Sunday, August 23, 2009

Game Crafters (POD games)

Recently a POD (print on demand) game producer came online, (you can click on the title of this post). I wondered whether they were actually legitimate, but at GenCon I found the company booth and spent some time talking with them.

They are still experimenting and figuring out how to make their business work efficiently. One of their problems is in sending games to individual consumers. They have a more or less industry-standard size box (10+ by 10+ inches), but have been relying on the box as a shipping container, and UPS has been clobbering many of them. They have a small sturdy box for games that are primarily or entirely cards, but it's much too small to ship safely via UPS. They are thinking of shifting to US Postal Service for shipping to consumers, which will certainly be better for the small boxes and might work better for the large ones. (Among other things, the games can be insured and fulfillment of insurance would be someone else's problem, not Gamecrafters.)

I learned from Ben Clarke of ImagiGrafx in GenCon seminars why games have an insert (which Gamecrafter has not used): to prevent the pieces shifting around inside the box during shipping. TGC has indeed seen some problems because of shifting, and may have to use an insert, which will of course raise their prices some.

I referred them to EAI Education online for pieces in general and the lovely stackable pieces that so many players like. I also suggested they do something like what Lost Battalion does (they also use POD machines): offer to print "pieces" on stickers, and include some kind of blank piece (Lost Bn uses wooden disks) so that player can stick the stickers on the pieces. This would allow them to do games with more complex piece assortments than pawns.

They use JPG or PNG, converting them to PDF so that they can avoid problems with so many different PDF formats. This contrasts with traditional printers, who usually use PDFs.

Their card printing is in multiples of 16, so the magic 55 card rule does not apply.

And I never did ask where they're actually located . . .

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