Deciding who you are going to work with and who you are going to draw advice from is a vital step in developing a board game. While the development of the board game itself and the mechanics of that game will go on to determine the quality of the game itself for the players, if you don’t find the right people to work with, you will either
A.) Not get your project off the ground, or
B.) Get your project off the ground, but flop
I won’t go into too much detail on why I am influenced by or working with any of the following, but I will try to give a brief overview.
BoardGamesMaker.com is the first that I would like to mention. I am using them for developing my prototypes. While the shipping costs are a little high from China for a limited print prototype run (The prototypes are for play-testing only), and the per unit cost will be through the roof (Manufacturing alone will be more than MSRP for a completed game, when it’s usually about 15-20% of MSRP), they offer a wide selection of fully customizable board game components with no minimum order requirements. Basically the economies of scale are in fully effect here, and if you only order 5 of something (far less than the 1,000-10,000 that is normal in a board game print run), it is going to cost far more per unit. What I like is that I can get a prototype with full art that feels like a completed game without a minimum print order.
Second, I would like to mention Panda. A fantastic and well respected company that makes it their business to make sure that individuals, especially in America, have direct access to a project manger that works with manufacturers in China. The vast majority of startup game manufacturers go through China for their printing, and having a team dedicated to making that process work, instead of having to navigate it yourself, is truly invaluable. My only real fear is that I will meet my own personal funding goal, but not exceed it. If that is the case, my print run will have to be smaller than the minimum Panda allows, and I will have to self manufacture. I am crossing my fingers that I can reach the bench mark I need to in order to make this product with them.
Third I would like to mention someone that I am working with on this project, but the other person doesn’t even know it. Jamey at Stonemaier Games is by far one of the greatest partners a person could ever have. I could list the countless things he has done for me here, but it would take too long. The funny thing is, Jamey doesn’t even realize the impact or the mentorship that has been formed. I should probably tell him. You might be wondering how there can be such a deep connection to a person without the other person knowing. It is possible because of Jamey’s generosity. He openly shares COUNTLESS articles and pieces of advice on the very topic of board game manufacturing. He shares, free of charge, everything you could ever need to know about this type of project. He’s done such a remarkable job, that his most recent game was beyond wildly successful. I plan to eventually reach out to him and see if I can pick his brain a bit, but I’m pretty positive that happens to him on a daily basis, so I’m going to wait for the moment to arise organically.
Lastly, I would like to mention my artist Hedi. Hedi has been a delight to work with, and her style of drawing is how I’ve imagined my game sense its inception. It is so much fun to watch her bring my ideas to life through art. While the rules and specifications of the game will certainly be the most critical aspect to the game’s success, Hedi’s hard work and imagination will certainly be the thing that brings this game to a wider audience, and will make (hopefully) countless players fall in love with theme and story.