Cheapass Games is small but mighty tabletop game publisher based out of Seattle, WA. We publish free, cheap, and deluxe games. You might know us best from titles such as Kill Doctor Lucky, Pairs, and Tak, or from our world-famous boss, renowned game designer James Ernest.
We got our start in 1996. Over the next ten years, we published roughly 100 tabletop games. Most of these were packaged in very cheap black-and-white envelopes, without generic components like dice and paper money, which could be scavenged from games our customers already owned. This allowed us to offer our games for a mere pittance and inspired the name “Cheapass Games.”
From 2007 to 2011, we hibernated. Some of our games found new publishers in the game industry, and some of our games wound up out of print. We also posted a decent number of our old games as free downloads, because we’re nice like that. (Many of these downloads are still available. Have fun.)
While we hibernated, the industry changed. Printing costs went up as the supply of large print run paper remnants we had relied on dried up. The costs of other components went down as more games were produced. Gamers’ preferences turned towards more deluxe-style games with fancy things like color printing and custom components.
So, when we re-launched our publishing business in 2012, we did so with some fundraising help from Kickstarter. We started with a deluxe reprint of Unexploded Cow, followed by a deluxe edition of Deadwood Studios, USA, and so on and so forth. We release some games on the side, sans Kickstarter, as our schedule allows.