The Game Crafter News

Apr 24

5 Great Feelings a Game Designer Can Have -

Apr 23

Introducing Market Based Pricing

When it comes to all the game pieces we stock, many of our suppliers vary their prices every time we order. Sometimes the prices go up due to material cost increase. Other times the prices will go down because we’re now ordering in larger volume. Because these prices are so volatile, we needed to update our system to reflect those changes more easily. The result is market based pricing.


You’ll see pricing variances down to hundredths of a cent. This change also means that all of our prices have just changed slightly. Some have gone up by bit, while others have gone down to match the prices we actually paid for existing merchandise. When we update the pricing, the date below the pricing will automatically change, and your games containing those parts will automatically be recalculated to reflect the new pricing.

Speaking of games. We figured you might want to take advantage of these kinds of calculations too. So now you can turn on automatic pricing and just set the markup amount that you want when you sell your game.


In this way, as you add or remove components from your game, the price will automatically adjust itself so that you have a consistent amount of markup. 


Apr 22

Masters of the Heist: In Beta!

The year is 1919 and America is in its golden age of grift. Clever thievery has moved from shell games and three-card monte to a more mature art form: the heist.

In this head-to-head match, you must compete to hire a team of professional criminals, plan heists on unsuspecting marks, and muscle out your opponent. Better crew members become increasingly available, but the marks get harder too. Ultimately, the player with the most money wins, so it’s all about return on investment and knowing your opponent. 

The game plays in a series of 5-7 rounds for a gameplay of about 30 minutes. Each round has three phases: The Purchase, The Plan, and The Heist.


Every heist needs just the right Crew and you’ll need to assemble that team. We’ve got 22 unique Crew cards, each with different bonuses and abilities. Grifters are highly skilled and get you to those tougher marks. Partners are better at collaborating. Thieves get you fast cash. Muscle is great for getting the Mark you want. Insiders are useful specialists.

As the game progresses, new Crew members become more powerful, yet increasingly expensive.


Plan your heists by secretly sorting your cards in your hand. Prioritize your choices of Mark, too. For example, maybe you want your Pickpocket to go after the Sketchy Bar and you want your Fall Guy to hit the Honest Bank. To be successful, you’ll need to optimize your Crew bonuses and collect Marks from the same neighborhood to get extra monetary bonuses.


Plans are put in motion that cannot be changed! You attempt your planned heists, chaining together crew members to get the right combination of Skill and Bonus. If you run into your opponent you must rely on your best Muscle to save you.

The Heist phase is entirely mechanical, and quite exciting. Once you get paid, you collect your take and head back to The Purchase phase. Tougher yet more lucrative Marks are revealed as the game progresses.


Big payouts! The rules include a solo variant where you play against a mechanical player. You are victorious if you end with a set goal, which increases each game. After each game, you get to keep Crew members valued at what you exceeded your limit. For example, if the limit was $80k, and you ended with $89k, you get to keep a Con Artist costing $9k for the next game. Starting with high-powered Crew lets you unlock new ways of getting massive payouts. The solo campaign is also a great way to play the game cooperatively, or learn the deck on your own.


My name is Andy Meneely and I’m a hobbyist game designer. By day, I’m a software engineering professor. My research focuses on using analytics and empirical methods to improve the way software engineers develop software. I hold a PhD in Computer Science and I also majored in Mathematics in college. So there is no getting around it: I am a bonafide nerd.

Like most folks at The Game Crafter, I’ve been designing games since I was a kid. Actually, I originally picked up computer programming because of my interests in gaming!


You can purchase a copy at my shop. Currently, I consider this game in a Beta stage. The artwork is pretty much set and the gameplay fundamentals are solidified. But there’s also still plenty of playtesting and tweaking to be made here and there. I would like to broaden my beta tester base and I would love feedback.

You can also play the game for free. The black-and-white prototype has been released under a Creative Commons license at my website. You just need to be willing to print out the PDFs and cut the cards yourself. The print and play prototype is kept equivalent to the beta version, except that it also contains the alpha version of the first expansion: Bootleggers. 

Note: This article is being promoted on TGC News because the designer supported The Game Crafter’s Shrink Wrap campaign on Indiegogo and pledged for a featured article perk. Thank you for your support!

Apr 21

Village in a Box is for sale once again! -

Our very popular game called Village in a Box is once again available for sale on The Game Crafter. It was on hiatus during our wildly successful Kickstarter, but now it’s back. If you missed out on the Kickstarter, now is your chance to get it again.

Apr 20


Apr 19

Fourteen Madison area companies are finalists in Governor's Business Plan contest : Wsj -

It’s official! The Game Crafter has made the second cut and is now moving forward as one of 24 finalists in the Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan ContestThe contest started with almost 300 entries so we’re excited to be in the top 8%.

Now we’re busy refining and expanding our business plan to a 15-20 page document and it will soon be evaluated by a panel of judges. The companies with the top 12 business plans will go on to present at the Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Conference on June 3 at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison, WI.

We absolutely think we’ve got an amazing business and community at The Game Crafter. We’re going to do our best to represent the board game industry and show them that the market has amazing potential in the days ahead. The future is bright folks!

Wish us luck!

Apr 18


Apr 17

Indie Game Contest at Ottawa Indie Game Convention


The Game Crafter is sponsoring an Indie Game Contest at the 2015 Ottawa Indie Game Convention. We know this is event is still pretty far off, but the deadline for rule set submission is November 1st and it will be here before you know it! Start working on those game designs. :)

The Game Crafter will also be running a Designer’s Table at the convention. If you are a designer and plan on attending then there may be an opportunity for you to be at the booth to showcase your games, run demos, etc.. Contact us if you’re interested.


               Click here to see all of the rules for the Indie Game Contest

Apr 16

Bounty! A game of treasure on the high seas - 2 weeks left!

Bounty! is a quick to learn, easy to play card game for 3 or 4 players whose goal is to collect the most gold and prevent their opponents from doing the same. The game design is modeled on the Age of Sail, and players are admirals of different seafaring nations each commanding a small fleet of ships exploring the ocean, and competing over trade routes with the far east.

This is designer Josh Perry’s first foray into the game design world, and he is looking to produce a minimal game with as little overhead as possible in order to provide a cheap game. The indiegogo campaign is designed to raise funds to pay for some simple art, as well as purchase copies of the game for all backers. For Bounty! success is measured by getting the game into the world, not by how much profit it can make. This fact, as well as the design choices make it easy to provide the game at a low cost. The entire game can be purchased through Indiegogo (shipping and all) for just $15, cheaper than most games on the market.

If you really want to leave your mark on the project though: a host of $50 perks let you get your name (or a name you come up with) onto a ship card in the deck (take a look at the sketch below for an idea of the ship cards).


Your support means more games produced with even better quality art down the line! Help make a dream come to life, today!

Apr 15

Staff Pick: Junk

Apr 14

We encourage all our designers to find a Protospiel event near them and get their game tested by other designers. And if you do, you can earn this new accolade.

We encourage all our designers to find a Protospiel event near them and get their game tested by other designers. And if you do, you can earn this new accolade.

Apr 13

Kickstarter Game Reviews at The Gamers’ Table!

Looking for a high quality, professional video to promote your Kickstarter board game project? Let the guys at The Gamers’ Table create one for you! They’ll review your game, following the same rigorous method they use to review published games. They tell it like it is, giving a fair and reasoned overview of your game, from components to rules.


You can choose from three levels of service: Basic, Expedited and Rush. Each level provides the same high quality, professional video review of your game. The difference is in the speed. Basic service provides you with a finished video three weeks after they receive your game. Expedited service drops the deadline to two weeks and Rush drops it further to one week after the game is received.


SALE! Right now, you can get your Kickstarter video for half price by going to their crowd funding campaign and pledging. This is a limited time offer. Basic is $30, Expedited is $60 and Rush is $90. You must select the perk on the campaign page to get this discount.

The Gamers’ Table will send you a notification when they receive your game. From that point, the video will be completed within the allotted time for your service level. You’ll be notified of the completion and sent a link to download the file.

Click here to get your video review from The Gamers’ Table

Apr 12

Talking Digging Dwarfs with Jason Glover | The Inquisitive Meeple | BoardGameGeek -

Great interview with Jason Glover by the Inquisitive Meeple.

Apr 11

Interview with Kynan Hale: Bulk Order Fulfillment

Kynan Hale successfully funded Choose Your Crew: Pirates game on Kickstarter in June. He used The Game Crafter’s Bulk Order Fulfillment (BOF) service and you can read about his experience in the interview below.


1. Why did you decide to use The Game Crafter’s Bulk Order Fulfillment (BOF) service for your Kickstarter project?

Before launching Choose Your Crew: Pirates on Kickstarter I did a lot of research on the best and cheapest way to ship my products to my backers. Postage can have a big influence on a potential customer so I really wanted to keep those fees as low as possible. Most manufacturers will only ship out a bulk order to a single address for distribution. Calculating the cost of shipping first to Australia, then back out to international orders would have made the entire project unfeasible. So I found a couple of manufacturers that were prepared to ship directly to each individual customer. One of those was The Game Crafter. Since I had already used The Game Crafter to print up a couple of playtest decks of my game (and I was happy with the quality) I decided to use their BOF service for my Kickstarter campaign.

2. What was the biggest benefit of using BOF at The Game Crafter?

The biggest benefit of The Game Crafter’s BOF for my Kickstarter campaign was saving cost on shipping individual orders, but there were other great features to the service that helped to make a ‘break even’ project turn into a profitable one. Putting through a bulk order gave me a wholesale discount that made a huge difference. I was now looking at turning a profit on a project that I had simply calculated to break even.

3. How have your customers responded in terms of product quality, customer service, and shipping times?

I first started getting feedback from my European backers:

“I was very surprised about your fast delivery, compared to other projects!”

“I have received my set of CYC and found all the artwork fun. Definitely going to have a game over the weekend.”

There was a lot of positive feedback about how fast my backers were getting their games. I had estimated a March delivery for a 30 day campaign that I launched on Kickstarter in January. This gave me most of February to finish up backer rewards such as the 4 likenesses I drew of customers to appear in the game and to create and playtest the 8 card booster pack that I had included as a buyer incentive midway through the campaign. I put through the BOF on February 20th and my customers began receiving their games within 2 weeks. Considering how busy The Game Crafter was at the time with 2 extremely successful games from other Kickstarter campaigns, I was very happy with how fast the orders were processed and dispatched.

4. Did The Game Crafter BOF service and the community have a positive impact on your campaign?

A great service to use along with Bulk Order Fulfillment is signing up for The Game Crafter’s Crowd Funding Promotion. The agreement states that you’ll have all the orders from a particular crowd funding campaign exclusively manufactured by The Game Crafter. As an incentive they will list your game on their News page ( which appears on their site and various other social networks. This definitely generated interest and sales for my game and not just hits on my Kickstarter page. Which was great, but I believe if I had been better prepared with a better game play video and a game review on my Kickstarter page, The Game Crafter’s News listing would have generated a lot more sales for me. Being my first game I rushed it a little.. a lot actually.. and would have benefited from becoming more involved with the amazing group of helpful and supportive people in The Game Crafter community. However, I still ran a successful campaign and I learned a lot about crowd funding and making games that people will buy.

5. Do you have any advice for other game designers who are considering running a Kickstarter to fund their game?

I’ve learned so much after my first kickstarter campaign and there’s a lot more to learn. I certainly don’t feel qualified to give advice, but I can detail what I will be doing for my next campaign. Before launching my next crowd funding campaign I will be getting professional reviews of my game. I will be using The Game Crafter’s Sanity Test on my game as I believe it gives you more honest feedback than any friend or family member would ever dare! I will create a comprehensive and appealing game play video. I will be attempting to become more involved in the gaming community to spread the word about my game and to see what other people out there are up to. I will be following other crowd funding trends to see what works, what doesn’t, and what other developers are offering in terms of rewards and buyer incentives. I will be offering customers on my database from my first game a special early bird reward. I will be studying what I did right with my first campaign and capitalize on it for my next campaign. Hopefully, if I do all these things I will have a great result, but most importantly I need to create a great game. That takes time. I won’t be rushing into the crowd funding campaign until its ready.

6. Are there any changes or improvements you’d like to see in the Bulk Order Fulfillment service?

Using The Game Crafter’s BOF was really easy. In fact, it was much easier than it looked from the descriptions on the site. Coupled with the backer report spreadsheet that Kickstarter generates at the end of the campaign the BOF was basically a quick copy/paste of some info and I was done. I only had two minor issues with the BOF, the first was that some of my European customers had unusual accents on the characters in their address lines. They appeared correctly on the spreadsheet but turned to gibberish on the BOF. This is probably more of an issue with my understanding of spreadsheets than a fault of the BOF but if there was some info available on the site it would make life easier. The second concern I had with the BOF was not knowing which postage option the BOF would use because you can’t manually select it. Turns out it uses the cheapest option – which was a huge relief, but again I think that information should have been on the initial page of The Game Crafter site that explains the BOF. Overall my experience with The Game Crafter’s BOF was fantastic and the only improvements needed would be covered by slightly more info or a FAQs page on the site.

7. Being from Australia did you face any challenges using The Game Crafter as your chosen manufacturer?

When launching my Kickstarter campaign I was concerned about postage in my home country. Kickstarter expects you to factor in the cost of postage for your own country, but having my games manufactured in USA the postage alone would make the games ridiculously expensive. I contemplated getting the games made by Australian or Chinese manufacturers, but they have a large minimum order that I wasn’t comfortable with for my first game. They also don’t have a community of gamers offering feedback and advice like The Game Crafter has. So, I discussed this with The Game Crafter and learned that I could have all my Australian orders sent to me in bulk so that I could send them on from here. The cost to factor into the price went from over $18 each game down to about $3 per game. So even though my profit margin would suffer slightly for my Australian orders it was a great solution to get the campaign running.

8. Would you recommend The Game Crafter’s BOF service to other game designers?

Shipping the games to customers directly from the manufacturer saved postage costs, it gave me a bulk order discount and it saved a lot of time. It’s a great service to help keep costs down for crowd funding campaigns. I’d highly recommend it to anyone who is thinking about using crowd funding for their game.

Click here to learn more about Bulk Order Fulfillment at The Game Crafter

We’d like to thank Kynan for taking the time to participate in this interview. Congrats on funding your very first game!

Apr 10