Boda Games Manufacturing

Fulfillrite Guest Blog Post: How to Fulfill Your Board Game Kickstarter Part 1

Fulfillment – what is it, and how do you make sure you’ve got the right type? Brandon Rollins from Fulfillrite wrote a guest blog post for us to help explain it. Fulfillrite works with all types of Kickstarter campaigns, including a lot of board games, to help make sure that the products arrive safely at the backers, while making things easier for the people running the campaigns. In this 2 part series, he will take us through the various steps involved when fulfilling a Kickstarter campaign. And explaining the common mistakes, pitfalls and what to watch out for when you are fulfilling your Kickstarter projects. 

How to Fulfill Your Board Game Kickstarter – A Step by Step Guide

Kickstarter is the go-to place for new board games. In the year 2020, amid a once-in-a-century pandemic, tabletop games raised over $230 million on the crowdfunding platform. Thousands of games are funded into existence every year. The only problem: almost every Kickstarter ships late.

While Kickstarter campaigns might be especially slow to ship lately, it’s not a new problem. As far back as 2012, 84% of Kickstarters shipped at least a month late.

So what’s going on here?

Turns out, fulfilling a Kickstarter of any sort is really hard. There are a lot of moving parts to consider, and you have to be a very good project manager to reliably ship on time, even in the best of circumstances.

Take heart, though! Kickstarter management is a learnable skill, and the basics are surprisingly easy to master. In this article, we’ll talk about the five steps that you need to go through in order to get your board game into your players’ hands.

What is fulfillment?

In the world of Kickstarter, fulfillment involves every step taken after a campaign funds to get a product in backers’ hands. This is a little confusing since in most other business contexts, fulfillment refers to only one of those steps.

Specifically, fulfillment usually means order fulfillment, which is primarily picking items from storage, packing them into boxes, and shipping them to customers.

With that common misconception out of the way, Kickstarter fulfillment can be seen as a five-step process.

  1. Manufacturing
  2. Freight shipping
  3. Customs clearance
  4. Order fulfillment
  5. Returns and customer service

Now before you read the rest of this post, consider the following:

I will be talking about the fulfillment process in the order that events will take place after a campaign is funded. But in order to have smooth fulfillment, you need to have the following lined up early:

  • A manufacturer you trust
  • Order fulfillment warehouses in any region you need to ship from

You also need to have reviewed quotes for manufacturing, freight, customs, and order fulfillment early on. The world of shipping is going through a lot right now, and you can’t take anything for granted when it comes to pricing!

So with that in mind, let’s jump right in!

Step 1: Manufacturing

Manufacturing starts shortly after your Kickstarter funds. In an ideal scenario, you would want to know who your manufacturer would be well before your Kickstarter launches. Not only will this ensure that you are able to fulfill your campaign on-time, but it will also ensure that your requested quotes are aligned with the scope of your project.

The first part of the manufacturing process, from the Kickstarter creator’s perspective, is finding a good manufacturer. If you’re reading this article on the Boda Games website, then you know at least one company to contact!

Good specs will make sure that it’s possible to make your vision a physical reality. Good files will make sure that your game’s manufacturing is not unnecessarily delayed by last-minute tweaks to trim and bleed lines!

Before you start manufacturing a large print run, reach out to your manufacturer and ask them to create a sample. This will often take a few weeks and cost a few hundred dollars, but it’s worth it to ensure the quality of the final product.

Once the sample arrives, test the product and see if you like how it turned out. If everything is good, order the print run!

Step 2: Freight shipping

Once your game has been manufactured, it won’t just show up at board gamers’ doorsteps. You have to make that happen, one way or another. There are a few different ways you can go about this.

First, an important note

Before you book transportation, make sure you know where you want to house your games. In an ideal situation, you want to have warehouses located close to where your customers are, but you also need to make sure you have enough customers in a region to justify a warehouse there.

Large Kickstarters often have a warehouse in the US, European Union, Southeast Asia and/or Australia, and Canada. That way, most major markets are able to receive their games without surprise customs charges (which happens, if you ship, for example, a single game from the US to the EU).

Smaller Kickstarters often have a warehouse in the US and maybe the EU. They then pay for customs charges that their backers may receive, because that is cheaper than booking another warehouse.

Every situation is different. But since you never know how a Kickstarter will do until it’s over, here is what I would personally do. Get quotes and find warehouses you trust in the US, EU, Southeast Asia, and Canada. But only start doing business with them if you have more than, say, 50 orders in their region of expertise.

Option 1: The manufacturer ships

The first and simplest is that some board game manufacturers will arrange freight for you under DDP terms. That is to say, they’ll send your games wherever they need to go, and add customs charges to the price you pay them.

This is an attractive option because of its simplicity. You deal with one company, you pay one company. That’s it. It’s also expensive and most manufacturers do not offer this option.

Option 2: You book freight

In all likelihood, your manufacturer will either make your game under EXW or FOB terms. EXW means that once the game is done, it sits in their warehouse and you’re responsible for everything from that point forward. FOB means that the game will be shipped to the nearest port where it will wait to be picked up.

In these situations, you will need to book freight. One of the easiest ways to do this is to use a freight marketplace. My favorite is Frieghtos, and it feels like Expedia for freight shipping.

You type your information into Freightos (or another marketplace of your choosing). The questions are pretty basic. Where is the freight now? Where is it going? What’s being shipped? How much is it worth?

You are then presented with different shipping options – sea, rail, air, and so on – and you pick the one that makes the most sense. If you’re cost-conscious, it will usually be sea shipping.

Option 3: You get someone to book freight for you

Of course, given how complicated freight is, it often doesn’t make sense to do it yourself. If you want to avoid all this hassle, you can hire a freight broker to take care of everything for you. Before freight marketplaces started showing up in the late 2010s, this was, after all, the default option and it’s still a good one today.

This is part 1 in a 2 part series guest post by Brandon Rollins, the marketing director for Fulfillrite. Stay tuned next week for the second part!

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Create cut lines – Boda Games Tutorials

Cut lines: what do they do and how do you create them? Cut lines are one of these things that seem very simple at first, but they can cause a lot of delay when not done right. In order to make sure you don't lose a lot of time. Emailing back and forth with the graphics department, trying to understand what is wrong. This tutorial will explain to you how to prepare your cut lines the right way.     First of all, what are cut lines? When a cardboard component of a board game gets made. It will need to be cut to size. This applies to both complete game board, as well as tokens. Whether they are already punched out or not. In order for us, the manufacturer, to know what part is the artwork. And what part is where it needs to be cut. For that, we need the cutting lines. These cutting lines should adhere to the minimum distances required for bleed and margin. Also check our Punchboards article for more information on bleed and margin. Common problems A problem that the Boda Games graphics & artwork department encounters a lot. Is that we will be sent a .PDF that includes...

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How to curve text – Boda Games Tutorials

Curve text: what does it mean and why is it important? One of the great things about a board game, is that it is literally a blank slate. Game designers and artists take this blank slate and fill it with artwork, bringing the paper components to life. When you have a great theme and beautiful artwork, the next step is to use a font for all the text that matches with it perfectly. A lot of game designers and artists look beyond the standard font types available in programs like Adobe Illustrator to find the perfect fit for their game. Custom fonts Custom fonts can be found and purchased online, or even created by the artist himself. Using custom fonts can, however, lead to complications when preparing the files for printing. Boda Games has prepared a video tutorial showing the problem that can occur when using custom fonts. After that, we show you the solution to this problem. By curving the text before exporting the file as a .PDF file, you can avoid this problem. And ensure that your files appear the same way at our graphics department as you originally made them. Problem: font not available A common problem with preparing artwork files....

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Interview with Solarflare Games’ Dave Killingsworth

Solarflare Games is launching their latest project at the end of this month, QUESTS: Heroes of Sorcado. Dave Killingsworth, the creator and designer of the game, took some time out of his busy schedule to sit down with us. With over 10 successful projects under his belt, Dave shared with us his experiences developing games, running crowdfunding campaigns and of course some more details on Solarflare Games' exciting new project!   Hi Dave, thank you for taking the time for us! Solarflare Games has a new project coming up called QUESTS: Heroes of Sorcado. Could you briefly introduce the game and the gameplay mechanics to us? Quests is designed to incorporate the elements of a campaign story (written by a best selling fantasy and sci-fi author) combined with light Fantasy RPG, choice driven adventure elements, d20 combat, cards, and dice. The game is designed to have to read the story campaign part and every so often the story will have to encounter an adventure zone. The adventure zones are random card draws that the heroes face and resolve. These can be monsters, traps, events, side quests, and more. When you encounter a monster it indicates how many heroes can work to defeat it....

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Boda Games launches a Youtube Channel

Boda Games launched a Youtube channel! One of the main goals we set out to achieve at Boda Games was to be more than a board game manufacturer. Of course manufacturing your favourite card and board games is what we are known for. But we feel very passionate about the board game industry. And we want to do our best to help new and existing game developers and publishers create the best games. The latest step we have taken is to launch our very own Youtube channel.     Resources for game developers We first started with our Board Game Resouces page as a source of information for aspiring board game developers and publishers. As we built up content, we started to look for other ways we could help provide more information. From our many discussions with developers and publishers we have learned that many things that are normal to a board game manufacturer. Can be difficult to understand for game developers and publishers. After bundling all the essential information for preparing your artwork files for printing in our Artwork Guidelines PDF. We went a step further and made a template generator. No longer will you have to email us asking for a template. Now...

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Preparing for a quotation

It’s taken a great deal of effort and energy. But after many months of writing ideas in a notebook. Printing out pages and pages to make sample versions of your board game idea. Asking all your family and friends to playtest your game. Adjusting game mechanisms, adding new elements. Getting artwork done for all the different components. The time has finally come: your game is ready. All the effort, all the nights have paid off and you have a great looking, fun game. After the design and develop stage of your board game is over, what's next?   The production stage The next logical step is that you want your game to be printed. No more print and play versions, you want the real deal. Generally, there are two ways to proceed from here on out. You can start pitching your game to publishers. If you are successful and they like your game, they will take on the responsibility of getting it manufactured and published. But the other way is to publish it yourself, therefore becoming a publisher yourself! If you decide to go down the self-publishing path, what is the next logical step? To get a quotation for the manufacturing costs. So...

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Interview with Silicon Saga publisher Rusted Gear Games

,At Boda Games, we love seeing ambitious projects that we have been involved with from the start slowly coming together. One of these projects that we have been involved with is Silicon Saga: Wreck of the Andromeda. Silicon Saga is published by Rusted Gear Games. Matthew Houston from Rusted Gear Games took a moment to discuss with us their new game, what it was like preparing for the Kickstarter and how he learned to navigate the board game industry. Hi Matthew, thank you for taking the time to talk to us today. We know how busy it can get right before your Kickstarter! First things first, could you introduce Rusted Gear Games and tell us a bit about Silicon Saga: Wreck of the Andromeda. Rusted Gear Games is a new board game publisher located in the US. I founded Rusted Gear Games to help me spread the word about the new board game I designed called Silicon Saga: Wreck of the Andromeda. In early 2020, the world was beginning to shut down due to the COVID 19 pandemic. People couldn't go about their lives the same way as they had in previous years. In the midst of all that, I found that I couldn't...

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Boda Games Chinese New Year Announcement

As we enter February, a very important Chinese national holiday is approaching: Chinese New Year. Thus, we enter the final days of the Year of the Rat and start preparing ourselves for the new year ahead, the Year of the Ox! The Chinese New Year or the Chinese Lunar Year begins at sunset on the day of the second New Moon following the winter solstice (21st December). Each year in the Chinese calendar is represented by one of twelve animals in the Chinese Zodiac. 2021 will be the year of the Ox. The Chinese New Year will begin on the 12th of February. Office and factory schedule So, what does this mean for all of our customers who are not in China and not celebrating it? There will be some adjustments to the working days of the factory and the office. For Boda Games, our factory and our offices have the following closing and re-opening dates: Boda Games Factory: close February 5th,  open February 27th Boda Games Office: close February 10th, open February 18th.  Please note that the periods the factory and the office are closed may cause delays in our staff replying to your messages. We thank you for your understanding and will be 100% ready to support you after...

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“What Board Game” Blog interviews Boda Games director

When we're not busy manufacturing board games, on of our other favourite pastimes are talking about board games! So when Jim Cohen from What Board Game asked if we would be interested in doing an interview with him, we immediately said yes. Boda Games' director, Jeff, talks with Jim about the history of Boda Games. Some of the past projects we have had the honor of working on. The finer details of board game manufacturing and much more. We had a great time trying to come up with the clever questions we received from him, and hope that you guys will enjoy reading it and learning more about Boda Games and board games manufacturing in general. Click here to read the full interview on the What Board Game website. What Board Game? What's that? Jim runs the "What Board Game" website. He is a massive fan of board games who wanted to share his hobby with the world. Or, in his own words: "I am commited to only featuring the greatest of games, especially ones that have not had as much press elsewhere. Get in touch if you would like to be a part. Or head on over to the forum to start right now! I would like...

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Color mode: CMYK or Pantone?

If you’re a board game designer or publisher, you will definitely have heard one or more of these terms thrown around as you prepare all your artwork files for printing. You might even have a vague idea of what the terms stand for. But what is a color mode exactly? What is the difference between CMYK and Pantone? And when should you use which one. These are all questions we commonly get from customers. In this article, we will explain what the differences are between these color modes. When you should use which one. And what to watch out for when working with a specific color. Different board game components have different requirements for the color mode, so make sure you always check before you get started. We specify the color mode for each component in our Artwork Guidelines. So we always recommend starting from there when you start working on your files. CMYK (4C): The term CMYK is an abbreviation of the words Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Key. In case these colors don’t ring a bell, you can think of them as blue, red, yellow and black respectively. CMYK is also referred to as four color printing (4C) sometimes. With CMYK...

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