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
$11,637.65 / 2,981 backers

Latest Updates from Our Project:

New Gameplaywright Release: Friendly Local Game Store
7 months ago – Thu, Mar 01, 2018 at 06:25:13 PM

Gameplaywright's next project is Friendly Local Game Store, a book by game store owner and renowned Quest for Fun blogger Gary Ray about how to open a game store with a realistic, five-year plan for earning a solid, middle-class income.

Friendly Local Game Store includes a detailed look at startup costs, an exploration of a store’s unique value proposition, a sober examination of why you should think twice about hybrid stores, inventory management basics, and more. Gary also shares the stories of his years running Black Diamond Games. Even if you don’t want to open a game store, you’ll appreciate his stories about what it takes.

Pre-orders for Friendly Local Game Store will be open for one more week. Physical copies will ship before the end of March, and digital copies — to be delivered no later than March 12 — are free with your pre-order. If it so happens that you'll be at the GAMA Trade Show, you can pick up your pre-order in person and we'll refund your shipping and handling costs.


Last Call for Fulfillment; Two New Projects
8 months 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
9 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
9 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
10 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!