The Cardboard Edison Award recognizes great unpublished board games

Submissions for the 2019 Cardboard Edison Award are open through January 31!

Cardboard Edison Award logo.png

Timeline for the 2019 Cardboard Edison Award

  • January 31: final deadline for submissions

  • late February: finalists announced

  • April 10: finalists' prototypes due

  • early May: winners announced


Cardboard Edison Best Practices 2019

Download the Cardboard Edison Best Practices 2019 book, filled with articles, interviews, and quotes about board game design! The book contains new tips for submitting your game to the Cardboard Edison Award, plus advice for every step of the board game design process! In the book you'll find:

  • advice from past winners of the Cardboard Edison Award

  • tips for writing rules

  • questions for playtesters

  • thoughts on self-publishing

  • a board game design checklist

and LOTS more!


Sponsors for the 2019 Cardboard Edison Award

Alpha Player Level Sponsors

Game Master Level Sponsors

Meeple Level Sponsors


Judges for the 2019 Cardboard Edison Award

More judges coming soon! Click the photos for bios.

See the results from previous years’ Cardboard Edison Award


To be eligible for the award, designs must not be publicly available through any retail, secondary or print-on-demand market, including Kickstarter, before June 2019. Designs may not be licensed to a publisher during the period of the award. Designs must be original works that do not infringe on any intellectual property. Board, card and dice games are eligible. Sorry, no RPGs or videogames.

Submissions must include a brief description of the game, a video overview, and a rules document. See the submissions page for full guidelines and submission fee information.

Submissions will be judged based on engagement, originality of theme, and originality of mechanics. Finalists will be judged based on engagement, smoothness of play, and fit for target audience.

Submissions will go through two rounds of judging. Finalists chosen for the second round of judging will need to mail us a physical prototype for final judging. Finalists will receive full feedback from the judges.

One design will be chosen as the winner, at the judges' discretion. Judges are not eligible to enter.

Designs should be complete and playtested before being submitted. Prototypes do not need to have final artwork or graphics, but they should be clear and usable.

All designs remain the intellectual property of the designers.


Can non-U.S. designers participate?

Yes! There are only two restrictions. First, the rulebook must be in English, and the components must be either in English or language-neutral. And second, you must be able to mail a physical copy of the prototype to the U.S. if your design is chosen as a finalist.

Can I submit more than one design?

Yes, you may submit as many designs as you want, provided you pay the entry fee for each.

Is the award only for new designers, or can published designers participate?

The Cardboard Edison Award is open to unpublished games from both new and published designers. As long as the game isn’t publicly available for purchase or licensed to a publisher, it’s eligible.

Is my design eligible if it’s going to be on Kickstarter?

Sorry, the award is for designs that aren’t available as a final product. That includes any games that are on Kickstarter or will be before June 2019.

What if the design was released as a free print-and-play?

That’s fine, as long as it hasn’t been made available for purchase as a final product. But games that are available to purchase through print-on-demand outlets such as The Game Crafter or DriveThruCards aren’t eligible.

How finished does the game have to be?

There’s no hard and fast rule, but we expect that you’ll have thoroughly playtested the game and that it’s complete, or close to it, before submitting it. Complete games will naturally score better with the judges.

Is it OK if I know some of the judges personally?

Yes. To head off any conflicts of interest, each submission will be reviewed by multiple judges, and we'll aim to have judges review submissions by designers they don't know.

Why do I have to make a video?

Video submissions have been used to great effect in game design contests (including ours), and we think it's the best way of letting you highlight what's interesting about your game.

What needs to be in the video?

Use the video to tell us about the game and how it plays. Give a sense of what players do in the game, and highlight what makes it unique and engaging. You don’t need to provide a full rules explanation or playthrough. And keep it brief. No more than 5 minutes. Your video can be as simple or complex as you wish, but we won't be looking at the video's production values when we evaluate the submissions.

Do I need to be in the video?

No. If you'd rather not have your face or voice appear in it, your video can describe the game using visuals and text. One option we'd recommend looking into is Adobe Spark Video.

What will the submission fee be used for?

The submission fee will help offset the costs of the award itself. The most significant expense will be the final judging event—volunteers need to eat!

What do I get if I win?

We created the Cardboard Edison Award to recognize a great unpublished game design. We’ll promote the winning design on our website and through social media. Also, the winner can use the award logo in any marketing materials for their design. In addition, all finalists will receive in-depth, detailed feedback from the judges’ panel.

What has happened to previous winners?

The Blood of an Englishman won the 2016 Cardboard Edison Award and was later published by Renegade Game Studios. Castell won the 2017 award and was published by Renegade. Animal Kingdoms won the 2018 award and was signed by Galactic Raptor Games.

Will I get feedback even if my design isn't chosen as a finalist?

Yes! We will pass along notes from the judges that evaluate your submission.

How many finalists will be chosen?

About 10, but we might choose slightly more or less depending on how the first round of scoring goes. We also might give some games honorable mentions.

Can I get my prototype back after final judging?

Yes, we can send your prototype back to you or to a third party, if you like. We just ask that you pay for shipping.

Any Other Questions?

Contact us at any of the social-media accounts below.