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Subject: Value Manufacturers with low MOQ? rss

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Jay
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I see a lot of Kickstarter card games with a goal of only a few thousand dollars. A lot of successful campaigns get away with a few hundred backers, so they are producing around the same amount of copies. Places like Win-Go require 1,000 MOQ.

What manufacturers have low quantity minimums at a decent price?
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Derry Salewski
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They're probably producing more to sell to other people later. Not really an answer
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Justin Blaske
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I've been wondering the same thing lately.

There was one MFG that had approached me at GenCon talking about offering a 500 MOQ. I'll have to look through my papers and see what their company name was, and report back later.

The brochure seemed to have some good quality, I'd definitely consider using them.
 
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Jay
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I saw one KS today referencing www.printninja.com/. They have a 500 MOQ. I requested a quote and will report back on the price.
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Jon Moffat
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MOQ is generally lower for things like card-only games.

Also, agree with Derry. Often to make any profit at all (since margins using KS can be so low), it's good practice to use KS to cover manufacture of a normal-sized run and sell the remainder to retail.
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Greg
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Increasingly I suspect that there are creators on KS who are significantly lowballing their goals and don't have a great plan for what they're going to do if they don't overfund by the planned amount. It's something that concerns me and I wrote an article on BGG on the subject last week, but I've not really had a chance to hone my thoughts particularly finely.
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x_equals_speed wrote:
Increasingly I suspect that there are creators on KS who are significantly lowballing their goals and don't have a great plan for what they're going to do if they don't overfund by the planned amount. It's something that concerns me and I wrote an article on BGG on the subject last week, but I've not really had a chance to hone my thoughts particularly finely.


I've seen advice and accounts online where creators have said that they've noticed a bit of a boost once their kickstarter is successfully funded. A number of reasons cited were that backers were now guaranteed (assuming the creator delivers) a product rather than the campaign failing and while they lose no money, they don't get what they wanted either. Furthermore, if a campaign was successful already, potential backers were more confident it was a good buy. I guess that could be called herd mentality.

http://stonemaiergames.com/kickstarter-lesson-7-the-funding-...
I follow Jamey Stegmaier's blog and his kickstarter lessons have been immensely helpful. I constantly see his website being posted to anyone who's looking to launch a kickstarter and one of his lessons does say that a creator might be better off setting a funding goal lower than the break even point. However, he does add a lot of additional advice and calculations as well as pointing out the risks of doing so but ultimately, that's up to the creator how much of that advice they follow and how much risk they figure they are taking with a low goal vs. how much they want that successful campaign.
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Adrienne Ezell
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Try https://www.admagic.com/custom-board-games.html they have 500 domestic and 1000 overseas. Looks like they just bought PrintPlayGames to do prototypes too.

Oh, AdMagic was also very competitive price-wise and they INCLUDE Die Fees/customs/shipping/logistics to your desired bulk delivery address. It was nice to not have to add fees piecemeal and wonder if I'd missed any.

For card only games a lot of producers can do any quantity (I've ordered two to show off at events). I can come up with links if you need them.
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Jay
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I tried Admagic, but they are a bit too expensive at the 500 quantity level, but maybe that was because they included freight to Canada. With fulfillment places like SendFromChina doing the individual shipping over there the costs might be more reasonable. ... also Jamey S commented saying he was going to post a guest review on SFC soon. Hopefully these guys are legit.
 
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Greg
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mechapython wrote:
I've seen advice and accounts online where creators have said that they've noticed a bit of a boost once their kickstarter is successfully funded. A number of reasons cited were that backers were now guaranteed (assuming the creator delivers) a product rather than the campaign failing and while they lose no money, they don't get what they wanted either. Furthermore, if a campaign was successful already, potential backers were more confident it was a good buy. I guess that could be called herd mentality.

http://stonemaiergames.com/kickstarter-lesson-7-the-funding-...
I follow Jamey Stegmaier's blog and his kickstarter lessons have been immensely helpful. I constantly see his website being posted to anyone who's looking to launch a kickstarter and one of his lessons does say that a creator might be better off setting a funding goal lower than the break even point. However, he does add a lot of additional advice and calculations as well as pointing out the risks of doing so but ultimately, that's up to the creator how much of that advice they follow and how much risk they figure they are taking with a low goal vs. how much they want that successful campaign.


Oh aye, this is almost certainly the reason that people do it. I don't have a problem with the sort of careful method that Jamie advises, indeed the projects I've worked on have had goals below the break even point (The theory being "We've already spend £X on development and we're not getting that back so if we fund at a level that causes us to lose Y overall and Y is less than X we should do it) but I worry that some goals are very very far below the break even point and that creates problems. That's pretty vague, but the problems are variable from cancelled and undelivered projects to backers with unrealistic expectations generated from backing creators taking big risks and having them pay off and then expecting everyone in the field to start acting incautiously.
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Jack Poon
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x_equals_speed wrote:

Oh aye, this is almost certainly the reason that people do it. I don't have a problem with the sort of careful method that Jamie advises, indeed the projects I've worked on have had goals below the break even point (The theory being "We've already spend £X on development and we're not getting that back so if we fund at a level that causes us to lose Y overall and Y is less than X we should do it) but I worry that some goals are very very far below the break even point and that creates problems. That's pretty vague, but the problems are variable from cancelled and undelivered projects to backers with unrealistic expectations generated from backing creators taking big risks and having them pay off and then expecting everyone in the field to start acting incautiously.


Yep. I find the benefit of having kickstarter is a double edged sword but mostly, we end up with more positive than negative outcomes. In particular, kickstarter now allows for many creators to bypass publishers who otherwise would say no. This allows many creators to try out new ideas that haven't been tried before that many publishers would consider too risky. However, publishers also have a lot of experience and the supply chain built up which reduces the risk. I think that along with acting incautiously, lack of knowledge is just as dangerous and sometimes more costly. I've seen many kickstarters that had a great idea and design sounded like a manufacturing nightmare. I think as a whole, the resources available are combating this. The BGG community is filled with great posts on legal, marketing, and design advice and first hand stories. kickstarter lessons is an excellent source of better understanding how to best use kickstarter that benefits the creator and the backers. But there still is a lot of information that isn't readily available nor as easy to translate into directly what a creator should do for their project so a creator will make assumptions that may or may not come back and haunt them.
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Jake Staines
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I think the concern Greg was voicing wasn't one of whether Kickstarter should exist or be used - but rather, how carefully or rashly creators set up their KS campaigns...

To my mind his most worrying suggestion - even from a backer's point of view - is that of spiralling expectations.

Say the Dungeon Fight Smash creator, Steve, launches his KS campaign. He's talked to the manufacturer and they said that if he makes 2000 copies, they'll cost $20 each to make and ship ($40000 total) - and if he makes 1000 copies, they'll cost $35 each to make and ship ($35000 total). He figures he'll easily sell 2000 copies, so he sets his reward level at $30 to give himself a bit of profit. Then he sets his goal at $10000 (500 copies!) because he knows that people are more likely to back projects that are already funded because people are weird.

It works out, Steve gets 3000 backers, raises $90000, he can pay for everything and all his backers are happy that they got cheap games.

John comes along and looks at Steve's example, and thinks "if he can do it, so can I". He makes Road Warrior - Murder 2000 with similar printing costs, and sets up a similar campaign - $10000 goal, $30 reward level. He's taking the same risk.

But then John only gets 1000 backers. He raises $30000, which is a lot of money, but he only needs to make 1000 copies of the game. So now he has to either stump up $10000 of his own money to meet the minimum order quantity of 2000 to get the good price from the manufacturer and have a thousand copies of the game lying around, or he has to stump up $5000 of his own money to pay the higher prices at the 1000-unit level. John keeps his promise to make the games and pays out of his own pocket, but he has to sell his son's left kidney and his vintage 1982 Harley Davidson to be able to afford it.

Bob comes along and sees these two campaigns, shakes his head and thinks "I'm worried I might not get 2000 backers and I don't want to lose my house, so I'd better play it safe" and when he puts Adventures in the Dark on KS, he does so with a $45 reward level. BBG users rant for weeks about how expensive his game is and how it's a rip-off compared to Steve's game and John's game and only three people back it. Which is a pity, because Bob's game was six times as good as Steve's.





We already see this happening all the time, and it's not uncommon to see campaigns that don't fund as well as the creator would like cancelled - even if there was every chance of them meeting their original funding goal if they continued. I've seen more than one project cancel with a message like "we don't want to produce an inferior product, and since it doesn't look like we'll hit the stretch goals that we wanted to, we're cancelling".

I can see why people do it, but I find it in pretty poor taste - and inconsiderate, on the part of the project creators. Realistically, it means that the real funding goal was the end of the stretch goals, which is fundamentally dishonest to the people who have promised you money... and some of those people quite possibly forwent other luxuries in order to back your game because they wanted you to succeed. Maybe someone didn't go to a concert they'd have enjoyed or take their family on a trip on a nice day because they wanted to back your game, and now they've lost out because you lied about what your target figure was for marketing reasons.

Unfortunately there's no good solution, since there's a clear motivator for project creators to understate their goal.
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Jeremy Lennert
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In a typical auction, you have a "minimum bid" that someone has to meet in order to participate in the auction at all. Some auctions also have a secret "reserve price", and if the bids don't get as high as the reserve, the whole thing is called off and the item doesn't sell.

Maybe Kickstarters need a secret "reserve goal", and a rule that the Kickstarter won't fund if the reserve goal isn't met, even if it meets the public goal.

Naturally, this would be an admission that the public goal is a completely fictional number that exists purely for purposes of psychological manipulation (just like the minimum bid in an auction with a reserve price). But if we can't realistically make the backers resistant to manipulation, and we can't realistically force the people running the campaigns to be honest and up-front about their goals, then maybe that's the least of all evils. At least Kickstarter could formally and officially warn potential backers that the public goal is meaningless.

I've always felt that reserve prices in auctions are a bit dishonest, but people use them anyway.


-=-


Another idea would be some option for the people running the campaign to reduce the cost of backer rewards as stretch goals are met. So Bob could say "the game costs $45 now, but if we reach X total then I can get cheaper printing and will retroactively reduce the price to $30."

There's a lot of reasons that's complicated, of course.
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Greg
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Thank you Jake, that's an exceptionally clear rendition of what I was talking about

I don't see the 'reserve goal' working at all, because a creator could reveal their reserve goal and a backer could refuse to back a project that doesn't do so and everyone's got clear incentives to do those things.

Sliding cost tiers would be interesting. I'd love some automated system that let you enter three prices for a tier organised by total pledge amount and have the tiers automatically adjust to those levels once doing so would keep the total over the pledge amount. The main problem I see is that the total pledge level would periodically jump backwards which would have poor interactions with stretch goals.

e.g. If 10 backers get it for £10 each and 15 backers get it for £8 each then at 14 backers your total would be £140 but at 15 it would drop to £120. (Using small numbers for illustrative purposes)
 
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Jeremy Lennert
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x_equals_speed wrote:
I don't see the 'reserve goal' working at all, because a creator could reveal their reserve goal and a backer could refuse to back a project that doesn't do so and everyone's got clear incentives to do those things.

A backer could demand to know the creator's real goal under the current system. But the creator has an incentive to lie, and won't be caught until backing becomes a moot point (and quite possibly not ever, if his secret real goal gets met). In fact, the creator has already lied (in effect) if their real goal is different from the official public goal, so I don't see any reason they would come clean just because you asked them.

What part of that changes if we add a reserve goal?

x_equals_speed wrote:
The main problem I see is that the total pledge level would periodically jump backwards which would have poor interactions with stretch goals.

Technically the total pledge level already goes backwards sometimes, as a result of backers pulling out, so theoretically you have to handle that anyway. So this shouldn't be a technical problem.

It may still be a PR problem, but since the cost reduction would probably, itself, be a stretch goal, you'd probably just plan it out so that it doesn't interfere with your other stretch goals. (You basically just say the next stretch goal is "we have $X total and we've already done the cost reduction".)
 
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Jake Staines
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Antistone wrote:
(You basically just say the next stretch goal is "we have $X total and we've already done the cost reduction".)


Realistically, stretch goals are generally cost-reductions. They just come tied in with the requirement to buy more stuff at the same time, keeping your total contribution the same!

Unfortunately, I don't see a motivation for the project creator to stray from this formula...
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Jay
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Although I'm new to setting up a KS campaign, do you think a backer would be interested if the savings for your large quantity orders were passed on to them directly?

Ex/ The $40 they've pledged in the beginning would be dropped to $38 once 500 backers were reached or $35 once you got 1000 backers. It could be an extra incentive for a backer to promote your campaign so they get the final product a bit cheaper.
 
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Jay_PMDGames wrote:
Although I'm new to setting up a KS campaign, do you think a backer would be interested if the savings for your large quantity orders were passed on to them directly?

Ex/ The $40 they've pledged in the beginning would be dropped to $38 once 500 backers were reached or $35 once you got 1000 backers. It could be an extra incentive for a backer to promote your campaign so they get the final product a bit cheaper.

Mayday games tried a kind of reverse pricing stretchgoal structure for Chopstick Dexterity MegaChallenge 3000. It didn't reach the first price drop point so I don't know how they were planning to handle it - probably by putting up new cheaper reward levels and asking people to switch. I think it would've got messy and confusing. I don't know whether people didn't like the idea or the game, but the campaign wasn't particularly successful. (It did fund though).
 
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Greg
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Jeremy: The problem is that I forsee is that it would be hard to be a creator using the reserve goal as a hidden value in competition with other creators who were not. If the backers wanted to know the real value (and they would) they could ask for it and your options are:
Not tell them - bad because creators that do tell them have an advantage.
Tell the truth - no point in the system.
Lie about it - you lose this option for all future KS projects
In any event, if you've got any kind of stretch goal system then it should be reasonably obvious once you've passed the real goal because that's where the prizes would be. Or you'd need to take core parts of the game out and call them stretch goals to populate the gulf between the pretend goal and the real goal.

The pledge total jumping backwards feels weird, but you're probably right. I mean it jumps by a predictable amount at a predictable point so whatever else you've put into the campaign it's easy to make sure that there are no negative interactions. The appearance of the thing wouldn't be great the first couple of times because these days a total going backwards is a pretty bad sign but if it was a general system available on Kickstarter I think backers would get used to it.
 
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David Brain
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Bichatse wrote:
Unfortunately there's no good solution, since there's a clear motivator for project creators to understate their goal.
When KS started out (or, rather, during that first couple of years), I reckoned that there were three probable outcomes of any project - (a) failure, (b) success and (c) ridiculous success (10x target or more.)
In one sense (a) doesn't matter, since the brilliance of KS is that there is no charge for failure. (It's "no win, no fee" but without the need for lawyers) although that's a different argument.

But the more difficult question is whether (b) or (c) is better. On the surface, people would surely prefer (c), but it's possible that the project creator wasn't actually expecting it - hence all those delays that many early projects (and some current ones!) experience; not just in board games either.
And the users have their own biases; as noted, some people are much more likely to jump onto a bandwagon than help it over the starting line, and a rolling bandwagon is hard to stop, even if the creator would rather that it did (cf. the potato salad thing.)

But now it is clear that gaming the system is possibly more important. Setting the target is not just a case of covering the actual costs, it's about ensuring that, when people are choosing between your project and another one, they choose yours. At which point, the entire reason behind KS becomes dangerously unstable, as it can be swamped by people who are not actually funding their project, but are merely using KS as a sort of PR exercise (or minor venture capital round), meaning that those people for whom it was created in the first place become shut out.

And whilst this is generally what capitalism combined with sociopathy does (as history tells us over and over again), the 'net means that the process happens faster and faster each time.

I am not wholly despairing of KS (hey, I hope to use it myself sometime soon!), but it's clear that it is risking becoming not fit-for-purpose if those running it would prefer to pretend that they aren't responsible for what the site is used for, whilst still being happy to take the money (the Uber excuse.)

And sorry for taking the original subject wildly off-topic. I hope that someone finds some good answers to the low MOQ question!
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Jay
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I have a quote from Print Ninja that has a 500 MOQ. Much cheaper than some other places I have quotes from... but... Win-Go still dominates with a more competitive price at 1000 units. It's almost the same cost to use Win-Go and buy 1000 units.

It seems pretty hard to get that many game buying backers on KS from campaigns running now. I guess having a backup plan to sell extra copies of the game is a good idea, like Amazon or conventions.
 
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Chanan Siegel
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So what was the quote?
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Jay
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Is it bad practice to post this info? I feel like it's somewhat private and wouldn't want to harm my relationship. All these companies will give you free quotes if you describe your game components and what you need. Ones that have factories overseas have lower prices obviously. From what I've researched, 500 is pretty much the lowest MOQ to get a game manufactured and be somewhat economical. You can cut the price by quite a bit if you connect with companies like Panda or Win-Go, but they require 1000-1500 MOQ. The real headache from what I've read about is backer shipping from overseas, but that is starting to change with companies like SFC being used.
 
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Sturv Tafvherd
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Jay_PMDGames wrote:
Is it bad practice to post this info? I feel like it's somewhat private and wouldn't want to harm my relationship. All these companies will give you free quotes if you describe your game components and what you need.


Well, I don't think it would be useful info to post the actual numbers. After all, every game would have slightly different specifications. And you might even have a choice of various types of paper, wood, etc.

What is useful is what you've already commented on: that the 1000 MOQ is close enough to the 500 MOQ price to still be worth considering.

 
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Have a "cash back" stretch goal which makes the price reduction for bulk manufacture transparent to the backers.

Still may not be appealing, especially early in the project, but it should demonstrate a good degree of honesty and reduce the likelihood of cancellation for economic reasons?
 
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