Hello all and welcome to another post in our series of articles Exposed: The Game Behind the Scenes. Today we will be discussing a very big part of the journey that a game makes. This is production. As the process that leads a game to production is a big one, we will be analyzing it in three articles.
In the first of these articles, we will be discussing about the first part of the process. This takes place before we are even close to production: The initial contact with the factory.
For games that go on Kickstarter, the link with the factory happens at a very early stage. After the game takes a form, and we know what components we will need, we send an email to the factory. This includes the components, materials and quantities that we have determined that we need. The factory will then send us the first quote. This is where we determine how much each of the components costs and we calibrate the game. At this stage we discuss with the designer to see what tweaks we can do. The purpose is mostly cost optimization, if needed, without having an impact on the game itself. These can be tweaks like, reducing the number of tiles, or determining that the number of cards is good. This is also the stage where we get the quotes for new ideas that we haven’t used before. For Reichbusters for example, that was when we took a first cost for the dice tray. We then determined it is worth considering and include it in the campaign. This process can have an impact on the game itself, and how the designers continue to do their work. It is therefore important to happen at an early stage.
We then use the prices that we got from the factory to determine the prices that we will have on the KS campaign. This happens both for the pledges that are going to be offered, as well as the add-ons. This is also the point that we ask the factory for quotes for the planned stretch goals in order to determine the gaps in between them. As you see, the prices on the KS campaign are always well thought out. They are not just random prices, based on the feeling one has for the game they are creating; or on what the competition is doing; or what the backers can afford. They take the quotes from the factory into account, along with any marketing/ sales ideas so to create the pledges and the plan of what appears when on the campaign.
Once the Kickstarter is complete, we contact the factory once again in order to get some new quotes. These are usually for the add-ons that we will have during the pledge manager. Most of the time, we have add-ons that were directly proposed by the backers and followers of the project during the course of the campaign. Of course, we have things that we have thought about from the beginning, but it is also very important to listen to the community and what they would like to see in your project. When we get the quotes, we determine which of those add-ons are viable and can be offered at an affordable price during the pledge manager. In general we try to keep a balance. We cannot have a “cheap” core pledge for its quality and contents and then have an expensive add-on.
The closure of the pledge manager, means that we have the final number of backers. At this point we look at this number, and add a % for product replacements, plus an additional number per product, so that we have some additional stock. This gives us a good understanding of the final numbers per product, which means we can now get more accurate quotes.
Next time we will be talking about miniatures production!
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- EXPOSED: The Game Behind the Scenes