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  • Abstract Games

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Updated: Feb 20, 2019

There are a lot of things we appreciate about the board game community. Everyone we've met has been warm and welcoming, open to new ideas, and ready with suggestions. But what we've appreciated the most is how many people have written about their experiences getting new games off the ground.

We're hoping our game One will be a success story. Actually, we're pretty sure it will be. But either way, we want to write about out experience so that others can see where we succeeded—and where we went wrong.

And if there's anyone reading who sees that we're making a mistake, we always appreciate a heads-up.

Goals & Process

Our long-term goal is to make a beautiful boxed game that we can sell on Amazon.

Of course, there's a long process to getting there. So far, it looks like this:

  1. Get a patent, or at least submit an application so One is patent-pending.

  2. Playtest the hell out of it.

  3. Get a following. Send out sample games to get publicity.

  4. Partner with a manufacturing company. Modify the existing design to be practical.

  5. Start a Kickstarter.

  6. Order enough games to have spare products, then sell on Amazon.

  7. In the long term, make an app.

Right now, we're on Step 1: writing a patent application. Or to be more accurate, a provisional patent application. The last lawyer we called—at a New York City firm known for its patent work—wanted $1,800 for an initial consultation. And we're broke. So.

Instead of getting into debt, we're submitting a provisional application instead. It won't result in a patent, but it establishes us as the first to come up with the idea, and gives us a year to get enough money together for a full patent. (And if you're so inclined, you can contribute to our Ko-Fi to help us along.)

We've learned a lot of interesting things about the patent process, but the main takeaways have been:

  • To be patentable, an item has to be new, useful, and 'non-obvious'. Proving this is harder than you might expect, and you will need to prove it.

  • You don't have to be the first to invent something to patent it—just the first to apply for a patent.

  • That means don't show your idea to anyone unless it's already patented. Seriously.

  • Submit a provisional application first, but make sure you research exactly what you need.

  • If you have enough money to consult with a patent lawyer, do it ASAP.

If you're looking for more details, this article on IP Watchdog was a good overview of what needs to go in a patent application. And if you're questioning whether or not a patent is the right choice, here's a quick overview of the difference between copyrights, trademarks, and patents.


We also wanted to share some 3D mockups of our packaging and board designs. Please excuse the SketchUp toolbars.

Our plan is to offer a couple different versions. There'd be the affordable edition, which would include a board made of thicker-grade chipboard and stones made of glass or melamine. And then there's the one we really want to make: a wooden board with real stones, and bowls to put the pieces in.

This is the main game box, inspired by a box of Yunzi Go stones we got from Yellow Mountain Imports. Inset on the white strip are the details of the edition; in this case, standard with an oak board.

An interior view of the same box, featuring the two bowls for playing pieces. In the final version, there would be foam or some other cutout to hold the bowls in place. The ridge on the inside of the box is to hold the disassembled pieces of the board.

The wooden bowls. Inspired by Gosu (Go bowls) with a couple changes that echo the box design.

The board. Ideally, it would be cut into quarters and attach via magnets—that way the box won't need to be two feet wide. We've also considered pegs and slots, but that's going to be a question for the production company. For sustainability's sake, we're thinking bamboo for a material.

That's All For Now

We'll be at NYU Playtest Thursdays on the 21st at 7:00PM. Come find us there if you want to play.

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