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Card Price Quotes

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Anonymous

Could some of the old hands contribute some of the quotes they've gotten on custom card decks? I've checked most or all of the web resource card producers that print custom decks, but none of them have prices at all. I'd love to know what to expect for a 100 deck, 500 deck, 1000 deck run; Color, B/W, etc.; with or without box.

Of course, no one here should use the information to try and get a good deal with the company or anything of that nature.

Yekrats
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It really varies!...

Depending on what you want, the price really can fluxuate:

- How many decks are you ordering?
- How many cards are in a deck?
- What thickness of cardstock?
- How many colors & what printing process?
- Do you want the cards clear-coated?
- Do you want the corners trimmed?
- What kind of box do you want?

My best suggestion would be to go ahead and get a quote. Sure, it's scary the first time! ;-) But once you do, you'll have a better idea about your project. They are the only ones that can give you a ballpark estimate. Don't worry, there's no obligation to buy if get a quote.

I used Delano Service out of Michigan, who seemed to be really customer-service friendly for newbies. They didn't seem to mind me pestering them endlessly by phone about my project, either.

Yekrats
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Re: Card Price Quotes

great_undoing wrote:
Could some of the old hands contribute some of the quotes they've gotten on custom card decks? I've checked most or all of the web resource card producers that print custom decks, but none of them have prices at all. I'd love to know what to expect for a 100 deck, 500 deck, 1000 deck run; Color, B/W, etc.; with or without box.

Of course, no one here should use the information to try and get a good deal with the company or anything of that nature.

I realize I totally avoided your question completely! Sorry about that. I was just a little hesitant to tell you exactly what sort of deal I got, especially on a public forum, because someone might go to Delano and say, "Well Starkey got ____; why aren't we getting that deal?" (I'm not saying I got a cheap deal through Delano, however! :) )

So, the bottom line. Get a couple of quotes, just for the fun of it.

-- Scott S.

Anonymous
Card Price Quotes

Yekrats is correct. You need answers to all of his questions to get a decent quote.

It really depends on all the specs as to what price ou will get. What is the card size? Do you have flexability on the total # of cards. Most presses and finishing equipment will max out at a 28X40 sheet size, which is great for 2-up of a standard 56 card deck. Slightly smaller cards ( 2.25 X 3.5 ) will yield more per sheet. You want to keep your game on as few press forms as possible to keep film and set up costs down. Do they have common backs?

Delano does very nice work. They are a bit pricey though. Have you pusued any quotes?

Gamemaker

Oracle
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Card Price Quotes

gamemaker wrote:
Yekrats is correct. You need answers to all of his questions to get a decent quote.

My answers to the questions depend on knowing all the price info up front. Of course, the number of cards is flexible, but it's a lot easier to vary it when I'm starting the design, long before I'm ready to contact a printer.

For card quality, what's the price of bicycle quality cards vs magic cards?

Before I'm ready to buy, I want to know all the options. Maybe I can get much better quality for an extra 5 cents/deck. Maybe I can get an extra 20 cards/deck for free because of the way the sheets divide. If I can't use them in-game, I'm sure people would appreciate the blank cards to make their own customized cards.

They must have some standardized pricing structure, why do they force their customers to act on partial information?

Jason

Caparica
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Card Price Quotes

Oracle wrote:
They must have some standardized pricing structure, why do they force their customers to act on partial information?
Jason

Sometimes the only way is to do it in person, try to get a metting. Getting something in writing or even at an email may be hard, but if you talk to them, is a lot easier to get the information.

Oracle
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Card Price Quotes

caparica wrote:
Sometimes the only way is to do it in person, try to get a metting. Getting something in writing or even at an email may be hard, but if you talk to them, is a lot easier to get the information.

I know that you're right about that. What I'm saying is it shouldn't be that way. I'm the customer looking spend a fairly large amount of money; why should I have to bend over backwards to accomodate them?

It also feels very sleazy; why would they keep their fees a big secret unless they charge everyone a different price?

I'm hoping that I'll need to print a card game in a few month, I'm putting my first prototype together for playtesting right now. I'm also semi-seriously looking for a printing company (it's too early to pick one now, but knowing what options are available could affect my design decisions to make production easier. If I can find one that lists all their prices upfront I would almost certainly use them (but of course I can't find any like that).

Jason

hpox
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Card Price Quotes

Oracle wrote:

It also feels very sleazy; why would they keep their fees a big secret unless they charge everyone a different price?

DING!

Don't know anything about this, but that would be my best guess.

Yekrats
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Card Price Quotes

Oracle wrote:

I'm hoping that I'll need to print a card game in a few month, I'm putting my first prototype together for playtesting right now. I'm also semi-seriously looking for a printing company (it's too early to pick one now, but knowing what options are available could affect my design decisions to make production easier. If I can find one that lists all their prices upfront I would almost certainly use them (but of course I can't find any like that).
Jason

Well, my best advice would be to try to get quotes from the various printers and then use those as part of your evaluation. I doubt you will find any printer that will give you up-front prices. Prices are variable, I think, because the market for paper, ink, etc. fluctuate on occasion.

Having gone through the process myself recently... If/when you come to the point where you're looking into serious publishing, I'd be happy to help you, gratis. I'm not sure how valuable my advice would be, but I've gone through the madness of self-publishing, and I know a few other small publishers "in the biz" that might help you too.

Best of luck!
-- Scott S.

Oracle
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Card Price Quotes

Yekrats wrote:
I'd be happy to help you, gratis. I'm not sure how valuable my advice would be, but I've gone through the madness of self-publishing, and I know a few other small publishers "in the biz" that might help you too.

Thanks for you offer. One thing that could help right away is to find of if my thinking is in the right ballpark.

I'll looking at having about 40 cards that should be higher quality (like magic cards) and 120 than can be very low quality (20 each of 6 different low quality cards).

For the set of 40, I'd want to get about 100 sets to start with and it would have to cost under $2/deck because there are a lot more components and the whole game will have to retail for under $20. Is this a reasonable expectation (100 decks of 40 for under $2 each)?

For the low quality cards, I can go with business cards, but it's about $40/1000 cards for 2 colour business cards. At 120 card that will be $4.80, which is high enough to make the whole project impractical. Would it be possible to get this done a lot cheaper from a game printer? Cheapass style cards would be perfect.

FastLearner
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Card Price Quotes

Many, many service providers sell their services for different prices to different people. There are a variety of reasons, the most common of which is cash flow: if they're not at all busy then they'll give you a good price to get some business in the door, and if they're busy then they'll charge you more to help pay for overtime, etc.

On the low-quality cards: You should definitely be able to get business card-sized printing for less than that. The key is to use a quick-print place, preferably not one of the chains. 40 different business-sized cards would be 10 cards per 8.5x11 page, so it's really 4 pages you're printing (at a quick printer). You need some kind of color on the back (even if it's just blank) I'd think, so if you want 2 color on the front then you're looking for 2/1 printing (that's "two over one"). One question the printer is going to have is about registration on the 2-color side. That refers to how close the two colors come to each other. If they don't touch at all it will often be less expensive, whereas if they totally intermingle (like in a duotone image) it will be more expensive because they'll need to print it on a multi-color press.

If you have any friends in the graphic design community it's usually best to have them set it up for you (even if they don't do the design) because they'll (a) know what to ask for and (b) get a trade discount, some of which they can pass onto you.

sedjtroll
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Card Price Quotes

Oracle: for the 120 "cheapass" cards, we could just use colored paper (half decent stock) and print in Black ink. Any Kinkos could do that pretty cheap I would think, especially if you want 400 of each sheet.

I have no idea about the higher quality cards. I guess we'll need to turn to the expertise of the group for that.

My sister is a graphic designer, maybe she can offer some information. Fastlearner is in graphic design as well, so we should listen to anything he has to say as I'm sure he knows more about all this than I do.

Oracle
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Card Price Quotes

The cheapass style cards have that gloss back and matte front that makes them feel quite a bit nicer than just plain cardstock, and they see a fair bit heavier than cardstock I've been using to build my prototype.

Somehow, printing at Kinkos seems to have a home made feel just like my prototype. The cheapass cards feel professionally (but cheaply) made.

I can buy the inkjet business cards for about 20 cents/sheet. That workes out to 2 cents/card + ink. I doubt I can get a printshop to do it for less than that. For 120 cards, that's already $2.40 without the higher quality cards and boards. If my retail price point is under $15, that's already too much.

My prototype uses 1/4th of a 4x6 index card for the shares and 1/2 for the nicer cards. At 1 cent/index card, that's $0.30 for the shares and $0.20 for the contract cards + ink. Even at the 100% coverage I'm using, with my refilled ink cartridge, so it should be under $1 for a complete set of cards. The downside is it's a huge amout of work to hand cut-out 160 cards, and it will definately have a home-made feel to it.

I guess my ideal goal is to have a cheap-ass quality game (so it does feel professionally made), and at a cheapass price-point....with a production run of under 500 copies; preferably 100 to start.

Jason

Jason

Anonymous
Card Price Quotes

This thread seems to have run out of steam a while back, however consider this...

The comments concerning pricing and asking for quotes seem, to me, to be accurate. Printers don't advertise their prices because each order is unique. It is important to research the business and then send out quotes to several printers to get the best deal. Ideally you would want to work with a printer that specializes in cards, but any printer might do. Some pointers that are applied to book publishers also apply here, when you submit a bid (in book publishing this is called a RFQ - Request for Quotation) keep in mind a few tips:

- submit the bid on your letterhead.
- outline the specifics of your bid (here's where the research pays off)
- paper stock?
- cut?
- card count?
- color(s)
- how large of a print run? (the larger the print run, the lower the price obviously)
- how do they want the material submitted? Camera ready? e-copy from an application (ie Word, Pagemaker, Illustrator, etc.)? e-copy in portable format (PDF).
- what proofs will you require?
- how do they handle overruns?
- charges for shipping?
- what terms do you need? Payment in full, 30 dyas, etc.

These are just some suggestions. Like I said I got these from the bids sent for book publishers but they should apply equally here.

Does it work? Don't know yet - I'm still in the prototype stage so I'm not yet ready to go to print.

Does anybody know of dedicated card printers? Can someone provide a list of these? Having this as a resource makes it easier to research and allow you to separate the wheat from the chaff and submit bids to people you know will do the job.

Geoff
Tangent Games

tjgames
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Card Price Quotes

Quote:
Does anybody know of dedicated card printers? Can someone provide a list of these? Having this as a resource makes it easier to research and allow you to separate the wheat from the chaff and submit bids to people you know will do the job.

Here are a few
http://www.usplayingcard.com/
http://www.paragonpackaging.com/
http://www.delanoservice.com/
http://www.yaquinto.com/

slam
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Card Price Quotes

In my experience, no "real" card publisher will publish 100 decks. Minimums are usually 5,000 decks. If anyone knows differently, please tell me.

I'm looking into self-publishing a small-run game with cards, and I think I'll have to resort to getting the cards individually done at a business card place, then self-assembling the decks, as was suggested earlier on this thread.

Oracle
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Card Price Quotes

paleogeoff wrote:
Printers don't advertise their prices because each order is unique. It is important to research the business and then send out quotes to several printers to get the best deal.

As far as I'm concerned this is exactly the problem. I can't prepare a request for quote because everything in my request would depend how it affects the price.

For example, what if I don't know that a standard sheet size is 55 and I submit a request for a 56 card deck? I might end up with a quote for double the price I'd have to pay if I eliminate 1 card because now I've gone onto a second sheet.

In practice, my answer to nearly every question on list is "It depends on the price". For card quality, if bicycle quality cards are a few cents more than magic quality, I'll take bicycle quality, if they're 5 times the price, I'll take magic. For print run size, where are the price breaks? It might be cheaper to take 6000 decks than 5000 if there's a price break in there. Proofs...depends on price, can they give me a complete, ready to use prototype for $5? or $50? or is that not available and a PDF file is $500? For colors, how much more is full color than 1, 2 or 3 color? Again, it might be a few cents or it might be several times the price.

Presumably, I'm looking to spend at least $10,000 (5,000 decks * $2/deck), and they force me to jump through their hoops.

As you say, I should have all the answers ready when I submit a RFQ, so if I ask lots of questions like the ones above, I will look unprofessional and they won't take me seriously; even though I am the customer.

Basically, I will design my bid around their pricing structure except that they don't tell me their structure. This guarantees I will make some wrong choices and get ripped off...and the kicker is that they do this on purpose by design.

In the summer, I ordered some custom t-shirts to sell on my website. I visited the sites several printing companies to get information, and they all provide complete details. There's several t-shirt brands and qualities to choose from, extra fees for certain shirt colors. Each ink color requires another silk screen, so there's a flat-rate fee to create the screen and a per-shirt fee for each color. The price is higher if the print area is larger than a certain size, and there's an extra fee for each place on the shirt you have print. Of course there are also price breaks depending on how many shirts you order.

Every site I visited disclosed all this information up front. They all had complete pricing information, and some even had forms to calculate the total as you change various attributes of your order. Without the detailed pricing information, it would have been impossible for me to put together an order.

Jason

Yekrats
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Minimum print runs...

slam wrote:
In my experience, no "real" card publisher will publish 100 decks. Minimums are usually 5,000 decks. If anyone knows differently, please tell me.

I'm looking into self-publishing a small-run game with cards, and I think I'll have to resort to getting the cards individually done at a business card place, then self-assembling the decks, as was suggested earlier on this thread.

With my recent game, I ran a print run of 1100 decks at Delano Service. (http://www.delanoservice.com) When I was inquiring with them, they said they would go as low as 500 as a minimum print run. (However, the price is pretty steep for print runs of that quantity. There's also a couple of others out there that will do minimum print runs of 1000 (+10%) I think FRV Group (frvgroup.com) had small enough print runs that I was considering them, too. Maybe, also Quebecor out of Quebec might be a possibility, but I haven't had any direct experience with them. I think there's a few more that I can't recall right off the top of my head.

Hope this helps. If you have any other questions about it, please let me know...

-- Scott S.

FastLearner
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Card Price Quotes

As a long-time print buyer let me suggest the following:

  • Ask for everything you want. If you want to know what it will cost at 5,000, 10,000 and 20,000 then ask for all three. If you want to see how it's priced on Bicycle-quality paper and lower-quality paper then ask for both. They will give you a quote on what you ask for.
  • When you create your RFQ don't fill in the printer's name or address (or any other personal information about the printer). Print out the RFQ and hand-fill-in the info about the printer, then fax it to them. Even though you may only be submitting your RFQ to one printer, doing it this way will indicate that you are shopping around and so they should price accordingly.
  • When you get the quote back examine the numbers. You will see the kinds of things you are talking about, like a substantial difference between a 50-card deck and a 65-card deck. Once you have the quote in hand you can contact the printer and ask "What's the cutoff there? When am I adding another press sheet or die cut?" For example.
Yes, this is a pain but it's how most RFQ systems work, printing including. If you have any questions about printing terminology please feel free to ask. I won't be able to answer every one of them as I've never had cards printed, but I can certainly answer most of them.

-- Matthew

[/]
Anonymous
Card Price Quotes

TJGames - Thanks for the links. Have you worked with any of these comanies yourself? I saw you have your own card game on the market so I was just curious.

Geoff

Anonymous
Card Price Quotes

FastLearner wrote:
Ask for everything you want. If you want to know what it will cost at 5,000, 10,000 and 20,000 then ask for all three. If you want to see how it's priced on Bicycle-quality paper and lower-quality paper then ask for both. They will give you a quote on what you ask for.

FastLearner has a good point. Ask for what you want to see as the final product and then get the printer to tell you how the price will break down. Once you get one quote you can then refine your other quotes and be able to be more specific in your future dealings with printers.

Is the system of not disclosing prices upfront the right thing to do - probably not, but it is how printers play the game. If you don't want to go through a full RFQ call (or e-mail) a printer with the basics. In my experience with other printers (t-shirts) they will help you through the process and explain everything to you, if they want your business and value you as a customer. If they don't give you the help you want or need, you probably want to avoid working with that printer.

Just my two pence.
Geoff

tjgames
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Card Price Quotes

Quote:
TJGames - Thanks for the links. Have you worked with any of these comanies yourself? I saw you have your own card game on the market so I was just curious.

Alpha Playing Cards were printed at Delano Services. I found they were very helpful in the process. I see by Yekrats post that they now do smaller runs then when I had my cards printed. At the time I had my done 5000 was the min. Was I happy with the final product and would I recommend Delano? Yes. Will I use them for the next run? Maybe, because I will definitly shop around for the best quality for the best price again. And since I am a little smarter in asking what I want it would be to my advantage. Fast has good advice, "Ask for everything you want and more" I added the more. I think you should ask for a price for less then you want printed and a price for more then you plan to also. I asked for prices of 5000, 10000, 50000 even though I only wanted 5000. It doesn't hurt to ask and the more info you have the better your decision will be. I have noticied that a lot of the printers are now willing to make smaller runs at a good price which I think is really great. When I was getting ready to print Alpha I did talk to all 4 of the printers I listed and a few more. The only other thing I would add is ask for samples of their work when talking to printer. Most of them have some samples.

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