Game Design Contest

In General 

1. Only ticketed attendees for Geekway to the West 2018 are eligible to enter the contest. 

2. Geekway LLC owners and staff, and employees of Action Phase Games / Indie Boards and Cards are not eligible to enter. All other Geekway attendees are eligible, including Geek Guides and non-owner Geekway Board Members. 

3. The judges for the contest will be representatives of Action Phase Games and Indie Boards and Cards, or individuals selected by the same. Geekway staff and owners may be consulted, but will not be judges. Winning decisions are non-negotiable and not subject to appeal. The judges may use whatever criteria they like when choosing a winning game. 

4. By participating, an entrant does not give up his or her rights to the game in question and is not bound to enter into a final contract with anyone. However, all entrants should recognize that Geekway is a public place, and their ideas and prototypes will be seen and played by many attendees. Entrants must recognize that non-disclosure is not possible in this setting.


Entering the Contest: 

1. To enter, a contestant must fill out this Entry Form (click here, opens in a new window) by 11:59 PM CST, February 28, 2018. Late entrants will be ineligible. You will need to include:

a. Designer

b. Game title

c. Number of players

d. Estimated play time

e. A brief description of the game – limited to one paragraph. Include a summary of the theme, the mechanics involved, and a description of game play.

f. Components required

g. A picture of the game prototype 

2. Entrants should adhere to the following guidelines:

a. Full published copy should fit in a box like the one Resistance comes in (6 x 8 x 2 inches, but why don’t you just go buy a copy of Resistance just to make sure your game fits, because after all the publisher is the sponsor of this thing).

b. Component count limited to 120 pieces, mostly cardboard. No miniatures. 

c. Play time of 45 minutes or less

d. No 2-player only games (but 2-4 or 2-6 or whatever is fine).

e. IBC is looking particularly for games that have a strong social component. Dry euros are discouraged, as are worker placement games, trick taking games, real-time games, or party games like Cards Against Humanity or Pictionary.

f. Some examples of games that fit the mold (from the IBC catalog, of course) are Coup, Kodama, Aeon’s End, and Resistance.

g. Above all, the game should be super fun and unique. Minor deviation from the above guidelines might be okay if the game is otherwise perfect (so don’t stress too much if the game is perfect but has a small worker placement component). 

3. Approximately 25 entrants will be selected to participate in Round One of the Contest at Geekway.


Round One 

1. Round One will take place on Friday, May 18, 2018, at Geekway to the West, from 10 AM to 2 PM. 

2. During Round One, entrants will set the game up for play. Geekway attendees will be invited to come and demo the game. Attendees will be given a comment sheet to record impressions of the game. 

3. Demos during Round One should be short – limited to fifteen minutes – to enable attendees to play multiple games during the event. 

4. The judges will participate in prototype play during Round One and will use their experience, plus comment cards turned in by attendees, to choose four finalists.


Round Two 

1. Round Two will take place on Saturday, May 19, 2018, from 10 AM to 2 PM. 

2. During Round 2, entrants will play the game with judges as well as attendees. 

3. Game play during Round 2 should be a full game. Entrants should expect to spend about one hour with judges during this round. 

4. During this round, the game will be judged, but so will the entrant’s ability to work with the publisher team. As such, friendliness and a willingness to accept criticism will be important!



The winners will be selected by the judges. Winning entrants will be announced on Sunday, May 20, 2018, at 12:00 PM.

There will be a winner, a first runner up, a second runner up, and a third runner up. All four finalists will receive a prize (chosen by Geekway and likely to be something silly). The winner will receive a $250 gift card to Miniature Market. Finalists are strongly encouraged to be present. 

Additionally, the winner (and possibly also the runners-up) will be offered a contract by Indie Boards and Cards for publication! Selected designers are not bound to accept the contract, but it is expected that they will work with IBC to reach terms for publication. The plan is that at least one of the selected games will be published in time for Geekway to the West 2020, and will be the free game giveaways for the convention (assuming the games are able to be published in a timely manner and reach the convention in time – this is not a promise!) 

If all selected designers refuse the contract, or terms are unable to be reached within a reasonable time, then I suppose there will be no real winner and everyone will be sad, and Geekway will just have to give away bags full of sand lightly moistened by tears at Geekway 2020 instead of board games.