business ones I mean. These pains can vary from: How to get more leads, how do I get people to stay on my website, how do I get people to sign up, how do I make this easier, I have no time, I’m tired, etc, etc.

So once you have identified their pains, and if you are familiar with your industry, you will be better equipped at answering their questions and helping to solve their problems. Using you, or your service will help solve their problems – or better still. Avoid them altogether!

11 ) Try to be helpful

As mentioned a couple of times in this post make contacting your email leads about them and how you can help with your experience. Answer questions create posts, try to see what types of questions your demographic ask by trawling forums and post online to give you indications or if you have a survey software use that to learn about them.

12 ) Speak their language

Try to speak their lingo. If they use industry-specific jargon use this in your email to make it sound like you know what you are talking about (oh, and check that you know what you are talking about). If your email marketing is more B2C then try to understand the demographics of your readership, how old are they, are they male, female, what are their hobbies and so on.

learn who they are.

13 ) Check you are emailing the right people

If you have a very specific few golden leads out there and they have stopped answering your emails or opening them, check to see if they are still working at the company or have moved to another department.

You can use LinkedIn to see who is correct contact and start building a new working relationship.

Summary | How do I design an email marketing campaign for old leads

I hope this post is useful. I have given you some tried and tested ideas which I have seen work first hand in the past with my email marketing experience. Many of these approaches should be useful for tomorrow and for the future as many of the tips approach geared toward what messaging is as well as how.

It is worth your while employing not just one of the tactics above for best results but many with a mix and match to see which are most useful for ‘your’ email marketing. There isn’t a golden bullet for things like this as some would like to sell to you, it requires learning and effort. I have sent out many, many campaigns over the years and have seen which works for gifting, retail, subscriptions, and general newsletters.

Setting aside the technical information, the tricks etc, it often tends to boil down to something you probably already know, and I knew but didn’t want to admit either – they weren’t interested...

So make them interested

Sell something your customer or client ‘wants’ or needs. Don’t push something onto them that they don’t want or need. It is a tired and boring struggle for both parties.

As time goes along, trial and error will show which tactics bare the most fruit – all the best in “designing email marketing for your old leads.”

About Me – A Designer

I have worked on numerous email campaigns over the years sending campaigns to 1000’s of contacts. Much of the data I have written here has been based on my first-hand experience of blood sweat and tears and also with keeping myself up to date with new email marketing ideas. You are more than welcome to read a bit more about me below.

You may find the article on the 32 tips useful for more visual design tips.

Other Helpful Posts

Easiest way to make a Photoshop brush – short tutorial

The easiest way to make a Photoshop brush. This is a short tutorial on how to make a simple Photoshop brush in simple easy-to-follow steps. No fuss, no headaches.
I have used this exact same technique for making brushes over the years as a designer.

It is straightforward to make your custom brushes in Photoshop ( or Adobe Photoshop ) as an overview. All you will need to do in essence is draw your shape or item on a blank document and turn this selection into your new Photoshop brush.

The core steps : Start with creating your brush, defining it, and adding it to your palette! Let us draw a shape on black on a white background and see easiest way to do it.

Now to the steps on the easiest way to make a Photoshop brush.

1 ) New Document

1 ) Open PS and make a new document – 300 x 300 px and 72 DPI for good measure, make sure the background is set to white. ( You also work with other size and resolutions if you prefer )

2 ) Create Your Brush

2 ) Working in black and white (Shortcut ‘D’ for black and white) draw your brush shape (in black) onto your new document. For the sake of this tutorial, I have made mine a solid brush.

Photoshop brush splat - Easiest way to make a Photoshop brush - short tutorial
Create A Photoshop Brush

3 ) ‘Select’ The Brush

3 ) Either by using the marquee tool or Apple + ‘a’ to select all (CTRL + A for windows). And select the area or part you want to turn into your brush. For me, I wanted to use only the black splat in this example.

If you have selected the brush you want to define, you can go to the next step!  Make sure you have selected your brush artwork. With selections, you may see ‘marching ants’ around your selection.

4 ) Define Brush

4 ) Go Edit > scroll down to  ‘Define Brush Preset’ and click on or select it.
label your brush, I called this oneblob and then click ‘OK’

Name your brush | Easiest way to make a Photoshop brush
Label Your Brush

5 ) You have created a brush in Photoshop!

Well done, you should now have designed your very own custom brush and saved it to your library. If you press ‘F5′ to look at your brush palette, you will see the brush you have just made listed at the bottom of your library.

Why not open a new document and test out your newly created Photoshop Brush, I hope you enjoy making more awesome brushes.

Brush library | Palette tutorial on making a Photoshop brush.
Brushes!

If you need a Professional Designer experience in Photoshop come and say hello!

If you are a DIY designer or creator, you may find some of these topics helpful. How to edit text in inDesign for card games. Or how to draw on a computer.