When I first started making board games there was always a part of me that was worried, how can I find a factory to make my games, are they going to do a good job, or will I lose all my money? It doesn’t matter how well a game plays or how pretty it looks, if the physical game is full of errors, cheap materials, and doesn’t meet my customers standards, all my hard work could be for nothing.
Yet, when I started digging into things it turned out that I didn’t need to worry as much as I originally thought. There are plenty of reputable board game manufacturers and the biggest decision came down to which was best for me.
Let’s take a look at my 3 key measurements.
Above all else, communication is the key to manufacturing a great board game, if you can’t talk with the factory then you’re going to have problems.
I break communication down to several different parts:
- Language: Not everyone is going to speak your native language perfectly, do you feel like your emails are being fully understood, and do you clearly understand the responses?
- Frequency: How quickly do they respond to your emails, are you having to chase, or are things moving at a good pace?
- Accuracy: When asking questions, do they answer everything with the level of detail you need, or do you find yourself left with more questions?
2. Price – Flexibility
When it comes to price, there is more to it than just the cheapest option, here’s my criteria:
- Quote detail: How much detail are they providing in the quote, am I just getting a total price, or can I see a full breakdown?
- Brainstorming: If the price is higher than I want it to be, how much will they help with brainstorming component changes. Do they recommend small changes to materials, sizes, or quantities that will help bring down the price?
- Overall price: Are they competitive (not necessarily the cheapest) vs other manufacturers?
3. Existing games
Measuring the quality of a factories production capabilities is hard, sure you can get some sample packs from them, but these aren’t truly representative of final products available in a shop. I found the best option here was to enquire about games the factory has produced and then to go to a shop and buy one (you can also go to a board game café or ask friends who might have them).
With one of their games in your hands you can truly measure the component quality and how things have been assembled. This is also helpful if you are unfamiliar with components, you can simply say “I’d like cards made with the same material as the cards in The Isle of Cats” or “What’s the name of the finish used on the box cover from Vadoran Gardens?”. If they made the game, they will be able to help you learn the names of materials and get the exact end result you would like.
A list of manufacturers in China
While researching manufacturers and going through the above steps, I ended up choosing Whatz Games. I have worked with them now for 5 years and highly recommend them as a quality manufacturer who have produced over 500,000 products for me.
My top 3 manufacturers are as follows:
- Whatz Games (made The Isle of Cats)
- LongPack Games (made Everdell)
- Panda Game Manufacturing (made Wingspan)
There are plenty of manufacturers out there who have great reputations and your requirements may be different to my own.
Here are a few more options:
- Boda Games
- Do Fine Games
- Eastar Game Manufacturing
- magicraft manufacturing
- Ninox Games
Have you worked with any of these manufacturers, or do you have another company who you would recommend?