Recently I uploaded three of my board/card games to The Game Crafter which allows for Print on Demand board and card games to be created. The only outstanding board/card game of mine that I haven’t yet uploaded is Lady Bexington’s Home for Wayward Zombies and that’s because the sales on this site – so far – don’t allow for it. I thought,though, it might be useful for people to get a look at what you get for your money and for me to offer a presentation both on the games themselves and on The Game Crafter as a site for offering POD board/card games through.
Steamed is my simple, fast game of steam-powered mecha duelling. The card quality is excellent, though the cutting is a little bit rough around the edges. The game board isn’t that thick but that’s not really a problem for this game. They offer larger boards for bigger games which look to be of greater thickness/quality. The cards are big and very well printed with excellent quality, though they are just a tiny bit thin for the card stands. Out of the box this isn’t a problem but later on with wearing you may find the cards sliding free of the holders. This version includes the Tactical Cards expansion, which are the little cards you see in the middle.
Steamed sells at TGC for $17.99 (Around £12.00, but shipping outside the US is a bitch).
Cthentacle is the successor game to Hentacle and, overall, much better executed. This version of the game includes every character and every card from every set, along with all the optional rules. That’s a shitload of cards. Again the print quality is excellent though the cards are just the slightest bit thin. The cutting issues show up a bit more on the black-edged cards but really don’t look that bad. I consider this to be the definitive and best edition of Cthentacle, though I’m under no illusions that most people buy it to actually play :P
Cthentacle sells at TGC for $34.99 (Around £24.00 but, again, shipping outside the US is a bitch).
Final Straw is my game of highschool shooting satire. It was always going to be a controversial topic and I somewhat misjudged the American market. Europeans often find the whole US gun culture darkly amusing (gallows humour). The game is actually more about the aftermath and the blame game that goes on. In the Game Crafter edition the quality of the game comes through much better and the game pieces are excellent, though the little plastic round tokens are a little thin. The dice and the ‘meeple’ are great. Again the black border shows up the cutting issues, but these are minor. I would hope that the quality and value comes through in the hardcopy version.
Final Straw sells at TGC for $29.99 (Around £20.00 but, yet again, shipping outside the US is a bitch).
The Game Crafter is great for running off proofs but does not seem to have anything like the same through-traffic that sites like RPGNOW and Drivethru do. There are promotional tools but they seem to have limited impact. For POD the quality can’t be beaten and it is probably worth taking demo sets that you get printed off to proof the games to conventions and so on. The major sticking point for anyone outside the USA is that the shipping costs are exorbitant. To order Cthentacle on non-priority, non-tracked post via USPS to the UK is $25.00 (£17.00!). By comparison, I could ship through a discount shipping service, such as MyHermes, from the UK to the US for £3-4 ($6.00 or so).
For people outside the US TGC is only really an option for proofs of games and the die-hard fan. They really need to find either:
a) Other shipping services.
b) A European print partner.
Continental Europe is nuts for card/board games, surely there must be someone out there who’d partner with TGC?
Meanwhile, please buy these. I have fun making card and board games and want to make more!