Second Chances

For those of us who got our starts in digital games in the age of the internet, there’s something strangely final about printing a board game. With digital games, if you make a mistake or there’s a little bug you missed, you update the code and assets, submit a patch, and pretend like nothing ever […]

Designing Under Constraints

People start designing games for many reasons, but a big one is freedom. You see all sorts of games, but notice a striking omission, and think you could make it yourself! Throughout the tabletop hobby there’s a view that a new game is a totally blank slate and that game design is a liberating creative […]

Board Game Design Basics: Playtesting! Part III

Almost three years ago I wrote a two part article on playtesting. (Read Part I and Part II.) Today I turn the series into a trilogy. Why? Well, one of my patrons asked about playtesting. But when it comes to playtesting, there’s a lot to talk about. As a game designer, playtesting is how you […]

Robot Invasion

It will be a surprise to absolutely no one that technology is slowly creeping into the world of tabletop games, just as it has in every other facet of life. What might actually be surprising is how slowly the creep is. Especially considering the wild success of mobile games and the ubiquity of smart phones, […]

Component Considerations

How do publishers decide which components to use for a game? These days, the possibilities are almost limitless, with many factories having a huge range of in-house products and the ability to outsource for unusual components when necessary. With such an enormous blank slate, how do you even start deciding which components will work for […]

Kickstarter Videos

To those of us who follow Kickstarter, it’s no surprise that having a good game does not guarantee funding. Bad games get funded all the time, and more significantly, good games often do not reach their goals. There are many reasons this can happen, but it often boils down to potential players not being able […]

Graphic Design in Tabletop Games

Today I’m going to discuss an often misunderstood topic, graphic design. I’ll get into more details below, but very quickly: Graphic design is the conveying of information visually. Given that tabletop games are almost completely visual, it shouldn’t be surprising that graphic design is essential to a successful game. But graphic design is a subtle […]

Broken Mechanics

Today I’d like to address an issue brought up by one of my patrons: what do you do when a mechanic doesn’t work out? Do you have to scrap the whole project, or are there measures you can take to salvage some of it? All designers are familiar with this topic, often with sad associations. […]

To Publish or Not to Publish

Those who have followed Nothing Sacred Games for its nearly four year existence know it’s been in the murky world between design studio and publisher that many small game companies find themselves in. With crowdfunding money alleviating risk, more accessible manufacturers willing to work on small projects, and a plethora of useful information to help […]

The Tabletop Golden Age

One of my patrons recently asked about the board game golden age we’re currently going through. Things certainly seem rosy at the moment. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of new games released every year, and perhaps even more importantly, the quality of games has gone up immensely since the days of Monopoly and The […]