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Cost of cardboard pieces?

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Joined: 12/31/1969

Anyone have any idea what it costs to have double sided cardboard pieces similar to Avalon hill's Civilization made? I have a great war game that needs 330 military pieces and I think cardboard is the only thing that I can afford.


Joined: 12/31/1969
Cost of cardboard pieces?

Yes, I do this all the time. However, the "cost" of die-cut pieces has many variables you'll need to settle on before coming up with a cost.

The cost of die-cutting is invariably tied to the nature of your die ( a baseplate with steel flanges coming out of it that whack against the cardboard to make the cut impressions).

The cost of a die is a function of how many linear inches of steel goes into the strips. Imagine a die that only punches out one counter at a time. It would be very cheap to make. A die to say, punch out 280 counters at a time, runs around $400.00. Fancier dies that cut out circular or irregular pieces cost more than simple squares. Remember to leave some spacers in along the row of pieces to give it some rigidity once the board is struck.

So the first thing to do is think about your game. It has 330 pieces. You could order a die to strike out all 330 at once, or perhaps buy a cheaper die that knocks out 200 at once but then requires you to print two seperate countersheets to get to 330. But there is no "right" answer. Around 280 1/2" squares are what fits inside a 9" x 12" box (sort of an industry standard) without folding. So maybe a bigger die isn't for you.

Anyway, after that, you want to make sure your die works on the press the die-cutter owns. So talk to him first.

Next you need an artist to lay out the grid for the die and give it to the die-maker. The artist will also use this grid to layout the counters so it's important that everyone use the same master. For simple counters, I've seen artists charge $1.00 per piece. Complex or fabulous art will cost more.

Next your printer comes into the picture. Counters are usually made in one of two ways:
1.) Fronts and backs are printed on thin white paper that is then glued to a thick centerboard and then hit by the die, or;
2.) Printed on thicker white stock to begin with, say 24 pt. and folded in half and then glued together and struck by the die.

To see what techique any countersheet is in your collection is, look at it edgewise. If the center is gray (or darkish) and there are two thin lines of white along the outside, it probably was made using method 1. If the center is white with a line down the middle the outside, the job was done using method 2.

Assuming your die-cutter uses method 1, then printing 2,000 of two full color countersheets each (fronts and backs on separate sheets, remember to tell the printer to reverse the gripper and guide for the backsheets so the fronts and backs are mirror images of each other) should run you under $1,000.00. The die-cutter will charge anywhere from .65 to $1.00 a countersheet to mount, align and die-cut the job. (This is where having the bigger die that can do it all in one pass can pay off.)

Remember that mounted countersheets are heavy and if you use a distant die-cutter and order a lot, the freight to get them back to you isn't cheap.

Good luck with your venture.

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