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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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Started creating some posts on reddit and am gaining some traction there already.

Had a playtest last night that went amazing. It played much better than I had assumed it would. Came out with lots of notes for improvements which I'll be implementing.

My goal is to have playtest kits sent out by this Friday.

Is a cool resource I plan on using to get some more attention to my kickstarter launch.
 

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Isaac Oh

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I see a lot of value you’re putting in there. I believe that great story will grows a solid fan base. It is going to be awesome. This sounds just like how Toby Fox made his game, Undertale (One of my all-time favorite RPG despite the graphic pixels everyone hates).

I think if you are satisfied with the story, I agree that focusing at gameplay would be the first priority now. Quality over quantity. When looking at the game mechanism, you may need to often clear you head and look at it from the other sides. Go for a walk and you may get that ‘Aha’ moment out of nowhere. It is a creative task and stressing out your best buddy, brain, won’t help much.

I follow one motto aggressively. It is from the anime, MHA (excuse my nerd side haha). It goes ‘When you are at your limit, remember why you clenched your fist’. It sounds like a cliche but when you put it with your situation, your story and what you’ve been through, man, it will get you going every time. Hope it helps you too. Keep it up.

I've never played Undertale but I've heard good things about it. Thanks @s.wirat13! I'll keep that in mind.

An alternative to testing in person. If you have a friend who can do some basic coding, or whatever it would take on steam, there is a game called tabletop simulator. Pretty much any popular games get ripped off and created on there for people to play. Catan, monopoly, uno, poker, plus a lot in your RPG category I would guess. You could potentially have a very rough version without tons of individual card graphics or at least final products and use that audience to test. You could host the game and get input as you have randoms play that would require you to teach them the game.

Edit: I forgot to add things like dice, timers, etc are already standard in the platform. You only need to make your board and cards and if you wanted a rulebook. Since you said you were sending a lot digitally, this could be a better approach.

Very interesting. I'll definitely check this out. It seems like it might take some time to get it all set up but once it's done I'll be able to scale much more of the playtest.
One thing to consider is that this game is best played with groups of friends, not strangers. So I'm not sure if that would be a hindrance on that platform.
 

Sethamus

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I've never played Undertale but I've heard good things about it. Thanks @s.wirat13! I'll keep that in mind.



Very interesting. I'll definitely check this out. It seems like it might take some time to get it all set up but once it's done I'll be able to scale much more of the playtest.
One thing to consider is that this game is best played with groups of friends, not strangers. So I'm not sure if that would be a hindrance on that platform.
The only time I get on tabletop is when my friends, that all live in separate cities now, decide to get on and play. If my group was one that was interested in buying this game we would never test it since we live so far apart. Just a different perspective.

If the board game takes off, nothing from stopping you making a web based game.
 

Isaac Oh

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The only time I get on tabletop is when my friends, that all live in separate cities now, decide to get on and play. If my group was one that was interested in buying this game we would never test it since we live so far apart. Just a different perspective.

If the board game takes off, nothing from stopping you making a web based game.

Yeah that absolutely makes sense. Many card games are mostly played online and some are exclusively online. Will definitely be looking into developing this after some physical playtests. Only because I'll be able to get the tests done sooner. Thanks for the idea!
 

Sethamus

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Definitely keep on the track you are, as doing too much can slow progress or turn into action taking. Unless you hit a wall with the physical game just keep this idea in the back of your head. Even going into licensing/ production (however the board game world works) you might want to keep the rights to an online version. A lot of connections are online solely and while board game sales have probably soared during covid, how many families would play your type of game? From what I read it is more tailored for friends with similar interests, though I could be wrong as I haven't played much of these types.
 

Isaac Oh

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Definitely keep on the track you are, as doing too much can slow progress or turn into action taking. Unless you hit a wall with the physical game just keep this idea in the back of your head. Even going into licensing/ production (however the board game world works) you might want to keep the rights to an online version. A lot of connections are online solely and while board game sales have probably soared during covid, how many families would play your type of game? From what I read it is more tailored for friends with similar interests, though I could be wrong as I haven't played much of these types.

Yeah, thanks for the tips. I'll definitely do that. It's not really a family game, it's more on the raunchy side haha. It's for friends who enjoy beating challenges together.
 

Isaac Oh

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I've made two posts on reddit:
https://www.reddit.com/r/tabletopgamedesign/comments/hykrf3 View: https://www.reddit.com/r/tabletopgamedesign/comments/hykrf3/my_first_prototype_map_for_my_drinking_rpg_game/

https://www.reddit.com/r/rpg/comments/hyldvl View: https://www.reddit.com/r/rpg/comments/hyldvl/sharing_my_drinking_rpg_game_throat_punch_the/


Each got me considerable engagement. The coolest part was all the positive feedback I received. It was really a big boost of encouragement.

Many people said they couldn't wait for the game to be release. A few offered to help me test it. So, I'll continue to build some momentum there so that when the day of the campaign starts, I'll have a good amount of followers already.

Besides that, I made some player cards for the playtest kits I'm sending out this Friday. I used a lot of images by other people and will credit them when I post it on reddit.

View: https://imgur.com/a/EQuQzgy


My grassroots marketing plan at the moment is to release the designs I get as they come. Even poorly made designs myself like the one above seem to bring in a lot of engagement!

Otherwise, I'm preparing the playtest kits that I will send out this Friday. I'll send the minimum number of things physically, to save costs. Most of the stuff, I can send a digital version thanks to Google.
 

Isaac Oh

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Bump - how is it going Isaac?
Thanks for asking @Kid . Things got pushed back, but I've made a lot of progress. Pretty much just waiting on some stamps to arrive because I had some people from the UK ask for a copy of the play test kit.

Besides that, I've condensed the 26 page rulebook into a much more straightforward 6 pages! That took a lot more work than I thought it would.

I also heard back from the first manufacturer. The others require that I make the 3D miniature models before they can give me a quote. It's a long timeline because I'll have to have the illustrations done, then find someone else who can help with the 3D designs.

The first manufacturer quoted me at almost $35,000 for 1000 units. The game itself comes to around $27 per unit and about $6.50 for shipping (just under $32.50 total) but the flat fees of safety material tests, samples, molding fee really add up. I'll be waiting for other quotes and seeing which ones are open for negotiation. I'm also considering raising the MOQ and using a large portion of kickstarter revenue to just buy the extra games personally, keeping enough revenue to spend on ads so I can sell the rest. Not too sure yet but that'll become clear later. I'm planning to sell at around the $70 mark but I'll have to do some calculations later.

So it's going to be waiting to send out the kits, waiting for the feedback, waiting for the artists to finish the graphics and illustrations. Lots of waiting to do so I'll just work on creating more content during that time.
 

Kid

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Ok so no hurry. Thanks for reply.

Besides that, I've condensed the 26 page rulebook into a much more straightforward 6 pages! That took a lot more work than I thought it would.
Good job :) I believe its not as easy as people might think
 

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Isaac Oh

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Isaac Oh

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Progress & Updates:
Graphic designs are coming along slowly but surely.
So far, I've received designs for the back of the cards, hero concept art, and the logo. It's less that 1% of all the graphic design that has to be done so I'm looking for ways to speed this up. A drinking card game that did well for the niche had dozens of artists do illustrations for the cards and featured them in their game. I'm going to try a similar approach. I've been surprised at how many people are willing to help for free.

I sent out roughly 5 playtest kits. I don't think all of them have arrived yet but it'll be interesting to see what changes have to be made in the game itself.

I received my second quote. They estimated it to cost $114,759 for 2000 units ($49.97/unit) and $142,535 for 3000 units ($41.73/unit). That's pretty hefty! After advertising and other costs, I'd pretty much be breaking even if I sold at $65. Looking at the breakdown, the Quest Book is raising costs per unit by about $10.50. I might find a separate supplier for the books and have them delivered to the manufacturer so they can just put it in the box.

The Tabletop Simulator is something I'm still interesting in doing. However, it seems to require a lot of graphic material to be done in order to create the game online. The biggest thing I'm waiting for before launch is the graphic designs so I doubt I will have enough time in between to set it up on TTS. It's not a big deal, I don't think the attention it would get is worth the effort put into setting it up.
 

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Progress & Updates:
Graphic designs are coming along slowly but surely.
So far, I've received designs for the back of the cards, hero concept art, and the logo. It's less that 1% of all the graphic design that has to be done so I'm looking for ways to speed this up. A drinking card game that did well for the niche had dozens of artists do illustrations for the cards and featured them in their game. I'm going to try a similar approach. I've been surprised at how many people are willing to help for free.

I sent out roughly 5 playtest kits. I don't think all of them have arrived yet but it'll be interesting to see what changes have to be made in the game itself.

I received my second quote. They estimated it to cost $114,759 for 2000 units ($49.97/unit) and $142,535 for 3000 units ($41.73/unit). That's pretty hefty! After advertising and other costs, I'd pretty much be breaking even if I sold at $65. Looking at the breakdown, the Quest Book is raising costs per unit by about $10.50. I might find a separate supplier for the books and have them delivered to the manufacturer so they can just put it in the box.

The Tabletop Simulator is something I'm still interesting in doing. However, it seems to require a lot of graphic material to be done in order to create the game online. The biggest thing I'm waiting for before launch is the graphic designs so I doubt I will have enough time in between to set it up on TTS. It's not a big deal, I don't think the attention it would get is worth the effort put into setting it up.

Awesome!

Perhaps you could outsource manufacturing of the different parts to different suppliers? And where are those suppliers located? Maybe it would be cheaper / better outsourcing it to China or something?
 

Isaac Oh

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Awesome!

Perhaps you could outsource manufacturing of the different parts to different suppliers? And where are those suppliers located? Maybe it would be cheaper / better outsourcing it to China or something?
Yeah I only received two quotes so far and China's was definitely the best. I believe the second, more expensive one, was in Europe. I'm gonna be researching better suppliers!
 

Hadrian

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Been following this with interest as I plan on making my own Board Game next year.
Have to crack these bloody apps first! :bicep:

Quick thought: I wonder could you base the rules on another game so you would have a niche userbase to target immediately and who could hit the ground running.... I'm basing my own idea on Lord of the Rings Risk with new elements that can enhance the game later, but won't stop people from getting stuck in straight away! Just a thought! :bullseye:
 

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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.

I'm having my chibi characters created for around $5-10 each via fiverr.


View: https://imgur.com/a/nNODrN5


If that's the sort of style you are after, send me a pm for their link.

I also have a decent $200/Wordpress guy.

And a decent American copywriting gal.
 

Isaac Oh

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Been following this with interest as I plan on making my own Board Game next year.
Have to crack these bloody apps first! :bicep:

Quick thought: I wonder could you base the rules on another game so you would have a niche userbase to target immediately and who could hit the ground running.... I'm basing my own idea on Lord of the Rings Risk with new elements that can enhance the game later, but won't stop people from getting stuck in straight away! Just a thought! :bullseye:
Yeah I think that's actually a great idea. Most successful games are taking one step further from other games out there. Totally niche games usually get a strong following but the player base is usually tiny.

I referenced the rules of a lot of board games and tried making something thematically similar but also catered towards casual drinking.

Your idea sounds interesting! Would love following that. When are you planning on starting?
 

Isaac Oh

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I'm having my chibi characters created for around $5-10 each via fiverr.


View: https://imgur.com/a/nNODrN5


If that's the sort of style you are after, send me a pm for their link.

I also have a decent $200/Wordpress guy.

And a decent American copywriting gal.
Yeah I'll definitely PM you. I'm planning on getting a dozen or so illustrators to pump out the artwork.

Doing the website and copy myself! ;)
 

Isaac Oh

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Offer it as an app-book. Basically an app that has the text of Quest Book.
Unit cost for download would be zero. Google and Apple have some yearly fee but its below $100 per year.
I'm planning on having a digital pdf but board gamers in this niche love hard copies...
 

Hadrian

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Offer it as an app-book. Basically an app that has the text of Quest Book.
Unit cost for download would be zero. Google and Apple have some yearly fee but its below $100 per year.

hah you beat me to the punch though I’ve a slightly different angle I’m going to try with the app-book!:clap::
 

Isaac Oh

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Updates and Marketing Plan

Quick Updates:

- Art is still in works. 3 talented artists working on the project at full steam.
- Prototypes were received by playtesters. I only sent out 10 kits. Exactly 0 have responded. Some say it's because they haven't had the chance to find time to gather friends. Totally understandable.
- Hired an experience board game developer yesterday to overcome the point above. Will be working closely with him. Also, going back to the drawing board with the game but not necessarily overhauling everything. Just want to make sure finished product is fantastic.
- Personally, I spent the last 3 weeks working on some projects for other people. It helped me raise capital but I was suffering the whole time. Glad to be back at this. Larger budget now.

Marketing Plan (Before and During Launch):
The two most important, and therefore most difficult, challenges are (1) the quality of the board game (2) the marketing. I was putting off marketing until I had all the pieces ready to go. But I realize that was me just wasting time and being afraid of early rejection.

The biggest indicator of a successful Kickstarter isn't the quality of the product, or even the quality of the "marketing" . It depends on the quality and quantity of the tribe behind the creator.

I made it my task today to figure out how to build this tribe. The marketing I will be doing from here until launch is more focused on building up a community. Very different from the original plan of Create > Launch > Run cold traffic. Of course, I'll also be doing cold traffic before, during, and after launch.

Here's the plan. Based off of:
View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mh4y79DGGdg


PHASE I: Testing and Engagement
Timeline: 5-3 Months Out

Prerequisites:
- Have Website (Landing Page) Created
- Have a Lead Magnet Determined (I will be offering discounts on the final product)
- Have Automated Emails (Welcome Sequence)
- Create an Insiders Group (I'm considering a private Facebook Group)

Main Goals:
- Get Ads Optimized with a small budget (FB, Reddit, Google)[Ramp up budgets closer to, and especially after, launch]
- Start building leads (Paid Ads and grassroot approaches)
- Get especially interested people into Insiders (Send surveys out in welcome sequence)
- Create Weekly Update Emails to go along with the automated welcome sequence

Tasks Now:
- Invest $500 in FB Ads
- Invest $500 in Google Ads
- Invest $500 in Reddit Ads
- Set Up Website
- Set Up Email Systems
- Set Up 20 Welcome Sequences
- Set Up Private FB Group
- Create Survey for Email List
- Research 20 Ideas for Update Emails


PHASE II: Pre-Launch + Building Kickstarter Page
Timeline: 2-0 Months Out

Main Goals:
- Prepare KS Page for Launch
-> Kickstarter Layout
-> Kickstarter Video
- Figure out Launch Marketing Strategy (Ads, PR, Influencers, etc)
- Set Rewards and Early Bird
- Plan Goal $
- Find Cross-Promoters
- Plan Ads

Tasks:

- Research other KS pages and videos
- Write video script
- Hire voice actor
- Calculate Early Bird Discount % and Quantity (Should cover minimum goal)
- Research Cross-Promoters
- Adjust Ads and Finalize
- Create KS Page

PHASE III: Launch

Main Goals:
- Start Cross Promotion
- Ads Full Throttle
- Track Sources with KS Custom Links

Tasks:

- Have Cross Promotion Template Ready
- Manage Ads
- Track ROIs
 

sparechange

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You don't need to spend .01 cent on advertising.

Word of mouth and start local young grasshopper
 

Isaac Oh

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You don't need to spend .01 cent on advertising.

Word of mouth and start local young grasshopper
Wow. Really pushing me to the limits of what I think is necessary.

I'll do some research and create a separate plan on how I can accomplish everything above without advertising.

Thanks @sparechange
 

Isaac Oh

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I had my first meeting with the game developer. He's had 4 years of experience as a game publisher. So he's seen hundreds of games published with his company. He's also created a few games to my knowledge.

The meeting was good. The feedback he gave me was blunt and continues to be blunt. But he sees potential in the project.

Here's the biggest feedback I've received.

- The current cost per unit is somewhere between $30-$40. He strongly suggests bringing this down to $8.
- The artwork I've commissioned is not fitting for a board game. I've put the rest of the art on pause. He offers to be art director after we polish out the game.
- The game itself could use mechanics that are more thematically aligned.

Some serious grounds to cover but I'm glad it's being addressed.
 

Hadrian

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I had my first meeting with the game developer. He's had 4 years of experience as a game publisher. So he's seen hundreds of games published with his company. He's also created a few games to my knowledge.

The meeting was good. The feedback he gave me was blunt and continues to be blunt. But he sees potential in the project.

Here's the biggest feedback I've received.

- The current cost per unit is somewhere between $30-$40. He strongly suggests bringing this down to $8.
- The artwork I've commissioned is not fitting for a board game. I've put the rest of the art on pause. He offers to be art director after we polish out the game.
- The game itself could use mechanics that are more thematically aligned.

Some serious grounds to cover but I'm glad it's being addressed.
Loving this journey you're taking... I'll probably hire you as a consultant or a partner to make my own next year! :D
 

sparechange

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I had my first meeting with the game developer. He's had 4 years of experience as a game publisher. So he's seen hundreds of games published with his company. He's also created a few games to my knowledge.

The meeting was good. The feedback he gave me was blunt and continues to be blunt. But he sees potential in the project.

Here's the biggest feedback I've received.

- The current cost per unit is somewhere between $30-$40. He strongly suggests bringing this down to $8.
- The artwork I've commissioned is not fitting for a board game. I've put the rest of the art on pause. He offers to be art director after we polish out the game.
- The game itself could use mechanics that are more thematically aligned.

Some serious grounds to cover but I'm glad it's being addressed.

Are you making this game locally? 30-40 sounds like what most games retail for..

If I were you, not that I'm like some gaming expert but found some success in my own niche (I make my own products) just ditch the idea of making money upfront and spend the 30-40 bucks on creating the game get a few copies of it and SELL it ASAP. Verify people will actually pay for it.

While I personally love this idea and would most likely buy it myself, our self bias's can be damaging in the long term, maybe YOU believe you have a great game (and you probably do)

The market place is the only thing that matters, people that are total strangers giving you their money in exchange for the game, sell it as a beta or ''rough copy'' and maybe even accept a loss on it, but if you can sell a few hundred of these it's possible you've got a winning product, just get it out there!

Worry about making a profit later when you can get the game made overseas for a few bucks.

Do you currently have a mailing list of pre-orders?/interest, even if you aren't getting paid having thousaunds of people expressing interest in the game is kind of a soft proof of concept, focus on building that.
 

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