Friday 17 September 2021


This Bastionland Editorial was originally sent as a reward to all Patreon supporters, and is released freely on this site a week after its original publication.

If you want to support my blog, podcasts, and video content then head over to my Patreon.


I touched on this in a bumbling way on the stream, but I'm afraid it truly is time for the least interesting editorial of my career. 

It's time to talk Business.

Or at least the business decisions that I face as a one-person operation working from my desk. I have a Manifesto for game design, so shouldn't I really have one for the business side of my work? I like to think these things through so that I can arrive at decisions by drawing on some greater ideals, rather than just following my gut. 

A couple of disclaimers first, though. 

Firstly, while I've been doing this full-time for over a year now, please do not take any of my thoughts as expert advice. The business is still running, but it could be a fluke as much as anything else. If you want business advice then there are much more established people than me to listen to.

Secondly, while I'm happy to be transparent about these things in the hope that others might find it useful or interesting, I also respect that other designers have legitimate reasons for not wanting to throw open the doors to their personal and business finances. Just because I talk openly about something doesn't mean I expect others to do the same or go further.

Right, that out of the way, what is the point of Bastionland Press?

Well, I needed a registered business to be able to do this professionally, but why am I in this strange limbo of being a designer-publisher but also working with other publishers?

Naturally it all comes back to Electric Bastionland. For that book I did as much as possible myself. Alec was hired to do the art, RRD were hired as consultants to help me through my first-time, and Mina got the final files print-ready. The book was printed in Latvia and is stored and dispatched by a distribution centre here in the UK. 

The Kickstarter was a huge success, and sales have been good ever since, which has been the majority of what pays my salary each month. 

So the natural business decision would be "now do that again, and this time you don't need the RRD Guidance". 

And I will do that again. There are definitely some 100% Bastionland Press books in the future.

But other doors were open, and I was in a fortunate position to be able to take a few risks.

I first worked with Free League on one of their Forbidden Lands stretch goals back in 2017, before Electric Bastionland was near. Nils was a fan of Into the Odd, and that's what got me that little bit of hired work. It's easy to think that everything started with Electric Bastionland for me, but Into the Odd continues to be the unsung hero here. 

It paid quite well, but after doing a few other stretch goals like this I've since confirmed that it isn't something I'd want to do a lot. So what do I want to do a lot? Obviously I have the blog, podcasts, streams, but they're really just there to serve the actual games. And what's the point of the games? I want people to actually play them.

So the idea of getting a remastered Into the Odd out to a whole load of new players was appealing to me. But what's the trade-off? Adding in Free League to manage the printing and distribution would mean less profit per book than if I ran things myself, but their involvement would open up the game to customers that I just haven't reached with my terrible marketing team and slapdash wholesale department. 

To put it bluntly (and vastly oversimplified): If I can get my game out to ten times as many people and make roughly the same amount of total profit, I'll take that deal. 

And that's it really. Into the Odd is still owned by me and any creative decisions have been made by myself and Johan. 

I made a similar decision to publish The Doomed (formerly GRIMLITE) through an established wargame publisher, with release some time in the vague future. Again, there's nothing to stop me just making this book myself, but this is a new market to me. So this is more of a full collaboration, where the publisher will be contributing commissioned miniature photography, illustrations, marketing, and getting the thing into shops. 

So in short, appreciating the luxury of the current position I'm in, I can trim this all down to three things I want and three things I don't want.


  • Spend time designing and talking about games within my little rules-lite flavour-heavy niche
  • Get the games made to a high quality
  • Get those games played by as many people as possible


  • Be a social media personality as marketing
  • Write predominantly for hire
  • Lead a sprawling empire of employees

I said that you shouldn't take my advice, but if you're feeling slightly lost in your career then this whole process really helped me pick the right track for the future.

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