One of the key elements when producing your own board games is to have stable, good and honest suppliers.
When you can't afford 1 big supplier creating 2000 finished board games ready for the stores, you'll have to devide your production into a more complex pipeline.
There's no question this is the most expensive way creating board games in the long run, but while you're starting up and making your way to the board game stores - this may be the only way around it - if you don't have 20-30.000 dollars to start up on.
Finding the right suppliers
Finding suppliers who can and will handle small orders from you in the beginning is key to a good start on your board game production.
You probably want to devide your board game production into a few categories like:
- Print (cards, board, box print, rules, labels etc.)
- Plastic / Wood pieces (figures, dice, tokens)
- Misc (zip plastic bags, rubber bands)
- Foam / holder (the foam, plastic or cardboard holder that keeps every in place in the box)
- Game box (depends upon your needs but likely you'll have to find a company specialized in box making)
While you're producing a low quantity of games you can buy some things straight from local store, like zip plastic bags, rubber bands etc. which most suppliers only sell in thousands.
It can be very time consuming task to find suppliers for each of your board game item but there's really no way around this one.
But one thing you can do to shorten the time spend on each candidate - is to be very open and precise about what you need for your board game:
- How many can you order of each item
- How much can you pay at a time
- What can you supply to them in terms of sketches, models, prototypes etc.
- What do you exactly expects and in what quality
And make sure to have plenty of documentation (measures, pictures, descriptions etc.) - the more you can tell the easier it is for a potential supplier to estimate if that is something they can do for you.
If a supplier says he or she can't deliver - don't be affraid to ask who of their competitors might be able to help you... most of the time people want to help and will give you some new leads to chase.
When you have found your suppliers - it's all about cooperation. You should always help them as much as possible through the proces.
- Don't make them call or email you without answering
- Paid their bills on time or better yet - before time!
And do yourself a favor and spend some time on keeping your suppliers happy with a good and contructive dialog. Let them know how thankful you are for their work. Show them your final results when your board game is ready for sale :)
Even though it might seem unnessesary and a bit unfaithful towards your current suppliers - it's always good to formulate a backup plan including other suppliers.
As long as you're a small customer in their eyes you'll sometimes have to wait until they have a free spot for you... or if one of their main clients need their complete attention for 2-3 weeks.
In those cases it nice if you can go to another supplier - specially if it's the only missing part of your game. There's no fun in waiting one more month for 500 playing cards.
That's all for now - hope you can use it :) and happy gaming!
Today I'm going to talk about the sizes of board game boxes.
You might think that the box size doesn't matter as long as the pieces can fit inside. But if you don't have a buttomless wallet of money it does matter a great deal.
Let me go through the different aspects that's affected by your choice of box size.
1) Where will your board game be placed in the stores?
(a.k.a. "how many games of yours will be sold")
Getting the right spot on the shelves in a store can mean the difference between "being sold out" or "being overlooked".
You can compare it to Google Search results - it's all about being at the best spots where the most eyes look.
The example on the left is average store in Denmark. The frame indicate where you want your board game to stand. This was confirmed by the sales data I got from the store concerning some of the games (propably because I know the owners).
As you can also see on the picture - if your board game is too big or too difficult to handle it'll be place somewhere where it doesn't bother the setup (the floor or some high shelve where nobody can reach).
I measured some of the shelves in this store (they are standard equipment in most stores) and their average shelve height is about 28-30 cm. Which means that if you want to get a shelve spot your box shouldn't exceed 26-27 cm standing up.
2) Packaging / Postage - How much does it cost to wrap and send?
Make sure that you take this into consideration so you avoid having to pay 3 or 4 dollars more for a package/delivery than you have to just because the box you choose is 1 cm too wide on one side.
Remember that for every dollar you spend on a single game you have to charge between 2 or 3 dollars more for the game in the end. More expensive games are harder to sell.
3) Choosing standard boxes
We all want to create unique products and therefore it might be tempting to also create an unique box. But in small numbers this is at least ten times as costly as going with a standard box size.
For my first game - this meant I had to resize my board from 50 x 50 cm to 48 x 48 cm so it could fit into a 24 x 24 cm box. Not a big deal and in the beginning this is easy money to save.
Other lessons learn
Remember that the lid of the box has to enclose the entire box! If the lid is not deep enough the result is that the box will tilt over if place in a upright position... and you don't want to irritate your customers nor the shop keepers out there ;)
If you like me have a game with content almost 2 kg heavy - you need a strong box - test it and test it again, it must not fail!
Until next time - Happy gaming :)
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