A board game or a card game needs to have the right markings on the outside of the box. Some of these markings are mandated by law, such as health related matters. Other markings are for stores and retailers their benefit. And some of these markings are for potential buyers of your game! What’s important to remember is, all markings serve a purpose. Not all of them, however, are compulsory. Then, which markings are necessary for your box? This depends on a few things.
Kickstarter or retail?
First of all, Kickstarter has disrupted the traditional way to publish a game. Not all published board games will be sold in retail stores. A game that isn’t sold it in retail requires fewer markings than one that is meant to be sold in retail. Be sure to check the specific regulations and rules of the country / region that you are planning to sell your game in. For example, once at Essen Spiel publishers were taken by surprise when convention staff visited their booths. And informed them that all games sold at the convention must have an address printed on the box for contact purposes.
What markings are often on game boxes?
All games need a recommended age label. Games with age labels below the age of 13+ for the United States and 14+ for Europe require additional testing. These tests include choke hazard, poisonous materials and others and can be quite expensive. As such, most smaller publishers will always give games an older age label by default. Games meant to be worldwide would do best following the European standard of 14+ labels. A game without an age label will not be allowed to pass through customs when shipped from the factory in China to your country.
Country of origin markings
A game needs to state the country of origin (COO) on the box. The country of origin is the country where we manufacture the board game. Just like Apple their products that say: Designed in California, Made in China. So you must put a made in China label on the box. For products going to the European Union, a CE marking is also required. The letters “CE” are an abbreviation of the French phrase “Conformité Européene” which literally means “European Conformity.” the CE mark means that the product is manufactured according to CE standards. Boda Games their products are made in accordance with the CE standard.
It is best to put a UPC barcode on the game box. Distributors and retail stores require a barcode. That way, they can use the barcode to track your product in their inventory. Such as by scanning it. Finally, make sure there is enough space on the box. Then you can print the barcode at full size and avoid scanning issues. Finally, the barcode should be printed in Pure Black colors (C:0%, M: 0%, Y:0%, K:100%).
Then some other markings commonly found: detailed address of publisher (required for European Union), Phone Number, E-mail address, Website, Importer, Distributor, Licenses (where applicable), choke hazard, poison hazard, not for under the age of 3 marking, your company logo (remember to add ™ or ® when applicable!), name of the game designer and/or artist, number of players, average play time, color blind friendliness,
DISCLAIMER: This guide is a general guide for box markings. Please always check local guidelines and regulations for the latest updates and changes in regulations. Please make sure your game adheres to all standards that you include on the box.