Monday, November 13, 2023

Your Turn! The Guide to Great Tabletop Game Design will turn YOU into a tabletop game designer!

For immediate release

Introducing Your Turn! The Guide to Great Tabletop Game Design, the newest book by game designer Scott Rogers (Level Up! The Guide to Great Video Game Design)

Published by Wiley, Your Turn! is the intuitive and fun guide to designing tabletop game for both novices and experienced professionals.

Are you ready to master the art of designing, prototyping, and testing tabletop game? Your Turn! guides you through the process from idea to execution. Create SIX original tabletop games to play or sell. Unleash your creativity and conquer the industry with YOUR captivating game designs.

Unlock the wealth of knowledge within Your Turn! Master game mechanisms, theories, and history to become a tabletop gaming expert. Elevate YOUR designs and create unforgettable experiences with this invaluable resource by your side. Love playing games? It's YOUR TURN! to make them.

Your Turn! The Guide to Great Tabletop Game Design can be found at the following e-tailers and wherever books are sold:

Barnes & Noble

Author Scott Rogers has been a professional game designer for thirty years, designing such games as Rayguns and Rocketships, ALIEN: Fate of the Nostromo, Marvel Villianous and has been seen on the History Channel and in the 2020 documentary Gamemaster. He is the author of the best-selling book Level Up! The Guide to Great Video Game Design and has taught at USC's prestigious school of Interactive Media and the New York Film Academy... and now he's ready to teach YOU!

Thursday, November 2, 2023


Earlier this summer, I set myself a goal: to design a small run board game that had two professionally manufactured components. Up until this point I had never produced my own game, only having games created by publishers.

When I started, all I knew is that I wanted to make a game about a haunted house and it used dice.
I limited the production size to 10 games and charged $60 apiece for the game. I “sold out” in a half hour.
I set to work designing, having a fondness for push-your-luck dice games like Farkle and Zombie Dice; games that my family like to play.

The breakthrough came when I realized the Haunted House should be sideways not vertical. It evolved into a game where the players raced to exit the house before a ghost trapped them inside.

My family and friends playtested the game many times and realized something was missing. Adjustments to the rules were made and a mode where players found and lost treasure was added.

Now onto the production! Meeples were found overseas at a German wholesaler. Dice were bought from Chessex on Amazon. Coins were bought from an online shop. 

After looking at Meeple Source and a few other retailers, I realized that I wanted a custom-made meeple for the ghost meeple. I contacted a half-dozen manufacturers but ultimately went with Panda Games Manufacturing. They were great to work with and I was pleased with the results. 
I also wanted a cloth game map which I ordered through Contrado who was amazingly fast! Highly recommended!

I wanted to do something special for the box, but wooden ones were outside my budget so I gussied up a black cardboard box with a black velvet “coffin liner”. The lid holds a surprise for the owners, glow-in-the-dark ghosts!
The name of the game - ESCAPE FROM ROTTER MANSION - comes from my family’s original name, which was changed at the turn of the 20th century. 

The whole game was autographed and numbered in silver ink. And I managed to ship it off before my Halloween deadline. One buyer even received it on the holiday!

I think it turned out great. I had a lot of fun making this limited run game and will probably make another in the near future!

Tuesday, October 24, 2023

Pre-order YOUR TURN! The guide to great tabletop game design

 I just received my author copies of YOUR TURN! The guide to great tabletop game design and it turned out great! 


You can preorder your copies here: (publisher)


 Barnes and Noble 


Hey! I'm on TV!

 Hey all,

I'm going to be on the History Channel show "The Toys that Build America" on October 22nd and October 29 talking about the histories of Bingo, Yahtzee, Nintendo and Gunpei Yokei!

Don't miss it!

Wednesday, April 26, 2023

Designer Diary: ALIEN: Fate of the Nostromo

 Happy ALIEN day! For this special day, I thought I'd share how the ALIEN: Fate of the Nostromo board game was created!

In spring of 2020, I was contacted by Ravensburger about their available licenses. I'm fortunate to be on a list of game creators that are offered the opportunity to pitch game ideas to the publisher. ALIEN was on the list and as I'm a big fan of the sci-fi thriller, I knew I had to give it my best shot!

I ended up pitching two concepts - one based on the 1979 movie and an original idea set in the ALIEN universe around the time of the original movie. Ravensburger's response to both concepts were positive - and they asked me if I could combine the two ideas: Take the game mechanics from the original idea's pitch but base the game on the setting of the original film. When I said that I could, I was asked for a more detailed example of the game. Grabbing some components from other games I had in my collection, I set to work putting together a prototype!

Ravensburger had a few requests for the design: they were excited about the "Jump scare" deck mentioned in the pitch, so I had to explain how that worked...

...and I was asked to not have player elimination or a traitor mechanic in the game design. I said "you do realize this is a movie with player elimination and a traitor mechanic, right?" They replied "You'll figure something out." So instead, I came up with a fear mechanic - the more frightened you got, the less you could do. If you were ever "too scared" to do anything, the game was over.

And of course, Jonesy had to make an appearance in the game. However, I didn't want him to be a player character or a first-player token. Instead, I wanted him to act as he did in the film - causing jump scares to the player and even being a source of frustration until the player could capture him in the cat-carrier.

Once all of the pieces were in place, my family playtested the game over and over and over again. This was one of the happy side-effects of the global pandemic - a captive playtesting group!
My family was a great help and my kids dubbed the ALIEN miniature "Alan" - enjoying making him "grab" the astronaut miniatures that were stand-in for the player characters. Note the "Ash" miniature stand-in that became a standee in the final game.

Meanwhile, Ravensburger's Steve Warner was leading the remote playtesting efforts on the game. They came up with some of the game's better improvements - turning the jump scare deck into tokens, and splitting the board into two "levels" of the ship.
This prototype image shows several ideas that were discarded including individual "fear" for each character, a die used to determine the Alien's location (which was meant to be in the shape of the classic egg) and a meter that increased the Alien's speed and lethal-ness as it increased. This is all part of the iterative design process - you try ideas, they either don't work or don't improve the game, so you come up with something else.

Another funny moment during development: I'm friends with sculptor Brian Dugas and we were DMing each other about what projects we were working on - without telling each other what projects we were working on. I deduced that he was working on the minis for ALIEN and said "Hey! I'm designing that game!" We both had a good laugh and I'm glad that Brian was on the project - he's super-talented and it's always great to work with friends.

Like I mentioned, the board was constantly changing as the game developed. These are just a few of the configurations we played with over the course of development. But, I'm pleased with what we ended up with - it follows the structure of the ship as seen in the movie but still allows for interesting movement and gameplay. Also, I love the little details - especially the "acid drip" that is on both levels of the ship map.

Another happy moment was when we learned we could use the likenesses of the actors. This isn't always the case - but having portraits and the other components painted by Stefen Koidl, Studio Hive and Vlad Rodriguez really made the game come alive.

The icing on the cake was the Jonesy "jump scare" that greets you when you open the box. I give full credit to Steve and Ravensburger for that one. It was a highlight of the production and a memorable moment for those who bought the game.

ALIEN: Fate of the Nostromo came out in the summer of 2021 and I couldn't be more proud to have designed the game!


Thursday, March 2, 2023

Designer Diary: The one that got away.

 This week, Disney released this teaser poster from the upcoming Haunted Mansion movie.

Recently, I was fortunate enough to be invited to a pre-screening of the movie and without violating my NDA, let's just say that Mansion fans will be pleased. After watching the film, it reminded me of a board game that I had designed based on the classic theme park attraction. 

Back in 2018, I was invited by a publisher to pitch ideas based on licenses they had access to. One of them was Disney. Because I am a big Disney theme park fan and a bigger Haunted Mansion fan, I asked them "since they had the Disney license, did this mean that they had the rights to make games based on the theme park attractions?" They admitted that they hadn't thought about it and asked. When they came back finally came back with a "yes", I went to work on several pitches based on theme park attractions including the Haunted Mansion. 

This is the pitch deck I sent them:

As you can see from the pitch, I wanted to make a game that could be slightly scary, slightly fun just like the attraction. As you can tell, I took my inspiration (and more than a few components) from another of my favorite games: Betrayal at House on the Hill. 

I had always noticed that when gamers complained about BaHotH, they often mentioned how they love the exploration half of the game they disliked the traitor half of the game. 


Taking that complaint in mind, my design emphasized the exploration but rather than making one player become the bad guy, the villain would be the ghostly bride who - with the use of cards - chased you around the house. If she caught you, you would get a "death certificate" - you couldn't win if you had one. You had to visit Madame Leota in her seance chamber to remove it. 

Fun Note: I originally made The Hatbox Ghost the villain of the game, but I figured that not enough people knew who he was. That will change when the new movie comes out. ;)


You also couldn't leave the Mansion if you had ghosts following you - inspired by the quote "Beware of Hitchhiking Ghosts, they may try to follow you home" - so you need to appease them by finding items in the house that they want.

The publisher was excited about my pitch and asked for a prototype to evaluate. I leapt at the opportunity although I always clarify to the publisher that this is just a "crude model" rather than the art and design of the final game. I even designed a box!

Both the publisher (and by their reports, the licensor) was excited about my pitch and the prototype... but in 2020 I was informed that the Haunted Mansion license went to another publisher who made a very different style of game.

Needless to say, I was disappointed that this didn't happen as I love the Haunted Mansion and would still love to have a game based on it published. Maybe I'll take my own advice and "Make my own damn Haunted Mansion" game someday.