BLOG: Brainstorming ideas with fans

Last week we finished another contest for our fans. Previously this year we run a contest for new abilities for Cry Havoc, then we run a contest for a new scenario for Robinson Crusoe, then for new events and adventures for First Martians.

It’s not a joke. It’s not marketing bullshit trick. It’s our conscious and serious strategy. Get fans involved. Results are remarkable. Let me show you few examples.


Late 2012 some dude posted on BGG a ‘Naturalist’ scenario for Robinson Crusoe. I contacted him and thanked for support for the game. In reply, he sent me additional mission as a gift for me. A few months later Portal Games published HMS Beagle campaign. Epic, mindblowing expansion for Robinson Crusoe. Designed by this exact dude from BGG (with my help). His name is Robert Manson and he changed the way I think about Robinson Crusoe. Robert is the reason I can now work on The Lost City of Z. He opened my eyes, back then in 2012.


Neuroshima Hex is our evergreen board game, still active and popular after 12 years since its release. Since 2007 we released 12 official expansions with Mephisto, Dancer, and Uranopolis being initially created by fans, posted on BGG and then picked by us as absolutely stunning ideas and fan content that may be published as an official expansion.


Let’s face it. Fan ideas are not always awesome. Often they are not balanced, shifted in one or other side too much, focused on one aspect that is the area of interest of the fan. Fan designer often doesn’t see the whole picture, the whole mechanism of the game. There is always a ton of work to develop these ideas and make them work smoothly with the whole engine. Michał Oracz, after developing Dancer, Mephisto and Uranopolis asked Portal Games to give him chance to do few his own armies instead of developing another fan army – work with adjusting fan content to the game system was really a massive task. Fan created HMS Beagle ended up with my name on the box, because the amount of work I needed to put into it so it worked well, was much more significant than I expected at the beginning of the work. From all of the ideas we received for Cry Havoc new ability contest, there was not a single one that we were able to publish as it was initially entered.

And yet…

I cannot express how much I value these ideas. I cannot praise enough the fact that among those ideas there is always mind opening one. There is always one fan who looks at the game from the angle I could never think of. There is this dude who changes Robinson into a campaign driven game. There is this dude who creates an army for Neuroshima without a single Unit tile. There is this dude who comes with idea that will change everything.

The work, the polishing, the development are all low price for opening new doors.

Today we released Aftermath expansion for Cry Havoc. In the rules, you will find and list of people who participated in the contest. Let me copy it here. Randy de Graaf, Jeff LaFlam, Kurt Van Hoeyveld, Richard Sprayberry, Jeff Schauble,
Jay Peak, Nur Iskandar Bin Nuruddin, Andrew Wood, Darren Quinn, Shane Irons, Yoong Ken Yen, Robert Asberg, Egon Araujo, Dugrim
BloodAxe, Calvin Wong, Svenn ToreMauseth, Adhil Riad Patel, Chris Funk.

Today I thank again all fans who create content for our games. Thank you for challenging us. Thank you for pushing our designs in the most unexpected way. Thank you.

Original text on BGG Blog BTTS:


We are bookworms. Movie maniacs. Story addicts. We grew up reading Tolkien, Howard, Herbert, Dick, Lem… We were watching Willow, Blade Runner, Never Ending Story, Robin Hood…

And yet, we don’t write books… we don’t make movies. We don’t make those things, because we make games. We make games that tell stories.

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