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Anonymous

I was wondering once you get past a prototype of your game and you want a board that isn't made out of cardboard or paper or another board game, how do you get a board?

If anybody can help me by answering the following questions, I would appreciate it:

1. Where can I get a board made?
2. How much would it cost?

Thanks in advanced.

prophx
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Joined: 08/13/2008
Board

When I get a game to that point I run over to my local Goodwill and buy a used board game for fifty cents. They always have a wide variety to choose from. I glue my board which is printed either on standard paper or a plotter over the existing board. It looks very profesional when done. I also spraypaint the box and apply my own design on both sides. You can see what I mean on my website and looking at the Lockhaven pictures. It really saves you time and money doing it that way initially, plus for final playtesting the players take your game alot more seriously when you pull out a box and the game is on a foldable thick board.

http://www.geocities.com/crosstowngames/

prophx

Anonymous
Game boards

I get the impression you are past the proto stage.

As far as the cost...depends on the quantity.

The following should be able to help you.

In the Midwest, try:

Ira L Henry Co
802 Elm St, Watertown, WI 53098
Phone: (920) 261-0648
Contact: Gregg Farago

On the East coast rty:

Napco
PO Box 1029
535 Napco Rd
Sparta, NC 28675
Phone: 336-372-5228
Fax: 336-372-8890
www.napcousa.com
( check out the link )

Hope this helps ya.

Dralius
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Game Boards

what form will the board graphics need to take. Will we be required to supply it in some special format or do we just bring it in and they will do the rest.

Is there a standard?

FastLearner
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Game Boards

I just spotted a place that sells blank game boards that -- based on a link from another site -- seem to be A3 sized. I can't quite understand how the edges are finished, though, and the backs are... decorative. Still it's a possible option and the prices are excellent (50 boards for 2.50 Euros... shipping might hurt though).

In German:

Visit http://www.flyinggames.de/

Click on "Blankomaterial"

Translated via Google into English:

Visit http://216.239.37.104/translate_c?hl=en&u=http://www.flyinggames.de/

Click on "In Blank Material"

jwarrend
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Game Boards

FastLearner wrote:
I just spotted a place that sells blank game boards that -- based on a link from another site -- seem to be A3 sized. I can't quite understand how the edges are finished, though, and the backs are... decorative. Still it's a possible option and the prices are excellent (50 boards for 2.50 Euros... shipping might hurt though).

This can't be right...it must be playing cards that they're talking about. (Isn't "Karten" cards?) Just think about it; what would be more likely to come in quantities of 50 -- cards or boards? And how could they afford to give away game boards for 5 Euros each?

BTW, does anyone know if there are "standard" game board sizes and configurations (number of folds)? Or is every game done custom?

Thanks,

Jeff

FastLearner
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Game Boards

The Googled text above it says:

Already once even a play considers to develop?
Perhaps a pack of cards?
Where is one to get however the maps?

The link to this (from the SAZ site) says the blank boards are A3 size.

It does seem unlikely, though. Hmm.

jwarrend
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Game Boards

Yeah, "t-text" translated Karten as either Cards or Maps. Not sure which is right, or what "Board" would be in German...

FastLearner wrote:

The link to this (from the SAZ site) says the blank boards are A3 size.

Qu'est-que c'est "SAZ"?

FastLearner
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Game Boards

"Board" in German is usually "Brett," so I guess they must be cards. Weird, though. Ok, so there's a source of blank cards. :)

SAZ is the SpieleAutorenZunft, the German-based Game Designer Association. Their site can be found at http://www.spieleautorenseite.de/ (click on the little British flag for English, obviously). Its chairman is Alan R. Moon, its Deputy Chairwoman is Andrea Meyer, its Treasurer is Anja Wrede, and its Advisory Councillors are Bruno Faidutti, Friedemann Friese, Peter Lewe, and Stefanie Rohner (just to give you a sense of its general esteem). It seems to be the game designer's association for German-style gaming. It costs 60 euros a year to join and you must have a published design to be anything but a supporting member.

It's an interesting organization. With some good links.

Anonymous
Game Boards

I simply cannot believe how hard it is to have a game board printed! Any citizen of the world can set up a website that sells custom printed lunchboxes and thongs, but it seems as if NO ONE can get a short-run of game boards.

I designed what I think is a great game during the electoral debacle of 2000, and it has been playtested hundreds of times in the past three years. With the '04 campaigns heating up, I have rekindled efforts to produce the game on a more professional scale, but no luck. Currently, we print the cards on blank business cards, create the board on foam board. All I want to be able to do is make maybe 100 games to see how it plays outside of my living room.

Dralius
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Game Boards

Hey electionman sounds like what you need is play testers more that game boards. If you game is as least as nice as cheap-ass games are i imagine they would play it for free. I have play tested games that were just done with a laser printer.
Seems to me your intended market is adult so i suggest checking around local colleges and game shops to find different groups that fit the bill. Most people are willing to try something new just for the novelty of it. Once you are sure than it will be worth it and that no changes need be made you can get out the check book and have 100+ boards/sets made.

Oracle
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Game Boards

Dralius wrote:
Once you are sure than it will be worth it and that no changes need be made you can get out the check book and have 100+ boards/sets made.

It sounds like electionman is willing to have 100 boards/sets made right now, but he's looking at minimum print runs of closer to 2000 games.

There was a thread recently on pooling resources to reduce production costs, that mentioned for a card game, a minimum print run is 2000 sets at $1.45/deck (for up to 50 cards).

I find that very discouraging because I can't see myself doing an initial run of more than 100 copies for any game.

Jason

Anonymous
Game Boards

It makes no sense that there is a 2000 minimum. Printing a board cannot be that hard! Someday (soon I hope) a company will begin offering short run prints of game boards. Right now there are inefficient companies with a monopoly on game board production. I can get as few as 100 vinyl records made, but 2000 minimum game boards? That makes ZERO sense.

jwarrend
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Game Boards

I could be quite wrong, but my strong suspicion is that you could almost certainly find someone who would make 100 game boards or 100 decks of cards. I have communicated with MJS creations (they're on this board as BoardGameDesign), and I got the sense that they would do a small print run. The kicker is that you are going to pay an absurd per game cost such that you'd never be able to make money selling the thing.

I think the problem is first, that the demand for small print runs is probably pretty low. But as more of us start making games, maybe that will change! But more importantly, I'm pretty sure that the technology used to print boards and cards and such has inherent setup costs associated with it such that you have to get to big runs just to begin covering the costs of printing. I know relatively little about this, but my impression is that there is a digital printing technology now that doesn't have these same setup costs because it uses a different printing process. I don't know whether this technology can be extended to boards and cards, but I've heard it's made RPGs much cheaper to print, for example.

Perhaps one of the industry insiders can tell us a bit more about how the printing process actually works, and where the costs are coming from. Also, whether new technologies are on the horizon that could get those costs down. I'm sure someone who would do print runs of 100 decks or 100 boards would be quite popular among this community! But it might be a few years before that is commonplace...

Anonymous
Game Boards

I have a background in the music industry, so I know all about size of run and its impact on price. For example, you can get 500 vinyl LPs made for about $1200, or 100 for $750... Or 1000 for maybe $1500. Full color record jackets cost maybe $1 to make at the 1000 level. Now let's think about it: How can it be possible that making a game board is more expensive or harder to do than a VINYL RECORD?? That's like comparing a cup to a blender. Furthermore, exactly how much more difficult can it be to print a vinyl record jacket than a game board? They're second or third cousins in the evolutionary chart of paper products.

The difference, as I see it, is that there are a LOT more people out there making CDs and even vinyl records, and thus there is more competition between companies for their business, AND the companies are better run because the industry attracts better people on the production end. The actual costs cannot be the true culrpit.

Anonymous
Game Boards

Or think of it this way, even: The game board itself, blank, should cost around 50 cents-- maybe $1.00, let's even say $1.50-- for quantities of 100. You can buy vinyl record mailers for $0.60 each at 100 and they're not all that much different than a game board (except they're in a more complex shape). You can print adhesives for maybe $1.50 each. Pay someone $1.00 to stick each one, and that there would only be $4.00 per game board. Yet on the quotes that I have gotten for 2000+ copies even, they've been as much as $14 and on substandard materials. It makes no sense.

jwarrend
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Game Boards

electionman wrote:
Or think of it this way, even: The game board itself, blank, should cost around 50 cents-- maybe $1.00, let's even say $1.50-- for quantities of 100. You can buy vinyl record mailers for $0.60 each at 100 and they're not all that much different than a game board (except they're in a more complex shape). You can print adhesives for maybe $1.50 each. Pay someone $1.00 to stick each one, and that there would only be $4.00 per game board. Yet on the quotes that I have gotten for 2000+ copies even, they've been as much as $14 and on substandard materials. It makes no sense.

Quote:
Now let's think about it: How can it be possible that making a game board is more expensive or harder to do than a VINYL RECORD?? That's like comparing a cup to a blender.

Quote:
Right now there are inefficient companies with a monopoly on game board production.

Wow, $14 does seem like a lot for a game board, but are you really sure you can print a board game sized adhesive for $1.50? At any rate, I don't think this is how they do it; I'm fairly sure the game is printed onto the cardboard itself, or is printed on a special paper that is joined to the cardboard itself, not sure what order this happens in. I think there's some special printing process associated with doing this, and that you're paying for that process. I do agree that you should be able to get a game board printed for less than $14 a piece, but I'm dubious of the rest of your analysis. I agree that if more people were buying game boards, likely the cost would go down, but I don't know if you should expect the cost of game boards to be more or less than the cost of vinyl records. I just couldn't make the guess either way. I don't really suspect a vinyl record is a "blender" to a game board's "cup". The real issue is what process they're made with. I would guess that a vinyl record is made with a press, a game board is made with a printer of some sort. Is a press more or less complicated than a printer? That's the real question.

But I think it's naive and overly simplistic to suggest that game boards cost a lot to make because they're being made by monopolistic companies who are staffed by inept people. I would be shocked if either of those had anything to do with the real explanation for the cost of game boards. Are you seriously advancing this as a plausible explanation? I understand your frustration, but I don't think you're correct in your analysis.

Again, if there was an industry pro would could tell us exactly how game boards are made, that would be really helpful to know.

BTW, I think a good election game could be an interesting addition to the gaming world, I hope you can get your game off the ground at some point!
(the nice thing about that is that elections come every year, so you will always have a time of year that your game would be highly marketable!)
Good luck.

-Jeff

phpbbadmin
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My Dream: Self Publish On Demand

I have come to the conclusion that there is currently no cost effective solution for producing games in small quantities. For those of us who don't have the money and aren't willing to mortgage our homes to self publish our game, we are in a bind. Our only other option really is to seek out publishing companies and have our games brought to life that way. However, one of the goals I had when I started the Forum was to figure out a process to Self Publish On Demand. By this, I mean creating games in your home in very small quantities (1 to 10 units). With this method, if someone ordered a game, you could have it produced and in the box ready to ship in 1 to 2 hours. Also producing the larger quantities would not take that much longer because you would do it in an assembly line like process.

Here are a few of the concepts / benefits that I envision:

1) Equipment costs would be the largest investment, but would probably not exceed a few hundred dollars (assuming you already had a PC, desktop publishing software, color printer etc.). These costs would include a laminator, paper trimmer, corner rounder, etc. Consumable costs such as card stock, ink, paper, laminate, glue, etc could be offset immediately by the purchase price of each game. I.E. Someone purchased a game, you would use that money to buy any consumables you would need at that time.
2) Again, time needed to produce a game would be about 1 to 2 hours each. This time would be less per game if multiple quantities were being made. Obviously the more you did it the less time it would take also.
3) Quality of each game (read components) would be better than a prototype but not nearly professional production quality. Somewhat better than prototype and at least as good if not better than a Cheap Ass type game. The customer of course would know this before purchasing.
4) 'Home made' components could be inexpensively supplemented with production components such as dice, pawns, tokens, chips, etc.

Understand however, the purpose of SPOD is not to make money, but to increase awareness of your designs by actually selling them and getting the word out. This formula would be great for selling your games on your website (I.E. you get a few orders during the week, you spend a couple of hours on the weekend and ship them out on Monday) or on sites that will sell Indie game designs (like Fair Play Games) in small quantities. Of course, it is entirely possible to make a profit selling games like this, but that's not the point. Consider you make $20/hr at your day job, it just doesn't make sense to toil creating games in this fashion for a $5 per unit profit. Also, when you get to the point when you can no longer keep up with the demand for your games, then it is definitely time to think about getting published. Armed with your previous sales history, I think you might have a better chance of getting this done.

Well that's it in a nutshell. I don't yet have a game ready enough that I want to put through this process, but I do think it can be done.

-Darke

jwarrend
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Game Boards

Darke,

Definitely not a bad idea, although I think that for most of us, just the cost of producing a "sell-able" prototype might be more than the game is actually worth. The board is really the kicker. FastLearner's method is interesting, but even so, it doesn't sound like you end up with a published-quality board. (Since you made it by sticking several pieces together).

Another big expense is the bits. I would like to make a game with painted wooden cubes, for example, but my game calls for 150-180 or so, and that's also going to be a big part of the expense.

What I think would be kind of cool is to have some kind of a collaborative buying program for bits, where we buy tons of stuff wholesale and then buy bits out of that central supply. This way, we could all get the bits for the high-volume prices. Of course, the implementation of this basically makes this impossible, but it seems like something that would be nice, if it were feasible. Maybe it's just as simple as an understanding that before placing an order for your bits, you give a yell to the other people in the program and ask if they want to go in on an order with you.

Anyway, it's definitely a good idea, and a nice middle ground between self-publishing and licensing. You don't have to lay out a lot, but you can still get your game out there. That will certainly be good enough for a lot of people. I'm not yet sure if I'm one of those people, but it's a good idea! (Not that I care so much about sales or anything as in the QC of the product. I know that my own skills only go so far, and so if I'm the one physically making the game, it will never look the way I envision it looking in my head. That is one of the reasons I'd be motivated to self-publish or license a design, I guess, to see it as it's "supposed" to look...)

-Jeff

phpbbadmin
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Game Boards

jwarrend wrote:
Darke,

Definitely not a bad idea, although I think that for most of us, just the cost of producing a "sell-able" prototype might be more than the game is actually worth. The board is really the kicker. FastLearner's method is interesting, but even so, it doesn't sound like you end up with a published-quality board. (Since you made it by sticking several pieces together).

Jeff, as I stated, the games would have to be similar to Cheap Ass in quality, and again, the buyers would know this beforehand.

Quote:

Another big expense is the bits. I would like to make a game with painted wooden cubes, for example, but my game calls for 150-180 or so, and that's also going to be a big part of the expense.

What I think would be kind of cool is to have some kind of a collaborative buying program for bits, where we buy tons of stuff wholesale and then buy bits out of that central supply. This way, we could all get the bits for the high-volume prices. Of course, the implementation of this basically makes this impossible, but it seems like something that would be nice, if it were feasible. Maybe it's just as simple as an understanding that before placing an order for your bits, you give a yell to the other people in the program and ask if they want to go in on an order with you.

Anyway, it's definitely a good idea, and a nice middle ground between self-publishing and licensing. You don't have to lay out a lot, but you can still get your game out there. That will certainly be good enough for a lot of people. I'm not yet sure if I'm one of those people, but it's a good idea! (Not that I care so much about sales or anything as in the QC of the product. I know that my own skills only go so far, and so if I'm the one physically making the game, it will never look the way I envision it looking in my head. That is one of the reasons I'd be motivated to self-publish or license a design, I guess, to see it as it's "supposed" to look...)

-Jeff

This would be nice, but practically speaking I think it would be difficult to implement except for all but the most common components (dice, standard pawns, etc.) Perhaps someone could talk a bit supplier into setting up a special account for this community as a whole. I.E. an account where we could buy less than the minimum quantity at special prices... This may be a win-win situation as they would get more business and we wouldn't have to buy outrageous quantities for items we only needed a few of. As for your 180 cube game, OUCH! That's going to cost a lot. Good luck with that.

-Darke

Brykovian
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Game Boards

Darke's idea is pretty much what I am doing with Castle Danger right now (link) ... I'm about to change a couple of things about how I'm producing it -- such as going to smaller cubes with an icon on one side for most of the pieces, instead of a unique shape for each piece ... a different way of producing the game board. But, if I buy enough supplies to make 50 to 100 games, I think I'll be able to produce each game for around $5. I plan to continue selling them for $15 (which I know is half the suggested 6x if I were going to sell them through a traditional distribution network), so they should at least pay for themselves with a little bit left over.

Once I'm satisfied with the presentation, and I have the materials to make some sets ahead of time, then the trick will be getting the word out ...

-Bryk

jwarrend
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Game Boards

Darkehorse wrote:
This may be a win-win situation as they would get more business and we wouldn't have to buy outrageous quantities for items we only needed a few of.

That would really be the ideal; not sure if any retailers are interested in doing that. You'd have to think that it would be a big enough increase in their business that it would be worth doing. Or is p4g really selling thousands of little wine bottles and F1 cars on a regular basis?

Quote:

As for your 180 cube game, OUCH! That's going to cost a lot. Good luck with that.

Yeah, this is not really a good game to self-publish! I want it to be playable with 6, so I need 6 x 30 sets of pieces! Awful! But, Wallenstein has 5 x 62 = 310 cubes, so 180 cubes is definitely doable. Not by me, though, I suspect...

But you know, if you could get them for 1 cent each, or even 1.5 cents, that's only 2 or 3 dollars; that's not so bad. But whether you can get cubes for that even in a huge order, I couldn't say...

-Jeff

Anonymous
no monopoly?

If there is a game board makers monopoly, it is certainly one of the most worthless monopolies in the history of American business. HOWEVER, how can you explain a company that manufactures game boards refusing to sell me blanks in bulk? Seems like a monopolistic tactic to me. Paragon Packaging.

jwarrend
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Re: no monopoly?

electionman wrote:
HOWEVER, how can you explain a company that manufactures game boards refusing to sell me blanks in bulk? Seems like a monopolistic tactic to me. Paragon Packaging.

Sorry man, I'm just not a conspiracy theorist. I'm not buying it.

WRT Paragon, a quick look at their website reveals that they are a packaging/printing company, not a supplier of "raw materials". So, while it might be nice of them to supply you with blank game boards, it's obviously not their business, and I wouldn't necessarily expect them to do it. What you're asking them to do is analogous to going to the bakery and asking them to sell you some of their baking flour. I suppose they could do that, but their business is selling finished products, and they probably have a supplier that gives them the flour. Same thing the packaging company. They probably get their blank cardboard from somewhere, and you'd have to get that supplier to sell you the cardboard.

Now, if you want them to actually print you a blank gameboard, maybe that's something they can do. But I can think of other reasons why they wouldn't want to do it other than that they are greedy and monopolistic. And this says nothing about your assertion that these companies hire inept people. I really think it's unfruitful to assume you can't buy what you want because these companies are unscrupulous people who hire incompetents. Finding the real explanation will get you much further down the road toward finding an actual solution to your dilemma, rather than being bitter and overly suspicious.

Just my opinion...

-J

Anonymous
Game Boards

What is your business background?

jwarrend
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Game Boards

electionman wrote:
What is your business background?

None. So what?

prophx
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Game Boards

:oops: Feels like it is getting a little warm in here... Anyway, as I was reading the past few posts I began to think about boxes, packaging, etc... What if the box and the board were the same? I have folded hundreds of pizza boxes which come blank that you could slap a label on the outside and on the inside glue on your board. The tabs would need to be reinforced with tape to ensure that they don't split, but the box assembles and tears down quickly that it could be used for many play sessions without showing major wear. I think I may try this tactic for my next prototype. Maybe I'll start a new game company and call it "Pizza Delivery Games"... "If you don't like your game within 30 minutes, its free!"

We need to look outside the box (no pun intended) for solutions that can meet our needs. :P

Caparica
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Game Boards

Maybe I am not getting the point here but "blank game board" isn't just a piece of heavy paper cut at some size?
What is so dificult about it?

FastLearner
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Game Boards

Prophx, great idea!

electionman, I'm with jwarrend on this one. I've got a 20 year business background, 10 of which was in graphic design and printing. I can say with certainty that there's no monopolistic practice going on. There are too many companies that print (or can print) boardgames for any such practices to work.

Paragon might well have not been willing to sell them in order to protect themselves, however. This is a common business practice. Someone in their company worked hard to find the right suppliers and techniques to create game boards, and they have little incentive to (a) sell you blank boards so you can print your own games (in case you're a competitor) and (b) it's almost undoubtedly not a matter of just having blank game boards sitting around. The probably have some blank stock that needs to have the game board surface adhered and it's not worth their effort to set up a run of blank ones.

Seriously, you would have an exact duplicate of a game board if you glued one layer of plain matte board to one layer of a matte board with your desired back. The thickness would be the same as would the weight. There's nothing special about a game board (German style) other than some clever cutting.

Anonymous
Game Boards

I would like to bring this one back to life...

What is everyones opinion on plotting a gameboard layout on vinyl?

Anonymous
Game Boards

I'm pretty sure that the topic of boards on alternative media has been discussed in other forums. Try a search for the word "vinyl" and you should get some results.

Also, check out the Pair-of-Dice website for some games that are printed on alternative media. Some are printed on felt, they may have some printed on vinyl (I think I remember slam posting about using or experimenting with vinyl boards).

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