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Self Publishers tell me what you think of the Game Crafters

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Dralius
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Joined: 07/26/2008

I know quite a few people have used http://thegamecrafter.com/ but I have heard very little in the way of firsthand accounts.

So I pose to you self publishers that have:

How happy are you with their service ?
Did you sell as many games as you hoped?
What did you like and what didn’t you like?
Did they live up to their promises?
Did they kick your dog?
Did they hit on your girl?

And of course anything else you would like to add.

Brykovian
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Joined: 07/21/2008
Hi David ... Not sure if you

Hi David ...

Not sure if you caught the post on my website about them from last spring: Matt's Take on TheGameCrafter

I think most of those things still apply as far as their product quality goes.

The best thing they have is their top-notch customer service. They actively work with people through their forum and chat ... and especially through e-mail. Whenever I've had something that I wasn't happy with, an e-mail to them has turned into an open-minded conversation that resulted in a satisfactory solution.

However, in order to sell a lot of copies, you really do need to have a way and a reason to drive people to their site. I think this could work well for a small publisher who builds up a niche following ... but it's not going to be the same as main-stream sales of games. I think gamers who are willing to take a chance on a POD-published game will be more loyal, but there won't be very many of them.

As an example: Jump Gate is one of the top sellers at TGC (but not the top) ... and I've already sold more 2nd Edition copies (full telescoping box, hand-assembled by me) of the game through FunAgain.com than I have the POD 1st edition through TGC.

I have some smaller games that I don't expect to land with a standard publisher that I think will work nicely in a POD format ... so, I'll be adding more games to their shop going forward.

-Matt

drktron
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the gamecrafter

I've only used thegamecrafter for prototypes so I can't comment on sales. I can tell you that I've been happy with the quality of their cards, the ease of formatting and ordering, their turnaround time and their customer service. The print registration is not perfect (but not bad) so things won't always line up exactly as you would want them. The gameboards are basically large cards of certain sizes (4x4 up to 10 x16). They are workable but not the best. The games come in a no-frills box which is quite durable but not pretty. The rulesheets are just plain unbound paper printed on both sides.

Overall I've been very happy with their service. Just keep in mind its limitations. The quality of the games they sell is quite varied from some that are well polished to others that could barely be categorized as a game. To me the inconsistant quality of the games offered is a large hindrence to the sales of those games. As a consumer I would be very reluctant to take a chance on buying a gamecrafter game unless I knew beforehand the game was worthy.

dobnarr
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Joined: 07/29/2008
I have a couple reviews of my

I have a couple reviews of my experience on my blog:

http://planktongames.blogspot.com/2010/03/thegamecraftercom.html

and

http://planktongames.blogspot.com/2010/04/tale-of-two-pod-publishers.html

Both posts are about a year old, but they are both still nearly completely accurate, both the technical stuff and my opinions.

kos
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TGC feedback

I have a few games listed on TheGameCrafter, and am working on a few more prototypes.

Dralius wrote:
How happy are you with their service ?

Very happy. A couple of my early orders had parts missing, but the staff responded quickly and fixed it up. Since then I've ordered 10+ games and haven't had any problems with parts missing.
I like the ability to add all sorts of different game parts (pawns, wooden bits, dice, etc) together with the printed material.
Dralius wrote:
Did you sell as many games as you hoped?

I haven't marketted my games, and they haven't sold. So yes, I've sold as many as can be expected. Occasionally new designers release their first game and expect it to miraculously sell copies with zero marketting... but that's not the way it works. TGC is a handy place to point people so they can buy your game, but you have to do all the marketting yourself.
(Caveat: TGC is purportedly working on a re-vamped website which is geared towards attracting customers and selling games, so I look forward to seeing this in action.)
Dralius wrote:
What did you like and what didn’t you like?

Like: Printing quality, excellent designer's interface, quick printing
Don't like: International shipping cost, flimsy boards, bland packaging
Dralius wrote:
Did they live up to their promises?

Yes. TGC has beaten their expected shipping times on all my orders.
Dralius wrote:
Did they kick your dog?

No, but there was an incident with my kitten and a d20...

Regards,
kos

larienna
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Joined: 07/28/2008
Quote:TGC is a handy place to

Quote:
TGC is a handy place to point people so they can buy your game, but you have to do all the marketting yourself.

At least on Drive Thru RPG, there is a lot of trafic, so when I send my game in sale on site wide sale, my game get some exposure, so it's indirect advertisement.

I did not try publish "Fallen Kingdoms" on the game crafters because I would have need to reformat all my components. For example, they ask to submit cards individually, while I make sheets of 9 cards per page. So I would have need to cut each card and make a seperate picture file.

Maybe for my next game, I could find some compromise that would make my components both compatible on Letter paper PDF and their format.

Another thing I realised is that since they do not mount anything, it should be impossible to make tokens.

salish99
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Joined: 02/22/2010
Good website (although the

Good website (although the ftp upload of many pictures results in the first file being ok, and all others "invalid", makes it a bit cumbersome to upload all 1 by 1).
I had my entire game set up there (ca. 112 cards), but the price was too high.
Artscow had a special fr 54 custom cards for 2 buxx plus free shipping, so I instead made 8 games for the same price there.
The website looks professional enough and we received some prototypes from other people to test through TGC, and they were ok.

dobnarr
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Joined: 07/29/2008
Not impossible to make tokens at TGC

You can print a sticker sheet on stickers that fit onto their 1" token chips. This works really well. You still have to rely on the customer doing some work peeling the stickers and applying them, but there are multiple colors of token chips, so there are lots of possibilities.

I have some pictures of those stickers applied to one of my games, Yoggity, which you can see attached to my blog post at Plankton Games Journal.

larienna
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Joined: 07/28/2008
Do they punch the stickers

Do they punch the stickers with round cutters? Or the user need to cut around the stickers

dobnarr
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I think they print on pre-cut

I think they print on pre-cut sheets. You definitely don't have to cut them - just peel and stick.

lorenoverby
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Joined: 01/05/2010
Really happy

We started making games before TGC came along, but we really didn't think we'd get them published. We just didn't know how, and we had no working capital to put into them anyway to do it ourselves.

Then TGC came along. Their customer service has been absolutely great. I can print a prototype for playtesting before I decide to publish. When I do publish, it doesn't cost me anything but my time and effort. If it sells, I make a little bit. You do need to advertise your games in some way to get some sales. We have a web site and I'm leaving in 30 minutes to play my games at Who's Yer Con.

Also, if you plan to submit your game to publishers, you can't go wrong with the site. I can order a copy of my game and have it shipped directly to the publisher. The printing quality has been great, so I can hand a publisher something besides cardstock printed on my home printer.

Probably the only thing I don't like so far are the plain white boxes the games come in. I think they'll eventually add full color boxes to the site, since they constantly add features and improve the quality of the service.

I'd definitely recommend it.

Loren Overby
Atomic City Games

EricInWisconsin
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Joined: 02/20/2011
Big thumbs-up; little thumbs-down

I used he Game Crafters to prototype a card game. They are well organized, to be sure, and treat your publishing respectfully. My first printing was GREAT. All cards were printed, with colors and image centering, dead-nuts on. The deck was indistinguishable from that of any board game I've purchased.

My second printing was off by quite a bit. I believe the card art did fall within the guaranteed specs, but it was nowhere near the quality of the first printing. What happened? I'm only speculating (because I didn't pursue getting a replacement) that printing equipment issues they had reported at their website hit my project.

Will I go back a third time? I'm ready to send my latest revised game for a new set. I trust that they will hit the high mark they set earlier. Their prices are fantastic for what you get- a deck of cards you can shuffle like any other, full color art as fancy as you want, and a process that makes it a breeze to use.

larienna
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about card quality, what kind

about card quality, what kind of printing quality are the cards? Do they need sleeving to make sure the ink does not fade away, or is the quality exactly like a commercial game?

dobnarr
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TGC Cards are good quality

TheGameCrafter cards have the same feel as thick playing cards. They're not plastic coated, but they slide against each other pretty well (a bit stickier than playing cards, about the same as typical game cards). The ink can flake off a bit under heavy use, but the ink hasn't faded at all that I've noticed; some cards get small white patches, often near the edges, where the ink seems to be flaking off, but this isn't a big deal, and I've only seen it on game decks that I've played multiple active games with. They still look good and play well even with these small spots.

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