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Subject: Buying a game with stickered dice vs custom made rss

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Rocco Privetera
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I just saw a review on The Dice Tower of a dice game being sold with standard indented dice with stickers, in this case pre-stickered. This surprised me - I had thought of those dice as primarily for prototypes, homebrews, etc. A little research reveals a few games use them.

What's folks thoughts on these? If I came up with a dice game, theoretically there's no reason I couldn't buy blanks and stickers and tuckboxes and make the whole game in my garage vs trying to find a publisher or a manufacturer to make a nicer one. And while indented dice/stickers are OK, they aren't as nice as custom made ones.

Is it worth it to sell a game initially with these, or to wait for something a little more slick?

I know this is entirely opinion based - I suppose mine is that unless I knew it was an awesome game already, I'd probably wait for a custom made version if it cost the same - but I'm curious if this is a model that works for some of you.
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Paul DeStefano
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I have bought games with stickered dice.

In truth, they suck.

But I don't think it would ever stop me from buying a game, unless it was something like Quarriors, where its dice based.
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Benjamin Maggi
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Depends. On "kids games" (games that would typically be sold at Toys-R-Us or Target or something like that) I would have no problem with them. One of my favorite games, Star Wars Epic Duels, uses them. Party games are also okay to use them.

For games that are more expensive and aimed at the older crowd I would prefer better dice as I am a big fan of cool dice. But not if they increase the cost of the game so much as to make it unreasonably burdensome.

At the very least, I think if they are going to use stickered dice I think they should supply extra sticker sheets. They cost only pennies and if the stickers fall off down the road the damage can be repaired.
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I don't like stickered dice, but if I have to have them, I prefer the non-indented kind. They just seem clunky and cheap. I went so far as to sticker my own wooden blank dice to replace the ones that are in Star Wars: The Queen's Gambit.

My preference is engraved dice over printed dice over non-indented stickered dice over indented stickered dice. And wooden dice over plastic dice.
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Richard Morris
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Any game with a decent print run should be able to have 'proper' engraved dice, as the costs are spread further. So stickered is fine for a prototype, or a very niche game, or a game sold in very small volumes by its designer.

I, too, prefer non-indented stickered dice, though that may well be in part that I bought large quantities of blank dice!
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Andrew Walters
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Stickered dice are fine. I'd rather have the custom dice, but if there's a cost issue or an art issue I'd rather have stickered dice.

What I mean by art issue is this: some art requires pretty fine lines to look sharp. This looks better on a sticker than on a die. The Quarriors dice, for example, look terrible to me. The little icons are neat, but somehow muddy, or fuzzy, or something. Not crisp. They'd look great as stickers. Bottom line, some art looks better on a sticker than on a die. A clever company would redesign the art until it looked great on a die, but that doesn't always happen.

For small production runs, stickers are much cheaper.

So I'd rather have stickered dice than see the game go unpublished because it's too expensive or see the individual or company risk too much on a new design. I'd rather have a great looking stickered die than a mucky custom die.

But all other thins being equal, custom dice are neater.
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Alysa
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Even GMT Games uses stickered dice and they use them in games like Commands & Colors: Ancients...

And I don't mind them that much, although if I pay a lot of money for a professionally published game I rather have proper custom dice!
 
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Ed G.
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Runebound (second edition) is a well-respected game of which many copies were printed and it includes stickered dice. I own it and although I'd prefer etched dice for aesthetic and tactile reasons, the stickered ones perform their function just fine.
 
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John "Omega" Williams
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We see stickered non-indented dice games in stores here too.

Apparently the BGG or somewhere has had a small impact on the small press gaming industry as I hadnt seen these in any great numbers, it hardly at all before the idea started catching on here for PNP gaming.
 
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Robert Beachler
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The biggest mainstream thing I can think of that uses stickered indented dice is Yahtzee Jr which they do so they can use color pictures of whatever characters the version of the game depicts. Kids have fun putting stickers on too so that adds to their enjoyment. Engraved dice would be preferred for most things but that limits color if you want it. VisualEyes makes great use of giant dice with cool colored stickers and I'd have no problem with other games doing the same thing. Some games like Seasons or Dragon Dice have some great engraved dice but basic pip dice are nothing special.
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Christopher Todesco
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Depends on what I'm paying for. If I spend $40 or more, I expect a few things-- custom engraved/printed dice, a box that holds everything, good card stock, a professionally edited/printed manual, and a few nice tactile bits like plastic miniatures or wooden pieces. That $30-$40 range can start to sacrifice a few of those if the game is good.
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Rocco Privetera
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I guess for me I'm looking at the small under $20 game with 17-20 dice.

So OK, ideally:
- if I can afford it (i.e. if a publisher grabs it or the game seems to be doing well and/or I do a kickstarter and it takes off) go with engraved or inked;
- but for a "first time seller" and a cheap price using stickered dice is OK, as long as it looks decent and
- providing extra stickers is appreciated and
- stickering them myself is also extra nice but not a requirement
 
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M J
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hmm i prefer engraving over stickering (especially ig i have to sticker myself) but for protoypinh i user stickers but i suppose a conversion chart could also work
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Alysa
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Desco wrote:
Depends on what I'm paying for. If I spend $40 or more, I expect a few things-- custom engraved/printed dice, a box that holds everything, good card stock, a professionally edited/printed manual, and a few nice tactile bits like plastic miniatures or wooden pieces. That $30-$40 range can start to sacrifice a few of those if the game is good.




Game costs $45+ and has plastic indented dice you have to sticker yourself!

The game is totally worth it tho!
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Matt Lee
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Rocconteur wrote:
I guess for me I'm looking at the small under $20 game with 17-20 dice.


That's a pretty tight order, depending on the size of the dice you are looking at getting and costs of materials. I wish you luck in getting under $20 retail with that.
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Rocco Privetera
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klz_fc wrote:
Rocconteur wrote:
I guess for me I'm looking at the small under $20 game with 17-20 dice.


That's a pretty tight order, depending on the size of the dice you are looking at getting and costs of materials. I wish you luck in getting under $20 retail with that.


Really? I mean, I was thinking about cutting a die or two (I don't want to - I feel like I've balanced the amount of fun and odds with the 20 dice I have right now), but Zombie Dice is thirteen dice for 13 bucks; Martian dice 13 for 15, etc. I guess 18 dice for $20 or 20 dice for $25 bucks didn't seem too far out of the ballpark, does it? Army vs Aliens uses stickered, indented dice, 18 of them, plus two cups for $16. If I'm wrong with my target market / estimations let me know. I assume my game would, right now, be almost identical - a tube, single instruction booklet, and 20 dice (6 sided, 4 types).

If I did this "sorry honey for messing up the kitchen table" style: 20 indented dice ($7), stickers ($.50 if I use blank and cut myself) and ink ($.50) and a cardboard tube with a label and a baggie in only moderate bulk comes to less then ten bucks apiece. Considering labor and shipping I could probably do a limited run and break even/ only lose a little money to get started?

But my specific circumstance aside, the feedback's been interesting. My immediate impression was "blah" but it seems like it's more about my own snobbery. And in all honesty, I like the feel and heft of the larger indented dice over smaller traditional ones, so maybe I could live with it, too.

 
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Sturv Tafvherd
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I like the heft of those indented dice too. Having already played your prototype, I can also definitely say that I'd like those stickers to take up more of the indented die face.

Oh, and I have absolutely no problem applying the stickers onto the dice myself. It actually gives me a sense of "ownership" ... and I get the same kind of "bonding" feeling when I punch out the chits or miniatures in other games.

Of course, that may be because I'm a boardgame geek.


as for custom made dice... I have a bad feeling that you would have to spend a lot to get to the same level of detail as a printed sticker. Yeah, yeah, I'm sure an etching will outlast a sticker... but how many stickers will I be able to buy for the price of an etched die?
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Matt Lee
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Rocconteur wrote:
klz_fc wrote:
Rocconteur wrote:
I guess for me I'm looking at the small under $20 game with 17-20 dice.


That's a pretty tight order, depending on the size of the dice you are looking at getting and costs of materials. I wish you luck in getting under $20 retail with that.


Really? I mean, I was thinking about cutting a die or two (I don't want to - I feel like I've balanced the amount of fun and odds with the 20 dice I have right now), but Zombie Dice is thirteen dice for 13 bucks; Martian dice 13 for 15, etc. I guess 18 dice for $20 or 20 dice for $25 bucks didn't seem too far out of the ballpark, does it? Army vs Aliens uses stickered, indented dice, 18 of them, plus two cups for $16. If I'm wrong with my target market / estimations let me know. I assume my game would, right now, be almost identical - a tube, single instruction booklet, and 20 dice (6 sided, 4 types).

If I did this "sorry honey for messing up the kitchen table" style: 20 indented dice ($7), stickers ($.50 if I use blank and cut myself) and ink ($.50) and a cardboard tube with a label and a baggie in only moderate bulk comes to less then ten bucks apiece. Considering labor and shipping I could probably do a limited run and break even/ only lose a little money to get started?

But my specific circumstance aside, the feedback's been interesting. My immediate impression was "blah" but it seems like it's more about my own snobbery. And in all honesty, I like the feel and heft of the larger indented dice over smaller traditional ones, so maybe I could live with it, too.



Well, if you're selling it by yourself forever more and you are okay with the tiny margins you have set for yourself, then $20 for 18 dice is okay, but Zombie Dice and Martian Dice are manufactured for the mass market and have far lower per unit costs than you do, especially when you consider the normal rule of thumb that you should retail for 5x the per unit costs.

The general rule of thumb is a $20 retail game needs to be under $4/piece to be comfortably profitable. $10 is more than double that.
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Eric Etkin
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klz_fc wrote:
Rocconteur wrote:
klz_fc wrote:
Rocconteur wrote:
I guess for me I'm looking at the small under $20 game with 17-20 dice.


That's a pretty tight order, depending on the size of the dice you are looking at getting and costs of materials. I wish you luck in getting under $20 retail with that.


Really? I mean, I was thinking about cutting a die or two (I don't want to - I feel like I've balanced the amount of fun and odds with the 20 dice I have right now), but Zombie Dice is thirteen dice for 13 bucks; Martian dice 13 for 15, etc. I guess 18 dice for $20 or 20 dice for $25 bucks didn't seem too far out of the ballpark, does it? Army vs Aliens uses stickered, indented dice, 18 of them, plus two cups for $16. If I'm wrong with my target market / estimations let me know. I assume my game would, right now, be almost identical - a tube, single instruction booklet, and 20 dice (6 sided, 4 types).

If I did this "sorry honey for messing up the kitchen table" style: 20 indented dice ($7), stickers ($.50 if I use blank and cut myself) and ink ($.50) and a cardboard tube with a label and a baggie in only moderate bulk comes to less then ten bucks apiece. Considering labor and shipping I could probably do a limited run and break even/ only lose a little money to get started?

But my specific circumstance aside, the feedback's been interesting. My immediate impression was "blah" but it seems like it's more about my own snobbery. And in all honesty, I like the feel and heft of the larger indented dice over smaller traditional ones, so maybe I could live with it, too.



Well, if you're selling it by yourself forever more and you are okay with the tiny margins you have set for yourself, then $20 for 18 dice is okay, but Zombie Dice and Martian Dice are manufactured for the mass market and have far lower per unit costs than you do, especially when you consider the normal rule of thumb that you should retail for 5x the per unit costs.

The general rule of thumb is a $20 retail game needs to be under $4/piece to be comfortably profitable. $10 is more than double that.


I remember a similar thread about a year ago where the OP was complaining about custom dice manufacturing costs. To paraphrase:

Yep, you can get them made in America's Industrial Empire (aka China) for a great price... but you literally have to commit to THOUSANDS. And that's per custom die. So if you have 10 different dice, that's 10 different molds so... well... you see where that math is going. The economics of scaling are very, very evident in custom dice.

You can get them made right here in the good old USA. You can even get them made in much smaller quantities... but it's STUPIDLY expensive. How expensive? When the OP originally quoted his RFQ, I was basically this guy: shake . And that was already with some degree of RFQs for my own (non-dice) projects under my belt. I was primed for a high cost for these dice, but after thinking I'd help the OP and do a little research myself... yep... custom dice in the USA are insanely priced. (cue this guy: gulp )

So - let me ask you: do you NEED custom dice? What's it lending to your game? Dice are like hamburgers. Sure... custom dice are nice... but a hamburger is a hamburger. At the end of the day, most people are happy regardless of where they grilled it.

Are custom dice really needed? YMMV. Alien Frontiers gets along just fine without them.
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John "Omega" Williams
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One publisher local it seems is selling 16 1 1/2 inch non-indented stickered dice for a game for retail 9.99$
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Rocco Privetera
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klz_fc wrote:
Well, if you're selling it by yourself forever more and you are okay with the tiny margins you have set for yourself, then $20 for 18 dice is okay, but Zombie Dice and Martian Dice are manufactured for the mass market and have far lower per unit costs than you do, especially when you consider the normal rule of thumb that you should retail for 5x the per unit costs.

The general rule of thumb is a $20 retail game needs to be under $4/piece to be comfortably profitable. $10 is more than double that.


I totally agree with you, sort of. My goal was to sell the design to a real publisher, and if real publishers are happy to sell a dice game with 13 custom dice for $13 my uneducated guess is they would be OK with selling a similar game with 18-20 dice for $20, right? Is that reasoning wrong somehow with these numbers? I'm trying to make a game that hits the same market made by a publisher with the same mass access to unit production (except slightly larger and IMO better) trying to fill the same niche.

Stormtower wrote:
I like the heft of those indented dice too. Having already played your prototype, I can also definitely say that I'd like those stickers to take up more of the indented die face.


I deliberately didn't make them 100% of the size they need to be because due to my gorilla hands cutting with exacto blades (single sheet labels being so much cheaper than individual dice stickers) I needed some wiggle room as I mangled the labels and stuck them on wrong or overlapping the edges. When I get the design just right I'll probably register them out to the edge.

MOTHDevil wrote:
So - let me ask you: do you NEED custom dice? What's it lending to your game? Dice are like hamburgers. Sure... custom dice are nice... but a hamburger is a hamburger. At the end of the day, most people are happy regardless of where they grilled it.

Are custom dice really needed? YMMV. Alien Frontiers gets along just fine without them.


Not at all. I just assumed, out of ignorance, that stickered dice were the province of prototypes and homebrews (or first gen games by a generic gamecrafter-pod type game) only. But then I saw the review with them and now you guys have educated me to games that use them. So if I have to go the self-publishing route to get this off the ground (or through to a second generation version via kickstarter), even not making any money, it seems like a decent option.

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John A. White
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I am working on a Custom dice game as well.

I bought white label stickers...(untested)
I bought white paint pen...(not good)
I thought of stencil + Permanent paint
I have bought $1 set of color dice (blue,black,green,yellow,red) I penned in the pips with matching colors (colored sharpies).

Next up is..
Buy real dice.
The protected sticker dice + border are butt ugly!!! I want to cry.
The cool dice will destroy my art...

I actually looked at engraving tools! I think a handheld drill would work.

What should I go with?

 
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Eric Etkin
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Maybe you could get blank white cubes and sucker people into "customizing" them with dry erase markers, based on simple images you provide. The game itself could have a flexible iconography which might change from game to game, or be customizable based on player preference.

It's amazing what some people will do to make up for manufacturing deficiencies if you convince them it's fun. whistle
 
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John "Omega" Williams
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MOTHDevil wrote:

Maybe you could get blank white cubes and sucker people into "customizing" them with dry erase markers, based on simple images you provide. The game itself could have a flexible iconography which might change from game to game, or be customizable based on player preference.

It's amazing what some people will do to make up for manufacturing deficiencies if you convince them it's fun. whistle


Allready thought of that. Though I thought for sure there was a game out there on the shelves some years ago that made use of "draw on" dice. Cant find it now and no clue what the name was.

I played with the idea of blanks "draw on" dice as part of the gag pack for "____________" aheh... whistle

These big 1.5 inch flat dice from this 9.99$ game arent bad really. I'd love to know where they got them as they look like they would be good for silkscreening and other methods of making custom dice.
 
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Adam Kazimierczak
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Having researched this extensively for my games and even contacted manufacturers, I will say that custom engraved dice are ridiculously expensive for small run games. The minimum you'll ever get is $1 a die and some are as high as $1 per side.

That said I really dislike sticker dice in hobby games except for prototypes. Custom dice may benefit from feeling out demand, like Kickstarter stretch goals.
 
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