I am looking for a Board Game Printers in South Africa

edited in Questions and Answers
Hello I am looking to print about 100 copies of a board game i'm working on do you know where I can print this game and get some professional game bits in South Africa? The game is (Monopoly like in terms of resources). If anyone knows anything please let me know :) SHAPA
Thanked by 2dammit Tuism


  • These guys (http://www.c2digital.co.za/) have been more than helpful with my stuff and they won't be surprised to get a boardgame printing request. They are in Cape Town, though, so I'm not sure if that is problematic for you? Btw, are you interested in getting a box printed as well?
  • If your box is A4 size, then perhaps you might want to split the cost of buying the die (cutting tool) from C2 (with me) which would then mean you own (half) an A4 box die and can get the box printed. Alternatively, you'll need to find a printer that already has that. Let me know if you do.
    Thanked by 1quintond
  • Would be very interesting to see how you guys get your stuff made locally, all my information and stuff I've heard about are not local :)
  • @Tuism Yeah the AfterRobot stuff is not local and its the best to do it overseas however I might be working on a smaller project with just a 100 copies and the overseas is produced in bulks of 500 and more.
  • @Dammit that sounds great I will let you know for sure whats going on tomorrow #shapa :)
  • @dammit: What is the cost of the die? I don't have a product yet but I am working on something and my goal is to get in a A4 box, so I might be interested in this as well.
  • @Tuism - Yeah, for a small amount local makes sense. I want to produce a good looking copy of WW to leave at the boardgame cafe here and to perhaps send to publishers to take a gander at

    @quintond - I'm not sure exactly. A die for a hexagon shape was R1000 so I'm guessing it will be more than R2k which is why I would prefer to split the costs.
  • So there aren't printers here with standard top-closing box dies? What you might want to consider is make a box that's one of the common standards among international boardgames on the shelf, it might eventually be easier to contend with. So take a look at the common boardgame box sizes?

    (what about standard playing card (magic card OR bridge card) dies, do they have those, do you guys know?)

    A good die everyone can make use of can make a good first step for us producing locally :)
  • I agree about the box sizes ... my ideal size is a square box similar to the dimensions of the Zombicide boxes. I was initially looking overseas but the costs were a killer ... but if we can maybe standardise here and all chip in the costs will be well worth it.

    *shrug* Dunno how many people are keen though. 8-{
  • If anyone can find a printer that does have box dies, I would be very happy. I was looking at A4 size for my needs.
  • edited
    If you're looking for quotes on printing board games, game cards, card sleeves, boxes etc. feel free to contact me:

    ironking blankds com (you know what to add in the gaps :D)

    Die making isn't an issue either as I work with some of the best - if there are a number of folks looking for similar items we could look at making up shared die's.

    However you should be aware that die's don't last forever. The cutting edges / blades get blunt over time and depending on the number of impressions, density of material etc they will have to be remade.

    Thanked by 2dislekcia Tuism
  • One thing I've learned from my recent kickstarter experience - how you box/present your game affects perceptions. Portrait orientation automatically gives the impression of a "small game", while landscape gives the impression of a big box game. Which affects price point perception. If you're trying to market on price, make it feel like a small game. If you're trying to market on "IT'S AN AWESOME GAME YOU MUST HAVE IT NO MATTER WHAT" then make it feel like a big game :)

    Boardgames are also non-standard aspect ratio boxes - so A4 is actually a "weird" ratio for a boardgame, and impressions may come across as such.
    Thanked by 1dammit
  • Thanks for that @Tuism. Hadn't considered any of those points. I must admit I was asking for A4 just because I thought it might be more universal. I have to actually see how all the pieces I have for WW would actually fit together once I have my new pvc mats.
  • Can you please assist with contacts of companies that print board games similar to monopoly game in South Africa. I am Calistus Bosaletswe from Botswana who is interested to print a board game similar to a monopoly. If you happen to have any contacts please help .
  • barmcalo said:
    Can you please assist with contacts of companies that print board games similar to monopoly game in South Africa. I am Calistus Bosaletswe from Botswana who is interested to print a board game similar to a monopoly. If you happen to have any contacts please help .
    Please look through the thread, there are several mentioned in it already.
  • Hi everyone I've been reading this thread and it's really helpful. I have developed a board game which I would like to print locally. From your own experience, can anyone just give me a estimate of what one can expect to spend for printing 100 copies locally. How
  • Hi @Cobe, you're going to have to get a lot more specific to get a quote and estimate for printing stuff - 100 copies of Monopoly isn't going to be the same as 100 copies of Uno, and is not going to be the same as 100 copies of Kingdom Death (a game that was made 2 years ago, currently selling at 400 US dollars per copy minimum).

    And noone here can give you any real indications of price because noone here runs a print shop. You'll have to approach them. And they'll ask you the same thing - what *exactly* are you printing?

    Then, printing 100 copies is probably going to be really uneconomic - it'll end up being way more expensive per copy than mass produced copies would. By a LOT. Even "small" print runs are typically 1000 or so. And probably not printed here locally, but in China. I work with people who are in Europe and they sometimes print in Europe, but they know what they're doing, and is usually saving on shipping and time from China to Europe, and will eventually probably end up working with China to print their games, simply because the cost difference is so great.

    Then, before you even think about printing a game, you need to know where/how/who you're going to sell it to. Print and pray is the worst thing that you can do, which will most likely result in a lot of wasted resources.

    The art of publishing boardgames is a long deep and complex topic. I hope you stick it out and do research before thinking "hey let's print this".

    Feel free to share your game here for us to give you some feedback, that'll be super valuable for you :)
  • @Tuism thanks for the response. I've done my research and there's enough evidence to warrant that I proceed with this project. I have tested the game with close friends and family and got great feedback. I have already established a market and there's no doubt from the consultations I've made there's interest in the product. I'm not ready to print as yet because I'm making adjustments but I'm certain that in the 2 weeks I will be. I've designed the box, board and cards. Could you kindly share your European or Chinese contacts with me so that I get a quote?
  • edited
    Close friends and family are not good people to rely on for feedback, they're not incentivised to be brutal, which is what strangers will be when your game is out on market without you to help them through it.

    We understand that this advice is always hard to take, but it's really collective wisdom - expose your game to strangers, without your instructions and input, and see what they say about it.

    But anyway, we all learn in our own ways :)

    Disclaimer: I haven't dealt with any of these below companies as I haven't printed anything myself. @dammit and one or two others has printed through thegamecrafter.

    http://pandagm.com/ <-- well-known games manufacturer in China.
    https://www.thegamecrafter.com/ <-- easiest way to get printed, but much more expensive per copy as they're not mass production.

    More copied from boardgamegeek, from a much bigger resource list (https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/933849/designers-resources-list):

    o 3D Printing http://www.shapeways.com/
    o Brimar Packaging http://www.brimarpackaging.com/
    o Cartamundi http://www.cartamundiusa.com/
    o Custom Playing Cards http://customizedplayingcards.com/
    o Customized Playing Cards http://playingcardsrus.com/index.php
    o Game Manufacturers Association http://www.gama.org/
    o Grand Prix International http://www.grandprixintl.com/
    o Ludo Fact http://www.ludofact.de/cms/front_content.php
    o Panda http://pandagm.com/
    Thanked by 3critic mattbenic dammit
  • @Cobe following on what @Tuism has said, if you haven't yet had a chance to expose strangers to your game consider bringing your test version to one of the MakeGames monthly meetups. You'll likely be able to get some decent feedback from people there.
    Thanked by 1critic
  • @Tuism thanx for your guidance. It's not that I don't want to take your advice, I actually appreciate it. I just need a sample of my game which I can use to showcase and once it is done I'll definitely share with gamers out there to critique. It's true that family and friends can be more subjective than objective but that doesn't mean their input is meaningless. I needed to assess whether the game is working as I had imagined and designed. @Mattbennic Once I have printed a few copies I'll send it to you guys to play as I'm based in Klerksdorp, NW which is quiet from Cape Town and you can have your chance to crucify it. Lol
  • Not meaningless, just really unreliable. We deal with probability here, and we want to maximise everyone's chance of success. I know my friends and family's opinion on my work is almost no indication of what the world's opinion on my work will be, especially if they're not a) The target market (people who typically play and therefore buy a lot of boardgames or b) game developers themselves.

    We all make prototypes for people to test, and prototypes should be made as cheaply and quickly as possible as putting money into "proper printing" is a waste in 99.99% of all cases. What we do to test games is to either hand-write the components or print them out cheaply at Jetline or Minuteman and just make one or two copies. And if we want to make changes (happens 99.99% of the time), we can make it cheap and come back and do another test quickly and cheaply.

    Being out so far is unfortunate, but it will definitely be worth your while to come to our monthly meetups - the Joburg meet is every second Tuesday of each month, and there are always people to test your game with. The 2 hour drive is definitely going to be way cheaper and more effective than printing 100 copies of your game :)
  • You can also look into Tabletop Simulator if you want to get your game out to a broader audience for feedback without a substantial investment.

  • @Tuism I'll definitely be able to do Joburg, please get me in touch with them as well.

    @critic thanx for that I'll consider it as well.
  • Uh, there's no "them", this is the makegamessa forum, and makegamessa has a meetup in joburg, every second Tuesday of each month, at Microsoft on William Nicol, from 6:30pm. There's a thread about that posted here a week or two before the actual meetup.

  • It's not actually a terrible idea to do a small print run of 100 copies to see what the market does with your title. Obviously, you should be pretty certain that you'll be able to make your investment back but also that you're prepared to risk that money. Yes, it is expensive per box, but it's lower risk to do 100 than 1000 or more on your first run. A few SA board game designers have done this.
  • dammit said:
    A few SA board game designers have done this.
    Who? I'd love to hear about actual case studies, what their input circumstances are before printing 100 copies, and what the outcomes of those printings are?
  • Join the boardgame Facebook group :)
  • If I'm not already in, it would be great if there was a link so I can join :)
    Searching "the boardgame group" didn't give me much to work with :)
  • Oh that group, I'm already in it, I went through the (not that many) posts and didn't see anyone else mention say they've printed 100 copies?
  • Robert Acton has - and some others. Can't remember offhand.
  • Okay, I'll just have to take your word for it since I searched the name through the group and saw all his posts and didn't see any mention of it. I was hoping to get case studies.
  • Oh maybe he posted in the CPT specific group :P
  • edited
    Saw this on boardgamegeek, thought it was very relevant and something to be filed away for posterity:


    We just ran a successful kickstarter for our project and I thought I'd throw a little bit back to a community that has been SUPER helpful.

    I was able to take my game from $22/set to $4.60 a set to $1.70 a set.

    Some quick tips:
    1) Don't use Alibaba. Alibaba was my first source. From what i've found, Alibaba is 95% "trading companies" (Chinese: maoyigongsi). These are people who themselves don't have a factory but know someone who does. Our game is four colors, 216 cards and a rigid box. Think Cards Against Humanity style with only 216 cards. Quotes we received from Alibaba went from $4.50 to $20 for 1,000 sets.
    2) Be careful with the full service companies like Pando, MPC and others. They are great, but you pay a high premium for their service. These companies are just farming your work out to other factories (for the most part). These companies quoted me between $11-22/set for 1,000 sets. Insane.
    3) Go to a tradeshow, look for some Chinese printers. THEY WANT YOUR BUSINESS. I just got back from Spiel. There were six factories there. Two were "maoyigongsi" and four were actual factories. After meeting with them, showing my game prototype and some back and forth haggling, I have two factories that are going to produce my our project for $1.70/set at 1,000 sets. I just got my first from the first factory and it is FANTASTIC. Both factories produce major major games but they are always taking on more to hedge their future.

    So that is my advice.

    Hope it helps!
  • I am currently chatting to a local printer here who is willing to make dies for both tokens and playing cards. They already have the capacity to print boxes and manuals and part of the deal is that he won't charge me for the dies as he will be able to get other board game creators working with him.

    We are still in early stages and he is able to do small runs as well ... once I have more information I will post it here.
    Thanked by 1dammit
  • Tuism said:
    Saw this on boardgamegeek, thought it was very relevant and something to be filed away for posterity:
    This is good advice, but I think we're having two very different conversations and mixing them up.

    1) Making 100 copies of a game is not 'production'. It is at most a glorified prototype run; a small marketing exercise; a little test to see if the game has any legs. I've been considering doing this, and it would be to give me high quality prototypes for me to give to publishers that would look finished and give a good sense for the vision I have. If I sold any, it would essentially be to cover the expenses.

    To give a sense for costs (from a recent case):
    - 100 copies of a game might come out at about R170 a copy (digital printing)
    - Making only a small number using overseas printers (under 10 units) will likely be in the region of $50-$60 per unit (that's upwards of R700!) before shipping!

    [In fact, I had a print shop from Taiwan at Spiel cost out Megan's WW at over $70 for one copy, and it's currently selling at $43 on Game Crafter, before shipping.]

    The point is, making some copies locally would cost you less to make a bunch of prototypes, than if you were to buy a few from overseas suppliers.

    2) If you're really looking at doing 1000+ units as a production run, there are a lot more unknowns, and the timelines are quite stretched when we're dealing with far away countries and international shipping. I agree that if we were able to get the kind of really low rate mentioned in your post, and if we were able to negotiate that at a trade fair, we will be able to get relatively affordable production, but a lot of the cost of publishing a game actually comes in the logistics, of shipping, storage and fulfillment.

    In the end, it might come down to someone being able to afford an outlay of R15-R20k but not be able to stretch to R50k+. I think it's quite a reasonable plan to make 100 units, to send to reviewers and publishers and sell locally, and then try to run a crowdfunding campaign to get you a few more units, until you've managed to get some critical mass.

    Of course, if one had the ability to pitch to a number of publishers at trade shows, that's probably another valid way to spend R20k, but I digress...
    Thanked by 1dammit
  • I'm not mixed up at all, this thread is about printing boardgames, not printing 100 copies or a production run, I just put that here to keep on our records, like I explained explicitly in the same post.

    If you're pitching at publishers, no publishers want to see jazzed up copies. 95% of the time if they take it they'll take the game design and do everything else - art, name of the game, theme, etc on their instruction, because they know THEIR market inside out. That's their job.

    If you're keeping all your own design and art you're most likely self-publishing. In whichever form self-publishing takes.

    Boardgame publishing is VERY different from videogame publishing.
  • Tuism said:
    Saw this on boardgamegeek, thought it was very relevant and something to be filed away for posterity:

    [In fact, I had a print shop from Taiwan at Spiel cost out Megan's WW at over $70 for one copy, and it's currently selling at $43 on Game Crafter, before shipping.]

    Just a note on this, Game Crafter (before shipping) puts bulk purchases for WW at $32 currently for 100+ copies.

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