Monthly Archives: September 2022

Trading Card Manufacturers

Aside from creating board games and card games, Hero Time is also one of the best options amongst trading card manufacturers. Trading card production needs clear communication. The game creator or publisher needs to trust the honesty and attention to detail of the manufacturer.

When I was a kid, I used to collect baseball and basketball trading cards. I had three huge photo binders with every card I collected at first, then I focused on certain players. As I became more familiar, I became obsessed with looking up the monthly prices of my collection, while trading some cards with my cousin became a monthly transaction as well. Last summer I checked the prices of my collection again and, after all the time and effort I put into my collection, managed to return a decent profit of about $10,000 USD.
Now, keep in mind that it is almost 30 years later and many of the sports cards I thought would be worth something turned into small-time gains, but some managed to become quite valuable. Regardless of the money, I treasure the nostalgia and memories that go with each card most of all. That is why trading cards can be priceless to the avid collector.

Sound silly? Here are some stats that might change your mind:
The sports trading cards market was valued at almost $8 million dollars in 2021. It is estimated to grow to $20.5 million by 2030. (Verified Market Research).

For gaming cards:
There are roughly 40 million Magic: The Gathering trading card players worldwide.

Boxer Logan Paul purchased a Pokémon grade 10 (mint condition) Pikachu card for nearly $5.3 million USD (USA Today).

Those numbers are only some of the overwhelmingly underestimated popularity of the trading card market. Can you imagine creating your own trading card game that even remotely touched the numbers listed above?
Making your own trading cards can be a profitable creative venture or fun family project. You can do the homemade version if you plan on only around family and friends, but for mass production you will need a quality manufacturer. Either way, the process can be like Making a Board Game and Hero Time can help you through the process
In this article, we will look at how you can make your own trading cards, what trading manufacturers are available, and how Hero Time can help you on the road to popularity.

  1. The first and most crucial step is to establish the rarities of each card tier and the percentage of how many times a card type will show up in a booster bag, box, or in a whole print run. The most exclusive cards might be printed only 100 times, while the common cards will be printed thousands of times.
  2. Find a trading card manufacturer that can understand your needs and communicates properly with you. It is essential you have easy communication with the factory you work with and that they take the time to understand the specific needs of your game, and how many times each card should show on average in each booster box. The printing as well as assembly are essential for maintaining the balance you are looking for.
  3. Work with the trading card manufacturer to decide which materials to use for each card type. Some premium cards might have a beautiful and unique foil lamination, while common cards might just use regular white-core cards.
  4. Once you finalize all the information, the manufacturer will start printing the desired cards, coating them, cutting them, and then the cards will be ready for assembly.
  5. Assembly is the most challenging part of your project. If all your cards use the same material and have the same rarity level, the trading card manufacturer can simply use a shuffling machine to achieve the required need. If there are additional tiers and specific requirements there will be a need for manual labor, in which case, it is essential you have a man on the ground.
  6. Once the assembly is done, all booster bags will be sealed, all extra wastage cards will be destroyed (beware of factories that keep extra trading cards to sell after), and the games will be shipped to your warehouses.

Trading cards are small making them easy to package and box for shipping. The standard trading card dimension is 63mm (about 2.5in) x 88mm (about 3.5 in), but this can all depend on how you want your cards to differ. For instance, you can also make a mini trading card size 44mm (about 1.73 in) x 68mm (about 2.68 in).

Where do I go to make my trading cards? You could DIY using a home printer, but it is doubtful the quality would be good or consistent. If you want your cards to be the next big collectible, find yourself a professional printing service that offers quality in addition to design / concept feedback.

Below is a list of trading card manufacturers you might come across during your research:

Custom Trading Cards – (USA)They offer the same custom card options and their collector cards portfolio seems impressive with titles such as Fullmetal Alchemist, Hot Wheels, and Beyond the Streets. However, as they are based in the US their price is a bit high averaging around 2USD per sheet of 54 cards.

HS Boardgame – (China) – HS claims to have 10 years in the printing business, but the website does not provide access to thoroughly research the company. While they can probably offer medium low prices for your cards, you might find communication a bit challenging when dealing with a Chinese person via email.

Cartamundi – (USA and Belgium) Cartamundi is the most established trading card manufacturer in the industry, however, because of that, they are mostly fully booked and are used to working only with the largest playing card companies in the market.
Ludo Cards – (Italy) Ludo Factory is one of the most established card printing factories established in 1950. They also have a fully eco-friendly production option. As one of the most established trading card manufacturers they have standardized the process to such an extent that they prefer working on standard trading card projects without the need for manual labor and assortment.
Hero Time Manufacturing – (Western Owned Chinese Manufacturer) Quickly establishing itself as the best game manufacturer in China, Hero Time’s focus is on board and card game production. But, with their ever-growing expertise in the field of printing, trading card manufacturing is also available now to customers. They offer several design options including cardstock sizes, colors, and finishes.
By choosing Hero Time, you can speak face-to-face with a western representative about your trading card needs while also receiving the competitive Chinese prices.

When I was a kid, I bought my trading cards at a collectible retailer, conventions, or by trading with friends. Today, the internet has given collectors and gamers access to trading cards all over the world through websites such as eBay. Invented in the late 1800s, it is apparent that trading cards are not just a fad and are still gaining momentum even into the NFT market.

Why not create your collectible game card brand today?! Hero Time is one of the few trading card manufacturers that will work with you every step of the way. We will walk you through the entire process from creation to production to finish.
Make your trading cards part of someone’s childhood memories today!

Shipping Board Games Terms

Once your game is manufactured and ready for delivery, it’s time to box it up and send it to you. Although, the world of shipping can seem confusing with its layered steps and documentation. In this article, we will examine the process of delivery as well as important freight terms and paperwork customers should be aware of when shipping board games.

When shipping your board game, there are multiple steps which a game maker should examine and budget for both time and finances. Let us look at the shipping journey your game will go through, from after the manufacturing process to the designer/publisher.

Shipping Process: The graph above shows all the transport stages during the game development process as well as some three-letter terms (EXW, FOB, CIF, DDI, DDP) which will be described below.

Factory to local port: Once your game is finished being manufactured, it will be packaged and sent by shipping truck to a local shipping port where it will receive exporting documentation and then be loaded onto a cargo ship.

Port of origin to the port of destination: After receiving the documentation, your game will begin its journey across the ocean to its destination port. This will be agreed upon by the customer giving them the most efficient port of entry.

Arrival: Once reaching its point of destination, your game along with all the exporting documentation will be reviewed by customs. Warehousing / Delivery: After passing inspection, the items will be delivered to the choice of warehouse as designated by the customer.

INCOTERMS (International Commercial Terms) tell us at what point the supplier “leaves” the merchandise. After that the customer is legally and economically responsible for their product. From the time of quoting, the customer will know if the product will have other costs or not. That is why it is important for the supplier’s quote to indicate under what terms the goods are defined.

Below that are some three-letter terms involved in the shipping process. We will briefly define these and explain why they are important. These terms allow for fluid communication from port to port as they are international rules and followed in every country.

LCL (Less of the Container Load): A 20-foot container has 26 CBM and your freight is only 3 CBM, so your shipment is considered LCL. The freight company will add your shipment to a container with other shipments to utilize space and fill the container.

FCL (Fill Container Load): This means the entire container is for your shipment regardless of if you fill the container or only ship one box.


The following abbreviations will be found on your initial quote, so it is important to understand your shipping responsibilities as the customer before agreeing on the contract.

EXW (ExWorks): EXW is based on the finished product being picked up by the customer from the factory. 

The price does not have any added transportation or taxes since the manufacturer indicates that the merchandise is in its factory and ready to be picked up. After manufacturing is complete, the average storage time allowance is 2 weeks, after the that the factory will charge the customer storage fees.

The seller can send the finished product to the local warehouse, but afterwards the shipping agreement is considered fulfilled. Customers will be responsible for all exporting costs and logistics, including short and long-distance transfers and any tax or customs expenses after the initial delivery from the seller.
 

FOB (Free on Board): A freight agent assists in booking a warehouse at the port of departure in China. After the factory finishes the production, your games will be delivered directly to port. 

This is perhaps one of the most common terms since it does not depend on the destination of the merchandise. The manufacturer will transport the product to the point of origin that the buyer indicated in the final manufacturing agreement, but after reaching the exporting port, the product is the buyer’s responsibility. 
 
FOB and the port of origin are generally agreed upon during the quoting phase. For example, if you live in Vancouver Canada and the FOB is Shanghai, the seller will deliver your products to Shanghai. From there, it is up to you on how to get your delivery from Shanghai to Vancouver.
  

CIF (Cost, Insurance, and Freight): The factory is responsible for sending your freight to the destination port, including all fees and insurance (depending on the agreement).

The merchandise is deposited in the port where the client is located or the destination port. The shipping expenses are covered by the seller, but this is included in the quoted price beforehand so that the buyer has already paid for these costs.
  

DDU (AKA DDI) (Delivered Duty Unpaid) – This method allows for the factory to send the freight directly to your door but does not include duty, VAT, and customs fees.

The seller will deliver the goods to the import location requested by the seller. Shipping is included in the price, but customs cost is paid separately by the buyer.
 

DDP (Delivered Duty Paid): All inclusive. The Factory will delivery direct from China to your choice of destination and take care of all fees (duty, VAT, customs, insurance). For Small publishers, DDP is the ideal shipping method based on its simplicity.

This is the famous total Landing cost. All costs all paid upfront. This number lets you know when your game will be available for local distribution. 


DDU and DDP are similar in that they both have all the transportation costs included to the door of the designer or publisher. The only difference are customs charges. 
 
DDI (Delivered Dispatch Import): This option does not have customs costs included in its prices, which are the buyer’s responsibility (usually, a customs agent must be used to resolve this). 

However, the cost of shipping the merchandise from the port (or airport) to the destination is already included. You already have the total number of what the transport leaves as far as you have decided, worse still, you must resolve the issue of imports and the costs that this import has.

A common acronym used when calculating shipping chargeable shipping weight is CBM (Cubic Meter). One cubic meter is equal to 1 meter long, 1 meter wide, and one meter high. The typical 20-foot cargo container measures at about 33 CBM and can hold around 25-28 CBM or game units (about 8 pallets). Pricing will vary depending on your game box dimensions and packing size.

To give you an idea of how much shipping your product might cost, customers can use the following formula and compare it to shipping company prices:

When measuring in meters: Length x Width x Height = CBM

Measuring in inches: Length x Width x Height = CBI

*Divide the CBI by 61,024 to convert inches to meters

Bill of Lading – This document serves as a receipt and identifier of the shipment provided by the shipping carrier. It provides the details of the good, how many units, and the destination. Air, sea, and ground shipments will all have a bill of lading. This is the primary document used for communication by the shipping companies and customs while your goods are in transit.Below is an example of a bill of lading issued by ConsolTainer Line Transport (CLT) located on the document by the logo and contact information. The consigner is the manufacturer (in this case Hero Time). The customer receiving the items is referred to as the consigneeThe Bill of Lading Number is the number the freight company will use to track your shipment. Additionally, we can find the name ofvesselport of discharge and port of delivery on the left side located under the notify address. Finally, at the very bottom are the cargo details including quantityweightCBMs, and contents.

Insurance Policy – If you’ve ever sent a package through the mail, you have probably been asked how much are the contents worth and if you want insurance. Freight insurance is the same premise. It protects the customer against any type of financial loss due to damage, theft, or unexpected events during the shipping process. It is recommended for all customers to retain insurance to ensure your products and financially protected.

This is by far one of the most important pieces of documentation to have, which can save you a lot of stress and headaches. The cargo transportation insurance policy provides a policy number, invoice number, name of the ship, airplane, or truck and departure/destination.

At the bottom of the document are instructions for filing a claim, the documentation needed to file a claim, along with contact information for the insurance company and official stamp of approval. We advise you to keep these policies in a safe or deposit box at the bank until confirmed receipt of your shipment.

Invoice – An invoice is similar to a bill of lading in that it lists the freight contents, quantity, and destination, but it also contains information about the payment. It is the official billing document. For example, it would be the official receipt from Hero Time addressed to the customer. This is what you will keep with your company records for accounting and tax purposes.

Packaging List – Similar to when you buy an item at a store that needs assembly and the instructions give you a list of what should be in the box. It is a simpler form of shipping document.

As you can see from the example below, this is a very basic document. Along with both the seller and buyer contact information, it provides the quantity of games, cartons, how many games per carton, the measurements, weight, and brief description.

There are many aspects to learn about when it comes to shipping board games, but Hero Time is here for you every step of the way. In addition, Hersh and I have made a podcast on shipping, which is also very interesting if you want to know more about the logistics of the game shipping process. In addition to more terminology, we further analyze other aspects of shipping. It is important to remember the shipping process has nothing to do with what is known as fulfillment (34:50).

Hero Time will help you plan an affordable and efficient means of shipping your board game without any major delays. Remember: We make it right!

THE X5 RULE FOR SELLING GAMES

How much should I sell my game for? This is a great question and should be thoroughly thought about before putting your game on the market or developing it. There is no point in selling a game where you will break even or even lose money on production, shipping, or marketing costs.


The X5 Rule for selling games is basically the landed price of your game multiplied by 5 to ensure you will receive a profit. The Landed Cost of your game includes the production costs of your board games and the shipping to your warehouse. For example, a game that costs $5.00 to make should potentially sell for $25.00.

If you have a game company, the goal is to make enough money to produce new games, spend it on marketing campaigns, fund logistics planning, reprint the current game if it does well, etc. There are a lot of factors to consider.


This rule is more of a guideline to being a successful game company, but each developer will have their own financial structure. In general, think of it in terms of breaking down 1/5 of the retail price of your game to these areas:

Game Retail Price$25.00
Landed Cost$5.00
Logistics (Warehousing shipping to customers)$5.00
Marketing$5.00
Development Budget (future reprints/ new titles)$5.00
Payroll (employee salaries)$5.00

Larger game publishers can fluctuate to 6x or 7x and get the landed cost for 15% of the MSRP of the game. If it is over 15%, they will not accept the game. Some retailers might aim for 12%. This number can even affect the quality of the game because the company is dedicated to staying within that financial budget.

Small publishers should keep these financial rules in mind if they produce a small number of games. Any game produced with less than 2,000 units will face issues with generating enough profit to meet the 5x standard.

Additionally, it is important to remember that your game cannot be too expensive compared to other games in the same market niche. At the end of the day, the market decides if the price you put for your game is worth it.

In short, absolutely! Here is why:
After discussing a lot of the unplanned for nuances in creating a game, getting an estimate on how much it will cost is a definite must. For instance, if you do not have an idea of how much you could potentially spend/earn on your game, a publisher could use this to take advantage of the situation and cause you to lose profit. Publishers already have manufacturers they work with and will get the best price for them, but they are probably not looking out for your best interests.


A list of components for your game might not be the same detailed list and prices you would get from a publisher. This is especially important if you are the creator and the contract specifies you royalties are based on the cost of the game. So, the price the publisher is charging could take money out of your pocket if the game sells well.


By doing your own research and getting a quote before talking with a publisher, you will have a better idea of how much the game will cost to make, how much it could sell for, and how much you should be receiving in profit. You might find it is easier just to self-publish and ignore using a publisher completely if the numbers add up in your favor.


Remember: Just because a publisher is in the industry does not necessarily mean they know where to source all the best quality products and affordable prices. They can provide estimates, but Hero Time can provide you with up-to-date pricing for every game component.

Customers can email us at: Manufacture@herotime1.com
Book a call with us.
We are available Monday through Friday and will get back to you within 24-48 hours (about 2 days) of first contact.

HERO TIME MANUFACTURING
Unit 2508a
Bank of America Tower,
12 Harcourt Rd,
Central, Hong Kong
+86132-6309-5321

Publishing a Board Game Channels

One of the most frequent questions that will arise when publishing a board game: Should I self-publish or use a publisher?
All those months of planning and scrutinizing over every detail have now come to fruition and your game is selling to customers. This process of selling to the end customers is the ultimate and final point of Publishing a Board Game.
Although, self-publishing is a little fish in a big pond. There are several game developers and publishers in the industry which have been producing games for years giving them the advantage of customer loyalty, credibility, and a large marketing budget. A self-publisher lacks all three of these attributes making it difficult to establish themselves in the market.
For many first-time board game developers, it can be a difficult choice to make whether to self-publish or join forces with a game publisher. There are pros and cons for each approach. Here we will examine some of the factors you should think about before making your decision.

ProsCons
Self Publishing a Board Game– All profits directly to the creator
– More creative control
– Quality control
– Low customer awareness
– Lack of market knowledge
– No guaranteed profit
Using a Game Publisher– Larger client base
– Upfront or royalty payments
– Industry knowledge
– Less money in your pocket
– Highly selective
– Less creative influence

So, if you are choosing to self-publish a game, the question is “How to Self-Publish a Board Game” We will quickly review here 4 methods for self-publishing a game:
Crowdfunding

  • Crowdfunding
  • Create A game Website
  • Selling through Amazon
  • Finding Distributors

Crowdfunding

One popular method for beginning your board game journey is by using crowdfunding. Websites such as Kickstarter, GameFound, Indiegogo, and Verkami are but a few places where a game creator can pitch their game idea and find financial investors. This will ease the stress of how to pay for your game manufacturing and give you more freedom to focus on game quality.

There are two downsides to crowdfunding. The first is the costs of campaign development. If you want to have a successful KS, the costs of launching such a campaign can reach and surpass 10,000USD. You will need to create a video, develop all the art assets on your page, get three to five samples to send to multiple reviewers, build a webpage that converts, have a few months of social media advertisements to grow your following, and even if you do all of these, your KS might not be successful, and you will not raise enough money.
Secondly, if you get people to subscribe on your crowdfunding page you do not have access to specific data such as who is visiting your page making it difficult to target specific markets. Although, among the game creator community, Kickstarter is a proven platform to gain credibility and traction in the industry. The conversion rate for subscribers on KS can go up to 20% and if other board game developers or enthusiasts are backing your project, this means your game is on the right track!

Game makers might also use some of the resources to create their own website. Sites such as WordPress or Shopify can make this daunting task a little easier while giving your game a direct channel to attract investors and/or customers.

A home website is much more broad net marketing as it can be linked to social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram, Tiktok, Reddit, etc., as well as online retail sites such as Amazon. Remember, once the game is finished, it is all about the marketing well enough to get the sales that made all that work worthwhile.
A personal website can also provide customer engagement options such as newsletters, subscriptions, blog content which will help track visitors and give you more customer data to help improve your advertising. You will have access to data analytics, which is to say you will know what type of people are visiting your site based on age, location, gender, etc. This is a huge plus for creating advertising for specific target markets and will result in more sales.

Amazon is a popular means of selling products, however expenditures such as warehousing, shipping, commission fees, and advertising can be expensive. Hero Time recommends you thoroughly research all available selling options so that your marketing budget can be utilized effectively.

Amazon charges an 15% commission on each sale made via its site along with various shipping and warehousing fees. While this is not uncommon and financially manageable for most game makers, the area of concern is advertising.
Amazon is one of, if not, THE most dominant online retailers in the world. Therefore, sellers will have many competitors to contend with when selling their products. If you had had experience with Google Ads or Facebook Ads, Amazon is similar in that you pay to make your products more noticeable to relevant customers. Without doing this, your game could become lost in a sea of searches for “Best Board Game” or “Fun Games.” The price of advertising alone could potentially overshadow the profits of your game, so make sure to do your research and figure out a firm financial budget before selling with Amazon.
However, if your game ranks quite high within Amazon’s algorithm it could do quite well in sales. For example, a Hero Time client created a game called Gift Grab Game specifically for Christmas and gift giving and Amazon immediately recognized this as a niche top performer and ranked it top of its search results for “gift exchange games.” The number of customer reviews can also be detrimental to boosting sales as word-of-mouth is one of the cheapest and most effective forms of advertising for a seller.

Gift Grab Game amazingly sold out of their 1,000 units before the end of October! Imagine if the client had anticipated such a huge response and manufactured 10,000 units or more. This is an encouraging success story which shows if you do your research on keywords, tagging, and place your game into the right search bracket, you could do quite well for yourself on Amazon.
Another key component to remember in using Amazon is promoting product awareness. As mentioned earlier, by creating your own game website and social media presence, you can reach a much larger audience and generate a buzz about your game. But Amazon, being the dominant online retailer, is where someone might go to purchase your game as the transaction feels more secure and credible rather than buying on a low-ranking website. So, again, it is important to examine and estimate where your game may fall into the spectrum of the online marketing ecosystem and how you can take full advantage of all opportunities which could generate sales.

Many self-publishers choose to reach out to private board game distributors. Stores that sell specifically to the gaming community either online or through all the stores connected to the distributor. For example, this can be highly efficient if you are a game developer in Argentina and want to sell your game in Spain. For a small percentage of each sale, your game can be distributed in multiple countries. Depending on the agreement between the game developer and the distributor, other costs including warehousing and shipping could be part of the distribution agreement, so it is important to find a distributor you communicate well with. It is possible that a distributor will contact you once you have established your game through one of the above-mentioned windows.

Board game publishers can be advantageous because they already are firmly established in the market which means they have access to a larger customer base. This allows your game to be seen by many more potential buyers thus possibly greatly increasing your sales.
Also, it is possible you will receive royalties for each game sold and publishers might provide upfront payment for your available units.

While a board game publisher has access to a larger customer base, for every sale made they will receive a commission meaning less money in your pocket. So, if your game sells well this may not be a huge issue for you, but if you are not selling many units, it can decrease your profit expectations and deflate your confidence.
Game publishers are also highly selective about what games they market. You would not recommend a horrible restaurant to your friends, right? Similarly, publishers will not market low-quality, non-entertaining games in their product line-up. This means the publisher has the right to influence your creative process and potentially alter your initial idea.
Publishers can create a contract or agreement with game developers to ensure both parties are happy. However, the publisher will always have the upper hand in this negotiation because they receive 100s if not 1,000s of submissions a year from other game creators, so you must be flexible if your game is lucky enough to be chosen.

If you have the skills, dedication, and confidence in your game and its marketability, Hero Time recommends the board game self-publishing method. After all those months of working to perfect your dream game into reality, why should someone else get to benefit from your labors?
However, if you have a lot of games in development, a board game publisher might be the best route as they might select one of your games to market giving your brand more exposure and credibility. Just remember not to get discouraged as not all game publishers are the same. Some are highly scrutinizing and firm their selection process while others may provide more flexibility with game creators.

As a kid, I used to play a lot of board games with my brother. He is an avid board gamer and board game developer who has already created a few titles already. In 2018, I was living in China and my brother created his first board game and he needed someone to produce it. He contacted several different factories but was overwhelmed with the amount of manufacturing information he was not knowledgeable about.
So, he contacted me and said he needed help. I took it upon myself to travel to these factory locations scattered throughout China. As I was merely searching for a manufacturer, the amount of non-transparent details involved in game manufacturing, such as shipping, fulfillment, etc., snowballed. I had no idea of what I was getting into.
As I went through this process of producing my brother’s board game and absorbing as much information as I could, I contacted one of my friends with extensive experience in the printing industry and together we decided to open our own facility to start making board games. There was a lot for both of us to learn at the beginning, but we really feel we have mastered the entire process. We are constantly finding ways to improve and be more efficient so that every game that comes out is 100% perfect for the creator.
To summarize the purpose of Hero Time: We are here to empower board game creators. We want to get them their game as easily as possible while making it affordable.
Game creators could go with another factory and find a much cheaper price, but you will not know the quality of your game until it is completed and the money is spent. There is also little communication and updates provided by these cheaper manufacturers.
Another alternative are large manufacturers such as in the U.S., but the prices are quite high making them unsuitable for mass production.
Hero Time aims to give the best possible board games for the best price possible. We are the only English/Chinese speaking board game manufacturer in China. We are on the production floor while your game is being developed and can keep you constantly updated on the progress of your game.

Our motto is: We make it right!

HERO TIME BELIEVES IN YOUR PROJECT

Board Game Creators are the pillars of the board game industry. As a board game manufacturer, it is our duty to make sure you have everything you need throughout your journey.

 

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