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In need of understanding average costs before getting quotes

6 replies [Last post]
Alex Swingle
Joined: 06/06/2012

Hey there strangers, I am getting ready to self-publish my first non-book game. It's a box set format and includes a custom back poker deck, 20 custom label poker chips (willing to use blank chips if severely cheaper), and a 5 1/4'' x 3 3/4'' rulebook with a max of 40 pages (formatting isn't done with the book, but should be done soon). I want to get this product down to at least $3-$4 per unit and sell for about $12 retail. Optional items: 5 1/2'' x 4'' Plastic tray to hold deck plus tokens.

It's a very basic print run and I would like some guesstimates to have a clue on what is too much/too cheap for materials and labor when I ask for quotes. Based on the simplicity, I think I can get away with printing in the U.S., but that is only due to my book publishing experience and ignorance of game publishing.

Just from seeing some already produced products, I see $1.80 for a Bicycle standard playing deck (wholesale), Less than 13 cents for 1 13g poker chip and around $1 -2 for the book (4 color back+front, B&W interior). Weight per box weight will be close to 8 ounces and the box itself should be 5 1/2''x 4''x 1 1/4''. Now since these are wholesale prices, I expect to have these costs be lower and I'm expecting to print around 1,000 at least. I can go higher if needed. At what number will I get the best price per unit and what should I expect to pay per unit? I want the cost to be low enough to attract the widest audience possible while displaying quality.

Horatio252's picture
Joined: 03/13/2011
TGC can give you the upper end

I don't know what the costs are to publish a 1,000 copies, but you can easily get an estimate from The Game Crafter for print-on-demand costs here This should give you a high end for the price as there will be bulk discounts to printing 1,000 copies (actually The Game Crafter has some degree of bulk discounting if I recall correctly). Just my thought on a good starting place for your quest.

Alex Swingle
Joined: 06/06/2012
You weren't kidding

That was one heck of a high end. I typed in the numbers and they spilled out $16.37 (-$2.40 due to that 15% discount). Humorous for sure. They should really fix their approximate rates because it would be cheaper if I bought all the components separately and paid for shipping. Thanks for the advice though.

Dralius's picture
Joined: 07/26/2008
the only way you'll get

the only way you'll get usefull numbers is getting quotes from a number of printers. Get at least 3.

Arjo Wiggins USA
Playing cards, Board games, CCG, ect

Carta Mundi USA
Card games, CCG, ect.

Central Plains Book Manufacturing

Dallas Offset Inc.
Specializing in print runs of 3000 or more

DeHarts Printing
On demand digital printing

C.J. Krebiel Company
Specializing in economical runs 500 to 5000 books

DeLano Service
Domestic Game Printer

Eureka! Printing & Distribution
Specializes in POD printing, book & hobby trade distribution small press publishers

FRV Group
Complete game manufacturer

Gemaco Playing Card Company
Printer for card games

Portal East
Anthony Valterra
Print and manufactureing for all of your RPG, TCG, cards, board games, and minuture needs.

Small to medium run printer, binder, book manufacturer 200 to 20,000, casebound and softbound in-house.

Yaquinto Printing Company
Gina R. Williams
Board games, accessories, family games, RPG and card games.

SVH Printing Company
Commercial Printing, including game boards and rule sheets.

printers list from forum post at BGG.

Joined: 07/28/2008
I think your target goal of a

I think your target goal of a $3-$4 cost for the product with a 1,000 production run likely isn't realistic.

Further, a $4 production cost might not work with low SRP of $12. Not unless you will direct sell all of those or don't want to make a profit.

Sell through distributors will usually net you 40% of SRP. IF, and that is a big if, you can sell directly through them and not through a consolidator company that sell to them. If through a consolidator, your take is likely more around 35% of SRP.

35% of $12 is only $4.20. Pretty sure with other overhead and operational costs, shipping, etc, you will be loosing money on every unit sold that way.

With a custom box, all those poker chips with stickers, deck of cards and a plastic tray to boot, you might need to think more in the term of 5,000 to 10,000 units to get closer to the production costs you are targeting and you will need to outsource to China to get it. You can likely get it cheaper, but whatever price you get out of China, be prepared to spend at least 50-75% more than that on the logistics of getting it shipped to you from there and customs clearance. I would only deal with the companies in China through a reputable US based broker.

Either way, frankly, I can't see how a $12 SRP can possibly work.

GOB Retail

Alex Swingle
Joined: 06/06/2012
guildofblades wrote:I think

guildofblades wrote:
I think your target goal of a $3-$4 cost for the product with a 1,000 production run likely isn't realistic.

Either way, frankly, I can't see how a $12 SRP can possibly work.

GOB Retail

It will be a direct sale with no intentions of selling through a distributor. Me listing the MSRP may have given you the inclination to believe I wanted to sell this product wholesale; for that I apologize. I was asking for an average PPU because I have only printed black and white books and assumed the people on this forum would have some idea how much it costs. Your response doesn't provide the dollar and cents I'm looking for. I already listed some standard wholesale prices for items that related to the items needed, but wasn't aware how much I need to have produced in order to get to that target number.

Please provide more detail on it since I have about 2 weeks before getting my first quote and would like the facts versus dreading the potential reality of the price per unit. Thank you for your time in giving me a response.

Ludo Fact
Ludo Fact's picture
Joined: 09/22/2011
It makes no sense to discuss

It makes no sense to discuss this here as there are many variables to consider. If you need assistence, drop me a line at info(at)
(that is a general email address so it works even if I am not in the office)

Frank Jaeger
Ludo Fact GmbH

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