Design on Demand
By Mike Bennighof, Ph.D.
April 2013

Finally, you can get exactly the game you want. Avalanche Press pioneered print-on-demand in the wargame industry, and now we’re moving to the logical next step: design on demand.

We’ll have no “pee number” idiocy (if you don't already know, you don't want to), no test markets, no kickstarter, no crowd-funding. From now on, the magic number is one. Just one order means we’ll design, illustrate and produce the game that you want.

Well, maybe not all of you. Just the ones who actually matter: the one percent. Those top earners who want and deserve something special. Really special.

Here’s how it works: from now on, we’re going to release 15 new games each year. Each will have a print run of one. Just one. You get to choose the topic, the scope and the game parameters. And then you get the only one ever made hand-delivered to your doorstep. If you want, I’ll even come to your house and teach you how to play your one-of-a-kind game, but I’m not real friendly in person and I don’t much like rich people, so you may want to pass on that.

How much? If you have to ask . . . well, it’s $50,000. If that’s more than your annual salary, then you probably should stop reading now. This isn’t for the takers, the water drinkers. This is for the water carriers. It’s for the makers.

Twenty years of running this company making reasonably-priced games has just given me piles of debt and way too much gray hair. Frankly, this job sucks. So I want to make some actual money at it. To hell with the customers who whine all over the internet when we raise price on a download (a download that they already own) from $8.99 to $9.99. It’s time to cater to the ones who have money and are willing to spend it to get what they want.

Here’s how it works. First, you send me $50,000. Just use your AMEX Black in the webstore like any other transaction, right here. (The blue type means you're supposed to click on it, but only if you have $50,000 ready to spend.)

Then, you fill out this handy form. Indicate your choices for topic, scale and so on, and any preferences for personal heroism and slanted outcome: your game, your history. You want the Confederates to have machine guns, they get machine guns: it’s your $50 grand. You’ll have to pay any required license fees if you want a game based on movies or television or porn.

You can either have discretion, or we can blast your game’s wonderfulness all over the website so that people will be jealous of you. I really don’t care either way.

Your game is going to be damned good. I’ve won multiple Origins Awards for designing both historical boardgames and role-playing games. I’ve designed games for the U.S. Navy, and over a hundred of them for commercial sale. Maybe over two hundred. I truly don’t know how many. All of them were good, even the ones I’ve forgotten.

It will be good history. You see those three little letters at the end of my name at the top of this page? Those letters mean that I’m smarter than anyone else in the room. All of history is known to me. I went to Emory and the University of Vienna, damn it, not some football factory. One Book Willy glances at one book to design a game? Pah! I write one before breakfast just to warm up for the day.

You want your name on the box? No problem! You can be named as the game designer; hell, it wouldn’t be the first time I’ve designed a game and put someone else’s name on it. You want a panzer division, a battleship, a kingdom named after you? Easy! And because I have a Ph.D., it actually becomes true – we’ll even throw in a Wikipedia page at no extra charge and you know that makes it so.

Artwork will be of the finest quality. I know this, because I’ll do it myself. Here’s a cover painting I just completed this morning:

Your game will be printed just like a regular Avalanche Press game with all the trimmings. Except it will be the only one that has ever existed and will ever exist. And it will be yours.

Actually, it will be a lot better than the swill we serve to the 99 percent. No crappy recycled cardboard: the game board can be engraved on metal or inlaid in a finely-crafted wooden table. The counters will be steel, aluminum or high-impact plastic as you prefer. We can magnetize the counters to stick to a metal game board, no problem.

How? It’s easy. That laser that cuts our chipboard counters? It will cut through anything up to two inches thick. I already have a set of steel counters for The Kaiser’s Navy, right here next to my, um,desk (see below). They’re incredibly cool – and incredibly expensive, at least if we’re going to put them in a $59.99 game for the wargaming masses (such as they are). But you can have them.

You’ve worked hard for your success. Why shouldn’t you enjoy it? And why should you play the same games as everyone else? I don’t. I have a whole stack of special games I made just for me – here I am filling out my order sheet for Great War at Sea: Habsburgs Triumphant:

This could be you, too. Sign up now.