When making a board game or card game, there are many different components, materials, and processes to choose from so the manufacturing process is very detailed and can sometimes be very long.
For example, the paper used for a seemingly simple piece such as a card, can have different cores, weights, coatings, and processes.
Boxes too, come in various thicknesses and sizes depending on how durable you wish the game to be, how big it is, and the overall look and feel you desire.
And in many games, there are other components such as miniatures, dice, wood pieces and accessories, that each need to be specified in precise detail so your game looks and works exactly as you expect it to.
The first step in the manufacturing process is to decide the exact specifications of your board game or card game. There are many aspects to consider so it’s important that game creators and publishers work with a manufacturer that communicate effectively and offer the best information and solutions. Hero Time will help you understand these specifications and their costs so you can make knowledgeable decisions.
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; at other times, you will want to have the pieces laid out in particular order.
In addition, graphic design for print can be challenging even for the best designers. Hence, at Hero Time, we have created a short 16-step guide to make sure your artwork prints beautifully. We have also created a youtube playlist that covers 22 different points that other game creators got wrong to make sure you are aware of them before you start this step.
During this process, if you need any assistance with designing the file or advice, you can contact us for help, and we will be more than happy to assist you, even if you choose a different manufacturer.
Making a Sample and Adjustments
Once the specifications have been agreed upon, we move to make a sample. In this step, the factory produces a sample game for you to view and check for any errors of any kind.
We understand that some game creators and publishers use a crowdfunding campaign and sometimes need a few sample copies to show the game community.
Hero Time can offer the production of up to 5 samples in this stage to make sure you have everything you need to move forward.
Now we reached the actual Manufacturing process of the Board game. The most important thing in this stage is efficiency, accuracy, transparency, and accountability.
Before starting the process a representative of Hero Time will go over each and every single part of your quotation and specification and using our top-of-the-line ERP system, will finalize all the details with the production team.
You can check our terms and conditions to learn about common pitfalls and what Hero Time does to ensure accountability for all issues.
A mass-produced game is not printed in the same way as a sample copy. One of the differences is the printing method used. While sample games are printed by digital printers that use a toner moving along the page, offset printers use plates that stamp the page with the desired color and design. Generally, there are four metal plates, one for each of the four CMYK colors.
You need top-of-the-line printing machines.
Each metal plate is engraved with a design of one color alone. Because, 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 to avoid a print that comes out faded or inconsistent. The level of perfection depends on three things: The design files, the competency of the machine operator, and the machine itself.
At Hero Time, we use the highest-quality printing machine: The Heidelberg Speedmaster. The main advantage in these machines are color consistency, color density, and minimal registration issues, a
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.
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.
Glue & Sticking:
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 Manufacturing process of a board game. is very tricky.
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.
Manufacturing process of a board game also include the Cutting Process. 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. Hero Time cooperates with suppliers in inner cities of China, where the cost for creating mold is lower by 1000USD or more.
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
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.
After the Manufacturing process of a board game, 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.
Benefits of Hero Time:
It is a great idea and will save you A LOT of money. Hero Time 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.
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. Do not worry, If you have no capabilities for that. No.1 Board Game Manufacturer, Hero Time partnered with E Mobility Now. The third largest distributor in California. They will take your games, promote it online, place it at stores, and more.