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How Important is a Physical Sample/Proof?

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sheeptree
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Apologies if this has already been discussed.

In getting quotes from manufacturers, I've found that most will quote for an electronic and a physical proof of the game. The cost of a physical proof has been anywhere from $300 to $750 for 1 hard copy of my game before production. I understand that cost of shipping and the energy to produce 1 copy is steep but ouch...

So here comes questions! How important is a physical proof really? Is an electronic proof just as good?

NomadArtisan
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Joined: 12/12/2011
I can't speak specifically to

I can't speak specifically to board games, but I've worked in graphic design and print production environments and what you see on a commuter screen may look very different than what gets printed, and you probably wouldn't have any idea on final component quality from just a digital proof.
I would consider how many copies are you having them initially produce, how much are you spending on production, and what percentage of that does the physical proof represent.
If it were me, I would want a physical proof.

FrankM
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I'd be hesitant to trust an e-proof alone

I'd be hesitant to trust an e-proof alone if you never worked with that manufacturer before, which sounds like your case. I don't have any direct experience with game manufacturers myself (haven't gotten that far in any design yet) but I did experience one disaster with an on-demand printing service.

The problem was entirely on my end: I used a compressed graphics format for a huge image that would come out 36"x24" at 300dpi. Looked fine on screen but compression artifacts were glaringly obvious in the hardcopy. The monitors we use today have the resolution and color gamut to prevent my exact problem from recurring, but there's always something that could get lost when translated into an e-proof. Do your carefully chosen colors still look right printed on glossy paper? Is your fancy-font text in a non-CMYK color pushing the limits of the printer's color alignment? Do your miniatures lose too much detail when 3D printed? Do the custom dice look and feel durable? And so on.

Now all of that said, would a physical proof actually represent what happens in a real production run?

questccg
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More than a blueprint...

sheeptree wrote:
How important is a physical proof really? Is an electronic proof just as good?

The physical proof is ESSENTIAL because this is HOW the actual game will look when finally made. The QUALITY of the proof is also essential too. If you use gloss and think it's too shiny and would want to switch to matte, etc. The only way you are going to know this is with a PHYSICAL proof.

It's very important to make sure whatever the manufacturer makes corresponds to a physical copy that you have. Otherwise you don't have any binding as physical proof that quality on some components was changed, etc.

Remember you are dealing with manufacturers that look to cut corner to increase their profit margins. It's not that they are bad people, you just need to cover you bases correctly to make sure that there is no lowering of final production quality...

It's like asking a contractor to build a house without giving a blueprint to the future owner. How will you know if they build the house properly?

sheeptree
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Thank you all for the

Thank you all for the information!

KiltedNinja
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Just my thoughts..

Just a quick thought as well, digital proofs are all very well in theory, but consider; Have you ever looked at an image on your monitor, then looked at that same image on another persons monitor and seen a difference?

How your monitor is setup (colour balance, backlight etc.) can seriously affect how you view images on it. Also, lighting in your room, daylight, lamps, ceiling lights etc - all can modify what your screen looks like.

It can be so subtle - to the extent that you really don't even notice it until you see it compared.

Just a thought :)

questccg
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Another point...

sheeptree wrote:
Thank you all for the information!

I think you can request a "White Box" FIRST. This is basically your entire game with everything white (Not sure about the Vac-Tray). Maybe someone else with more experience can shed a little light on the subject of a "White Box"...

That allows you to account for things like WEIGHT, now you can get shipping quotes because you know the actual dimensions and weight of your game. This also can include fulfillment houses (such as ShipNaked, Happyshops, Snakes & Lattes, etc.)

Usually the "White Box" comes FIRST before a full-color proof (to my understanding).

Anyone with more experience care to shed some light???

AbErRational
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If you don't have "an art

If you don't have "a digital art lab" conditions, I strongly suggest getting a physical proof. Lab conditions mean that you have no window that obscures lighting, 5500k (6000k might still be ok?) lamps. Monitor with an Ips panel or better. Brightness & contrast correctly set, hard calibrated monitor (to get the most perfect results, spectrometer is required. Most of us use only colorimeter and its monitor model based spectral data though.) And finally you need to ask from your game manufacturer what color profiles they have in use and then at least check your files using that profile in a suitable program.

Bilestoad
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Joined: 08/15/2017
I went back and forth between

I went back and forth between spending hours carefully selecting colours for tokens and then printing them at Staples. It's amazing how different the real thing looks, how a brilliant blue can become almost black or a deep red become just plain brown. Limited experience, and I don't know anything about the quality of printers at Staples, but that's my two cents.

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