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Subject: $1,000 Budget Design Contest: Get Published! rss

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Chad Ellis
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A while back I posted an idea for a design challenge and asked people to think of games they might submit. Now I'm ready to move forward with the contest.

First off, here are the rules for submission:

1. Production budget is capped at $1,000 total and $2/unit. This includes packaging -- in the example I gave in that thread, the game cards themselves only require four postcards (of the five postcards I budgeted), leaving me with eight 2.5x3.5" card sides to spare. One of them will be the front "cover" (visible through the ziplock bag) and one the back with a quick description, UPC code, etc. I'm hoping the rest will be enough to cover the rules, but if not I have enough room left in the budget for a folded insert sheet.

The budget also has to include art costs (if any) but you can get some free graphic design work if you're one of the winners and if Kaile likes you.

Make sure you explain your costs!

2. Is ready to play out of the box/bag...or almost. As with Cheapass, you can require players to provide some basic game components -- coins, dice, even pawns. Bonus points if nothing else is needed.

3. Can be shipped through normal distribution -- i.e. it isn't fragile. If you've got wooden cubes in an envelope and then box and ship them, the product is going to look pretty crappy in the end. Boourns to crappy.

4. Did I mention boourns to crappy? This should still look like a "real" game, albeit one done on a budget. If you use business cards, for example, it's no good using a site that charges little or nothing but will put their own logo or message on the cards.

5. Try to avoid insane assembly costs. My game will require 20 different cards to be stacked and put into a ziplock back -- that's pretty doable. If you did only used single-sided business cards you might be able to stay in budget with 50 cards...but I'd have to charge you for extra assembly.

Other than that, it's up to you. Werewolf would fit this system if it hadn't already been done. Make a party game, a trick-taking game, a dexterity game, whatever you can think of.

How to Win

Votes will be based on thumbs. We will playtest the top three thumb-winners. In each case I'll either offer to publish or (if I decide not to) give the winner a free copy of the Punic War sets for Battleground.
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Paul DeStefano
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Define "Packaging".

Does shrinkwrapping a series of cards count?
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AxonDomini
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Cool idea. What's the deadline for submissions? And where do we send submissions?
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Chad Ellis
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Geosphere wrote:
Define "Packaging".

Does shrinkwrapping a series of cards count?


Sure. The game I developed for the challenge (tentatively called My Kind of Town) is likely to be cards in a ziplock bag with an MSRP of $5.
 
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Chad Ellis
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jeffk wrote:
Cool idea. What's the deadline for submissions? And where do we send submissions?


Post submissions here. Deadline is end of November.
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Paul DeStefano
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We can use any supply sources, or are there specific vendors you wish to deal with?
 
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Chad Ellis
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Geosphere wrote:
We can use any supply sources, or are there specific vendors you wish to deal with?


Your submission qualifies if you can justify the cost number you come up with. It's possible that we would actually produce it in a different way or with a different vendor.

For example, My Kind of Town is printed on five 5x7" postcards which are then each cut into four normal-sized cards. I based my cost estimate on the price given at www.printplace.com because I've used them before and their prices are generally the best I find for postcards.
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Paul DeStefano
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And finally, can it be like Battleground, where each "pack bought" is a "faction", requiring multiple packs to play?
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tim Tim TIm TIM TIMMY!!
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so if the limit is $2/unit and we could spend $1,000 on art work, what are you thinking of selling said game for? Just curious?

I know there is a couple of post card games already out there, I bought one in a GG auction and it never made it to me soblue

I like this idea though, very cool.
 
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Chad Ellis
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Geosphere wrote:
And finally, can it be like Battleground, where each "pack bought" is a "faction", requiring multiple packs to play?


Yes, although bonus points if a single pack can be played (even on a limited scale) as a stand-alone game, as with Battleground.
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Chad Ellis
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Hendal wrote:
so if the limit is $2/unit and we could spend $1,000 on art work, what are you thinking of selling said game for? Just curious?


The $1,000 is the total budget, NOT the art budget!

I gave a unit cost and a total cost because each one matters. It's no good if someone has a total budget of $1,000 but only makes ten copies. Similarly, if someone has a unit cost of $2 because they made 30,000 copies that also has some issues.

The MSRP on these will vary from $5 to $10, most likely. I'm hoping to price My Kind of Town at $5.
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tim Tim TIm TIM TIMMY!!
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Thank you, I am so sending something your way
 
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eric hanuise
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Interesting format.
Would using two uncut postcards as a game board be possible ?
(means a 5x7 ziplock, still small, flat and easily mailable.)

I think it'd be possible to use one card for game pieces (to be cut by the customer), two to make a game board (placed side by side, possibly modular to allow for several positions), and the remaining two for rules and maybe a play aid
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Erik Oosterwal
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Do you want submissions added to the game DB before adding them here?
 
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aaron belmer
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I guess the $1000 production budget thing is throwing me. You don't mean $1000 to produce x units. You mean more $1000 research/development/art/etc budget for the game, and then the actual printer/publisher would only spend $2 per unit to make right?

So essentially if I had a card game design, that I make on my cpu and print out, and send to you in a ziplock, it may really actually only cost me like $2 or so, so much total production budget is actually $2. Do I get bonus points for that?

Last (extremely stupid) question. This isn't just a game based on cards and postcard stock right? I could make a mini board game if it were printable under $2 and thought was a good fun design. Or is the postcard stock with given measurements basically what we have to work with. Example can it be a dice game with just 4 dice and instructions? thanks so much! This is awesome!
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Chad Ellis
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ehanuise wrote:
Interesting format.
Would using two uncut postcards as a game board be possible ?
(means a 5x7 ziplock, still small, flat and easily mailable.)

I think it'd be possible to use one card for game pieces (to be cut by the customer), two to make a game board (placed side by side, possibly modular to allow for several positions), and the remaining two for rules and maybe a play aid


Absolutely, but remember that you'll want one "side" each for the front and back of the package (or at the very least the front).

Also, the five postcards limit was a self-imposed one and you can go past it on this challenge, especially if you're not requiring any cutting. 1,000 copies of a 5x7" postcard is about $120 (with shipping) so you could go as high as 8 if there was nothing else involved.
 
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Chad Ellis
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zenmazster wrote:
I guess the $1000 production budget thing is throwing me. You don't mean $1000 to produce x units. You mean more $1000 research/development/art/etc budget for the game, and then the actual printer/publisher would only spend $2 per unit to make right?

So essentially if I had a card game design, that I make on my cpu and print out, and send to you in a ziplock, it may really actually only cost me like $2 or so, so much total production budget is actually $2. Do I get bonus points for that?


This is the second question on this, so I definitely didn't explain it well.

The two budget limits -- $1,000 total and $2/copy -- both apply to the total costs that I would incur if we published the game. That is, your production proposal may not cost more than $1,000 in total AND when we divide the total by the number of games the unit cost can't be more than $2.

100 games with total cost of $400 fails because unit cost is $4.
50,000 games with unit cost of $0.50 fails because total cost is $25,000.
800 games with total cost of $1,000 succeeds.

Any costs you incur on your own are your business. If you have rights to cool art or if you spend money on prototypes, more power to you. I'm just setting the rules on my end as the potential publisher. It won't win you thumbs (or at least probably shouldn't) but it also won't disqualify you.

Quote:
Last (extremely stupid) question. This isn't just a game based on cards and postcard stock right? I could make a mini board game if it were printable under $2 and thought was a good fun design. Or is the postcard stock with given measurements basically what we have to work with. Example can it be a dice game with just 4 dice and instructions? thanks so much! This is awesome!


The postcard approach was just an example, as well as being the story behind the challenge. (My original challenge to myself was to build a game using just five postcards rather than with any particular budget in mind. From there I decided on the challenge rules.)
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tim Tim TIm TIM TIMMY!!
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So am I right in figuring out that it cost you $.12 to make one post card?
and that I could get a post card cut into 4 cards to be used in the game?


SO I could have 6 post cards as the board $.72 ( or sections of the board ) , have another 4 cut into 16 cards to be used in the game at $.48 and have a cost of $1.20 so far into the game?

Zip lock bag - how much should we figure to price that at? ( for me buying here would be expensive compared to buying in bulk at a Sam´s Club or some such place to buy in bulk at a good price )


I am trying to deal with a budget, but here is my question, if I figure out what it would cost me to make something it will be more expensive then what your costs are to make it ( there is no printer guy near me , I live in the jungle ). So it may help me to figure out what you could make it for? Does that make sense?

 
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eric hanuise
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Hendal wrote:
SO I could have 6 post cards as the board $.72 ( or sections of the board ) , have another 4 cut into 16 cards to be used in the game at $.48 and have a cost of $1.20 so far into the game?


That's 6+4=10 postcards;
Forget about the budget, focus on the '5 postcards which can be cut in 4 or 8 uncut postcards, and maybe a folded rulespage (black and white, I 'sppose.) ' - that'll be easier to deal with
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Chad_Ellis wrote:
Absolutely, but remember that you'll want one "side" each for the front and back of the package (or at the very least the front).

Also, the five postcards limit was a self-imposed one and you can go past it on this challenge, especially if you're not requiring any cutting. 1,000 copies of a 5x7" postcard is about $120 (with shipping) so you could go as high as 8 if there was nothing else involved.


OK, very interesting
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Chad Ellis
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Hendal wrote:
I am trying to deal with a budget, but here is my question, if I figure out what it would cost me to make something it will be more expensive then what your costs are to make it ( there is no printer guy near me , I live in the jungle ). So it may help me to figure out what you could make it for? Does that make sense?


For most inputs, you can (and should) get a price based on bulk sellers. Do a Google search and compare prices. I still need to view some samples of the ziplock bags I saw, but their unit price is very modest.
 
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Chad Ellis
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Hendal wrote:
So am I right in figuring out that it cost you $.12 to make one post card?
and that I could get a post card cut into 4 cards to be used in the game?


SO I could have 6 post cards as the board $.72 ( or sections of the board ) , have another 4 cut into 16 cards to be used in the game at $.48 and have a cost of $1.20 so far into the game?


Yes, but it costs another $0.05-0.10 to have your postcards cut into four cards, so you should probably assume you're at $1.30 at this point.

I'm visiting family over the weekend -- when I get home and have some of my own reference data I'll post some sample costs that people can use instead of looking for their own resources. (Of course, if you find a better vendor, all to the good!)
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aaron belmer
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thanks for bearing with us chad. you're talking to people have really no basis of experience with publishing and printing, so I think we're really over-thinking this. I'll just k.i.s.s. and send a cool budget game that should take hardly anything to print and make, thanks!
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Chad Ellis
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No problem, thanks for sticking with it!

K.I.S.S. is really the right approach. In simplest terms, when you hand the files over to me I should be able to publish a print run for no more than $1,000 with the average unit cost being at most $2. That's all you need to worry about.
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tim Tim TIm TIM TIMMY!!
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Chad_Ellis wrote:
Hendal wrote:
So am I right in figuring out that it cost you $.12 to make one post card?
and that I could get a post card cut into 4 cards to be used in the game?


SO I could have 6 post cards as the board $.72 ( or sections of the board ) , have another 4 cut into 16 cards to be used in the game at $.48 and have a cost of $1.20 so far into the game?


Yes, but it costs another $0.05-0.10 to have your postcards cut into four cards, so you should probably assume you're at $1.30 at this point.

I'm visiting family over the weekend -- when I get home and have some of my own reference data I'll post some sample costs that people can use instead of looking for their own resources. (Of course, if you find a better vendor, all to the good!)


Thanks Chad - that helps me out a lot, just making sure my numbers are right and I have the right idea of costing
 
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