Top 5 Tips for Designing a Reference Card

Today we attempt to define what a reference card is, which isn’t as easy as you may think, and then we pull them apart and figure out which games need them and how to design them clearly. Then we end with a Top 5 list of tips to make your reference card better. Here are some questions and topics we discuss:

  • Which games do we wish had them that do not?
  • Which games have them but don’t need them?
  • Do we need one for each player?
  • The psychological effect of having a reference card.
  • Can a game be too simple to have a reference card?
  • The cost of a reference card.

Top 5 Tips for Designing a Reference Card:
#5) No Walls of Text
#4) Use 1 Double-Sided Reference Card
#3) White Space is Your Friend
#2) Make Them Visually Distinct
#1) Use Symbols


Podcast/Audio Version:




Target Markets

Today we talk about designing and publishing games for a particular market. Here are some of the topics/questions we cover:

  • What’s a target market?
  • Which markets are commonly considered in the board game industry?
  • Identifying the market that’s right for your game.
  • Should I use elements to my game to fit a particular group of consumers?
  • Do publishers have a specific market in mind when they are scouting games?
  • How do things like ease of play and length of play factor into a market segment?
  • Should I design a game for a specific market?
  • Should designers put their target market on their sell sheet?
  • Are there specific conventions where you’ll find publishers for specific markets?


Why Are So Many Licensed Games So Bad?

Today we discuss licensed games and the specific challenges associated with making a game from them. If you are granted the rights to make a card game based in the Star Wars universe, how do you make a game around it? Or should you make the game first and try to acquire the license later? Here are some questions we answer:

  • Should I design a game for a license?
  • How much does it cost to get an intellectual property?
  • Do you pay up-front or are there royalties or both?
  • What does the schedule/deadlines look like?
  • What impact does this have on your cash flow?
  • How do you learn enough about the chosen universe?
  • What kind of help can you expect from the licensor?
  • Can you add to the universe?
  • Are there any conventions that you should go to related to licensing?

Audio Podcast:


Matching Art to Your Game

How do you find the right artist for the style of game you’re making? Commence discussion! Topics:

  • Finding artists to fit your target market.
  • Identifying market segments.
  • Examples of illustrations or graphic design not fitting the game.
  • Selecting images for the Star Trek Trading Card Game.
  • What should I look for when requesting quotes?
  • What kind of budget should I expect?

Audio/Podcast Link:

Predictions for 2017

We take a stab at predicting how the industry will change in 2017.

  • Legacy Games
  • Quality Kickstarter Exodus
    • Otherwise, Kickstarter Growth Continues
    • Will Quality Go Up or Down?
  • Company Mergers
  • Component Diversification
    • “Meeples with a Twist”
    • Chipboard Constructs
    • Display Games
    • Unexpected Components
  • Storytelling Games
  • Deluxe Editions
  • Game Exchange System
  • Local Game Stores Evolve
  • Increase in Import Games


Top 10 Ways to Build Your Board Game Industry Network

Today we have Jeremy and Brian’s top 10 ways to build your network within the board game industry:


J10 – Participate in contests.

J9 – Be easy to find on social media.

J8 – Place encouragement above criticism.

J7 – Do your homework to avoid wasting publishers’ time.

J6 – Observe Publisher Speed Date.

J5 – Go to Protospiel and Unpub events.

J4 – Attend cons where industry experts have time to talk.

J3 – Don’t view community as a vending machine.

J2 – Offer service or resource to the community.

J1 – Play other designer games.



B10 – Volunteer at con booths.

B9 – Run local events.

B8 – Playtest other people’s games.

B7 – Comment on blogs and YouTube videos.

B6 – Create content.

B5 – Be active on social media.

B4 – Go to bigger cons to meet elites.

B3 – Go to smaller cons for local community.

B2 – Find your local game nights.

B1 – Help others in the industry.



Reasons to NOT Enter the Board Game Industry

This time we try to ground everyone with a discussion of some reasons you might not want to enter the board game industry:

  • You will lose money.
  • You will lose time, effort, and opportunities.
  • Other people will be critical of your work, not publish, or not buy it.
  • The work is not all fun.
  • Your game is not special.
  • Kickstarter campaigns and fulfillment are stressful.
  • You’ll be away from home and have to spend money on travel.

Podcast/Audio Version: