I’ve talked a lot recently about Campaign Trail, our design process, our Kickstarter tips and advice, but today (on the day we launch our Kickstarter campaign) I wanted to share with you the story behind the game.


Campaign Trail was designed by my Dad well before I was born. It was a game he had played with his 3 brothers, and eventually shared with me when I learned to play games. During that time the game was hand drawn on a large sheet of poster board; the cards were drawn out on index cards; and the score was kept by writing down votes on paper scoring sheets.

Score sheets-01

But the game was fun! The strategy and play value really came out strong. It felt like every game was a race to the finish with an intense back and forth struggle over those mid and high value states. Back then, it was called Hit The Campaign Trail and it was quite possibly my favorite game I played with my Dad. I told him I wanted to see it officially published someday.


I went off to college and started a career and Dad put Hit The Campaign Trail on the shelf and worked on other things. Fast forward to 2012, my brother, Nathan, had gotten into games and had encouraged Dad to bring back out Hit The Campaign Trail. Their idea was to run it as events at Gen Con 2012 and see what the reception was. So they got to work on modernizing the game. They shortened the name to Campaign Trail and developed a scoring system that did not use the paper sheets any longer.

Prototype 1-01

Some of the design changes incorporated to “modernize” this version were getting rid of the paper score sheets and replacing with a system using poker chips that were placed on scoring mats around the board. Nathan and Dad also went to a paper money system instead of having money cards within the deck. Overall the response was very positive. People really liked the game and saw the potential in it.

Nathan and I seriously started talking about getting into publishing during this Gen Con, and decided that we wanted Campaign Trail to be one of our first games. We knew there was a lot of work yet to do however.


Gen Con 2013 brought prototype 2. We had realized we needed to get rid of the poker chip system. It just took too long to set up and was too fiddly to play. We created a new system using the 8mm wooden cubes found in most games.

Prototype 2-01

This version used a phased approach to gameplay with players taking part in an advertising phase, a campaign phase, and an event phase. Again, the response was overwhelmingly positive. We had players that had played the first one and came back to see what we had done with the game. They liked the changes but we still knew it wasn’t perfect.


During the year between Gen Con 2013 and Gen Con 2014 we made a lot of changes. This was probably the most intense session of development work we did on the game. We got rid of the phases and went to multi-use cards. Each card now had 4 options from Advertise, Campaign, Event, Fundraise, Travel, and Register. We also incorporated a resource management piece with money and registered voters as resources.

Prototype 3-01

This version also saw the removal of the “tracks” on the board that limited how many votes could go in each state. We decided to just leave it open ended. And finally, we also realized that adding up all the electoral votes at the end of the game was getting really tedious so we developed an in-game scoring mechanism using custom length chipboard tokens. After this version we knew we were close but we didn’t quite feel ready yet. The game still needed something.


Welcome to the current day. We have continued to develop the game till we knew it was perfect. For Gen Con 2015 we debuted our latest (and final) version of the game. Mechanically, we added character cards with special player powers. We also re-did the balance of the game from the ground up. We realized that as we made small adjustments over the course of the four years, some of the previous balancing aspects were not relevant anymore and some others pieces hadn’t been balanced at all.

Prototype 4-01

This year, we had the most enthusiastic response yet. People love this game and are excited to get on board.

It’s been an amazing journey working with my Dad and my brother on this game, and definitely feels like realizing a childhood dream. I can’t wait to see how this campaign does and how this game resonates with people. Thanks for checking out our Kickstarter campaign and I hope you will join us in making this dream a reality. Thank you!