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46709 Posts in 5588 Topics by 13297 Members Latest Member: - Shane786 Most online today: 123 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: POD Card Printing, Maybe (split)  (Read 3604 times)
williamhessian
Member

Posts: 45


« on: February 21, 2008, 09:09:27 AM »

once you are accepting outside orders i would like to put in an order for 100-250 cards (depending on how many i have finished at that point). I am guessing it is best to have all the images done in jpg form ready to be printed?

is there anything else I can do to prepare for printing so that when the machine are up and running my order can be all set to go.

i am really excited about your POD trials. keep me informed.

william.hessian@gmail.com

for details about the game I want to make prints of see my first post:
http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/index.php?topic=25791.0
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Ron Edwards
Global Moderator
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Posts: 17707


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« Reply #1 on: February 21, 2008, 09:54:59 AM »

Hi everyone,

The above post was split from POD card printing, maybe. It's an important topic, so let's continue the discussion here.

William, I split your post out because that discussion needs to remain in its own time. Threads at the Forge are considered "old" (and not to post to) at about three weeks of age or so.

Best, Ron

P.S. As a message to everyone: moderation and thread-splitting is no big deal, so please do not apologize when I do something like this. William, I'm not implying that you were about to.
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williamhessian
Member

Posts: 45


« Reply #2 on: February 21, 2008, 10:24:53 AM »

Fair enough,  you are a strict moderator, which is very good for forums. especially when some newbie like myself comes in and messes things up with crazy posts.

POD card prints, I also noticed the guild of blades does art prints as well. I am very interested in the printing prices and abilities of your services from top to bottom, because I might have a number of projects to potential run your direction.

I currently do all my printing next door at a local printing place, but as far as printing CCG cards, i know they will be too expensive and not particular enough to make sure everything lines up correctly. this is something i assume that the Guild of Blades does very well. Or do you also have problems printing consistently, or having uneven lines ect?

Looking forward to hear more from the Guild of Blades
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guildofblades
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Posts: 309


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« Reply #3 on: February 22, 2008, 08:29:31 AM »

Hi William,

Thanks for your interest.

The Guild if Blades is first and foremost a game publisher and have been since 1994. We largely deal in board games right now, but we've published every kind of game excepting card games. Our distribution numbers just never made it practical to go to China for a 5,000 deck print run, so we never did them.

That's how we stumbled upon the new retail store model we plan to open. We had spent several years investigating a means to print our own cards in more reasonable numbers and the hang up was always in the die cutting. A fellow publisher of ours turned us onto a line line of computerized die cutters that after investigation, we found can do the job. So after investigating the costs of buy up all the machinery to do POD cards, we ultimately opted that with all the machinery we already own for our publishing operations, that made some great sense to just go ahead and up a retail store to house our POD printing operation out of to expand it services. So our POD operation's opening is tied to a retail store opening (think slapping a game store and a Kinkos together). I had originally planned for a February opening, but my Wife's career track threw us a curve ball. Due to market conditions in her specific field of IT consulting, she chose to open her own consulting firm. I've been helping her to get established and put it on a solid footing first, before I can commit the time to opening the new retail store. I just don't want to stretch my time to thin and end up doing a bad job at the store's launch. And launching a store with a completely new retail model and where that store also contains a completely new POD model (as far as I know, this will be the first real POD card printing operation...though Rapid POD had sort of attempted it earlier, but with lackluster results because they couldn't get the card sizes consistently correct, using Paper Reim cutters rather than die cutters to cut the cards) is going to be something I am going to have to commit nearly all my time to at first, till we can get it all set up and operating smoothly. I'm fortunate that the Guild has grown enough that the day to day operations are now staffed enough where they don't require my babysitting, so I'll be able to pursue this new area of expansion. But I have no illusions that it'll be easy at first. lol.

For POD cards, the "print quality" isn't the problem. The newest high end laser printers print beautifully. The problem is always with the registration and the die cutting. The newest evolution of small computerized die cutters prove to be pretty spot on too (with careful and accurate usage by the operator anyway...they are actually a bit tricky to use). So that leaves registration. If you plan to design cards somewhat like most other CCG card games, where you have a definite border around the edges of the card, then there is plenty of margin for error within the printing and you won't have any problems. That border is placed on cards because even offset presses tend to need that small margin of error when trying to get the font/back registration correct when printing the card sheets. The laser printers these days have a fairly tight registration, but in order to print on the 12pt cover stock needed for the player cards, the paper can only be fed into the printer through the bypass tray, which can be a little more difficult for the front/back registration, but typically falls within the margin of error allowed by the typical border area on cards.

The file set up I will require in order to handle printing is going to be very specific. Its going to have to be a PDF (with embedded fonts already) with a very specific card layout on a 12" x 18" press sheet. The cards have to be aligned on the sheet at very specific points or else the front/back registration when it comes to die cutting won't work out. I have a layout template already if you plan on using white bordered fronts and backs. I still need to make the layout template for cards that will use a full bleed instead, which is slightly different.

I plan to get some web pages up shortly that will have all this information, but until then feel free to shot me an e-mail at dowrie@guildofblades.com and I can add you to my update list for when I have no specs and such ready for folks.

As for quantity, given the nature of the die cutting process, we're not going to be able to offer true POD (ala, one set of cards at a time), so our minimum order will be 10 sets. A "set" will be however many cards are in a group that I have to package together for collating and shipping. Cards are printed 18 to a 12" x 18" sheet, meaning I can pretty much do sets in quantities of 9 or 18, and if 9, they have to be doubled up. You don't have to use every card slot on a sheet, if you don't have a full set of 9 cards to fill that part of the sheet, but by the sheet is essentially how we will be charging so if you can figure out a means to use all of those card slots you get the best pricing "per card".

For the now, all I can do is work with folks who are interested to get their card files and such more ready for printing. I'll be happy to update everyone once we've signed a lease for the store front and put the machines on order, which means we'll be ready to begin processing orders within about 2 weeks of that date.

Ryan S. Johnson
Guild of Blades Publishing Group
http://www.guildofblades.com
http://www.1483online.com
http://www.thermopylae-online.com
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Ryan S. Johnson
Guild of Blades Publishing Group
http://www.guildofblades.com
williamhessian
Member

Posts: 45


« Reply #4 on: February 22, 2008, 10:05:07 AM »

Thanks Ryan,

I admit I am jealous of your company. It seems like a really cool profession.

My specific card game is a little more difficult, because sides of my cards need to be actually touching the edges. This causes problems with setting, and cutting because it can be very particular. It can be a nightmare for printers, which is something i didnt consider during building my design.

you can see my card design here: http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/index.php?topic=25791.0

the reason it is so important for my cards to be borderless is that 50% of all conflict is resolved by lining up cards side by side and resolving a battle. Lining up the edges is crutial to gameplay.

I understand how your sheets work for print. On a sheet of nine, would it be a complete sheet of the same card, or nine different cards? I plan to start by printing approximately 20 of each card, and I am in the range of 50 cards to be printed. I still need to play test and stat edit a few cards before i set that number.

What would you suggest, given my difficult card design, to do to prepare for a successful print run? And once it becomes available what is a realistic time frame from sending you my images, to the finished print back in my hands?

It may be something I think of for my larger run in a year or so. I may just be buying some card stock and printing my own cards for my first invite only tournament and to send off to playtesters.  Which may be my best bet at this point. Granted, the quality will suffer during this prototype phase.

Looking forward to your response.
William
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guildofblades
Member

Posts: 309


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« Reply #5 on: February 22, 2008, 07:22:07 PM »

>>I admit I am jealous of your company. It seems like a really cool profession.<<

Hi William,

There are only two ways that I know of to make a fortune in gaming. The first is to start with a fortune outside of gaming. The second is a willingness to eat ramen noddles for a good long time. The Guild went about it the 2nd way. lol. It was a part time company for about 7 years before anyone dress anything with regards to salary that was more than a few grand a year.

>>My specific card game is a little more difficult, because sides of my cards need to be actually touching the edges. This causes problems with setting, and cutting because it can be very particular. It can be a nightmare for printers, which is something i didnt consider during building my design.<<

We "might" be able to do them. It would be something we would have to test once I am able to. It would require you building your borders to have bleed edges. Each edge of your card would require you to build an extra .1" to account for registration variance. That's .1" that can easily be cut off, or left one, depending on how the front to back registration works out for each sheet of cards. There are offset presses than get a tighter registration than that, when operated properly. Such as registration variances as little as 1/32 of an inch. When operated by someone less than an expert, offset will only be as good as a well run digital press, or worse.

>>I understand how your sheets work for print. On a sheet of nine, would it be a complete sheet of the same card, or nine different cards? I plan to start by printing approximately 20 of each card, and I am in the range of 50 cards to be printed. I still need to play test and stat edit a few cards before i set that number.<<

It can be done either way. The die cutter will actually be cutting sheets of 9 cards at a time. Essentially, we'll be taking the 9 cut out cards and grouping them. So if someone is printing a small 9 card expansion pack, we would simply take those 9 cards and drop them into a small bag or put them into the card pack cardboard packaging. If someone has us printing a 54 card deck of cards, we're basically running 6 of the 9 card sheets through the die cutting and grouping them all together and then putting them into packaging. So it can be done either way. If you don't want to have to do hand collating on your end, I suggest card sheet layouts that will let your grouping be done in batches by us as they come off the die cutter. We won't be doing any hand collating. We'll collate sets of 9 together, but we're not breaking up sets of 9, which can only be done via hand collating. You are, of course, welcome to have batches of the same cards grouped together and do collating on your end...but from a labor perspective, I would advise against it.

>>What would you suggest, given my difficult card design, to do to prepare for a successful print run? And once it becomes available what is a realistic time frame from sending you my images, to the finished print back in my hands?<<

As for time frame. Once we're set up and running, we should have a 2-3 day turn around time, plus however long shipping will take. At the very beginning, we're going to need clients to have a bit more patience as we work out any kinks and get the process down a bit better. Plus I've had over 70 companies and individuals express interest in the POD cards so far, so I might have to either decline some work at the beginning or accept it with the understanding that some work orders might take 2-3 weeks. I expect once the orgy of pent up unpublished game designs works its way through the system, due to years of all us folks having no POD card printing option, that huge bubble of demand will drop off a bit and settle into a work flow that should return us to that 2-3 day turn around.

>>It may be something I think of for my larger run in a year or so. I may just be buying some card stock and printing my own cards for my first invite only tournament and to send off to playtesters.  Which may be my best bet at this point. Granted, the quality will suffer during this prototype phase.<<

Honestly, for simple play testing, you might want to go with simple home printed cards. So long as the cards are readable, they should work.

Ryan S. Johnson
Guild of Blades Publishing Group
http://www.guildofblades.com
http://www.1483online.com
http://www.ms-crm-consulting.com
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Ryan S. Johnson
Guild of Blades Publishing Group
http://www.guildofblades.com
Nev the Deranged
Member

Posts: 742

Dave. Yeah, that Dave.


« Reply #6 on: February 23, 2008, 05:40:16 AM »

Hey, William. Quick bit of advice for printing cards for playtesting- the Avery 5390 Name Badge Insert Refills are what I use for that, they come out damn close to typical playing-card/CCG measurements, and are sturdy enough to hold up to extended playtesting. They don't shuffle as smoothly, not having a gloss finish and not being quite as rigid, but they will shuffle and deal, and they work pretty well.

If the urge strikes me, I might bring one of my own card game designs along to FMW, and I'll show you how it came out.
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williamhessian
Member

Posts: 45


« Reply #7 on: February 23, 2008, 12:29:13 PM »

Nev, your avery idea is a damn good one!

i will look into that today. i am familiar with thier products but never stumbled across 5390 name badges! I am excited to go look for them. Thanks.

I will be scanning and trying a test print this week.

William
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guildofblades
Member

Posts: 309


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« Reply #8 on: March 05, 2008, 02:09:32 PM »

Hi Everyone,

I just set up a Yahoo Group list for those who have expressed interest in our POD printing and other POD services that we plan to offer through the Guild of Blades Retail Group. You can join the list at:

http://games.groups.yahoo.com/group/GOB-POD-Printing/join

I am presently working to help my Wife get her IT consulting company onto solid footing and don't plan to open our B&M retail space until that has been firmly established. However, we are contemplating getting the additional POD printing equipment soon and beginning to offer the POD Card and POD Book printing services. I'm presently trying to gauge how practical that would be, from a demand stand point, to start with only the POD printing from within our industry and then later expanding to include the B&M store and the extra volume of local copy and print that would involve.

So if you are interested, please join the list and let us know about your projects. I'm interested in taking preliminary pre orders on the POD cards for the moment (non binding, of course) to gauge up front demand. But since we don't have a hard and fast launch date, please don't submit anything to use that is time sensitive just yet.

Thanks,
Ryan S. Johnson
Guild of Blades Retail Group
http://www.guildofblades.com
http://www.1483online.com
http://www.thermopylae-online.com
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Ryan S. Johnson
Guild of Blades Publishing Group
http://www.guildofblades.com
williamhessian
Member

Posts: 45


« Reply #9 on: March 11, 2008, 01:25:40 PM »

Nev, i am having troulbe with the avery products, in trying to get my cards printed correctly. I cannot get the margines to allow me to use the entire space of the name badges. Always cutting off areas, or forcing my to size them down to a much smaller size and then recutting the edges.

Do you have any advice for importing my images onto the avery product to get it to line up correctly?

If anyone has any experience with avery or importing images to word, please give me help. 
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Nev the Deranged
Member

Posts: 742

Dave. Yeah, that Dave.


« Reply #10 on: March 11, 2008, 03:45:26 PM »

Hm... yeah, you might not be able to get them perfect.  I have only tried one design that had edge-dots like the ones you're using, and if I recall correctly, I just settled for them not quite being even. But I got them pretty close.

For one, you're going to have to do some fiddling to find where the actual breaks between cards are. The template Avery provides (which I assume you downloaded) has them drawn in, but they are not WYSIWYG, unfortunately. You'll need to print a few test runs to find the relationship between the lines on screen and the actual lines on the page. I usually make my own template once I've done that, using WordArt and AutoShape elements; and then you can just manipulate those individually for each card on each new sheet.

It's a bit ghetto-tech, but for playtesting purposes, it's cheap and fast.

As for full-bleed, your mileage may vary. You can certainly print over the entire page, so, for instance, if you wanted to make a puzzle where each card was a peice of the picture, that'd be no problem. For edge-dots it's a bit trickier, but with some fiddling you should be able to get close enough for playtesting.

Best of luck, man. Looking forward to seeing what you bring to FMW.
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williamhessian
Member

Posts: 45


« Reply #11 on: March 11, 2008, 04:24:14 PM »

do you get an avery layout for photoshop? ive been trying to import images into word 's avery program. with very little success. Maybe I should simply run a few test pages like you said and line up the photoshop pages with the avery paper. eh?

i want to get a laminator too. and maybe even a corner rounder eventually. but thats down the road.

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Nev the Deranged
Member

Posts: 742

Dave. Yeah, that Dave.


« Reply #12 on: March 12, 2008, 03:33:38 PM »

I don't use photoshop, just Word, Excel, Paint and Acrobat. I know, ghetto, but I can't afford actual art programs.

Avery has templates for all their products on their website, but it sounds like you have that covered already.

Yeah, just fiddling with it is how I roll, if you come up with a better method, let me know. =\
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williamhessian
Member

Posts: 45


« Reply #13 on: March 14, 2008, 12:27:05 PM »

fiddling is what i will do.

i was hoping with these templates ect, there was an easy way. but i like hearing your methods, because i am the exact same way. besides having photoshop, which i dont think i could do much without. (in fact i have a new laptop that a barely touch since it doesnt have photoshop. sad)

 

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