Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Manufacturing in the comfort of your home

I recently got an order for a bunch of copies of Diggity, which is cool - a friend is buying 6-7 copies for other friends. He asked me about buying these a couple months ago, and it's been kind of a struggle getting them ready for him. I wanted to make these from the copies I ordered from SuperiorPOD, but the delay getting my order made that a pain.

Now that I finally have the games, I have the additional challenge to collate them. To get the best price from SuperiorPOD, which prints cards in sets of 18, I had to order the games in two pieces. I have 96 cards in the game, currently, so I did 15 sets of five sheets of 18 (90 cards), and then five sets of one sheet made up of the last six cards repeated three times. Complicated to set up, but it saved me not inconsiderable cash. But now, to put a game together, I have to take the set of 90 and count out a set of six to add to it.

Once that's done, I have to do the manufacturing. I bought some small white corrugated boxes, which I have to fold and tuck in about six steps to get them assembled. I also printed up rule sheets, which I need to fold a bunch of times to get it to fit into the box. I also printed up color box stickers on a color laser printer, and those have to be peeled and stuck carefully onto the box.  The laser printing didn't fuse with the sticker perfectly, so some of the stickers are speckled.

The box isn't a perfect fit for the cards (there was no standard box that would fit the cards closely). That's not a big deal when it's sitting on a shelf, but I didn't want the game to get beat up while being transported. So, I added some packing peanuts to each game too.  That took a while, and doesn't look great when you open the box.

I got better at this as I did it, but it was still kind of a pain, and I don't know that this would be great quality were I not providing the game for friends who don't really care about the packaging. I think for people who imagine manufacturing games at home from cheap standardized components, you should realize that (1) it takes a long time, (2) you screw up sometimes (I put a sticker on the bottom side of one box, and I lost one of the cards from the smaller sets of six - no idea where that is), and (3) the product you get, even if you're using reasonably high quality components, doesn't look totally awesome. It still is a white cardboard box with a sticker - not much different from what I'd have gotten from TGC if I'd ordered from them (other than my color sticker!), but I had to do all the work.

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