Recommend
12 
 Thumb up
 Hide
50 Posts
1 , 2  Next »   | 

BoardGameGeek» Forums » Board Game Design » Board Game Design

Subject: Game with 300 plastic spaceships - hopelessly expensive to produce? rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Dave Z.
United States
California
flag msg tools
I have designed a space war game that requires large numbers of spaceships for each player. It will probably require 200 to 400 playing pieces, plus a few counters. (EDIT: That's for the whole game not per player.) I have been quoted very high manufacturing costs for this and I'm not sure what to do about it.

I know that Warhammer uses great playing pieces that must be expensive to make, and that game is a big hit. Perhaps very high volume is what allows them to do it?

I could use cardboard counters but plastic spaceships are so much cooler.

I could use plastic or wooden poker chip style counters with pictures of spaceships on them. These would stack, which would be a bonus. I'm not sure if this would save that much money, though, and it would not be as cool as actual spaceships.

I plan to submit the game to publishers and let them worry about it but I'm planning ahead for rejection and self-publishing. Does anyone have any suggestions? Are there any games out that have this many playing pieces where the playing pieces are actual plastic models?

Thanks for an help!
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Lauren Neeff
United States
Rock Springs
Wyoming
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmb
300 will be expensive, even for a big publisher. Maybe you could scale the game down? Or get some plastic minis that will represent whole fleets, or just certain special ships can have their own mini. Maybe just get little bits ( cardboard or thick paper) to represent the space ships. Sure plastic minis are cool, but 300 is probably not realistic. Its fun to think of how your game is going to look when its done, but make sure that is awesome and playable with just regular old crappy pieces first.
Word up.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Sithrak - The god who hates you unconditionally
Germany
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
200 to 400 per player? No, I really don't think there are any games that use *that* many minis...
I mean, I love plastic minis (First idea: Forget about wood, poker chips or chits, keep the minis), but I have a hard time imagining how you'd fit that many on anything less than a massive conference table.

If it's a tactical game where the position of each unit is actually important... Well, honestly I have my doubts that this game is actually playable, unless you use squadrons or formations, in which case a single mini with a status indicator would probably work better...
If it's a strategic game where a single army in a sector could just have something like 20 destroyers, five cruisers, a carrier and assorted fighters, I'd like to point out that instead of putting 20 destroyers on the map, you could just as easily put one destroyer mini plus a ten, a five and four one counters on it to show what you have.

Really, for any good suggestion to come up you're going to have to provide more of an explanation about the game, but if your design actually requires players to move 200+ pieces a turn, I'd say that's a fundamental problem, and I'm saying this as someone who likes long, drawn out games, just not games where a single turn takes a day.

EDIT: When I say I don't think there are any games that use that many minis, I'm talking about board games that come in a single, complete box, as opposed to minis games where you have to pay through your nose for every unit *coughGWcough* but could actually end up playing with 2342 individual units if you're insane (and wealthy) enough.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
VETRHUS of Rogaland
United States
Milwaukee
Wisconsin
flag msg tools
badge
An ash I know, Yggdrasil its name. With water white is the great tree wet; thence come the dews that fall in the dales. Green by Urth's well does it ever grow.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
If you're self publishing, American Science & Surplus is a source right now for spaceship bits.

They're from the Buck Rogers: Battle for the 25th Century Game, and they're dirt cheap. They have a whole lot of them at the Milwaukee store and still list them in the catalog.

http://www.sciplus.com/category.cfm/subsection/1/start/99/ma...

27785 BR FIGHTER PLANES, (96) $1.00 EACH
30331 BR SPACE SHUTTLES, (24) $1.00 EACH
30332 BR WAR BIRDS, (36) $1.00 EACH


So at $1 for 96 "fighter planes", or 36 of the "warbirds", you can have two nifty types of ships for cheap...



From left to right: "warbirds", "fighter planes", and "space shuttles"

If you don't like those colors you might use plastic dye to color them.
17 
 Thumb up
0.05
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Tom Slawik
United States
flag msg tools
Good conundrum. Twilight Imperium did it but it's an $80+ game. One way to resolve is with already-issued generic pieces out on the market. Saw a space game the other day, and it was using Thunderbirds model ships.

Counters don't have to be terrible; they could be nicely printed.

You could go Gonzo and design ships out of (gasp) common hardware, like fasteners and pencaps.

You probably already know this, but if it's great numbers but low mix in designs, it's cheaper.

I wish you well, large fleet actions make for impressive games.

tom
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Randy Schaub
United States
San Antonio
Texas
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
I don't think it's hopeless--other companies have come very close to this sort of thing--maybe you need to talk to some of those guys directly...Twilight Creations, Inc. for example, sells bags of 100 zombies and other creatures for use with their games. Battle Beyond Space, an upcoming game, has tons of spaceships. Games like Attack! come with loads of stuff. Once you convince someone that it's worth it to make the sculpts and the molds, or to pay whatever is required to use someone else's source material, then the difference in the cost at box level between 100 pieces and 300 pieces should really only be a few bucks worth of plastic. I'm guessing. How many different ship designs did you plan to have?

Anyway, It's just another problem to solve, not an impossibility--let people test play a mock up, and if they like it, positive buzz will only help your chances...Good luck!
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
James Hutchings
Australia
Unspecified
Unspecified
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
It sounds like it'd take an overly long time to set up a game with that many pieces.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Dave Z.
United States
California
flag msg tools
It's not 200 to 400 per player. More like 75 to 100 pieces per player and not all of the pieces would be on the game board from the start. 100 pieces per player are the maximum that would be required from an unusually long game. Each player only starts the game with a handful of ships.

Sorry my original post was unclear on this.

Thanks for the info on cheap plastic ships - looks like some manufacturer can do it, though those ships are a bit simpler than what I'd hoped for. It gives me something to look into.

Thanks for the help so far!
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
kelsith
United States
Bloomington
Illinois
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
If memory serves correct I think I saw in another post that you had played Axis and Allies. If so you may want to consider the method they use for multiple ships where you just put a little white poker chip thingy underneath it for 1 extra ship or a red one for 5 (I think thats the breakdown for A&A I haven't played it in over a decade). Its possible you could greatly decrease the amount of ships you need. Just be sure to have enough ships for different locations at the same time.

This might also be a nice way to add flexibility to the fleets while greatly speeding up setup time and movement during turns. Not to mention greatly decreasing production costs.

Just remember nothing worse than spending 45 minutes setting up a game just to find out your opponent found something better to do.... or they flip the board after the first round leaving you scrambling around on the floor for a week looking for that last stupid tank. Lots of bits for a game is great but too many can be a real pain.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Timo Kilpiäinen
Finland
flag msg tools
designer
mbmbmbmbmb
Go Risk

One spaceship equals one spaceship

Larger spaceship (preferably shaped like tyrannosaurus) equals five spaceships.

Even larger spaceship (preferably shaped like Humongous organ (piano like musical instrument)) represents 10 spaceships.

Wouldn't this be the easiest way?

Or is there already a large variation in ships and designs.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Sithrak - The god who hates you unconditionally
Germany
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Timppis wrote:
Go Risk

One spaceship equals one spaceship

Larger spaceship (preferably shaped like tyrannosaurus) equals five spaceships.

Even larger spaceship (preferably shaped like Humongous organ (piano like musical instrument)) represents 10 spaceships.

Wouldn't this be the easiest way?

Or is there already a large variation in ships and designs.


That would mean there'd only be one type of ship, which sounds, well, boring.

You know, like Risk.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Steven Metzger
United States
Knoxville
Tennessee
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
If you use pennies, you can probably paint them for a reasonable cost and the pieces themselves will only run you about $3.00 for the whole set.

PLAYTEST FIRST - why are you even worrying about production costs. If you're really bent out of shape about it, get some 8mm cubes from Germany and get some larger ones for the different ships.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Barry Goldstein
United States
Culver City
California
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Go for it!

How about something like...Star Wars PocketModel TCG



Ebay has a listing for a 24 pack of boosters, containing 8 figures each for $30.

The models are pretty great too! Takes a bit of 3D designing, but I think that this could be a viable option. I love the idea of a giant mega-war with hundred of figs...
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ken Feldman
United States
Seattle
Washington
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
You could go the Axis and Allies route, with one figure representing the type of ship and poker chips underneath representing the number of those ships in the fleet. This might cut the number of figures needed by a large amount.
6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
CW Lumm
United States
Hampden
Maine
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Kenfeldman wrote:
You could go the Axis and Allies route, with one figure representing the type of ship and poker chips underneath representing the number of those ships in the fleet. This might cut the number of figures needed by a large amount.


That sounds like the best solution to me, unless you need 15 different kinds of ship per player.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Dave L.
United States
Portland
Oregon
flag msg tools
Avatar
mb
Adam West said he had 7000 left over from Galactic Emperor, but I guess he's giving away 5000 of them. Maybe you can go to GenCon and get enough for your game.

http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/488139/gencon-5000-plastic-s...
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Leo Zappa
United States
Aliquippa
Pennsylvania
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Go with counters. A nice 1" x 1.5" full-color counter with a starship image would be great. As a bonus, numeric values and ship names can be displayed on a counter, whereas they can't be on a mini. I love minis in many instances, but for what you are describing, counters seem to be the way to go.

EDIT - here is something I whipped up in 5 minutes to kind of illustrate what I'm thinking. Just quick and dirty, but I'd play a game with counters something like this...

5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Dave Z.
United States
California
flag msg tools
Thank you all for your suggestions. I already have a complete prototype using around 400 metal and plastic miniatures. It cost me a few hundred dollars to buy all the ships and then I spray painted them. So, it's really the manufacturing of many copies that I need to figure out, not the prototype. Playtesting has already begun using this prototype.

I have considered using chips under the ships like in Axis & Allies but my playtesters hated it. The suggestion for using a larger ship to represent many smaller ships is already in the game, sort of. Keep the suggestions coming, please!

If you saw a game with miniature spaceship playing pieces instead of counters, would you be willing to pay more for it? Say in the $75 to $100 range?

Thanks for any help!
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Barry Kendall
United States
Lebanon
Pennsylvania
flag msg tools
designer
mbmbmbmbmb
"Stargate SG-1" (Fleet Games) came with close to 800 pieces--space ships, soldiers, and gates--in plastic (hard for ships/gates, softer for figures). Nice little pieces, too.

You could try to contact the designer/publisher and see how they did it.

Eagle Games' Glenn Drover still seems interested in "bits" games. The guys that did the huge WW II game--its title escapes me, but it comes in about the biggest game box I've ever seen--could probably help you, too.

To answer your question, if you do a game with 400 or so little space ship minis, and the game system/setting sounds like fun, yes, I'd pay your price range for it.

Which reminds me--check out "Warlords of Europe." Those guys just got somebody to make a horde of medieval minis for their game and they look quite good. Ask them. Whether it's a knight or a spaceship makes little difference to the people who sculpt masters and make molds. I have one of their games preordered, and it's in your price range.

Or contact Peter Morrison (VIKTORY II). He specified what he wanted in miniatures for his game--infantry, cavalry, artillery, ships--and got them molded in the tens of thousands (in hard plastic) after a process involving concept drawings and his approval of the prototype sculpts.
And VIKTORY II is affordable (as well as being a very good game).

Good luck and keep looking into it--Bits Puppies everywhere are wagging their tails for you.
2 
 Thumb up
0.01
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Mark C
United States
Ypsilanti
Michigan
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmb

No offense, but if your game needs eye candy, that's not a good sign.

Think of it in terms of consumers. What would most people choose?

A. Great game with inexpensive components that costs $20
B. Exact same game with nice minis that costs $100+

Not saying you can't come up with a good alternative, but often times in design you have to make choices. 300+ minis sounds crazy expensive to self publish.
2 
 Thumb up
0.01
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Paul DeStefano
United States
Long Island
New York
flag msg tools
designer
badge
It's a Zendrum. www.zendrum.com
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
ruleroftheuniverse wrote:
If you saw a game with miniature spaceship playing pieces instead of counters, would you be willing to pay more for it? Say in the $75 to $100 range?


If the game is awful, that's too much.

If it gets glowing reviews from unbiased sources and happens to fit my number of players, style of play, table space and a few other variables dependent upon the final design, then it is not too much.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Sithrak - The god who hates you unconditionally
Germany
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
ruleroftheuniverse wrote:

If you saw a game with miniature spaceship playing pieces instead of counters, would you be willing to pay more for it? Say in the $75 to $100 range?


If the rules sound interesting and it looks good, sure. Good reviews help as well, of course.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
George Husted
United States
East Hartford
Connecticut
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb

http://www.rolcogames.com/product.php?id=36&catid=14

25 for $3


http://www.rolcogames.com/product.php?id=36&catid=14

or $0.14 each

Now both of those are at Retail prices, not Wholesale prices. So, I think it could be done for a reasonable amount of money.

Good luck! I hope it's a great game.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
George Husted
United States
East Hartford
Connecticut
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Hey, here is an idea.

You could sell the basic game with counters or inexpensive tokens and offer an EXPANSION/UPGRADE kit with the pretty bits as an after market.
6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jeff
United States
Pensacola
Florida
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Gamer_Dog wrote:

No offense, but if your game needs eye candy, that's not a good sign.

Think of it in terms of consumers. What would most people choose?

A. Great game with inexpensive components that costs $20
B. Exact same game with nice minis that costs $100+

Not saying you can't come up with a good alternative, but often times in design you have to make choices. 300+ minis sounds crazy expensive to self publish.


For the record, I'd provbably take 'B', but I'm told it's a sickness and I should seek treatment...
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
1 , 2  Next »   | 
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.