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Paul Nowak
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The human race, to which so many of my readers belong, has been playing at children's games from the beginning, and will probably do it till the end, which is a nuisance for the few people who grow up. - GKC
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There's been a bit of discussion here on BGG about the CPSIA (The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008). While it's implementation has been postponed several times, it is something that needs to be considered by game publishers now, especially considering the somewhat lengthy design/lead time our products have.

One cause for concern is that the Age Determination Guidelines are still up for a revision. Right now, it is assumed you can avoid testing by indicating your product is for ages 13+. However, the manufacturers recommended age may become one of several factors in determining the intended age of your product.

In other words, a preschool game won't be able to put "Ages 13+" on its box to avoid testing. Where's the cutoff? Well, it'll be up to a government employee to determine whether your game is "intended" for ages 13+ or younger.

Hype and fear and uncertainty. But there is a practical impact that is happening right now.

We were not thinking of marketing our game, Uncle Chestnut's Table Gype, to retailers. But after winning the Mensa Mind Games competition, we realized it could sell in stores just like the other Mensa Select winners. However, specialty toy stores (aka educational toy stores) are either hesitant or flat-out refused to place an order unless we had the third-party lead tests performed, even though the law is not fully in effect. It's understandable, as they don't want to have contraband on their shelves if the law ever goes into effect.

We were told by people in the industry to expect to spend thousands and wait 30-90 days for tests. But we went with www.mytoytesting.com and it cost us a fraction of that cost, plus we had the results in about a week.

Before I sent samples, though, I spoke with Doug at MyToyTesting through their "Ask the Expert" section of the website. Turns out there are material exceptions - including cloth and wood. Since we have no cardstock or plastic, that may have saved us testing costs and time.

Although, it does beg the question - if I cannot buy lead-based paints in the U.S. even if I wanted to, shouldn't American manufacturers be exempted from the lead testing? Wouldn't that encourage domestic manufacturing without an actual tariff?

So for anyone who is currently developing a board game, I thought this thread could be a place to learn from other companies' CPSIA testing experience, and share results and information you learn. I'll answer any questions I can.
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Jim Harmon
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Congrats on winning Mensa Mind Games. I've been following the CPSIA closely for the last several years since I made and sold childrens' toys and a few games on etsy.com. I have been wondering how this will impact the game market since a good majority of games have a starting age under 13.

I was considering having my games tested so I could continue to sell them but it was just too expensive, I make them by hand so quantity I sell is limited. Luckily, I found a publisher who is looking at couple of them now so hopefully I will just go that route.

Do you mind sharing how much it did cost to have your game tested?


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Paul Nowak
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The human race, to which so many of my readers belong, has been playing at children's games from the beginning, and will probably do it till the end, which is a nuisance for the few people who grow up. - GKC
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The wood pieces and all cloth parts were exempt from testing, per the lab.

I just had to have the transfer sheet tested, and the 3 dyes we used (even though they are Rit brand dye, sold in grocery stores). It was just $50 per component, so $200 total.

It's definitely worth asking what actually needs to be tested, especially if making by hand.
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Travis Worthington
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2010 Releases ........................................ The Resistance, Haggis & Triumvirate ..................................... Now accepting submissions for 2011 releases ........................................ www.IndieBoardsandCards.com
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Start Rant

This is one of the biggest knee jerk laws around.

I don't think lead has been used in the printing process for years, and books are exempt from testing, but a game board that is printed on the same machines as the books do?

I doubt this law has had much impact on big businesses - other than creating a boon in the testing market. Samples are never going to fail, even if the manufacturer is using lead as the sample copies wouldn't.

Unless a game is clearly marketed to small kids, I don't see anyone objecting if the game has the 13+ label on the box on the box though. For speciality games that is fine, but as you get more mainstream people aren't going to understand that most 8-10 year olds are capable of playing the games that say 13+ (at least with their parents involved).

End Rant
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eric hanuise
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T Worthington wrote:
I doubt this law has had much impact on big businesses - other than creating a boon in the testing market. Samples are never going to fail, even if the manufacturer is using lead as the sample copies wouldn't.


Actually it has a big impact on big publishers, and that's the reason why they pushed for this law : it gives them an edge by making market entry more difficult for newcomers.
The big houses such as Hasbro, mattel, ... obtained exemptions allowing them to perform in-house testing instead of independent testing.
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Travis Worthington
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You are right. By impact I meant that it doesn't change what they were doing already, it just makes it harder for small companies to compete.
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Paul Nowak
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The human race, to which so many of my readers belong, has been playing at children's games from the beginning, and will probably do it till the end, which is a nuisance for the few people who grow up. - GKC
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BoardGameGeek » Forums » Board Game Design » Board Game Design
Re: The CPSIA and Board Game Design, Publishing and Manufacture
Welcome to BGG, MyToyTesting!

What would be involved in testing cardboard pieces or cards for CPSIA compliance?
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