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Self Publishing?

41 replies [Last post]
The Magician
Joined: 12/23/2008
cutting cost

This is interesting about cutting cost. When I started designing the game I am working on, I had in mind that I just have to have fancy game pieces and counters. I like the toys. But, my opinion on this has changed. I think having basic pawns can be just fine given that sufficiant artwork provides the player a visual of what their character looks like. For example the board has a chess feel with your basic pawn. Not expensive at all. But, when I look at my character card, I'm the rogue. See what I'm saying. Then if it sells well, upgrading game pieces would be a potential for a later time.

ReneWiersma's picture
Joined: 08/08/2008
I suggest to decide for

I suggest to decide for yourself whether you really are a game designer or a businessman. Publishing a game costs a lot of your time. This is time that doesn't go into the creative process of designing games.

If you are a game designer, then first design a good game and try to get it published by another publisher.

This introduces an extra quality check. Designers fall in love with their own designs, and this may make you blind for some of its failings, it happens to the best of us. If the game is not as good as you thought it was, publishers will reject it and it will not get published. This means you have saved yourself from wasting a lot of time and money on a below-average game compared to when you would have self-published the game.

If you are a businessman, then find a good game by another game designer and publish that. Try to specialize in one field, before moving in to the other. There are people who are can combine successfully, but they are rare.

Oh, and remember: the best way to make a small fortune in the board game industry is by starting with a big fortune.

Good luck.

The Magician
Joined: 12/23/2008
Thank you that is a really

Thank you that is a really good point. I'm happy to be reminded of this. It's important to cover all angles of the process. I plan to have a lot of play testing under my belt by the time I'm ready for publishing. Likewise, I wouldn't be discouraged if it doesn't apeal to some people. Someone mentioned starting out really small and working up. That has been my intention all along. If the turns out good enough for publishing I will probably seek a publisher. I am no bussinessman. I would get too bord with it to run a bussiness.

As, an aside, I have this vary irritating problem with my computer when I type. The curser constantly skips to a different part of the page and i find myself typing in a different sentancue screwing it up. Or different commands will be activated randomly. I could be suddenly typing in caps or have a message sent suddenly without me doing anything. Does anyone know about this problem?

truekid games
truekid games's picture
Joined: 10/29/2008
sounds like a mouse issue-

sounds like a mouse issue- your left click may be too worn out or too sensitive and is generating ghost clicks wherever you leave the cursor.

Joined: 02/06/2009
guildofblades wrote: I will

guildofblades wrote:

I will say that, in my opinion, it takes a talented designer to be a successful small game publisher. Especially a micro board or card game publisher. Because its oen thing to design a game while working on the premise that you may have any type of board, pieces or components because Hasbro or Mattel can work out all that stuff easily enough on the production end. But as a small publisher you have to work with a much more limited set of options and often have to get creative on the use and sourcing of components and designing successful games under such conditions adds more layers of difficulty to the process.

Haha, yeah. I've decided to design my card game with you guys in mind. So last weekend I worked on distilling my game down to a mere 63 cards. (Now 24 are double-sided!) It was a wee bit painfull, but I think the game is much better for it. I also decided to design my game with Icehouse pyramids in mind so that serious gamers, aka early adopters, would have to spend very little to try my game. And agian this fuled me with more ideas. So it's difficult to work with limited componets, but I think it's good exercise for the designing mind.

The Magician
Joined: 12/23/2008
truekid games wrote:sounds

truekid games wrote:
sounds like a mouse issue- your left click may be too worn out or too sensitive and is generating ghost clicks wherever you leave the cursor.

Thanks! I would have never thought of that. I have an optical mouse. That coutuld vary well be the problem and I will check it o did it again. I will check it out.

Joined: 02/17/2009
Hi JP I have a prototype

I have a prototype ready and looking for somebody in the Health Sector to review and possible take it on. I developed an educational food board game called "Discovery Foods".
Kind Regards Oliver Mueller

dungeonlooter's picture
Joined: 02/16/2009
well i can share my

well i can share my experience with you, and perhaps help you out. My game, which was just printed recently, can be see on my site at it is a pretty simple game in design, but the artwork is top notch, and the fun factor is pretty good, with a lot of replay value, and for the $9.99 price for a 90 card deck, it's not to shabby.

I did quite a bit of research, and knowing no matter what i did, i would be investing several thousand dollars, I figured i should take my time and find the best deal for my money.

when all was said and done, I used a company in Orlando, http// they have a talented in house graphic designer, who took my ideas and built the graphics for my cards. They are pretty much a one stop shop. Capable of the graphic art, card printing, instruction booklets, and tuck boxes. Now this work all comes at an expense, and of course the more decks you order the lower the cost. I personally had 1000 decks of my game printed (each deck is 90 cards) the quality is good (you can pay more for a better quality plastic coating if you want)
Be prepared to shell out between 2-10k depending on the amount of cards in your deck, and the amount of decks you order. And of course things like custom size tuck boxes have 1 time die-setup fees you need to consider in your overall bottom line.

But in the end, i am very happy with the results i got, although the game was physically printed in China, the cards look pretty awesome, and the game is a lot of fun! Sure it's not flying off the shelf, but this was more of a hobby for me.. i realize i am not going to retire on it.. but it would be nice to sell enough to make back what i have invested already.

I would recomend customizedplayingcards to others, they treated me well, they have talented people and they are a smaller company, not some huge corporation, where the little guy that wants 1000 decks is laughed at.

good luck!

rpghost's picture
Joined: 03/03/2009
10,000 foot view

I posted in my blog a summary of what's required to make a board game these days.


Red Wizard
Red Wizard's picture
Joined: 09/11/2012
Printers and Die Cutters for in house card production

Hello All,

I am on a similar track and am hoping to self-publish small runs of card games to sell at local retail outlets, conventions, street fairs, etc. I am hoping to purchase a printer capable of printing high quality images on 275-300 gsm cardstock. Hoping to spend $1500-$3000 on a printer. I realize this may be low but I am not looking for a printer with extremely high output but one that can handle the cardstock and print reliably and effectively.
I am also looking for the best means to cut said cardstock? I have been considering a craft die cutter but am uncertain if they can cut cardstock of that weight without crimping the edges. Does anyone have any experience with Ellison Die cutters? Can they handle this type of card? My budget for cutters is somewhere in the $750-$1500 range.
Also does anyone have good sources for cardstock that can be purchased in smallish quantities and comes in 11x17.
I realize this may not be the most cost effective way to get my games printed but it is important for me to be involved in the production process and I am hoping for a local branding of "Made in Portland' to help sell my games locally. I am planning on doing small print runs, releasing ever expanding and changing games and building a market with a grassroots approach. Thanks all for wonderful posts in this thread already and for any specifics you may have for me.
Tim Eisner
Weird City Games

yodazhang's picture
Joined: 12/24/2013
self production

For publishing a game, you basically have two main choices:

1) Find a publisher
2) Publish yourself

We all know the difficulties of finding a publisher. Publishing yourself is an interesting alternative, as long as you don't look for making money. Publishing yourself is very time-consuming and can cost quite a lot of money. Don't expect to earn anything first. If your games are good and you can manage to be well-known in the game-players circles, you may earn money later.

If you decide to publish yourself, you have to finance the production of your game first. Again, you have two choices:

1) Do a normal quantity like 2000 or 5000 games.
2) Do a short-run quantity like 100 or 200 games.

If you go for 1) you can estimate (for example) $10 times 2000 equals 20,000.- to pay and have your whole house full of games. Or you buy warehouse-space and leave it there for a monthly fee. For the same game, if you choose 2), you may pay $20 per game, but $20 times 100 equals 2,000.-, so much less and you can still stack them in a corner in your living-room or under your bed.

What has been said about selling to shops is totally right: They don't like small publishers, they like to order all their stock from one source. You this means you would have to get your game into the whole sellers, which means you need to have at least 5000 games at hand - and don't expect to get paid before one year is over.

So, if your money is limited, but you're dedicated: You can print your game in a small quantity, for example at they do this. You can put it on amazon so it's at least available for anyone who wants to buy it. Then go to as many board-game playing meetings as you can. And I don't mean just the big tradeshows, I mean private meetings of friends at home, or clubs. Check, and you will surely find a lot. Bring your game there, play it, and have some extra "just in case" someone wants one. This works, you can sell some games each time. Continue doing this until you have sold your 100 or 200 games and see what the reaction is. Do you get orders? Feedback? Now you can decide to print another 100, or maybe 2000 if you think you can sell them. Or, better idea maybe: Print your next game to create more choice. If you have 4 or 5 games at hand, the chance that someone will buy a game is much higher than if you just have one.

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