Wednesday, July 8, 2015

HAVE A GREAT BOARD GAME IDEA BUT DON'T KNOW WHERE TO START?


Most people hesitate to follow through with a great idea because they think they would never have enough money to move forward, or minimum orders would be too high or even worse what if the product doesn't sell. Thanks to websites like Kickstarter.com, Indigogo.com and several others your dreams of becoming the next big game inventor are possible; these crowd funding sites can help to enable you to acquire the funds necessary to have your game produced. This is a LARGE piece of the puzzle, but not the finishing touch. You still need to create/design and produce this amazing game that you are promising your backers or purchasers. 

NAME YOUR GAME:
Hopefully after reading this, you will have a good solid starting point and some direction to at least head in. We already know you have the basic idea/concept of your game; the next step (if you haven't already) is name your game. Think of something that can describe your game play or the type of game you are selling, like Monopoly, Life, Apples to Apples, etc. After you have come up with your very cleaver and thought-out game name, you need to make sure no one else has it. The first/easiest place to check would be http://tmsearch.uspto.gov to perform a basic word mark search. If you see it's already taken or anything similar, you go back to the drawing board; if you don't then you are safe to move forward (for now). This does not mean you are completely safe, only an attorney can confirm this for you, but I would say you can move onto the next steps without worry.

SKETCH AND TEST PLAY:
So now we have our concept and we have our name. The next step would be to sketch out your game on paper - even if you aren't the best artist, you can still create something workable enough to test your idea in real time and it's FREE. I cannot stress to you enough how important this step really is. In test play, you will be able to determine proper game play instructions and iron out any kinks that you may come across. I promise you, there will be many and this is the place to acknowledge them and fix them before spending any money. Do this step over and over and over again until you feel that the game play is smooth and you're confident enough to play with some family members and friends (trustworthy ones because you aren't protected just yet). Don't explain the game in any way to anyone; let them read your instructions and give you feedback or inform you of anything they didn't understand. Take it lightly, I know this is your baby, but constructive criticism will only help you out here, not hurt you. Let them play the game together without you and voice any confusion or concerns with all aspects of the game. Remember, you already understand the game - you created it- , you just need to see how someone that knows nothing about the game receives your instructions and game play.

ART DESIGN:
Play testing is done, all kinks are worked out and you're ready to get started with your crowd funding! Not so fast, unless you're an amazing artist and have created the game in vector files print ready, there’s still one more step you need to do and that is to create the actual design. Here is where some money spending will come into play. You can visit www.521promo.com to see some examples of our work, we would be happy to give you a quote. Another GREAT resource for upcoming artists is www.fiverr.com. These artists will do projects at low costs, not because they aren't talented but because they're building up their portfolios and experience before they can charge top dollar. Once you have an artist you will work with them on actually designing your game and making it print ready. 

COPYRIGHT:
Copyrighting is VERY important, this will protect all of the text, artwork and design of your game. You can visit www.legalzoom.com to copyright your game. The cost starts at around $140.00, but also depends on the contents and qty of the materials you need to copyright. 

MANUFACTURING:
Choosing a manufacture is just as important as the game itself. There are several companies out there that can manufacture your game, but do NOT base your decision on cost. Choose the company you feel will produce the best quality product in the timeline they promised. Customer service is also important here, the company should be ready and willing to answer any and all questions you may have. Make sure they can send you a game sample, send references, have no BBB complaints etc. Can they produce a low min. if that's what you are looking for, Can they produce a prototype for you? Are they willing to educate you on the process? Are they easy to get in touch with if there's a problem, will they answer you? Of course cost is a factor in this decision, but make sure you consider all of the above as well. Once you choose a manufacturer you will use their quotes to determine how many games you would like to order and what goals and rewards you need to create for your crowd funding site.

PROTOTYPING: 
I'm sure your sketch on paper was great, but that won't cut it for the crowd funders. Most companies out there won't create a prototype without the promise of an order and a large one at that. 521 Promo can help you with this step as well. Although ideally we'd love to receive your final manufacturing order when you are successfully funded we don't require that promise to order a prototype. Send us the artwork, we'd be happy to sign a non-disclosure form, and we'll handle creating your prototype. The cost of this will depend on the exact details of the game. They can range from $65.00 - $300.00+. Note: Depending on the complexity of your game all parts may not be suitable for prototyping, but you will definitely have enough to show your backers for crowd funding and photos.

CROWD FUNDING:
Statistics say that crowd funding projects with professional looking prototypes, artwork, rewards and a video are more successful than those without. Thanks to phone technology, you don't need to hire a professional camera man to create a video. Set your phone up, get in front of the camera and let everyone know why your game is worth his or her money. Explain the game play, show people playing, show the prototypes, and get them hyped. Once you have your crowd funding site set up and ready to launch, tell everyone and anyone about your project. 521 Promo will also be more than happy to share your link on all of our social media outlets.

PRODUCTION:
You were successfully funded and now it's time for production! By now you should have already chosen a manufacturer for your game. Once the crowd funding site has paid, send the manufacturer the artwork and get started on production. The timing of this depends on the manufacturer and what you had previously worked out.

PACK AND SHIP:
Congratulations! your game is produced and ready to ship - but where are you going to keep them? How are you going to ship them once people start ordering? Outsourced order fulfillment is definitely the way to go when you are dealing with a single pick and ship product like board games. This is where our friends at warehousing and fulfillment center Fulfillrite come into play. Fulfillrite will create a custom pick and ship system to meet your needs. All of your games will be shipped directly to them, but don't worry you will be able to access real-time order and inventory data while they house your inventory. 

CONCLUSION:
I hope you now have a better understanding of the board game creation process. If you have any questions at all please visit www.521promo.com for more information or feel free to contact us anytime.
Phone: 862-432-1566
E-mail: 521promo@gmail.com

DISCLAIMER:
I am not an attorney, ALL legal matters concerning protection of your product should be discussed with an attorney. This article is simply for guidance, not legal advise. There may be some other steps you deem important or need to take in order to create your game.