Question: Tuckbox and Paper

Posted on March 12th, by firstoni in Blog. 6 comments

I’ve been working on finalizing my awesome new card game, Top Billing, and we’re in the final throws. This brings me to a few questions I’d love to ask our fans!

How important is a cool, printed tuckbox for you to buy a card game?

Strange thing about making card games is that a LOT of the money involved with production is the box it comes in. Like about 35% of the cost, in fact. If it saved money for you and made the publisher more money, do you really need a box? What if it was a generic box with no printing? What if it came in a bag? The bad part I’m finding about not having a flashy box is that it makes it almost impossible to get it in stores.

How important is it that it includes a printed instruction booklet?

Again, printing an instruction booklet, for some reason, costs a good chunk of the cost on our end and yours. What if, instead, the instructions were available for download on our web site for easy printing? Are we in an age where this is truly acceptable? Again, if it were to go into store, the instructions would need to be in the box, methinks.

I’m thinking a kickstarter might be needed in order to get the price point to a place where a tuckbox and instruction booklet can be added without having to sell the game for an extra 40% cost.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, everyone!

6 responses to “Question: Tuckbox and Paper”

  1. Why not offer two versions of your card game?

    One is the cheaper, “no frills” version, with no box and no manual. This costs less on your end and ours. This is good for those ordering it online, since we’d get the rulebook .pdf free with our order. However, I’d still print up rulebooks that people can add on for an extra cost were I you, because I’d pay extra for it — I’m not sure how willing I am to have to keep a .pdf open on a laptop or to print out a rulebook on a crappy printer, as it’s intuitive to want rules I can hold in my hand along with a game I can hold in my hand. Others may vary on this, though.

    The second version of the game is the deluxe version, with a printed rulebook and possibly shiny box. A rulebook is pretty necessary if you want to sell this game in stores, since you’re going for a market that doesn’t order stuff online and thus may not have that desire or ability. As far as skimping on a box goes, you could make a colorful front “cover” card representing the box artwork, with the back-of-the-box artwork printed on the back cover of the instruction manual; sandwich the cards between them, shrink-wrap, and done. This is risky, as it’s difficult to tell how people might react to that format, but it’s cheaper for you and them. The safest bet is to include a box, especially since its’s nice to have somewhere to put the cards after we open the pack, but as you explained that inflates costs.

  2. Jacob Wood says:

    I usually sleeve my cards, which means they never fit back in the box they came in to begin with. Most of them wind up being banded and put into plastic bags for safekeeping.

    The instructions are usually tucked inside the bag with the cards. I wouldn’t need printed instructions if they were easy to find online and short enough I could print them myself.

    Then again, I’m a fan of lowering costs and increasing the publisher’s cut.

    I think you’re right about getting it into stores though. Without the fancy packaging it won’t even wind up on store shelves. Even if it did, it wouldn’t compete with all of the other shiny boxes surrounding it. Perhaps that’s something you can look into more once the game has been released and not make it a requirement for your first run?

  3. Danny James says:

    I must admit, I would have much preferred to have my Savage Worlds Adventure cards in individual deck boxes rather than a box that contains two packs (badly, after it has been opened).

    I don’t really like having to print out tuck boxes, and use old playing card boxes (promotion M:tG boxes to be accurate) or plastic card holders (again, for holding M:tG cards, but this time in plastic pockets so they are slightly bigger).

    However, there are people who like making their own, or at least I presume there are…

    Could you have tuck boxes as a stretch goal or add-on on a Kickstarter?

    Some sort of container would be necessary I think, but not a bag – Some card games such as Gloom (by Atlas) come in similar boxes as the Savage Worlds Adventure set (which as stated aren’t great afterwards) which allow two decks of card to sit next to one another side by side.

    Could you offer a premium card set with box as a separate physical product from the “normal” game. Possibly have a few different designs of tuck box to print out for free on the website.

    As with the rules – how long are they – could they be printed on the playing cards themselves?

    Random thoughts, sorry. Hope it is of use.

  4. Robert Slaughter says:

    Smallbox games in Stockbridge GA uses more ordinary ‘telescoping’ boxes , sized to fit their decks once sleeved. Might be cheaper than tuckboxes.

    As hard as it is to believe, a significant portion of the gaming hobby does not use the internet for gaming-related support. I still meet gamers who’ve never heard of major games because their local store never stocked it. The expectation of any physical game is that it is complete as sold, with compents and rules included. James Earnest can get away with reduced components only because he makes it clear on his packaging.

  5. firstoni says:

    To clarify, if we chose the version with just the cards and downloadable instructions, this game could be out tomorrow. Seriously! That takes so little time and effort to get together. DriveThruCards is out and there’s a few other places I’d be able to put the game up as well.

    A Kickstarter would be to get the price point with box and instructions to a good price point for everyone. The real sticking point here is that if we do a large print run, we’re printing like 500 to 1000 decks. If we print that many decks, it virtually becomes the same price for the game with the box and instructions vs print-on-demand without. And if I have 1000 copies, I kind of want to sell those instead of even bothering with print-on-demand.

    The instructions aren’t short enough to fit onto a card, but they aren’t exactly super long either.

  6. The eduhater says:

    I think online instructions as being the only source for the complete ruleset is only okay when there is a card for each player that gives turn order or other vital information already included in the game.

    Having pets who love to smack cards around I would prefer some sort of box, but that is easy enough to deal with on the gamers end.

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