For me personally one of the most exciting times during the development of your board game is finally getting a professionally printed copy of your prototype in your hands. While the days of multiple physical prototype iterations are slowly being replaced with digital prototyping, you will still need to make a number of professionally printed copies of your “finalized” prototypes to send to reviewers. In today’s post I will look at a couple of the options available for printing your prototypes.
Print and Play Games
Back in March of this year I was looking company to print my first set of physical prototypes with. After some research and Googling, I came across Print and Play Games. I’ve used them a couple of different times now, including that first order of prototypes back in March, and they will be making some updated prototypes for me to send to Gen Con next month. I have been very happy with the quality of their work. There were some minor mishaps along the way the first time, but all of the issues were directly related to incorrectly laid out templates, which is completely my fault. They are located in Vancouver, WA and offer a 48 hour turn around guarantee, which makes them an excellent option for last minute jobs. They do have a 12.00 minimum order amount, but once you’ve added a board, box, some cards, and all of the other bits it doesn’t take long for it to all add up.
The Game Crafter
The Game Crafter (TGC) is the world’s first web-to-print game publishing company and offers a print on demand game publishing service. TGC empowers game designers around the world by allowing them to make a board game, card game, and custom playing cards through a website. Using the latest web technology, TGC developed an online publishing platform that simplifies the design, manufacturing, and retail processes related to tabletop games.
Another thing that is neat about The Game Crafter is that they provide designers with the ability to sell their game in The Game Crafter Shop. Perspective buyers order the game, then the people at The Game Crafter will print it and send it on to the customer. When you add your game to your account, you are given the opportunity to set the retail price of the game. The profit for any game sales is split 70/30 between you and TGC and after 30 days, you will receive your payment via Paypal or as shop credit. More information on how this works can be found here
While I can’t comment on their quality, I did find their pricing a little higher than the other options. The web interface for creating the games was decent, and has built in proofing and checking build into the process which was nice.
A relatively new player to the game, mygameprinted.com is an US based company that uses a factory in China to do their printing. The do require a minimum print run of 20 which for some might be too many. For the quantity of games, their pricing is really quite good. Unlike the other two, they are also a reasonable option for the mass production of your game once funded. They also provide a sampling service where they will send you one copy of the game for the cost of shipping, giving you an opportunity to see everything first hand and provide any feedback you may have. They also offer an additional discount for Indie Game Alliance members, and are who I ended up using for most of my prototypes as well. I will likely write a follow up post once everything has arrived and I’ve taken care of getting the games into my reviewers hands.
I’m sure there are some that I’ve missed, but these seem to be the more popular ones. One popular one if you are just printing a card game is DriveThruCards.com. I’d be interested in hearing your experiences with these companies, or any other ones you’ve used in the past. If you would like to share, please leave a comment below.
That is everything for this post. Until next time, happy designing.