How to Make a Board Game
Determine Game Specifications
When making a Board game, there are many different components and materials to choose from. Even in a seemingly simple piece such as a card, the paper used can have different cores, weight, and finish. Boxes are of various thicknesses and sizes as well, depending on how durable you wish the game to be, how big, or the general impression it gives. Miniature, dice, and other components are made from entirely different materials, etc. All these specifications need to be decided upon before starting the manufacturing process. HeroTime will help you understand these specifications and their costs so you can make a knowledgeable decision.
Design the Files
So, you worked hard, or hired artist to do the artwork. Each piece looks splendid, but it’s time to
lay them out for print. At times, you will want to get as much as possible out of a sheet of paper and
lower costs, and at other times you will want to have the pieces laid out in particular order.
HeroTime has its graphic designers that will put your pieces together while maximizing space and
laying them in the design that suits you. HeroTime will also provide you with a dedicated OneDrive
link that you can add all your files upto.
Making a Sample and Adjustments
Once the specifications have been agreed upon, we move to make a sample. In this step the factory
produces one or two sample games to ensure that the manufacturing will be done in accordance
with your requirements. You will receive the sample game and then comment and make
adjustments as you see fit. At this point, ff the game and specifications are not to your liking,
HeroTime will repeat step 2 and manufacture a new sample game (with your new requirements)
completely free of charge.
Planning Mass Production
This stage is crucial for the efficiency, transparency, and effectiveness of the production. In this
stage, HeroTime will decide with the factory the manufacturing timeline, the worker placement, and
the quality control procedures. It will limit unwanted surprises and allow HeroTime to record the
progress of the game and update you instantly on every step.
A mass-produced game is not printed in the same way as a print and play game. One of the
differences in the printing method used. While print and play games are printed by digital printers
that use a toner moving along the page, offset printers use plates that stamp the page with desired
color and design. Generally, there are four metal plates, one for each of the four CMYK colors. Each
metal plate is engraved with the design of one color alone. Throughout the printing, the page moves
under the four plates, and each one of them stamps the page with its designated color. Four colors
are enough to make a complete picture. During this stage HeroTime must ensure that the shades
and color mixes used on the plates stay consistent, so to avoid a print that comes out faded or
Varnish and Lamination
Following the printing, we must make sure the color stays and does not fade away, even after a
couple of years. For that, we put an oil coating or lamination on the paper. Both the coating and
lamination are either matte or glossy. Some game publishers use coarse linen finish, where the
surface of the card seems to have lines on them.
Gluing & Sticking the Printed Paper to the Cardboard
After the print and finish have been done, we move to the step of constructing the game pieces
and box. In this stage, we take cardboard (depending on the thickness you chose) and glue the print
onto it. The paper passes under big metal rollers with glue, and then a person or a machine sticks
the cardboard onto it. Have you ever seen some crooked pieces in board games, uneven sides, or
paper that peels off the cardboard? That is what happens if you don't keep a close eye on the
So the cards were printed, the paper and cardboard of pieces glued together. Now its time to cut
them into individual pieces, or keep them on one board and ready them for punch out. Cutting is an
essential process that if goes wrong has a direct effect on the quality of the game, and there is no
going back if something goes wrong. The process is simple: the paper and cardboard go into a press
machine. The press machine has a cutting mold attached to it with small knives organized according
to the shape of the pieces. These knives need to be sharp and exact; otherwise, when a customer
comes to punch out, a small part of the paper might come off the piece, or the cardboard will crack
and fall apart a bit.
There are two ways to produce miniatures: one is 3D printing machine, where the factory uses the
STL file directly to print the miniature. And the second is an injection mold, where the factory first
makes a wax sculpture, then creates a mold and then injects the material of the miniature (mostly
pvc) into the mold and dries it right after. Both processes are done by machine, the difference is that
an injection mold is much faster and much cheaper. One machine can do a couple hundred a day,
where 3D printing can do only a couple dozen only. However, getting the mold is quite expensive.
HeroTime cooperates with suppliers in inner cities of China, where the cost for creating mold is
lower by 1000USD or more.
Dice and Other Components
If you want small trays, plastic separators, dice or anything else. There are two ways to go about it.
The first is to find matching pieces that are already in stock at some factories and then buy the
components off the factories for cheap. The second option is to make them from scratch (obviously
it will cost more). Therefore, you need to ask yourself how flexible are you willing to be. Hero Time
will ask over one hundred factories until it finds the piece that most resembles your need.
Packaging & Shrink Wrapping
Have you ever got a game that was missing a board or a piece, did you ever open a game and found some unrelated stuff in it? These mistakes do sometimes happen and can cause a lot of headaches. Avoid it. Make sure the packaging process is well organized and that each employee knows what pieces he puts where. After each game was boxed and closed they go through a shrink wrap machine that puts a thin layer of transparent wrapper around the game to make sure it stays new until the end customer gets it.
Customs, CBM, LCL, FCL, etc. Shipping is probably the most abstract and unknown of them all. How
to calculate the price, who to talk to, which company or forwarded to use etc. Leave it to us. We will
explain everything to you as you proceed with the order. Regarding the price, we will provide you an
estimate price at the start of the project so there will be no surprises towards the end.
If you have Kickstartered your project, you probably have a list of 200 more customers, all with
different addresses. Rather than shipping all the game to one address and from there to the
customers, it is better and cheaper to send from the factory to the end customer. It is a great idea
and will save you A LOT of money. HeroTime works closely with fulfillment and distribution agents,
so all your games will get to their right place without you needing to do anything about it.
Sit & Enjoy the Fruit of Your Labor
Yes. You will get your game; you will hold it, and feel immense satisfaction. YOU HAVE DONE IT.
Well, not quite. Now it is time to sell it and get a return on your investments. If you have no
capabilities for that, do not worry. HeroTime partnered with E Mobility Now, the third
largest distributor in California. They will take your games, promote it online, place it at stores, and