Making tabletop board games in the gig economy: Freelancer Marketplaces


Recently I’ve discovered Fiverr. It’s a marketplace full of talented freelancers for practically any need you’ll have as a games designer.

In only a few weeks I’ve been able to gather all the concept art for our next game. Something that was incomprehensible just a few weeks ago.


As a game design team we have a lot of talent and hats between us, but a professional illustrator is both something we can’t afford, and something we can’t afford to not have. How many negatives was that last sentence?

Confusing as it is, in my experience this kind of catch-22 happens all the time. A team needs to grow, but to grow it needs more revenue, but it can’t receive revenue until it’s grown!

Enter: Fiverr (and competitors). Disclaimer: I’ve only used Fiverr. It’s served all my needs so far. There are most definitely other marketplaces you can use!

You can find illustrators, developers, and any sort of professional help needed.

While there are a ton of benefits to using a freelancer marketplace this way, there are some drawbacks.

Most sellers want to work on only one order at a time.

You will have to be patient, or place orders with several sellers.


It can be expensive

You pay for what you get.


Sellers can have other work in their queue

Meaning it could take time before getting to your order!

I’ve only used Fiverr for a few weeks, but I’ve learned a ton in that time to make every project easier and faster to complete.


Some lessons I’ve learned with my limited time with Fiverr:

Clear communication is key.

Choose a lane

Submit your own vision and have them flesh it out, or let the freelancer take their own interpretation of your vision.

Don’t open up with price

The best sellers are the ones I can have a normal conversation with. Opening up with what you expect the price to be limits the scope of the seller, and also seems like you are more focussed on the price than the quality. Not a good look!

How you can trust sellers

Check for seller’s with good reviews. One of our larger orders I had the artist make a much smaller one in scope just to verify that the style was right without risking substantial money.

It’s pricey

But in the grand scheme of things not really. You can choose which sellers you work with, negotiate the scope of the project, and you will know the price before placing the order.

Just because saving money is a big part of this project I typically looked at illustrators that do $15-$45 per order.

I placed 8 orders with different sellers, all with the same prompt. Each one of them was unique and creative in their own way, but there was one style in particular that caught my attention. If I had simply gone with the first seller that I liked I would not have found the style I love.

A way to cut down on costs is to have the illustrations be in black and white. Not having to color in the details saves a ton of time, and because of that I was able to work with some artist for lower than the original price.

Leave reviews

For many, this is their livelihood. Giving a review supports the sellers and helps inform other buyers whether this seller is reputable or not.

Leave reviews the right way

At least on the platform I used, you can include a sample of the project on the review. Always do this if you can. Being able to see actual work done by the seller is incredibly helpful. I was able to see different projects and get a good feel for the seller’s style. This one is big.

Oh, and you get reviewed too

I didn’t know that. They leave comments and everything. So, you’ll want to make every experience as positive as possible. I’ve asked for several revisions on certain projects, and the seller’s were always patient and willing to incorporate my ideas.

Five stars all around.

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