Monthly Archives: December 2022

Artwork Setup Guide

Graphic Design for Print – 16 Steps to Make Sure it Looks Great

Graphic design for print is the last stage of your artwork creation and is the point of time where you want to set up your artwork so that it prints as well as possible. Many board game and card game creators though they might know about the design and artwork creation, have little knowledge and information as to how printing works and, consequently, the best practices to make sure their artwork and graphics come out perfect. At Hero Time, we created a whole series that explains graphic design for printing in detail, and here we will go over the fundamentals to make sure you get the best results.  

Graphic design for print VS Graphic design for the web  

Graphic design that is viewed digitally is extremely far from printed work. It boils down to the fact that graphic design for the web can simply be exported as a jpeg or png, and the viewers of this image will see it as it looks. On the other hand, in printing, the printing engineer needs to actively control the color output in the machine and the alignment of printing areas to make sure it will come out looking great. Therefore, graphic design for print cannot be handled in the same way. It has to be handled and controlled properly.

How to make sure your graphic design for print is printed well?

There are four areas that make the most significant difference when making a graphic design for print, and you should pay attention to them:

  1. Setting up the specifications of your files  

  1. Managing your colors perfectly well  

  1. Make sure your text will be crispy sharp and not missing details  

  1. The file is kept and handled well  

It is important to note that this extensive list is necessary if you want your artwork and game to come out perfect. Though most manufacturers, publishers, and players may not notice these issues, we want to make sure you are happy with the outcome. You can also choose not to follow this list, but we will not be able to guarantee the quality of print in such a case. 

If you need any assistance please Feel free to book a call or contact your creator assistance by email.  

 

You can also view all this information on our Youtube playlist

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLCS1rWvDVjF44CLfYSvnn4kwmdWQstoD7


Setting up the specification of your file  

  1. Make sure the size of your file is the same as the actual printed file. Otherwise, it might get pixelated and lose its ratio as we set it up for print. You can use our Board Game Templates Generator to generate the exact files you need with bleed. 

  1. Make sure you add bleed and margins to your files so that no important content will be lost.   

  1. We always recommend using gridlines to ensure the content is centered correctly. We will not be able to fix misaligned assets.   

  1. The best software to use is Adobe Illustrator as it uses Vector Graphics instead of Pixel Graphics. However, if you must use Pixel Graphics make sure the DPI is at least 300DPI; for text-heavy artwork, it is better to have 450DPI  


Managing your colors perfectly well  

  1. From the artwork stage, make sure all the assets you create are in CMYK, not RGB.  

  1. Use swatches in your file to ensure all the colors you use are identical throughout your components.  

  1. To reach the best color effect on large surface areas, do not mix colors too much. Use only two colors( + black if needed) out of the CMYK color pallet. For example, C+Y+K, C+M+K, M+Y+K do not have all four colors in your mixture.   

  1. Try your best to make sure the total percentage of colors on large surfaces does not exceed 180%. Over 180%, the ink will start becoming muddy.   

  1. If you have gradients, make them in PSD and flatten them to a PNG.  


Make sure your text comes out crisp   

Text is mainly thin strokes of ink; as such, we run the risk of registration Printing registration – Wikipedia. To avoid this risk, you must do the following three things.  

  1. All text should be in a separate layer, so we can add an additional layer to protect against registration.  

  1. All black text should be 100%K, or if it is a different color, try to have a maximum of only two colors in it (C+Y, M+Y, M+K, etc.)   

  1. It is best if the text is also outlined to avoid any mishaps.  


File handling and sending to Hero Time 

  1. Any assets imported from different software should be smart objects to avoid pixelation during resizing if needed.   

  1. It is best to keep all files dynamic and not flattened so we can control colors and assets if needed.   

  1. To make sure we can adjust colors and maximize the printing effects, the files’ assets should be layered in 3 or four layers: Background, Images & icons, text, and any templates of cutting lines.  

  1. It is best to send all the files in adobe illustrator. However, an editable PDF or PSD file will also be good. (Only use PNG/Jpeg/flattened files if you are 100% sure your artwork is flawless.   

Exporting with editable functionality

Throughout this process, you will always be able to use the Creator Assistant to help you understand any of these points or even check your files and give you feedback.   

If you need any help or clarification you can always reach out

Once your artwork is completed, we will open a cloud folder for you, where you will be able to upload your files.   


How to upload your files.   

Once the cloud folder is open, you can simply drag and drop files into it. Please note that once you upload, you will not be able to change the files’ names or delete them. So, make sure everything you upload is accurate before you do.   

For each file type, you should create a separate folder: e.g., Box, Cards, Rulebook, Token sheets, etc.   

* If your cards have different back designs, you can add one folder for each backside – this way, we will know all cards in that specific folder have the same back.   

* if some of your cards need to be in the game multiple times, add the number of cards to the name. For example x8_Gator card   

* You can upload the back of the cards only once to the matching folder. You do not need to upload the same back multiple times.   

*As for token sheets, it is best if you already lay the tokens on the sheet yourself and upload the whole sheet as one piece of art. You can check here our standard token sheet sizes Token and Map tile sheets – Hero Time Board Game Manufacturer (herotime1.com)   

 

Board Game Testing

Board Game Testing

Playtesting your game is crucial to making a product that can stand the test of time. Members of the Board Game Design Lab recommend testing your game at least 30 times.

Before you proceed with development and manufacturing. And though you can use friends and family to test your game. There is nothing like getting an objective opinion from someone you do not know.

To make the process easier, we have teamed up with Player Lair Playtesting to make sure your game gets an objective opinion and becomes the best it can be!

“Player Lair Board Game Testing”

The Player Lair Playtesting team has performed hundreds of tests. with games at various stages- from early prototypes that need direction to games with the final artwork.

They have worked with publishers like Garphill Games, Jacob’s Brick Games, NiNi Games, plenty of independent game designers, and many more.

Because, Their team consists of several published game designers, a graphic designer, board game convention organizers, prototype contest judges, and a gaming journalist. They choose playtesters who will fit your game’s style and needs.

So, Player Lair is run by Ivan Alexiev. He also hosts the Player Lair Podcast and has talked to dozens of world-renowned game designers and has a lot of experience in making and developing games.

How Does Player Lair Work?

At first, they read the draft rulebook to ensure it is clear and easily understood by a party unfamiliar with the game and that has no one to explain the game. If your game is at an earlier stage or the rulebook isn’t quite up to date with the latest additions to the rules, you may also have a test where you teach the rules, the mechanics, and the main focus of the gameplay.

​After reading the rulebook and understanding the game, they start to play. The whole session is recorded so you can see real-play-time emotions and play through. After completing the playing session, they write up a detailed report of the game’s strengths and weaknesses and add an actionable plan with improvement suggestions.

Board Game Testing:​

The playtests are usually carried out through Tabletop Simulator. If you need help with getting your game on the platform, the Player Lair team may also help you with that as well. There is also the possibility of making a prototype or sending a print and play version.

What Do You Get?

“Price for Playtesting”

Mention Hero Time, and get a 20% discount on any of their services!

  1. Only $25 per playtester per session (1.5 hrs)
  2. 20% off on Tabletop Simulator asset creation (ranges from $20 to $120)

You may contact them by email at admin@playerlair.net or fill out their contact form at Player Lair Playtesting

Design Patent

Once you’ve settled on a firm design concept, you may think about the idea of patenting your game. Below, we’ve explained the process of patenting a game, as well as when it is (and isn’t) a good idea.

1. Do I need to Patent a Board game?

First, you want to ask yourself if you need or want to patent a board game. If you are a small indie board game creator who is looking to give the game to his friends family and the surrounding area. Then to patent a board game might not be the right idea. You can maybe copy right some of your artwork instead. However, if you are a large board game publishers, or even a small publisher with a vision and desire to one day become a big-time player, then patenting the board game you are working on is essential. 

2. Price of Patent & Counterfeited Board Game:

In our days there are fake copies of most of the best selling games out there. These counterfeit board games are sold online and in other channels to people all over the world. While an original copy can cost $50-150, the fake board games are selling for $5-40. 

3. Second, what patent do I need for my board game?

Well, this is again specific for each board game. But, by and large, there are two types of patents, a utility patent that for a novice utility that has yet to come into the market, and the second type is a design patent which protects the way the unique design of an object/item. In board games, aside from new things like the dice in “Dice Forge,”. There aren’t too many new mechanisms and tools that are being invented, and that can be under a utility patent. Therefore the best option for protecting a board game is a design patent that patents the combination of mechanisms, cards, components, and pictures used in the game

4. Shall I also trademark and copy right a board game?

Aside from a Design Patent, a company can also Trademark its logo and name, and copyright the artwork. However, these two methods will not completely protect your board game. In both cases, it is enough to change a small part of the work or words to avoid infringement. For example, if a factory wants to counterfeit a card game lets say “7 wonders” all they need to do is change it to “8 wonders”. In copyright as well, they should only change a small part of the picture to avoid infringement. 

Board Game Copy Rights:

 A trademark or copyright will help only if the counterfeiter makes or sells the same exact game one to one, or if he is selling damaged goods that you didn’t authorize. 

However, with a design patent, even if the counterfeiter changed the art or name, the mechanics of the game and the overall gameplay stay the same, so your game is protected.

5. Where should I take IP Protection for my board game?

You can patent your board game in any country in the world, and starting from the country of your primary market will be a good start, However, if you are looking to protect against counterfeiters, you should really consider patenting your game in the counterfeit capital of the world. While, in developed countries, people, in general, avoid counterfeiting of making a one to one copy of your game, in China and some other less-developed countries, this concept is still not fully absorbed and practiced. 

Benefits of IP Protection:

Therefore if your budget is low, the first place for you to patent your board game will be none other than China itself. Once the Chinese government is backing your IP, no factory and no store will ever dare touch a fake game of any sort. Plus, the cost of a design patent in China is extremely low, and the process is quite fast. 

The same goes for a trademark or copyright; once it is registered in China, you can shut down any factory or any store that sells it, whether brick and mortar or online, whether selling in China or other countries.

6. What is the process of Patenting a board game?

In all countries, the process is similar. First, there is a need to search in the government database to see if anyone already registered a similar patent or trademark for a board game. Once the search is complete and there is an authorization that no one previously used the specific game or trademark, then we can apply for a design patent or trademark. After applying, it takes time for the official body to examine the application, and then some time to register it.

7. How long does it take to Patent and trademark a board game?

That aspect depends on each country. In the USA a design patent and trademark can take anywhere between 10-12 months, in Europe it is between 8-12 months, but in China a trademark is up to 8 months, and a design patent takes only 4-5 months.

8. Can Hero Time help me Patent my board game?

Yes. Hero Time has an exclusive cooperation with DeWei, one of the largest corporate law firms in China, and offers board game creators and publishers help with protecting their games.

We wish to protect creators and publishers from losing their IP. Also, we help sign OEM agreements between large publishers and factories to ensure full coverage of IP and to stop the factory from ever revealing or sharing any of the sensitive information they got about the company.

P.S – if your work has already been counterfeited and sold in various stores, call us to discuss a course of action. 

9. How Much does it cost to patent a board game?

Every board game has a different number of mechanisms, components, and game play so it largely depends on the game and the country / region you apply to. But for a general estimate, the prices are as follows:

Cost for Patent a Board Game in China:

  1. Initial Search: $100
  2. Design Patent: $500-1200
  3. Utility Patent: $2500-6000
  4. Trademark: $400-700
  5. OEM agreement signed in the presence of a lawyer: $450
  6. Copy Right: $400 per piece.

Cost for Patent for Rest of the World:  

  1. Initial Search: $100 
  2. Trademark: $800-1400
  3. Design Patent: $2000-3500

*Prices are in USD

Most Common Mistakes for Game Artwork

When working on your board game artwork and graphic design, it is not enough to just find artists — you also need to make sure your graphic design is clean and will be printed well and beautifully. This is where we at Hero Time come in.  

Most Common Mistakes in board game graphic design 

Graphic Design for board games is one thing you don’t want to miss when putting together your project. A good Graphic Designer will keep your project cohesive and allow your story to be told over the course of the printing, production, webpages, and advertising.  

The most common mistakes game creators make are: 

 

    1. Mistake artwork and graphic design as interchangeable terms (these two things are completely different. One creates artwork and the other places it on the files) 

    1. Try to do it themselves with zero experience and zero guidance  

    1. Not aligning all the artwork and icons properly 

    1. The artwork isn’t the right size and is then is cut out improperly 

    1. The colors are not balanced and do not come out with a good effect 

    1. The use of too many layers and effects combined with an incorrect use of programs

How to avoid these mistakes

 

    1. Watch our YouTube series that explain 20 common mistakes and how to avoid them. This series is both for first time and experienced graphic designers. You can watch the playlist at the Hero Time Youtube Channel  

    1. As you work on your game, you should have someone to check your board game graphic design and give you some pointers. You can book a free session here https://calendly.com/hero-time-creator-assistance  

    1. If you are too busy and are not interested in the above solutions you can use our inhouse Graphic Design team, who can help with your project and will work with you through every step to ensure your project is ready to print and go live.  

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLCS1rWvDVjF44CLfYSvnn4kwmdWQstoD7

Graphic Designs Needed for your Game

Although they might all overlap in some ways, graphic design services can be divided into three categories: Games, Advertising, Crowdfunding.

Print Design

Anything from Icons to logos, art placement, and set up for print ready file, the graphic designer can help create cohesive work across the various parts of the project. They work with the artist(s) to keep the balance between theme and usability intact. 

Advertising Design

Using the work done for your project a suite of banners and images can be created to help you get the word out about your project. Professional graphics, whether posted on social media, or included in an email blast show that you take it seriously and want to keep people excited along the way. 

Kickstarter Design

There are many design needs on Kickstarter like header images, title images and more. Be sure they match your game by hiring a professional to do the layouts and images for everything from the header to the stretch goals. It is often overlooked, or left until the last minute, but the graphics and presentation of the crowdfunded project is as important as the actual information on the page, and without good, clear design people may not be able to find the information they need to make a good decision.

 

Be sure to contact us with the scope of the project for a quote. Package pricing helps keep all of the costs known at the time of quoting so you don’t have any surprises. 

Kickstarter Consultants

How to Kickstart a Board game?

So you have an idea for a board game, and you decided to fund it through board game Kickstarer. Now you need to know how to kickstart a board game. It is not an easy task and requires a lot of work. You need to gain followers and subscribers, update them constantly, and eventually when you are ready for your launch, you need to convert them into backers. We at Hero Time want to help you with your venture and so we have brought to you a list of board game industry leaders who will be willing to help you. 

Feel free to contact them personally and speak to them. Please prepare as much details about your project as you can prior to talking with them so they can help you achieve your target.

Mention Hero Time when you contact them to get a free half an hour consultancy and overview.

“KickStarter Consultants”

Garet Pic

GABE BARRETT

Founder of board game design lab community, & author of “Board Game Kickstarter Advice”

Worked on projects such as:

  • Legacies – a light and fun strategy game.
  • PlunderBund – Deck building, worker placement, and strategy area control 
  • Pedigree – The animal breeding board game.

Gabe uses the first session to set milestones for the project. As the creator progresses through the campaign Gabe provides one hour support call to advise on a course of action to reach the milestones, ensuring the project will be fully funded. 

Average No. of hours: 5        Hourly fee: 75$

Contact at:  

Nalin

Worked on projects such as:

Endless Winter – a worker placement and deck-building game set up in the Ice Age.

Reckless Sloths – A fun card game about saving sloths from dangers. 

Nalin is a professional Board Game KickStarter marketer who worked on numerous projects. She will take you one step at a time and provide you detailed advice about everything you will need to do. From creating a landing page, getting an email list, increasing traffic conversion and all the way to getting fully funded. 

Average No. of hours: Support throughout the project.     

Project fee: Mention Hero Time and get each session for only 75USD. 

Contact at: 

Facebook:

Get her book at:

Dina Ramse

Dina Ramse

Worked for 15 years as a play tester and community manager.

Worked on projects such as:

Dina brings the skills she has learned from being a social media and community manager to the table. She provides one hour support call to advise on how to best use platforms and how to gain better reach and visibility for your project. Once a week she will monitor accounts and progress, and give advise.

Average No. of hours: Minimum an hour a week      Hourly Fee: 20$ an hour.

Contact at:  

Twitter: Twitter.com/Dinasaidso1   

Instagram: Instagram.com/gamervalkyrie

Video Production for Board Game Marketing

Video Production for Board Game Marketing (Especially KS)

1. Video Production for Board Games:

One of the critical factors which can set your Kickstarter apart from the many board game Kickstarter around is the video. The first thing most people click when they arrive at a project page before they scroll to see the project’s description is the page’s video.

2. Hero Time Discount Offer:

That’s why we can recommend some of the industry’s best videographers to help you create a fantastic video, which will help your Kickstarter succeed! 

Mention, Hero Time to get a discount.

“Our Partners – Order is by Price”

1. Oniro Creative

1. Oniro Agency:

Oniro is a creative agency that crafts immersive visuals and cinematic experiences for board games and is currently working with some of the industry’s top publishers and game designers. 

2. Milestones of Oniro:

They have worked on games like SantoriniGorilla MarketingDice Throne: Season Two. Get in touch with them at  www.onirocreative.com!

3. Price: 

The Price is 4000USD for Kickstarter.

2. Kagan Productions

1. Kagan Intro: 

Video production for Kickstarter, Kagan Productions is a leading video production studio based in Israel. They specialize in creating media content for board games and crowdfunding promotional videos. They can create 2D and 3D animation, live-action, or a combination of both. 

2. Services By Kagan:

They provide a full-service from creative, scripting, voice-overs, and even animated GIFs for your campaign. If you like what you see, you can get a quote for your game at www.kaganproductions.com

3. Price:

Price – Quote per project.

3. Mesa Game Lab

1. Mesa Game Intro:

Video production for Kickstarter, Mesa Game Lab specializes in animation and visual effects. The company creator is David Diaz, animator, and designer of the game Fossilis

2. Contact Us:

You can get in touch with them by filling out their contact form at www.mesagamelab.com, and remember to mention Hero Time when you do!

3. Price:

Price – anywhere from 1000-3000USD

4. The Cardboard Stacker:

1. Card Board Stacker Intro:

Ferdinand Capitulo (The Cardboard Stacker)  is a freelancer specializing in video and animation creation since 2016 and working exclusively in the board gaming industry. 

2. Services By Card Board Stacker:

The list of services includes Kickstarter Video, GIFs, and Tutorial Video. Notable past clients include Level 99 Games25th CenturyThunderworks Games, & Steeped Games.

3. Price:

Price – 500-800USD

5. LVC games

1. LVC Games Intro:

LVC Games specializes in simple but highly thematic videos for first time Kickstarters and low budget projects. Concentrating on your story and your game’s theme, they will ensure that even brand new indie games get the start they deserve.

2. Price:

Price 150-300USD

Rulebook Editing