Gonzalo Aguirre Bisi
CEO - Thundergryph Games

How to Succeed in Board Games

Gonzalo Aguirre Bisi is the head of Thundergryph Games (Tang Garden, Iwari, Spirits of the Forest and more), and has an incredible track record of succeeding in the tabletop industry himself and advising new creators on how to get the best out of their Kickstarter projects.

Hi Gonzalo, thanks for joining us here at DoodleMeeple!​ During the building of the DoodleMeeple app, we talked a bit about the features planned and how they would help people to create tabletop games. I was so pleased to hear that you were excited about the platform, what was it that got your interest?​​
I personally spend a lot of my time navigating through all the different sites that recollect artist portfolios and I keep finding incredible talent that really go under noticed because of how many different users these websites have, just like the project awareness on Kickstarter. I think DoodleMeeple will shorten the distance between publishers and freelancers and will finally give opportunities to the amazing freelancers that would love to join the industry but don’t have the right connections.
We hope that DoodleMeeple will help people who are new to the industry find the contacts they need to make their dream project happen, but in the past you’ve mentioned how it would benefit more established board game publishing companies too. How do you see existing publishers using DoodleMeeple to find creatives?​

The pace of creation for each publisher is different, and it mainly depends on two factors: editing and research. Where editing is mainly making sure the game is fun and balanced and research is knowing that commercially it will appeal to the audience of reference.

Sometimes these two factors will add a lot of time to the lifespan of a project development.

DoodleMeeple will facilitate the research by suggesting ideas and professionals that can make that happen. It’s like browsing a catalog of great people that know and like boardgames, and that’s a fundamental skill to make sure the lifespan or the development will be as optimal as possible.

What roles should a creator look for help with?

It really depends on how the creator is organized internally. Regarding game development, it is very important to have a project manager.

“Ten people who see an elephant from ten different angles will give ten different descriptions of an elephant. But one person who looks at the elephant from all ten angles will be able to piece together his observations and figure out that it’s an elephant.”

But you definitely need the other 9 people as without them, nothing is possible. That means having a game editor, a copywriter, an art director, an illustrator, a layout artist (and graphic designer) and depending on the project a 3D modeler, a cultural consultant and an animator.

Aside from the “eyeball test” on a creative’s portfolio, what stands out to you about a person you plan to work with on one of your projects? (passion for games, track record, the way they interact for example)​
Passion should not be a requirement but a constant. The added value is definitely having initiative, being able to suggest something you think it could work well, but being open and respectful to the suggestions from your client.

How can you succeed as a new self publisher?

Make games you love, and your job will be much easier. Try to innovate anytime you can and never settle for something too simple because it is risk-less, as risk will be involved in everything you do anyway.

How can you succeed as a new self publisher?

Build up a brand that speaks of you. Hear your audience and learn from them.

How can you succeed as a new self publisher?

Aside from Spirits of the Forest: Moonlight launching on Kickstarter very soon, we have been experimenting for the past year with the introduction of our game lines. We are so excited about this direction and we can’t wait to reveal some other projects that are completely new to us and our audience.

What’s your favourite colour Meeple?
I play black or blue!

Thundergryph's games are available directly through their webstore

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If you're a publisher looking for talent, or an industry professional looking for work, we're here to help. Join our growing list of creative & technical professionals for the tabletop gaming industry.​

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