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Standard Payment Structure and Lead Time

The payment structure for board and card games is straightforward and simple. Though it does slightly vary between manufacturers in different countries and between publishers, the standard payment structure in the board game manufacturing industry is to have three or four payment installations:

  • Payment and Lead Time of the Sample Stage:
  • Down Payment pre-production
  • Mass Production Lead Time and Balance Payment
  • Shipping (optional)
  • Fulfillment (optional)

Before deciding to move forward and mass-produce a game, most customers prefer making a prototype game to check the quality of the material they chose and the way all game components fit together. After they check the game, they might decide to make adjustments to the game, the artwork, and the pieces.

Generally speaking, this stage takes between 20-30 days until the sample is delivered. It depends a lot on how organized and properly made the files for print are, as well as how many different Manufacturing Processes are there in the game.

A) Average Cost of Sample Game:

Currently, the average cost for a single sample game from a factory ranges between $150 to $400 a game.

However, this cost is very high to accept for a single game, especially for first time creators.

In addition, many game creators and publishers might take this sample and send it to board game reviewers or to events such as PAX and Essen so they can market their games before receiving the mass-produced games

B) Hero Time Offer 1:

To answer this problem, Hero Time now offers a special package of up to 5 sample games for around 60% of the cost of a stand-alone sample. In short,

    1. A single copy of a game that is identical to the final game, costs between $150-$400.
    2. Five copies with some minor variants will cost 80-200$ a game

C) Hero Time Offer 2:

If you are sure you want to move forward with mass production within a month of making the sample, Hero Time also offers a free sample upon a deposit payment for the mass production order. In this way, you are getting your sample for free.

Following the authorization of the final version of the game, Hero Time will send an Invoice (PI) to the customer. In this invoice, all the production details will be agreed upon: game specification, production timeline, payment structure, and delivery status. The invoice is a binding document equivalent to a contract. In many cases, when publishers will need Hero Time to do the shipping, the invoice will also include the estimated shipping price.

The down payment is usually 50% of the invoice’s total. If you have repeating orders, the initial payment can also be 30% of the invoice’s total. You can also view our specific terms and conditions here Terms and Conditions Page

Once the Down Payment was made, the manufacturer will move forward with mass production of the game. Here the manufacturer should go over all the files and dimension once more, order the raw materials, and start the manufacturing process of the Board game or card game. The lead time for mass production varies between game components, manufacturers, and seasons. Some manufacturers will take up to 60 days to prepare the delivery of the game. At Hero Time we try to keep it under 35 days.

After production has been completed and before delivery, the game creator or publisher will need to pay the remaining balance of their order.

If the publisher acquires Hero Time’s Shipping services, the shipping cost will be calculated prior to the delivery and will be paid at this stage. If the publisher is using a separate shipping provider and the shipping terms agreed with the manufacturer are FOB or EXW, then the shipping payment should be made with the chosen forwarder.

For large publishers that clear the games themselves, the final payment can be made after the Bill of Lading is issued.

Shipping lead time depends a lot on the destination country and the shipping method that was chosen. The Lead time and price for them are as follows:

The below Shipping Table is specifically the offering of Hero Time, you should ask your manufacturer for his policies and time lines.

  Available Countries Price Lead Time Terms
Fast UPS Shipping US between 2.8-3.5USD a KG 30 Days Door to Door all Duty and VAT paid
Slow UPS Shipping US, Canada, EU, UK, AU,NZ between 2-2.6USD a KG 60-80 Days Door to Door all Duty and VAT paid
CBM / Container Shipping Worldwide 250-450USD per CBM
+400- 800USD fixed costs
40-70 Days US – Door to Door all paid
AU/NZ – Door to Door excluding GST
Rest of World – to the destination port
Shipping prices table

You can check our Shipping Terms article here for your reference.

The shipping payment will be made upon the completion of mass production, or if you are using a different shipper aside from your Board Game Manufacturer, you will need to pre-pay this amount before the pick up of your games.

Though this is an uncommon service amongst board game manufacturers, Customers can have Hero Time manage their fulfillment as well. The payment for the fulfillment should only be done once the warehouses in the destination countries get the games and calculate the exact fulfillment prices. This is to ensure game creators on crowdfunding platforms get the best prices possible and are not overcharged in advance.

Organizing all the deliveries and shipping from the warehouse to the backers can take anywhere between 10-30 days, depending on the location of the backer, and from which warehouse they were sent.


1. If I pay the first deposit, do I still need to pay for the sample?

No, if you pay the deposit, the sample is free of charge

2. If I got a sample once and I am not satisfied with it? Can I get a new sample?

Yes. Once you pay for a sample, you can get up to three sample runs

3. Is the prototype board game identical to the final game?

Samples are printed using a digital printer, while the mass-produced order is print by an offset printer. The digital print is slightly darker and starts to fade after 2 months or so. Aside from this, the sample will be the same as the final mass-produced game.

4. How can I be sure the game will come out as I want it?

Hero Time will record the production of your game, and will send you constant updates about it. Though digital content is not 100% the same as an actual game held in your hand, errors can still be spotted, and you can feel safe with your game.

5. If during production I found that the factory made a mistake. What then?

Though it rarely happens, if it did happen, let your correspondent in Hero Time know, and they will make sure the factory re-does the job, free of charge

6. If I started manufacturing and then decided to change the design, will HeroTime be able to change it?

Once the factory starts printing, you will need to bear the costs of a reprint. The cost will only be for those sheets you want to change. Not the whole order.

7. How can I ensure the game will be produced according to the agreed timeline?

HeroTime’s representatives will be in the factory and will make sure the factories stand according to the deadlines.

8. Will the factories ever deviate from the agreed timeline?

In some cases where Hero Time will approve the delay. For example, if it is raining hard, it is better not to transport or cut the board games as the air is very damp and can ruin the boards. in that and other similar cases Hero Time will recommend changing the deadline

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