How Turbulence Came To Be

You probably know by now that Turbulence is part of The Captain Is Dead kickstarter. We asked Turbulence’s designer Andrew Enslow to tell us a little about himself and why he designed it. Here’s what he had to say:

I am an undergraduate mechanical engineer in California. I grew up on Star Wars Epic Duels, Risk and monopoly. It wasn’t until 2012 that I began expanding to all sorts of board games with my friends. From there it was a short leap to making a few of my own, which they all graciously helped me play test.

“Order of the Twenty Sided Die” Board game night

I was sitting in my fluids class one day and had the “I could make this a board game” thought. I wanted to go a different direction than my first game though so I just let it simmer in the back of my mind. I’d do a mental test, break the game, and alter it, over and over till Turbulence was finally ready for physical prototype. What was supposed to be my most fun games became a clear game of strategy. The original game consisted of the shards flowing through pipes. Although this was an interesting concept it was not an interesting theme. I entered Turbulence in TGC’s Miniatures contest. It did better than I expected but reinforced what all my friends had been saying: the theme was too abstract. I decided to take their advice and change the theme.

First Edition of Turbulence

I really had no idea what other theme to use. Thankfully my cousin Jason (designer of the game SYNERGY) suggested I switch the theme to Airplanes. The game literately took off. The colors brightened up, players traveled from Control Tower to Landing Strip, and all of this was done using actual airplane pieces!

(Turbulence, Kickstarter edition)

Turbulence has become a game for all ages where younger gamers can enjoy flying across the map while hard core gamers can enjoy the complexity, depth and challenge provided by their variety of options. Thanks to all the family and friends who helped me make and improve this game. Special Thanks to the Order of the Twenty Sided Die (my board game group) who inspired and encouraged me along this incredible journey.

Back Turbulence on Kickstarter today!

Interview with Dan Letzring: Bulk Order Fulfillment

Dan Letzring successfully funded Ph.D. The Game on Kickstarter in February 2014. 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?

The Game Crafter provides a fantastic service that can’t be beat.  There are some other great printers out there but they typically require 500 or 1000 minimums for products and if you do not think you will hit that number of sales on your kickstarter, then you just can’t do it!  TGC will complete a BOF with as little as 1 game.  

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

There are a lot of good reasons to use the BOF option but I think the best reason is that they take care of shipping each individual package.  It would have been a huge hassle to ship out that number of games to many individual customers and I appreciate that The Game Crafter was able to take the burden off my shoulders and take care of it for me.  I even added a bumper sticker of my game with the rewards and I shipped the bumper sticker to The Game Crafter and they packaged the stickers with each game! They are amazing!

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

Overall my customers have had great things to say about the products they received.  Items were shipped 2 weeks earlier than my “estimated ship date” so that was a huge plus.  

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

Definitely.  I would not have been able to fulfill my rewards and have a successful campaign without their help.

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

Of course!  The products looked great and were shipped out quickly. Customers have had my products for at least two weeks now and I have had ZERO complaints on product quality or printing issues.

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

I made a couple of big mistakes right off the bat.  Some I was able to adjust during the campaign and some there was no going back on.  I think actively being involved in kickstarter months before you run a campaign and backing multiple projects will help to get a good feel of how a good kickstarter should be run.  Also ask a lot of questions to people who have had successful campaigns.  The Game Crafter has a great list of games on their site that have kickstarter campaigns either in progress or already completed.  Reach out to those game designers and pick their brains!

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

Overall I was very satisfied.  I have very little complaints about the service. If there was one thing I would change it might be to have a shipping option that can be applied to all orders (i.e. all orders shipped priority or first class or whatever else you deem fit).  The BOF automatically selects the method of shipment without giving you an option and I would like to be able to have control over that option.  Other than that, everything else was perfect!

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

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

New Auction Available - Be A Featured Designer at Gen Con


It’s time to put those crafter points to use folks!

You can hang out at The Game Crafter community booth and pitch your games to all walkers by at Gen Con 2014. We’ll also push people your way. If you want to get your name out there or promote an upcoming Kickstarter, this is amazing opportunity.

If you win this auction we’ll give you a table and four chairs at our booth from 2pm to 6pm on Thursday at Gen Con 2014. We’ll also push passers by to your table, and you’ll be mentioned in many of our Gen Con blog posts. The auction ends Friday, June 26 at noon.

Click here to visit the auction and place your bid!

NOTE: Badge to enter the convention is sold separately, this is just to be a guest exhibitor at our booth.

How The Captain is Dead Came To Be

You’ve probably heard by now that we are running a Kickstarter campaign for The Captain is Dead. What you may not have heard is how The Captain is Dead came to be. 

Meet Joe Price aka (Moldyvort):


Joe is a 37 year old fledgling game designer from Paragould, Arkansas. He and his wife have a 3 year old boy. And he’s been a gamer his entire life. 

After playing Pandemic, Joe loved the idea of a co-op game, but wanted something that made the mundane stuff like trading cards and moving around easier to do. He also wanted a more exciting theme. Out of those desires he built a game he called Bridge Command. 

JT Smith, one of the owners of The Game Crafter, picked up an early prototype copy of Bridge Command and instantly fell in love. He played it with his various gaming groups and they fell in love as well. However, the game needed a lot of help. It had no artwork, a name that was sure to draw trademark issues, and the rule book was in serious need of an editor. JT asked Joe when he would finish the game several times over the next couple of years. Unfortunately, due to having a new baby boy, Joe just didn’t have the time to complete the game.

JT and Joe worked out a deal to purchase the rights to Bridge Command. Then JT spent the next year and a half refining the game. Making sure everything was perfectly balanced. Adding and removing systems and roles. And through one of his gaming groups, stumbled upon a name that would stick: The Captain is Dead!

JT then hired Gaetano Leonardi to develop the artwork for he game, which resulted in gorgeous pieces like this:



JT took The Captain to lots of conventions and Protospiel events. He gathered tons of feedback and play testers. After many hundreds of play tests and years of development, The Captain is Dead is finally ready. Back us today on Kickstarter!

A preview of The Captain Is Dead by The Dice Tower.

All Us Geeks - The Captain is Dead
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All Us Geeks interviews JT about The Captain is Dead Kickstarter, The Game Crafter Community, and lessons learned from the Village in a Box Kickstarter. 

How Scarborough Fair Came To Be

We asked Allen Lamb, the designer of Scarborough Fair, one of the games in The Captain Is Dead Kickstarter Bundle to tell us how Scarborough Fair came to be. Here’s what he had to say.

Scarborough Fair is the only game that I designed where the name came first and the game came later. About four or five years ago, I heard the song playing (the Simon & Garfunkel version) and thought “Scarborough Fair sounds like a cool name for a game.” And that was it for a while. By the way, if you’re only familiar with the Simon & Garfunkel version of the song, you should know that it’s based on an old English ballad dating back to at least 1670. The ballad is about an actual fair that was held in Scarborough England every year which lasted 45 days .

A few months later that “Scarborough Fair” thought slipped back into my mind and I started thinking about designing a game for it. I had been playing a lot of a game called “On the Underground” at the time and it served as the inspiration for two games (Scarborough Fair and Of Power & Glory). The central mechanic in “On the Underground” involves a passenger that players try to persuade to ride their routes in the London underground. For Scarborough Fair, I thought “What if I turn the Passenger into a Customer at a fair that players try to guide to their goods?” 

The only thing I kept from the early version of the game were the tents. In the beginning, the resources were going to be Flour, Cloth, Herbs and Jewelry. The customer came into the fair from one direction and left in another as indicated on a card. 

Then in 2011, The Game Crafter had a contest to design a game using vehicles. I decided to take my half baked Scarborough Fair and re- theme it into an airport game called ATL. I was never happy with that version and have since unpublished it, but here’s a picture of the board from that variation: 

After the contest, I decided to take Scarborough Fair back to the
Renaissance where it belonged. I decided to fully embrace the song
and make the resources Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme. Then
came the new, more interesting mechanic for moving the customer
around the fair. I made several simplifications. Originally, I wanted
the resources to have some concept of “quality”; higher quality
goods being more desirable to the customer. That idea was scrapped,
though I may revisit it again in some future game. One of the more
interesting design decisions in the game concerned the victory
condition. At first, it was going to be purely based on money, but the
game suffered from a runaway leader problem. If you have a lot of money, it’s easier to make a lot of money. So I figured I needed to get players to trade in their gold for victory points. But that alone isn’t enough; players could just use their money to make money and then at last moment, exchange their money in for victory points. I needed something to get players to trade in money constantly throughout the game. So I decided to make the cost of victory points increase as they were taken which in turn would encourage players to buy them earlier in the game. This mechanic worked great and the runaway leader problem was largely eliminated by this mechanic alone.

In November of 2012, Scarborough Fair was published on the Game Crafter. Since then, I’ve made several tweaks to the game. I have adjusted the number of workers players have, the number of tents in the fair and the values on the cards. I’ve also modified the rules for adjusting the market a few times and added in a special rule for 2-player games to shrink the fair. I have also made several subtle cosmetic enhancements. 

Each change has been an improvement, but the essence of the game has remained the same. What I love most about this game is that there are so many different ways to play and win. 

Please support indie board game designers by backing Scarborough Fair in The Captain Is Dead Kickstarter Bundle!

Better Bulk Pricing For Small Campaigns

We have always been the champion of the small game designer, and we want to further that today by offering bulk pricing that matches the kinds of orders created for crowd funding campaigns and conventions. So rather than give you our best pricing at 400 or 500 copies, we’re offering our best pricing at 250 copies now! And as always, you can start accruing discounts at just 25 copies!

We’ve also lowered our bulk pricing on all of our boxes, tiles, and chits. And on top of that we’ve just upgraded our Medium Pro Box to be higher quality, and $1 less even at normal retail prices. 

Depending upon the components in your game the new bulk pricing algorithm may or may not affect the Best Cost your game was able to achieve. However, in every case, you will now be able to achieve the Best Cost at only 250 copies rather than 400. That means you have to spend less to get the best prices we can offer you. In a small game that might mean a dollar less per copy at 250 copies, and in larger games it could be several dollars less per copy at 250 copies. 

To make this whole process more transparent, we are now showing the bulk cost per sheet at 250 games on our printed component pricing page. This will enable you to see how much of a discount you can expect to achieve before you even start designing your game. 


Medium Pro Box Upgrade

We’re pleased to announce that we’ve upgraded our Medium Pro Box. It now uses the same construction techniques as the Small Pro Box, which is to say slightly thicker chipboard which results in less folds creating sleeker and more professional box. In addition to being a better box design, the new manufacturing process is slightly more efficient, allowing us to bring the box to you for $1.01 less ($8.99 instead of $10). 

All boxes currently in the queue have been automatically upgraded to the new box. In addition, there is no change to the artwork you need to upload for the new box as it has the same outer dimensions. 

The latest stretch goal for The Captain Is Dead Kickstarter has implications for The Game Crafter Community as well. This is a custom wooden meeple upgrade for Scarborough Fair, one of the games in the bundle. If this stretch goal funds, we will release these in all 8 of our standard colors as a permanent edition to our parts shop!
Please back Scarborough Fair or any of our bundled games in this kickstarter today so we can make these pieces a reality for everyone.

The latest stretch goal for The Captain Is Dead Kickstarter has implications for The Game Crafter Community as well. This is a custom wooden meeple upgrade for Scarborough Fair, one of the games in the bundle. If this stretch goal funds, we will release these in all 8 of our standard colors as a permanent edition to our parts shop!

Please back Scarborough Fair or any of our bundled games in this kickstarter today so we can make these pieces a reality for everyone.

The Game Crafter has teamed up with Cards Against Humanity to co-sponsor Tabletop Deathmatch 2014. Last year there were over 500 entries and this year we’re expecting even more!

The Game Crafter has been a big fan of Tabletop Deathmatch because it’s all about challenging indie board game designers and promoting some of the awesome games they make! This is right up our alley and so it’s a great opportunity and a natural partnership. It was also neat to see that 5 of 16 finalists at last year’s event were from The Game Crafter community and printed their prototypes through our service. :)

If you’d like to enter Tabletop Deathmatch 2014, just head on over to the signup page and fill out the submission form. We also recommend that you watch the prologue video above so you can learn more about the contest and the people/heart behind it. 

Robert Huss is a talented game designer and an active member in The Game Crafter community. He’s created several titles and his game company is called Counter Clockwork Game Design.

Robert’s game, The Shadow Over Westminster, was selected as a finalist in the 2013 Tabletop Deathmatch competition sponsored by Cards Against Humanity. The video above is from that event and it will give you a good understanding of how the game is played. 

Yesterday, Robert launched his Kickstarter campaign for The Shadow Over Westminster and now you can get your very own copy! He’s also running a giveaway for an autographed TGC prototype copy of the game. You can participate in that by clicking here.

Click here to support The Shadow Over Westminster on Kickstarter!

The current Captain Is Dead stretch goal has implications for the whole TGC community. The goal is for visual pawns. If we reach the goal then we will stock the pawns in all 8 colors and offer the stickers for the pawns. This will allow all of you to create custom printed pawns!

The current Captain Is Dead stretch goal has implications for the whole TGC community. The goal is for visual pawns. If we reach the goal then we will stock the pawns in all 8 colors and offer the stickers for the pawns. This will allow all of you to create custom printed pawns!

This summer, game designers and architects will converge in Witten, Germany for the first annual World Championship of Gameful Architecture. Check out the informational video above!

One of the teams attending the competition consists of several Game Crafter members, namely Hall-of-Famer Alex Coulombe, Morgan Shaw (known for their contest-winning game Rum Run), and Daniel King (known as Reluctant Pirate Games). According to them, The Game Crafter was an integral part of their application and acceptance to this contest.

We’re reaching out to TGC because your site helped us go from game players to game makers. Rum Run was actually a significant part of our application portfolio and gave the judges confidence in our ability to create a game-like, interactive public space. Without this site, We would have no way of demonstrating our game-making abilities, and to be honest, we may never have developed them in the first place.

The team is currently running a crowd-funding campaign through June to help raise the money needed to go to Germany and compete. We think it represents a great success story coming out of the site, and we’d like to spread the word as much as possible. The campaign is currently running on

The competition team has also hinted that they will likely be creating a print-and-play version of their final product, made available to anyone who backs the campaign, alongside the prizes they’re already offering. So watch the video, check out the campaign, and make sure to keep an eye out for these guys as they bring the good news of The Game Crafter to Germany and beyond!