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A Maker-Approach to 
Creating and Manufacturing 
Tabletop (Word) Games 
TRAVIS FELDMAN! 
OMSI - Portland Mini-Maker Faire!...
THE PROCESS OF MAKING PIJIN: 
• DEVELOPED IN 12 MONTHS! 
! 
• THREE MAJOR ITERATIONS!
GUIDING IDEAS: 
1. YOUR EXPERIENCE MATTERS - “Spell What You 
Hear”! 
! 
2. THERE ARE NO “EXPERTS” - No Official or Extern...
As I 
developed! 
the game, I 
learned 
new things, 
including 
creative 
ways of 
working 
rapidly with 
the IPA 
chart.
I took a 
maker’s or 
hacker’s 
approach:! 
! 
learn what is 
needed as it 
is needed & 
creatively 
assimilate 
found 
ma...
We spent months 
playtesting. Wine, it turns 
out, often improves the 
experience of phonetic 
spelling.
By January 2014, I had arrived at a “working prototype”! 
complete gameset, with graphics and branding!
In November and December 2013, I used 
TaoBao, Alibaba, ThomasNet, Amazon 
and Google searches to find different 
supplier...
THE GROWING BOARD GAMES MARKET: 
Sales at retail game and hobby stores have risen 
15-20% for each of the last three years...
So… on February 10, I launched on Kickstarter -! 
Pijin: The Spelling Game of the Spoken Word
Kickstarter backers were ! 
interested in many facets! 
of the game, including! 
the materials and 
construction! 
of the ...
One project Update included close-up! 
photos of the bag…
…and this 
“How To” 
description 
for making a 
grab bag 
from 
recycled 
materials.
I also shared 
details of tile 
distribution, 
and 
algorithms 
used for 
creating the 
144 unique, 
double-sided 
tiles.
THE KICKSTARTER WAS SUCCESSFUL.! 
! 
NEXT I ORDERED! 
FROM MANUFACTURERS! 
AROUND THE WORLD… 
Tiles: Made in China! 
! 
Ca...
When the 
manufactured 
parts of the 
game arrived, ! 
about two 
months after 
orders were 
placed, ! 
I asked friends 
t...
TOWER OF BABEL!! 
! 
200 PIJIN GAMES! 
READY TO SHIP
MY APPROACH TO MAKING! 
PIJIN! 
WAS! 
! 
PROBLEM BASED! 
COLLABORATIVE! 
DEMOCRATIC! 
MULTI-DISCIPLINARY
when you… 
LEARN 
THINK DO
MANUFACTURING! 
IS HIGHLY EXPLORATORY! 
! 
! 
BE PREPARED! 
TO EXPAND YOUR AWARENESS, ! 
THINK LIKE: 
A DESIGNER! 
! 
A PR...
AS FOR PIJIN… ! 
REWARDS HAVE SHIPPED,! 
! 
PRE-ORDERS FULFILLED, 
SO WHAT’S NEXT?
PIJIN ON AMAZON
PIJIN IN CLASSROOMS
LET’S PLAY!
A Maker Approach to Games: Pijin, Portland Makerfaire 2014
A Maker Approach to Games: Pijin, Portland Makerfaire 2014
A Maker Approach to Games: Pijin, Portland Makerfaire 2014
A Maker Approach to Games: Pijin, Portland Makerfaire 2014
A Maker Approach to Games: Pijin, Portland Makerfaire 2014
A Maker Approach to Games: Pijin, Portland Makerfaire 2014
A Maker Approach to Games: Pijin, Portland Makerfaire 2014
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A Maker Approach to Games: Pijin, Portland Makerfaire 2014

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Makers and Manufacturing, DIY, Kickstarter, Edu Tech, Maker Faire 2014, Portland, Games

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A Maker Approach to Games: Pijin, Portland Makerfaire 2014

  1. 1. A Maker-Approach to Creating and Manufacturing Tabletop (Word) Games TRAVIS FELDMAN! OMSI - Portland Mini-Maker Faire! September 14, 2014
  2. 2. THE PROCESS OF MAKING PIJIN: • DEVELOPED IN 12 MONTHS! ! • THREE MAJOR ITERATIONS!
  3. 3. GUIDING IDEAS: 1. YOUR EXPERIENCE MATTERS - “Spell What You Hear”! ! 2. THERE ARE NO “EXPERTS” - No Official or External Word Lists - Players Assess Each Move as a Group! ! 3. NO CHEAP STUFF - Use Good Quality, Aesthetically Pleasing Materials for Game Pieces (Bamboo)! ! 4. MODULAR SYSTEM - Encourage and Build into Game Openness, Variants & Expansions
  4. 4. As I developed! the game, I learned new things, including creative ways of working rapidly with the IPA chart.
  5. 5. I took a maker’s or hacker’s approach:! ! learn what is needed as it is needed & creatively assimilate found materials. ! ! For instance, I made this ! Table of Elements.
  6. 6. We spent months playtesting. Wine, it turns out, often improves the experience of phonetic spelling.
  7. 7. By January 2014, I had arrived at a “working prototype”! complete gameset, with graphics and branding!
  8. 8. In November and December 2013, I used TaoBao, Alibaba, ThomasNet, Amazon and Google searches to find different suppliers for each part of the game.! ! ! By January I had explored many manufacturing options, I procured estimates for the costs of making the game using several different methods or manufacturers. ! ! ! At the end of January, I shot tons of photos, made a video, and was ready to raise the funds needed to make the game. November December January February
  9. 9. THE GROWING BOARD GAMES MARKET: Sales at retail game and hobby stores have risen 15-20% for each of the last three years (ICV2.COM) Amazon says board game sales increased by double digits from 2012 to 2013* On Kickstarter, the amount raised for board game projects surpassed the amount raised for video games last year, ! $52.1 million to $45.3 million * *NYTimes, May 6, 2014
  10. 10. So… on February 10, I launched on Kickstarter -! Pijin: The Spelling Game of the Spoken Word
  11. 11. Kickstarter backers were ! interested in many facets! of the game, including! the materials and construction! of the grab bag.
  12. 12. One project Update included close-up! photos of the bag…
  13. 13. …and this “How To” description for making a grab bag from recycled materials.
  14. 14. I also shared details of tile distribution, and algorithms used for creating the 144 unique, double-sided tiles.
  15. 15. THE KICKSTARTER WAS SUCCESSFUL.! ! NEXT I ORDERED! FROM MANUFACTURERS! AROUND THE WORLD… Tiles: Made in China! ! Cards: Made in India! ! Everything Else: Made in USA
  16. 16. When the manufactured parts of the game arrived, ! about two months after orders were placed, ! I asked friends to help me assemble and box games! for shipment -! one night in June, we put together 200 game sets !
  17. 17. TOWER OF BABEL!! ! 200 PIJIN GAMES! READY TO SHIP
  18. 18. MY APPROACH TO MAKING! PIJIN! WAS! ! PROBLEM BASED! COLLABORATIVE! DEMOCRATIC! MULTI-DISCIPLINARY
  19. 19. when you… LEARN THINK DO
  20. 20. MANUFACTURING! IS HIGHLY EXPLORATORY! ! ! BE PREPARED! TO EXPAND YOUR AWARENESS, ! THINK LIKE: A DESIGNER! ! A PROGRAMMER! ! A MARKETER! ! AN ENTREPRENEUR
  21. 21. AS FOR PIJIN… ! REWARDS HAVE SHIPPED,! ! PRE-ORDERS FULFILLED, SO WHAT’S NEXT?
  22. 22. PIJIN ON AMAZON
  23. 23. PIJIN IN CLASSROOMS
  24. 24. LET’S PLAY!

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