Board Game Designer

In all professions, networking with your peers is always a good practice to help get your foot in the door to new places and to improve your skill whether it be coding, engineering, or designing board games.  So Geoff Engelstein, Tim Fowers, and Jeff Beck has decided to launch a new board game design retreat called Tabletop Network.  This will be a two day retreat out in the relaxing Snowbird mountain resort near Salt Lake City, Utah starting on Friday June 8th.

There will be lots of people presenting including Rob Daviau, Ryan Laukat, Tom Lehmann, Geoff Engelstein, Stone Librande, Tim Fowers, and more.  Some of the subjects that will be discussed will be engagement, balance, and emerging trends in board games.  Also, while there will some time set aside for playing games, this conference is meant to be about learning together and sharing ideas to improve everyone’s board game design skills, so you might want to leave the prototype at home.

In order to fund this trip they are using Kickstarter for selling the tickets.  To attend in person a physical ticket will run you $295, while a virtual pass where you can watch all the panels and talks online will run you $55.  So if you are itching to rev up your game designing engine, this retreat may be just the jump start you need.

Origins has come and gone, and with it the announcements of various awards.  We have covered the announcement of the Origins Awards and so the only one left is to announce who was inducted in to the hall of Fame this year.  And that person is Mike Elliott, designer of highly popular titles like the Dice Masters line, Quarriors, Lost Legends and more.  Mike Elliott has been designing for 21 years and is still going strong with new designs like Thunderstone Quest and Immortals coming soon from AEG and Queen respectively.  The award couldn’t have gone to a better pick and we hope to see more and more great games from him in the future.

Rule & Make, Australian Game Studio has brought another Australian company under its umbrella. Table Tyrant Games has officially joined with Rule & Make and has announced their first project together will be a Kickstarter Campaign for Smiths of Winterforge later this year.

From ideas to publishing, these two companies do it all. Now they are expanding their influence by engaging the local design community directly by requesting game submissions. They hope to be able to showcase the Australian indie game community with a greater presence in US and European markets.

The full announcement is available on Rule & Make’s website and to see what they have in mind for the upcoming Smiths of Winterforge Kickstarter campaign, take a look at the Print and Play available.

Image from

Image from

Christina Major, a board game player, designer, and comic book artist, has gone through a lot of artists’ portfolios in order to recommend artists for illustrating games. She’s noticed five key things in a portfolio that make it great for board game projects:

  1. Character Portraits – diverse and stylistically distinct pieces
  2. Random Objects – good for tiles and icons
  3. Landscapes and Maps – postcard-like pictures of cities, planets, farmlands, etc, and stylized maps
  4. Strong Composition – engaging art for box covers
  5. Email address – not just DeviantArt, Etsy, Tumblr, Twitter

These are just the basic things that Christina looks for in an illustrator, but other designers may prefer other qualities. It’s always good to have variety, but sometimes artists don’t have everything in their portfolio. In that case, it doesn’t hurt to ask for a specific thing you want.

If you’re an artist or game designer (or just interested in the topic), check out the full article here, including some links to artist portfolios in the comments.



Mike Fitzgerald designer of great games like Baseball Highlights 2045, Diamonds, and a whole lot more answers questions about his favorite tabletop games, what game design tools he can’t live without, and his playtesting philosophy. If you’re a fan of his game, like I am, you should check out the full article here.