Board Games Manufacturing – The Value Of Shopping Around

Board Games Manufacturing – The Value Of Shopping Around

One of the areas of the board games business which tends to get the least attention, especially from management is manufacturing. There are so many critical things to focus on with a board games company, selling – getting your games listed by retailers, creating or sourcing the next new hit games concepts, managing staff, and so much more. The reality is that most companies tend to stick with the same old board games factory unless that factory screws up and starts to fail to deliver.

While this inertia is perfectly understandable, and while there are a lot of benefits from building a deep and long partnership with a games factory, the reality is that there also considerable benefits to be derived from not allowing that factory or factories get too comfortable. The primary drawback of getting too cosy and too engrained with one board games manufacturer is cost effectiveness. It is just the nature of how business works and how human minds see things, but a new customer will always tend to get better pricing versus an existing one, unless the existing customer takes active steps to keep the supplier on their toes.

The primary way to keep your factory on their toes is to shop around a little. While it may not be practical to shop every single product around, it should be considered best practise to at least benchmark quotations from your current supplier against pricing from their competitors. Where a board games company has not had quotes from another supplier for some time, it is not uncommon to find that they are paying between 5-10% more than they could be.

Having said all this though, it is a mistake just to make everything about pricing, because above all what board games companies need from their factories is capacity and reliable supply. Board games have a highly seasonal selling dynamic with board games, and the challenging cashflow cycle which in turn leads to stock being ordered close to when it is needed as opposed to well in advance. Therefore, any supply chain disruption can have very costly consequences. And for this reason, we would normally recommend that aside from really small or very new companies, any established board games business should have at least two factory partners. This offers the ongoing opportunity to ensure pricing is reasonably sharp, but also offers supply chain diversification and risk reduction.

For those toy companies who sell board games also, the mindset tends to be heavily influenced by the toy business model, whereby tooling is necessary for plastic injection moulded products. Moving tooling is in itself quite a process, whereas duplicate tooling is costly and so these factors tend to lead to more inertia in terms of manufacturing location for toys. With board games where there is typically a small print set up fee, there is less reason not to consider multiple sources where it makes sense.

The bottom line here is that board games manufacturing is a critical part of the recurring board games business process. Sticking with the same single supplier all the time can lead to strong relationships, good understanding and easy working but it also comes with risks – risk of paying too much for manufacturing and also in terms of lack of supply chain diversification.


We help board games companies save money on manufacturing. To date our clients have saved more than $10m. If you would like to discuss your board games manufacturing requirements with us, please get in touch via the ‘CONTACT’ page on this site.


Sign up now for our free BoardGameBiz newsletter offering insights, news and analysis of the business of Board Games. We’ll also send you a free copy of our book ’55 Features of Best-Selling Board Games’ – just click here to sign up