The basics of are similar to those of making any other business with a critical creative difference. From design right through to selling, the creative element will always be the driving factor. Decisions taken early are crucial to every step of the process and it is important to remember that you will be entering a market that is highly competitive.
Whether you yourself intend to design, or have already designed, the board game that will launch your business, or whether you intend to get somebody else to do this, there are points vital for consideration. Theme and mechanics must be correctly balanced in order to make the board game work. The only way to assure that this is the case is by arranging play-testers to trial run the product. As the brains behind the potential business, it would be wise to observe the reaction of the testers as they try the game. This could and probably should occur before any money is invested in manufacturing, if indeed you intend to release the game yourself rather than trying to secure a licensing agreement. This would mean making a cheap version of the board game from cardboard or whatever other materials suit.
Once you are satisfied that you have a fun, commercial product, it's time to make a decision on which route to go down when it comes to launching. It is possible to build a board games business by selling your idea to a publisher who will then produce, market and distribute it. If this is the route that you decide to take you will be facing tough odds. In the same way that an author must fight for attention for his book, you will face a similar situation with your game. The best advice you can follow is to be sure to closely follow a publishers guidelines for approaches. Also, be sure to tailor your submission to the right type of publisher - one that deals specifically with the type of game you are trying to publish. If you are successful in this you will be paid in royalties and the hard work will be taken off your hands.
If your intention is to launch the game yourself, be prepared - as with any other business - to pay close attention to cost at every stage. It is advisable if risking your own, or borrowed, money to seek the advice of a board games consultant (yes, they do exist!) as they will give you impartial advice on the market potential of your game. If they respond to it favourably, you will then begin the process of production, investment, selling, marketing and distribution. Always get estimates and ensure that companies stick to them, otherwise your project could go broke well before it gets onto the shelf.
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