Posted by on Feb 8, 2011 in Business, Design, Video Games | 3 Comments

Daniel Clark blogged at Lostgarden recently about the Declaration of Game Designer Independence. More interesting still is the unfiltered Project Horseshoe group report that includes and precedes the Declaration. It advocates—among other things—a certification board for game designers as an alternative to a guild or union.

Worth reading.


  1. Will Hindmarch
    February 9, 2011

    What’s especially interesting to me here is the shadow that seems to fall across this document: a sense of powerlessness or lack of control over the creative process. It is, after all, a declaration of independence, not a manifesto. So it makes sense that it implies what it is seeking to be independent from.

    I’m left contemplating the traces of strife between the show and the business—are “visuals, music, business or technology” in the way?

    Jeff, this is a declaration for specific kings. Do you think the hobby-game design sphere needs a similar declaration (or to share in this one)? Is the political situation likewise so dire as to call for revolutionary language or do analog game designs have more freedom and authority than their counterparts in the video-game sector?

  2. Jeff Tidball
    February 9, 2011

    I was thinking about the “declaration” label the other night, actually. I think the document is a much better manifesto than declaration (of “Independence,” anyway) given their explicit wish for it to apply to creative directors, who will presumably not so much be giving up their salaries in exchange for taking up these principles.

    I think these principles—especially when thought of as proactive manifesto rather than reactive declaration—are as laudable for tabletop design as for video game design.

  3. Darrell
    February 10, 2011

    I just posted my thoughts on the subject at my site (, and have to agree that it makes a better manifesto than anything else.

    It’s worth noting that the declaration was written “primarily for the designers who run their own companies or the creative directors who own the creative process” — so it’s no surprise that some of the principles (such as embracing new markets) are beyond abilities of most “in the trenches” designers.

    I think it’s relevant to tabletop designers as well – perhaps even moreso. The bottom line (literally) of the declaration boils down to “Embrace these freedoms or sell out to the man” and it’s a lot easier to go your own way in tabletop than video games. Oh, there’s far less money, of course, but there are fewer barriers to entry.


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