2021 Design Contest


Sign up to be a judge here.

The Board Game Workshop Design Contest is an annual contest for unfinished, analog games. It is open to designers of all ages from around the world. The contest focuses on giving lots of great feedback to every game. Over the past three years we have given over 5,000 feedback forms to nearly 300 games.

There are two big changes this year.

First, games will be separated by complexity into three categories; light, medium, and heavy. So games will only be competing with other games of a similar complexity. More details on what qualifies fo reach category coming soon.

Second, round three is now an online speed pitching event. The finalists will get to pitch their game to multiple publishers. This event is being organized by Heather O’Neill who has setup online speed pitching events for several conventions. Participating publishers will be announced as we confirm the schedule. This replaces the physical game submission of previous years and means the contest is now completely online.

We will still have coaches for round two and a focus on generating lots of feedback for every game.

How to Enter

Submissions will open Sunday, May 16.

Pay the $10 submission fee. Link available when submissions open. (This fee can be waived if it is barrier to entry, email chris@theboardgameworkshop.com)

Prepare your submission materials

  • 1 page sell sheet PDF (single sided 8.5”x11”)
  • 2-minute pitch video about your game (Videos longer than 2-minutes will not be accepted.)
  • Game image (image must be no less than 300×300 pixels)
  • Short description of your game (maximum 500 characters. Your description will be searchable by judges, so include helpful keywords.)
  • Your game’s complexity level (light, medium, heavy)

Fill out the submission form with links to your submission materials. Link available when submissions open.

Submissions are due June 13, 2021.

Round one submissions will be judged on excitement for your game and how much judges like it overall. The top 10 games in each complexity level will move on to round two.

In round two designers will submit a full rules PDF and 10-minute video for their game. Round two will be judged on the innovation of your game and how much judges like it overall. The top 3 games in each complexity level will move on to round three.

Round three will be a live, online speed pitching event where designers will pitch their game to multiple publishers.


Schedule Subject to Change, All Deadlines are End of Day UTC -12

Sunday, May 16Submissions Open
Sunday, June 13Round One Submissions Due
Friday, June 18Round One Judging Begins
Friday, July 16Round One Judging Ends
Monday, July 19Round One Results
Friday, July 23Round Two Coaches Assigned
Sunday, August 22Round Two Submissions Due
Friday, August 27Round Two Judging Begins
Sunday, September 19Round Two Judging Ends
Monday, September 20Round Two Results 
Thursday, September 30Round Three Submissions Due
Saturday, October 9Round Three Speed Pitching Event

Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible, your design must meet all of the following criteria:

  • It must be an analog board game, card game, dice game, or dexterity game.
  • It must be your own intellectual property.
  • It must not be available for sale, preorder, or crowdfunding while it is in the contest.
  • It must not have been available for retail sale, or preorder prior to the contest. This does not include print on demand or print and play versions.
  • It must not have been successfully crowd funded prior to the contest.
  • It must not be finished. This means you are willing to make changes to the design to improve it.
  • It must meet our community standards and not contain sexually explicit, racist, or otherwise inappropriate content.
  • The Board Game Workshop reserves the right to remove any entry from the contest for any reason.

Additional Information

  • You retain all rights to your design.
  • You may enter multiple designs.
  • You may enter designs that you have entered in previous years.
  • Every eligible entry will receive feedback from judges in round 1.
  • All submitted videos and documents must be in english.
  • Your submission material will be shared publicly by The Board Game Workshop.
  • There is no age limit for entering the contest. If you are a minor, please get permission from a guardian before entering.
  • If you have any questions about the eligibility of your design, the submission process, or the contest in general, please contact chris@theboardgameworkshop.com.