The Game Crafter Effect

When it comes to designing a tabletop board or card game there are many aspects in the process. Some of the biggest hurdles can come when you have an idea and you want to turn that idea into something tangible. Something you can actually hold in your hands. As a creative person there are few things grander than holding something you created in your hands.


Some of what you will get if you use the Designer Table Sponsorship.

This is where The Game Crafter comes in. As a Print-on-Demand printer, that specializes in crafting board games, TGC is just what the doctor ordered. They have without question the largest selection of printable products. You merely need to download the template and let your creative juices flow. On top of their printing capabilities, TGC has a ridiculous selection of game components to add to your game. So, whether you are looking for game cards, full-print boxes, boards, tiles, custom dice, pawns, tokens, or much more, TGC is the one-stop-shop. It makes being creative easy!

But this is not the main point of this article. The Game Crafter is also a community in and of itself. The chat-room within TGC is always bustling with creativity. It is a meeting ground for artists, designers, and even a dozen or so publishers. You can share your ideas and get feedback. You can offer help or find someone to read your rules. You can locate an artist or get advise about Kickstarter. You can and will make friends and these friends will support you and your game. I am a curator in the chat and I have personally made a ton of friends and connections via just the chat.


All-new fully custom molded dice!

Beyond the chat you will find that TGC promotes this community with Game Design Contests. There is always at least one design contest running and sometimes multiple contests at once. Winners will typically win some cash, shop credit, and other goodies. It is a fantastic way to sharpen your skills and to meet new people. Most contests are judged by people in the industry like publishers, reviewers, convention officials, and sometimes even the folks at TGC. I have judged two contests myself and it was a great experience.

Another side effect of entering these contests is a thing called success. What do I mean? Well many many games have gone on to get published or on to successful Kickstarters. You do not even have to win the contest either. Quite a few games have been published that simply entered, learned from the feedback, made a few adjustments, and then sought out a publisher. Here is a list of games that were a part of a TGC contest and then went on to either get published or to have success on Kickstarter.

  • Baldrick’s Tomb – 5th Street Games – Kickstarter $24,100
  • City of Gears – Grey Fox Games
  • Jupiter Rescue –¬†Twilight Creations
  • Mob Town – 5th Street Games – Kickstarter $21,017
  • Four Tribes – Grey Gnome Games – Kickstarter $31,452
  • Dig Down Dwarf – Grey Gnome Games – Kickstarter $82,229
  • Village in a Box – The Game Crafter – Kickstarter $39,567
  • Of Dungeons Deep – Grey Gnome Games – Kickstarter $30,960
  • Flip – Mora Games – Kickstarter $5,176
  • Shogun Showdown – Sean Howard – Kickstarter $5,452
  • Landed – Argyle Games – Kickstarter $14,565
  • Oaxaca – Undine Studios – Kickstarter $35,234
  • Coin & Crown – Escape Velocity Games – Kickstarter $36,033
  • Siege of Sunfall – Grey Gnome Games – Kickstarter $21,801
  • Honey Wars – Gold Seal Games – Kickstarter $14,857
  • Starving Artists – Fairway 3 Games – Kickstarter $50,329
  • Underlings of Underwing – The Pericles Group – Kickstarter $32,271
  • Tricky Tides – Gold Seal Games



Designers, Publishers, and Playtesters hard at work at Protospiel.

Now remember that the above list only consists of games from The Game Crafter that were in a contest and I am certain I have missed a few. A host of other games have started out at TGC and been picked up by publishers as well such as the hits The Captain is Dead and Roll For It!. The bottom line is that TGC provides a great place to learn, grow, and succeed as a game designer.

Beyond the aforementioned contests and chat room, TGC also sponsors every Protospiel and supplies a ton of supplies at them for designers to use on the fly to create games. They even host the Madison Protospiel and Craftercon! In addition they will help out individuals looking to setup booths at local gaming conventions by supplying samples of components, table clothes, and money. Find out more about the Designer Table Sponsorship here.


Component table at Protospiel.

As you can see, The Game Crafter is in the thick of the indie board game design scene and a great place to start your journey into design or publishing. It is also a great place for established industry folk to have their prototypes made or even look for designs to publish. I have been a proud member of the community at TGC for about 6 years and felt obligated to write this article as a way to steer people in the right direction.

I have seen a lot of games start at TGC and go on to be on store shelves all over the world. Here are a few games that I am lucky enough to own both the original TGC versions of and the final published versions. How amazing it is to see this sort of success!



The original Roll For It! from TGC next to the special Gencon Edition! Roll For It! is now published by Calliope Games and is sold worldwide and can be found in both Target and Walgreens stores!


Starving Artists is the winner of the Survival Contest that I happened to judge. It went on to have a mega-successful Kickstarter bringing in more than $50k. Pictured is the original (and quite rare) TGC version and the fancy new published version.


Baldrich’s Tomb is one of my favorite quick dungeon-crawlers that plays well with the family. I got to help the designer Ben Haskett a little bit with development. It eventually was published by 5th Street Games. It was also a contest winner.


Honey Wars won the Gamerhole contest and then went on to find success on Kickstarter! I have one of the rare TGC versions!


Here is another Ben Haskett design that Ben self-published via Kickstarter. Pictured is the original TGC version and the pretty final published edition.


Here you will find a rare original copy of Trainmaker (left) with sticker dice and on the right is the version I published with fancy custom molded dice. This is another Chris Leder design. I loved the game and had to sign it!


Here is another contest winner, Siege of Sunfall. I got a chance to play the original at Protospiel Milwaukee and I signed the game to a publishing deal a couple months later. As you can see I changed the theme and wrapped it in all-new beautiful artwork.

In conclusion, I hope that this article was helpful to you in pointing out the many advantages of looking to The Game Crafter for your printing, prototyping, and support needs. So get working on your game and I hope to talk to you in the Game Crafter’s chat room!

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