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How to hand make your games?

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kt123
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Joined: 12/31/1969

Hi, i'm having a board game graphically designed, then after that i'm looking to print and sell the games, the only problem is i've been quoted thousands of pounds for a relatively small print run, i don't have that sort of money to spare, therefor i've come to the conclusion that making the games individually is my last hope of actually producing some games to sell (on ebay and my own website)
Some details of my game; the board will be 20x20 inches, it's similar in style to monopoly, so needs cards,money, playing pieces etc.
I'm considering using protoparts blank board, box and playing cards. can anyone vouch for their quality? Is it really realistic to use these materials for the finished game or would you say they're strictly for prototyping only?
A few things i'm unsure of, what's the best way to transfer the 20x20 artwork to the board? All in one or quater by quarter with spray adhesive then match it up? What's the best place to print the artwork, specialist printer or at home? And after it's been secured to the board, does it need treating? ie. laminated or varnished or something?
thanks.

phpbbadmin
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Some tips:

SiskNY had a good walk through on how to make gameboards in this thread:
http://www.bgdf.com/modules.php?name=Forums&file=viewtopic&t=2086

There is also a nice walkthrough at this site:
http://degroof.home.mindspring.com/boardgame/boardgame.html

It may be easier to actually use the protoparts board/box. It's probably less expensive to create it yourself but you have to consider how much your time is worth. If it takes you an hour to create a game board it may be more cost effective to go with the protoparts board. However, after time you will get more proficient creating the boards yourself. Even if you go with the protoparts board you will still need to print the actual board graphic yourself so keep that in mind also when you weigh your costs.

If you go with the protoparts board you will either need to print the sections out on label sheets and then adhere them to the board, -or- you will need to use spray mount to adhere them to the board. Either way you will probably also want to use a spray on laminate like Krylon to 'finish' the board to protect it.

As for where to print the boards, that's entirely up to you. Due to the high cost of ink, I do NOT recommend trying to print boards on your home inkjet printer. Sometimes local universities will allow you to print personal documents on color lasers for a fee, especially if you are a student. Otherwise try a local mom & pop print shop. Kinkos (not sure if they have Kinkos over the pond) is way too expensive IMHO.

Some tips for your other components:

Monopoly type cards can easily and inexpensively be created using plain business card stock. This would probably be a cheaper route than using the protoparts cards and it will more closely reseamble a monopoly style game. Buy these online in quantities if possible. Try and order as much as possible at any given time to offset the cost of shipping. Stay away from office supply stores, they charge too much for the blank business card media.

You can actually buy play money in a lot of discount stores (they call them dollar stores here in the states) relatively inexpensively. Of course, buying them online in bulk is always a good cost reducer. Same thing goes for playing pieces. Generic plastic or wooden tokens and pawns are readily available online or at your local teacher supply store.

Hope these tips help!
-Darke

jwarrend
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Joined: 08/03/2008
How to hand make your games?

The protocards are definitely not good enough for a sellable game (but they're great for prototyping!). I haven't seen the box or the new game board. The old game board (17" x 17") probably was good enough for a low-end production, but would definitely be a flag that your game was homemade. That may or may not be ok, depending on what you're shooting for.

Good luck!

-Jeff

Anonymous
How to hand make your games?

I have had great success making a finished card using only heavy card stock (110lb, 200 g/m2) from an office supply store. The trick is that you have to laminate the cards before you cut them out. Many people here really like the Xyron laminator for doing just that. There have been a lot of posts about making cards, a quick search should bring them up.

The only thing about using regular card stock is that the cards won't be 100% opaque. Not a big deal if you have a fairly dark and busy back to the cards.

kt123
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Joined: 12/31/1969
How to hand make your games?

Hi, thanks for the links darkehorse.
In the second link (http://degroof.home.mindspring.com/boardgame/boardgame.html)
It mentions using adhesive paper, i've never heard of that before, does it basically mean the artwork is effectively printed on to a big sticker which you just have to peel off and attatch to your board?
How does that method compare with spray adhesive for cost, and ease of use?
Also,where is this adhesive paper available? How much is it? and how do you get your artwork onto it?
thanks.

Nando
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Joined: 07/22/2008
How to hand make your games?

kt123 wrote:
Also,where is this adhesive paper available? How much is it? and how do you get your artwork onto it?

Tutorial wrote:
I used Avery full sheet labels for this.

Avery 5353 Label
Avery 5455 Label
Avery 6465 Label
Avery 6575 Label

Avery 3384 "Printable Cotton"

phpbbadmin
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Joined: 04/23/2013
How to hand make your games?

kt123 wrote:
Hi, thanks for the links darkehorse.
In the second link (http://degroof.home.mindspring.com/boardgame/boardgame.html)
It mentions using adhesive paper, i've never heard of that before, does it basically mean the artwork is effectively printed on to a big sticker which you just have to peel off and attatch to your board?
How does that method compare with spray adhesive for cost, and ease of use?
Also,where is this adhesive paper available? How much is it? and how do you get your artwork onto it?
thanks.

Full sized label sheets are sometimes called crack n' peel or sticky back paper. Yes you are correct about it being a big sticker.

As for cost, I can almost guarantee it's going to be more expensive than using spray on adhesive. However keep in mind, whenever you use spray materials it takes a certain level of skill and thus has a learning curve to take into consideration. Often times you have to choose between convenience vs low cost. Procedures that are easy and fast cost more than procedures that are rather tedious but also inexpensive. If you do go the full sized label sheets, make sure you get the right media for your printer. I.E. if you are printing on a laser printer, make sure you get sticky back paper for a laser printer. I made the mistake of trying to use inkjet paper with a color laser printer only to have the toner literally fall off my paper (this is a slight exageration, but quality was very poor). In the past I have paid about 8 US dollars for approximately 25 letter sized sheets. I have no idea what the price would be in the UK. These sheets can easily be found at any office supply store or a larger discount retail store (whatever your equivalent to Target or Walmart may be).

You would have to slice up your board image into approximate 10.5X8 inch (again, please forgive me for giving standard measurements, but I must admit I am ignorant of conversions to metric) sections and then peel them off and stick them onto your board backing. One thing to note is that you don't peel off the entire label back all at once. The backs of the crack and peel sheets are generally scored diagonally so that it breaks off in sections. So you peel back the first few sections, position and adhere the uncovered corner, then peel back a few more sections, position and adhere, peel back, repeat until completely adhered. If you do not do this gradually as stated there is a good chance that you may accidentally adhere the sheet in the wrong position which ruins it, because it is very difficult to remove once it has adhered.

Hope this helps,
-Darke

kt123
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Joined: 12/31/1969
How to hand make your games?

Thanks for the info, i'd definatly rather go for conveniance over any slight saving in costs at this point, i'm not the most practical person in the world and to be honest i'm still trying to figure out how adhesive paper would work.
Forgive my slowness on this subject, but would i buy a pack of adhesive paper where the paper was 20x20 inches?(the size of the board)
Or is it limited to a certain size? If so, which size?
If it's 20x20 would i have it printed all in one on that piece of paper? If so, i presume i just cut it in quaters with scissors and peel it off and stick to the board.
If no 20x20 paper exists, or it's not practical to print to paper that size, how do you get the four corners on the paper? I suppose you have to zoom in on the artwork in some way, i can't think how i would do that myself, or how i would instruct a printer on what i wanted to achieve.
Any help appreciated.

seo
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Joined: 07/21/2008
How to hand make your games?

I'm in Uruguay, so things might be different from there, but here at least, you can buy big sheets of adhesive paper (40"x28" aprox.) for half a dollar or so each. That would be even better than avery labels not just price wise, but also for practical reasons, due to the flexibility in size.

There's coated and uncoated adhesive paper. I'd go for uncoated for both laser and inkjet prints, coated might work beter in terms of durability for offset printing, but then you might also go for uncoated and have a varnishing finish over the printing. You should test the inkjet printing quality befor you buy any large quantity, though, as the quality might be lower than your usual inkjet stock.

You should be able to find this big size sheets at paper supplier shops.

HTH

phpbbadmin
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Joined: 04/23/2013
How to hand make your games?

kt123 wrote:
Thanks for the info, i'd definatly rather go for conveniance over any slight saving in costs at this point, i'm not the most practical person in the world and to be honest i'm still trying to figure out how adhesive paper would work.
Forgive my slowness on this subject, but would i buy a pack of adhesive paper where the paper was 20x20 inches?(the size of the board)
Or is it limited to a certain size? If so, which size?
If it's 20x20 would i have it printed all in one on that piece of paper? If so, i presume i just cut it in quaters with scissors and peel it off and stick to the board.
If no 20x20 paper exists, or it's not practical to print to paper that size, how do you get the four corners on the paper? I suppose you have to zoom in on the artwork in some way, i can't think how i would do that myself, or how i would instruct a printer on what i wanted to achieve.
Any help appreciated.

Well if you are going to be printing the board at home, then you would want to buy paper that your printer could handle. Most printers can only handle letter or legal sized paper. Some 'wide' style printers can handle pages as wide as 14 inches but most are limited to 8.5 inches. If you are having a professional printer print it, then I would get with them to see what they can and can't do as far as media size. To be honest, I don't know if sticky back paper comes in 20 X 20 since I've never had occasion to use it.

When you have your artwork created, create it the actual size you want it. The program it was created in should be able to tile the image into the necessary sections. If not you may need to manually cut the image up into printable chunks and then print each chunk individually onto the sticky back paper and then adhere them to the board. Keep in mind that most printers need AT LEAST a one quarter inch margin along each edge. So if you are printing on an 8.5 x 11 inch sheet of paper the largest you would want the sliced image to be is 8 x 10.5.

Hope this helps. If you have any more questions please don't hesitate to ask.
-Darke

kt123
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Joined: 12/31/1969
How to hand make your games?

Thanks Darkehorse, i haven't got an inkjet printer at the moment, so i'll probobly be looking for a printer to make me a few (so long as their prices aren't ridiculous)
Let's say the printing company i want to use can't print 20x20, or there's no such adhesive paper that size, what would be my best options?
Should i try and get paper slightly bigger than 5x5 inches? (One for each corner) Or try and do one whole side? (5x10)
Also, when i get the printing done, would i just give the printer a CD of the artwork and say something like, 'print one whole corner on seperate pieces of paper?'

Anonymous
How to hand make your games?

One way I was thinking of going about doing a desk top publishing game would be to invest in a printer that handles larger size paper. You can find fairly easily at a office supply store a printer that can handle 13" x 19" sheets of paper. It's ink jet and goes for about $400US.

So once you have that, have your game perfected, then you just get the rest of your components together. Wait for someone to buy it off the web and then print it out.

Now rather than mounting it on a hard back board you go to a copy store and have the board laminated for a couple of bucks. This doesn't make the most professional form of game, but if you are upfront that you are making a DTP game then at least you will draw upon the right market.

This is my overall vision of this method:

1. Design a game that doesn't require cards, only a board, dice, and counters. I find the business card method for cards just doesn't provide enough quality in the components for a satisfying play experience.
2. Make artwork that minimizes inkjet cartridge costs. Make the artwork detailed and interesting, but not using a vast amount of color everywhere.
3. Get the larger size printer, large size paper, and then get wood components from germany. Avery full sheet sticker paper. Paper trimmer. Perhaps an extra large stapler so that you can staple in the middle of a folded sheet of paper to make a little rulebook. All of this would be your out of pocket investment.
4. Now make a website detailing your game, advertise, etc. Wait for people to buy your product.
5. Once an order comes in just print out the board, rules, counters, etc. Bring the board to the copy store and have it laminated. Print out a counter sheet, stick it on a decent thickness of cardboard and cut the counters out.
6. Assemble it all together and send out the product.

The whole idea is to get it so you are doing a print on demand situation. If you can design your game the right way then you can minimize the work required on your part to assemble it and thus all the better. You should be able to do all of this and keep your out of pocket expense below $1000US.

Would you ever make that money back? Seems like a crapshoot, but at least you aren't dealing with a great deal of overhead. One thing that would help would be to design a whole series of games that share various wooden components, and thus you have a larger catalog to attract buyers. Putting aside time and effort you would then simply be deciding which file to print out when an order comes in.

kt123
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Joined: 12/31/1969
How to hand make your games?

My situation is that i don't want to go the whole hog and invest in my own exspensive home printer yet, i'm just looking to make about 10 games initially and see what the feedback is, so i think it would be more cost effective if i could get the images printed at a print shop, i'm still unsure as to what the process would be though. Would i have to source the adhesive paper from elsewhere and get them to print on it? Or is it usual for them to supply their own?
Also, do people think it would prove cheaper to get one 20x20 image printed or get four smaller images printed?
After i've stuck the images on the board, is that when i should laminate the paper? If so, what's the best method?
Also, business cards or protoparts cards? I've heard conflicting reports, some say the quality of protoparts cards aren't good enough, others that business cards don't look professional enough.what's your opinion?
Thanks.

phpbbadmin
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Joined: 04/23/2013
How to hand make your games?

kt123 wrote:
My situation is that i don't want to go the whole hog and invest in my own exspensive home printer yet, i'm just looking to make about 10 games initially and see what the feedback is, so i think it would be more cost effective if i could get the images printed at a print shop, i'm still unsure as to what the process would be though. Would i have to source the adhesive paper from elsewhere and get them to print on it? Or is it usual for them to supply their own?
Also, do people think it would prove cheaper to get one 20x20 image printed or get four smaller images printed?
After i've stuck the images on the board, is that when i should laminate the paper? If so, what's the best method?
Also, business cards or protoparts cards? I've heard conflicting reports, some say the quality of protoparts cards aren't good enough, others that business cards don't look professional enough.what's your opinion?
Thanks.

KT,
Each printer is different and you will have to see how much they are willing to do. The best method is to explain to them exactly what you need. They will be able to tell you to you what parts of the process they will be willing to handle. Some may be willing to just print the board image. So may be willing to slice it up into the required sections onto sticky paper. In all reality, if you are having a printer print the image, it's probably best to use a spray on adhesive.

When contacting the printer, it's probably best to lay out everything before hand. Tell them you want to create a game board. Send them the image file and even a sample of the board you want them image to be on. Ask them what they are capable of doing. Are they able to print the image and then apply it to the board? Perhaps they will only be willing to print the image. Perhaps they will be willing to slice the image up into the necessary sections to fit the board, and then they will leave it up to you to adhere it and laminate the board. My point is that you won't know what your extent of the labor will be until you ask. I've already provided you with some links on some board production techniques that should get you started. Also you said you were having the board image designed. I assume this is being done by a graphic artist. Discuss with that person your needs as well. They may just as easily be able to work with the printer to make things run more smoothly. If you can get an open channel of communication going between your designer, your printer and yourself then you should have a good foundation for getting started.

As for your cards question, yes the protoparts cards aren't professional quality cards. In all honesty they aren't designed for that. They were made for prototyping. If you were clever enough, you could increase the quality, but it might take quite a bit of trial and error (one idea would be to use two cards per card printing the card front image on the front of one card, the card back image on the front of another, printing a black pattern on the back of both, and then adhering them together with the black sides facing each other) and it would be a bit more expensive. Business cards are equivalent in quality to the chance/community chest cards in monopoly. If they are a major component of the game then I don't recommend it as they don't hold up well to a lot of handling and shuffling. There are some sites on the web that sell actual playing cards with blank fronts (and playing card i.e. poker style backs). Would that be something you would be interested in? If so I could dig up a link for you.

-Darke

kt123
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Joined: 12/31/1969
How to hand make your games?

Great post darkehorse, appreciate the help.
I'd definatly be interested in that link you mentioned.

phpbbadmin
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How to hand make your games?

kt123 wrote:
Great post darkehorse, appreciate the help.
I'd definatly be interested in that link you mentioned.

Here ya go:
http://www.plaincards.com/

Good luck!
-Darke

kt123
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Joined: 12/31/1969
How to hand make your games?

Thanks for the link, a couple of things that may or may not be a problem, i notice that the cards that are completely blank on both sides need to be sprayed with a special spray that's also sold on the website, unfortunatly they can't ship it beyond America and i'm based in the UK.
At least one set of my cards needs information on both sides (the equivelent of deeds cards in monopoly, with the mortgage value etc.) It would also be nice to have my own artwork on both sides of all the cards i use if it's not extra hassle.
I've emailed the webmaster, but i wondered if i could get an impartial opinion here on the completely blank cards.
Some things i'd like to know. Are they any trickier to print on then a card which is blank on one side only?
Does the spray i mentioned laminate the card? If so, would i be able to buy a spray can of the stuff here in the UK and produce equally as good results? Why is it that the single sided blank cards seem to come 'ready made' as it were and you have to do extra work to the completely blank cards?
Thanks.

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