Journeys of Jesus: Capernaum to Nain

In our last post, Jesus came to Capernaum and made it the base for his ministry throughout Galilee and beyond. Today we look at one of the trips he made from Capernaum.

Soon afterwards, he went to a city called Nain. Many of his disciples, along with a great multitude, went with him. (Luke 7:11)

Nain was not a significant city. It is not mentioned anywhere else in either the Old or New Testament nor in any other known writings of the period. It still exists as a small Arab village called Nein.

It was like many towns and villages throughout Galilee. And yet, Jesus chose to visit and while there, he performed an amazing miracle (Luke 7:12-15). The town was on the very southern edge of Galilee and we are told that news of the miracle was heard “in the whole of Judea, and in all the surrounding region” (Luke 7:17). 

How could something done in a small village have such a big impact? The short answer, of course, is that God accomplishes all of His holy will. But specifically, Jesus came to Nain with perfect timing, and the village was perfectly located for this miracle to be reported far and wide.

I would imagine that Nain was normally a quiet city with the relatively few citizens going about their own affairs, but on the day that Jesus chose to visit, there was a major public event happening that had the attention of the whole community. The text tells us that “many people of the city” had gathered to grieve with a widowed mother in her immeasurable sorrow. Although we aren’t told, it would not be surprising if others from nearby towns were also there. All of these witnesses were able to join in her immeasurable joy when Jesus raised the woman’s only son from the dead.

Undoubtedly this would have a big impact on this small city. But because Nain was particularly situated, the impact spread far beyond its borders.

Nain is at the foot of the Hill of Moreh, on the northern edge of the Valley of Jezreel. This valley is also called the Valley of Megido, the Plain of Jezreel, and the Valley and Plain of Esdraelon (the Greek rendering of Jezreel).

The name Jezreel may sound familiar. The town of Jezreel was not far from Nain and was where evil King Ahab of the northern kingdom of Israel had his royal palace. Naboth had his vineyard there. Jehu carried out the Lord’s vengeance on Ahab’s family in Jezreel, killing Ahab’s son Jehoram, who had succeeded him to the throne, Ahab’s wicked wife Jezebel, and Ahab’s grandson Ahaziah, the king of Judah (and more) (2 Kings 9-10).

Because of Ahab and Jezebel, it’s natural that we have a negative view of Jezreel, but the name means “God sows”, and the valley of that name was broad and fertile. It stretched from Mount Carmel on the Mediterranean coast to the Sea of Galilee and the Jordan River.

Because the valley cut through the highlands, it was an easy west-east path across the land. It became a route for invaders and the scene of important battles in Israel’s history. 

In Judges 6 we read that the Midianites and Amalekites would wait for the Israelites to raise their crops, then they would invade and take it all as spoil (Judges 6:3-5), but God raised up Gideon who miraculously delivered Israel from these invaders (Judges 6:33-34; 7:12, 22).

Later, King Saul set his armies at Jezreel, while the Philistine armies marched through the valley from the west to meet them (1 Samuel 29:1). Saul’s army retreated to Mount Gilboa where they were defeated and Saul and his sons were killed (1 Samuel 31:1).

And other battles were fought here, both victories and defeats for God’s chosen people. Symbolically, the book of Revelation even refers to Megiddo (Revelation 16:16) in describing God’s great final victory. 

But perhaps more relevant to the spread of the news of Jesus’ miracle was that, the Via Maris, passed through this valley, very near to Nain. Travelers stopping in and near Nain would’ve heard of God “visiting His people” in this place and would spread the news to all the surrounding region.

Perhaps you feel like you are in an insignificant place and time. Don’t be fooled. God can use you to accomplish His good and holy will. Spread His good news to all around you!

The map at the top of this post is a snapshot of a portion of the gameboard for Journeys with Jesus.  Note that, for gameplay purposes, in the game, there’s not a direct connection between Magdala and Nain, although in reality, the Great Trunk Road would be along that path.

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Note: all scripture quotes, unless otherwise noted, are from the World English Bible which is in the public domain. 

Journeys of Jesus: Nazareth to Capernaum

As I’ve said before, it is difficult, if not impossible, to perfectly determine the chronology of events reported in the four different gospel accounts. The beginning of Jesus’ life is easy, and the end of His life is easy, but in between it gets a lot more complicated.

For the past several posts, we have focused on the events reported early in the Gospel of John. Last week those reports took us from Judea, through Samaria, and back into Galilee, the region where Jesus had been raised. This week I’m going to shift my focus over to the synoptic gospels which all focus heavily on Jesus’ ministry in and around Galilee.

I think the second half of Matthew 4 does a good job of setting the stage for this phase of Jesus’ ministry:

Now when Jesus heard that John was delivered up, he withdrew into Galilee. 13 Leaving Nazareth, he came and lived in Capernaum, which is by the sea, in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali, 14 that it might be fulfilled which was spoken through Isaiah the prophet, saying,

15 “The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali,
toward the sea, beyond the Jordan,
Galilee of the Gentiles,
16 the people who sat in darkness saw a great light;
to those who sat in the region and shadow of death,
to them light has dawned.”

17 From that time, Jesus began to preach, and to say, “Repent! For the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.”

18 Walking by the sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers: Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew, his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. 19 He said to them, “Come after me, and I will make you fishers for men.”

20 They immediately left their nets and followed him. 21 Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets. He called them. 22 They immediately left the boat and their father, and followed him.

23 Jesus went about in all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the Good News of the Kingdom, and healing every disease and every sickness among the people. 24 The report about him went out into all Syria. They brought to him all who were sick, afflicted with various diseases and torments, possessed with demons, epileptics, and paralytics; and he healed them. 25 Great multitudes from Galilee, Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea, and from beyond the Jordan followed him.

(Matthew 4:12-25)

We see here four important movements:

  1. Jesus returned to Galilee (presumable to His hometown of Nazareth).
  2. He moved from Nazareth to Capernaum.
  3. He called disciples to follow Him, specifically Simon Peter, Andrew, James, and John.
  4. He went about Galilee, preaching the Gospel, and news of it spread throughout Syria and to Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea, and “beyond the Jordan”.

I won’t spend a lot of time on the return to Galilee. We’ve talked before about Nazareth and Galilee. Nazareth was a fairly insignificant village in the hills of Galilee. God chose it as a safe place for Jesus to grow, become strong in the spirit, be filled with wisdom, and to experience the grace of God (Luke 2:40).

But for the public phase of His ministry, Jesus fulfilled Biblical prophecy (Matthew 4:13-14) by moving to a city that was much better positioned for the light to dawn (Matthew 4:16) upon not only Jesus’ Jewish brothers, but the Gentile world as well (Matthew 4:15). We have talked before about the significance of Capernaum’s location both on the Sea of Galilee and on the Via Maris highway. And so now, Jesus has come to this place, perfectly positioned in time and space, for the gospel to go forth to the known world.

But Jesus not only wants to leave the good news as words to be written down by eyewitnesses, He is also going to establish His church. And so He begins to call the first leaders of that church to their new ministry. In this passage (and in the parallel passage in Mark 1:16-20) Jesus calls Peter, Andrew, James, and John to follow Him. But wait, didn’t we already read about Andrew and Peter and others following Jesus back when Jesus was where John the Baptist was baptizing (John 1:40-42)? It would appear that they had returned to their work as fishermen, but now Jesus went looking for them and called them to leave that work and to begin building His church (becoming fishers for men).

And Jesus began to preach: “Repent! For the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.” From His base in Capernaum, He went all over Galilee teaching, preaching, and healing. And the word spread. The news spread north to Syria. It spread south to Judea. It spread west of Capernaum to all of Galilee. And it spread to the southeast to Decapolis and the region beyond the Jordan. And people came and followed Him.

Have you heard the news? The Kingdom of Heaven has come! Repent and believe and follow Jesus!

The map at the top of this post is a snapshot of a portion of the gameboard for Journeys with Jesus

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Note: all scripture quotes, unless otherwise noted, are from the World English Bible which is in the public domain. 

Journeys of Jesus: Sychar to Cana

In my last post, Jesus and His disciples started in Judea and headed towards Galilee, but they had to pass through Samaria. There Jesus encountered a woman at Jacob’s well, near Sychar. He called her to Himself and spent two days there leading a great revival. 

After the two days he went out from there and went into Galilee.  … Jesus came therefore again to Cana of Galilee, where he made the water into wine. (John 4:43,46a)

This is Jesus’ second visit to Cana. We have already looked at this village, but we haven’t looked very closely at Galilee as a whole. The bulk of Jesus’ ministry, as reported in the synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke), is spent in this region, so today I want to focus on what we know about this part of Israel.

It has always been curious to me that Judea is a prominent area for the Jews, Samaria is not, but then Galilee is again. What is the story here?

In his excellent book, Understanding the Land of the Bible, O. Palmer Robertson describes Galilee almost poetically:

Slopes descending from the mountains of Samaria connect Galilee with the rest of Palestine. Intermittent passes open this northern territory to the flat coastal plains along the Mediterranean that lead to Egypt and the rest of North Africa. Prominent among these passes was the one guarded by the fortress city of Megiddo, always ready to stand against advancing armies. … A second prominent feature of Galilee’s terrain are the broad plains running west to east on a slight diagonal from the Mediterranean to the Jordan River. Broken here and there with mountains, such as Gilboa where Saul fell and Tabor where Deborah assembled her troops, these broad expanses known as Jezreel (or Esdraelon) provided fertile soil for crops to grow and ample space for chariots to maneuver. … Across these plains marched the Assyrian armies of Sennacharib and the Babylonian troops of Nebuchadnezzar. The Medo-Persian, the Greek, the Roman, and the Crusader armies each in their turn trudged over this same soil. … But more significant than all these goings and comings of rising and falling nations was the strategic role of this same Galilee of the Gentiles in the spread of the Gospel of God to all the nations of the world. … Jesus opened his public ministry by deliberately situating himself at Capernaum so he could reach out to touch all nations with his Gospel. At this locale he could preach to all the peoples of the world — not simply the Jews — about the worldwide “kingdom of heaven” that was near (Matt 4:17).

Robertson hints at some of the key history of this region, but let’s dive a little deeper. 

The area known as Galilee largely aligns with the tribal allotments for Asher, Zebulun, and Naphtali. After the conquest, Judges 1 describes the success of each of the tribes in driving out the original gentile inhabitants. The description starts well with Judea in the south, but as it moves north it gets worse. First, we encounter pockets where the Israelites fail and the gentiles continue to live among them (e.g. Judges 1:21), but by the time we get to Asher (Judges 1:32) and Naphtali (Judges 1:33), the script is flipped and the Israelites live among the gentiles.

King Solomon also gave 20 cities to Hiram, the gentile king of Tyre (1 Kings 9:11), although Hiram wasn’t impressed. He called the cities Cabul, or good-for-nothing (1 Kings 9:13).

And thus, from the very beginning, Galilee was “of the gentiles”, as Isaiah described it (Isaiah 9:1, quoted in Matthew 4:15).

But, as Robertson noted, perhaps most significantly, the history of Galilee was shaped by the fact that it was the northern frontier of the promised land. The entry point for all of the invading armies. They were the first conquered and the first carried away captive (2 Kings 15:29). There is no record of these northern tribes ever returning to the land.

As we read last week, a remnant was left in Samaria who intermarried with imported gentiles and intermixed religions, but Galilee was left barren and eventually resettled by various gentile peoples who gradually moved in.

It appears that Jews didn’t return to Galilee until the time of the Hasmonean dynasty, which gained independence when the Seleucid Empire collapsed around 100 BC. The Hasmoneans expanded north out of Judea into Samaria and Galilee. They settled many new cities in the conquered territory, bringing in Jews from the south and perhaps converting many of the gentiles to the Jewish faith. For example, Joseph’s family was clearly from Judea, and Mary at least had cousins in Judea.

And so, by the providence of God, in the fullness of time, God prepared the way for Jesus to preach throughout Galilee of the gentiles, and for the gospel to spread from there to the nations.

The map at the top of this post is a snapshot of a portion of the gameboard for Journeys with Jesus

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Note: all scripture quotes, unless otherwise noted, are from the World English Bible which is in the public domain. 

Journeys of Jesus: Judean Countryside to Sychar

In this week’s post, Jesus spends time in Samaria. If you’ve ever heard a sermon on the woman at the well, then you have undoubtedly heard about the animosity between the Jews and the Samaritans. But I think it’s worth taking a broad look at this region.

But first, let’s start with John’s account of Jesus’ visit:

Therefore when the Lord knew that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John (although Jesus himself didn’t baptize, but his disciples), he left Judea and departed into Galilee. He needed to pass through Samaria. So he came to a city of Samaria, called Sychar, near the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son, Joseph. Jacob’s well was there. Jesus therefore, being tired from his journey, sat down by the well. It was about the sixth hour. A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” For his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food. (John 4:1-8)

Let’s start with geography. The region of Samaria was between Judea in the South and Galilee in the North.  The region largely aligns with the tribal allotments of Ephraim and the half of Manasseh that was west of the Jordan, (the two half tribes of Joseph).

The Jewish historian Josephus describes Samaria this way:

Now as to the country of Samaria, it lies between Judea and Galilee; it begins at a village that is in the great plain called Ginea, and ends at the Acrabbene toparchy, and is entirely of the same nature with Judea; for both countries are made up of hills and valleys, and are moist enough for agriculture, and are very fruitful. They have abundance of trees, and are full of autumnal fruit, both that which grows wild, and that which is the effect of cultivation. They are not naturally watered by many rivers, but derive their chief moisture from rain-water, of which they have no want; and for those rivers which they have, all their waters are exceeding sweet: by reason also of the excellent grass they have, their cattle yield more milk than do those in other places; and, what is the greatest sign of excellency and of abundance, they each of them are very full of people. 

When traveling between Judea and Galilee, most Jews would take one of two routes. Many would take the road along and to the east of the Jordan River in order to avoid Samaria, but the faster route often was along the Patriarch’s Way straight through the heart of Samaria. The Via Maris is a third route, largely along the Mediterranean coast, but this did not pass near Jerusalem, so for most travelers, this would be the longest route. It appears that Jesus often took the Patriarch’s Way, as He did on this journey, and that brought Him and His disciples to Jacob’s Well near the town of Sychar, which brings us to the history of Samaria.

In Genesis 12, we read: Abram took Sarai his wife, Lot his brother’s son, all their possessions that they had gathered, and the people whom they had acquired in Haran, and they went to go into the land of Canaan. They entered into the land of Canaan. Abram passed through the land to the place of Shechem, to the oak of Moreh. At that time, Canaanites were in the land. (Genesis 12:5-6)

So, when Abram first entered the Promised Land, he came to a place called Shechem.  Shechem is very close to the location of the town Sychar in Jesus’ day. God spoke to Abram and made Him a promise: “I will give this land to your offspring.”  In response, Abram built his first altar to God in the land here (Genesis 12:7).

Later, Jacob came to Shechem when he returned to the Promised Land with his wives and his children (Genesis 33:18).  At some point, he must’ve dug the well referenced in John 4. Joseph also passed through Shechem on his fateful journey that ended with him as a slave in Egypt (Genesis 37:13). Centuries later, Joseph’s bones were buried in Shechem (Joshua 24:32). So, this area was prominent in the lives of the Patriarchs.

Shechem was in the valley between Mount Gerizim and Mount Ebal.  Through Moses, God commanded that, when Israel entered the promised land, that half the tribes should stand on one mountain to pronounce the blessings of the law and half on the other to pronounce the curses (Deuteronomy 11:29; 27:11-15). And that they did (Joshua 8:33). Joshua set Shechem apart as one of the cities of refuge (Joshua 20:7). At the end of his life, Joshua gathered all the tribes of Israel to Shechem (Joshua 24:1) where he gave his great “as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” speech (Joshua 24:15) and in response the people made a covenant with Joshua to serve God (Joshua 24:25). 

Much later, after Kings David and Solomon died, Solomon’s son Rehoboam came to Shechem to be made king of Israel (1 Kings 12:1), but there he was confronted by Jeroboam. Rehoboam chose bad counsel, responded poorly, and as a result, 10 of the 12 tribes were torn from his hand, as God had promised (1 Kings 11:31,35) — the kingdom was split in two. The southern kingdom, ruled by David’s descendants was known as Judah and the northern kingdom, ruled by a long line of ungodly kings, starting with Jeroboam, was known as Israel or Ephraim. The first capital of this northern kingdom was Shechem (1 Kings 12:25), but later it moved to a new city called Samaria (1 Kings 16:24,29). From that point on, Shechem became unimportant. In time the name Samaria at times was used to describe the northern kingdom.

Jeroboam feared that the people would return to Rehoboam when they went to Jerusalem to worship God, so he set up false gods for worship, one in Bethel (a little south of Shechem) and one in the far north in Dan  (1 Kings 12:28-29). He chose his own priests and his own worship rituals, not as God had revealed through Moses. This began the false worship that the woman at the well identified as separating the Samaritans from the Jews. “Our fathers worshiped in this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship.” (John 4:20)

In time, God brought judgment on the northern kingdom. Most of the people were carried away by the Assyrians, but some were left. They also brought in people from the other nations they had captured (2 Kings 17:24). The people intermarried and they mixed the worship of God with worship of the false gods of these other nations (2 Kings 17:41). 

Later, God also punished the unfaithfulness of the southern kingdom and the Jews of Judah were carried away by Nebuchadnezzar to Babylon. But later after Persia conquered Babylon, Cyrus sent Jews back to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple (Ezra 1:1-3).  The Samaritans tried to join with them (Ezra 4:1-2), but the Jewish leaders would not allow them to pollute the pure worship of God, and so the Samaritans did all they could to stop the restoration of the pure worship of God in Jerusalem (Ezra 4:4-5).

It is this enmity that caused the woman at the well to be astonished that Jesus would speak with her (John 4:9). 

But Jesus quickly focused the discussion on what really matters — not the physical state of things, but rather the spiritual.

Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” … Jesus answered her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never thirst again; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.” (John 4:10,13-14)

The woman saw her sin, knew her need for a Savior, believed in Christ, and told her neighbors. Jesus led a great revival in that place.

From that city many of the Samaritans believed in him because of the word of the woman, who testified, “He told me everything that I did.” 40 So when the Samaritans came to him, they begged him to stay with them. He stayed there two days. 41 Many more believed because of his word. 42 They said to the woman, “Now we believe, not because of your speaking; for we have heard for ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world.” (John 4:39-42)

The apostle Paul would later explain how, in Christ, the walls of this world that formerly separated us have been demolished when we trust in Christ and are reconciled by Him.

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (Galatians 3:28)

Hallelujah! Praise God!

The map at the top of this post is a snapshot of a portion of the gameboard for Journeys with Jesus

If you’ve found this interesting and would like to continue to read these stories of the journeys and places in Journeys with Jesus, sign up in the sidebar to receive updates.

Note: all scripture quotes, unless otherwise noted, are from the World English Bible which is in the public domain. 

4+ Hours Left in Journeys with Jesus Crowdsale

There are less than 5 hours left in the crowdsale for Journeys with Jesus. We have reached the second tier of discounts, and with just 7 more sales we will reach the third tier – 10% off list price.

In a crowdsale, everyone who buys during the sale, whether the first or the last one in gets the discount calculated based on the number of orders. So, if you’ve already placed your order – let your friends know they still have a little time to get in on the deal. If you haven’t yet ordered, don’t miss your chance to save!

Thanks for everyone’s support and encouragement!

Here’s the link to the crowdsale:

SDG Games’ Distribution Strategy

About a month ago, I wrote about the Revenue Model for SDG Games. At that time, we identified that there were two models that were most attractive, one that we would pursue near-term (Markup) and one that we would like to pursue longer-term (Licensing). As we get closer to building out the full operating model for the business, I think it’s important that we dive another level deeper into the Markup model.

Like many others, the nature of the board game industry has been radically transformed over the past 20 years. 

People have been playing board games since well before the time of Christ. An early form of backgammon was popular across the Roman Empire. The game of Go was invented in China around 400 BC and a form of the game Snakes and Ladders was invented in India around 200 BC. Versions of games similar to Chess are found in Scandinavia, India, and Persia around 500–600 AD. Naturally, prior to the industrial revolution, all of these games were handmade, one by one.¹

The industrial revolution, especially advances in paper making and the printing of products, created the board game industry. As work and home life became distinct, the market for leisure activities, including gaming, also grew. In the early 1800s, most boardgames focused on teaching Christian principles and morals, with best-sellers including The Mansion of Happiness and The Checkerboard Game of Life². By the end of the century, the focus of many games had shifted to materialism and accumulating wealth. 

Throughout the modern history of the board game industry, small innovators have created games that captured the world’s attention. Examples include Milton Bradley (The Game of Life) in the mid-1800s, McLoughlin Brothers (District Messenger Boy) in the late-1800s, Parker Brothers (Monopoly, Risk) in the early 1900s, and Selchow and Righter (Scrabble) in the mid 1900s. However, in the 1980s, Hasbro began consolidating the board game industry, buying all the companies previously listed in this paragraph. Hasbro now has an estimated 80% share of the board game market³.

During that same period, the retail industry radically changed, with the growth of big box retailers including Toys-R-Us and WalMart driving many small, independent toy and game stores out of business. Independent game publishers have had a much harder time competing with Hasbro for limited shelf space in the games sections of the big box retailers, tightening Hasbro’s lock on the industry, and making it harder for gamers and their families to discover new titles.

The Internet has started to change that, impacting discovery, manufacturing, and marketing. The BoardGameGeek website was launched in 2000 and today includes a database of over 120,000 board games and a marketplace for gamers to buy and sell board games. The Internet also made it much easier for game developers to find and connect with low cost manufacturers around the world (most notably in China). The Internet also connected creators to on-demand production capabilities including high quality printers and 3D printing. The Kickstarter website and business was launched in 2009 as a platform to help creators find backers for their creative projects. 

The end result is that today most new games take one of three paths to market:

Licensing: A game designer can license their game to an established game publisher which has existing manufacturing and distribution capabilities. For example, some retailers will only consider new games from publishers with whom they already have a relationship.

Self-Publishing/Crowdfunding: A game designer can decide to try to go it on their own. They can run a Kickstarter campaign to get enough pre-orders to fund an initial manufacturing run, find a Chinese manufacturer to produce the game at low cost, ship and warehouse the produced games, and convince distributors and retailers to carry the game.

Self-Publishing/Print-On-Demand: A game designer can take a lower risk path to going it alone by using a Print-On-Demand service like The Game Crafter (TGC). TGC provides a storefront through which customers can buy your game. No inventory is maintained. When an order is received, it goes into the production queue. It get’s printed, packed, and shipped directly from TGC to the customer.

Of these three approaches, the Crowdfunding path requires the most work and involves the most risk, but results in the highest profits for each game sold. However, you need to make sure you sell enough to cover the cost of all the games you manufacture.

Licensing requires the least work, but you lose all control over your game. You don’t know how it will be marketed (or even if it will be). One game publisher shared that they typically pay 7–10% royalties on Gross Sales Revenue (the amount they are paid by a distributor, which is often 40% of the retail price). If your game is marketing by a major publisher, it likely will have much higher total unit sales than if you go it alone.

The Print-On-Demand (POD) approach requires some up-front work to create the attractive digital files uploaded to the printer, and some level of self-marketing, but very little work managing the manufacturing, sales, and distribution. However, this approach likely results in the lowest sales volumes and lowest profits. The cost of manufacturing with POD is probably 4–5x that of having the game manufactured in China. That means that the cost of production makes distribution through traditional brick-and-mortar and online retail channels economically unviable.

The SDG Games Distribution Strategy

Given that SDG is a one-person organization across consulting/coaching and game design, for now the Crowdfunding approach is not realistic. That greatly simplifies our distribution strategy. 

Optimally, one of our games will be attractive to a publisher. For that to be true, we likely will have to be successful in our initial independent marketing efforts. For now, we will focus on the POD model using The Game Crafter. We will market via social media, our website, and our e-mail newsletter. We will sell through The Game Crafter store, and sales will be fulfilled by The Game Crafter.

If/when we have enough success through POD with any of our games to prove market demand, we can begin approaching existing publishers about licensing. If we are successful licensing one or more games, then the publisher will take full responsibility for all aspects of game production and distribution.

Most startups will need a much more sophisticated distribution strategy, dealing with acquisition marketing, retention marketing, distribution, sales, and customer support. Let me know if I can be of any assistance in helping you develop your distribution strategy!


¹The information on the ancient history of board games largely comes from “The Complete History of Board Games” by Byron at Geek Gear Galore

²Some of the information on games in the industrial revolution comes from “Board Game History: The Birth of the Modern Board Game” by Shannon Appelcline at Mechanics and Meeples

³Some of the information on industry consolidation comes from “Hasbro: The Creature that Ate the (Gaming) World” by Shannon Appelcline at Mechanics and Meeples

Journeys of Jesus: Jerusalem to the Judean Countryside

For the past several posts, we’ve been following Jesus’ journeys through John’s gospel account.

The synoptic gospels all report on Jesus’ baptism and His temptation in the wilderness and then Matthew and Mark transition to the next phase by telling us that, after John the Baptist was arrested, Jesus returned to Galilee and began His ministry there. (Matthew 4:12, Mark 1:14).

Today, the account in John continues and makes the point that the baptizer hadn’t yet been arrested, so these journeys are in the time period between the temptation and Christ’s Galilean ministry reported in the other gospels.

After these things, Jesus came with his disciples into the land of Judea. He stayed there with them and baptized. 23 John also was baptizing in Enon near Salim, because there was much water there. They came, and were baptized; 24 for John was not yet thrown into prison. (John 3:22-24)

This is another case where God has chosen not to reveal to us exactly where Jesus went in Judea to perform these baptisms.

He does tell us where John was baptizing at the same time (Enon near Salim). Archeologists and scholars haven’t definitively identified these places, but even if they did, the text does not indicate whether Jesus was baptizing near John or not, only that John’s disciples had heard that Jesus was baptizing and that it was “hurting business” – that people were going to Jesus to be baptized instead of John.

All that we know is that Jesus had left Jerusalem and gone with His disciples somewhere in Judea and that, from there they would later head north towards Galilee and pass near Sychar. When I put together the map for the Journeys with Jesus game, I picked a spot and called it “Countryside” to represent an endpoint for this journey, but I made clear in the game rules that we don’t really know where it is.

What we do know from this passage is much more important than any geographic location. John the Baptist responds to his disciples’ concerns with a powerful testimony of Christ:

John answered, “A man can receive nothing unless it has been given him from heaven. 28 You yourselves testify that I said, ‘I am not the Christ,’ but, ‘I have been sent before him.’ 29 He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice. This, my joy, therefore is made full. 30 He must increase, but I must decrease. 31 He who comes from above is above all. He who is from the earth belongs to the earth and speaks of the earth. He who comes from heaven is above all. 32 What he has seen and heard, of that he testifies; and no one receives his witness. 33 He who has received his witness has set his seal to this, that God is true. 34 For he whom God has sent speaks the words of God; for God gives the Spirit without measure. 35 The Father loves the Son, and has given all things into his hand. 36 One who believes in the Son has eternal life, but one who disobeys the Son won’t see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.” (John 3:27-36)

Do you believe in the Son? If so, you have eternal life! That is what we really need to know.

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The map at the top of this post is a snapshot of a portion of the gameboard for Journeys with Jesus

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Note: all scripture quotes, unless otherwise noted, are from the World English Bible which is in the public domain.