Board Games Manufacturing Cost Factors and Pricing Guide, people exchanging cash

Board Games Manufacturing Cost: Factors and Pricing Guide

The cost of making a board game can vary depending on several factors, such as the game’s complexity, the materials used, and the quantity produced.

Here are some sources with information on the cost breakdown of making a board game:

  1. PrintNinja: PrintNinja produces custom board games and provides pricing information on their website. They state that the cost of making a board game can range from $10 to $50 per unit, depending on the game’s complexity and the quantity produced.
  2. BoardGameGeek: In a blog post, Andrei (anovac) breaks down the cost of a game, looking into details. He uses Origins: First Builders as an example and states that the manufacturing cost of the game is around $6.50 per unit.
  3. Brandon the Game Dev: The landed cost of a game includes the cost to manufacture, ship via freight to the warehouse, plus customs and tariffs. As a general rule of thumb, the price of your game should be five times the per-unit landed cost of your game. Therefore, to determine how much you should spend on manufacturing, you need to figure out how much you can sell your game for.
  4. Hero Time: Hero Time provides information on the cost of cardboard pieces for a board game. They state that if you are making a box, a player board, or tokens, there are also the pieces’ cardboard costs in addition to the printing costs.

In this article, we will explore the factors that influence the cost of creating a board game and provide you with a comprehensive understanding of the expenses involved.

Understanding the Components of a Board Game

Before delving into the cost factors, it’s essential to understand the components that make up a board game.

These components include:

  • The game board: The game board is the central playing surface that sets the stage for gameplay. It can be a foldable or modular board made of durable materials.
  • Cards and cardstock: Playing cards are an integral part of many board games. They are used for various purposes, such as drawing cards or representing game elements. The cardstock used should be of good quality to ensure durability.
  • Game pieces and tokens: Game pieces and tokens are physical objects used to represent players or specific game components. Depending on the game’s theme and design, they can be made of plastic, wood, or metal.
  • Rulebook and instructions: A rulebook provides players with the necessary guidelines and rules to play the game. It should be well-designed, easy to understand, and visually appealing.

Design and Artwork

The design and artwork of a board game play a crucial role in its overall appeal and success.

Consider the following aspects:

  • Graphic design and illustration: Hiring a professional designer experienced in board game design is essential. They can create visually stunning game boards, cards, and other components that enhance the gameplay experience.
  • Art assets and copyrights: Acquiring artwork or commissioning artists to create unique illustrations for your game is an investment. Ensure that proper copyrights are obtained to protect your game’s visual assets.

Manufacturing and Production

Once the design and artwork are finalized, the manufacturing and production phase begins.

Consider the following factors:

  • Printing and production methods: Choose between offset or digital printing, depending on your budget and the desired quality. Digital printing is suitable for small print runs, while offset printing offers cost advantages for larger quantities.
  • Quantity and scale: The number of copies produced and the scale of the production run can affect the overall cost. Larger quantities often lead to reduced production costs per unit.
  • Quality control: Implementing quality control measures ensures that the game components meet high standards and are free from defects. It is crucial to maintain the quality of your game throughout the production process.

Packaging and Shipping

Packaging and shipping are significant considerations when determining the cost of a board game.

Consider the following factors:

  • Box design and materials: The game box should be designed to attract attention and protect the components. Choose sturdy materials that provide adequate protection during transportation and storage.
  • Insert trays and storage: Including insert trays or compartments inside the box can help organize the game pieces and enhance the overall game experience for players.
  • Shipping and logistics: Calculate shipping costs, customs fees, and distribution logistics when planning to deliver the game to customers. Consider the weight and dimensions of the game box, as they affect shipping expenses.

Marketing and Distribution

Successfully bringing a board game to market requires effective marketing and distribution strategies.

Consider the following aspects:

  • Branding and promotion: Develop a unique brand identity for your game and create marketing materials that resonate with your target audience. Utilize online platforms, social media, and board game communities to create awareness and attract potential customers.
  • Retail vs. online sales: Decide whether to sell the game through retail stores, online marketplaces, or a combination of both. Each distribution channel has its advantages and considerations in terms of costs and reach.
  • Distribution channels: Research and identify the most suitable distribution channels to reach your target audience effectively. Establish relationships with distributors and retailers who specialize in board games.

Factors Affecting the Cost

Several factors can influence the cost of creating a board game.

Consider the following:

  • Game complexity and size: More complex games with intricate mechanics and larger game boards often require more resources, increasing the cost of production.
  • Custom components and materials: Opting for custom-designed game pieces or premium materials like wooden tokens can raise production expenses. Consider the balance between cost and the visual and tactile appeal of your game.
  • Artistic requirements and licenses: If your game requires licensed art or intellectual property rights, licensing fees may apply. Ensure that you understand the licensing costs associated with using existing artwork or trademarks.

Estimating the Cost

Estimating the cost of creating a board game requires research, price comparison, and careful budgeting.

Consider the following steps:

  • Research and price comparison: Gather quotes from multiple manufacturers and suppliers to compare costs. Take into account factors such as printing, components, packaging, and shipping expenses.
  • Budgeting for various components: Create a detailed budget that allocates funds for each aspect of game production, including artwork, manufacturing, packaging, marketing, and distribution.
  • Consulting with manufacturers: Seek guidance from experienced manufacturers in the board game industry. They can provide valuable insights and help you obtain accurate cost estimates based on your game’s specifications.


Bringing a board game from concept to reality involves various costs that need to be considered.

By understanding the components, design, manufacturing, packaging, and marketing aspects, you can comprehensively estimate the expenses involved.

Careful budgeting and research will help you make informed decisions throughout the process and ensure that your board game creation journey is both financially viable and rewarding.


Are board games profitable?

Board games can be profitable if they resonate with the target audience and are marketed effectively.

However, success depends on various factors, including the game’s appeal, quality, marketing strategy, and market demand.

How long does it take to create a board game?

The time required to create a board game varies based on complexity, design, playtesting, and manufacturing factors.

It can take several months to several years to develop a board game from initial concept to a final production-ready version.

Can I create a board game without a big budget?

Yes, creating a board game on a limited budget is possible.

Simplifying the game mechanics, using cost-effective materials, and exploring alternative production methods can help keep the expenses in check.

Should I self-publish my board game or seek a publisher?

Deciding whether to self-publish or seek a publisher depends on your goals, resources, and preferences.

Self-publishing offers creative control and potentially higher profits but requires more effort in marketing and distribution.

Seeking a publisher can provide industry expertise and wider distribution reach but may involve giving up some control and a share of the profits.

Can I protect my board game idea from being copied?

While you can’t copyright game mechanics, you can protect the unique expression of your game through copyright or trademarking the artwork, branding, and written materials associated with the game.

Consulting with an intellectual property lawyer can provide guidance on the best strategies for protecting your board game idea.