How To Publish A Board Game?

Publishing a board game involves the process of bringing a tabletop game from concept to market. It encompasses designing, manufacturing, marketing, and distributing the game to players. Whether you’re a budding game designer with a unique idea or an established company looking to expand your board game portfolio, understanding how to publish a board game is crucial.

How To Publish A Board Game? If you’ve ever wondered about the steps involved in turning your board game idea into a tangible product that people can enjoy, you’re in the right place. Publishing a board game involves a multifaceted journey, from refining game mechanics and artwork to finding a suitable manufacturer and navigating the intricacies of the board game market.

Publishing board games is an exciting and challenging endeavor. It requires creativity, strategy, and a deep understanding of the gaming industry. Successful publishers invest in playtesting, quality components, and eye-catching packaging to stand out in a competitive market. Effective marketing and distribution are also key to ensuring your board game reaches the hands of eager players, making the entire process of publishing a board game a rewarding and fulfilling adventure.

What Does it Mean to Publish a Board Game?

Before we delve into the intricate steps of board game publishing, let’s define what it means to publish a board game. It encompasses the entire journey of taking a board game concept and turning it into a market-ready product.

This involves various stages, such as conceptualization, prototyping, theming, licensing or self-publishing decisions, collaborating with artists, graphic design, manufacturing, crowdfunding, production, distribution, order fulfillment, and sustaining ongoing sales.

The Creative Phase

The creative phase of publishing a board game is where your ideas take shape and evolve into a playable, enjoyable game. It’s the heart of the process, where you breathe life into your vision.


Conceptualization is the birthplace of your board game. This phase involves generating and developing your initial game idea, a critical foundation for the entire process.

Come up with an initial idea for a game

The creative journey begins with a spark of inspiration. You might have a theme, a unique mechanic, or a compelling story in mind. This idea will serve as the seed from which your game will grow. At this stage, your focus is on defining the core concept that sets your game apart from others.

Making the Idea Bloom: From Concept to Game

As you refine your initial idea, it’s essential to start considering game mechanics, objectives, and the overall player experience. Think about the target audience, gameplay duration, and the emotions you want players to experience while playing. This phase is about transforming your concept into a playable game.


Once your concept takes shape, it’s time to create a prototype, a basic version of your game that can be tested and refined.

Transforming Ideas into Reality

Prototyping is the phase where your concept becomes tangible. You’ll create a working model of your game using basic components like cards, tokens, and a game board. The prototype doesn’t need to be perfect, but it should be functional enough for playtesting.

Making a Prototype: Your First Step Towards Success

Creating a prototype allows you to experiment with different game mechanics and rules. It’s a crucial step to see if your game idea works in practice. A rough prototype helps identify potential issues, strengths, and areas for improvement.


Playtesting is a fundamental part of the creative phase. It involves putting your game in front of players to gather feedback and refine the gameplay.

Test, test, test!

Playtesting is the process of repeatedly playing your game with different groups of people. It helps identify what works well and what doesn’t. Playtesters provide valuable insights into aspects like game balance, fun factor, and rule clarity.

Perfecting Your Game: The Importance of Playtesting

Playtesting is essential to fine-tune your game. Be open to feedback and willing to make necessary adjustments. The goal is to ensure that your game is enjoyable, balanced, and free from frustrating elements. This phase can be time-consuming, but it’s critical for the success of your game.

Theming Your Game

Adding a thematic layer to your game can enhance the player experience and make your game more engaging and immersive.

Give your game a theme

Theming your game involves creating a narrative or visual style that ties the game’s components and mechanics together. A well-chosen theme can make your game more appealing and relatable to players.

Adding a Layer of Imagination: Theming Your Board Game

Theming can turn an abstract game into a captivating adventure. Think about how the theme aligns with your game’s mechanics and objectives. A strong theme can set your game apart from others in a crowded market.

The Business Side

After the creative phase, you’ll transition into the business side of board game publishing. This is where you make crucial decisions about how to bring your game to the market.

Licensing or Self-Publishing

One of the first significant decisions you’ll face is whether to self-publish your game or license it to an established board game company.

Decide if you want to publish your game, or license it to another company

Choosing between self-publishing and licensing depends on your goals, resources, and level of control. Self-publishing gives you complete creative control but requires more work, while licensing can provide access to an established distribution network.

To License or to Self-Publish: A Crucial Decision

Understanding the pros and cons of each option is essential. It’s a decision that will significantly impact the path your game takes to the market. Consider factors such as budget, marketing abilities, and long-term aspirations.

Collaborating with Artists

Collaborating with Artists

The visual aspect of your game is crucial. Collaborating with a talented illustrator can bring your game’s theme to life.

Find an illustrator

Finding the right illustrator is essential for capturing the essence of your game’s theme. Look for artists with experience in board game illustration who can understand and execute your vision.

Weaving Art into the Game: Finding an Illustrator

A skilled illustrator can create eye-catching visuals that resonate with players. Work closely with your chosen artist to ensure the artwork aligns with your game’s theme and enhances the overall experience.

Graphic Design

Once you have the artwork, graphic design is the next step to ensure your game looks polished and professional.

Find a graphic designer

Graphic designers specialize in layout, typography, and overall visual design. They take the illustrated elements and integrate them into the game’s components, including cards, boards, and packaging.

Crafting Visual Excellence: Hiring a Graphic Designer

A graphic designer’s expertise can elevate your game’s aesthetics and improve its usability. It’s crucial to find a designer who can align the visual elements with your game’s theme and mechanics.

Creating a Presentable Prototype

With artwork and graphic design in place, it’s time to create a visually appealing prototype that can impress potential players and investors.

Make a pretty prototype

A pretty prototype goes beyond functionality; it looks attractive and enticing. A well-designed prototype can help create a positive first impression.

Shaping Perfection: Crafting an Attractive Prototype

Investing in a visually appealing prototype is important, especially if you plan to present your game to investors or launch a crowdfunding campaign. It’s an opportunity to showcase the game’s potential.


Manufacturing is a significant step that involves turning your prototype into a mass-produced product ready for distribution.

Contact a factory

Selecting the right manufacturing partner is crucial. You’ll need a factory that can produce your game components to your specifications and quality standards.

Turning Dreams into Reality: The Manufacturing Phase

Manufacturing involves producing the game components, including cards, game boards, tokens, and packaging. It’s essential to establish a good working relationship with your chosen factory.


Crowdfunding, particularly through platforms like Kickstarter, has become a popular way to fund board game projects.

Building a Kickstarter page and launch!

Creating a compelling Kickstarter campaign is essential for successfully raising funds for your game’s production.

Crowdfunding Your Vision: Building a Kickstarter Campaign

A Kickstarter campaign is not only about securing funding but also about building a community of supporters. It’s a chance to engage with potential players and gather a dedicated following.

Table: Key Elements of a Kickstarter Campaign

Project VideoA video that introduces your game and explains why it’s worth backing.
Project DescriptionA detailed overview of the game, its components, and gameplay.
Reward TiersDifferent backer levels with unique rewards or incentives.
Stretch GoalsAdditional content or improvements unlocked as funding goals are reached.
Backer UpdatesRegular updates to keep backers informed and engaged throughout the campaign.
Marketing and PromotionStrategies for reaching a wider audience and driving traffic to your campaign.
Community EngagementInteracting with backers through comments, live streams, and social media.


After a successful crowdfunding campaign, it’s time to move into full-scale production.

Manufacture your game

Production involves fulfilling the orders of backers from your crowdfunding campaign. It’s a busy phase that requires close coordination with your manufacturing partner.

Bringing it to Life: The Production Process

With the necessary funding secured, your manufacturing partner will start producing the games at a larger scale. Quality control and adherence to timelines are essential during this phase.


Distribution is all about getting your manufactured games to various destinations, including retailers and backers.

Send the games from your factory to your fulfillment center

To streamline distribution, games, including the Logo board game, are often sent from the manufacturing facility to a fulfillment center.

Bridging the Gap: Distribution from Factory to Fulfillment

Distribution can be a complex process, involving logistics, customs, and coordination. A fulfillment center can handle the storage, packing, and shipping of your games to different destinations.

Order Fulfillment

Fulfilling orders, whether from backers or retailers, is a critical step in ensuring that your games reach their intended destinations.


Efficient order fulfillment is vital to keep customers satisfied and maintain a good reputation.

Delighting Customers: Ensuring Smooth Order Fulfillment

Whether fulfilling Kickstarter rewards or sending games to retailers, reliable order fulfillment ensures that your games arrive in excellent condition and on time.

Sustaining Success

After your game is in the hands of players, sustaining ongoing sales and maintaining a thriving community are essential for long-term success.

Ongoing sales

Continuing to promote and sell your game, both online and through retail channels, is essential for long-term success.

Keeping the Momentum: Sustaining Ongoing Sales

Sustaining success involves ongoing marketing, engaging with the gaming community, and possibly expanding your game line with expansions or new titles.


What’s the first step in publishing a board game?

The creative process begins with conceptualizing your game idea.

Is crowdfunding a necessary step in publishing a board game?

Crowdfunding, like Kickstarter, is a common way to secure funds for production but isn’t mandatory.

How do I choose between self-publishing and licensing my game?

The decision depends on your goals, resources, and level of control over your game’s destiny.

Why is playtesting important in the board game publishing process?

Playtesting helps identify and refine gameplay elements for a better player experience.

What role does theming play in board game publishing?

Theming adds depth and immersion, making your game more engaging and captivating for players.


In conclusion, publishing a board game is an exciting and challenging adventure that combines creativity, strategy, and business acumen. From conceiving your initial game idea to navigating the complexities of manufacturing, crowdfunding, and distribution, this guide has provided a comprehensive roadmap to help you succeed. 

Remember, the world of board games is a diverse and dynamic one, and there is always room for new and innovative ideas. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can embark on your board game publishing journey with confidence and turn your game concept into a reality that brings joy and entertainment to players everywhere.

Leave a Comment