The Board Game Design Course

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Game Design

How to get a board game quote from a manufacturer

If you’re planning on publishing a game, whether through crowdfunding or selling directly to stores and customers, you’ll need to know how much it will cost to have it made and get a board game quote.

If you’re running a Kickstarter campaign, you’ll want to start contacting manufacturers about 4 months in advance so that you can figure out who you want to work with, finalize your components, and price your game.

There are many manufacturers out there, so where do you even start?

Know what you need

You’ll first want to put together a list of all your components and how many of each you will need.

Also, try to figure out the size of box you will need to fit everything (although a good manufacturer will be able to help you with you this as well).

It might look something like this:

  • 50 poker sized cards (2.5” x 3.5”)
  • 20 mini sized cards (2.5” x 1.75”)
  • 20 1cm wooden cubes (5 each of 4 different colours)
  • A plastic insert
  • One rule sheet – printed on both sides (5” x 5”)
  • Game box (6” x 6”)

You can work out the details of material quality, etc. with your manufacturer once you have the basics down.

Reach out to Manufacturers

Next, you’ll want to email a number of manufacturers. I’d suggest contacting at least 5 different manufacturers, as you’ll see some differences in price, communications, and length of time to reply. All these factors will help you decide which manufacturer you’ll want to work with.

Each may have different minimum print quantities, which may be as low as 500 or as high as 2,000.

Here are some good manufacturers to start with (although you may want to research others as well):

When you reach out, let them know that you would like to request a quote and give them the name of your game. They will let you know what information they require and may have a form for you to complete.

What to provide

Once you hear back from manufacturers, send them all your specifications in the manner they have requested. If they just want a list of components, go ahead and provide that list. If they want you to fill in an Excel spreadsheet, do this to your best ability.

There will be questions about the number of colours used on certain components (like 4C/0C, which indicates 4 colours for one side and none on the other, which may be used on a game board), the thickness of cards, etc. If you’re not familiar with all the terminology, you may want to do a bit of research and ask questions of your manufacturer. This site has some basics on different care types.

If you have any unusual or unique components, provide some images so that they have a good understanding of your needs. Make sure everything is as clear as possible to reduce the amount of back-and-forth questions and potential quoting errors.

Also, let them know how many copies you would like quotes on.

I like to ask for a quote for 500, 1,000, 2,000, 5,000, and 10,000 games just so that I can look at different scenarios.

You might notice quite a bit of difference in prices per unit when you go from 500 to 1,000, as well as when the quantity increases further.

What to do once you receive your quote

If there is anything unclear in the quote or you feel like the manufacturer misunderstood something, follow-up with them to make sure you’re both on the same page.

Your quote should include line-by-line pricing for each different component. If it doesn’t, go back to the manufacturer and ask them to revise the quote to show all items. You’ll want to compare between quotes and also see what components are more costly than others, which may help you to make decisions about things to change in your game to make production more cost-effective.

When I was getting quotes for Relics of Rajavihara, there was a big difference in costs for the printed wooden blocks I needed from one manufacturer to another. It turned out that a few of them didn’t fully understand what was needed and were just quoting me on painted blocks rather than silk screen images being printed on each side. Even when I had provided exact images, mistakes were still made.

If you see vastly different pricing between quotes, go back to your manufacturers and ask questions and provide more information or images to ensure they all understand your needs. Get updated quotes whenever necessary, especially as you make adjustments to your components and component counts.

It is an ongoing process

Even after you’ve received all your quotes, there will be more back-and-forth necessary.

Maybe you decided to add more cards or changed the cubes from plastic to wood. Every change you make will impact the manufacturing costs.

You don’t necessarily want to go back to your manufacturers every few days with a new change, but you will want to update your quote when you’ve made a major adjustment.

You should also have either decided on which manufacturer you want to work with or narrowed down your list to a few front-runners. While cost is certainly a factor, you also want to make your decision based on communication, timeliness, and quality.

If a manufacturer takes 2 weeks to give you an initial quote, will they be responsive enough for you during your campaign? If a backer suggests an interesting stretch goal and you need to work out with them what this would cost to produce and if it is even feasible, will they be able to get back to you quickly?

Look at other games they’ve produced. Contact other publishers the manufacturer has worked with. Quality production and good references can definitely help in your decision-making process. It’s not worth saving a few pennies if your components look and feel cheap. Don’t cut corners. Rather, make a good quality game that will last.

Next week we’ll look at how to set pledge levels for your game to bring in the most backers.

Do you have questions about finding manufacturers for your game?

Leave a comment and let me know!

Want to know how to launch your game on Kickstarter and keep your campaign running smoothly? Download my free Kickstarter Checklist now!

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    Very nice piece. I tried getting a quote from WinGo Games, but they wanted to know what my MSRP would be. They wouldn’t give me a quote without it. I thought they just wanted to see how much I could afford, and charge as high of a price as they could. I ended up dropping them.

    Can you think of a reason why they would not give a quote without the MSRP?

    Thanks, David!

    There is no reason why a manufacturing company needs to know your MSRP. What you sell your game for is your business and will be dependent on the manufacturing price, so that is really needed first.

    You may have an idea of what you want your MSRP to be, which would let them know that your cost for manufacturing should be around 1/5 to 1/6 of this (although you may sell for less on Kickstarter for example), but they don’t need to know this. They might be trying to see if their cost is in your ballpark, but they should not refuse to give you a quote without this.

    There are PLENTY of manufacturers out there, so you can easily find many others that won’t even think of asking for your MSRP.

    hi Joe ,before you send the name of your game and drawings etc. do you need to cover as in ip property rights. And could you do a piece on how to protect your game before you publish

    Hi Kieran!

    I’m typically not too concerned about trademarking or protecting my property. Unless it becomes a huge best-seller, it is not likely that someone will be bothered to steal it. If you have your game well-documented and share it elsewhere, such as on social media, you are creating a record with timestamps and proof of existence. This alone can be very helpful in proving your ownership and the game’s originality.