Where to Start with That Great New Board Game Idea!
Most people hesitate to follow through with a great idea because they think they would never have enough money to move forward, or minimum orders would be too high or even worse, what if the product doesn't sell?
Thanks to websites like Kickstarter, Indiegogo and several others, your dreams of becoming the next big game inventor are possible; these crowdfunding sites can help you acquire the funds needed to produce your game. Certainly, funding is a LARGE piece of the puzzle, but not the complete package needed to bring your game to life!
There are still several pieces of the puzzle that need to come together to produce the amazing game that you are promising your backers or purchasers. Our hope, is that you will feel like you have a sense of direction and a starting point after reading through this.
So let's dive in!
NAME YOUR GAME
We know that you already have the basic idea or concept for your game; the next step, if you haven't done so already, is to name your game. Think of something that will describe the game play or type of game you are selling, like Monopoly, Life, Apples to Apples, and others.
After you have come up with your extremely clever and well thought-out game name, you will want to verify that no one else has it. The first and perhaps, easiest place to check is the US Patent & Trademark Office to perform a basic word mark search.
If you find that your name is already taken or anything similar, back to the drawing board for another name, or perhaps number two on the list of names you have already generated. If you don't find anything at the USPTO then you are safe to move forward for now.
This does not mean you are completely in the clear, because only an attorney can confirm this for you, but I would say you can move onto the next steps without worry.
SKETCH AND TEST PLAY
So now we have a concept and a name. The next step is to sketch out your game on paper - even if you aren't the best artist, you can still create something workable enough to test your idea in real time and it's FREE.
I cannot stress to you enough how important this step really is. In test play, you will be able to determine proper game play instructions and iron out any kinks that you may come across. I promise you, there will be many and this is the place to acknowledge them and fix them before spending any money.
Repeat this step over and over and over again until you feel that the game play is smooth and you're confident enough to play with some family members and friends (trustworthy ones because you aren't protected just yet).
Don't explain the game in any way to anyone; let them read your instructions and give you feedback or inform you about anything they didn't understand. As hard as it may be, DON'T take their feedback personally. I know this is your baby, but constructive criticism will only help you out here, not hurt you.
Let them play the game together without you and encourage them to voice any confusion or concerns with any aspects of the game.
Remember, you already understand the game - you created it - , you just need to see how someone that knows nothing about the game receives your instructions and game play.
Play testing has been completed, all kinks are worked out and you're ready to get started with your crowdfunding!
Not so fast, unless you're an amazing artist and have created the game in vector files print ready, there’s still one more step you need to complete first, and that is to create the actual design. Here is where some money spending will come into play.
Visit www.521promo.com to see some examples of our work, we would be happy to give you a quote. Another GREAT resource for upcoming artists is www.fiverr.com. These artists will do projects at low costs, not because they aren't talented but because they're building up their portfolios and experience before they can charge top dollar.
Once you have an artist you will work with them to complete the game design, making it print ready.
Copyrighting is VERY important, this will protect all of the text, artwork and design of your game.
You can visit www.legalzoom.com to copyright your game. The cost starts at around $170.00, but depends on the contents and qty of the materials you need to copyright.
Choosing a manufacture is just as important as the game itself. There are a number of companies available to manufacture your game, but do NOT base your decision solely on cost!
Choose the company you feel will produce the best quality product in the timeframes they promised. Customer service is also important here, the company should be ready and willing to answer any questions you may have, and address any concerns.
Make sure they can send you a game sample, send references, have no unresolved BBB complaints etc.
Just a few questions to consider:
- Can they produce a minimum quantity that meets your needs?
- If you need one, can they produce a prototype for you?
- Are they willing to educate you on the process?
- Are they easy to contact and responsive when there's a problem?
Of course cost is a factor in this decision. Do your due diligence and consider all of the above as well. Once you choose a manufacturer you will use their quotes to determine how many games you would like to order and what goals and rewards you need to create for your crowdfunding site
I'm sure your sketch on paper was great, but that won't cut it for most crowd funders. Most companies out there won't create a prototype without the promise of an order and a large one at that. This is primarily due to the fact that a factory produced prototype likely involves setting up the manufacturing equipment that would normally produce hundreds and thousands of games... but just for one print. Generally do this is cost prohibitive... but read on for additional ideas.
Prototype is something that 521 Promo can help you with as well. Ideally we'd love to receive your final manufacturing order when you are successfully funded but we don't require that promise to order a prototype.
Send us the artwork along with a non-disclosure form that we'll sign. After signing we'll handle creating your prototype. The cost of this will depend on the exact details of the game. They can range from $65.00 - $1,000.00+ and we'll work with you to get as many parts as reasonably possible to show your backers.
Note: Depending on the complexity of your game, not all components may be suitable for prototyping, but you will definitely have enough to photograph and put on your crowdfunding pages.
Statistics suggest that crowdfunding projects with professional looking prototypes, artwork, rewards and a video are more successful than those without.
Thanks to phone technology, you don't need to hire a professional cameraman to create a video. Set your phone up, get in front of the camera and let everyone know why your game is worth his or her money. Explain the game play, show people playing, show the prototypes, and get them hyped.
Once you have your crowd funding site set up and ready to launch, tell everyone and anyone about your project. 521 Promo will also be more than happy to share your link on all of our social media outlets.
You were successfully funded, and now it's time for production! By now you should have already chosen a manufacturer for your game. Once the crowd funding site has paid, send the manufacturer the artwork and production will begin.
The timing of this depends on the manufacturer and what you had previously worked out.
PACK AND SHIP
Congratulations! your game has been produced and is shipping - but where are you going to keep them? How are you going to ship them once people start ordering?
Outsourced order fulfillment is definitely the way to go when you are dealing with a single pick and ship product like board games.
This is where Amazon.com or an independent fulfillment vendor will come into play. You will contact the fulfillment center of your choice and they will create a custom pick and ship system to meet your needs. Your games will be shipped directly to the center, but don't worry you will be able to access real-time order and inventory data while they house your inventory.
NOTE: We at 521 Promo can refer you to a fulfillment vendor if you do not have one.
I hope you now have a better understanding of the board game creation process. If you have any questions at all please visit www.521promo.com for more information or feel free to contact us anytime.
We are not attorneys! ALL legal matters concerning protection of your product should be discussed with an attorney. This article is simply meant to give you a quick overview of the process and not legal advice.
There may be some other steps you deem important or need to take in order to create your game.