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Game Packaging

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rkalajian
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Joined: 12/31/1969

Just curious as to what people have packaged their games in. I've thought about using the traditional cardboard box or an oversized tuckbox for my game, but it adds unneeded cost to the game. I was thinking of packaging the game in printed envelopes where the cover of the game would be printed on the front and the contents and brief description of the game would be printed on the back.

Now i'm sure I could not fit my entire game in a standard envelope, but there are so many sizes out there that would work and I'd be able to cut the cost of my game a significant amount.

Any thoughts?

FastLearner
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Game Packaging

The companies Cheapass, Alien Menace, and Inner City Game Design seem to be doing quite well with the idea, Cheapass especially.

One potential downside is that Cheapass games have a reputation for being of mixed quality, with some of the earlier ones especially being kind of one-idea-wonder concepts. As such I suspect that any other envelope-packaged games will be viewed with potential skepticism as to how good the game can be. On the other hand, these companies have done well with the concept because if you can buy the game cheap enough then it's worth the risk.

-- Matthew

zaiga
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Game Packaging

However, the coin also has a flipside. Selling your game in a nice, full-color illustrated box greatly enhances the perceived value of a game. I know that the people of "Splotter Spellen" (of "Roads and Boats" fame) used to sell their games in video cases, but stopped that practice and started using boxes when they realized they would sell more copies of their games that way!

I know that I am a sucker for great bits and pieces myself. I wouldn't even look at a $5 game black & white game packaged in an evelope with a cheesy title such as "Exploring the Depths of Uranus" (sorry Chris!). However, a game called "The Sands of Arabia" packaged in a large box with a pretty picture on the front would certainly pique my interest, even if the price tag is eight times as much as the envelope game. But hey, maybe that's just me!

So, I guess that the answer, as always, is: it depends and YMMV.

- René Wiersma

IngredientX
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Joined: 07/26/2008
Game Packaging

The two things that trump everything to me are firsthand experience and word of mouth.

Firsthand experience: there are several Cheapass games that I have no problem pulling out on the table at any time (Kill Dr. Lucky, Devil Bunny Needs A Ham, The Big Cheese, One False Step for Mankind). I've played them repeatedly, and I enjoy them all, even though they all require their own bits (OFSfM requires 400 poker chips!). On the other hand, I've played Before I Kill You Mr. Bond and Unexploded Cow, and neither of those games are worth playing again, IMVHO. So while the quality of the bits is important, I can do without if the gameplay is good enough.

Word of Mouth: Placebo Press has published several games in the "Cheapass" style. Yet while Cheapass has a few games that have a good buzz about them despite their low presentation values, Placebo's games haven't received much praise for their gameplay. Perhaps I'll have the opportunity to try one of their games, but based on what I've read on BGG and other sites, I won't plunk down the $5 or so to buy their games without playing them first.

The above also applies to games with great components... even more so, because instead of being down $5, I'd be down $40! I have a pretty strict "play before I buy" mentality (unless the game is out of print, but that's a different story), so I'm usually pretty confident I'll get my money's worth out of whatever it is I buy, no matter how much I spend.

rkalajian
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Game Packaging

I was thinking about getting envelopes printed with some color to let them stand out a bit more.

As for bits, I believe I have some quality parts going on the envelope :)

I've been thinking about packaging Element once i'm ready for it to go out the door. The bits for the game include 5 custom dice (blank dice from protoparts with stuck on element labels), a deck of monopoly style ether cards, and a cubic boatload of either stone or wood counters (if I can afford it, 320 counters to be exact; 80 of each color)

I'm still in the late playtesting phase, but i'm getting everything ready for when the time comes. Hopefully those blank dice will hit my mailbox soon :)

Brykovian
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Joined: 07/21/2008
Game Packaging

I like to use smaller ziplock baggies ("snack" and "sandwich" sized) for components, then a larger one for the game as a whole.

When shipping, I use a "document mailer" corrugated cardboard box. I bought a bunch of 2-1/2" high unfolded ones for not a lot of cash. Seems to work well enough for my self-published stuff.

-Bryk

Caparica
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Joined: 08/06/2008
Re: Game Packaging

rkalajian wrote:
I was thinking of packaging the game in printed envelopes where the cover of the game would be printed on the front and the contents and brief description of the game would be printed on the back.

If there is anything inside that could be damaged, be sure to put a DO NOT FOLD message...
I thing that an inexpensive box with printed labels will not be that much more expensive, and that would be much more good looking.

Caparica
www.2concept.com/games

FastLearner
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Game Packaging

I feel (personally) that the thin cardboard boxes that Cheapass uses for some of their games makes them seem like they're worth much more than the packaging price difference probably requires. I'll happily pay at least $2 more for those boxes, even if the contents were identical. Weird, perhaps, but that's psychology for you.

-- Matthew

OrlandoPat
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Joined: 10/16/2008
Don't forget shelf space

It'll be tough getting any retailers to stock a game that's shipped in an envelope. Cheap Ass Games is a fantastic idea, but I don't think I've ever seen one in a retailer. If you're looking for wider exposure, you're going to have to go the box route.

You might want to start with the envelope, and move to the box once it's clear you've got a "hit" on your hands.

If you're looking for a good low-cost printer for the box, check out printingproductions.net. Lee Gaddis over there has been very helpful to us, and he was willing to do a low-quantity (1,000 piece) run for our initial printings. Some other resources are Delano and Sierra Packaging, but I don't know how willing they are to do low-quantity runs.

rkalajian
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Game Packaging

That Printing Productions site looks very promising. Right now i've hit a point though where my mechanics need some work and I might even restart the whole project from scratch. This is excellent information for the future though. Thanks!

FastLearner
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Re: Don't forget shelf space

OrlandoPat wrote:
It'll be tough getting any retailers to stock a game that's shipped in an envelope. Cheap Ass Games is a fantastic idea, but I don't think I've ever seen one in a retailer. If you're looking for wider exposure, you're going to have to go the box route.

Cheapass games are in tons of game retailers -- they've got excellent distribution in that channel. If you want to go beyond game retailers, though, I agree that envelope and/or baggie packaging won't work.

-- Matthew

OrlandoPat
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Joined: 10/16/2008
That's great to know

>>Cheapass games are in tons of game retailers
I hadn't realized that! I've gone looking for them a couple times at local game stores, but always got the same answer ("we can order them for you, but we don't stock them").

It's great to hear that they're getting shelf space. Really helps prove that the concept works.

rkalajian
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Game Packaging

I remember seeing some cheapass stuff at a store called Millenium in Rochester, NY back when I was at school there. Never did pick any up, though now I think I should have.

Anonymous
Game Packaging

rkalajian wrote:
I remember seeing some cheapass stuff at a store called Millenium in Rochester, NY back when I was at school there.

Millenium (a.k.a. game heaven) also stocks Alien Menace and Interactivities, Ink, both of which also sell games in envelopes. Millenium is specifically a gaming store, though, and I don't know how hard you'd have to look to find such games elsewhere.

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