In short: Playtesting, creating games, playtesting, doing a few pitches, playtesting some more, and tweaking / polishing a few ideas…

Where is Chris now?

Chris is still in Warsaw, Poland – and man, it was cold this month… A great reason to stay inside, I guess, but it definitely made going out for a walk or a workout at the local park a harder-than-necessary choice…

What games are you playtesting?

While I’m usually happy to playtest anything in the collection, two games got the lion’s share of playtesting this month:

  • Travelers: Tokyo — yeah, I’m a bit stuck on the name there… but what I’m making is basically a system of games that could work with just about any real-world city. It’s a set collection, resource management game uses the real-world public transportation systems and places of a city.
  • A game that, by the time you read this, may have already undergone another name change. It’s a one-page print-and-play where everything you need to play (rules and game area) is on a single sheet of paper. The only other thing you’ll need is a uniquely colored marker. It’s been called Overseer, Zen Garden, Hauptbahnhof (the German word for ‘main train station’), and now it’s called Trailblaze. It’s always been about placing stones (or stations or campsites) and making connections (or lines or walking paths) between them. Place a thing, then pass your sheet clockwise. Receive another sheet from another player and see what you can do on that sheet.

And now, a word about Tabletop Publishers.

I’ve finished the main phase of the publishers research project, which is now online at If you’re a board game designer planning to pitch publishers, you’re going to find this database of publishers will save you tons of time. Everything here is derived from public information (and in a few cases, my notes / perceptions of a publisher), and for obvious reasons does not include anything confidential or private.

What does a listing look like? Well, it looks pretty boring, especially when you blur out the fun parts:

But in one fell swoop, you have literally everything you need to find their public presence online (website, BGG page, social media, etc.), the types of games they make, some notes, which conventions they attended in 2019 (2020 was special, recall – the 2021 data will get added when it’s publicly known), and so on.

Listings are easy to filter and sort, which makes it easy to narrow down the best publishers for your game. Here’s an example – say you want to find publishers that attended Essen AND are looking for kids games…

Four clicks, about five seconds. Done. Go from researching several hundred publishers to about 50.

Learn more and get lifetime access for a one-time fee over at

What’s happening behind the scenes?

Although the month isn’t over yet, I’ll be sending on some more pitches via e-mail or contact forms. This sort of research is part of why I made the Tabletop Publishers database to begin with. It makes my own research easier, and I’m sure it’ll make yours easier as well.

Virtual Playtesting is still going strong, playtesting games on Mondays and Thursdays as we have for the last several months. Our newest host, David Digby, has taken the lead on a new type of session called VPT Scheduled – they meet every Wednesday and will focus on longer / heavier games.

Had some great conversations with a couple of publishers and a co-designer. Together with the latter, we’re looking at making a mass market sort of game.

I’m in the middle of some editing and content creation for some professional clients, and am also thrilled to see a game I helped to proofread (Tinners’ Trail) doing well on Kickstarter.

What’s the next big thing?

Figuring out which virtual conventions will be worth attending. Nonepub and ProtoCLE are both happening the last week of January. No idea which real-world conventions will actually be happening, but I’d be surprised if I go to one in 2021. I’m keeping my eyes on them and hoping for positive news from official announcements… but I’m not holding my breath.