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The Game Inventor's Guidebook: How to Invent and Sell Board Games, Card Games, Role-Playing Games, & Everything in Between!
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The Game Inventor's Guidebook: How to Invent and Sell Board Games, Card Games, Role-Playing Games, & Everything in Between!

3.61  ·  Rating details ·  203 ratings  ·  27 reviews
The definitive guide for anyone with a game idea who wants to know how to get it published from a Game Design Manager at Wizards of the Coast, the world's largest tabletop hobby game company. Do you have an idea for a board game, card game, role-playing game or tabletop game? Have you ever wondered how to get it published? For many years Brian Tinsman reviewed new game sub ...more
Paperback, 263 pages
Published November 1st 2008 by Morgan James Publishing (first published February 2003)
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Average rating 3.61  · 
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 ·  203 ratings  ·  27 reviews

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Start your review of The Game Inventor's Guidebook: How to Invent and Sell Board Games, Card Games, Role-Playing Games, & Everything in Between!
Nov 21, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Brian Tinsman knows what he’s talking about. That doesn’t mean that it always gets translated to the published page. The Game Inventor’s Guidebook has a lot of useful information and I will use it as a reference in several of the courses I teach. However, it could have been a textbook—it could have been a contender. Here are my, admittedly very personal, reservations about the book.
First, the format/layout of the book makes it feel like it was prepared in a hurry. I’m not sure what the rush woul
Serge Pierro
Sep 11, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: games, non-fiction
A good introduction to the business of game design. Covers a lot of ground, however, nothing is covered in great depth. An excellent first book for the aspiring game inventor.
Aug 14, 2019 rated it it was ok
A book that offer knowledge from the game sector in a structured way, although most of it is common sense, and with such an ever evolving market it misses input on the successful stories of the past ten years. The anecdotes on some of the well-known games and their inventors is however entertaining.
Eric Plunkett
Jan 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Lots of good info about the industry. Definitely some tips in there I can use. It was more focused on mass market and hobby games than European-style games than is ideal for me.

I think it would benefit from an update that includes Kickstarter self-publishing.
Anastasia Alexandra
Sep 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
A bit dated by now but still some really good advice for those starting out in the industry.
Rob Markley
Sep 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really well done and great coverage- enjoyed this immensely.
Fabio Marzullo
Nov 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good for newcomers!

Interesting book, it delves into introdutory material, but also gives good insights about the games industry. The final resources are great reference material.
Adam Sequoyah
This book seems to have gotten outdated fast, but it still offers some important and pertinent info in this decade's board game industry.

MPAA ratings: G
Jonathon Dyer
Jan 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
Game design is a labour of love. Whether it's a board game about dinosaurs to amuse your kids (who, this month, are really into dinosaurs), or something you think might be good enough to sell, maybe even good enough to be the next Scrabble or Trivial Pursuit, your heart really has to be in it if it's going to work at all.

Brian Tinsman is here to tell you that having your heart in it, while crucial, is never going to be enough. Tinsman's been working in the game industry for much of his working l
Michael Burnam-Fink
The Game Inventor's Guidebook is a decent and breezy--if outdated--guide to how to go from a games hobbyist to a games inventor. Tinsman has the games business chops, as the acquisitions guy for Wizards of the Coast, he worked on Magic: the Gathering and Curses and played about 150 new games a year. This book is his attempt to look inside the business of games, and help people break in. As with most business how-tos, it's only a fraction of what the author knows, but's it an important fraction. ...more
Feb 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I've been a gamer forever, but I recently had an idea to make a game. Even though I've gamed forever, selling and making a game is something I know very little about. I decided to check this book out.

The Game Inventor's Guidebook really was the perfect book for someone like me. Tinsman covered all sorts of games from RPGs to CCGs to miniatures and everything else. He delved into what goes on behind design, marketing, publishing, and even self-publishing. There was a lot of info in here.

Even thou
Mar 30, 2012 rated it liked it
3.5 stars:

This is another book that I'm rating as casual reading, not because I've used the suggestions in it. While my buddy got it as a resource for getting his board games published, for me it was just entertainment. Yes, I'm THAT into board games. Yes, I'm THAT geeky. ;-)

It was really interesting to read interviews with big names in the industry, to see what they're looking for, to hear about the gotcha's they passed along, and to hear about some of the problems they face. But I found the in
Feb 15, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good, but dated information.

Most of the information in the book was good and useful, but it was very dated. There was no mention of Kick starter (understandable since the book predates Kickstarter) and also doesn't mention the effects of the recent surge in popularity of designer games in the American market. Many of the resources are also dated and newer resources are lacking, including the benefits of Facebook groups, design community websites and forums, and design specific events like Unpub
Aug 09, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Why have I never heard of HeroClix games? I must go out and get a set. With this book in hand, I now feel prepared to develop a game should the muse ever truly strike me. A few things this book taught me:

* If you're a polite and sane individual, you're already above most of the pack when you submit a game design to a publisher.

* Game publishing has a stricter design philosophy these days: Monopoly would not make it as a game if it were submitted today.

* Publishing your own game is a royal pai
Gareth Mottram
Feb 10, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: game-design
The Game Inventor's Guidebook How to Invent and Sell Board Games, Card Games, Role-Playing Games, & Everything in Between! by Brian Tinsman A great introduction to the process of designing a new game and the industry's top publishers and most notable games. ...more
Cherie Kephart
May 13, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you are inventing a game and looking to get it published, this is the book for you. Tinsman provides a history of the industry and insight into what you need to do to reach your goals. This reference offers detailed interviews with people in the gaming industry, which proves invaluable as you create your game and unleash it to the world. I highly recommend reading this book before you approach a gaming company. It just may be the difference between acceptance and rejection.
Jess Hartley
Apr 12, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This is a must-have book for those who are interested in creating and marketing games of all sorts. It offers not only advice, but also a sense of history and personal anecdotes from successful game creators, giving would-be gamemakers a glimpse behind that elusive curtain that lies between the players and the industry.

This was recommended to me by Mike Selinker of Lone Shark Games, and I definitely am grateful for the recommendation. It was invaluable.
Rodolfo Schmauk
Nov 07, 2014 rated it liked it
Esperaba más del libro. Más que nada consejos sobre como llegar a publicar un juego una vez que se ha hecho, pero poco sobre el proceso creativo. Muy enfocado en juegos de mercado amplio, y gringos, y a mí me gustan más los europeos.
Lo mejor, probablemente, lo relativo a los consejos de playtesting.
Me quedo con The Kobold Guide to Game Design, que a pesar de ser ensayos, entra más en el proceso de creación del juego.
Dec 11, 2013 rated it liked it
Fairly interesting for a gamer, but I think the cover is a bit misleading. It`s not that much about actually inventing a game, as it is about what´s already out there, who`s done what in the industry, how to approach publishers etc. ...more
Jun 12, 2016 rated it liked it
Looks like quite a reasonable book to read rather than flick thru once / if I design my own board / card game, when it is in a working version.
Mar 23, 2016 marked it as to-read
Shelves: acadia-moon
I got this recommendation from Storm Hollow game designer Angela Hickman Newnham, who I met at Gamestorm 2016. I haven't seen it or read it yet but looking forward to it. ...more
May 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
A bit outdated and somewhat repetitive but still chock full of useful information, anecdotes, and interviews with popular game designers.
Abe Schmidt
May 02, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Needs to be updated with a kickstarter chapter, by an awesome helpful book.
Christian Lindke
Mar 08, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Game Design,Games
Lance I
Aug 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
A lot of good information. I particularly liked the resources in the back of the book.
Dec 25, 2014 rated it liked it
A lot of useful information
Jul 24, 2012 added it
More focused on business than the other similar book I read. Interesting stuff.
Bruno Campagnolo De Paula
rated it it was amazing
Jan 29, 2017
rated it really liked it
Dec 18, 2013
Geoff Cottorone
rated it liked it
Feb 02, 2015
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