Hitchhiker’s guide to Game Manufacturers

dont_panicTabletop Game Manufacturing Companies

I’ve personally used half a dozen Manufacturers over the last few years making our dozen or so games. I will share my personal thoughts / opinions below on these companies. But I have also contacted other publishers to get their first-hand feedback on other Manufacturers.

These Manufacturers are primarily for card and board games. Dice and miniatures shouldn’t pose them any problems. Usually, they can get other things done as well (like our Foam Dice or Metal Coins). But that’s the niche I know and so that’s what I write about.

Your mileage may very… I welcome comments and input from others to help fill in the blanks (but only if you have direct personal experience)…

(NOTE: This list is regularly maintained and should be current. Please send us any updates.)

MOQ = Minimum Order Quantity
COMM = Communication level (to an English speaker)
COO = Country of Origin (where it’s actually made)

Game Manufacturers

MANUFACTURERQUALITYPRICEMOQCOMMPROSCONSCOO
360 Manufacturing
website
FairLowPoorUSA Front OfficeHad many delays and failed to deliver anywhere near time promised. High error rates.USA & China
Cangnan Longda
Website
Metal Coins & TokensLowAnyMore finishing optionsCoins onlyChina
Ace Card Company
Website
Good'Low'GoodFastMostly CardsIndia
AdMagic
AdMagic.com
Cards=
Excellent
Med-HighFree SetupUses MeiJia so you might just want to get a quote direct.USA & China
Allied Fortune Industrial
Website
China
Annboli
Agnes Lau
Annboli.com
High2000ExcellentChina
BangWee Games
Website
FairLow500GoodLow MOQNewer companyChina
Board Game Manufacturing
Website
FairHigh500ExcellentUSA Production of small runs.USA
BoDa Board Game Co.
Website
1000AverageChina
Cartamundi
Cartamundi.com
Cards=
Excellent
High3000ExcellentMinimum Order Quantity (MOQ) is 3000.USA
CartamundiUK
Cartamundi.com
Cards=
Excellent
High500ExcellentSmaller MOQ then the USA affiliateUK
Delano / EPI Marketing
DelanoService.com
ExcellentHigh1000 games
500 for cards
ExcellentUS Company. Domestic printer, great customer service and communications. Cost effective and timely shipping. Print time 4-7 weeks depending on game and time of season.price point. Need slightly larger to mid size runs to be cost effective. They cannot do custom plastics, dice, etc...USA
Grand Prix International (GPI)
GrandPrixIntl.com
ExcellentAverage2500ExcellentGreat quality products used by some big names in our industry.Above avg MOQUSA & China
GRANNA
Website
GoodAverage1000AverageGood English, great for EU game developersSometimes replies take a long timePoland
Holinail
Website
GoodGoodGoodMakes miniaturesFrance & China
LCM Group
Website
1500ExcellentChina
Liso Toys
Website
1000China
Liya International
Yunyun Cheng (Allen)
liyaintl.com
China
LongPack Games
Cy
LongPack.com
ExcellentLow500GoodCan get odd items made that are not board/card gamesChina
Ludo Fact - Asia
Stephen
LFAsia.com
ExcellentLow-Average1500GoodOwned by the Germany company so quality is important to them.China
Ludo Fact - Germany
Frank Jager
LudoFact.de
ExcellentHigh1500ExcellentWork for many game publishers so knows what you want and understands the board game business in the USADidn't make good on failures that were their fault. Ludo Pact their partner company has slaps you with extra charges. Accounting is messy at bestGermany
Magicraft
Website
Good1500GoodChina
MeiJia
Website
ExcellentLow1000GoodChina
MyGamePrinted
Website
20+ExcellentSmall prototype orders and full runs.China
Ningbo Eastar GM
Website
ExcellentAverageGoodChina
Ninox Games
Website
ExcellentMedium1000Very GoodChina
NSF
Arjan Bink
NSFGames.com
ExcellentAverage1500Chipboard was excellent.Doesn't do mini-Americian card sizesNetherlands
Panda GM
Michael Lee
PandaGM.com
ExcellentAverage-High1500ExcellentCanadian company overseeing China factory. Does work for many game publishers. Provides EXTRA bits. Slow to quoteChina
Paragon Packing
Home Page
5000ExcellentUSA Production of small runs.$100 charge for a quote.USA
PrintNinja
Website
GoodLow-High1000ExcellentIf you're doing anything but just cards in a tuck box they are expensive.China
Product Vision Int.
Teri Jaymes
pv-international.hk
China
QPC Games
Matt Loter
website
Average500ExcellentUS Company & overseeing China factoryUSA & China
Ricowell
Ricowell.com
China
Sam Linh
Website
Vietnam
Shanghai Magicraft
email
website
Good Good Good Goes out of his way to make sure quality is as expected.Had some card quality issues. Ex: Top card in a deck was bent while packing, etc.China
Shenzhen Senfutong Paper Co.
Website
FairFair1000China
Strom Mfg
Website
1500ExcellentEnglish contact 815-498-9555
Trefl
Website
EcellentAverage1000GoodKnow what they are doingSlow to quotePoland
V & C Games
Website
Canadian ProductionCanada
Warmer International
Website
LowGoodChina
Whatz Games
Website
ExcellentLow1500FairChina
WinGo Industry
Leon
WingoIndustry.com

Video
ExcellentAverage-High1000GoodMakes a decent produce when you're very specific. Cheap shipping.Card quality isn't great.China
Yangjiang Kamings Trade Co.
Website
GoodAnyMakes X-Wing?China
Zhongshan Xinyilai
Website
Metal Coins & TokensLowAnyCoins onlyChina
Prime Line Products
Website
GoodMany product typesChina

Miniature Manufacturers

MANUFACTURERQUALITYPRICECOMMPROSCONS
CoolMiniOrNot
Home Page
Defiance Games
Facebook Page
GoodFairGoodSculpted custom miniaturesMiniatures production company that has failed to produce on several projects.
Drawlab
Website
Good-HighExcellentFast delivery to EU
Ninja Division
Home Page
ExcellentExcellent
Soda Pop Miniatures
Home Page
Troll Forge
Home Page
ExcellentExcellentSculpted custom miniatures. Has a forum with many artist to hire.

Print on Demand Printers

MANUFACTURERQUALITYPRICECOMMPROSCONS
ArtsCow
artscow.com
Good-ExcellentGood-HighPoorAllows onsite cropping,Only does cards. Takes a month to ship from China. Must be 54 card deck.
Create Space
createspace.com
Good-ExcellentGood-HighGoodPart of Amazon. Provides a store-front.Only does books
DriveThruCards
DriveThruCards.com
ExcellentGood-HighExcellentCan make excellent expansions to existing games. Cards can be bought with a plastic box. Several sizes. Provides a store-front.Only does cards.
DriveThruRPG
DriveThruRPG.com
ExcellentGood-HighExcellentCan do several sizes and hard coverOnly does books.
LuLu
lulu.com
Good-ExcellentGood-HighGoodProvides a store-front.Only does books
MPC
makeplayingcards.com
Good-ExcellentHighGoodCan provide box.Only does cards. In multiples of 18 cards.
Print & Play Games
printplaygames.com
High Quality PrototypesHighExcellentHand crafted custom jobs even with chipboardSmall quantities only.
Printer Studio
printerstudio.com
ExcellentGood-HighGoodAllows onsite cropping, Does Linen finish. Ships in 10 days.Only does cards.
Superior POD
website
Good-ExcellentGood-HighPoorHas ripped off many companies and not delivered tons of projects since 2012
The Game Crafter
TheGameCrafter.com
Cards=
Excellent
Box,etc=
Fair
Good-HighExcellentA print on demand company that can make just a few copies of your game. Several size cards. Provides a store-front.Boxes are flimsy. You must use only their bits selection.

Factory Tours

Our friends at  Thornhenge Games visited several factories in China recently and did a great write up about them. You can find that here – http://thornhenge.com/factory-tours/

Jolly Games has some links to Manufacturers and DYI tips.
http://www.silcom.com/~tomjolly/design2.htm

KS Homework – Getting Quotes From Printers
http://www.leagueofgamemakers.com/kickstarter-homework-lesson-1-quotes-and-setting-prices/

Wikipedia has a list too:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_game_manufacturers

A BGG user posted this about several companies they tried to work with:
https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/952551/manufacturer-run-down-influence

 

Written by: James Mathe

42 thoughts on “Hitchhiker’s guide to Game Manufacturers

  1. Great list! We’re getting ready to pick a manufacturer for our Chaosmos Kickstarter, so this is an amazing help!

    (A small typo on the list – “NFS Games” should actually be “NSF Games”)

  2. Mike D on

    James,

    What a great post! I am starting to dig thru your other posts and thanks for all the insights you share!

    \I am thinking of doing a small(er) run of custom coins, and was wondering what manufacturer listed above did you use for your coins? It looks like they do great work, I’ll have to wait for my Dragon Coins to arrive to be sure though! 🙂

    Thanks again James!

  3. Excellent list!

    I’ll second the comments on Cartamundi: I used them for my first game and the final quality of the product was excellent. Their prices vary depending on which country of origin you pick (I was offered space on the US or China production lines), and their minimums, at last contact, tend to depend mostly on component count and production facility. (our minimum order was different between the US and China lines too)

    Hope that helps!

  4. Niketa on

    For the first time publisher, how many quantities do you guys recommend? 500 OR 1000?

    • Printing under 1000 is not possible at a reasonable price without going to POD services. The manufacturers who are willing to do only 1000 copies tend to be those that are more desperate for work (thus, maybe they don’t do as good of a job so they don’t get repeat business). So I tend to avoid them. So the answer is typically 1500 as that’s a reasonable price point and quantity to sell. I would not do 2000 or more unless your Kickstarter pre-sold 500 or more copies.

      • Niketa on

        Thank you for your answer. It just seems daunting to print 1000 games (for now) without any pre-orders. What can I do to feel confident about committing for this kind of investment? Talk to retailers? Talk to distributor?

        • That is what you use Kickstarter for. Set your goal to what it costs to make 1000 and it either funds from support for the idea or it doesn’t. Of course a lot also depends on your ability to market it. If you’re having issues with all this – then maybe you’re better off shopping the game around to publishers. And no, you do not talk to Distributors as they will not pre-order from you. Most won’t even support you directly if your game does get printed. It’s a crowded market. That’s why fulfillment companies like Impressions exist.

  5. Add Reaper Miniatures. I don’t know how they can help creators, but they bailed out Torn Armor when Defiance Games refused to return the money given to them, citing miniature renders that they could not use. Likewise, I’d remove or wholly not recommend Defiance Games. Do a search on them on the Dakka Dakka forums.

    Thanks for the info, tho. I find it frustrating, as a backer, that the manufacturer for a game is rarely mentioned. IMO, Who the manufacturer is is *very* important in my backing decision.

  6. Rich Garza on

    I recently contacted Paragon Packing based on your recommendations. Just thought you may want to be aware of the following MOQ:

    “We manufacture domestically. Our minimum order quantity is 5,000 games. We have a $100 charge per quotation.

    Thanks for your interest in Paragon Packaging.”

    Yikes!!

    • Yeah, they seemed overly smooth talking when I spoke with them. They look to be a company that is more interested in just taking money from dreams. Which is obvious by the fact when I asked them if they had a MOQ they said no. Yet they tell you 5000 which is probably true. USA companies cannot be competitive under 3000 units.

  7. MPC seem to be getting into fulfillment services too now.

    I used them to POD a couple of sets of cards for play-testing, and haven’t spoken to them directly about what they offer in terms of fulfillment – but from their website they certain talk as if they can do it. Will let you know when I actually contact them what they say they can do.

  8. Very helpful James, thank you for the list.

    I was working with the Ninbo Lijia Company, here is the update on their production (in my case).

    First order: quality was good with some minor problems – box top/bottom did not have enough difference in size so box was a sort of hard to open; in some sets pawns were of the same type, but different plastic (while most were from normal in some sets blue pawns were translucent); prints were very good
    Second Order: quality has dropped (but this could be due to very short deadline we had); specially in cards, board game was still very good, but again punched card stands were in wrong color (all blue stands came orange …)

    accept their sales guy who does speak good english their language skills were quite poor
    they do tend to achieve the deadline with minimum delays (few days)
    they are trying hard to get every customer demand done

    you can check some of their products (images) on our website: http://www.valueadgames.com

  9. Andrew on

    Is the MOQ for Paragon supposed to be 500 instead of 5,000? You mention that it does small runs, but 5,000 is a lot larger than all of the others.

    • Thanks originally they told me they did… but they were just yanking my chain as when people they were not excited about working with asked, they set the high amount. So they can do small but only if they want to. Irritating.

  10. Donald Long on

    When I looked at your list, I couldn’t believe that someone would go at that lenght to help others in the business. Thank you very very much for being so helpful.

  11. Jason on

    This is an awesome list, I have used several of these manufacturers.
    James do you have any recommendation for large volume orders (7-10,000)?

    We typically use Manufacturers in China but are a bit worried about qualiity and timing (long shipping times) going over 5,000 units

    Any recommendations for us? We are leaning towards Admagic or an American company.

    Thanks!!

    • If you’re doing enough volume then Grand Prix International (GPI) is a great company that Steve Jackson and others use regularly. I wouldn’t order that much unless you have a Kickstarter that did 75% of that number or an existing hot selling game – else you’re throwing money away. Admagic and many others do NOT make games in the USA, maybe some card only games, but mostly they all just get China to make them and play the middle man. If found the company that Admagic uses to make CAH and when I got a quote from both parties I saw the same typos and all Admagic did was add $1 to everything (which doesn’t even make much sense as it’s not a %).

  12. Jason on

    Great points James, I will definitely speak to GPI and I believe Weijei is admagics manufacturer.

    My thoughts were using the US based company like admagic because we would have more recourse if something happened to production (large amount of games we’re damaged, etc.)

    Also, Panda games is located in Canada but has there own operations in China. However, they seem to barely respond to quotes and communication is iffy. I think GPI is a great option though.

    I would rather not go into specifics, but luckily we do have a hot selling game. Several of your articles helped us a long the way so keep doing what your doing!! We contacted several of your distributors recommended and got picked up by PSI. Thanks for your help!

  13. Joe Pilkus on

    James,

    I’ve read your articles and pages and pages from your website over the last year. As always, it’s organized exceptionally well and easily accessible to designers and developers alike. I’m excited as a game developer for several games, including one, TAU CETI, which was ranked as the #9 Most Anticipated Game of 2016! This list will prove exceptionally beneficial in the days and weeks ahead.

    Cheers,
    Joe

  14. I don’t know if this is updated regularly, but I recently got my card game printed through PrintNinja and their MOQ was 500. Price was the best I could find especially for that quantity and they were really top notch with their customer service.

      • Hi James,

        We’re considering using PrintNinja for our game cards. Do you recommend we use a separate company for our game box and rule sheet?

        • 100% no way. Get all your game made in one place and don’t self-assemble. That’s a very bad idea.

  15. Dorothy on

    James:
    Thanks for the invaluable help provided by all of your posts.

    Recent experience with Pandagm:
    Specs in Panda recent quote for my game showed many (arbitrary) important deviations from specs I submitted. I’m still waiting for corrected quote 10 weeks after initial submission of specs. The question on their website, “Does-panda-have-a-queue-of-projects-waiting-to-be-manufactured?” remains unanswered by the company after 9 months and 348 views.

    Questions:
    Any recent experience as to whether the quality of Panda production remains “excellent”?
    Any recent experience with quality of board game production by Delano?

    • They as well as many other printers are swamped with all the Kickstarter games. Since they are the one I recommend most, they get huge amounts of demand put on them. There are other great printers out there, if you’re not happy with them choose another. They are slow with quotes, but I wouldn’t wait more than 1 month. As for Delano, the last game I saw from them was a few years ago, and they produce in the USA so to keep costs down they do rather cheap quality bits and thin cardboard – much in line with POD companies like TGC. So I would never print my game with them.

  16. I posted a comment noting something that needs to be updated but I forgot to mention: THANK YOU so much for this list! I am looking to launch a game on Kickstarter later this year and this list is the basis of whom I am contacting for getting quotes and such together. It has been invaluable to me to have one list to go off of instead of having to rely on Google searches (which can be bought and bargained for).

    Anywho, wish there were an easy way for me to send you a crisp $5 bill as a Thanks!

  17. Thank you so much for posting this and everything else you do!

    We used Whatz Games to manufacture Transylvania: Curses & Traitors. I would give Whatz Games an excellent mark in each and every category. They were great to work with.

  18. I’ve been referencing this list for years and for many reasons. Thanks again for being such a huge help to the game designer, publisher, creator community.

  19. I would also strongly recommend Germania Figuren in Duisburg, Germany (http://Germania-Figuren.com/gx2/index.php?language=en). Michael Cremerius works with several artists and sculptors, many of whom switched to him from their previous mouldmakers or casters when they were dissatisfied with their quality. The gentleman is a quality fanatic who replaces brittle parts like spears with steel for durability, while maintaining relatively reasonable prices so that collectors can have their own custom figure series produced.

    Apart from Germania Figuren, you cannot go wrong with Troll Factory, as Mr. Haberkost is also a pleasure to deal and work with.

    Yes, all the Chinese crapsters are cheaper, but as the old saying goes, you get what you pay for.

  20. I’d like to put in a plug for Liberty Playing Cards if you’re doing a card game. They specialize in 54 card decks (and multiples of that), but I’ve had great success with them doing printing and domestic US fulfillment of 200 card games, so they are flexible. And unlike China, they can print and start to ship in 10-15 business days. Great if you do a Kickstarter and want to deliver fast to prime your retail market for a longer lead time, lower-cost China shipment. I’ve done two card game Kickstarters with them as my printer, delivering to backers lightning fast after the Kickstarter closes.

    Their website: http://www.libertyplayingcards.com/

  21. Steve Peaslee on

    James, thank you for assembling this awesome list. I have 4 games in different phases of development, and have used TGC for the first one, just to give test-players a “real” game to work with. The box design is a little odd, but looks good. The ink on the cards smeared when sliding them on the table to flip over – definitely not good. I recently got a quote from Board Game Manufacturing, and they appear to be able to do everything I need at a reasonable cost. Any chance that you’ll be updating this list in the near future?

  22. Kay Heaton on

    Hi James,

    This list invaluable. Let me add my thanks. What I am finding because we are doing a card game in the same format as Cards Against Humanity. ie: 275 poker side cards in a box that holds 500. Some of the card printers don’t have the boxes and the plain insert to hold the cards in place costs a fortune. Also it’s pretty clear that who will do the prototype & samples for the Kickstarter will not be the same people who do the long run. If you were doing a game like ours, who would you use for the short and who for the long? Also the shipping seems horrendous $1.60 US per game. Clearly I am naive.
    Any advice would be super appreciated.

    • My advice is to join our Facebook group and learn. In short, though the world doesn’t need another CAH game. If you’re doing just cards you can get things done in the USA at a reasonable cost but if you need boxes or bits, you have to do the whole thing in China. DriveThurCards.com, TheGameCrafter.com, and Print & Play Productions are a good place to get prototypes made depending on what you need. https://www.facebook.com/groups/TabletopKickstarters/

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