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Cost of reproduction

4 replies [Last post]
Chris Picone
Joined: 03/02/2009


This is in regard to a board game that has been completed and now I am now getting final artwork completed before sending the game off for publishing.

There are three artists; the concept artist, the box / board / card artist and finally the sculpture for the miniatures. There is no problem with the first two as they have been working with other game designers for a while and know what costs to add to their work for the purchase of the rights to the artwork.

Unfortunately, none of my previous games have required miniatures and up until now the sculptor has only been self-employed making chess sets so we're both at a loss as to what the rights should cost and as the matter is so intangible I have not been able to find any satisfactory information online.

The sculptor, is open to either royalties or an added fee for the copyright (including the purchasing of the moulds), as the miniatures will be mass produced. I'm not necessarily talking about selling thousands of copies of the game here. What I am talking about is that even if I were only to have the minimum print order of 500 copies, at 5 miniatures per game we're still looking at 2,500 miniatures. More, if the game sells well.

So the question is, should I stick to royalties and if so, what is a reasonable percentage - or, should I go for the one-off fee for the copyright and moulds and if so, what is a reasonable amount.

The quote for each miniature is between $100 - $200 each.

Thanks in advance

The Magician
Joined: 12/23/2008
Welcome! I wish I could offer

Welcome! I wish I could offer you some informed advice and wish you vary well with your game. I know I have often wondered about how does one produce custom game miniatures for a game. It's obviously pricey and would be great if you could share the process here on this forum with us along the way. I would love to know even though it is probably out of my budget to make custom miniatures for my game. I have asked that question before on this forum. Thanks for being here.

Chris Picone
Joined: 03/02/2009
Custom Miniatures

Not sure how much there is to tell. There are a few miniature designers out there. I decided I wanted something unique for the board game so I opted to go with a freelancer rather than one of the companies.

It actually fell into place for me. I posted my project on a freelancing website, hoping to find suitable board / box / card artist and by pure chance a sculptor that designs chess pieces for a living just happened to be one of those that made a bid on the project.

The design of his chess pieces was nothing like anything I had seen before and just happened to be of a style that would suit the game so I awarded him the project.

It's the design I'm referring to here that I was happy with. Obviously chess pieces aren't really suitable for a board game so he'll be making smaller pieces for a start and using epoxy putty instead of polymer clay for the sculpting.

I have him designing the miniatures for me from scratch, which basically consisted of us talking about it for a while, trying to figure out exactly what it was I actually wanted the miniatures to look like, him suggesting other options and so on. Once he had some idea what I was after he drew up a concept sketch, we made a couple of small changes, he sent me a final sketch and now he's onto the job of sculpting it. In the mean time he's sent me a couple of other concept sketches for the other miniatures so I can decide what changes I want while he sculpts the first one.

He's sending me photos of the sculpting as he goes so we can make changes as we go or as new ideas come up with the changing from 2d to 3d. He'll be sending me the first miniature shortly for me to okay, and once I've okayed it he'll start sculpting the others.

Estimated cost is $100 - $200 per miniature, which works out to roughly $20 per hour for his services. I think that price included purchasing the rights to it, but as the pieces are to be mass produced there is an additional fee.

I'm sure you could get cheaper out there and I'm sure companies could do it cheaper again but this is what I wanted so I'm paying the price. This just kind of fell into my lap so you would have to look around.

Joined: 07/24/2008
which freelancing website did

which freelancing website did you use?

Chris Picone
Joined: 03/02/2009

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