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EXECUTION Producing a Board Game 0-100 (Product dev, Crowd sourcing, Ecommerce, Ads)

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Isaac Oh

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Hi guys, this is my first jab at ecommerce and product development. I'll be chronicling everything that goes into this project, success or failure.

The plan is pretty simple.
Step 1: Develop my prototype.
Step 2: Create a video and do copywriting.
Step 3: Publish it on a crowd sourcing platform.
Step 4: Throw some facebook, instagram, reddit ads towards it.
---Hit Goal---
Step 5: Find best supplier and fulfill orders.
Step 6: Get feedback and apply.
Step 7: Create a website.
Step 8: Run advertising towards it.

Now, I have no idea if this is a sound plan. I'm not sure if I should be finding a supplier before I start the crowd sourcing campaign. But, what I've been learning lately is that I should find demand then do what it takes to meet that demand. Otherwise, I'm 99% sure that the ideas on this post are bound to change as I learn more.

If I don't hit the goal, I'll take a look at how responses have been on social media sites and either troubleshoot my pitch and try again, or get back to the drawing board with the board game.

The Board Game
The game is a drinking board game, simple to play in any mental state haha. I originally planned to create it as an app but the server costs were an issue for me.
I'm not sure what to price it but being a fan of games and board games myself, I think I can reasonably place it in the $35-$45 range.
It's intended for videogamers who also like to drink socially.

Where I Am
Currently, I have the bare mechanics of the game down. I created this game while vacationing in Korea. I was bored for three days with a laptop and adobe illustrator and.. tada lol.
I have design ideas for the characters and the board itself but everything needs a re-design. I'll give myself two weeks from now to finish the board, finish character mechanics, and get to step 2.

Budget
I had originally budgeted around $5000 for prototyping and bringing the product up to the publishing mark. @AllenCrawley mentioned that he had developed his prototype for $500 but also mentioned that it's industry dependent. This made me really rethink my budget.

I had originally planned to hire a graphic designer, illustrator, CAD designer, voice actor, video editor, and more! Now, I'm trying to be as lean as possible and fit everything into a $1000 budget.

I'll have to leverage the skills I have and outsource the rest as cheaply as possible.

Thanks for following along! I know this is very crude...
Would love to answer questions or take any feedback!
 

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Atu de Tank

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  1. Is there a market for this? Are there people who actually NEED a board game to get drunk, or they NEED booze to play a board game?
  2. Do you actually have a plan on how to compete on the market against another bottle of vodka? Your product will shrink the money spent on %. Have you seen people saying to each other: "Let's buy a board game instead of second vodka", or was it something opposite?
  3. If your prototype is something you can create easily within your budget, yes, go and check it on crowdfunding. Please first check if promotion of alcoholism is permitted within your chosen portal.
  4. Absolutely have a selling plan, obeying all regulations. Alcohol and its promotion may be heavily regulated field - better read twice, than spend time working to pay fines. And no, crowdfunding is rarely a selling plan - it's rather a way to check validity of your idea.
  5. Is there a way you can actually sell your game as an attachment to any brand of vodka? I'm sure you have seen those packages of a bottle with a couple of glasses.
Best wishes!
 
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Isaac Oh

Isaac Oh

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@Atu de Tank thanks for the questions.

1. Yes there is a market. No there isn't anyone who needs a board game to get drunk or vice versa. No one has a hard pressed need for any board game yet it's a pretty nice market. What I do know is there are people who love to drink socially, and there are people who love to play competitive games. Mine is for the social drinker who enjoys a board game that is just as focused on the mechanics of the game as it is on drinking.

"drinking board game" has around 14.8k/mo searches.

2. I'm not planning on competing against vodka. If someone wants to buy more booze instead of a board game, I'm not gonna put in the effort to change their mind. There's people who would choose another board game instead of a bottle of vodka any day, and then there's those people in between

3. Promotion of alcoholism is a bit of a stretch lol but yeah most crowdsourcing platforms allow it.

4. Yup, so I intend to go into production only after validation. Then it'll be off the platform and sales will be done through my ecom site.

5. I'm sure it's possible, though beer would probably be a healthier choice. I'd only explore this if it was offered. Too early to say.

References:
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B008RQ1PSK/?tag=tff-amazonparser-20
 

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I like the idea, if you execute this properly this could be a life changer for you.

There is no shortage of drunk buffoons willing to spend money, target college and universities. That's the demographic you need to serve.
 
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Isaac Oh

Isaac Oh

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I like the idea, if you execute this properly this could be a life changer for you.

There is no shortage of drunk buffoons willing to spend money, target college and universities. That's the demographic you need to serve.
Yup! Influencer marketing and marketing to game groups in colleges is definitely on my mind.

Thanks for the pre-validation haha
 
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Isaac Oh

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So today I did some more market research. I looked at the biggest competition, what they're offering, price points, and game play. These were some of the most recommended drinking board games across a few board game rating sites, college review sites, and reddit.

1. Pokemon Drinking Game
Price: Free
DIY Print your own type of board game. Large following on the internet. Probably the biggest competitor but should be easy to differentiate by providing something more engaging and including accessories.

2. Pass-Out
Price: $27
Extremely simple. More focused on drinking than gameplay.

3. The Red Dragon Inn
Price: ~$30
Great art style I might want to emulate. For ages 13+ haha. The premise is that you're an adventurer back from his journey and now playing a drinking game. However, it's more of a card game than a board game.

4. Drink-a-palooza
Price: $35
More of a party game than a board game meant for gamers. It seems fun but definitely for a different audience.

5. Drinkill
Price $50
Similar concept but different gameplay. Sold very well on kickstarter and their own page. Could learn a lot of the marketing from this. Definitely have to brand to differentiate here

6. Beeropoly
Price: $40+
Gameplay similar to Pass-Out. You pay for a board.

After reviewing what's out there and what's popular. I definitely do think there is a unique place for my game and I have a better understanding of how I should brand my game.

Looking at the prices and the materials I intend to provide, I may be settling with the price tag of $59.99.
I also referenced the prices from CMON (Coolminisornot) which publish a lot of the best games that use miniatures. $59.99 should give me enough wiggle room to fulfill orders based on the materials I plan on using.

Those games can sell at those prices because of the great gameplay. I'm planning on doing the same.
Well, getting back to developing the game.
 
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Isaac Oh

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Hadrian

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Awesome Project Isaac... I'll be following your progress as I'm working on my own board game too, a kind of Lord of the rings Risk... but I went for the apps frst!

Here's a few threads:

Best of Luck! :bullseye:
 
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Isaac Oh

Isaac Oh

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Awesome Project Isaac... I'll be following your progress as I'm working on my own board game too, a kind of Lord of the rings Risk... but I went for the apps frst!

Here's a few threads:

Best of Luck! :bullseye:
Thanks Hadrian! Excited to see when you launch yours
 
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Isaac Oh

Isaac Oh

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Just came back from a 5 hour brainstorm session with a close friend of mine. I ended up scrapping much of what I had originally drafted but now it feels like we have something much more promising. It's set up somewhat similar to DnD or other RPG games with a ton of our humor. Instead of a competitive PvP style, it's become a PvE cooperative journey. Two heads really are better than one!

I think this is something we can hash out by the end of next week and can have a playable prototype.

I'm beginning to see the start of the first roadblock which will be producing the illustrations and designs for the game. I'll be looking at the simplest styles of art and creating characters off of that. Hopefully, freelancers for the simpler type will be cheaper. The board will also have to be done but I can look into copyright free stuff for that. I'll need to have this done before publishing the campaign.

Thankfully, we worked on the most foundational aspects of the game so I have a strong grasp of the direction and should be able to hire in about three days.
 

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Isaac Oh

Isaac Oh

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Today I was a bit crunched for time, checking out the new home I'm moving into and doing some web work for clients.

I read into many of the other FL threads about board games and manufacturing and fulfillment was something best figured out early on. That way, I'm not underpricing my game and I can fulfill orders as smoothly as possible.

A few takeaways:
- Find manufacturers and receive quotes before publishing on crowdfunding. Many sources recommended this strongly.
- Price at least x6 cost (@wade1mil )

This was a great little overview on one creator's process with kickstarter and manufacturers:
Choosing a Board Game Manufacture

And this was a great resource to finding some manufacturers:
Hitchhiker's guide to Game Manufacturers - James Mathe - Entrepreneur, Designer, Publisher
(Note: It's dated 2013 so many of them are no longer in business or changed business models. Should take his reviews with a grain of salt.)

Next, I listed out all the high quality manufacturers I could find and plan on contacting each of them with a template email asking for a quote. I'll narrow it down by quality, reputation, and price as the biggest considerations.

My first email will be along the lines of:
Hello, I'm looking for a manufacturer to help me develop manufacture my board game. Would this be the right email to contact?

I'll note down response times and cut off any that respond after 2 days.

Then, I'll provide a full description and compare quotes.

Finally, I'll do some reputation research on the companies with the best quotes.
 
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s.wirat13

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Just came back from a 5 hour brainstorm session with a close friend of mine. I ended up scrapping much of what I had originally drafted but now it feels like we have something much more promising. It's set up somewhat similar to DnD or other RPG games with a ton of our humor. Instead of a competitive PvP style, it's become a PvE cooperative journey. Two heads really are better than one!
I'm also into the games and board games. I think it's a nice and fun business to get in. If you're going for DnD type, I think outsourcing the concept artist is a must. It takes too much time and energy to be just good. If you can find a skillful one, your world setting will be richful.

I do enjoy PVE type of board game but in my opinion, I think it's more fun to compete against each others especially when you're drunk. Anyway, it's a great idea and I wish you the best, Isaac!
 
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Isaac Oh

Isaac Oh

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I'm also into the games and board games. I think it's a nice and fun business to get in. If you're going for DnD type, I think outsourcing the concept artist is a must. It takes too much time and energy to be just good. If you can find a skillful one, your world setting will be richful.

I do enjoy PVE type of board game but in my opinion, I think it's more fun to compete against each others especially when you're drunk. Anyway, it's a great idea and I wish you the best, Isaac!
Yeah, finding an artist at a good rate is going to be tough. I'm planning on getting one right after we finishing fleshing out 95% of the game so there won't be any major changes when the artist starts the work.

As for the competitive aspect, that's what I thought as well and why I originally had the PvP concept in mind. PvE just seemed like a better fit for our game and our audience. I wanted to incorporate a separate PvP map on the backside of the board but at this point, we had to commit to one gameplay and flesh that out first.
 
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Isaac Oh

Isaac Oh

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Will be following this for sure. Awesome to see you moving onto the next thing after web design.

Best of luck Isaac!
Thanks man!!
 

s.wirat13

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Yeah, finding an artist at a good rate is going to be tough. I'm planning on getting one right after we finishing fleshing out 95% of the game so there won't be any major changes when the artist starts the work.

As for the competitive aspect, that's what I thought as well and why I originally had the PvP concept in mind. PvE just seemed like a better fit for our game and our audience. I wanted to incorporate a separate PvP map on the backside of the board but at this point, we had to commit to one gameplay and flesh that out first.
As for the concept artist, I know one guy who do an amazing job at that. I have been following him for sometimes. If you need, I can give you his FB page of his work but I don't know about his rate but guess it will cost less here than where you are. Anyway, looking forward to your game even though I don't drink :rofl:
 
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Isaac Oh

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As for the concept artist, I know one guy who do an amazing job at that. I have been following him for sometimes. If you need, I can give you his FB page of his work but I don't know about his rate but guess it will cost less here than where you are. Anyway, looking forward to your game even though I don't drink :rofl:
I'd love that! Can you PM me his info?

Haha I'll keep you guys in the loop as much as possible here. Hopefully, it'll be a good blueprint for publishing any physical entertainment product
 
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Isaac Oh

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Today, we developed more of the game. We created many of the characters and their stats.

More importantly, we did some in depth analysis of about 10 similar successful board games and found some flaws and areas of improvement with ours.

We're doing another pivot, smaller this time. The board game will be driven much more with story and we're pulling it a tad away from a game focused on drinking to a game with drinking as a mechanic.

Because of this change, we're looking to creating a LOT of written material. Kickstarters with more perceived content whether it's more minis, more characters, or more story tend to perform better.

I also think this is why branding and audience is such an important factor to nail down at first. Every iteration we've made, we've asked ourselves if our audience would like it.

The game seems to be much more enjoyable to play now. It's starting to feel more like a real social board game rather than an excuse to drink.

Because of the heavy story, we may be able to raise prices while keeping costs low which is a plus. Here's a similar game that uses no custom minis (probably the most expensive cost), yet can price high because of their great story and adventure:
Amazon.com: Red Raven Games Near and Far Board Games: Toys & Games

We'll be using index cards, minis from other games, and a hand drawn map to prototype, sometime within this week.

Also, @s.wirat13 it looks like we can make a version of this game non-alcoholic! I'll make sure to send you a version if we ever print those ;)
 

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@Isaac Oh

PM me your email or fb page or some way to contact you, I will reach out to my former video game developer artist coworkers, if you'd like. They are crazy talented.

You might also consider fivver, freelancer.com or upwork. Send out a test job to several artists on each platform and see what you get. Worth the few bills that would cost. Some folks on fivver really under price their skills.
 
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Isaac Oh

Isaac Oh

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@Isaac Oh

PM me your email or fb page or some way to contact you, I will reach out to my former video game developer artist coworkers, if you'd like. They are crazy talented.

You might also consider fivver, freelancer.com or upwork. Send out a test job to several artists on each platform and see what you get. Worth the few bills that would cost. Some folks on fivver really under price their skills.
Thanks man, I'll shoot you a PM.

I did some research on Fiverr and onlinejobs.ph. It's really hard to find an artist who is comfortable with the style I have in mind

One girl on Fiverr quoted about $120 per design of character (I have 8).
A guy on onlinejobs.ph quoted about $2000 total for about 3-4 months of graphic design and illustration work.
 
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Isaac Oh

Isaac Oh

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Quick update.

I've finished enough of the game to play test the game and look for any 'bugs' in the mechanics. If the game plays well, it's just gonna be finishing off the content. Planned with two friends to test this weekend.

Short term goals: Play test prototype > finalize material list > find artist, manufacturer, and someone who can make the kickstarter video

A question on the back of my mind. How will I create the kickstarter video without the final product? Probably some digital render, but that might cost a small fortune.
 

df1992

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Quick update.

I've finished enough of the game to play test the game and look for any 'bugs' in the mechanics. If the game plays well, it's just gonna be finishing off the content. Planned with two friends to test this weekend.

Short term goals: Play test prototype > finalize material list > find artist, manufacturer, and someone who can make the kickstarter video

A question on the back of my mind. How will I create the kickstarter video without the final product? Probably some digital render, but that might cost a small fortune.
Following this thread, best of luck! Really interested to see how you get on.

Can you not do the kickstarter with a prototype that's as closed to the final design as possible and make some creative around real people actually playing it? If it's a drinking board game, personally I'd really want to capture the actual fun drinking part of the game and that needs to be done with real people drinking and enjoying it?

If you did a 3D render, you could miss the "drinking" part and would just be selling a board game.
 

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Watching. When you launch Kickstarter we will move you to notable and get you some publicity. Good luck! Tag me when that happens.
 
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Isaac Oh

Isaac Oh

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Following this thread, best of luck! Really interested to see how you get on.

Can you not do the kickstarter with a prototype that's as closed to the final design as possible and make some creative around real people actually playing it? If it's a drinking board game, personally I'd really want to capture the actual fun drinking part of the game and that needs to be done with real people drinking and enjoying it?

If you did a 3D render, you could miss the "drinking" part and would just be selling a board game.
Thanks!

Yeah I hear ya. I'm not sure if I want to have actual people in the video. I think it would be too grounded on reality. I wanted something like this:
The goal with the video is to give a taste of what it would feel like to be completely immersed in our world. Originally, the shots of people drinking would have been a great fit but we're going the fantasy/RPG route with drinking as a mechanic.
 
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Isaac Oh

Isaac Oh

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I think this is where the doubt sets in lol

I was designing the board and had no idea where to start. It's like an empty canvas and nothing I do will be perfect. And there will be a lot of time spent in balancing the game / making it more enjoyable with no promises.

Still, pushed through. Anything is better than something and this is what I created.
33857
Very very far from finished but it's a start that I can work with. I expect the end result to look completely different from this.

In talks with two artists at the moment. Possibly more. Design is such a big factor, I'll have to spend a lot of energy making it as close to perfect as possible.
@s.wirat13 talking with your guy!!
 

s.wirat13

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I think this is where the doubt sets in lol

I was designing the board and had no idea where to start. It's like an empty canvas and nothing I do will be perfect. And there will be a lot of time spent in balancing the game / making it more enjoyable with no promises.

Still, pushed through. Anything is better than something and this is what I created.
View attachment 33857
Very very far from finished but it's a start that I can work with. I expect the end result to look completely different from this.

In talks with two artists at the moment. Possibly more. Design is such a big factor, I'll have to spend a lot of energy making it as close to perfect as possible.
@s.wirat13 talking with your guy!!
Man, Nice start. Designing board is really a difficult task. I think you have to take game duration into account. Too long will make it boring. Too short will make it less challenging. One more thing you should invest in is the figurines/miniatures as I know lots of board game lovers collect those well-made ones.

If you need any help, pm me anytime. I don't know him personally. He's a friend of friend. I saw my friend share his page and I was instantly a fan. I assume that, just like my friend, he graduated with a major in architecture and that would likely make him an expert in conceptual building structure. :clench:
 

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