Things keep moving along

Another busy week, so it looks like press releases start going out next.  We had a photo shoot, a video shoot, we got more production quotes for Samsara, and we finished getting volunteers to work the Toy Fair booth.

The photo shoot was with a fine art photographer doing portraits, and she agreed to do a couple of me contemplating a game of Samsara, so we may be able to use those in the publicity for Samsara when it’s published in a couple of months.  She needs some time to convert the prints to digital, so the timing may be about right.

The video shoot was a set of three commercials (one each for Zombie Attack, Deer Hunter 2050, and 4th Corner).  A web site called Talkmarket offers to sell products on their web site through infomercials viewed on their site.  They take retail orders and then we bill Talkmarket at wholesale rates and ship them direct to the customer (drop shipments).  We can also use the videos on our web site.  And the best part of it from our perspective was, since they have offices in Manhattan and New Jersey, they are close enough to send a film crew for free, which saves us a lot in production and editing costs.

In finding vendors for Samsara, the costs for the pawns, the boards, and the tube for the pawns have all been coming in under budget, so we just have to see if we can get a package quote that doesn’t raise costs too high.  The main problem is that Samsara is likely to build in sales slowly because it is an abstract strategy game that will have to make its way through the high school chess clubs, the game stores, reviews, and game competitions.  That means it’s not economical to purchase more than a one-year supply of inventory, but the cost of dies and production for the one-piece folding carton we were planning may be prohibitively expensive.  Most of the box manufacturers want minimum runs 4 or 5 times what we would prefer.

So a few more days of looking for low-run, low-cost boxes that can ship to us flat, and then we start pricing tubes.  Not as great for display (end out with no selling copy or 15 inches of shelf width and roll-off danger), but it’s more likely we can find something that will fit the game already in stock that won’t require new dies.

Otherwise, we’re just waiting for some art to come in so we can get prototype boxes done in time for Toy Fair in two weeks.  We have to have something for our wonderful volunteer demonstrators to show off!

Mark Salzwedel

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4 Responses to “Things keep moving along”

  1. clearclaw says:

    Several of my recent game purchases (eg Deep Thought Games’ products) have used white shipping boxes with full colour labels applied to the 5 major faces as their game boxes. It works well and is reasonably professional in appearance. They’re also cheap. Sample box:


  2. admin says:

    The printing on the box paper is not the expensive part. It’s getting a box made to a custom size. Every box is stamped from a sheet by a die, and then folded along scores and potentially glued. If you’re using a standard box size that a box manufacturer has in stock, then you save the cost of tooling the metal die that cuts and scores the box from the sheet, which can cost hundreds of dollars.

    Unfortunately, with Samsara, a custom box is most likely the answer. (I have considered floral boxes, about the same size, but they are set-up boxes, so more expensive per unit and to ship and warehouse.) To keep the game components from rattling around in storage, you need a tight fit in the box or some mechanism for holding them in place. The fact that the board rolls up is a nice feature, and that means the box needs to be 3 x 3 x 15. If it lay flat in the box, it would be more like a pizza box, and that takes up even more room in the warehouse and on the store shelves.

  3. clearclaw says:

    A 3″x3″x15″ box will not be liked by retailers. Again, it is difficult to shelve and display. Perhaps Billabong’s solution? It uses a standard (large) size box with an insert that provides a channel along one side for the rolled map.

  4. clearclaw says:

    Another approach to save the cost of the insert is to use a small/light tube in the box to keep the map rolled. The other bits can then be bagged in the normal fashion. I’ve considered this for one of my games that might use a vinyl map.

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