James Ernest

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James Ernest is an American game designer and juggler.


James Ernest is best known as the owner and lead designer of Cheapass Games.[1] Prior to founding Cheapass, he worked as a juggler at various venues,[2] including Camlann Medieval Village,[3] and as a freelancer with Wizards of the Coast.[2] He also worked for Carbonated Games.[4] He has also created games for other publishers including Rio Grande Games and WizKids.[5] In 2005, Paizo Publishing created Titanic Games with Ernest and Mike Selinker.[6]

Ernest's games include Unexploded Cow,[7] Kill Doctor Lucky, The Big Idea and the game originally known as Before I Kill You, Mr. Bond (that game was eventually renamed after complaints from the owners of the Bond franchise). He has had success with Kickstarter, successfully crowdfunding games like a new version of Unexploded Cow and Get Lucky (which takes the concept and core mechanics of Kill Doctor Lucky and adapts it as a card game), among others.

Ernest wrote, produced, directed, edited, and created music for the short film The Man Between (2003)[8] and wrote the book Dealer's Choice: The Complete Handbook of Saturday Night Poker. His first publication was the book Contact Juggling in 1990.


  1. ^ Eric Searleman (March 1, 2001). "Are You Game for Cheap Fun?". The Arizona Republic. p. 36. 
  2. ^ a b "Interview: James Ernest". The Gaming Outpost. Retrieved February 8, 2011. 
  3. ^ "Contact Juggling". The Seattle Times. July 18, 1994. p. B3. 
  4. ^ "Off the Grid interviews Cheapass Games' James Ernest". Off the Grid. Retrieved February 8, 2011. 
  5. ^ James Ernest (2007). "RoboRally". In James Lowder. Hobby Games: The 100 Best. Green Ronin Publishing. pp. 258–260. ISBN 978-1-932442-96-0. 
  6. ^ Shannon Appelcline (2011). Designers & Dragons. Mongoose Publishing. p. 415. ISBN 978-1-907702-58-7. 
  7. ^ "Unexploded Cow". 
  8. ^ "IMDB Page for The Man Between (2003)".