First to give some reference to the pricing poll yesterday, the question was ‘how much would you pay for a professionally printed version of Cthentacle’. To which the answer seems to be that you’d pay around £10-12 or $14-18 in monopoly money.
For your money that would get you:
- 64 plastic-coated cards
- A 4-page rules booklet.
- A clear plastic presentation case.
The quote I got covered all that, plus shipping to me at a per unit price of around $14. Now, ideally I’d want to mark that up by about 50% to cover the time, effort, cover costs in case I didn’t sell them all etc, so that, ideally, should be around $21, or £14. Doesn’t look like that’ll do if I want to sell any, so I need to look at ways of cutting costs.
- Ditch the booklet, knocking down the per-unit cost by $2, leaving the rules on rules cards with a weblink to a downloadable booklet of extra rules.
- Ditch the plastic box and go with a plain white tuck box, but I can’t get art on it unless I order 500 units – fat chance. This would save around 20 cents per unit.
- Not bother with the plastic coating – M:TG never bothered, I could up the cardstock GSM to compensate a little, but I don’t know how much this would save.
Getting any card game printed POD is a major league effort, if it’s a pornographic card game you’re going to find things even more difficult. Getting Hentacle and now Cthentacle printed has been a big, long, pain in the arse, fraught with issues.
The first time I got any printed I went to my local printer in Andover. This was, needless to say, traumatic. People know me on sight around Andover and surrounds, even if they don’t know me personally and the print shop was right near the centre of town and staffed entirely by women. Nevertheless I got the job done by them, though their card quality wasn’t that great, very bendy indeed and very pricey. The worst part was being informed that the cards had been guillotined by a lovely little old lady who was almost due for retirement, considering what the cards depict that was severely blush inducing, as was the moment when the rather lovely young lady in the shop started opening the boxes when I went to pick them up, offering to check that they were OK.
The local printer wasn’t any good for long term printing, the quality wasn’t that high and the costs were way too high so I was forced to look elsewhere.
Oh boy, is the printing world full of scam artists. There’s a lot of companies in India or China that are professional and handle a lot of card printing for ‘The Big Boys’ but if you’re not printing at least 1,000+ units you can forget it and they often have extremely exacting printing specifications and if you don’t/can’t meet them, you’re boned.
The smaller scale businesses are either run as close knit family firms ‘Print porn? Are you out of your sick little mind?’ who kindly send you Christian tracts by e-mail after you explain what you want printed or are run by people who are a ‘little bit dodgy’ in the same way that a rat is a little bit covered in fur*, naming no names that rhyme with ‘Ben Shit-Pan’. No fewer than three POD companies I approached and were willing to take on the job went bust practically overnight and it got to the point where I wondered if I had the kiss of death.
Fortunately a friend came to the rescue and it wasn’t a printing source I’d ever really considered before, due to the assumed cost and quality issues. I mean, who would think of using FedexKinkos to get their porno card game printed? The quality was as good as I could hope for – outside full on professional printing – and with the dollar as shafted as it was at the time it was cheap as chips. Unfortunately that shop recently ‘upgraded’ its printers and now can’t do accurate duplex or cutting any more. So I’m tossed back out on the street.
There’s a distinct feeling of deja vu all over again, going back to the local printer they’ve now been taken over and have a company policy of ‘not doing adult material’ with an implied comment of ‘you worthless scum, never darken my doorstep again’ and the other local printers haven’t even deigned to send me a reply. A chinese printer sent me something incomprehensible but which did say they only really took runs of 500 minimum, so that was out.
In between all that I’ve had offers from three different companies down the years to take Hentacle at least professional, one had it optioned for a year and did nothing, another offered money then dried up and disappeared and the last is still in negotiation but has to be very careful because of their licensed properties, leaving all that in limbo.
The company I’m currently talking to is expensive (see above) but has great – and communicative – customer service. Unlike others who – in mid negotiations before have suddenly stopped communicating. Others have not replied, given abuse or sounded eager and then not gotten back to me again. Here’s hoping I’ve finally found somewhere I can get a deal together and get a new game out there!
Next time I’ll save myself some bother and do a game about good, wholesome, honest violence!
*I’m re-reading Neverwhere, you’ll forgive the literary indulgence.