Board Game Creation Blogging Part 3 – Funding Method and Crowdfunding Basics

This is part 3 of Blogging About Board Game Creation. I highly recommend reading the first two (or at least one) before reading this.

After finding a manufacturer, the question becomes how to fund the production of a game. There are obviously several ways to do so. One could try to get private funding from a few wealthy friends or a convinced investment group. One could send the game to established game publishers and hope to convince them to finish development and publish it. And the final option is crowdfunding, which is in essence an updated version of first on this list.

Crowdfunding requires a lot of work but gives the greatest amount of creative freedom to the designer, while private funding and established publishers offer less work but less freedom. I like the freedom to create what I want, and at the moment, my time is a very available resource to use in the creation and production of games. So I am going with the crowdfunding option. If you have a full-time job or other responsibilities, I would suggest going the find-a-publisher route. This ensures the least amount of work on your part (though it’s still quite a lot) and eliminates the whole “find a manufacturer” phase of the operation.

I had personally decided on crowdfunding long before ever coming close to finishing the game in the prototyping process. I already owned a company, and my dream is to own a company that produces all of the things I love (i.e. all of the things I make). Now obviously I can’t manufacture the game without proper equipment, the purchase of which would raise my kickstarter goals to astronomical levels. So I thought going with raising the cash myself through a crowdfunding platform (Kickstarter) and sending them to a manufacturer that would actually listen to what I said would be the best thing, considering my situation.


Hope to see this soon

Now, I would say to determine the method of funding before looking into anything else. In this way I did write these posts out of order. But I had the idea that I would be on Kickstarter when I started my project. And I made all of my following decisions accordingly. However, at this step in the process I reevaluated what I wanted my project to be produced as, and Kickstarter still seemed like the best option for me.
Now when making a Kickstarter campaign I can say that you should have a plan for everything. And the amount of money you need to raise should be the minimum you need to get the project done. That may sound obvious but if you plan on funding part of the project yourself and some large transactions don’t go through you may be paying a lot more than you bargained for.

The types of rewards, the story, how you’re going to do the video, and anything else you want to do (advertising, press releases, etc.) should be thought about and if all goes well, completed by the time the campaign begins. Then, after you get an idea of what you’re going to do, put the idea on the website immediately and submit it for approval. This does not mean that the project must be launched shortly after it is approved, but it does mean that you can launch it at any time after it has been approved. This is not what I did and I have suffered several delays as such. The Amazon payments process takes time, and so does Kickstarter approval. Take this time, and however much more time you need, to polish up the project and make the page look nice. Send the preview link to people and get feedback, make sure that you have a quote from the manufacturer, etc. When everything is in line is the time to start the project, not before.

In the next part, I’ll talk about exactly what that all means, and how to get the most out of a Kickstarter Campaign. Though this will have to wait until mine is actually over. In the mean time, if you’d like to hear something more in depth about one of the topics previously discussed, please leave a comment telling me what it would be. Thank you for reading.

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.