For a few years now, some very talented artists have been coming up with posters for some some of the most popular board games on the planet, all thanks to BoardGameGeek’s Artist Series.
The site, which most will be familiar with as a repository of game facts and community chat, also sometimes becomes a marketplace for gorgeous prints, where illustrators pay tribute to some of the biggest and best games out there, from Gloomhaven to Terraforming Mars. Released in waves, and having been coming out for a few years now, the fourth series is about to launch, featuring games like Scythe, Wingspan and Patchwork.
Because I love these things so damn much, and because artists doing cool shit is close to my heart, I spoke with BoardGameGeek’s Chad Krizan about how the series came together.
Me: BoardGameGeek is known more for being a community than a storefront, so why go into selling prints like this?
Chad: The community aspect is actually one big reason we started this project. I felt that game illustrators were a big part of the gaming scene, but not getting the recognition they deserve [Author’s note: you’ll see a big credit and signature for each artist at the bottom of each image]. I’d been thinking of ideas on something we could do, when I came across a series of awesome NASA posters, and thought it would be so cool if there was a board game equivalent. It was at that point the idea was born!
The high value that illustrators bring to the table is also why we opted to not make these cheap $10 print shop quality posters, but rather museum-quality giclee prints on fine art paper.
Me: How’d you fine and then get each artist to do each piece? Are they fans of the game?
Chad: As a huge board game fan, I already had some favorite illustrators in mind, so I just started reaching out. The response was overwhelmingly positive, with most illustrators I contacted happy to participate.
Because I wanted this project to be fun for everyone involved, I asked each artist to pick a game from the BGG top 100-ish they’d love to reimagine, so they all picked something they were excited to do.
Me: Any plans to reprint any of the older pieces that are now sold out?
Chad: Yup, each time we release a new series, we open preorders for all previous series. We also try to keep the 12"x18" size permanently in stock, though they sometimes are temporarily out of stock.
Me: And finally, have you ever had any blowback from publishers or copyright holders over these?
Chad: For anything we make for the BGG store, I always ask the publisher, as I don’t feel it’s right to profit off from other peoples’ ideas without permission. By and large, everyone is happy to work with us since they want to support BGG. Plus, it’s just plain a fun idea! The only road blocks have been games with licenses involved, which I’ve just learned to avoid.