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Subject: Having dice printed in CHINA...concerns? rss

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Scott Westgard
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I'm currently looking to have a simple novelty dice game made with silkscreen printed custom dice. At first I expected to have them laser-engraved by Chessex, like I did with my last game Fishfry , but the game requires lots of dice per game, making manufacturing costs far exceed the consumer's impulse buy price of about 10-20$.

I looked into American manufacturers/printers who do this sort of thing, but they all seem to have MUCH higher prices than the Chinese companies (TEN times higher!). I hate to be an unpatriotic SOB, but the only way enough (6000) dice can be made cheap enough seem to be to outsource this to China. The Chinese company quoted a price of .132 $ a dice....thats just THIRTEEN CENTS EACH!

My concerns are:
1. Are there hidden taxes or fees when ordering from China?
2. How reputable is this sort of thing...Has anyone else done this before?
3. What advice is there in dealing with Chinese manufacturing...?
4. What does Big Brother Uncle Sam do about people who outsource to China? (Are there thumbscrews and an IRS brand iron maiden set aside just for me?)

Any other advice would be appreciated.
Thanks,
-Scott

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Paul DeStefano
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It's a Zendrum. www.zendrum.com
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My initial concern would be human rights.

Do you know enough about the company to know they are not employing 6 year olds in a toxic environment?
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Scott Westgard
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Geosphere wrote:
My initial concern would be human rights.

Do you know enough about the company to know they are not employing 6 year olds in a toxic environment?


Good point. The site Alibaba.com is where I got the referral from, and supposedly they have inspectors that put seals of approval on many companies. This particular one had some of the most recommendations and awards for service.
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Brook Gentlestream
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You may want to read this: http://www.paragonpackaging.com/2010/06/board-game-manufactu...

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いい竹やぶだ!

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Quote:
4. What does Big Brother Uncle Sam do about people who outsource to China? (Are there thumbscrews and an IRS brand iron maiden set aside just for me?)

BWAAAAhahaha! Walmart may be able to tell you something about this. arrrh
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Tom
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Do a search of manufacturing in China woes from companies like Z-man, Valley Games etc. There are positive stories too but it seems like a crap shoot to me. The cost of shipping is an issue but a bigger issue is them getting your order right. Look at the Leviathans thread for nightmare after nightmare of the manufacturing getting things wrong and saying too bad what are you going to do about it...a lawsuit...lol.

I think people who use Panda Game Manufacturing have seemed to have good luck.

I certainly don't speak for lots of price conscious gamers on this site but I would gladly pay more for a game manufactured here in the United States.

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Scott Westgard
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Thank you...I will look into Paragon, and Panda...they seem to know something or another about it all.
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Eric Etkin
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johnnyspys wrote:
I certainly don't speak for lots of price conscious gamers on this site but I would gladly pay more for a game manufactured here in the United States.



Unfortunately, you're in the minority, there - which makes things very difficult for small publishers. The American manufacturing just isn't set up to support the gaming industry. I can find companies that'll produce TactDecks here in the US, but they'll either flat-out refuse anyhting under 5000 units, or charge me so much per unit for 1000 pieces, that I'd need an MSRP near $50 and a KickStarter goal of probably $15-18k.

Neither of those scenarios are feasible for a game that's basically 162 cards, box, and rulebook.

Seriously - if anyone knows of some reputable card game printers who will give me 1000 units for a price point that won't destroy me, PLEASE send me a geekmail.

Anyhow... As far as dice go - You may get different mileage there. I wouldn't give up on a domestic manufacturer just yet. About the only things made in America that I'VE ever seen are "solid good" parts, so you might be just looking in the wrong spots. Also consider checking out Israel. I'm routinely amazed how much Walmart plastic seems to come out of there.
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Eric Etkin
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Oh - and as someone who had to deal with Chinese manufacturing in my old job... everything bad you've heard is true. That's not to say there AREN'T reputable Chinese companies out there - but good luck discerning them. Your best bet is to locate some fellow game publishers who've already dealt with Chinese manufacturing, and hoping they'll throw you a bone with a straight reference.

It's a pity because:

1) Chinese people need work too, but the government is too corrupt apparently to regulate work conditions.

2) Our long-term trade policies and consumer shift to disposeable goods created this situation in the first place.

Regardless, I'll most likely HAVE to deal with a foreign manufacturer.
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John "Omega" Williams
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As alot of game producers that outsource to China for manufacturing parts will tell you. It is a 50/50 chance to end up with bad product.

Most game companies I've talked to stated that when they order parts they order with something like a minimum 25% replacement rate or more for defective parts up to and possibly including complete game replacements in worse case scenarios. One company quoted that they purchased parts expecting a 50% loss. So if they needed 100k units then they ordered 150k.

Shipping fees will take out more of your funds and you of course have to factor in the wait time. Which at least isnt a real problem for most publishers.

One hidden fee recently pointed out to me was overseas warehouses. Some countries/ports charge exorberant fees to warehouse a game waiting shipment. One screwup with product left on the dock and you can potentially be looking at paying far more for housing than you'll ever make off the sold product. Doesnt seem to happen too often. But its something to be aware of.

Lastly theres the QC issues which is why companies buy with that 25-50% loss factor. And this is fairly rampant amongst China factories inless you have an observer over there on the spot to keep an eye on things. Otherwise you'll have to prepare for replacement demands unless you are packing the items yourself and just using the overseas to make the components. You'll cut out the replacement calls. But you'll still have that 25-50% defective parts shipped to you.

Also keep in mind that wooden pieces shipped from some countries must be fumigated due to problems with beetle larva in the wood. Not sure if thats still an issue. but a year or three back there was some trouble that carried over to game parts. Not a problem if you have no wooden components.

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Nigel Swan
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In Europe there is a 30 percent customs surcharge on goods from China. Some people ship from China to Vietnam and ship from there.
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Scott Westgard
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Thanks folks.
I'm not sure what the US Customs fee is, but I'm looking into it.
The quality issue is certainly a crapshoot. I have seen some dice that had printed images on them crumble off after just a few rolls, and some with much better durability. Obviously engraved dice are better, but much more expensive. This company actually offers a heat transfer dice where a full color image can be printed on the dice...I wonder if that is durable? Hmmmm....

As long as the dice are reasonably durable, it would fit my needs, since the game I'm creating is a funny novelty game, and won't likely be played endlessly.
 
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Eric Etkin
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Have you considered sourcing stock blank dice I'm sure you can get them somewhere...) and just finding a screen print outfit to do them domestically? We used to source thousands of little plastic buttons from a plastic company in VT (Mack Molding).

The buttons were custom molds, but they also screened them. The screening part was cheap - it might be easily done.
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Eric Etkin
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Wow. You're not kidding - this crap IS hellza expensive. I just did a Google for screen printed dice - they average .50 PER DIE. And some of these guys are only talking one custom face!

Other options:


Stickers (yeah, yeah... I know... but if it's a novelty game...)

Using cards instead.

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Scott Westgard
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MOTHDevil wrote:
Wow. You're not kidding - this crap IS hellza expensive. I just did a Google for screen printed dice - they average .50 PER DIE. And some of these guys are only talking one custom face!



YEP. And they want a $35-$60 set up charge for EACH side you want custom printed.
I certainly dont want to be the one putting 36000 stickers on dice, and consumers hate putting stickers on dice if its just a simple novelty game...it takes away the "open the box and just play it" fun.

Looks like I'll try and find the most reputable company to get this thing done, even if I have to pay a little more to use a US based liaison to assist in the order.

 
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Brook Gentlestream
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NoodleArtist wrote:
I certainly dont want to be the one putting 36000 stickers on dice, and consumers hate putting stickers on dice if its just a simple novelty game...it takes away the "open the box and just play it" fun.


While this is true, for a dice game you may be able to get away with it, depending on how many dice we're talking about and how clear the directions are. I'm generally against dice games and especially stickers (especially if stickers are expected to be some kind of feature), but I recall that the The Wheel of Time Collectible Card Game had me put stickers on four colored cubes and I didn't mind and didn't have any problems with it.

I saw a kickstarter project recently that featured stickers as some sort of feature, however, rather than a necessary evil, and I got disgusted it and closed it without reading it.
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Scott Westgard
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The game will most likely have 6 dice, and could be used as a drinking game, so stickers would get beer-logged and soggy. The advantage of stickers is the full-color option, however unnecessary to this game. I'm contacting Paragon and Panda now...and will post what they say about using them as a liaison to a reputable company, and what "finder's fee" they might take...and if they can find a cheaper US based alternative.
 
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Eddie F III
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Concerns? Yes lead. Oh yea and that whole unfair treatment of human workers.
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Brook Gentlestream
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Qwikstreet wrote:
Concerns? Yes lead. Oh yea and that whole unfair treatment of human workers.

Note how its only the human workers people are concerned about.
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James Ryan
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Geosphere wrote:
My initial concern would be human rights.

Do you know enough about the company to know they are not employing 6 year olds in a toxic environment?


I often wonder this about artscow. Anybody know about their record?
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Bartosz Trzaskowski

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Varduk wrote:
In Europe there is a 30 percent customs surcharge on goods from China. Some people ship from China to Vietnam and ship from there.


Actually that's not fully true. For certain products (no idea about the boardgames or components to produce those) there is an additional, anti-dumping customs (not sure if it's identical in all EU countries and for all products). There is a well documented case where a guy from Poland ordered bicycle parts from China for approx. $1100 and was charged an addiional $900 in various fees (4.7% customs, 48.5% anti-dumping customs, 23% VAT + some minor ones).
 
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John "Omega" Williams
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Im not. Im much more concerned with the likely long term enviromnental and health hazards China is going to be facing from all this. With all the absolutely unscrupulous business going on over there right now you know 1000% that they are dumping who knows what sorts of toxic byproducts into the ground or worse yet, into the ocean.

lordrahvin wrote:
Qwikstreet wrote:
Concerns? Yes lead. Oh yea and that whole unfair treatment of human workers.

Note how its only the human workers people are concerned about.
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B-Rom
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Been at this crossroads many times with the Devil himself.

I have often surmised that if a half dozen or so like-minded passionate US Citizens who fancied this-sorta-thing ever grew a huge collective pair and got together... took up shop in one of the industrial buildings that are all but giving-away space and then decided to secure a small business loan using the various incentives that are being pushed right now... and take half salaries for a coupla years and just moonlight and burn the midnight oil... doing nothing but manufacturing quality miniature figures and quality custom etched dice at a reasonable if not reduced cost... they would have business lined up for the next 10 years solid... and then be able to retire.

It's a huge void stateside for sure... and its too bad.


I also have another fleeting fantasy related to this. Every time I get a design to the stage where I need to start getting quotes I'm always amazed at how cheap the printed media is and then when I get slammed with ridiculous excessive costs from the more solid bits I grow very embittered and I genuflect to the gods of progress... and I pray that the miracle of 3D printing is magically endowed with the 2001 monolith Moore's law rushed technological advancement accelerations of computer processors and smart phones. On my alternative earth 3D printing has brought a arterial spraying death to over-priced miniature and dice manufacturers that even a room full of record label execs couldn't comprehend.

Affordable home 3D printing of a not too distant future. The bit torrent of boardgames. One can dream.
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Ken Taylor
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Found this the other day and thought it was interesting.

http://www.rolanddga.com/products/milling/imodela/

Not exactly a 3D printer, but still pretty cool.

Here's a Youtube video of it in action:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Q13_H...
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James Ryan
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brahmulus wrote:

Affordable home 3D printing of a not too distant future. The bit torrent of boardgames. One can dream.


3d printing is going to change everything to be sure. I'm dreaming right along with you.

....but then again, where will they produce those printers to bring the cost down?

Brings us right back to the same trouble.
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