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Has anyone used AdMagic for bulk card game manufactoring?

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genepool
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Joined: 07/02/2021
Microscopic TGC prototype

Hello BGDF! My first time posting, but I have closely followed many threads here, especially those by evansmind244, Jay103, and questccg, so thank you!

I designed a card game called "Microscopic" that had a successful Kickstarter campaign that I am working on manufacturing now. It consists of two decks of cards, a box and a rules booklet. I have requested a quote from Gameland and AdMagic. Both offer small minimum orders (500 and 250 respectively) and print in China. I need about 150 games for Kickstarter fulfillment, and hope to be able to pursue some retail online and at FLGS.

I originally planned on going with TGC, and already got a great prototype from them. However, as others here have realized, their base prices are too high, especially to go to retail. My base price at a bulk order of 100+ is about $16. I'm not sure what my MSRP should be yet, but I'm thinking around $20-$25. This is why I am pursuing bulk manufacturing, though it does add extra complexity and time and I'll need to set up my own online stores and pay for warehousing, etc.

So far I've had better communication with AdMagic and they specialize in card games, so I'd like to hear if anyone has worked with them before. I'm also happy to get any other advice!

The other wrinkle is that if I go through TGC I can begin fulfillment right away and start selling now. If I go through overseas manufacturing, I most likely won't be able to do fulfillment and sales until end of December or January, which is unfortunate timing, and makes my KS backers wait longer, which I feel bad about. Any thoughts on this?

Thanks! Glad to have BGDF around :)

questccg
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Somethings to consider

If your KS requires only 150 Games ... Then you can probably be happy with about 250 Games (+100) not too much, but enough to try to move inventory.

You should price 250 games via TGC and AdMagic and forget about Gameland. 350 extra units is a lot of left-over.

If you ONLY have 150 Backers, 350 games is more than 2x the amount you have managed to SELL. It may be hard to move so much inventory and you'll need to warehouse it somewhere (if not in your Garage or Basement).

The thing is that you need to figure the cost of FREIGHT and overseas shipping. It's VERY EXPENSIVE because of the Global Pandemic. 3x the amount in many cases. It was to over $230 USD for 2 cartons.

TGC will not cost you any warehousing, you don't need to pay for any freight and you can order a bit extra (like I suggested 100+ units) and all you need to worry about is TGC shipping which is LOWER than the USPS.

You really need QUOTES on Freight to know HOW expensive it will be. IF it's a palette you might get something $1,000+ to ship from China to the USA. Ask AdMagic how much freight would cost you in the event that they are NOT FOB your order.

That's a GOOD start. Something tangible to look at and compare honestly with manufacturing in the USA.

Cheers!

questccg
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Also ...

If you "re-think" your Go-To-Market strategy and FOCUS on DIRECT SALES, TGC is the better choice. What do I mean by "Direct Sales"? I mean selling ONLINE via a Website, some kind of Portal or even Amazon are all viable options. As long as it is DIRECT TO CONSUMER.

At $16 USD to make with a bulk of 100 units, if you DIRECT SELL you can price your game somewhere between $20 and $25 USD and BE HAPPY (+Shipping). That's pretty decent... And you'll be pleased that you've only got 100 units to move ONLINE.

I too struggle with TGC because I can't get products into stores (FLGSs) because the COSTS are too high for proper pricing through distribution. My Booster Packs cost me $4.17 USD and I would like to retail at around $6.99 USD. There is NO ROOM for stores or middlemen (like a Distributor).

And that's the caveat of TGC: can't go into traditional distribution and retail.

Here's another IDEA: Use TGC to fulfill your orders for KS to speed things up and not worry about Freight.

With the EXTRA monies, try to get stores to pre-order copies of the game. I've got a spreadsheet with ~150 stores in the USA (FLGSs).

Now with COVID-19, I don't know how many are still in business... TBH!

But if your game is a smaller format (Tuck Box) ... I'm sure you could CONVINCE stores to buy 5 copies each... And maybe sell to 20 stores (maybe this is a ballpark figure). That means 100 units and maybe in 6 months re-orders if the game sells. 250 units is the best possible order for stores, because it covers a re-order and maybe more stores buying into the game too (50 extra units).

Just sharing with you some extra thoughts! Cheers.

genepool
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Hi quest! Thanks for the

Hi quest! Thanks for the input :)

I'm hoping to get the quotes back near the end of the week, so I'll post updates when they come in.

My main deliberation is if I go to retail or not. I'd like to retail in FLGS. And at $16 base cost from TGC it's really not an option. I'm talking to a local FLGS on Friday who previously said they'd consider buying 10 copies (they like to showcase local designers), so I'll try to get a sense of what they would try to sell it for and what they would expect to pay.

Ask AdMagic how much freight would cost you in the event that they are NOT FOB your order

I'm still learning the ins and outs of oversees manufacturing. Can you explain what you mean by if they are "not FOB" and why that would impact the cost?

At $16 USD to make with a bulk of 100 units, if you DIRECT SELL

I get what you're saying here and it makes sense (with the caveat of not being in FLGS). For these direct sales, how would you handle shipping? I'd rather not box and ship things myself, but does it make sense to use a fulfillment center in the scenario you suggest?

With the EXTRA monies

Good idea, but if I go through TGC I don't think I'll have extra monies after printing games for my backers :(. I probably should have set my price points higher... But it's still a good idea to think about.

One other question - should I form a company like an LLC before doing sales? My primary concern is being sued somehow and limiting my personal liability, but so far I was avoiding the overhead of creating a company. Maybe there is insurance for this kind of thing too?

Thanks again!

questccg
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Some additional thoughts

genepool wrote:
...My main deliberation is if I go to retail or not. I'd _like_ to retail in FLGS. And at $16 base cost from TGC it's really not an option. I'm talking to a local FLGS on Friday who previously said they'd consider buying 10 copies (they like to showcase local designers), so I'll try to get a sense of what they would try to sell it for and what they would expect to pay.

Well 50% markup for retails would mean $32 USD... And then there would be $0.00 for you. That's the problem, $16 USD for Direct Sales is OKAY. And you would get 100% (instead of 70/30 break from TGC) because you could include your order from a bulk order (of 100+ units already).

genepool wrote:

> Ask AdMagic how much freight would cost you in the event that they are NOT FOB your order

I'm still learning the ins and outs of oversees manufacturing. Can you explain what you mean by if they are "not FOB" and why that would impact the cost?

Meaning that FOB (Freight-On-Board) is that the manufacturer will deliver the games to the PORT of export and then you need to make your own arrangements from the PORT to the destination (somewhere in the USA).

genepool wrote:

> At $16 USD to make with a bulk of 100 units, if you DIRECT SELL

I get what you're saying here and it makes sense (with the caveat of not being in FLGS). For these direct sales, how would you handle shipping? I'd rather not box and ship things myself, but does it make sense to use a fulfillment center in the scenario you suggest?

Well paying for fulfillment like "Fulfillrite" (https://fulfillrite.com) or "QuarterMaster Logistics" (https://www.qmlogistics.com) will give you the option of having a "warehouse" plus ship direct from your warehouse to customers.

I generally don't want to PAY for "warehousing" so some of my smaller projects, I prefer fulfilling myself.

genepool wrote:

> With the EXTRA monies

Good idea, but if I go through TGC I don't think I'll have extra monies after printing games for my backers :(. I probably should have set my price points higher... But it's still a good idea to think about.

Never aim to "break-even". Always TRY to be in the Black (if possible). If it's costing you $16 USD + Shipping... You should be selling at $20+ and Shipping paid by the customer. Think of it this way: one day you will have a project that you want NOT to KS. And to do this you will have 2 options: get a loan OR bankroll it from monies earned from previous projects.

While loans can be a way out... Building a nest-egg from a project that you decide NOT to KS ... Is something great for the growth of your business.

genepool wrote:
One other question - should I form a company like an LLC before doing sales? My primary concern is being sued somehow and limiting my personal liability, but so far I was avoiding the overhead of creating a company. Maybe there is insurance for this kind of thing too?

Limiting Liability is important. But also not paying taxes on KS earning in the event that it takes LONGER than a year is your second reason for incorporating. KS Sales in the Year they are obtained become LIABILITIES and NOT SALES. They only CONVERT in the Year you FULFILL them. So if you sell in Q4 of 2021... And Q1 of 2022 is a new FISCAL YEAR... Well in Personal Taxes you will need to declare the revenue as INCOME and get taxed on it. NOT GOOD. If you had a business, you could simply WAIT until the Year all those liabilities convert and then they become SALES.

That's something VERY important. Also EXPENSES, like paying for prototypes and paying for a domain, etc. I would ALSO "strongly" recommend to get a Business Credit Card so you can PAY for ALL-THINGS your business and properly DEDUCT expenses from profit. This too will lower the amount of Taxes you stand to pay because they affect the bottom line.

I had a nest-egg and I'm kicking myself in the arse because now that I've blown my nest-egg I'm waiting for monies to come in... To TRY to get that Credit Card to pay for stationary, office supplies, mail, etc. All that gets subtracted from the bottom line and LOWERS your taxes to be paid since it affect the amount of PROFIT too.

I'm not telling you to go for un-legitimate expenses like meals and entertainment of customer... I'm just saying that from experience there are a bunch of things that TODAY I pay "out-of-pocket" because I don't have that Business Credit Card.

Just some things to think about ... And BTW Jay103 hasn't been around much since he moved and started his NEW job. Evansmind also hasn't been around and considering this is soon to be his HIGH-SEASON, we may yet hear from him soon... TBH. I know Jason is still selling his game ONLINE and I don't know what Evans has been up to lately...

1 out of 3 ain't bad! (Wink)!

questccg
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I try to be as honest as possible... but

Even in my own endeavors, sometimes things don't go as planned. I've got an AMAZING "Custom" Dice campaign and so far the only Followers that I got are people that I know or indirectly know (fellow designers, contacts in the Game Design World). So sometimes all the greatest advice in the World can't help you with END-RESULTS.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/questccg/dual-dice-multi-purpose-de...

I'm stuck at 15 and KS support has done little to nothing to get my up-and-coming KS any additional Followers! We'll see if October is any better TBH!

questccg
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Also a lot of people use...

OTX Logistics USA seems to be very popular:

https://www.otxlogistics.com/usa-en/home.html

They can arrange sea freight from China to the USA. But know that NOW because of the Global Pandemic, shipping is 3x the usual price. That's what I have heard... I got some quotes that were like $230 USD for TWO (2) Cartons... And I think this is expensive too...

It is what it is... There are other Freight Forwarders around too... I don't have much EXPERIENCE in this department... I'm trying to get around to having Chinese imports and understanding the nature of the beast that is importing from China.

Best!

questccg
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Here's what I could FIND

Quote:
You need to put your products on in container which will most likely be a LFC (Less than Full Container) which will cost anywhere from $500-2500. A full container can hold 4000-5000 games and will cost about $4000-4500. Most Manufacturers will arrange a container shipment for you at least to your country.

That's OLD pricing... NEW pricing might look a bit DIFFERENT. But it gives you a HEADS-UP. So I guess $230 for 2 Cartons isn't all that bad... Hmm...

Let me know what YOU think about these price points and how it could affect your own decision...

terzamossa
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Hi Genepool, take everything

Hi Genepool,
take everything I say with a pinch of salt.

I think you may have made some mistakes in how you handled your KS, it would have been wiser to get quotes earlier and define your pledge levels/minimum goal based on those (and including in those all the extra costs, such as shipping from China, VAT registration and anything else you may need).

In any case, now it's late for this, so you should decide how to move forward.
As I see it, you could:
Spend as little as you can, produce the MOQ, ship it and keep the rest of the money (if any) for you.
You would have 100 copy to sell to retail if MOQ is 250.
In theory you use the 5x multiplier from landed cost to get to a retail cost, but that does not come from magic, it's there so that you can afford reprints while selling to a distributor. In your case you don't need a reprint and if you do you, can run another KS when this is needed.

So, even if you end up spending 10 USD to make and ship a copy of the game, since you have 100 free copies that your KS is paying for, you can still sell them for 25 through your website or on fb or whatever. Even if you don't sell all of them, anything that comes out of it is pure gain. If you want to sell more you can still sell to a distributor and lower your margins. Those margins in the 5x multiplier are there to allow you reprinting basically, in real life any money which is more than what you spent is good, especially considering you didn't account for all of this when designing your KS.

I am not saying this is ideal, but producing more than you need now, so that you can lower the price per copy, seems a dangerous stretch. ‚Äč

On your question, I don't know admagic but received quotes from Gameland and they seem very professional despite the low cost and were recommended by professionals with experience too. I think TGC is good for prototypes but not for mass manufacturing (and I think aside from cost their quality is also that of a prototype, cut lines are often on the edge of tolerance). Going for whatever is overall cheaper may be the best option no matter what.

Hope any of this helps!
Antonio

terzamossa
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OH, I saw something on

OH, I saw something on shipping...I am not a big expert there BUT using a container for 250 card boxes seems quite crazy. For something so small you can definitely arrange a TNT or Fedex delivery which is going to be much faster too. Ask the manufacturers, they shouldn't have any problems with that.

genepool
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Great advice

Thanks for all the good feedback and ideas!

Should get my quotes back soon, I know the AdMagic one includes freight, not sure about Gameland.

RE incorporating - probably a little late to benefit from the tax implications, as I started the project and KS under my own name, but your points are very valid.

RE mistakes in my KS - agreed. Originally I was planning on starting small and simple and just doing TGC (and I miscalculated the base price when estimating my costs). But it's good that I have some options to keep moving forward.

RE using a "standard" shipping company instead of freight for such a low quantity order is a great idea! I'll inquire about that, especially if it can speed up the timeline.

questccg
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Plan forwards and ask questions

terzamossa wrote:
...For something so small you can definitely arrange a TNT or Fedex delivery which is going to be much faster too. Ask the manufacturers, they shouldn't have any problems with that.

Explore DHL, Fedex, and UPS. But I would ask how many CARTONS for your batch of games. Under 5 cartons may be reasonable... but I've gotten quotes for 3 CARTONS about ~$900 USD. I realize this is 1,500 boxes (which is a LOT) ... But still. It ain't CHEAP!

So while you may use those "standard" delivery companies... Just be certain to get QUOTES before. Because you may be surprised as to the COST of doing business with those delivery companies.

Just be aware of the pricing... Don't get surprised before choosing the BEST possible method for your project. Cheers!

Note #1: Aside from how many units per carton, you also want to know the carton WEIGHT. That also will factor into the pricing of the other shipping choices. Mind you in my case they are all EMPTY boxes with FOAM... So super light... Having cards and other components may be a bit heavier and therefore more costly. Again it's for you to do your due diligence and figure out the best possible option...

questccg
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And why is this important???

Because to your own SHOCK ... The cost of producing GOODS in China may be LESS expensive than the cost of SHIPPING the goods. Don't be surprised. I have family that worked in the clothing industry of a warehouse as the lead shipper... And he confirmed with me... In many instances the costs to ship goods are equal and in some cases HIGHER than the value of goods...

What matters is volume, order size and margins.

So if you order a MOQ you offer free shipping. Like 1,000 units gets free shipping directly to their warehouse... Things like this that make sense. But not for one-off sales. In one-off shipping must always be paid by the consumer.

Just a bit of background to fill-in the gaps concerning shipping... Cheers!

Note #1: So if it costs $10 USD to make, the shipping can cost $15 USD to ship to the consumer + Freight another $4 USD... We're talking about ~$20 USD to SHIP and HALF (~$10 USD) to make it (whatever it may be... a game for example).

So you can see HOW "expensive" shipping really is. And that's a major issue that drives up the RETAIL price point ... because it's not just $10 USD to make... It's ~$30 USD to make and ship.

Again just trying to share some research that I've done and experience with some of the campaigns that I've worked on.

Note #2: TGC has better shipping prices in the USA. What I mean is that it is LESS expensive to ship from TGC to the consumer than it would be from a warehouse. TGC has very competitive pricing when it comes to shipping (again in the USA). So using TGC you may get a better price-point than using USPS and other shipping companies.

Note #3: The one thing that I worry about when dealing with Traditional Distribution and FLGSs ... Is WHO pays the shipping??? I mean for the Distributors, they can order a MOQ of 1,000 units. I guess on that type of order, the publisher swallows the cost of shipping the order to their warehouse. But again that eats into your OWN margins.

Stores typically from what I've seen don't PAY shipping. This is a good thing to remember... They TOO have a MOQ with Distribution and can buy a minimum dollar ($$$) quantity to get FREE shipping. They just don't DROP-SHIP a game and the store sells it. It's all about the MOQ in terms of dollars that needs the sale to be ... So that the STORE can qualify for FREE shipping...

That much I know. What the exact NUMBERS look like... That IDK! Again this is not from real experience... It's more from conversations, chats and researching ... To see HOW it work.

I know some website support DROP-SHIPPING meaning you order from a online store, then the order is sent to the manufacturer and they direct-ship the order to the customer... But this is NOT in the Board Game Industry. It was in the Car Parts Aftermarket... Car accessories to bling your car out with all kinds of accessories like lights, neons, spoilers, etc. Not the traditional parts like Brakes, Oil and Wipers... The fancy extra stuff...

And usually the parts are rather EXPENSIVE to start with. We're talking about a MINIMUM of ~$100 USD per order. So I guess with better margins and higher costs, that industry can AFFORD to DROP-SHIP.

Anyhow this is neither here-nor-there... I'm just relaying you some info... And you can discuss with whomever has a clue in this business...

Note #4: I've also seen Catalog Ordering for Franchise stores in the Aftermarket Car Industry. So the Distributor would put out a Catalog each year and the franchises would SELL from the Catalog and the orders can be gotten in a matter of a Day or two. Again IDK in these cases WHO was paying for shipping from the Distributor to the store... Because it was all consumer-based orders. Maybe the shipping is factored into the pricing (could be possible) in any event stores only bought from ONE (1) Distributor and they (the stores) would retail and INSTALL the parts.

So the stores were servicing their customers too. So, they probably make LESS on the PARTS and charge like 100% servicing for installation... And they had annual franchise fees which could be like a percentage of their yearly income (IDK again not sure about how franchising was done...)

Clearly these businesses had the advantage that you REQUIRED an installer to put the parts onto your vehicle. So the franchises would make monies on the installation.

Anyways that's another market and you can see that there are multiple sources of revenue which could explain how these businesses operate and survive...

Note #5: In the Aftermarket Car Parts, like NAPA ... They can place an order for a part from the warehouse and get it in a matter of a couple of hours. IDK who pays the driver salaries... But they do have people who go to the warehouse and pickup the parts and drop them off at a retail outlet.

I think the Distributor in #4 also had their own drivers too. I'm not sure what are the the time delays... Like a day or so versus traditional parts that can take a half-day or so.

Again I know about the Car Accessory industry because A> Family used to be in the business and B> I deal with NAPA outlets to buy wipers, car filters and stuff. Same goes with a Car battery that took at most 30 minutes to deliver it and get it installed in my vehicle. It was FAST. Again the mechanic was making monies on the installation and replacement of my old battery...

questccg
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Direct-To-Consumer is GREAT because...

Instead of just earning all the monies from COST to MSRP ... You can also do a bit of factoring with the shipping costs too. Once you've got product and it's "somewhere"... If you ONLINE Direct-To-Consumer sales you can make some pretty interesting decisions.

Like maybe charging $10.00 USD more for shipping. So instead of selling for $25 USD ... It now goes for $35 USD with shipping subsidy in the Continental USA. If you are making 100% retail, you can afford to ABSORB some of the additional costs associated with shipping to customers.

And that's where TGC comes into play. On an order of 80 or 100 units, you get economies of scale and you still have room to manoeuvre with the shipping costs and the MSRP.

So ADDING $10.00 USD as a shipping subsidy, you need to be sure that covers your basic shipping PLUS leaves you some PROFIT in the tank to make this an reasonable income making process ... If you expect to spend your time doing this. If it costs like $15 USD ... You eat $5 USD meaning that you now only make $20 USD per game. If it costs you $16 USD to make via TGC... That means you're only squeaking out $4 USD for all the effort that you put into MAKING the game, warehousing the game, fulfilling the game... All that extra TIME and EFFORT needs to make it worth your while.

By only making $4 USD per game and having 100 units... That means in the end you make $400 USD! Is that WORTH it???

That's why I agree that SHIPPING and TGC COSTS are hard to earn monies by which you can make income as a business that operates and pays YOU as its owner...

In any event... When you do more MATH and figure out the cost of this and that... You'll see and wonder WHY the Board Game Industry is so HARD to make a living off ... Let alone break-even in some instances.

Cheers!

genepool
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Updates and numbers

Hello all - I have a few updates to share:

I got quotes back from Gameland and AdMagic. AdMagic was much more expensive.

Gameland:
$3.29/unit @ 500 units ($2.07 for 1000)
Shiping (they didn't mention FOB, just CIF and DDU which are new to me):
CIF to Orlando: $495
DDU to QML: $1297
Shipping would take 1 month
Air shipping is available and takes 1 week but is very expensive (I didn't get a price yet)

This adds up to just over $2k for 500 units to get to the warehouse, which is in my budget. I'm still waiting for a fulfillment quote, so I don't know my landed cost yet.

AdMagic:
$8.68/unit @ 528 (they also can go as low as 250 units at $2.85/unit)
Shipping (not sure what the terms are):
$2,262
Estimated to take 45 days
They also can do air shipped for 250 units for $1625
Q/A - They also charge $630 for a digital printed sample, which seems high to me. Gameland has some Q/A process, but I'm not sure if it is equivalent or if there is an additional cost involved.
This puts my total cost at over $7k, which is way over my budget.

I also got quotes for various testing services through AdMagic, which are all about $300 each.

I spoke with a local store and they liked my game and offered to retail some copies, either at wholesale or as consignment. I hadn't thought of consignment before, and need to get more details, but this might be a good way to go. They suggested a price point of $20 - $25, though other card games in a similar sized package in their store are at $15, so I'd be competing with those.

Regarding wholesale, apparently I need some kind of wholesale license so as not to charge tax for wholesale sales. I didn't realize this, and am not quite sure how to get it.

They also mentioned that store sales are basically non-existent after the holidays, which seems like my biggest constraint.

So where does this leave me?

Well AdMagic is to expensive. Gameland has promise, but I'm worried that I won't get the games in time. Apparently most US ports have 50-100 ships waiting to unload, and it's just getting worse. There is a chance air shipping option might make the timing possible, but the added cost might be too high.

So I am thinking I start with TGC, doing a bulk order to handle my KS fulfillment (116 games sent to 98 addresses, 90% of those in the US). I can order some number of extra games at that 100+ bulk price just under $16 which I can bring to local stores that offer a consignment option, since wholesale won't work at that price. I can also do online sales through TCG, which has a base price of $21 and TGC gets their cut, so that isn't great, though I'll try to do the TGC crowd sale too.

The question is, how many extra games to I order? I'm thinking 30 - 50. I'm also wondering if it makes sense to send some of those bulk-priced games to a fulfillment center so I can also sell on amazon or other direct sales options and not worry about shipping myself.

If things go well, I can consider doing an overseas print run next year.

questccg
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One small comment

I read everything and I'm not sure about all your shipping and costs and all... But NEVER sell on consignment! It's much better to get a wholesale price point (if possible with TGC... Not sure it is...) The main reason for this is that EVEN if the store makes money on the transaction... They WON'T push your product over products they have "invested" by paying for inventory of other games.

Meaning that consignment sales are "low priority" in getting sold. The store doesn't have to sell anything and then in-the-end lose nothing either when you need to re-coup your merchandise.

I had one store that I tried this at: I dropped of 50 Booster Packs and thought they'd put them in their counter for sale... Nope. They did absolutely NOTHING. A couple months later when I came to check on sales, they asked me to take back the box (unopened).

They made ZERO effort to market and sell my Booster Packs in their store.

And so that is very BAD... I would strongly urge you NOT to go the consignment road... Selling to stores is ALREADY HARD. Don't make it EASIER for them to "reject" the product by not making any sales.

Again your mileage may vary (YMMV) this is just a friendly warning. What is the worst that can happen: you bring inventory and nobody cares enough to put in on the shelf to sell. Been there, done that. This also was at a local store... Granted the owner seemed a bit aloof and didn't think that highly of the kids that would buy and play in his store...

Unless you have a SUPER rapport with the business owner... Well even then that could strain the relationship if you feel like they didn't take your product seriously.

Cheers!

questccg
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Sometimes it's just a matter of "Bottom Line"

Again the storeowner is running a "Business". And so whatever he/she has in inventory they SELL. Obviously things with a RETAIL Markup of MORE than 50% is products that stores will promote first. Most products (think games) are at the 50% retail markup.

Some are at 40%... Maybe the smaller games like LCG packs and such. Could allow for tighter margins.

But the "Bottom Line" is if the storeowner sees things this way, he/she will do very little to put the spotlight on a product which is on consignment.

That's something for you to do too... It'll make you seem MORE PROFFESIONAL is to DISCUSS the spot for YOUR product. Talk to the manager or owner and ASK them where do they see your product IN THEIR store. Is it AT THE VERY BACK of the store with some of the less popular titles or is it IN THEIR display casing where they feature Magic, Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh! cards (probably not since your game is not a CCG/TCG) and that spot is reserved for those type of card games...

Here's something you can TRY. DO ON-CONSIGNMENT but NEGOTIATE FIRST that your product will be in the display counter right next to the cash register... Never tried this kind of negotiation. You can do it since it's no skin off their back (on-consignment) and in a featured location (prime for impulse buys). That could maybe be some kind of "compromise".

Better location and no commitment to buy up-front.

Again I'm not a snake-oil salesman ... But talking with the manager even an employee to get a feel what you can work out. Like take for example the DISPLAY CASE at the cash register. If you ask an EMPLOYEE they may say they're not sure. That gives you a reason to speak to the MANAGER. So it's a way to increase your "presence" in-store and feel-out someone with a higher ranking in terms of business dealings...

Or if you ask an EMPLOYEE and he responds something like: "The display case is only for Magic, Pokemon or Yu-Gi-Oh! cards"... Then you can say nicely: "Hmm... Would it be possible to discuss this with the store manager???" I'm very poor in SALES. You've got to be very quick to size up situation and the level of interest with the parties you get to speak with.

USUALLY on-consignment is VERY BAD. I can tell you HORROR stories... Like COSTCO ordered a ton of HIGH QUALITY and PRICY women's wear and hardly sold any stock. They returned the merchandise in the boxes they had received the goods in... Let me tell you it was a real SHIT SHOW! And this is for a HIGH END clothing that COSTCO was getting for great prices that just didn't sell. Again ON-CONSIGNMENT.

Again a friendly warning... It may work for you. Just saying I've both personally and have second-hand experiences and none have been good (when it comes to selling on-consignment).

questccg
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I just wanted to add...

I'm not 100% sure about all your figures... That's mostly something for you to figure out what works best. I can't possible tell you what you should do with YOUR game.

I can share experiences, tell you what has/has not worked for me and so forth...

Now from my own perspective, this whole "I can't get a wholesale price" because I am using a POD service is very much a reality. But for me, IF I was in your shoes, I'd aim to make like $2 per game and give the most reasonable price possible.

If it costs you almost $16 per game ... And that is with a volume of 80 to 100 games... Well then realize that IF you make like $2 per game that brings the price to $18. But in the USA, at the POD service you must factor in shipping to the customer's door. That's like another $8.

So if you factor all of that in... That gives you a RETAIL price point of $26...

Now if we massage the figures a bit... Like $29 RETAIL, WHOLESALE is $19 that gives you $3 per game and the store makes $10...

Put it ON-CONSIGNMENT and negotiate a GREAT location in-store for your product such that you can drop off maybe 6 boxes of your game (per store). You're using the Small Pro Box, right? That's nice 5 stacked and 1 facing the customer.

Their not GREAT figures... But I think the store will understand you are TRYING to make some semblance of giving them as best of a price possible. That's what I would TRY to do...

40% RETAIL would mean $17.40 ... And that is just above your COST. Squeaking a couple extra bucks your way ... Because it's on-consignment, may make some sense and afford you the opportunity to be in-store.

Is $29 too high of a RETAIL price point??? IDK. TBH it's not unreasonable ... but it's not the greatest deal. If you look at it in another way, nobody is happy with their margins ... And that means you've got a reasonable compromise for everyone.

Again ... These are just some IDEAS you can play-off of and see what makes sense for you.

Cheers!

genepool
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compromise

Thanks again for insight from the trenches quest! And more numbers games. Your point about consignment is something I'll definitely keep in mind.

Unfortunately I don't have much of a choice right now if I want to make any sales this year, as I have to go through TGC to have the games in time. Luckily I was speaking with the owner of the store who really liked my game and mentioned setting up a display, so hopefully it will be prominent enough, though at my margins it will be more for exposure (and a success metric) than making much profit.

Here's the numbers I've calculated:

Ordering 20 games at the 100 bulk price (piggybacking on the KS order):
Print cost $15.29
Shipping $22
Taxes $14
Total cost to me $342
Cost per game $17.09

So $17 is more realistically what I am looking at.

The store said they would sell it for between $25-$20, so I don't think I can suggest a $30 price tag. Even if they accept only a 30% discount (instead of %40) off of a $25 price point, I only just break even.

If I go the consignment route, and IF I sell all 20 games at $25 I make $158. I NEED to sell 14 to break even, so it puts the burden on me instead of the store to make sales.

I'll speak with the store owner again with these numbers and see which way they want to go.

Beyond local sales, I calculate I make about $3.40 per game sold on TGC at a price tag of $25.99 (not including shipping + taxes), which isn't great, but I'll take it for now.

I also looked more into selling in other online stores. I got quotes from BlackBox and EasyShip to see how much it would cost to store 50ish games with them for fulfillment if I sell through my own store or Amazon, and their fees added up to too much.

However, it looks like I can go the Amazon Seller route, which includes fees of about $4 per game sold, which gives me a profit of $1-3 (depending on a TGC bulk discount level) at a price of $25 not including tax and shipping. I might be able to do something like $30 free shipping, but I'm not sure what Amazon's shipping costs are, so that might help or hurt me.

So that's my basic plan for now and we'll see how it goes, and I can repeat the parts that work best.

I'm also going to try to send games out to get reviewed, which is about a $20 cost per review (or double if they request 2 games) which isn't cheap, but seems worth it. Any suggestions on getting reviews would be helpful!

Things are coming together. Thanks again for all the input! I'll keep updating how things go so others can continue to learn from my experiences, just as I did from others before me.

genepool
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My Kickstarter cost

BTW, I calculated how much it will cost to fulfill my KS backers through TGC. Since I'm stuck using TGC instead of overseas manufacturing, it makes sense to use their BOF service, which is complimentary. Here's the numbers as I can best estimate:

Kickstarter fulfillment via TGC
Cost per game $15.29
Avg shipping (?) $5
Avg taxes (?) $2
Total $22.29
Fulfillment fees $0
Games shipped 116
Total cost $2,585.64
Kickster funds $2,322.12
Net -$263.52

Sadly, I'll be paying my own money to get my games to my backers. Hopefully my estimate on average shipping and taxes isn't too low (it's based on some test orders I queued up), or my losses jump higher.

The lesson is this - when doing a kickstarter campaign, try to get your production cost estimates as accurate as possible, and do NOT discount your backer tier amounts! I was worried I wouldn't get enough backers, so I made my reward amounts quite low. Coupled with my production estimates being off by about $3, I'm paying for it now. I also had a limited quantity tier with a very low price (only $9 for the full game) to try to jump start the campaign, but I offered way to many at that level (30).

Well, it was my first time, at least it's not a huge loss, but it is deflating to do soooo much work (I did my own art as well) and not only not get some reward, but have to pay out instead. Originally, I intended to use the Kickstarter to cover artist fees (around $500) but that plan fell apart so I did the art myself, which has gotten lots of compliments from strangers, so maybe it was a good thing and I don't have that cost as an additional loss.

The positive spin on it is that over 100 people will be playing my game, which is one of the big things I wanted, and maybe it will spread from there.

questccg
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Wow ... That's actually very unfortunate!

I don't know of any Taxes except for Shipping Insurance... But that would probably get lumped into "Shipping"... Which would make it closer to $8 USD the amount that "projected" when talking about sales and on-consignment.

Either way it seems like some losses from that pricing and the $10 USD Reward Level that you had offered. Like you said, you wanted to ENCOURAGE backers to support. And while that is completely a good IDEA, it comes at a loss (in terms of revenue).

I wouldn't be surprised if many KS campaigns go that way.

People expect you to GIVE things away. Now with the costs of container shipping going 3x to 4x ($5,000 USD to $20,000 USD) ... The price of everything is going UP! Plus there are going to be HUGE delays from ships in ports that need to be unloaded too! Not a great time to be making things happen...

But I know how you FEEL. Sorry to hear that you will be OUT-OF-POCKET.

As a FIRST campaign you'd want to make some monies... It depends on what you DO NEXT...! Is this the end of the Design-Bug... Or are you now that much more interested in offering an "Expansion" to your game...???

Adding some NEW cards to spice-up the game a bit... IDK. I haven't looked at your game in detail. But most games can be "expanded" upon! Maybe a Booster Pack to encourage people to BUY with a NEW set of cards... Could be profitable and "FUN" too! (lol)

If you want to CONTINUE... Don't give up! Cheers.

questccg
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Surveys and Pledge Managers

Have you included the COST of Shipping in your REWARDS??? I don't see anything about SHIPPING. As such you could have a Pledge Manager and send out SURVEYS and charge SHIPPING in-addition... So maybe add $9 USD to shipping and the game would cost Backers $25 USD...

Gamefound has no Setup Fees and only charges ~3% CC fees (2.9% + $0.30).

I know it may be a bit LATE... Your KS ended in July 2021... We are in October 2021...

The SURVEYS would have allowed you to COLLECT monies for SHIPPING! You lose 3% but heck that's better than losing a bunch of monies from your personal earnings.

IDK because I can't see the SHIPPING COSTS??? If they were included, HOW MUCH were they? You page talks nothing about SHIPPING except that it would be handled by "The Game Crafter". If you charged for shipping ... You are done... But that means you have EXTRA monies for shipping...! That should include insurance too...

I'm not sure if you're being 100% honest with us... The shipping or lack there of shipping fees ... Might mean you could TRY to have a SURVEY and ask backers for $9 USD for shipping... IDK. I'm just saying... I'm not sure about all the details...

Is it $10 + Shipping (already charged) or was that $10 INCLUDING shipping??? Don't know the details so I can't help any more than I already have tried to help...

genepool
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stepping back

If you want to CONTINUE... Don't give up! Cheers.

<3

I do have some ideas for an expansion, and probably will pursue that next year... and learn from my mistakes!

Have you included the COST of Shipping in your REWARDS???

I have. I wasn't sure how shipping worked when I set up my campaign (this was my first time). I looked at other similar campaigns and did my best to use TGC to estimate shipping costs to different locations. So the reward tiers are the level they say plus an extra shipping amount - $5-6 US and $11-16 International (this probably doesn't show up on the ended campaign). So the numbers I posted already include backer's payments for both pledge and shipping.

I guess it's too late for a pledge manager this time, but I'll definitely consider it next time. I didn't fully understand how it worked before.


After thinking about my situation for a few days I'm changing my strategy.

The options are:

  1. Use the KS funds to do KS fulfillment via TGC. This will use up all the funds (and I have to pay a small extra amount) and I have no extra inventory but I can sell via TGC for a very small margin of profit, and might be able to do consignment for a small margin of profit.

  2. Use the KS funds to manufacture through Gameland and use QML for warehousing and fulfillment. This will leave me with over 350 games inventory that I can try to sell online and retail at a better profit. The downside is that they won't be available until January or later (due to shipping backlogs and my late start), which means I miss the holiday sales entirely and my KS backers have to wait a really long time.

At first I was going to do option 1, but it feels bad to go through all the trouble of designing, funding and producing the game to have very little to show for it in the end. I'm changing my mind to go with option 2.

In order to mitigate the drawbacks in timing, I'm going to offer all my KS backers the PnP version of the game right away, plus access to the Table Top Simulator digital version, plus offer a large discount through TGC (if possible) if any backers really, really want a POD copy sooner than the manufactured ones will be ready.

As for holiday sales, I'll probably sell through TGC (at my small margin profit) to test the waters, and make a small order to experiment with local game store consignment during the holiday times, then I'll be ready to go for next year when the manufactured games are ready.

So that's my plan. It is a compromise for everyone, but I'm trying to make it fair.

genepool
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Never mind

Ok, so I updated my actual costs for the Gameland approach and have realistic numbers:

Kickstarter fulfillment via Gameland + BlackBox:

Manufacturing costs $1,645.00
Extra fee $250.00
Freight $495.00 (this number might actually be $1297 for DDU vs CIF, and I'm not sure which one to use)
Testing $0.00 (not going to bother, marking game at age 13+)
Fulfillment fee $250.00
Warehouse (monthly) $25.00
Packing per unit $2.45
Landed cost per unit (w/o shipping) $8.87 (for remaining games after KS has been fulfilled)(calculating 3 months of warehousing)
MSRP $24.99
Profit per unit $16.12
Cost for KS fulfillment $810.87 (includes packing and shipping 116 games to 98 addresses, some US some international - note not sure how taxes are calculated, maybe that needs to be included too)
Total costs $3,475.87
Out of pocket (after KS funds) -$1,153.75
Potential profit if all remaining games sell at MSRP (calculating 3 months of warehousing) $6,190.36

The fulfillment numbers come from BlackBox's quote. I don't have a quote from QML yet, so these numbers might be a little off. Also I hope my math is right!

I was surprised to see that I'd have to front over $1k. My earlier estimations had thought my KS funds would cover all costs. So basically going this route is equivalent to paying about $1k for about 400 games out of pocket, and having to wait until at least January, compared to paying $300 out of pocket and taking lower TGC profits. With an upside of just over $6k if everything goes smoothly and everything sells at MSRP, this approach doesn't seem worth the trouble.

Now that I have all the numbers and can make a fair comparison, the TGC route wins, and I've learned my lessons and can hopefully do better for the next game or expansion.

questccg
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My advice in a NUTSHELL...

I think TGC is your better DEAL. You produce 200 units. Ship 84 HOME and TRY to sell via your FLGS (Friendly Local Game Store) and you can set-up some online sales via Amazon or your own website.

Why I say this?!

Try to KEEP it as simple as possible. Don't go into over $1,000+ USD in a loss with a bunch of additional fees like storage and warehousing fees which will eat up any chance of breaking even. Sure I know you've got like $5,000 USD in terms of potential inventory and profit... But it's a LOSS ATM.

If you only lose $200 USD with TGC and can SELL 84 x $25 USD given the COST and such you make $800 USD with little hassle. Okay maybe you need to pay some Amazon fees or setup a website or make a deal with a local store...

TBH you will get economies of scale on the SHIPPING to your home for those 84 units. So it will be LESS than $5.00+ USD per unit (on the average).

Bottom line: through TGC and buying 84 extra units... Puts you about $500 USD AHEAD (in the Black)! Work it out... You'll see that I'm in the right figures with some extra inventory.

Do some more math and get back to us... If you can make like $500 USD selling via a website... I would go that route. Amazon has high fees especially around Christmas. You could TRY to sell in January via Amazon and save some extra fees too... 84 units is not the end of the world to sell online.

Cheers and do let us know what you decide to do in the end...

genepool
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I think TGC is your better

I think TGC is your better DEAL

I think you're right

SHIPPING to your home for those 84 units

Just a question here - I assume you're implying I would have to store, box, and mail out those 84 copies myself, right, regardless of if I sell them through my own online store or FLGS? I've been resistant to needing to run to the post office and deal with packaging, but maybe it isn't such a big deal?

questccg
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COST of doing business...

genepool wrote:
> SHIPPING to your home for those 84 units

Just a question here - I assume you're implying I would have to store, box, and mail out those 84 copies myself, right, regardless of if I sell them through my own online store or FLGS? I've been resistant to needing to run to the post office and deal with packaging, but maybe it isn't such a big deal?

If you sell to a FLGS, just pop SOME of the units into the car and drive to the FLGS... Unless they are not in proximity of your home. I just thought the FLGS you were talking with was in your neighborhood!? I think per store based on your box format, they could handle like 6 games each store...

For online sales, yeah you can use ULINE.COM to order supplies such as 100 bubble wrap envelopes: S-9985 = Self Seal Bubble Mailers 6" x 10". 250 Quantity for $42. Which equals $0.50 USD an envelope ($42 / 84 = $0.50).

So it's $0.50 for the envelope, and then S-21845 = Labels. 1800 for $31. Which equals $0.37 ($31 / 84 = $0.37)... But you have PLENTY left over for address printing. So it's more like ($31 / 1800 = $0.02 each)...

However you require a Home Printer (Laser or Inkjet) for label printing.

You can also get "return address" labels too... S-16989 = 10,000 for $31.

Buy stuff you can re-use for later orders too... If you sell all your 84 units via a FLGS or online (website or Amazon).

IDK if you can BUY from ULINE.COM because in Canada they ONLY sell to "businesses" not consumers. Otherwise you need to go to Staples and the pricing is much more EXPENSIVE.

There's another advantage of owning and dealing with a business. Plus you can deduct all these purchases from the bottom line as expenses (COST of doing business).

I personally THINK that USPS will be less expensive than UPS, Fedex, and DHL. But it's up to you to do some of the leg-work if you expect to sell or send parcels to Amazon.com (for example).

It's not a 5-second affair. It takes proper planning and figuring out how much inventory you want to send to Amazon.com, how much to sell to the FLGS in your area and then keep the remainder for re-orders (from the FLGS) or see if you can sell via a website too...

Would be nice if Jason (@jay103) would be around since he has done all of this with "Heroes & Treasure". He has sold via Amazon.com, he sells online and he sells to stores (via a channel partner website).

Maybe send him a PM: In search put in jay103 and from any of his comments you can see "SEND PM"... Maybe get some advice from the Horse's Mouth!

Best!

genepool
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sweet, thanks quest!

sweet, thanks quest!

questccg
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I've found another REASON why you should Incorporate!

Hmm... Would you believe it that Facebook is CHARGING "Taxes" on Ads!!! OMG this is INSANE... Lucky that I own a company and that I have GST + PST numbers which Facebook validated and gave me Tax-Free Ads... But as an INDIVIDUAL ... I would normally be FORCED to pay consumer taxes.

Insane... But TRUE!!! What is the world coming to when you have to PAY TAXES on Ads which are virtual clicks and views...???

Unbelievable.

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