The White Box: A Game Design Workshop-in-a-Box

Created by Gameplaywright

The White Box: A Game Design Workshop-in-a-Box
Backerkit white box cover image
2,950 backers pledged $119,088.00 on Kickstarter

The White Box is a book of essays about game design and a collection of generic prototyping components — cubes, dice, tokens, and more — to help you get the game idea out of your head and onto the table.

Raised in Kickstarter
$119,088.00 / 2,950 backers
Raised in BackerKit
$9,089.75 / 2,823 backers

Latest Updates from Our Project:

Digital Editions Available; Physical Editions Update; Gen Con
7 days ago – Tue, Aug 15, 2017 at 10:13:29 PM

Digital Editions Now Available for Download

Digital editions of The White Box Essays are now available for download. We worked hard on this and we hope you love it.

Things We Think About Games and The Bones: Us and Our Dice digital editions are also available now, along with the stretch goal downloads for Band or Album and Letter Head.

If you’ve filled out your survey you’ll get a download email from BackerKit shortly, unless you have an outstanding balance owed and its payment has failed for some reason. If your payment fails, you should get a notice from BackerKit to that effect.

If you’ve opted out of BackerKit, you’ll get download links via WeTransfer.

If you’re a retail backer, you are licensed to distribute The White Box Essays digital editions to your staff and to in-store customers who buy or pre-order The White Box physical edition from you. We ask that you make these folks aware that it's not ok for them to distribute the files further, in case it's not obvious to them. There's no DRM or terms-of-service checkbox; we're trusting that people will be grown-ups around this issue.

Be aware: BackerKit has been advertising maintenance downtime for this evening (8/15 at 5:00p PST). If you get an error around then, try again in an hour or so.

As always, don’t hesitate to contact us if something goes wrong or you have any questions.

Physical Editions Update

We have some bad news: Communications from our printer over the past few weeks have led us to the increasingly clear conclusion that they will not be able to reliably deliver physical editions of The White Box on the timeline they promised us, or even on a timeline that would allow us to fulfill your rewards in October, as we promised you.

We have explored and discussed all feasible options to remedy this. None of them include the likelihood of an October delivery, so we chose the fastest option that gave us the most confidence, which was to move the production to a new printer immediately. Optimism that delays will melt away often lead publishers to put off unpleasant decisions like these, but in our experience, delays compound more often than they disappear, so we felt a proactive approach was better than a wait-and-see approach. We were especially motivated to be proactive knowing that many of you are expecting to give The White Box as a holiday gift.

Our current projection is that The White Box will ship from Shanghai on October 7. It will likely take 5–6 weeks to reach the warehouses where it will be fulfilled. We are likely to be able to fulfill the majority of orders the week our shipments arrive, so most of you are still likely to get your rewards before the end of November. We will keep you updated.

There’s no two ways about it: We are very upset by this, and we apologize for it.

Meet Us at Gen Con

Jeremy and Jeff will be at Gen Con. If you’ll be there and want to talk about game design, publishing, manufacturing, or anything else, drop by our super-informal White Box meet-up at Taggart’s lounge in the Crowne Plaza hotel on Friday (8/18) from 6:30p to 7:30p.

We’ll be the ones who like like this:

Digital Editions Update; BackerKit Reminder
10 days ago – Sat, Aug 12, 2017 at 06:29:17 PM

Digital Editions are Nearly Ready

We’re on track to deliver all digital editions (except the audiobook) early next week before we leave for Gen Con.

BackerKit Updates and Reminder

As promised, on Monday (8/14) we will lock down BackerKit surveys for those who have responded. (That’s 92% of you! Thank you!) After lockdown, we’ll process any outstanding charges for locked backers. Then, we’ll distribute digital editions via BackerKit’s file delivery service.

If you haven’t responded to your BackerKit survey, now would be a good time. Even if you’ve lost your survey email, you can use the form at the link below to request a new survey email.

If you don’t respond by 8/14, it’s not a big deal for us, but you won’t get access to your digital editions until you respond, and until after we return from Gen Con.

The obvious exceptions to all of this are backers who’ve requested not to use BackerKit, who’ll receive their digital editions via WeTransfer. If you haven’t responded to your survey and don’t want to use BackerKit, just email Jeff ( to let us know.

Questions? Issues?

As always, if you have any questions or issues, don’t hesitate to send a Kickstarter message or email ( But do keep in mind that we’ll all be at Gen Con next week, so responses may be slow for the next little bit.

BackerKit Test & Canadian Shipping
28 days ago – Tue, Jul 25, 2017 at 11:16:06 PM

Survey Update

BackerKit recommends sending a small first round of surveys to roughly 5% of backers, to make sure everything's working as expected. If you get a BackerKit survey in the next hour or so, you're one of the lucky five percent. If the test goes well, we'll send the balance of surveys without a further campaign update. If it doesn't, we'll fix things and then send the balance of surveys.

Shipping to Canada, and Credits

We forgot to mention in yesterday's update that we have added a Canadian fulfillment partner since the campaign's end, and were able to take $5 off shipping costs for Canadian backers.

So, if you're in Canada, the EU, Australia, or New Zealand you should have a $5 credit in BackerKit. If something goes wrong, send a Kickstarter message or email ( and we'll get you sorted out.

Progress & Surveys
29 days ago – Mon, Jul 24, 2017 at 11:04:47 PM

BackerKit Surveys

Post-campaign surveys are almost ready to go. We’ve set up everything that we can in BackerKit, and are now waiting for their review and approval, which is likely to take between 24 and 48 hours.

If you’re relatively new to Kickstarter, BackerKit is a pledge manager, a third-party web service that helps us collect and organize your shipping information, and facilitates add-on orders. If you were hoping to buy additional copies of The White Box, BackerKit is how you’ll do it.

If you’re a backer who’d prefer not to use BackerKit for whatever reason, that’s fine. Just email Jeff ( and let him know. We’ll take care of you another way.

Your Friendly Local Game Store

We want to make sure everyone knows that they can buy The White Box from our retail backers. You can find a list of those stores here:

If you’re a retail backer and your store doesn’t appear in the list, it’s because we’re still waiting to hear from you! Fill out our survey here at the link below:


As promised, we focused on getting files to press before handling pledge manager logistics. Everything’s still on track for digital deliveries in August* and physical shipments in October. All print files are with Cartamundi, and we’re checking in with them regularly to make sure things stay on schedule.

* The exception to August digital deliveries is that as a stretch goal, we don’t plan to deliver the audiobook edition of The White Box Essays along with the campaign’s main rewards. We’ve hired a reader, but his existing projects prevented him from beginning to read our book immediately. We’re projecting a November release for the audiobook edition.

Moving Forward on All Fronts
3 months ago – Wed, Jun 07, 2017 at 10:04:53 PM

Pledges Are In

Kickstarter has done their thing and collected your pledges, which landed in our account last week right on schedule. Thank you all again.

It sounds like some backers in Mexico may have experienced problems, and had charges declined in error. If this happened to you (in any country), please send a Kickstarter message that you’d still like to back the project. Tell us your first name, last name, and email address. We’ll add you to BackerKit manually, and you’ll be able to add re-instate yourself and pay that way.

What We’re Doing Now

For the last two weeks, we’ve been doing our final editorial passes and creating the interior layout of The White Box Essays. Layout was finished on Sunday, and a proofing edition is now in the hands of our proofreader, team, and authors. Next, we’ll turn to final layout of the packaging and punchboard.

Once all print files have been submitted to Cartamundi, we’ll turn to BackerKit setup. That shouldn’t take too long, but it’s advisable to double-, triple-, and quadruple-check everything there, because sending surveys and opening add-ons for purchase with errors in the setup will be a massive inconvenience both for us and for all of you. Once setup is done, BackerKit will be open for you to review your pledge, send your mailing address, include add-ons, and so on.

Once the pledge manager is open, we’ll turn our attention to the preparation of our digital releases — full-featured PDF, Epub, and .mobi (Kindle) files. We intend to do a world-class job on our ebooks, so this process will take several weeks. (That is, these will not simply be auto-pilot exports from our print files.)

In parallel with all of this, Renee has already begun the production process for the audiobook edition.

Post-Campaign Backing

We’ve gotten a lot of questions from people who missed the campaign about whether it will be possible to buy The White Box from us anyway. The short answer is that anyone who wants a copy of The White Box will be able to get one, one way or another.

If you’re reading this and aren’t a backer, send your email address in a Kickstarter message and we’ll let you know, via email, what you should do, as soon as we have instructions.

But! Before we open BackerKit to orders from people who weren’t backers, we’re going to compile the best list we can of our retail backers. The reason is that we’d like to be able to say to anyone who wants to pre-order directly from us, “That’s fine, but please instead consider buying The White Box from your local store, to support your local game community and avoid shipping costs. Here is a list of those stores.”

(Retail backers: Look for a separate campaign update with details on how to send us your details.)

HABA’s 2017 Game Design Contest

It’s not related to The White Box, but we saw an announcement on Twitter the other day that we wanted to share with you: Game publisher HABA is running a game design contest. You can find more details on their website.