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Author Topic: POD Board Games  (Read 1700 times)
guildofblades
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« on: April 08, 2009, 10:54:56 PM »

Ok, so this summer we want to get serious about cracking the next challenge in POD production. Board games.

Yes, I know, GOB Publishing has been doing it for years. But...our stuff uses paper maps/boards printed on glossy stocks or cover stocks. Its not mounted. And our boxes are smaller and use wraps.

What we want to accomplish with a POD board game service is to offer true mounted game boards and be able to produce boxes at or close to the size and quality of those used on games from companies like Fantasy Flight, Rio Grand and the Axis & Allies game boxes.

I've got a few ideas how to go about this, but thought it might be worthwhile cobbling together the do-it-yourself experience to be found here. Chris, I'm specifically thinking of you, but I'm sure others might have valuable input as well. We have a machinst on contract who is helping us to build a new die cutter that we specifically designed for die cutting POD cards. We've sort of hit a wall on production efficiency with POD cards and no die cutter (short perhaps this one 30 ton, $315,000 unit not really viable for short and POD runs) on the market exists that does what we want the way we want it. Anyways, this summer once he's done building our prototypes, I'm thinking of going about building a custom game board/box glue mounting and assembling table specifically built for this purpose.

Anyways, anyone interested in the topic and with some ideas or experiences to share, feel free to jump in or feel free to e-mail me. I know its going to be a tough nut to crack, designing a POD viable piece of equipment for mounting gameboards and game boxes, but there have certainly been more challenging engineering feats tackled successfully by mankind, so what the hey.

Thanks,
Ryan S. Johnson
Guild of Blades Retail Group - http://www.guildofblades.com/retailgroup.php
Guild of Blades Publishing Group - http://www.guildofblades.com
1483 Online - http://www.1483online.com
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Ryan S. Johnson
Guild of Blades Publishing Group
http://www.guildofblades.com
Eero Tuovinen
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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« Reply #1 on: April 09, 2009, 12:41:43 AM »

There's an European boardgame component company that seems to specialize in selling components to short-run games. The name is... Spielmaterial. It's a very educational site in general for boardgame making, as they list their prices on the site, which makes it easy to learn more about what's cheap and what's not. They create short run game boards as well, so it might be worthwhile to ask them for hints; I've found the people friendly, helpful and realistic about the concerns of indie publishers. One interesting thing they do is to print game boards on mousepad material - that's the sort of out of the box thinking I can get behind, even if it's not exactly the solution you're looking for at a given time. The only really glaring weakness in their process is that their card printing is clumsy and expensive, or so I seem to remember - haven't trawled the site in a while.
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B. Charles Reynolds
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« Reply #2 on: April 09, 2009, 09:18:51 AM »

Rather than a die-cutter, how about something more like a CNC machine? Die-cuts require dies, meaning high initial setup costs which then must be passed on - no problem if your clients (or you) can expect high sales figures, but high sales figure products are better off doing traditional print runs than POD. I think I'd be looking into something more like a large-format, heavy duty CraftROBO Pro or a CNC machine. An actual CNC machine would have the benefit of also being able to produce pieces in wood.

Keep me up to date on your progress, please. I have a board game in play-test.
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guildofblades
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« Reply #3 on: April 09, 2009, 03:26:31 PM »

Hi Charles,

Actually, when we first began doing POD cards we used one of those high end computerized cutters. It was dreadfully slow. Got about 4 decks die cut per hour.

These days we used a roll die cutter for the cards. Absolute highest end machine they have the market. Its still slow, in my estimation. But its more like 25-50 decks an hour. I've designed a semi automated machine, that when complete, should be able to do upwards of 150-200 decks an hour, perhaps a bit more.

That being said, what is required to do POD board games and boxes is a completely different challenge. I want to see about engineering a multi-purpose work/production table. This table would serve several purposes. Those would be:

1) Center and hold several strips of thick chipboard so as to steady the alignment for and spacing between 3 to 6 pieces of a game board. This should allow us to fairly quickly allow a bonding tape to what will become the under sides of a multi-fold game board.

2) This apparatus that holds the board must then be able to be lifted and flips over and placed back onto the table. It will need to hold the game board pieces steady once more and uplifted enough that a glue roller will be able to easily roll over the boards applying some sort of paste appropriate for bonding the chipboard to one or more pieces of printed matter. The roller would likely need to be on some kind of track and would be dragged through or across an oppoising roller which would roll through the past, thus allowing the roller that would roll over the board pieces to get an even application of the glue.

3) From the opposite direction will have to be stacks of the pre-printed pieces, aligned in one, two or three bins and held under a bit of pressure with a roller. Set up to hand crank that roller to roll the pieces of paper over top the chipboard sheets, guiding the leading edges of those sheets in a downward slop (or maybe across a sort of low arch?) so that the paper can be cracked, accurately left to right, to cover the length of the board it is meant to cover, then where that leading edge may be applied to the glue along one edge of the game boards. then where the arch holding the rest of the printed sheets can be pulled away in the opposite direction to let the sheets naturally fall across the rest of the glued game board. Theory says this should be a means to apply and let fall the printed sheets onto the board so as to avoid more than a small part being applied at once so as to avoid trapping air bubbles.

4) A similar mounting board will be needed for making game boxes, only it will need to work in near reverse, with the printed sheet or sheets laying face down so the glue can run along the papers' underside (which would be facing up). The mounting apparatus that would be holding the center of a box lid or bottom and its 4 sides in their appropriate places (never mind I have no idea how this would hold those 5 pieces in place, suspended from the bottom of the apparatus), then to be lowered so the 5 pieces would be applied to the glued printed sheets. The glue would have to be let dry and then some kind of die cutting board would have to be set overtop this and pressed down. This so that four fold tabs on the box sides would have a fold line placed into them and so that steel rule blades could cut partial lines into the printed sheets at the places where the four box sides will need to be able to fold. Once done, the box sides should be mounted to the same artwork as the box center (this has to be done twice. Once for the box top and once for the box bottom for a two piece box) and they can be folded and the four wing tabs can be glued to the insides of the other box sides to hold the box together.

But yeah, there seems to be 2-3 three things in there where I haven't fully worked out the mechanics. And it might not be possible to have the same table set up to do both board mounting and box gluing. But it would be great if it could, as it would take up a lot less space that way.

Ryan S. Johnson
Guild of Blades Retail Group - http://www.guildofblades.com/retailgroup.php
Guild of Blades Publishing Group - http://www.guildofblades.com
1483 Online - http://www.1483online.com
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Ryan S. Johnson
Guild of Blades Publishing Group
http://www.guildofblades.com
Lance D. Allen
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Posts: 1970


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« Reply #4 on: April 10, 2009, 12:47:13 AM »

Most of what you just said was greek to me, Ryan.

It sounds like you've got a pretty good handle on the situation, though.

Have you looked into the possibility of doing game boards on naugahyde or vinyl? I rather liked the ease of a board I could just roll up and stick in a tube when I bought a game of Pente years ago. Since misplacing it in a move, I've not been able to find the tube version of the game since, though.
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~Lance Allen
Wolves Den Publishing
Eternally Incipient Publisher of Mage Blade, ReCoil and Rats in the Walls
Josh Gertz
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« Reply #5 on: April 10, 2009, 06:48:48 AM »

Hey there,

While I don't have much experience with Die-Cutting, though I would probably suggest creating standard generic sizes for boxes, boards and pieces and provide templates for people to use just to minimize the cost of creating custom Dies. I did work in the picture framing business for awhile, in fact most of my family did at one point including an uncle owning one of the biggest wholesale framers on the west coast during the '70's.

For gluing and mounting I could see using and Animal Glue Application Machine and Vacuum Press to mount printed materials on the boards and boxes. Check out these items:

http://www.gluefast.com/products/colonel-AG.html

http://framersisland.com/product_info.php/cPath/36/products_id/141?osCsid=3077fd0aecde40398ab23aca19286289

They can get pricey but you never mentioned budget so I am just throwing in my two cents.

We used to glue mount prints on chip board or foam core and then throw them in the vacuum press for 10 minutes to get rid of the small air bubbles. This is the way most wholesalers do it because its quick. You can place 5-8 prints in the vacuum sealer at once.

I would suggest finding a picture framing wholesaler in the area to see the process. Most art store framers use spray glue so don't go to Michael's or Joanne's to find this equipment.

Its a bit outside of the box but it may work for this as well.

-Josh
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Seth M. Drebitko
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« Reply #6 on: April 10, 2009, 02:48:44 PM »

Off topic but your pente board can be found here.
http://www.ccgarmory.com/deluxepente.html
Regards, Seth
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guildofblades
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Posts: 309


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« Reply #7 on: April 10, 2009, 04:12:06 PM »

Hi Lance,

>>naugahyde or vinyl?<<

Vinyle requires specialized printers. Probably cost prohibitive if used strictly on POD game boards and boxes. Naugahyde? What is that?

Josh,

Thanks for the links. Those machines look like they could be used for what we are looking to do, but not sure if I could incorporate them into a multi-stage glue table so that the mounting could be done in the same process. Also looks like you have to manually handle the sheets through the glue applicator, which I am hoping to avoid. Because that means placement of the sheet onto whatever we are mounting by a manual method. I expect thtat would be both too slow for efficient production and lead to more errors.

But that does beg the question. If we don't use  pre built system like that which can heat up glues (much like the heat tank on perfect binders), then using any sort of heat applied glue might not work. Are there non heat applied glues that can be put on and dry in a reasonably short time frame?

Ryan S. Johnson
Guild of Blades Retail Group - http://www.guildofblades.com/retailgroup.php
Guild of Blades Publishing Group - http://www.guildofblades.com
1483 Online - http://www.1483online.com
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Ryan S. Johnson
Guild of Blades Publishing Group
http://www.guildofblades.com
Josh Gertz
Member

Posts: 4


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« Reply #8 on: April 10, 2009, 05:26:58 PM »

Hi Lance,

>>naugahyde or vinyl?<<

Vinyle requires specialized printers. Probably cost prohibitive if used strictly on POD game boards and boxes. Naugahyde? What is that?

Josh,

Thanks for the links. Those machines look like they could be used for what we are looking to do, but not sure if I could incorporate them into a multi-stage glue table so that the mounting could be done in the same process. Also looks like you have to manually handle the sheets through the glue applicator, which I am hoping to avoid. Because that means placement of the sheet onto whatever we are mounting by a manual method. I expect thtat would be both too slow for efficient production and lead to more errors.

But that does beg the question. If we don't use  pre built system like that which can heat up glues (much like the heat tank on perfect binders), then using any sort of heat applied glue might not work. Are there non heat applied glues that can be put on and dry in a reasonably short time frame?

Ryan S. Johnson
Guild of Blades Retail Group - http://www.guildofblades.com/retailgroup.php
Guild of Blades Publishing Group - http://www.guildofblades.com
1483 Online - http://www.1483online.com

You are correct, there was an employee that was dedicated to running all of the prints through the machine and mounting them on chipboard. However he could run 300-400 a day. The warehouse I worked in handled most of the art galleries in the San Fernando Valley area, Capital Records, Warner Brothers and other high end clientele.

Im not sure if there is an automated mounter that is made as an attachment but I did find a auto feeder:

http://www.schaeferco.com/sheet_feeder.html

and a set up similar to the one the framing place had:

http://www.schaeferco.com/sheet_cementer.html

...again, I wish I could find a mounting solution but have not been successful.

-Josh
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Lance D. Allen
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« Reply #9 on: April 11, 2009, 11:04:21 AM »

Naugahyde is essentially vinyl coated fabric. It's a brand-name with a variety of different types. I used to know people who'd buy Naugahyde playmats for playing Magic or similar games on. The website for the company seems to mostly be pointed toward furniture and upholstery but I figure it'd be an option game boards, too.
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~Lance Allen
Wolves Den Publishing
Eternally Incipient Publisher of Mage Blade, ReCoil and Rats in the Walls
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