Making a game for your friends and making your game for the world are two completely different tasks. However, this isn't THAT blog post. Instead, I want to talk briefly about ways to save time, money and energy (the big three) when making a game that you know you will send to print one day.
Just as a bit of me and why I have some insight into this area of board game making, I have to date dealt with six different manufacturers, four Chinese, one American and one British, and I have produced four prototypes and two published products (soon to be three). I have made the mistakes, I have made the errors, the very costly errors at that, so hopefully, through this post, I can save you some time, money and energy, so you can better spend that on doing something we all love in this community, making games!
Just a quick note, I will be mentioning my upcoming game Langskip in this post a lot. This is only because it is a game I just recently sent off to manufacturing, so I have up to date information and images regarding such process. This is in no way a marketing post.
Tip 1 - Use a template first (or make sure your artist is using a template first). At the beginning of my game development journey, I cannot tell you the number of times that I had to change every single card in a
Tip 2 - RGB vs CMYK. Unfortunately, if you use Photoshop to create your game as I do, you will run into this problem. Most likely, your files for your game will be default set to RGB. This is great for your marketing, your Kickstarter and your social media, but it is terrible for printing. Almost definitely (it's happened to me a couple of times), your manufacturer will send you an email with "we cannot print this" if you send them a bunch of files in RGB. That's why making two versions of your final assets, both RGB and CMYK, will save you a lot of time. You can do this quickly enough by taking the PNG of either the RGB or CMYK, opening a Photoshop file set to the other format and just dragging the PNG onto the canvas. Having these duplicates of every asset in the game will save your time later when you will 100% need them for either printing or advertising.
Tip 4 - Don't use your physical prototypes for principle playtesting!!! I add three exclamation marks here because I see this happen all the time. If you want to do this, you either have way more money than sense, or you want to have a physical version of your game rather than minimise costs to increase profitability. Use Tabletop Simulator, Tabletopia, and Board Game Arena to prototype your games, get them playtested to high hell and get them good enough to be at least reviewed. Of course, when you have these prototypes, you are more than likely going to find an error or two; that's fine, you can fix a spelling mistake, and that won't change the balance of the entire game leading to weeks of cascading playtesting sessions. Just don't start with an expensive prototype, end with it.
To conclude, this has been a short post about easy pitfalls you can fall into and how to avoid them when taking your game to manufacturing. This hasn't been a post to improve your design skills or question the industry in any large way, it's just some tips you'll fine obvious in a few years, but if you are just starting out I believe you could really benefit from this advice.
Hello, my name is Niall Crabtree, and this is my comprehensive blog showcasing all of my game development endeavors and successes, as well as essays on game design.
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