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Subject: How to proceed? rss

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Mark Hadley
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I'm getting into card game design, and recently got an initial print run of one of my games, "Prospect!", from a print on demand service. My next step is to see if I can get any copies of the game sold, but to be honest I have no idea what to do from here. I already registered a company name but I am now entering into unknown territory from this point forward. Besides that, I only have 9 copies of the game right now, and the only way I could really make more of them would be to take preorders somehow so that I'd have funds to order more prints. Does anyone have any suggestions on how to proceed from here?

("Prospect!" is a gold-rush-era game, by the way, where you have to stake claims, mine and sell gold, and hire gunmen both to protect your claims or jump other players' claims. I'll post a picture of it when I get the chance.)

My other question is: I have another card game that's almost ready to go, but it requires a very specific size and print for the cards and everything has to line up properly. The PoD company has its limitations in this regard, so I'm trying to see if there's a better way to do it, and I could use any suggestions to this end.
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Christian Sinclair
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I don't have any words of experience of what to do next, but congratulations on what you have already accomplished.

At the minimum you should register your game here on BGG. Type in pre-orders in the forum search and you may see how other small publishing units have done it. Maybe consider sending a few copies out to respected reviewers here on BGG.

Just a few thoughts.
 
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Jeremiah Lee
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I started out with only six copies of my first game to sell, and I sold them all successfully on BGG. I put my game into the BGG system (you can do that here), then posted in the marketplace for my game (each game has it's own marketplace). You can put the price to whatever you want, and as long as there's demand, it'll sell.

In order to increase demand, you'll need to get eyes on the page, so you'll have to do some posting about the game. You can put it in geeklists that fit it, and maybe post in the Game Design area again, letting us know that your game is for sale.

I don't know what to tell you about the card specific-ness. I do know that it'll be tricky to find someone to be that precise, as even professional print shops have difficulty with registration (ie 'lining things up').

Do you need multiple different cardbacks for the game, or just one? If you only need one back, you might try ArtsCow. I haven't actually seen their finished product yet, but I know they have 54 card decks (each front can be unique) that are actual playing cards. You could talk to TGov to find out how the finished product looks.
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Herb Petro
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If you haven't, you might want to also check out the forums on BGDF.com
 
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David Whitcher
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If you’re looking to make this a profitable business you have put the cart before the horse.

Get a book on how to start a small business and write up a business plan so you know what you’re getting into both in respects to finances and personal time loss. Even a tiny business takes a great deal of time to run.

If you do decide to go ahead get your DBA in place and a website up as soon as you can. This doesn’t need to be a major expense; early on your site won’t get much traffic. Making it easy to navigate and useful to your customers should be your first concerns. Start by looking at other game company web sites and take notes on what’s good or bad about them. Learning from other’s mistakes is much cheaper then learning from your own.

As for custom sized cards you’ll likely need a printer that specializes in cards. Custom sizes can get expensive so you might need to wait until your business can obtain the capitol unless you aren’t like most of us and have money to burn.
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James Hutchings
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Have you looked at selling on eBay?
 
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Mark Hadley
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Thanks for all your help! I think I will start with selling them on here to possibly get a few reviews first. I've created the entry for the game, and as soon as it's approved I'll get some pictures to put up.
 
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Mark Hadley
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Jeremiah_Lee wrote:

I don't know what to tell you about the card specific-ness. I do know that it'll be tricky to find someone to be that precise, as even professional print shops have difficulty with registration (ie 'lining things up').

Do you need multiple different cardbacks for the game, or just one? If you only need one back, you might try ArtsCow. I haven't actually seen their finished product yet, but I know they have 54 card decks (each front can be unique) that are actual playing cards. You could talk to TGov to find out how the finished product looks.


In terms of the lining up of the cards, each card in that game will have a grid of 2 x 3 square sections, so that they can be placed side by side or overlap each other where necessary. I guess it doesn't have to be perfect or anything, but I'm just worried that after 60 cards placed in different directions and overlapping in different ways that even small misalignments might begin to become more noticeable. Or I might be worrying myself over nothing at all; I won't know until I actually print some out.

I will say that my prototype for the game had cards cut exactly the right size on simple card stock paper, so naturally they lined up. That might have just spoiled me a bit. In any case, I feel this one's a winner; everyone I've playtested it with has enjoyed it so far. More on THAT one soon.
 
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Herb Petro
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AgentParsec wrote:
...everyone I've playtested it with has enjoyed it so far.


If you are going to print a few games for the fun of it and treat it as an extension to your hobby, then that is fine. However, if you actually want a commercially viable game, even on a very small scale like the DTP publishers, then you should really consider blind play testing.

That is the only way to know if the rules are truly clear and sufficient. If you are always present when the game is played then you can always explain how the game is played. You need more than one group to test the game right "out of the box" -- these must be people who have never seen your game. Their feedback, questions, and the mistakes they make in play will be invaluable in tweaking the rules.

If you need to find play testers, then this BGG guild may help: http://boardgamegeek.com/guild/499 -- if you are already doing this, then please ignore this post.
 
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Mark Hadley
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Here's a picture of "Prospect!" (excuse the blurriness of the picture, my camera is not well...)

 


What comes with the game is:

* A total of 198 cards (99 Prospect! cards, 93 Claim cards, 6 Turn Order cards)
* Two six-sided dice
* Rules sheet

I'm aiming for a price of either $20 or $25. Before I put my copies up on the marketplace, can I get an opinion whether or not that's a price people would be willing to pay for it? Thanks!
 
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Jeremiah Lee
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AgentParsec wrote:
I'm aiming for a price of either $20 or $25. Before I put my copies up on the marketplace, can I get an opinion whether or not that's a price people would be willing to pay for it? Thanks!
I gotta agree with Cedric on this one, go to some cons and demo the game. It seems that the chances of your game selling to someone without having seen it, without any reviews posted, without any ratings...I feel like it's pretty low. It could be the next Settlers, or Agricola, but I feel it's unlikely that people are going to add it to their collection without more information.

So, perhaps you play it at some Cons, or you send it out to some playtesters who could post a review of it here, and you'll be in much better shape.

I'm concerned that this sounds too negative, and I'm considering not posting it...hmm.

Looking at the components, this price range looks pretty right on. Compare it to Race for the Galaxy, or Race for the Galaxy: The Gathering Storm, and you're in pretty good shape as long as the cards are pretty good quality. People don't expect Rio Grande quality from a self-publisher, but they do expect the cards to be pretty good if they're paying full price.

Best of luck. BoardGameGeek is the right place for getting your game out there, so that's a big step in the right direction.
 
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Mark Hadley
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Ah, that's part of the problem. The cards printed through the PoD publisher aren't really that great quality. They're not bad, but they're not playing card quality either. The other thing is, a short run on these costs quite a bit, and there really wouldn't be anything in terms of profit. I've been thinking that reducing the number of cards and not including the dice would help, but then... I don't know. This particular game doesn't seem to be showing itself as being profitable, at least the way I'm printing it. I might be better off getting it published through another company that can afford to make a large print run. And, you know, take in-focus pictures of it. :P
 
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Jeremiah Lee
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AgentParsec wrote:
They're not bad, but they're not playing card quality either.
I don't think anyone is expecting playing card quality. At least, I wouldn't, I know that's hard to get, and expensive.

AgentParsec wrote:
I might be better off getting it published through another company that can afford to make a large print run. And, you know, take in-focus pictures of it.
That, I think, would be something worth looking into. Send it around to some publishers (Cambridge Games Factory is a good one for 'new' designers), and see what happens.
 
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Mark Hadley
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Jeremiah_Lee wrote:
That, I think, would be something worth looking into. Send it around to some publishers (Cambridge Games Factory is a good one for 'new' designers), and see what happens.

Thanks, I think I'll do just that.
 
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Mark Hadley
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Do you recommend making a free-to-print-out-and-play version of a game before an actual game release? It just occured to me that one of the card games I'm working on is probably ready for such a thing right now, and I would like to get more opinions on it. The art isn't finished but the gameplay is, so I could make my prototype card printouts available for people to print out and try. Do you think that's a good idea, and how should I go about this?
 
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Lee Massey
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AgentParsec wrote:
Here's a picture of "Prospect!" (excuse the blurriness of the picture, my camera is not well...)

 


What comes with the game is:

* A total of 198 cards (99 Prospect! cards, 93 Claim cards, 6 Turn Order cards)
* Two six-sided dice
* Rules sheet

I'm aiming for a price of either $20 or $25.
Quote:
Before I put my copies up on the marketplace, can I get an opinion whether or not that's a price people would be willing to pay for it? Thanks!







I would start it at 19.95!
 
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