Board Game Publisher book

"Board Game Publisher book cover"

Eric Hanuise, founder of Flatlined Games, is pleased to announce the immediate release of his book “Board Game Publisher”.

The book explains the whole workflow of board game publishing, from reviewing designer prototypes to the finished games on the retailer’s shelves. Anyone interested in starting a game publishing business or in finding a job in the boardgame industry should find answers to their questions.

The tabletop games market has never been as large and diversified as today. Yet, there are few books that focus on the business aspects of publishing tabletop games.
In this book Eric Hanuise, founder of boardgames publisher Flatlined Games, shares his experience learned from years of publishing:

  • The whole publication process, from the author's prototype to the finished game on the retailer's shelves
  • The different jobs available in the industry
  • Setting up your publishing company
  • Contracts with authors and artists
  • Manufacturing board games
  • Safety and legal obligations
  • Distribution and logistics
  • Retail, direct sales and crowdfunding
  • Fairs, conventions and events

Written by an actual publisher, this book will help you figure out the tabletop games industry. No matter whether you are just interested in how things work or you intend to set up your own board game publishing business, you will find answers to most of your questions here.

Table of contents
Part 1—Preparation and Administration
Chapter 1—Gathering Information
Chapter 2—Become Part of the Community
Chapter 3—The Many Roles of Board Games Publishing
Chapter 4—Planning Your Business
Chapter 5—Setting up Your Business
Part 2—Financial Management
Chapter 6—Funding
Chapter 7—Accounting and Cash Flow Management
Chapter 8—Hiring
Chapter 9—Other Considerations
Part 3—Game Development, from Prototype to Product
Chapter 10—Sourcing Prototypes
Chapter 11—Change Management
Chapter 12—The Cost of Developing a Game
Chapter 13—Licensing a Game From a Designer
Contract Example
Chapter 14—Commissioning Artwork
Part 4—Prepress and Desktop Publishing
Chapter 15—Overview
Chapter 16—The Prepress Process and File Management
Chapter 17—Software Tools
Chapter 18—Board Game–Specific Prepress Techniques
Part 5—Production Techniques
Chapter 19—Paper, Cardboard, and Chipboard
Chapter 20—Printing
Chapter 21—Game Boards, Cardboard Tokens, and Game Boxes
Chapter 22—Cards
Chapter 23—Wooden Components
Chapter 24—Plastic Components
Chapter 25—Metal Components
Chapter 26—Laser-cut Components
Chapter 27—Electronics
Chapter 28—Cloth
Chapter 29—Ziplocks and Rubber Bands
Chapter 30—Other Components
Chapter 31—Shipping Cartons
Chapter 32—Shrink-wrapping
Part 6—Manufacturing and Logistics
Chapter 33—The Quote Request Document
Example Quote Request Document
Chapter 34—Asking for Quotes
Chapter 35—Preproduction
Chapter 36—Logistics
Chapter 37—Safety Regulations, Barcodes, and SKUs
Part 7—Sales and Marketing
Chapter 38—Sales
Chapter 39—Export
Chapter 40—Marketing
Chapter 41—Fairs and Events
Part 8—Conclusion
Part 9—Bibliography and Thanks

The book is in English language, so as to reach the widest possible audience.
Localised translations may become available at a later date if we get inquiries from foreign partners for licensing the book for their markets.

"Board Game Publisher" is available as print-on-demand paperback (6x9" , 270 pages), and as e-book.

It is available on several platforms and formats for your convenience :

Eric Hanuise started Flatlined Games in 2009.
Flatlined Games is an indie publisher that released the following games since 2010 :

  • Dragon Rage (Lewis Pulsipher)
  • Rumble in the House (Julie Saffre)
  • Rumble in the Dungeon (Julie Saffre)
  • Twin Tin Bots (Philippe Keyaerts)
  • Robin (Frederic Moyersoen)
  • Argo (Bruno Faidutti and Serge Laget)
  • Otter Nonsense (Eric Hanuise)
  • SteamRollers (Mark Gerrits)
  • Hoarders (Andy Niggles)


Board Game Publisher YouTube channel

I am happy to announce the launch of Board Game Publisher - The YouTube channel.
If you are or want to be a board games publisher, this is for you!
Board Game Publisher will publish videos about all aspects of the board game publishing trade : sourcing, development, manufacturing, logistics, marketing, regulations, DTP and Pre-press, the list goes on.
Board Game Publisher is the brainchild of Eric Hanuise, from Flatlined Games.

Argo is now playable on

Argo can now be played on Yucata! is a german website allowing you to, play boardgames online. No need to install anything : just go to the site, create a free account and you can play!

Argo is our second game to become available on Yucata, you can also play Twin Tin Bots for free on the site.

Of course, should you prefer the cardboard-and-miniatures version, feel free to request it at your friendly local game store!

Mark Gerrits on creating SteamRollers

Mark Gerrits, who are you?

I'm a civil servant software engineer who sometimes designs games in his free time.

What kind of gamer are you?

In board game geek parlance, I'm mostly a Eurogamer and a cultist of the new. I tend to abstract theme away to a high degree while playing, which makes it hard to really get into the theme of a game. I love exploring the mechanisms and workings of games and prefer the thrill of new discoveries to the satisfaction of really mastering a system. I like most weights of games, from light fillers to games that take all evening (but not so much games that take all day). In my regular gaming group I'm considered a train gamer, but that's of course very relative. I mean I've only played two 18XX games, so I hardly think I qualify :)

How long have you been designing games?

About six years.

What led you to game design?

I wasn't one of those kids who invented their own games out of the scraps of old games. But when I started working in Brussels, I joined a gaming group which had some successful and fledgling game designers as members or on its periphery. That demystified a lot of the design process and showed that great games start as humble prototypes. So I figured I could give it a try myself too. Of course my first few prototypes failed horribly but if at first you don't succeed, dust yourself off and try again.

What was the genesis of SteamRollers like?

After a game of Age of Steam, the loser (which was probably me, but I don't remember), joked that it was nothing but a lucky dice game. (For those that haven't played AoS, resources enter the game through dice rolls — it's a minor and easy to anticipate mechanism) That got me thinking about what a real dice version of a pick-up-and-deliver train game like AoS would look like.

The first version didn't have any cubes but a delivery matrix. This made perfect sense to me but not so much to anybody else. Once that was replaced, the game very quickly came to resemble the version you see now. The last thing to be added were the action tiles. Of all the games I've tried to design so far, SteamRollers went by far the smoothest. Everything just kept clicking into place.


The infamous delivery matrix


SteamRollers early prototype

SteamRollers has a first, very limited edition in 2015. How was it received?

It's hard to get a lot of feedback with only 200 copies out in the world but my impression was that it was well received by most people. Certainly demos have always gone well. We were also lucky to have some vocal, enthusiastic supporters from very early on. Their support has meant a lot to the game but also to me personally. You know who you are.

How has the new edition benefited from the feedback on the limited 2015 release? Did you learn unexpected things from the gamer’s feedback?

Honestly, nothing much changed with the base game mechanisms, though the publisher has optimized some of the game components. Some of the feedback did lead to the mini expansions in the stretch goals (Coal, Orders and Starting Powers). For instance, noticing during development that some people tended to hold on to the delivered cubes provided the impetus for the Orders expansion.


The 2015 limited edition

Since the first prototypes, you played a huge amount of SteamRollers games. Do you still like to play it?

It's become the gaming equivalent of comfort food for me. Some of the thrill may be gone but I have yet to tire of it.

Do you have other games published or to be published?

I had another game come out from Moaideas Game Design at Gen Con this year. It'll also be available at Spiel. It's another light train game but very different from SteamRollers: it focuses on stock manipulation and is a bit on the mean side.


Mini Rails



Benjamin Beneteau on illustrating SteamRollers

Benjamin Benéteau, who are you?

I'm a French comic book artist, living in Brussels, mainly working on the backgrounds and cars of the new Michel Vaillant series since 2012, and currently working on a new one-shot, which will be published by Le Lombard in 2018.


Did you work for other boardgames before or only comic strips?
No, I usually work on comic books, and do various commissions, from wedding cards to car posters, but never had the chance to work on a boardgame. As a casual boardgaming fan, I always gave much attention to their art, hoping that one day I could make it, and SteamRollers made it possible.

Did you play the game before starting work on the art?
Of course: it was a critical necessity for me to grasp the spirit of the game, before trying to put drawings on it. The artwork is an interface for a logical gaming process I had to fully understand first. It needs to serve the understanding of the game as much as making it attractive.


What was your process for creating the SteamRollers art?
A long one. At the beginning I thought it would be a relatively short run, based on my experience on diverse commissions, but I quickly discovered it would take me much more time, as I was lacking the experience on this kind of artwork. The main difficulty is the amount of constraints for the short amount of images : every image must be thought of very thoroughly, because it has to convey a lot of infos and suggest different feelings, without being sketchy or overcrowded, therefore unreadable. Kind of a "less is more" approach : less visible complexity for the most infos conveyed.

So I classically started with documentation : most of the visual cues were put in the briefing, so I had a clear angle of research. Google is my friend, but I have a lot of other friends too, like 90's French "Western style" comic books for this project.


The SteamRollers graphical briefing document at a glance.

Then, a lot of sketches, beginning with the main and most important illustration : the box cover. We even made a survey on Facebook to see which one of the sketched composition were the public favourite.


When the composition was set, I did a colour rough, to be sure of the direction I was taking for the final colour work. And finally, was the time for the finished inking and colouring. All on computer, on my Wacom Cintiq, so the infinite number of corrections and adjustment can counterbalance my lack of innate talent.
And, except for the survey part, repeat this process for almost all of the game's artwork.



Was it very different from comic strips?
Very different, firstly because I'm not used to doing my own colour work on Michel Vaillant, although I love doing it. Secondly, as I said earlier, it's not the same narrative process : each image isn’t designed the same way a comic book page is. As an example : there's no possible speech box to compensate the lack of readability...



Will you be looking forward to other such projects in the future?
I sure am. It's a very exciting work for me, and I like to breathe another atmosphere than comic books'. As I said, I was hoping one day I could do boardgames artwork, so now I'm longing for the next one !


Twin Tin Bots free to play web version now available.

Press release - Brussels 18 mar 2014 - for immediate release

Twin Tin Bots free to play web version now available.


Flatlined Games, with the kind help from Boite à Jeux and Board Game Arena is proud to announce the immediate availability of Twin Tin Bots as a free to play online web game on both platforms!

Twin Tin Bots is a robot programming game, by Philippe Keyaerts, who is well known amongst gamers for his previous successes : Vinci, Evo, Olympos, and of course the SmallWorld series.

In Twin Tin Bots, each player programs two robots to harvest crystals. The available orders are simple (forward, turn, harvest, unload, ...) but there are two robots to control with three program slots each, and only one order can be changed each turn! Furthermore, the other player's robots are after the same crystals, and will push your robots, or might even rob crystals from them.

The availability of the game on both platforms offers you choice between the turn-based play on Boite à Jeux or the real time play on Board Game Arena. Come forth and discover the joys of robot programming and crystal harvesting!


Flatlined Games

Flatlined Games is a publisher of quality board games based in Brussels, Belgium.

We target niche markets in the boardgames market, and address these niches globally with multilingual editions. We also market games targeted at a much broader public, which will be available trough the regular distribution market.

You can check out our games catalog here :

Board Game Arena

Board game Arena is a online board games website started in early 2011 by Gregory Isabelli and Emmanuel Colin, which allows web-play of board games in real time from your web browser with opponents from anywhere in the world.

BGA focuses on ease of use and high fidelity to the original games, and now offers over 300.000 plays each month, 22 languages, and has become the first community boardgames web site.

Board Game Arena offers today 56 games, from well known publishers such as Hans im Glück (Stone Age, Hawaï), Kosmos (Kahuna, Dragonheart), Rio Grande Games (Race for the Galaxy), Amigo (6 nimmt!), Ravensburger (Puerto Rico), Ystari Games (Caylus, Amyitis), Libellud (Seasons), Abacusspiele (Coloretto), Pearl Games (Troyes, Tournay), …

Being a community site, BGA is free to use both for players and publishers wishing their games to become available online. BGA has an internal team of over fifty volunteer programmers and over 200 volunteer translators and moderators. This community allows the site to be available to a wide audience and guarantees that adaptations are made only by passionate gamers.

BGA is a free service, financed by donations from users (club Board Game Arena). These sponsors get little perks such as access to enhanced statistics.


Boite à Jeux

Founded by Frédéric Meurrens (fredm) in 2003, who was joined by Johan Koïtka (diplojak) in 2011 to further the website development, offers web versions of games such as Agricola, the Castles of burgundy or Trajan to its members.

As of today, our 35 000 members have played over 2 million games, and that number rises daily. is a 'turn by turn' website, meaning you don't need to sit for a whole session and can play your turn whenever you want. Games can last for a few minutes of be played over a couple months according to the players' availability, which allows for numerous games being played concurrently!

As of today, we offer 43 games, in a wide range of styles : eurogames, abstract, family games such as Dixit , … The site is family friendly and friendly competitions are held all year long.

BAJ is available in french, English and German, meaning you can play opponents from the whole world, on any device (tablets account for a quarter of our website traffic).

All our games are free to play, and since Diplojak now works full-time on our programming we offer a premium subscription allowing an unlimited number of simultaneous games, early access to new titles, and lots of small extras such as email notifications.

Our website is a service to gamers and publishers alike, to help them establish a game further than just the initial release. For this reason we make our web versions for free. This starts with either a request from the publisher (Several games such as myrmes were made available online simultaneously with the game official release) or with a request from our team.

The choice of titles is dictated by our personal taste and our gamer's, based on how they liked previous games released. Another criteria being of course the adequation between the game mechanics and web-play (things like long auctions do not work well in turn-based play.)



Twin Tin Bots : Design Notes by Philippe keyaerts

Twin Tin Bots cover

Twin Tin Bots design notes

Philippe Keyaerts

1. The spark : Spaceships, combat and inertia.

A finished game is something solid, clear and detailed. The rules are precise, victory conditions are well defined, as are the means to reach them. In the beginning however, things are much more murky. There is nothing, or almost nothing. A spark, a blurry aspiration to something.

One morning I was toying around with the idea of a low complexity space combat. One ship per player, simple actions : move forward, turn, shoot, … and we merrily duke it out. I already created such a game, with simultaneous programming followed by a common resolution of the moves. Here I rather thought about turn-based, where you would end your turn by secretly choosing your next turn's move.

This kind of daydreaming is what a game designer's days are made of. Most of the time the dream fades. But every now and then it catches on, develops and grows into something worth working on. I was just finished with my big game Olympos and I guess the idea of working on a game with few rules made for a nice pace change.



From that starting point, I now focus on movement. I have my little remote controlled spaceship, more toy than game. How do I steer it ? I try different ways : cards with complex orders or basic orders that can be combined to form complex sequences, all orders available or a randomly drawn hand, etc. There is an anchor point : there should not be too many possibilities, because my ship will not be the only one in the arena. I want players to be able to anticipate the opponent's moves, which shall not be possible if there are too many options. And I am also careful about not allowing them to plan everything : some uncertainties must remain.

In the beginning, there is no move forward order, the ships are always moving, they have inertia. But the idea of a sequence of simple orders settles and I then add to it the idea of looping the sequence, with only minute changes. Each turn you will do almost the same moves as before - 'almost' being the key. The big picture is now appealing to me : there is inertia as action choices have an effect over several turns, and it is now possible to change speed or even to not move at all. Complex moves can be staged, without losing the ability to anticipate your opponent's next moves.

The design of a game is not a straight and steady path, it progresses by stages. An idea eventually comes out of the fray and overbears the others.

2. Changes : from space to mud, the twin robots

There were other such stages.

Now I mostly have an object to toy around with, combat is secondary. Instead of a big central clash we could invite the players to a stroll on the board, to pick up something for instance. Here come the crystals! It is also at this stage that spaceships morph into robots. I see huge machines, caterpillars in the mud, furiously excavating rather than silent spaceships collecting asteroids. The game soul changes. Pure combat is replaced by a disputed mining competition.

I already think in 3D, with big crystals that would stay in the robot's arms. They need some place to bring them to. Easy : each player will have its own base. Did I think about Full Métal planète ? I honestly do not remember. But I love that game. It was probably lurking somewhere in my mind.

Another founding change comes from a prototype I never completed. You controlled several objects with limited means. That idea quickly becomes evident. On one hand I wanted to have more objects on the board, to have more density, a chaotic swarm. Two robots for each player, of course! Then there is that image of two kids about to misbehave in each corner of the room, I can only tend to one, but which ? Angst and tough choices, these are very nice game ingredients. But I also want it to still be possible to anticipate the opponent's moves. With a single change per turn can I partly see what others will do. But only partly.

3. A small game, yeah right!

That is when I built a full prototype. I played it a dozen times solo to make a first set of rules. And then invited a group of friends for the first test!

“I have a small and simple family game for you to test. An hour, tops.”

Three hours later we were still at it... I guess it's easier to foresee opponent moves when you're playing alone.

Some issues are easily addressed. In this version we play to the last crystal, which can take some time. During playtesting, the game end will evolve significantly.

The number of crystals on the board rises from test game to test game. All parts of the board now offer interesting things rather than having a crowd gather around the few available crystals. And most importantly it leads to using both robots instead of focusing on just one, having to control two things with one hand being one of the game's key aspects.

There is a recurring issue. We end the game turn by secretly changing our program for the next turn (by placing an order behind a screen, which will be revealed at the beginning of the next turn). However quite often either the next player moves before the programming is done (which is natural : my neighbor has moved his pieces, it's my turn), or the next player just sits waiting because he does not know his neighbor is done programming (as it happens behind a screen). The “Solution” : an active player token that is passed to the next player while saying beeeep. But even so we notice during the next play test that many times nothing moves, until one player elbows the active player saying 'hey, you got to say beeeep and pass the token'.

The real solution will be to move the programming phase to the start of the player turn. Afterwards it seems evident, but it was the most difficult single change to implement. For a simple reason : it was not hard to find the idea, but that notion of secret programming was there since the very beginning of the game. It seemed impossible to remove, until I noticed it had two goals : provide uncertainty, and help fore planning. Two things that the new version also provides.

From that point on, the game is now on a straight path. There will be numerous minute changes (game end, number of crystals, bases positions, starting positions, …) but no more major changes.

Make sure to check out the second part of this series : Twin Tin Bots - the making of.

Dragon Rage : Designer Diary by Lewis Pulsipher

Dragon Rage Designer Diary
By Lewis Pulsipher


Publisher's note : This Designer Diary was written in Oct 2012, and was pending publication in for a long while. I eventually decided to publish it here, as it is still quite relevant. At the time of this writing, Dragon Rage is almost sold out of the 1.500 initial copies. I only have a few units left in belgium, and I am toying around with the idea of a reprint, maybe at the same time as the standalone expansion which Lewis is designing. It would be a shame to let such a nice game remain unavailable for too long!


While Dragon Rage was originally published in 1982, it was reissued in a much higher-quality format with an additional map and many additional scenarios in Belgium in 2011. The game was very expensive to obtain from the US, as I’ll explain below, so I haven’t written this until the advent of good distribution in the USA.


This will be a quite different designer diary because it has been over 30 years since the original design. Perhaps it will be instructive to game designers more for the publishing history of the game than for the development history.

Dragon Rage has had a pretty checkered history. It was published in 1982 and sold very well I was told, but I was never paid for it. The publisher went bankrupt for reasons having nothing to do with its boardgames, and their games went into a kind of limbo. At the same time I took what amounted to a hiatus of 20 years from the game industry, and when I “came back” it took me many years to find a new publisher for the game. Here’s the story.


The original publication

Dragon Rage was originally published in 1982. I had already had some games published – Swords and Wizardry by H P Gibsons, the Diplomacy Games and Variants booklet, and Valley of the Four Winds (Games Workshop’s first game) – by the time I offered Dragon Rage to the Dwarfstar Games subsidiary of Heritage Models (Duke Siefried’s company). Old-timers may recall that those publications were all in Britain, perhaps not surprising because I was living in London from 1976 to 1979 to research my doctoral dissertation on the Royal Navy. By 1982 Britannia was also substantially complete and had been offered to Avalon Hill, who said games of that era don’t sell. In 1984 I offered Britannia to Gibsons, and it was published in 1986, but by that time I was on hiatus and didn’t even see a published version of Britannia played until 2004.

I don’t recall what caused me to start working on Dragon Rage. I’d say the theme is quite obvious. On the other hand Steve Jackson’s Ogre, which is closer to Dragon Rage in theme than any game I know of, was published in 1977, and though I never played it I was aware of it. Much of the playtesting would have been done at the Drago game club at Duke University while I was finishing my Ph.D. Further changes were made by Arnold Hendrick, Howard Barasch, and the developers at Dwarfstar, in cooperation with myself.

I’m including an image of the board as I submitted it, and those familiar with the game will notice that a second gate on the west side of the city was added during development. The only other thing I recall - actually my brother recalls – is that the dragons might have one too few hits per wing, in our opinion. But if you want a game to be more challenging for one side than the other, it’s probably best that the attackers have the challenge because attacking tends to be more fun than defending.


Dragon Rage was designed as a hex and counter wargame, which was the typical hobby game of the time. The game has the virtue as compared with many other hex and counter wargames that there are no stacks of pieces, only one unit per hex with very few exceptions. The combat table is also a differential table so it’s not necessary to calculate odds by division, just to subtract.

The game was published along with seven others, six of them developed internally by Dwarfstar, in a Microgame format. The boxes were 7.5" by 4.25", the 14" by 12" board was printed on thick cardboard rather than mounted, the half-inch pieces were also printed on cardboard though die cut. On the other hand it cost only $10 (which amounts to about $30 in today’s money, but seemed quite cheap compared to game prices in 1982).

I was told that 10,000 copies were printed and that Dragon Rage was the best selling of the eight games. I think I received maybe three copies of Dragon Rage and one or two copies each of the other seven games. And as it turned out that’s all I ever received for designing the game.

The business failure

Now what I report I cannot swear to, I only know what I was told by the guys who developed the game, and I’m relying on memory about 30 years old.

Dwarfstar was a subsidiary of Heritage Models. Heritage was one of the big miniatures producers of the time, and even today Duke Seifried is very well-known in the miniatures community. Like many small companies Heritage depended on a bank line of credit (loan), and according to my informants Duke and his bank manager got into a “spitting contest” (not literally of course - but I remember that phrase from 30 years ago) and the bank called in his loan. That was it. Although Dwarfstar was doing well it went down with Heritage.

There were reports in 1984 that the line would be revived, but I heard nothing about it directly, and nothing happened. I suspect the unavailability of the printing plates was a deciding factor. The plates that were used to print the games were kept by the printer because he had not been paid. This made it sufficiently expensive for someone else to pick up the games that they languished, and as far as I know the other seven languish to this day although you can find electronic copies of all seven at Joe Scoleri’s Dwarfstar games site at

(The importance of printing plates at that time: Remember Avalon Hill saying games of Britannia’s era don’t sell? When Gibsons showed that it did sell, and Gibsons had the printing plates already done, which is a considerable part of the expense of publishing, Avalon Hill decided to publish Britannia in the USA. This is why there’s so much physical resemblance between the Gibsons and Avalon Hill versions, evidently they used the same printing plates. And of course it turned out that games of that era could sell. But maybe they hadn’t up to that time.)

Most likely the failure to be paid anything for this game was one of the things that convinced me that hobby boardgames were going to, if not disappear, diminish greatly. I saw RPGs on one side – D&D was for 20+ years my favorite game – and computer games on the other side, squeezing boardgames in the middle. And I was right about wargames, they now have an immensely smaller market than in the early 80s. So I decided to ignore the game hobby and get a real job, and for the next 20 years taught myself computer programming, became a teacher of computer literacy and programming, worked as chief of networking in an Army Medical Center, and then went back to being a college teacher of computer networking and later of video game design. One of my last actions in the hobby was to submit Britannia to Gibsons and two years later they published it, but when the copies arrived I looked at it and then set it aside because that was no longer where my mind was.

The Theme

As you may know, many times a publisher will choose a different name than the author’s for a game. I think Dragon Rage is one of the best titles any game could ever have, and I don’t think there was ever a possibility of changing from the title I’d selected. As an example of a change, my name for what became Britannia was “Invasions of Britain,” or “Invasions” for short. I discovered a few years ago that there’s a PlayStation 2 game by 3DO named Dragon Rage that has nothing to do with this boardgame. Good title, eh? I used it first. But if you look up Dragon Rage on Wikipedia, that’s the game you’ll get.

The only game I can remember designing where I tried to conform to a particular story was Valley of the Four Winds. I don’t do “simulations” but I do like a non-abstract game to be a model of something, and the model here is an attack on a fantasy city by various monsters. As one recent reviewer said, everything in the game serves to illuminate and reinforce the theme. Dragon Rage has a ready-made “story”, not a story imposed on the game, but a story growing out of a situation.
I like to set up a situation and let the players determine what happens. If it’s an historical game then I recognize that what did happen in history is only one of many possibilities, and probably not the most likely one, which leaves a lot of room for different occurrences. So in Dragon Rage I didn’t try to impose a story, I just set up a situation where the bad guys – a couple dragons, or possibly a bunch of evil humanoids and giants – are attacking a human city.

While I’m no longer much interested in tactical games (other than Dungeons & Dragons), and now prefer games with more than two players, more than 30 years ago I designed several two player games including many tactical games. The tactical games are certainly a stronger way to present a personal story, that is, something that you can identify with directly. In Dragon Rage you can identify with a dragon or a giant, or you can identify with a hero or a wizard. In sweep of history games like Britannia there’s really no one to identify with; although there are leaders, even the longest lived leader is only there for a small part of a thousand years of history.

I’ve always thought of boardgames as competitions where people are trying to figure out the best move, but there is no absolutely clear best move because of all the uncertainties of warfare and reality. (Chess and checkers have certainty, there is a best move even though no human is good enough to always know the best move. In a sense they are puzzles. I don’t like puzzles.) So you have to do some thinking to succeed at Dragon Rage. Some players might say “oh I’m a dragon, I’m going to just kick butt and blow those humans away.” You can try to do that, and for a while it will work, but if it were that easy then who would ever want to play the human defenders? You can charge right in but this will probably lose the game. You have to be smart; you have to, in sports terms, take what the defense gives you, nip in and out rather than simply charge in and start smashing. There’s lots of smashing to be done but if you let yourself get into a slogging melee early on, you’re going to die. Yet the city defenders receive reinforcements periodically so you can’t “take your sweet time” to avoid all risks.

I think this fits the theme better than sheer mayhem, although it may not encourage the kind of power trips that are common in video games where you don’t have an actual opponent. Dragon Rage could certainly be adapted as a video game, either for the defenders to defend against computer attackers or as a two player networked game.

The game is colorful and provides a great stimulus to the imagination without actually having a specific story attached.

Jump ahead to 2004

In the early 80s I was teaching myself computer programming and networking and playing D&D as I had since 1975. Between 1984 in 2004 I had nothing to do with hobby gaming other than to play Dungeons & Dragons and some video games. When I gradually “came back” to the hobby my first concern was getting Britannia back into print, but another task was to find someone to reprint Dragon Rage. Microgames per se had pretty much disappeared, replaced by collectible card games and casual video games. And Dragon Rage is, despite its simplicity, fundamentally a hex and counter wargame, which is a category that diminished immensely during my 20 years away. In any case I wanted Dragon Rage to be published in a much nicer, larger format than a microgame.

Many readers have probably heard about the confusion about rights of the game Merchant of Venus that is now being published by Fantasy Flight Games with additions by Stronghold Games. I had encountered problems with Britannia, in fact my first reintroduction to the game hobby was hearing that Multi-Man publishing thought that they had the rights to reprint Britannia, as assigned by Hasbro after the end of Avalon Hill. The rights had been licensed to Avalon Hill by Gibsons, not from me directly, and my contract with Gibsons specified that the game rights reverted to me once it went out of print, so I was quite sure that neither Hasbro nor Multi-Man had any rights at all. (Notice also that the Avalon Hill Britannia was copyrighted in my name, not by Avalon Hill.) Fortunately Multi-Man wasn’t really interested in publishing Britannia, otherwise there would have been “a mess”.

In the process of looking for a Dragon Rage publisher I heard that Reaper Miniatures thought they had the rights to the Dwarfstar games. I had no trouble tracking down the main man at Reaper and being sure that there was no confusion about rights. Then I could try to find a new publisher.

So as I attended game conventions I looked for possible publishers. After Fantasy Flight Games published Britannia they had Dragon Rage for a couple years before passing on it. In any case it is not an FFG-style game if you look at their product line. Neither is Britannia but in that case the owner liked the game, and the owner of a game publisher has some latitude in what he does! GMT games looked at Dragon Rage and said they thought they could sell it for something like $45 but they couldn’t produce it to sell at that price.

I have no recollection of how I first came into contact with Eric Hanuise, who to this day I have never spoken with either by phone or in person (I can say the same about the owner of FFG). Eric says he heard about Dragon Rage through Joe Scoleri’s site and wrote to me out of the blue. But over the course of three years we got to the point that his new company, Flatlined Games, published Dragon Rage as their first game. (I’ll interject here that I tried to convince Eric to pick a different name for his company since “flatlined” means dead, but it’s some kind of inside joke.)

My original idea for reissuing Dragon Rage was to retain exactly the wording of the rules, because I know all the problems that can occur whenever you change rules, and I had seen that manifest in the reissue of Britannia (2006). The only thing I wanted to do was add rules for the Princess, who was mentioned in an original scenario but without any rules for how to deal with her. Eric felt he should rewrite the rules in a more modern style, more “sequence of play” than the old rules which were written in a reference style as most were in the early 1980s.

Believing in reusability, I’m going to quote from my book "Game Design: How to Create Video and Tabletop Games, Start to Finish"

In older games, rules were written to be read thoroughly before play. They were organized to be easily referenced when a player forgot a detail. Now most rules are written in "Sequence of Play" style, on the assumption that the players will try to play the game while reading the rules for the first time. If that’s true, then the rules must follow the order in which the players will try to do something in the game. This makes for a poor reference, unfortunately. But the fact is, most tabletop game players want to be taught how to play rather than read the rules, and if no one can teach them, they often try to learn the game as they play.

I still prefer the reference style because I’m convinced that anybody who tries to play a game at the same time that they’re reading the rules is inevitably going to screw it up. In Eurostyle games that doesn’t always matter, but it tends to be more important in wargames. Yet sequence of play is how it’s done nowadays. And I don’t think I tried to talk Eric out of it. In the end we have both kinds of rules included in the game, a sequence of play set and a reference rulebook.

Eric devised the map for Nurkott and added the scenarios for it. He made the maps with Profantasy Campaign Cartographer. See for a brief description with the final maps. The step-by-step process is described at

At one point Eric sent me a rough cut of cover art by another artist which unfortunately looked to me like a Neogi from Spelljammer, not a dragon. Fortunately the cover art that was used in the end, by Miguel Coimbra, is outstanding and nothing like that first cut.

So my function was more as a proofreader than anything else as the project took shape. We did run into one problem that’s very instructive, an example of how a simple misunderstanding in the rules can break a game.

At one point Eric told me that the dragons seemed to be losing an awful lot of games in his playtesting with the newly written rules and asked me if I could figure it out. So I took his preliminary art and mounted the board and pieces on foam board and painstakingly cut the pieces out. Then I took it up to my brother's house (more than 300 miles - but he had experience of having played the original version). I sat in his living room with my originally submitted rules, the originally published rules, and Eric's version of the rules and tried to make comparisons.

Fortunately it didn't take long before I got an idea of what had happened. Corresponding with Eric confirmed it. In Dragon Rage the defenders get reinforcements by ship after the game has been going for a while and at regular intervals thereafter. The design purpose was to force the dragons to have a serious go rather than hang back and ticky-tack the defenders to death. The dragons have to pick and choose their time and place to act but the reinforcements help induce them to actually attack rather than fool about.

The timing is determined by turns. And Eric had counted turns differently than we did in the old days (and, I think still do in many wargames). In the old days, play by one player and then the other constituted a single turn. Eric counted this as two turns. So the reinforcements started coming after five turns rather than 10 turns, and thereafter came twice as fast. Keep in mind that Eric's native language is the Belgian version of French, not English, so this misunderstanding is not surprising. But it made a huge difference in how the game played.

The rules had to be translated into Spanish and German, Eric having taken care of the French, and that actually may have delayed the entire project a while.

You may know that the number of copies printed of the game makes a huge difference to the cost per copy. The setup cost is a fixed cost divided across the number of copies printed. So Eric had to choose the largest print run that he thought he could afford to pay for, could sell, and could store somewhere, in order to have the best price for the product - 1,500. The MSRP (which is several times the printing cost, of course - see came out to €50 or approaching $75 each. This sounds like a heck of a lot compared to the price of the original game, but keep in mind the equivalent in today’s dollars, $30 rather than $10. The new version has a much larger, mounted board with maps on both sides, and much larger pieces beautifully printed by LudoFact in Germany. It is several times as good in physical quality as the original.


Future additions


Practically speaking, Dragon Rage provides a game system that can be used for many fantasy warfare situations involving fantasy creatures and battle magic. And right now it seems to be one of the few, if not the only, fantasy hex-and-counter game in print and still supported by publisher and designer.

At some point Eric expressed a desire for ways to play the game with more than two players. I devised a version, based on the idea that there is a competition to rule Nurkott, that works well but you need to have extra control markers to indicate who controls which pieces because there’s only two sets of pieces, the human pieces and the monster pieces.

Many boardgames have expansions these days but expansions have always struck me as very much limiting your market: if the expansion is an add-on to the original game only people with the original game have any interest in buying the expansion. So we’ve settled on a standalone “expansion”, something that is a game in itself but can be combined with Dragon Rage for more scenarios and for play by more than two players. But it will be a long time before that becomes available.

Dragon Rage is a niche game, not one that appeals to a broad market. I think fans of the dry-as-dust, essentially abstract Eurostyle have started to want to play games where the theme really means something, where it makes a difference to how the game is designed and how it is played, and Dragon Rage is such a game. It was designed as a game that can be played over and over again, not as a game that will be played a few times before people move on to something else. Nor is it puzzle-like, there is no single solution as there are in many of today's “games.” That's a large part of why it succeeded in the early 80s, and is succeeding today.


My book “Game Design: How to Create Video and Tabletop Games, Start to Finish" is now available from or Amazon. I am @lewpuls on Twitter. (I average much less than one post a day, almost always about games, not about other topics.) Web:


Team Rumble!

Here is a variant by Cedric Lapouge, allowing team play in Rumble in the House and Rumble in the Dungeon.
By combining 2- and 3- players teams, all configurations from 4 to 12 players are supported.

Set-Up :

Teams of 2 : Players of the same team sit in front of each other. Once each player of the team has looked at his two secret character tokens, he gives one to his team mate.

Teams of 3 : Players of the same team sit at equal distance of each other. Once each player of the team has looked at his two secret character tokens, he gives one to his left team mate.

Scoring :

In team play you only play one adventure. The team scores for the team's 3 best characters. The team with the highest score is awarded the hero's guild title.

Cthulhu in the House coming at Gencon from CMON

I am delighted to echo the announcement of CoolMiniOrNot (CMON), our new US partner: cmon_logo_300.png

Cthulhu in the House will debut at gencon on the CMON booth.

CoolMiniOrNot has partnered with Spaghetti Western Games and Flatlined Games to release the board game Cthulhu in the House. The game will premiere at Gen Con with a trade release to follow in Q3.

With now over 70.000 copies sold in 5 years, the Rumble in the house series (Rumble in the House, Rumble in the Dungeon, and now Chtulhu in the House) is Flatlined game's besteller. The partnership with CMON for exclusive english language distribution of the Rumble in the House series will no doubt boost the audience of the games, and continue to reach new gamers.

The Cthulhu in the House game is similar to Rumble in the Dungeon and Rumble in the House but with new gameplay mechanics.  In the game, players compete in a royal rumble to see which Old One has the staying power to outlast the other opponents. Players hide their identities and compete over three rounds to determine who is the toughest. Throughout the game, player can either move a character in the house or start a fight between two characters in the same room. The game includes portals, which allow player to teleport around the board and change outcomes of fights.

Cthulhu in the House can be combined with Rumble in the House and Rumble in the Dungeon to seat more players, for an epic all-out Rumble!



For all sales inquiries, please contact CMON directly :)

Twin Tin Bots : Making of

Twin Tin Bots cover

Make sure to check out the first part of this series : Twin tin bots design notes by Philippe Keyaerts.

The making of Twin Tin Bots

Eric Hanuise

1. Game Development

I was lucky to be involved with Twin Tin bots from the very first playtesting session. The prototype was already nice looking, with cute foam-core robots.

The first play was too long, lasting over two hours, but most of the elements worked quite well and I immediately liked that new game we just tried. Over the next few weeks we met for some more playtesting sessions, as the game was refined and developed. The more I played it, the more I liked it, and when Philippe told me the game was now far enough in the development process that he was starting to pitch it to publishers, I told him 'hey, I've loved that game since we started playing it, would you consider letting me publish it ?'


We discussed this for a while, sharing our views on how this prototype could be made into a published board game, and our individual expectations about such a project. We both knew I'm a young publisher, with much more limited resources than a big name publisher, and we both agreed that one key aspect of the game's appeal was to have actual 3d robots and crystals on the game board. Of course the game could be produced using cardboard tokens for the robots and crystals, but it would be much less appealing, fun, and cool. Cardboard standees or cardboard-made 3D robots and crystals were also not enough, it was clear to us that the game required plastic miniatures for the robots and crystals. This meant that if I was to publish Twin Tin Bots it would be a challenge, both financially and technically as I had never produced a game with plastic miniatures before.

We also discussed financing : I knew I could shorten the time required to finance the game production by using crowd-funding, but if we were to go that route I wanted to make sure from the get go that he was confident with that approach, and ready to support the campaign wholeheartedly.

After a few days of pondering, Philippe confirmed to me that he was in agreement, and we promptly signed a publication contract for Twin Tin Bots.

From that point on, the second stage of development started. Twin Tin Bots was already very good and fun to play, but play time needed to be made shorter. One of the key elements that was difficult to fine tune was the player turn order as explained in the design notes. We lost time idling between player turns, not much : 15 to 45 seconds, but for each player on each turn. This added up over the length of a full game to 20-30 minutes, spent waiting instead of playing. We both sensed there was a problem there and were looking for solutions to it. The 'active player' token that players would pass along saying 'beep' when they were done somehow worked but was quite artificial, and some players still forgot to pass it along.

We were both performing as many play-test sessions as we could, testing small changes and tweaks with every session. I also started to showcase the prototype in various events in preparation for the crowd-funding campaign. As I was traveling to Cannes for the yearly international games festival, I got a message from Philippe : he eventually found a way to deal with this, by completely changing the turn order. This changed the dynamics of gameplay a bit but it made up for it by adding a healthy dose of tactical reactivity to the game. I quickly made the required changes to the prototype in the hotel room and went on to play-test it the whole night at the 'off' - a huge open space available to everyone at night when the festival closes its doors. The change proved very good, players liked the game even more, it was shorter to play, with much less downtime.

As development continued, I scrupulously timed all play-test sessions, analyzing what players spent most time doing during the game. We also experimented with different set-ups for the bases and crystals, and honed the design bit by bit. We found out that sometimes players would get stuck between a base and the board limits, so the bases were moved away from the board sides. Also, we experimented with the special order tiles to get a good mix that was fun and balanced. And we prepared a few extras such as the rocks, blobs, teleporters and mud that would be used as incentives for the crowd-funding campaign.

2. Art

The overall look and feel for the finished game was also something we discussed at length early in the project. The initial prototype had an earth/brown board and grey robots, playing the 'space miner' theme fully. Sometimes, players were apprehensive to play-test the game because they found the theme cold or intimidating and feared it would not be a game for them. Once they played it, however, most loved the game, and it was clear the gameplay appealed to a large audience. To give the game the most chances to reach a wide audience, I wanted to make the theme more appealing to casual gamers. Instead of the usual 'grey robots on a barren planet beneath a black starry sky', our robots would work on an earth-like planet, with an atmosphere, vegetation, and a bright blue sky. I asked Kwanchai Moriya whether he was available to illustrate this game, and he gladly accepted the mission.

His first work was to design the bases, gems and robots. It was a challenge as they would later be turned into actual 3D objects, and Philippe and I had decided that the gems and robots had to be designed in a way that they fit together for easy manipulation during gameplay. Kwanchai produced several sketches, some of which can be seen on the game box sides when opened, and we eventually picked two we liked more than the rest.

The crystals also had to clearly have different sizes as they had different point values in the game, and Kwanchai did a wonderful job designing those, and the bases.

I started speaking about the game online, and we launched a small contest to find a good name. We had a few ideas, but none that really stuck, and kept calling it 'the robot game'. Clearly a better name was required! The contest was a hoot and we received over a thousand individual submissions to choose from. We eventually picked the 'Twin Tin Robots' entry from Rodolphe Perrien, which became 'Twin Tin Bots'.

While Kwanchai set to work on the board art, player aids and tiles, I had to turn his sketches of robots, crystals and bases in actual plastic models. I spent some time researching the production of molded plastic parts, and asked a lot of questions to games manufacturers and some other boardgames publishers I knew had experience with plastic parts. I received a ton of info, and decided that I would make 3D computer models of the parts, and then have the manufacturer create molds based on these 3d models. I had learned enough about the process to be aware of what kind of shapes can and cannot easily be molded, so I was careful to design the 3D models in a way that would require the least conversion work by the manufacturer. I created the models using Blender, for both robots, the three crystals sizes and the bases.

One of the very nice perks of having a 3D model of your parts is that you can have a 3D printing company to actually create prototype parts from these models, long before you commit to the huge costs of having a steel injection mold cut to your designs. I had a set of parts printed, and we could check the 3D printed models at actual size to make sure they matched our expectations, that the crystals fit well with the robots, that all parts were easy to manipulate during play, etc. I can tell you there's something a bit magical about getting the printed parts back when you've spent hours creating them from nothing on your computer. Philippe was also very enthusiastic when we got these, as the project was getting more tangible than ever.

As Kwanchai delivered the art for the game, I assembled a few pre-production prototypes using the final art and 3D printed parts. These were used to have some reviewers talk about the game before the crowd-funding campaign, and to promote the game during fairs and events. Every time we placed the components on a table the reception was very good, players loved the cute robots and crystals, and wanted to try the game.


3. Production

We then proceeded to launch the crowd-funding campaign, which also was a first for me. I had some funds set aside for the preproduction of the game : art, prototypes, some promotion, ... but not enough to fund the actual production of the game. This is a big box game, with a ton of components : a big board, more than a hundred counters and tokens, a fat rulebook, and of course the 36 plastic miniatures for the robots, bases and crystals. Costs for creating the molds and producing the game meant we had to produce at least 3.000 copies, for a total cost of several tens of thousands Euros. Flatlined Games doesn't rely on bank loans to produce games and only uses its existing capital for operations. This is a very safe way of doing business, but it also is quite slow and funding the production of Twin Tin Bots without some addition of cash would have required over two years.


I knew Philippe was quite popular in France and Belgium, so I decided to complement the English language Kickstarter campaign by a French language campaign on to make it more accessible to the french speaking fans.

I partnered with Game Salute to get access to Kickstarter, as it was not open to non-US resident project creators at the time. They provided me with a lot of help and insight on how to set up a campaign, as they already had garnered extensive experience on the subject. So I started the campaign... and it fell short of the goal we had set.

We took time to analyse the campaign, and assessed that the lessons from that failure would allow us to make it succeed on a second attempt. So I reworked the whole campaign, building on the lessons learned, and the second attempt eventually was successful. We had a few hundred backers on Kickstarter and Ulule, the game was funded and ready for production.

The next couple months were used to cover all aspects of the game production, get the files and models ready, and line all our ducks in a row. Production went according to schedule and we received the games at the Essen Spiel game fair, just in time for the official release.

I had arranged that the backers who visited the fair could pick up their games on our booth, which quite a few did, and the overall reception proved quite good.

After the fair I started to ship out the boxes to the remaining backers, and to arrange for my distributor Iello to get their orders to the retailers that supported us during the campaign. After that the game was made available to European retailers, and shipped to Iello US which will get them to the US retailers. At the time of this writing (end june 2014), the US boxes have arrived and should reach the retailers very soon.

I have also been contacted by the webmasters of online boardgaming sites, and as they wanted to add Twin Tin Bots to the games they offer on their sites. I gladly agreed, and you can now play Twin Tin Bots in turn-based mode on (and soon on and in real time on

The whole adventure took over 2 whole years, from first play-test session to the actual finished game reaching retailer shelves. But there's much more than time and money that we invested in this game, so we really hope you'll like it as much as we do. It was a very special project, unlike the other games I've published. We meet each other quite often so there were very few formal meetings to work on the game or discuss the publication process, most of it was done before or after game nights, in a day-to-day fashion that made the whole experience feel much more like play than work.

Dragon Rage - Halloween Special


To celebrate Halloween here is a small Halloween special for Dragon Rage.

Defend Esirien and Nurkott from the Evil Pumpkins and the Giant Gingerbread Men!


Click here to download the Dragon Rage Halloween special (3Mb)

Flatlined Games news - Q3 2012

Hi everybody, here are some news from Flatlined Games HQ :

Company Status :
- Flatlined Games is alive and well. I run Flatlined Games during the evenings and weekends, along with my 'real' job that pays the bills. I am usually reactive on the various boardgames forums, but 'formal' communication on our website is a bit slower.
All money gained from sold games currently goes back into reprinting sold games and developing new games, as well of some money from my 'real' job to speed things up a little. This is a slow build-up process but it is safe and should guarantee that Flatlined Games will continue to operate for a very long time. The luxurious italian car will have to wait, I'm afraid. Ramen we can afford.


Sales :
- Dragon Rage is selling better than expected, with two thirds of the print run gone already. Our target was to sell the 1500 copies in 5 years, as this is a very niche game. We're doing better than expected with that title so far, and our recent US distribution deal should help us sell out faster than expected. Dragon rage is a niche product and a slow seller compared to most current releases, but it is unique and niche enough that we know it will have a very long shelf life (Heck, it's already 30 years old if you think about it!).
- Rumble in the House is also performing quite well. The initial print run of 3000 multilingual copies was sold out in three months and justified a second print run of 5000 copies.
Distribution :
- We have set up deals with distributors for Belgium, France, the Netherlands, UK, and recently Canada and U.S.A.
Current projects : 



- Rumble in the House reprint. With the strong sales we are reprinting new copies of Rumble in the House to keep our distributors supplied during the holiday season.Third printing... Who would have known ?







- Rumble in the Dungeon. This is a stand-alone game that can be combined with Rumble in the House. It will be printed along with the Rumble in the House reprint, and should be available in October. Rumble in the Dungeon takes Rumble in the House to a dungeon setting with a new twist : a treasure chest hidden in the depths of the dungeon, filled with riches and glory! A separate announcement will follow with more details.





- Twin tin Bots. This diceless robot-programming game by acclaimed Belgian designer Philippe Keyaerts will be pushed back to early 2013. Development on the game is mostly finished (Jim Dunnigan, spi founder and Avalon Hill director said 'games are never finished, they just happen to be published at some point of their life.'), but we need to gather extra funds to make it happen in a timely fashion (see below).

- Crowdfunding campaign. We will soon launch a crowdfunding campaign to fund the printing of Twin Tin Bots.  We decided against letting our other games go out of stock in order to print Twin tin Bots, and rather make a call to our fan base to fund the initial printing.
This is a common problem for small publishers : once the initial investment for a game has been made, you can use the money from games sold to either reprint the game as stocks diminishes, or to print new games and let the older release go out of print. It is exceptional that sales of a game bring in enough money to both reprint it and release new titles. We believe games should stay in print as long as there is interest for them, but this means each new release will take longer to be funded. Crowdfunding is a way to accelerate that funding (publishing the game Q1 2013 instead of Q4 2013 with money from sales and some personal money to speed things up). It also has the added benefit of allowing us to gauge demand for a game and rightsize the print run accordingly.



Essen Spiel'12 :
- Flatlined Games will be present at Essen Spiel '12, on booth 4-216 (same as last year).
- We should have Rumble in the Dungeon available at the fair (If the german printing gnomes can finish it in time)
- You will be able to play Twin Tin Bots during the fair, on preproduction copies (That is, a fancy way to say 'home-made'. They have cool 3-D playing pieces, however.)


The crystal ball :
- Dragon Rage expansion! The designer is working on an expansion. This will take a long time. Very long. Later than next year. It should take the form of a stand-alone game that can be mixed and matched with Dragon Rage. There might be elves involved. These are patient creatures, elves. They understand the meaning of 'it will take a long time.'


Dragon Rage Easter special

To celebrate this holiday weekend, we've placed an exclusive Dragon Rage Easter Special on our website for you to download.

Defend Esirien and Nurkott against the onslaught of the ferocious giant bunnies, and chase the Dragon Eggs!


Click here to download the Dragon rage Easter Special (10Mb)

Press Release : Flatlined Games company launch

Press release - For immediate distribution

New boardgames publisher : Flatlined Games

Flatlined Games is a new boardgames publisher, based in Brussels, Belgium.

Founded by Eric Hanuise, Flatlined Games publishes and develops complex board games, with strong themes and multiple game mechanics, for demanding players.

Flatlined Games editorial line focuses on highly thematic games, and will include mostly either very complex games with multiple mechanisms or very simple and fun fillers.

Flatlined Games will target niche markets in the boardgames market, and address these niches globally with multilingual editions.

Flatlined Games primarily sells direct on its web site given our small print runs, but we are also open to distribution deals in Europe and US markets. Retailer enquiries are welcome too.

Flatlined Games reckon that your friendly local gaming shop is a key player in the spread of hobby games. Given our niche target market and low print run volumes we must mostly sell direct from our website, however we wish to support the local retailers. To this end we introduce our 'ship to your retailer' program : customers that are willing to have their order delivered at their local retailer instead of home will get a small discount. The goal is to have customers visit the retailers, giving them an extra sales opportunity.


About the founder

Eric Hanuise was born in 1969 in Belgium. He has been active in the gaming market for 20 years, organising tournaments and events, playing in various clubs and actively participating in various gaming-related organisations. He decided to turn this hobby in a business in 2007, and took a sabbatical from his consulting business to make a market study leading to his creation of Flatlined Games. After many months spent fighting the recent economic crisis, he finally can start producing great games.

He likes older and complex games such as Junta!, Advanced Civilization, Lords of the Sierra Madre or Fief, as well as more recent titles such as Twilight Imperium III, Funkenschlag or Smugglers of the galaxy.

Eric plays or has played just about any kind of games, be it roleplaying, LARP, miniatures, wargames, CCG's or boardgames.

He also contributes as writer for Plato magazine, a french speaking magazine dedicted to boardgames and the boardgames industry.

Last but not least, he co-authored 'batt'l Kha'os' with belgian fellow Frederic Moyersoen, a two player games where orcs and humans fight over the control of battlefield towers, available from Z-man games.

You may also find him on the french site or on BGG under the nickname 'ehanuise'.

About the name

Flatlined Games is a reference to the brain wave patterns on a EEG display. A dead brain's EEG is said to be 'flat lined', or totally inactive. Our games are highly interactive and tax the player's brains so we named the company just the other way around : Flatlined games.

Contact info
eric dot hanuise at flatlinedgames dot com
39 rue gheude
1070 Anderlecht