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
$11,599.65 / 2,966 backers

Latest Updates from Our Project:

Last Call for Fulfillment; Two New Projects
14 days ago – Sat, Feb 03, 2018 at 11:03:28 PM

Fulfillment is Complete

All backers' orders have been fulfilled for some time now, so if you are still expecting rewards, something has gone wrong. Please email jeff at jefftidball dot com to let us know.

We still have a small number of backers who haven't filled out their surveys in BackerKit. Go to In the last few weeks, we've encountered two instances where a backer who hadn't filled out their survey had been marked as "shipped," which was clearly impossible since we didn't have their address. If that looks like it's happened to you, email jeff at jefftidball dot com and we'll take care of you right away.

Beating the Story

Gameplaywright's next project is Beating the Story, a book by RPG-design rockstar Robin D. Laws. It's a book for anyone who wants to better understand how stories are crafted: novelists, screenwriters, comic creators, critics, playwrights, and (yes!) game designers. It contains a ton of advice on using Robin's story beat system — first documented in Hamlet's Hit Points — to craft your own stories.

Pre-orders for Beating the Story are now open. If you order a physical edition during the pre-order period, you'll get the digital editions for free, which is not an offer we typically make. Have a look.

 Cogs and Commissars

Atlas Games is in the early days of a new Kickstarter campaign for card game Cogs and Commissars! If you like to play games as well as design them, have a look.

  • A game of glorious robot revolution, where players control the means of production. 
  • A smarter take on take-that card games. 
  • A game of direct competition, with rules that reward smart play and creative ideas. Casual card gamers can get started right away with pre-made faction decks. More advanced players will love the drafting rules. 
  • Gameplay features lots of back-and-forth play with actions and reactions, and tons of quirky, subtle, and fascinating card combos.


Canada and Europe Shipping Updates
2 months ago – Wed, Dec 13, 2017 at 09:33:26 PM

(If you are somewhere other than Canada or Europe, information about shipping can be found in the previous update.)

Canada Shipping Update

In our haste to get out the most recent update, we forgot to include specific information about Canada. Our apologies!

As previously reported, backer rewards for Canadian backers had to come from China to Minnesota, then go to Buffalo (NY) for import into Canada. All of this has happened. Snakes & Lattes, our Canadian fulfillment partner, reports that they expect all backer packages to leave their Toronto warehouse by tomorrow (12/14).

Canadian backers should all receive email updates with tracking information at or soon after the time of shipment. If you don’t receive tracking information on that schedule, or if tracking indicates that problems have arisen with your shipment, please don’t hesitate to contact us (see below).

Europe Shipping Update

Kixto, our European shipping partner, reports that they finished packing backer packages a day ahead of schedule, and that those are being picked up today (12/13). They report that UK packages typically take two days in transit, while the rest of European shipments usually take 5–7 days. However, they also predict that recent winter storms in northern Europe may extend those normal times. If you are worried that your package has gone missing, please feel free to contact us (see below).

Damaged Shipment?

If you received physical rewards that were unacceptably damaged in transit, please contact us (see below) and include photos of the damage in your email. We will replace all damaged shipments.

Contacting Us

To get in touch, send an email to jeff at jefftidball dot com. We are trying to respond to all emails by the next day.

Shipping and Related Updates
2 months ago – Sat, Dec 09, 2017 at 07:32:36 PM

Digital Rewards

All digital rewards are available, and have been for some time. If you haven’t gotten yours, you can visit BackerKit and download them now! See “Getting Downloads from BackerKit,” below.

US Physical Rewards

All US physical rewards have been shipped, and should have arrived at their destinations. If you haven’t received yours, please contact us (see below).

Australia & New Zealand Physical Rewards

All shipped, and should have arrived. If you haven’t received yours, please contact us (see below).

Europe Physical Rewards

Rewards to European backers are being fulfilled from the UK. Our shipment to the UK had the longest transit time and was briefly held up in customs. It’s now through customs and en route to its fulfillment center. It should arrive at the fulfillment center on Monday (12/11). Our shipping partner says that they can get all of the rewards posted by Thursday (12/14).

Other Destinations in the Eastern Hemisphere

All shipped, and should have arrived. If you haven’t received yours, please contact us (see below).

Other Destinations in the Western Hemisphere

All shipped, and may have arrived, depending your location. If you haven’t received yours, sit tight for another few days. If they haven’t arrived by mid-week, feel free to contact us (see below).

My Copy is Awesome and My Friend Wants One

The White Box is available in retail stores that backed the campaign right now. It will be available in regular distribution starting on December 20.

The White Box Essays is available now in digital formats on DriveThruRPG (all formats), Warehouse 23 (all formats), and Amazon (Kindle only).

Damaged Shipment?

If you received physical rewards that were unacceptably damaged in transit, please contact us (see below) and include photos of the damage in your email. We will replace all damaged shipments.

Getting Downloads from BackerKit

If you need to download digital rewards from BackerKit, it’s easy:

(1) Go to

(2) Enter your email address in the “Lost your survey?” box and click the “Get My Survey” button.

(3) Follow the link in the email you’ll receive in response.

(4) Navigate to the Order Confirmation page and click the blue “Get Your Digital Downloads” button.

Contacting Us

To get in touch, send an email to jeff at jefftidball dot com. We are trying to respond to all emails by the next day.

If You Haven’t Filled Out Your BackerKit Survey…

…now’s a good time. Go to

Thank You!

We're extremely grateful that you backed our campaign for The White Box, and we're looking forward to hearing about your awesome new projects! 

You Can Almost Hear the Inspiration
3 months ago – Wed, Nov 15, 2017 at 11:15:05 PM

Audiobooks are Available Now

We’ve just distributed The White Box Essays audiobook via BackerKit. If you’re a backer (or pre-order customer) entitled to the audiobook, you probably already have an email notification.

If you didn’t get an email notification, you can still download the audiobook by going to, entering the email address you used to back the Kickstarter in the “Lost your survey?” form field, then following the link in the email that process generates.

May we brag? This audiobook is a phenomenal production. Audiobook producer Renee Knipe and reader Derek Botton knocked it out of the park. Have a listen; we think you’ll agree.

As always, if you have any problems, don’t hesitate to send us a Kickstarter message, or an email to jeff at jefftidball dot com.

U.S. Shipping Update

At some point while it was on the ocean, our port date slipped from Nov. 8 to Nov. 14. We’ve received word that the shipment is in Vancouver now, but has not yet been discharged. Our current plan is to begin packing shipments on Black Friday.

U.K. Shipping Update

We’ve received word that the European shipment will arrive at port in the U.K. on Nov. 29. This is later than we want.

What We’ve Been Doing

In addition to preparing the audiobook, we’ve been doing everything we can to make sure our fulfillment partners have everything they need to start shipping as soon as possible upon receiving their copies of The White Box.

Each partner has in hand address spreadsheets formatted to their individual specifications, as well as other details in hand (e.g., exact weights and dimensions of each item) that will eliminate potential delays.

Thanks again for backing!

All the Shipments, All the Time
3 months ago – Tue, Nov 07, 2017 at 11:49:37 PM

Where Are All the Things?

Every single copy of The White Box has left our factory in China, destined for fulfillment centers in China, Australia, the UK, the US, and Canada.

Executive summary:

Rewards are on their way to the fulfillment centers. Depending on what country you're in, you’re likely to receive your individual package from one of those centers in the second half of November. If not in November then in the first half of December.

Non-executive, potentially boring specifics:

The China shipment has arrived in Shenzhen, and orders for backers in Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and assorted other international destinations are in process. But! Be aware that add-ons other than The White Box proper for these backers will come in a separate shipment from Minnesota. So, if you get your copy of The White Box but not other add-ons you ordered, fear not. They’re coming, just separately.

The Australia shipment (fulfilling Australia and New Zealand) has arrived at port there, and should be bound for the Aetherworks warehouse soon, if it isn’t on its way already. Backers in Australia and New Zealand will get rewards from this batch.

The U.S. shipment is scheduled to land in Vancouver on Nov 8, and to arrive at the Atlas Games warehouse between Nov. 15 and 18. When in that window they land will determine whether they all leave the warehouse before Thanksgiving or not.

We’ve had no specific details on the UK shipment. There’s nothing alarming about this, it just means they’re still en route to port. All European backers will be fulfilled from this location.

The Canada shipment will be dispatched to Ontario (well, to Buffalo, NY, and from there to Ontario under the gentle supervision of Snakes & Lattes, if details are your thing) the very first thing when the U.S. shipment arrives in Minnesota. This made hugely more sense than making an additional direct shipment from China to Toronto.

Questions? Problems? Comments?

If you have a question, problem, or comment don’t hesitate to send a Kickstarter message, or an email to jeff at jefftidball dot com. If you’d like to talk to a human on the telephone, you can even call the Atlas Games office at +1 651-638-0077.

Retailers Who Sell to Educators

Forward-thinking retail backer John Stephens, of Total Eclipse Games in Denver, dropped us a line a couple of weeks ago to see if we could give him a hand writing some copy for a flyer he could customize and put in the hands of local teachers, extolling the educational benefits of making games. You know, so he could sell them The White Box.

If you’re interested in using that very same copy to promote your store, and The White Box, to your local teachers and schools, you’ll find it in this handy Google Doc.