Key Steps for Board Game Manufacture

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Written By Madison Clarke                                                    

Published on  21 January 2022

When making a Board game, there are many different components and materials to choose from. Even in a seemingly simple piece such as a card, the paper used can have different cores, weight, and finish. Boxes are of various thicknesses and sizes as well, depending on how durable you wish the game to be, how big, or the general impression it gives. Miniature, dice, and other components are made from entirely different materials, etc. All these specifications need to be decided upon before starting the manufacturing process. Good New Games will help you understand these specifications and their costs so you can make a knowledgeable decision.

Design Files and Plan Mass Production

People work hard, or hire an artist to do the artwork. Each piece looks splendid, but it’s time to lay them out for print. At times, you will want to get as much as possible out of a sheet of paper and lower costs, and at other times you will want to have the pieces laid out in particular order. Good New Games has its graphic designers that will put your pieces together while maximizing space and laying them in the design that suits you. Good New Games will also provide you with a dedicated OneDrive link that you can add all your files up to.

This stage is crucial for the efficiency, transparency, and effectiveness of the production. In this stage, Good New Games will decide with the factory the manufacturing timeline, the worker placement, and the quality control procedures. It will limit unwanted surprises and allow Good New Games to record the progress of the game and update you instantly on every step.

 

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    A mass-produced game is not printed in the same way as a print and play game. One of the differences in the printing method used. While print and play games are printed by digital printers that use a toner moving along the page, offset printers use plates that stamp the page with desired color and design. Generally, there are four metal plates, one for each of the four CMYK colors. Each metal plate is engraved with the design of one color alone. Throughout the printing, the page moves under the four plates, and each one of them stamps the page with its designated color. Four colors are enough to make a complete picture. During this stage Good New Games must ensure that the shades and color mixes used on the plates stay consistent, so to avoid a print that comes out faded or inconsistent.

    Following the printing, we must make sure the color stays and does not fade away, even after a couple of years. For that, we put an oil coating or lamination on the paper. Both the coating and lamination are either matte or glossy. Some game publishers use coarse linen finish, where the surface of the card seems to have lines on them.

    Gluing & Sticking the Printed Paper to the Cardboard

    After the print and finish have been done, we move to the step of constructing the game pieces and box. In this stage, we take cardboard (depending on the thickness you chose) and glue the print onto it. The paper passes under big metal rollers with glue, and then a person or a machine sticks the cardboard onto it. Have you ever seen some crooked pieces in board games, uneven sides, or paper that peels off the cardboard? That is what happens if you don’t keep a close eye on the process.

    Cutting

    So, the cards were printed, the paper and cardboard of pieces glued together. Now it’s time to cut them into individual pieces, or keep them on one board and ready them for punch out. Cutting is an essential process that if something goes wrong, it has a direct effect on the quality of the game, and there is no going back if something goes wrong. The process is simple: the paper and cardboard go into a press machine. The press machine has a cutting mold attached to it with small knives organized according to the shape of the pieces. These knives need to be sharp and exact; otherwise, when a customer comes to punch out, a small part of the paper might come off the piece, or the cardboard will crack and fall apart a bit.

    Adding Miniatures, Dice and Other Components

    There are two ways to produce miniatures: one is a 3D printing machine, where the factory uses the STL file directly to print the miniature. And the second is an injection mold, where the factory first makes a wax sculpture, then creates a mold and then injects the material of the miniature (mostly pvc) into the mold and dries it right after. Both processes are done by machine, the difference is that an injection mold is much faster and much cheaper. One machine can do a couple hundred a day, where 3D printing can do only a couple dozen only. However, getting the mold is quite expensive. Good New Games cooperates with suppliers in inner cities of China, where the cost for creating mold is lower by 1000USD or more.

    If you want small trays, plastic separators, dice or anything else. There are two ways to go about it. The first is to find matching pieces that are already in stock at some factories and then buy the components off the factories for cheap. The second option is to make them from scratch (obviously it will cost more). Therefore, you need to ask yourself how flexible you are willing to be. Hero Time will ask over one hundred factories until it finds the piece that most resembles your need.

    Packing and Shrink Wrapping

    Have you ever got a game that was missing a board or a piece, did you ever open a game and found some unrelated stuff in it? These mistakes do sometimes happen and can cause a lot of headaches. Avoid it. Make sure the packaging process is well organized and that each employee knows what pieces he puts where. After each game is boxed and closed, they go through a shrink wrap machine that puts a thin layer of transparent wrapper around the game to make sure it stays new until the end customer gets it.

    Shipping and Fulfillment

    Customs, CBM, LCL, FCL, etc. Shipping is probably the most abstract and unknown of them all. How to calculate the price, who to talk to, which company or forwarded to use etc. Leave it to us. We will explain everything to you as you proceed with the order. Regarding the price, we will provide you an estimated price at the start of the project so there will be no surprises towards the end.

If you have Kickstartered your project, you probably have a list of 200 more customers, all with different addresses. Rather than shipping all the game to one address and from there to the customers, it is better and cheaper to send from the factory to the end customer. It is a great idea and will save you A LOT of money. Good New Games works closely with fulfillment and distribution agents, so all your games will get to their right place without you needing to do anything about it.

    Sit and Enjoy the fruit of your labor

    Yes. You will get your game; you will hold it, and feel immense satisfaction. YOU HAVE DONE IT. Well, not quite. Now it is time to sell it and get a return on your investments. If you have no capabilities for that, do not worry. Good New Games partnered with E Mobility Now, the third largest distributor in California. They will take your games, promote it online, place it at stores, and more.

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