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Printing Costs

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Printing Costs - How Much Does it Cost to Make a Board Game

1. Cost Effective Art Work:

As we covered in our previous article, the costs for printing board game components comprise raw material costs (paper and cardboard) and the cost for making the printing plates and calibrating the printing machines.


This article will provide you in detail the available off-the-shelf paper sizes and their corresponding printing plates so you can design your game most cost-effectively. It will also help you figure out how much does it cost to make a board game.


2. Multiple Paper Sizes:

Printing cost for board game, As there are numerous combinations of paper sizes and printing plates, we cannot cover all of them in detail. Hence, I chose to share here the most cost-effective and most relevant dimensions for board game creators. If you have a question, please comment at the bottom of this article, or contact us.


A disclosure: this article is designated mostly for Small and Medium Publishers. Large publishers that exceed 10 tons of a single raw material can customize the size of paper to the game’s needs.

3. Size Categories:

There are two elements to consider regarding the size:

 A)Size of the printing plate 
 B)The size of the paper used.
In this article, we will divide the sizes into four categories:
1. Extra Small (XS), 
2. Small (S),
3. Medium (M), 
4. Large (L). 


This will help us match the sizes of the printing plate with the sizes of paper.

4.Plates for Offset Printing Size:


In our location, we use four different types of printing machines:

  1. XS: Heidelberg Speed Master SM52 with a printing plate size of 52*36cm (20*14inch)
  2. S: The LITHRONE G26 with a 48*66cm printing plate. (18*25inch)
  3. M: The LITHRONE G29 with a 53*75cm printing plate. (20*29inch)
  4. L: The LITHRONE G37 with a 64*94cm printing plate. (25*37inch)


There are other types of printing machines, so if you are already using a printer, ask him for their sizes


While large publishers can customize their art and paper to fit the printing plate’s size, Small and Medium Publishers are constrained to the paper size. The goal should be to waste as little paper as possible. It will be a shame to pay for a paper that isn’t used in your game.


So here are available off-the-shelf papers:

5.Offset Printing Paper Size:


A) XS Size Papers:

  1. 29.4*29.5cm (total print area 26*26) – (10*10inch)
  2. 29.4*39.4cm (Total Print area 26*36.cm) – (10*14inch)
  3. 39.4*44cm (Total Print area 36*41) – (14*16inch)


B) Matching Printing Machine: 

These three sizes all fit into the smaller Speed Master SM52 printing machine.


C) Cost Range:

The printing cost is anywhere between 0.3-0.98USD, depending on the quantity and paper size. The difference in costs between the papers is 0.03-0.05 per paper.

Board game Production Cost for XS components

*not including cutting and finish).


D) Common Uses:

These small sizes are best used for tokens, small card game boxes, paper sheets, and rulebooks.


1. (Small) Size Paper:

  • 44*59cm paper (Total print area 41*56) – (16*22inch)


A) Matching Printing Machine:

For this size paper, we use the LITHORNE G26.


B) Cost Range: 

The cost of printing with this machine and paper costs between 0.5-1.1USD per sheet

Board Game Production Costs Small-Size components

(*not including cutting and finish).

C) Common Uses: 

This size paper is mostly used for Small-medium boxes, a small deck of cards, small hexagon pieces, small playing boards, etc. For example, this size sheet can fit 32 poker size cards in it.


2. (Medium) Size Paper:

  • 54*78cm (Total print area 51*75cm) – (20*29inch).


A) Matching Printing Machine:

For this size paper, we use the LITHORNE G29.


B) Cost Range: 

The printing cost on this sheet is between 0.65-1.5USD depending on quantity and not including cutting and finish.

*not including cutting and finish).

C) Common Uses:

this is the classic size paper used by most manufactures fitting the traditional 54 poker playing card sheet.


D) Recent Development: 

Recently, there have been developments in card cutting and collating technologies, and with careful printing, we can actually fit 64 cards poker size cards in one sheet. If you have a game in the process, feel free to contact us about it.


3. (Large) Size Paper:

  • The large size paper is 59*88.2cm (Total print area 56*85cm) – (22*33inch)


A) Matching Printing Machine:

For this paper, we will use the LITHRONE G37.


B) Cost Range: 

The cost for printing on this paper and with this machine is between 0.75-1.6USD.

(*not including cutting and finish).

C) Common Uses:

This size paper and printing plate are used for large game boards with a six or quad-fold. It is also used for some extra-large board game boxes from 40*32*7cm upwards.

This size sheet can also be used for a deck of 78 poker size cards.


Important Notes:

 There are a few other things to take into account. 
  1. Don’t forget to add a bleed to your art. Bleed should be 3mm on each side and should be considered when choosing the right paper size.

  2. Bleed for playing boards and boxes should have an extra 15mm on each side. Don’t forget to add it to the calculations.

  3. We added some sizes in Inches for reference, but it is best to use CM.

  4. Sometimes it is best not to add too many printing components if the art is color-rich, as the colors might not turn out sharp. For heavy board games, it is best to first consult with the machine operator.

  5. There should not be more than 84 cards in one sheet. It will harm the cards in the cutting process. Sometimes for small cards, we will only use the medium size paper sheet.

  6. We did not include cutting and finish prices in this article. Like mentioned previously, cutting depends on your components, and finish adds anywhere from 0.15-0.3USD per sheet.

  7. For an order of 3000+ sets, it is best to look at the complete art and evaluate a price accordingly.

  8. Large publishers who want to become more cost-effective should control the supply chain all the way from the paper mill to assembly. The printing factory does not necessarily know the ins and outs of paper sizes. Contact Us.

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