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!

1 comment:

Brian Upton said...

This is so inspirational to read! Looking at what you've done with Rotter Mansion inspired me to start researching what it would take to self-publish a couple of board game designs I've been sitting on!