September Design Challenge: Create an 18 card game where every card is identical.

This is the first of our new series of design challenges. They're small monthly contests for 18 card designs but with some unique additional restrictions. And we're starting off with a real hard one.

Create an 18 card game where every card is identical.

What does that even mean? Well, it means you have one card design, repeated 18 times. Like a Magic the Gathering deck full of zero-cost counterspells, where two players just counter each other over and over again. Ok terrible example. How about a game of poker with just aces. Nope. See how hard this is? Some say it can't be done, but we're putting a $100 prize out there to prove otherwise.

Along with this, we will be documenting our judging process via a short video series. We'll show off the games, some of the pitch videos, feature guest judges and dive into why a game is a finalist or a winner. We don't plan to talk about games negatively here (think more of a feature documentary than a reality show). We're looking forward to showing the inside of design contests for both the entrants and fans of board games. 

And first, we've setup a discord channel on the Button Shy server to discuss ideas, entries as well as the judging process and final games. Join us here:

Let's get into the details:


Submissions will be accepted from until Monday September 30, 2019 at 11:59 PM EST.

Winner will be announced on or before Tuesday Oct 29, 2019.

Component Limitations

18 cards - all the exact same design

NOTES: Cards should be poker sized and not square. Cards may not have holes cut through them.


No additional components (no pen, paper, scissors, etc)

Submission Requirements

For your submission, you will need to send the following to with "September Design Challenge - [your game name]" as the subject:

  1. Game Description: Including Game Title, Player Count, Estimated Play Time, Recommended Ages (if any), Brief Description of the game play.
  2. Print-and-Play File: This should include the rules and play sheet(s). The file can be hosted on either your own site, or a public one like Dropbox or Google Drive, or emailed as an attachment.
  3. Short Pitch Video: No more than 3 minutes. This doesn't need to be any more than a handheld phone video, but we just request to see some visuals of the gameplay.

Additional Restrictions

Designs must be original works that do not infringe on any intellectual property. Submission must not be publicly available through any retail, secondary or print-on-demand market and may not be currently under consideration for publication by other publishers.

One submission per entrant.

Designers must be 18 years or older to enter.

While designs need not have final artwork or graphics, they should be complete and usable. All designs remain the intellectual property of the designers.


The winner will receive $100 , paid via Paypal. All entries may be considered for publication by Button Shy Games.


We will feature the game images and submission videos on our YouTube channel. We will discuss the finalists in detail and judge them on video as well. We will not be providing feedback on all entries, but watching the subsequent videos will show why specific games made it to the finalists or won. We plan to keep comments positive, and highlight why a game won instead of why a game lost.

Good luck everyone!


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