Jobs in the board game industry you never knew existed (and how you can find them)
When you think of the board game industry, what jobs first come to mind?
Artist or graphic designer?
These are the roles that most people think of, but there are so many others behind the scenes that you may not even know exist!
In The Board Game Designer’s Guide to Careers in the Industry, I’m going to open your eyes to roles in the industry that you had never heard of and help you to discover where you can use your skills and expertise to land a position that’s just right for you.
Today I’m going to share with you the story of Dave Snyder. He works for a game manufacturer, but he doesn’t spend all day standing on an assembly line piecing together games. Instead, he does something that allows him to connect with publishers and game designers on a much more personal level.
Let’s find out more about Dave and his role in the industry.
Other Roles in Manufacturing That Don’t Involve Getting Your Hands Dirty
I met Dave Snyder at Protospiel Michigan a couple of years ago. He works for Gameland, a board game manufacturer in China. His role is US Director of Sales.
Dave was working part-time as a sales associate for one game manufacturer and was considering transitioning to full-time in the industry. This worked out well, as Gameland was looking for a US representative at this very same time. He was also making metal dice within the gaming industry (and continues to do so), so he balances his time between working for Gameland full-time, making dice, and doing work in the plastic injection industry (he is semi-retired as a mold maker and tooling engineer).
While Dave does have manufacturing and engineering degrees and acknowledges they are helpful for him, he doesn’t feel they are a necessity for his current role. While he says skills are needed, without the qualities of enthusiasm, honesty, and commitment, he wouldn’t be nearly as effective as he is. People remember this and return to him when they have questions or want to find a partner to work with to manufacture their game.
Dave attends a lot of industry events, including Protospiels (game design retreats) and conventions. He says that when he attends these events and meets new people, his main responsibilities are to “Introduce people to our company and emphasize that we are their best choice for their project—and also be able to honestly advise them when we are not.”
Like many others I connected with, he emphasizes that you sometimes need to take some sort of role in the industry for little or no money, just to get your foot in the door. Helping others by referring his dice customers to another manufacturer was his first step and got him some part-time work in the industry, which led to the full-time role he has now.
It’s not easy though. Dave admits he doesn’t earn a ton of money and it is definitely less than what he made in his previous occupation, but he is far happier and healthier than he was before. He explains how he is able to make this happen:
“I have five things that allowed me to pursue this as a ‘full time’ operation:
1) No debt
2) Emergency income for 2 years
3) Health benefits through my spouse
4) Backup income sources (mold making and dice business)
5) I maintain a fairly frugal lifestyle”
He suggests that if you don’t have at least three of these boxes checked off, start by finding something part-time or on the side before considering going full-time.
Dave reminds us that it is a marathon, not a sprint. He suggests trying to get your foot in the door in a part of the industry that interests you and set a goal to make this more permanent two to three years from now. It may take more time or it may take less time, but he says you need to be prepared for this to not happen overnight and be OK with that.
Are you excited to hear more stories and learn about dozens of other roles in the industry and related industries?
The Board Game Designer’s Guide to Careers in the Industry will be released in one week on April 26th. I’ll let you know as soon as it’s available.
Plus, you’re going to get an amazing bonus gift when you get your copy. But this bonus is only going to be available for the first 2 weeks after release. I’ll let you know all about it next Monday. 😊
For those who are seriously consider or already working on “a career in the game industry” (like me 🙂 this is motivating advise as well setting expectations. You need to perserveare and see it indeed as a marathon. And in some cases or parts of that journey willing to make consessions, but always keep focus on your big goal….the dream job you want 🙂
Looking forward to your stories Joe!