Design & Publishing - A look behind the scenes
Byron Collins
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I started Collins Epic Wargames in 2006. Over the past couple of years, I've faced many challenges, overcome obstacles, spent countless hours working and learning, met wonderful people in the industry, and taken great risks in my journey to self-publish my first wargame, Frontline General: Italian Campaign Introduction.

This Geeklist is my first. I'm very open to sharing my experiences, successes, and failures for other designers and aspiring publishers and I hope that shows. That is the purpose of this list. It is a collection of some of the thoughts and experiences that I've posted on BGG in the past two years relating to my particular path into 'the industry'.

As a designer or publisher, I invite you to post your own experiences and/or contributions to others by adding to this list in the spirit of sharing information, lessons learned, and a glimpse behind the scenes into your own personal experiences and challenges in 'the industry'.

I have only listed threads that I originated and the end result- my first published game. However, most of my contributions on here are through forum thread replies- Of those, the replies in answer to questions posted in the Board Game Design forum are most applicable to this list. Feel free to browse to those threads through my profile.
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Byron Collins
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I put this thread together to share some of what it takes when you step from Game Design into the realm of Self-Publishing, which are two very different animals. The post is broken into several sections beginning with Finances & Expenses, Setting up a Business, and then progressing to Game Design, Play testing, Web Site Development, Advertising & Promotion, Copyright & IP Protection, Self-Publishing, Support Structure, and finally, Release & Sale. At the bottom of the post is a list of links to resources and even supply sources that may prove useful.
 
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Byron Collins
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External playtests are essential.

As part of the path for my first game, I called upon fellow geeks here, through our newsletter, and through other sites in search of an international play test team. All respondants answered a few questions, were ranked and narrowed down, and were provided the game and access to a password-protected forum on our site for sharing ideas. I consider the external test a huge success and recommend that anyone interested in design/publishing follow a similar process to get your game in the hands of people who have never seen it, and will not have you as a 'crutch' to explain all of the rules face to face. In the end, all testers should be able to read the rules, understand them, and put the game into motion looking for broken areas and flaws, and you should have an open mind ready to respond and take action on any criticism to better the game.
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Byron Collins
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Having any large number of components printed requires a bit of pre-press work in order to tailor the files for the printer's requirements and hopefully reduce costs for both you and the printing company. This thread documents a few of my pre-press lessons learned.
 
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Production of a game is exciting. I subcontracted all component production in our first game to various printers and manufacturers in the US. When everything arrived, I wanted to share the excitement with fellow geeks in the Game Design forum and give everyone an impression of what it's like to arrive home and see the reality of the sheer volume of components that arrived a week before Gen Con.
 
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Byron Collins
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Wargames are just a small portion of the game market. So why produce a wargame when the target audience is so small in number? Couldn't I make more money in a different genre? The short answer: it's not at all about money. The long answer, for me, is in this thread.
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6. Board Game: Frontline General: Italian Campaign Introduction [Average Rating:6.73 Unranked]
Byron Collins
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The end result is just the beginning. My first game is now available in both a print&play form and as a production version. As of the time of this post, the PDF rules have been downloaded over 25,000 times from the game's website, and the site is averaging around 13,000 visitors per month- encouraging figures for someone just starting out.

The key to it all- hard work- and the ability to work for passion over payment. For me, it is rewarding enough that people are enjoying the game and looking forward to our future offerings.
 
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