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Game boards: Where to get printed?

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lucasAB
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Well, I've run against another brick wall during my endeavors to get a game self-published... getting the board printed. Basically it's a rectangular board that is no smaller then 18" x 24", but the way it is, the larger the better. One of the companys I have contacted will be around $12 a board, which is pretty expensive seeing as I wanted to make a good profit margin, and that doesn't even count the box, wood bits, dice, rules, shrinkwrapping, etc...

So, the question is, where can I get 100 game boards printed for cheap? Maybe this question is an oxymoron, but I hope some of you experienced self-publishers can help me out. When it comes to how many folds the board will do, it dosen't matter. Whatever is cheaper, although again, in this case, the more the better.

Replies from wise people are always appriciated.

Lucas

gameprinter
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Key20?

Lucas-
Best of luck finding someone to run only 100 boards. The problem is that you're looking at a mountain of setup cost to divide among only 100 boards. Add to that the paper wastage (it takes a traditional press hundreds of sheets to get dialed in properly) and you've got very high fixed costs per unit.

That said, I swear that Key20 was offering digitally printed games with boards and had, in fact, partnered with a digital printer. I haven't talked to anyone who's used their services, but at least they might be better than $12 a board.

lucasAB
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Do you

Do you have a way of contacting them[Key20] gameprinter? I did a quick search and didn't come up with a web site or anything. I would crave their contact info if you have it. You could PM any contact information. Thank you! I'm looking forward to more replies and suggestions!

seo
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For just 100 copies, digital

For just 100 copies, digital is probably the way to go, especially for a large board like that.

If the board design doesn't require full color printing, silk-screen might be an alternative.

But I'm afraid that large size and short runs doesn't usually go along with low cost.

bluesea
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If you are flexible on the

If you are flexible on the construction materials and if the board can be divided in two this might help:

Get Personalized 11" x 14" canvas poster at only $8.99/each with free shipping. [NB REGULAR $31.99]
No Quantity limit!! Order now & Share with your friends!!!
http://www.artscow.com/Create/ShowProduct.aspx?ProductId=388
Checkout Code : CANVAS899
Expires on APRIL 10, 2009

I received this in an email from the Artscow. I can't vouch for the quality of this print, but Artscow is printing custom digital POD playing cards and I've read nothing but good things. Might be what you are looking for in a short, short run.

MatthewF
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If you're going the route of

If you're going the route of printing digital posters and self-mounting, you probably don't need canvas. Here are a couple of the least expensive poster-printing places I've found:

Sir Cooper: 18"x24" posters from digital files for $7.50 each, no minimum.

Full Size Posters: 18"x24" posters from digital files for $9.99, no minimum. Right now they're running a special on 36" x 24" posters for $9.99, which could mean you could print them two-up and then cut them in half, making them $5.00 each.

Neither is terribly affordable, in the sense that they'll add a lot to the cost of your game, but for that short of run, it might be your best deal.

This is, unfortunately, the reason that short-run games almost never have boards, and definitely not big ones.

lucasAB
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Where's the price?

I'm extremely interested in canvas instead of boards, it seems a lot more classy, and fancy, so I would probably be able to boost the retail price ten bucks. I can't find the price for the canvases on the site except for the regular price. Was it in a newsletter? Also, their 16x24" looks better, was there a discounted price for that as well? Thanks bluesea, you are always a big help!

MatthewF
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At ArtsCow the price is

At ArtsCow the price is applied on checkout when you enter the code.

You'll definitely want to start with 1. While it's canvas, it might not be what you're expecting.

lucasAB
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I e-mailed a few companies

I have e-mailed a few printers, and am now waiting patiently for their reply tomorrow. Thank you for helping me, but please don't stop! I will be posting another "where to get printed" topic sometime tomorrow or the next day, but while you wait, you can mosey over to my other topic I put up tonight:

http://www.bgdf.com/node/1126

Feel free to post and give your opinion and advice!

Lucas

truekid games
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several other sites point to

several other sites point to key20.com as the official website... which is parked by godaddy (i.e. looks defunct).

Dralius
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check around

There are better prices if you search around.

http://www.printingblue.com lists 100 18 x 24 full color posters at $318.08

lucasAB
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I don't think

I don't think posters will work. For one, they are cheap-looking, will curl at the edges, and if stored in a tube for a long period, will have the tendancy to re-aquire its shape after being rolled flat. Canvas would not do this, and game boards are... normal. I would rather do canvas though, mainly because it's cheaper to buy tubes then make boxes. Please continue giving me advice!

bluepantherllc
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Small run boards

It's possible to do short run options, but you have to think outside the box (saw that coming, didn't you :-)

You have a couple of options.

You can buy 1/8" MDF and laminate it with a heavy stock, glossy paper board. Get the MDF cut to your size by the lumberyard or laser cut it and then use something like bookbinder's tape to make it "foldable sections".

We've laminated the same to plywood sections to make our Nepal game, then cut it puzzle piece (think Mayfair train games) to fit together. The gameboard is 17x33 and comes in a genuine wooden box with 200+ wooden bits and wooden cards - so we were not going for cheap here. In fact, it's a cons and mail order only item, given the unit price.

A much more cost-effective alternative would be laminate to matboard and cut it "puzzle style" for a cheaper alternative. That's what we do with Rocks for Sale (Dralius' game design).

In terms of material for backing, your options go matboard, cardboard, MDF, plywood in terms of price. Although this could vary by location.

If it's a small, simple board, we just laser engrave it directly to plywood and cut it out (like most of our abstract games like Coco's game Taiji), but this approach is generally feasible for grids, not for games with maps and color graphics.

lucasAB
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We don't have the time

At this point we don't have the option the assemble the boards ourselves, as time does not permit. As much as I would like too, I'm afraid we don't have the time.

I was thinking of a puzzle style map, but gave up the idea thinking it would never fly with families, but... do you all think that a game where you have to assemble the board would do well? Do you think people would purchase a game with this concept? Would it seem cheap?

I still haven't gotten responses from the canvas printers, but I will notify you all when I do.

MatthewF
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It's possible that you're

It's possible that you're thinking of a different kind of canvas that what you're likely getting quotes for.

Digital printing places don't print (by default) on heavy canvas cloth, something that would lay flat. They're printing on material that is effectively like artist's canvas, the material that you'd paint on with oil or acrylic paints. It's offered to give digital prints a canvas look, like they were actually painted, instead of the flat look of paper.

It's a lot thinner than canvas cloth. It's cloth, yes, but it's not heavy. It won't curl quite as bad as paper, but, at least in my experience, the edges will always stick up.

These guys could be offering something else, but I don't think so. Hence my note about getting one printed first, to make sure it really looks and feels the way you want it to.

rpghost
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Key20 is gone

lucasAB wrote:
Do you have a way of contacting them[Key20] gameprinter?

I believe they are out of business now. The did mainly RPG stuff. I believe they were making use of Guild of Blade's print shop. http://www.guildofblades.com/retailgroup.php

The work I've seen from them has been petty good... but like all small businesses of this type I've seen come and go over the years, your millage may very (as may your delivery, and money, and...)

Good luck
James
http://www.JamesMathe.com

guildofblades
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Hi James, We never had any

Hi James,

We never had any kind of working agreement with Key20. Quite the opposite in fact, sadly. For a time Key20 had partnered with a company named Avalon Innovations which did a fair bit of printing for Key20 clients. Not exactly sure what happened to them (maybe folded up shop, maybe collapsed spectacularly, maybe just got out of POD services for RPG companies), but they aren't in the POD business for a while.

They had basically stopped POD operations about the same time GOB Retail was just getting started. Since that time we've done a few books for Key20 clients, but not through any formal agreement with Key20 itself.

Key20 itself has shut down now. I'm not privy to the particulars there.

Ryan S. Johnson
Guild of Blades Retail Group - http://www.guildofblades.com/retailgroup.php
Guild of Blades Publishing Group - http://www.guildofblades.com
1483 Online - http://www.1483online.com

JuggernautJ
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Game Boards

I'd be interested to hear how this turned out...

A true Digital Press (like the HP Indigo series) has a max sheet size of 12"x18" (with about 1/4" unprintable area at the edges). This means you'd need to run (at least) two sheets for your board. The indigo can run at least 14 point board (some shops/equipment will run higher weight) at a price of about $2 per sheet. So, with a standard trim you should be able to get (a slightly undersized) board for about $5-6.

If you decide to use a "puzzle cut" or non-standard trim (something that can't be done on a blade cutter) you will increase your costs. HOWEVER, if you work with your printer they may be able to offer you some help. I'd suggest you ask them if they have any EXISTING dies that would fit your needs. It can cost hundreds of dollars to make a custom die. Using an existing die (something they may have from a previoous project) could save you a considerable sum of money.

Also, if you do have a standard size be wary of someone charging you for a die they already have on hand. This is often the case when you order (for example) a standard size presentation folder. One is often charged for creating a die when the bindery probably has that exact piece of equipment in-house. However, it is reasonable to be charged a modest amount to sharpen the die after repeated use. It may be your turn to pay that cost.

My advice is to find a local shop (NOT a Print Broker) with whom you feel comfortable and discuss your project with them.
I can not begin to tell you how many times I have been asked to produce a custom product only to have the customer balk at the price. However, had they come to me (or any other printer) before they began their project I could've cut the cost significantly.
Imagine, for instance, if you wanted to print your board EXACTLY 20" x 24". Using the example above (HP Indigo Digital Press) you would need to run four sheets to make your piece. Speaking with the printer before hand and designing your board to run on two shets (say, 17" x 22.5") would cost (literally) half as much.
Find a good printer. Work with them. Treat them well.

You'll be surprised at the results...

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