Board Game Creation Blogging Part 2 – Looking for a Manufacturer

I’m making a board game, and blogging about it. This is the second part of the process, which goes from finding a manufacturer to pricing for crowdfunding. If you are interested in the process before this, you might want to check out my earlier blog post. If something you want to know about is not covered in either part, please comment and I will try to fit it in in a future installment where I go more in depth into the process.

The process of finding a manufacturer really started before I even had the prototype, but it didn’t finish until long after. When I first went looking for manufacturers I wanted a U.S. one. I live in the U.S. and I like “made in USA” products. In this search I found very few contenders. The one that I wanted to go with was 360 Manufacturing, which makes all of the games for Hasbro, and apparently does other games, too. I say “apparently” because when I went to contact them, their “Request a Quote” form was broken. And when I emailed them I received no reply (I still haven’t gotten one and it’s been months). So I’m guessing that they either don’t care about other games (likely), don’t do them anymore (also likely) or are out of business (unlikely).

So I went back to the research board, and discovered to my dismay that making a game in the U.S. would be super expensive and have awful production times. I begrudgingly decided to have a look at Chinese manufacturers.

As you can see, China is much less attached to where I am.

As you can see, China is much less attached to where I am.

Now, there are several ways to go about having something manufactured in China. You can interface with the company directly, or going through a liaison company that will contact the manufacturer for you. Liaisoning is much easier on you, the game creator, but has a higher minimum number of games required, and higher prices overall. Interfacing with the company directly is cheaper, but puts way more work in your hands, and you can run the risk of getting a bad company that will a) Steal your game idea and take your money (or the reverse or one or the other) or b) poorly make your game and leave you with a crappy product and no legal way to get back at them.

I decided to go with directly talking to a company, because I have almost no money, and the higher order quantities would be raising the bar for my crowdfunding too far. Instead I decided to put my not-so-valuable-to-anyone-but-me time into researching what would be the best company for producing my game. I needed one that had good reviews and a tangible product set (see above for why one needs to make sure), had a relatively low minimum order, and could communicate in english relatively well (if either of us were to use google translate, that would be a mess).
In the end I decided to go with WinGo games, which had more reviews than any other company I saw (hint: if you’re reviewing a game manufacturing company, make the review easy to find) which gave me a good idea about its practices. It also had several glowing testimonials (The creator of “Gunship: First Strike” being the main one) and was relatively easy to get in contact with. It only takes one day to get emails back from them, which is amazing, and since they’re in China it’s right there when I get up in the morning. Their website is easy to navigate and fairly functional. It has a few problems but nothing too glaring. After a few emails and my idiotic showing of my lack of form-filling-out skills (they use an Excel spreadsheet) I was ready to get on to the budgeting part of the process. Really, the whole process was much easier than I thought. If I may complain, though, I’d say they do send answers back one at a time, rather than in aggregate. I know some people might be overwhelmed by a bunch of questions at once, but answering them one at a time does slow down the process.

Next time I’ll be covering the budgeting and introduction to crowdfunding parts of the process, and after that I’ll be moving into some more specific areas. Please leave comments telling me what you’d want me to write about more in depth.


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