Tag Archives: board games manufacturing

Is Nearshoring The Future Of Board Games Manufacturing?

Is Nearshoring The Future Of Board Games Manufacturing?

‘Nearshoring’ is not a new thing in the board games business. A surprisingly large amount of the market is made up of games manufactured in or near that particular country or region, and has been for decades. That being said though, China has attracted its own significant share of the board games production market due to its position as the leading global toy manufacturing hub. It has often been easier for toy companies with Hong Kong and China offices to consolidate toy shipments with some games and puzzles from nearby factories.

Over the past decade, cost inflation in China has seen cost competitiveness of board games manufactured in China become less sharp overall. There is no doubt that some of the best board games factories in the worlds are in China, but the cost advantages of manufacturing games and puzzles in China and then shipping them across the world has diminished over time. This has led to some board games companies adopting a ‘nearshoring’ strategy, whether that’s in Europe or America.

There are though two major reasons why manufacturing of games and puzzles will continue to be significant in Asia:

Firstly, the rapidly growing consumer economies of Asia offer really good growth prospects for games and puzzles companies over the next decade. China’s own board games market is growing, albeit with plenty of challenges to overcome to get to market and to stay in market profitably. India is also a fast growing consumer market, although it is starting from much further back today, but has a similar population to China i.e. c. 1.4 billion people, India’s games and puzzles market is likely to see double digit growth across the next decade at least. Therefore, for those distributing their games into these markets, a ‘nearshoring’ strategy will actually be to continue to produce in China or even India.

The second factor leading to a significant segment of board games manufacturing remaining in Asia is the diversification process which is underway for the toy manufacturing sector. For the last five years, and most probably for the next five years, toy companies (big and small) have been shifting some production out of China and into Vietnam and India especially. Therefore, for all the same reasons as it made sense before to manufacture games and puzzles in China and then to consolidate them on to the same boat as a shipment of toys, it makes sense that Vietnam and India will become fairly significant games and puzzles manufacturing hubs.

So yes, nearshoring is going to grow, but perhaps not in the way we might expect.


We run a Consultancy business to toy and game companies around the world. Our particular specialism is in Sourcing – we help our clients save money on manufacturing via our network of highly certified and capable factories. For games and puzzles manufacturing quotations in both China and India, please feel free to get in touch via the ‘Contact Us’ page, or click here for more information: www.ToyTeamIndia.com



It’s an old adage, but the thought that innovation often doesn’t get past the entrance to the factory is fairly prevalent in those trying to push new boundaries. These days there is always some new technology or social media platform coming through and pushing our expectations and experience of technology.

Technology though is also having an impact on established traditional product categories like the board games business. For instance, the whole area of cost-effective prototyping and manufacturing minimum orders is changing due to the impact of technology. Whereas it was once a deep skill to produce professional looking samples of new board games, technology has made this easier than ever, and now anyone can use technology driven services to develop really good prototypes to present their products. MOQ (minimum order quantity) has long been a barrier to entry for any consumer products industry, but this too is softening around the edges as humanity gets smarter and smarter at utilising technology.

These though are fairly functional movements, and while they may be encouraging more people into the board games business, which in the end should facilitate greater breadth of games out there, it isn’t necessarily helping board games creatives to push new boundaries.

Our team once playtested a game featuring heat sensitive ink. This allowed for an impactful ‘reveal’ mechanism whereby the player could rub the card and an image or text would be revealed, and then a second or two later would fade away again as the heat dissipated. We then took this concept into another game and then went through the process of trying to get the factory to replicate it. The end result was sadly a mess, so instead of offering a really great experience we served up something totally lame as the heat sensitive ink was such a different colour that the reveal wasn’t needed – you could clearly see the end result without having to rub the card.

This type of experience is fairly typical where an innovation which should help to deliver better experiences doesn’t make it successfully through the manufacturing process. This though doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t keep trying to move the boundaries, it just means that we need good factories and we need to give those factories some time for some trial and error to get the processes right if they haven’t used them before. Rushing through production on a board game featuring innovation in terms of manufacturing spec or processes is a short cut to failure and under delivering our innovation. So, in the end it isn’t always the fault of the factory when innovation in re-inventing elements of the standard spec of board games fails, sometimes it comes down to our process.


We represent leading board game factories in China & India. We have saved our clients more than $10m over the last decade by connecting them with reliable factories with the right certifications who can offer more cost-effective board games manufacturing. For more information, just get in touch.

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

How To Find Reliable & Cost Effective Board Games Manufacturing

How To Find Reliable & Cost-Effective Board Games Manufacturing

If you’re in the board games business then you need a reliable and cost-effective board games factory. By far the largest expense you have is the manufacturing cost – generally speaking board game manufacturing costs account for around 25-30% of a company’s revenues. So, if you are looking for ways to make a board games company more profitable it logically makes sense to look at the area where spending is highest i.e. spend on manufacturing wiht a board games factory.

Pricing isn’t everything though, even though it is usually the first concern. If you can’t make your games to meet demand and you lose sales, then your company loses far more than it gains by shaving a couple of points off manufacturing spend.

Nevertheless though, there are several tried and tested ways to reduce manufacturing costs:

  1. Get quotes from multiple suppliers – this is evidently an effective strategy because so many companies use it. With this approach you quote every new game with a couple of factories in order to ensure you get competitive costing. The drawback with this approach though is that it can be overdone. In the end while there are quite a few board games factories out there, board games manufacturing is a finite capability. So, if you routinely make 3 or 4 factories quote for your products and deliver very little business to any of them you will find that they will lose interest in quoting for you and before long you will have nowhere to manufacture your games. Beware of taking a transactional approach, an effective and sustainable approach to sourcing requires relationship building with suppliers and an appreciation that they are also in business to make money. We would normally suggest board games companies with multiple new products launching each year focus on building two strong factory partnerships. This allows for the benefits of good working relationships, allows for some supply chain diversification and offers two sources for quoting to ensure pricing is competitive.


  1. Work in partnership with the factory on the product spec – there are normally some features of the product spec which are sacrosanct, but there are others where there is more leeway. One mistake we have observed over time is board games companies and their Sourcing Managers really screwing down a factory on pricing without asking the factory to challenge the spec. We have worked with many of the most respected board game factories in the business, and one opportunity we recommend our clients to take is to ask the factory to proactively challenge the spec and to find cost savings based on process, materials and overall specification. Clearly they would rather take this approach versus making less margin, and often their solutions are better anyway in terms of setup experience or gameplay experience.


  1. Use factories with established customer base – we would always be wary of an inexperienced factory. Why would you take the risk of working with a factory on their first few projects when they have yet to develop the expertise to ensure consistent quality & delivery standards? Maybe you could work with an inexperienced factory for a significant cost reduction but aside from this we would normally suggest it is prudent to review the existing customer base of a factory. The easiest way to find out who else the factory is supplying would be to ask them, most factories are happy to share the list of companies they supply, you can also check how good they are at protecting the details of their clients projects by probing and asking for more information, if they tell you everything they are doing with no respect for client confidentiality you can expect them to treat your confidential projects with the same approach!


  1. Review carry forward product pricing on an ongoing basis – when a company sells a product year after year, and where the pricing seems ok and is fairly stable i.e. not increasing all the time, it can be all too easy to leave things be. This though is often where the biggest cost savings can be made, by refining costings and spec on an ongoing basis. One project we worked on was for a long-established board game with some plastic components and plenty of cardboard items. Typically, this type of long-standing multi-component game can offer good opportunities for cost savings as technologies and cost barriers are broken down over time. When we reviewed the company product portfolio and the sales and profit of each product this particular game stood out like a sore thumb due to good levels of recurring sales, but low profitability. By identifying the problem and getting the team at both the company and the factory thinking on how to rework the spec, the manufacturing processes and the materials we were able to deliver cost savings of more than $150,000 while also delivering a far better experience for gamers.


  1. Work with experienced 3rd parties to get better value and find more cost competitive sources with reliable delivery – in theory nobody wants a middle man, but often in the world of Sourcing middle men can actually save you money. The average board games company we have worked with (based on having worked with, consulted for and sold to more than 200 board game companies) typically has just one Sourcing Manager or sometimes a person with remit for sourcing and other functions. Presuming they are sourcing in the Far East, they may actually visit the factories once per year, sometimes even less than that. They tend to spend far more time on the process of ordering and shipping than they do on actually sourcing. By using 3rd parties you can often find better solutions and cost savings due to added resource, expertise and knowledge.


We run a Consultancy business helping board games companies to grow & be more profitable. We have saved our clients more than $10m on sourcing over the past decade. We work with the most reliable board game factories in the business with strong capabilities and competitive costings. For more information on our services (including Sourcing) please just click here: https://www.boardgamebiz.com/index.php/board-game-business-consultancy-services/

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.