Welcome! This blog begins with a shout to Jamey Stegmaier of Stonemaier Games. His resources regarding kickstarter, brand building, and more are amazing and very helpful for anyone interested in designing and publishing tabletop games. I’ve been doing this for a while, but this post of his encouraged me to start blogging about my adventures as a designer / publisher once again. Hopefully it’ll be a fun ride and I’ll be able to keep up, add some new content, pass on what I’ve learned along the way, and help others. If you find anything helpful – or not – please add your comments and let’s get some discussion going.
I’m Byron. I own a 1-man company called Collins Epic Wargames, LLC that’s been in business since 2006 as a sole-proprietorship and 2010 as an LLC. I released my first game in 2008- at Gen Con- not really knowing what I was doing. I’ve published 5 games so far- you can learn more about them here– all my own designs- and I’ve got at least 4 other projects in the works as I write this, most recently, Polyversal, which was designed by Ken Whitehurst and developed by me. I’m no expert by any means on any of this and don’t pretend to be – but I’ve learned a lot over the years. I’ve run several kickstarter campaigns for my games, fumbled with some mistakes that I’ll pass on, had a few hard times, lost and gained some money through it all, but somehow maintained the drive to continue doing what I love to do- being creative through game design, art, and publishing in the Hobby Games Market- and helping others do the same. It’s really quite rewarding in many ways.
Am I a full time Publisher?
It feels like it because of the amount of work involved- but- this venture is in addition to a full time Mechanical Engineering job. That pays the bills. I do not do publishing full time nor do I recommend the risk involved with such a venture in this industry without at least getting a few games out there as a part-time undertaking and really understanding what you’re getting into. In other words, don’t quit your day job, but don’t count out that you could do that eventually.
Quite frankly, there’s a lot of risk involved- financially and otherwise- and the time commitment is immense. But, if you’re ready to jump in (or think you are) and you’re a game designer thinking about publishing a game, I recommend starting by reading this pinned post I wrote many years ago on Boardgamegeek called Game Design and Self-Publishing – A Resource for Game Designers. Then, move on to the many excellent blog posts by Jamey Stegmaier regarding crowdfunding games (which could be applied to anything really) if you want to learn many more aspects and good practices regarding Kickstarter.
I’m honored to be invited to speak each year at the GAMA Trade Show. This annual trade show in March is another great resource for Game Designers considering getting involved with the publishing aspect- or wanting to learn more about the industry. The “manufacturer track” of seminars at the show is helpful to gain perspective on how the industry works, what to do, what not to do, and hear from some big guys (Mayfair Games) and some little guys like me. My seminar is from a small business perspective and is all about starting up as a publisher. I only get an hour to give it which just scratches the surface of many topics- but the goal is to get attendees to start thinking about and exploring the many aspects of actually getting started with publishing games.
I’ve been interviewed on several podcasts for various topics, mostly game specific, but some in general or that also touch on crowd-funding challenges and mistakes that can be made. I’ll link to a few of these as appropriate. One that gives a bit of background on how I got started doing all of this is Meeples and Miniatures Episode 183, which is a UK-based podcast by Mike, Neil, and Mike, that covers a lot of cool games and related topics. They’re good guys, or, ‘chaps’, so, give them a listen.
That’s a bit of my background as a designer / publisher and a hint at the content that will be posted here. It’ll all be behind-the-scenes stuff and really not intended to be promotional of my products- more- how they were made, why, and how to apply any lessons I’ve learned to whatever you’re doing as a potential publisher.
I had been blogging on Boardgamegeek here, but, I began shying away from posting there since any examples I’ll draw from are my own experiences talking about publishing my own games- which Boardgamegeek tends to see as ‘self-promotional’. I had also briefly run a blog on another site, last post 2010, but, that fizzled out because I was treating it as promotional. That just doesn’t work…
So, I already feel a breath of fresh air as I start to write again. I’ve got a lot to share, so, let’s get started. Join me. Go ahead, subscribe!