Monthly Archives: February 2021

CE Mark/Certificate For Board Games

CE Mark/Certificate for Board Games.

What is the CE mark for?

Certification for board game, The CE mark is a symbol affixed to the package of product to recognize which product confirms to the standards set forth by the European Council for toy safety. The product safety directive applies to all products manufactured in Europe or imported into Europe from a third country. If you manufacture your games in Europe you should also have a CE test report. Check the EC Europa website.

Does my board game need a CE mark on it?

The council for toy safety has detailed in its Annex that a toy for people over the age of 14 is not considered a toy and does not need a CE/ certification for board game. However, if your game will be played by kids as well, it is the utmost importance that you ensure the safety of players and get a test report for your game.

Whose name should be on the CE test report?

If you are an importer or a distributor of games, you have the same responsibility towards the games as the manufacturer does. Hence, you should have a test report showing that the games you are selling conform to the standards. Having a report from a manufacturer is not enough to cover in case your company and games are audited.

Is the CE mark on my board game applicable to other countries as well?

Though the UK is Brexiting (looks like it) from Europe, still the two governments are in transition, and many of the rules that applied in Europe still apply to the UK. As long as the UK government does not declare otherwise, the CE safety standards apply to the UK as well.


As for the USA, CE does not apply and is not a sufficient proof for safety standards. In the USA, the federal government has established the CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission), and they have a separate set of standards under the ASTM F963 act. For more information, check our article about getting an ASTM test report.


However, CE and the European standards are still most widely used and though countries like Australia, Canada, Japan, and Korea have their own set of standards, the CE standards will do.


Check our article about overlapping tests.

What does the CE standard tests include for board games?

Certification for board game, Overall, toys are all under the EN-71 category, however, within this category, there are various tests.

For board games’ CE, the most common tests are as follows.

  1. Physical and Mechanical Properties – making sure that the physical property of the game do not present any risk, such as sharp edges that can cut or small pieces that can cause asphyxiation.

  2. Flammability – to make sure that the toys are not prone to burn.

  3. Chemical substances – to ensure that the chemicals used in the board game do not harm human health. This largely relates to heavy metals used in coating and color.

  4. Checking the labeling on the package to make sure it is according to standard.

Some tests such as electrical properties, radioactivity, elasticity etc. understandably do not apply to board games. There are additional tests required by the European Union namely the REACH test, but we will discuss them in a separate article.



Click here to download the proceedings from the CE Safety council.

How to get the CE standard check?

Hero Time cooperates with world-leading testing labs and can help with the standard test. In general, there are 5 steps your game should go through to permit the affixation of the CE mark.

  1. Make 3-5 proof samples of your game.

  2. Send them to the testing lab.

  3. The testing lab will take apart your game and check for the mentioned standards.

  4. After a week, the lab will give you back the results of the test with a test report, and also a license.

  5. Once you get the test report, you can affix the CE mark to your game.


Feel free to contact us

Download the official CE mark here.


What documents will I need?

As you are looking to sell your game in Europe, you will need the following documents.

  1. The test report from the testing lab

  2. An official declaration of conformity from the manufacturer.

  3. The CE mark on your game

If you want to learn about other required labeling, simply go and download the required labels.


How Much does the CE Test Cost?

The price largely depends on the game that is being produced. Each component in the game should undergo the mentioned tests.

  • EN 71-1 costs 70 USD per item,

  • EN 71-2 costs 80 USD per item,

  • and EN 71-3 costs 105 USD per material and color.

an item refers to a whole set of a component. For example a set of cards is one item. The outer box is considered one item, and so are the meeples and other components.


In the Chemical test each color needs to be tested for chemical composition, and so does each material, so if you have multiple-color meeples, each color needs to be tested. If you have two meeples same color but made from different material there is also a need for two tests.

Paper or cardboard tokens need only one EN 71-3 test, as they are all printed on one sheet.


Contact us to get an exact quote for your game.

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Getting a US Safety Test for Your Board Game(CPSC)

What is the CPSC protocol?

Unlike the CE which has been around since the late 1980’s , in the USA a federal standard took longer to legislate. Only in 2008 did the federal government mandated that products for Children need to conform to CPSIA standards. (The consumer product safety act), and only in 2018 did they decide to enforce this protocol on manufacturers and importers. Now at the beginning of 2021 Amazon requires every product sold to children to have a CPC (Children’s Product Certificate)

*a child is considered to be anyone under the age of 14

What safety standards does the CPSC have for board games?

Safety test for board game, On the whole, the CPSIA works on aligning its standards with the CE standards. but they do have some additional tests that are mandatory.

1- ASTM F963Physical properties of the game:

    Checking the accessibility of sharp corners, edges, and small parts

2- ASTM F963 Flammability test:

    Making sure your game is not flammable and does pose danger to kids who play it in warm areas of the house.

3- ASTM F963 – Soluble Heavy Metals tests:

    Mostly in regards to heavy metals used in the process of making paint, coating, paper, cardboard, plastic, and other components.

4- CPSIA Lead in substrate and coating:

    This test also includes the specific children’s lead test of ASTM F963, and the specific CA65 lead test for California.

(When testing it is crucial to add the later ASTM lead. and CA65 lead in the test report, though it is done together with the CPSIA lead test)

5- CPSIA Phthalates 8P :

    This test includes the specific California CA65 Phthalates, and like in the lead test, it should be specified and included in the test report.

6- CPSIA specific tracking label requirements

How to label a board game according to the CPSIA?

In this regard, the CPSC is similar to the CE standards. The label should notify the users of the appropriate age of players. Because, If it has small parts clearly specify that it is not for the use of children under the age of 3. and state any hazardous warnings related to the game. Some common hazardous aspects are sharp edges and small pieces.

Download the label here


In addition, the CPSIA states that the game should have:

1- Manufacturer’s name

2- Production date

3- Batch number

4- Detailed location of production, Street, City, and Country

5- Importer / seller name

6- Importer / seller address

7- Importer/seller contact information (website is good enough)

8- It is not enough to find a factory with a previous CPC, the CPC must be specific for the game. and have the seller and manufacturer’s name on it as well.

* if you have a simple cards game with only a tuckbox you need to have one card with that information, as the CPSIA regards a tuckbox as a disposable package



How to make sure my game passes the tests?

Hero Time will make a few samples of your game first to send to the testing lab, and once you get the certificate. Hero Time will continue with mass production. If your game only has standard components. It is also possible to simply send games to the testing lab from the mass production.

How much does a safety standard test cost?

  • The physical properties, flammability, and labeling test for the whole game cost 95USD

  • The costs for testing heavy metals, lead, and phthalates P8, is 130USD per material and per color: for example, cards, playing board, punchout sheet, wood tokens of the same color, etc.

  • For plastic and wood components, there is an additional 130USD per color, as each color uses different substrates.

Saying that, heavy board games with multi-color miniatures and wood components are better off simply stating. and they are for the ages of 14 and up.


Which testing lab should you use?

Testing is not a matter to take lightly, That’s why in Hero Time we chose to work with one of the most known testing labs in the world Bureau Veritas

How Much Does It Cost to Make a Board Game?

A critical part of running a successful board game business is understanding how much it will cost to actually make your game. 

The cost to make a board game can vary significantly based on the components used in your game, their customization level, how complex they are to produce, and a whole range of other factors.

Each game has different sized tokens, playing boards, cards, and other components. There is no one-size-fits-all price to manufacture your own board game, but rather each game involves its own unique manufacturing process and quote.

You can contact us to talk to our team about how much it will cost to make your board game or card game.

Although the exact cost can vary from game to game, this doesn’t mean that there aren’t any underlying guidelines for quoting the price to manufacture your game.

In general, you can expect to pay a similar amount to the figures below for your game, based on the complexity of your game and the size of your order:

  • For a simple one-deck card game, between $0.50 and $1.90 USD per unit.
  • For a simple two-deck card game like Sabobatage or Chicken Challengers, between $1.40 and $5 USD per unit.
  • For a multi-deck card game like That Sound Game or Made Up Movies, between $2.70 and $7.50 per unit.
  • For a light board game with some decks of cards, tokens and other pieces, like Snack Time or Moonshell, between $4 and $11 USD per unit.
  • For a medium-weight board game with seven to 12 components such as Sauria, Project EOS, or Ahau, between $7 and $20 per unit.

For a massive board game like Gloomhaven or Deliverance with miniatures and lots of pieces, between $14 and $35 USD per unit.

Note that the low price points above are for orders of 10,000 sets, and the high price points are for orders of only 500 sets. In addition to manufacturing, services like board game design and prototype manufacturing can affect these figures.

In this article, I’ll explain as clearly as I can how games are quoted, as well as the general cost of manufacturing a board game.

So far, most board game manufacturers have kept this knowledge secret — usually, it’s hidden from public view and isn’t widely shared with board game makers until late in the sales cycle, if it’s even disclosed to sales staff.

So, you shouldn’t be surprised if you end up knowing more about board game production costs than your current factory contact after you reach the end of this guide.

If you need any help understanding the costs outlined in this guide, or want to talk to us about the process of making your game, feel free to contact us.

The Basics of Board Game Manufacturing Costs

All board games consist of board game pieces. Covering all of these is a job too long for one page, so we’ll first start with the price of printed board game components.

The price for the printed materials that make up your board game is composed of:

  • Raw materials costs
  • Board game printing costs
  • Coating and card linen finish
  • Gluing and cutting
  • Assembly and packaging

Let’s start with the raw materials costs, then cover the other components that make up this part of your board game’s total manufacturing cost.

Raw Materials Cost

The raw materials used for creating your game board and other printed materials are primarily papers and cardboards. These make up a significant percentage of your game’s pieces, so it’s important to keep them in mind when assessing costs for your game.

Papers and cardboard are sold in units of roughly 1 square meter (sqm), with two precise sizes — 780*1080mm and 882*1182mm.

Each sheet of paper is made to a specific weight. If you’ve received a pricing quote from us, you probably saw the term “gsm” in your quote, which stands for “Grams Square Meter.”

GSM refers to the weight of each sheet of paper. Some cards are only 280gsm, while others are 350gsm or 400gsm. Some board game boxes are made of cardboard that’s only 800gsm, while others are 2,000gsm. 

There’s no “perfect” type of cardboard, but generally thicker and heavier is stronger and offers a more premium feel. Thicker, more dense cardboard and paper is also more expensive. The best option is totally dependent on the feeling you want your game to have.

Paper & Cardboard Prices for Board Games

In manufacturing, paper and cardboard are priced by ton. Low-grade paper and cardboard costs around $600 USD per ton, while higher-grade paper and cardboard will cost around $1,500 per ton, or even more.

As a board game manufacturer, the first thing we do is calculate the amount of raw material that is needed for your game’s production run. This amount of raw material doesn’t solely include the net amount of the final game sets you will receive, but also any waste/leftover materials.

It also includes any paper or cardboard sheets we will need to discard due to quality issues that can occur during the supply process.

It’s important to know the exact specifications of your game before we give you a final quote for paper and cardboard. Also, remember that the more complex your game is, the more errors can occur, which can result in more raw materials going to waste.

Typical raw materials cost for paper and cardboard: $600 to $1,500 USD per ton

We know this can sound confusing and overwhelming, so if you have any questions about paper or cardboard for board games (or other aspects of this part of production), feel free to contact us via email for a personalized answer.

Board Game Printing Costs

Printing your board game is generally a fast process. We use modern, state-of-the-art machines that are capable of printing 10,000 sheets in one hour. 

The main sources of costs when it comes to printing your game are the process of creating the printing plates, calibrating our printing machines, and covering the operator’s hourly cost during the printing run.

Many creators and people in the industry think the price of printing is per sheet. This isn’t really accurate — it’s more of a fixed price to create the plates and calibrate machinery.

For this reason, the cost per unit for a small print run is significantly higher than the board game printing price for several thousand sets of your game. In fact, the total price to print 500 sets of a game isn’t very different from the price to print 10,000 sets, as it takes the same amount of time.

Typical printing cost: $200-$1,000 USD per printing side, depending on the machine size and accuracy that’s required for your game

Contact us with your game art and we can assess which machine suits your needs best. 

Variations of Machines

One important thing to keep in mind is that there is variation in pricing between different printing machines. We offer printing machines with three different sizes:

  • Small, up to 280*440mm (+/- $250 USD)
  • Medium, up to 540*780mm (+/- $400 USD)
  • Large, up to 882*1182mm (+/- $800 USD)

Certain features offered during printing, which are available on some machines, may affect this cost. 

If your game’s cards and tokens can be printed using a smaller machine and fit within a smaller paper or cardboard size, it can reduce the printing costs by a significant amount.

Coating and Card Linen Finish

The cost for the coating is priced differently and goes per meter of paper. The thickness and the quality of the oil used during this step can affect pricing.

Typically, each sheet of paper in your game will cost between $0.05 and $0.35 for lamination or oil varnish. You can check out all of the different finishes we offer here

Adding texture on the card (aka linen finish) is both a fixed cost for installing the stamping plates and a fixed price of $0.06 per sheet.

Typical finish costs: $0.10 to $0.35 per sheet.

Gluing & Cutting:

Gluing for paper and cardboard is charged per sheet. A sheet of paper can cost anywhere from $0.10 to $0.30 USD to glue. 

Cutting is divided into two parts: cutting cards and cutting cardboard pieces. Cards are cut by a machine and are +/-0.15USD per deck. 

On the other hand, cutting cardboard pieces involves (1) a fixed cost for making the cutting die, and (2) a price per sheet for cutting. Both of these processes have an initial configuration fee of approximately $100.

Cutting Method and Results

It’s important to note that die-cut molds cut best when they are smaller than 30*30cm (12*12”). This means that if the cut is very customized and with a lot of little details, we will need to make multiple cutting dies, preferably under 30*30cm.

In this regard, I must add that some factories don’t consider this at all before starting production of a game. Only during production do they realize the error, which can potentially lead to defects in your final product.

Typical gluing and cutting costs: $0.15 to $0.70USD per sheet.

Assembly & Packaging:

The assembly and packaging process for creating board games involves collating all the pieces, shrink wrapping them, putting them into boxes, and sealing them. This process is mostly manual labor.

Unlike the other steps, which are done by machines, this part is done by people and can come out quite expensive — it generally ranges from $0.25 to $0.55 per game.

Shipping Cartons

This step also includes putting the games into the shipping cartons. Shipping cartons should be at least five layers thick so they will protect the merchandise. This is not something to save money on, as the shipping can damage many games, and the shipping insurance will only cover damages if the cartons are high grade.

Typical assembly and packaging costs: $0.25 to $0.60 USD per item.

Contact Us

As I mentioned above, there’s no one-size-fits-all cost to make a board game. Depending on the number of pieces in your game, its packaging, and other factors, your cost per unit may vary from less than $1 USD to $10 USD or more.

If you’re interested in manufacturing a board game and want a more precise quote or pricing information, feel free to contact us. Our team can provide a detailed, accurate quote for your board game production and help you with every step of the process.

How Much Does it Cost to Print a Board Game?