Wherever you are in your game designing journey, Facebook groups are a wonderful place to meet other designers, talk shop, ask questions, and be part of a community. There are quite a few out there, so there’s no need to join them all.
[ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED February 2019. LAST UPDATED June 2022.]
The rules in most groups are pretty simple, and are generally written along the right sidebar. Few welcome self-promotion, though some tolerate it in limited amounts. Some groups are more focused on a very specific aspect of game design, while others are happy to be more general.
I’ve sorted the list below into five categories: designing, the industry, Kickstarter / marketing, the arts, and general / community-focused. Although some groups naturally fit into more than one category, I’ve aimed to put each group in the most relevant category. Without further ado…
Board Game Design Lab Community
Run by Gabe Barrett, the Facebook group is a part of Gabe’s empire, complete with podcast and website. I have found this to be one of the friendliest groups around, offering plenty of constructive feedback and ideas.
Tabletop Game Designers Guild
From the group’s description: “This group is a help desk only for questions related specifically to designing the tabletop game prototypes and initial game concepts. All topics should be posted in a format to ask specific questions seeking answers or offering non-promotional resources and information that would help during the initial game development. Additionally questions related to being a game designer are also allowed.”
It was formerly named Card & Board Game Designers Guild and run by James Mathe before his passing. While that group is still technically active, the mods have been moving people to the group above in case Facebook changes the rules again.
Desperately seeking playtesters
A great place to find playtesters, or playtest some up and coming games outside of the online playtesting groups. Organize your own playtesting sessions, ideally a day or two in advance and with time zones in mind.
Tabletop Game Playtesters Guild
Give you one guess what this one’s all about. It’s very specific, per the group’s description: “This group exists to help game designers and playtesters connect, and to share other play testing-related resources. It is open to all game designers and publishers looking for playtesters as well as anyone interested in playtesting new games.“. Find playtesters, but don’t promote your project or marketing stuff here.
Tabletop Game Publisher’s Guild
Another one that was formerly run by James Mathe, the Tabletop Game Publisher’s Guild specifically focuses on the game industry, manufacturing questions, and best practices. Just like the Tabletop Game Designers Guild above, it’s been restarted to give the mods more access to Facebook features and in case Facebook changes the rules.
Small-Batch Game Publishers Group
Run by Emily Willix, there’s a very specific focus here: designers that want to make their game in a ‘small batch’ (specifically, 100 to 1,000 copies). Making these limited-edition games usually means assembling them yourself, but the goal here is to share information on the least costly and time-consuming ways to make it work.
Crowdfunding / marketing
Board Game Hype
Run by Devon Mettlin, there’s a lot to like here. It’s a very supportive community where everyone’s doing something interesting. Devon’s also creating avatars and pets for the users as a way to add a bit of personality and uniqueness to each person in the group.
Noticing a pattern here? Each of these groups with similar backdrops has a distinct function. This isn’t a place to promote active Kickstarters, but is a great place to ask questions related to crowdfunding.
Crowdfunding Nerds Community
Give you one guess. It’s a fairly small, but fairly specialized group.
BoardGameGeek Crowdfunding Group
As you might expect from the name, this one’s all about games being crowdfunded. Expect some self-promotion alongside questions about the Kickstarter process.
Board Game Marketing
The mods recommend using a hashtag and keyword (#Ask, #Share, #Update, and #Win) to start your post. As with other groups, this is a good place to discuss marketing, but not to promote your own game.
Kickstarter Board Games
Who doesn’t love a party? Everything here is focused on Kickstarter, crowdfunding, and there’s a fair bit of self-promotion to show off some excellent-looking games.
Upcoming Board Games: Crowdfunding & Retail Game Calendar
Run by Board Game Revolution, the description summarizes what to expect: “This group is meant to serve as a calendar database for upcoming board game releases; either Crowdfunding or retail.
One goal is to help creators and project managers to coordinate their campaign dates to help prevent crowdfunding saturation in an increasingly competitive market (even if you don’t have your preview ready please create an event for you upcoming project anyway and add the link later). The other purpose is to showcase all the upcoming retail releases.”
Tabletop Game Kickstarter Advice
Also formerly run by James Mathe, the focus here is all about Kickstarter. Some folks ask members to look at their not-yet-live Kickstarter page Consider this a must-read group before starting your Kickstarter campaign.
Art & Graphic Design for Tabletop Games
While fairly specific in that it’s about the art and graphic design, this is a wonderfully mixed bag. Some people post different versions of cards in search of feedback, so feel free to give your opinion.
Writing for Games
Very specifically focused on the written word in tabletop games. Not a huge group, but I definitely appreciate that it’s retained a specific focus for the benefit of its members. Come here with questions on style or the writing industry, not to leave a link.
General / Community-focused
Board Game Excitement
Run by Martyn Poole and Helena Tzioti, this is a more general group willing and able to give advice about game design, the Kickstarter process, or what to play next.
Board Game Revolution Community
With over 50,000 members made up of gamers and designers, it’s a good place to market your game (once a week, per the group’s description) and see what gamers are talking about.
With over 100,000 members, this is perhaps the largest board gaming group on Facebook. It’s very general, and much like the BGG forums, can be all over the place. That’s perhaps this group’s strengths, but can also lead to drama. Consider this ‘market research’ if you like.
Board Game Haven
Kind of an anything-gaming-related community, so it’s perfect for discovering people’s photos of games, learning what people are playing, new Kickstarters, and the like.
Tabletop Gaming Guild
A little bit of everything. From the description: “Tabletop Gaming Guild is devoted to supporting local tabletop gaming communities. We strive to help promote and support local gaming events and stores, and have a podcast to provide discussions about this great hobby. It is our belief that tabletop games can help bring people together and create a shared sense of community.”
Tabletop game design open discussion
While not the biggest or most active group, it’s perhaps the only group where you just ask just about anything that relates to game design in some way. If you have a burning question that doesn’t seem to fit in other groups, try it out here.
Board Game Reviewers & Media
Another very specific group. If you’re a previewer, reviewer, media, or looking for some of these fine folks, this is a perfect place to connect. If you’ve made a game, this is your place to entice people to cover your game.
Over to you
I’m sure there are more Facebook groups about board games and game design – share in the comments!