Plans for Selling the Utara Dice Game


Each unit would have about 20 dice. From talking to players at Dreamation and checking out the price point for Steve Jackson Games' Zombie Dice, I sense $10-$15 is the sweet spot for unit pricing. That means each die must cost me less than 50¢. A more reasonable cost would be something like 10¢, to create margin for the costs of packaging, storing and shipping.

Plan A: Print a single prototype with the ultimate goal of licensing the rights to a larger producer. Higher cost per die, but lower total cost. Use the prototype to run demos and make promotional videos.

Plan B: Produce a short run for direct sales to consumers. Hope to break even within a year, either by selling out of the product or licensing the rights to a larger producer. Lower cost per die, but higher total cost, plus work of marketing and fulfillment.

I sent out a request for estimate with the following specs:

16mm six-sided dice
Opaque Blue or White
Unique design on each face
Quantity: 20, 500, 1000

Vendor 1:
10-25 dice @ $6.00 per
26-99 dice @ $4.50 per
100-199 dice @ $3.60 per
200+ dice @ $3.00 per

Vendor 2:
20 dice @ $5 per
500 dice @ $2.75 per
1000 dice @ $2.50 per
Vendor 2 also has a lower end option: White print on blue for half-price.

So, my decision is to go with Plan A. In a worst case scenario, I'm out a hundred bucks. Really, that's a marketing expense. With this prototype, I can run convention demos, make videos, and give a better example of the product vision.

Note: There is another option for a solo operation like mine. I can get 1000 blank dice for about $70, print sheets of stickers for around $20-$30, then put in the time to adhere the stickers to the dice by hand. I'd sell through Etsy, in the hopes that the handmade aesthetic wouldn't look so out of place there. I'll keep this in my back pocket if a publisher doesn't come through in a year.

Next steps:
» Buy a domain. utara.com is taken. utaradice.com? utaragame.com?
» Formal prototype for the packaging and rules sheet.
» Make demo video using footage from Dreamation.
» Send links to video (along with formal proposals) to potential publishers.

14 comments:

  1. Check with Steve Jones at Blue Panther games. He can do custom laser engraved wooden dice, if you provide the image files. He's a friend of game designers! http://www.bluepantherllc.com/

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  2. I might be stating the obvous but... add this to your plan: network and build contacts. It's not unrealistic to think you'll find someone going to Essen Spiel that could show and pitch your game to euro publishers.

    I won't be going, or I'd do this myself (too close to Lucca) but I don't think it's unrealistic :)

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  3. Thanks for the contact, Brett. I'll give Steve a ring.

    Renato, my hope is that the video would help establish contacts with publishers without having to fly out of the country. If you like, I'd be happy to send you a set of prototype dice for you to play with (and perhaps show to your friends!)

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  4. I highly recommend against doing the sticker thing yourself, especially if you're looking at a thousand dice. I did that for my first production design, sticking 72 stickers in the right places on wooden discs for each game, and it made me very sorry that I went that way...

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  5. Yeah, just making a set of 20 that way for demos was enough for me. :P

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  6. I suggest using "Utara: the board is the sky" as slogan or motto (in Spanish, "Utara: el cielo es el tablero"). That was the title of the post in my blog where I introduced Utara.

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  7. Heh, as I said, I won't be going to Essen... but I sure as hell would bring a prototype with me at the Cons (and, as I said, other boardgamey people tend to be around :-D )

    Keep doing videos, btw, the first has already made me want to dig out some spare dice and mod them.

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  8. Excellent! I'm glad to hear you like the videos. I'll produce a proper demonstration video when I get the etched dice next month.

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  9. Cool. In the meantime I'm making some modded dice and I'll try and get the Janus crew to try the game at PLAY! Modena (they already showed a lot of interest) and maybe I'll try and to some short recording myself (with the cellphone, so yeah...)

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  10. Cool. In the meantime I'm making some modded dice and I'll try and get the Janus crew to try the game at PLAY! Modena (they already showed a lot of interest) and maybe I'll try and to some short recording myself (with the cellphone, so yeah...)

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  11. Check with Steve Jones at Blue Panther games. He can do custom laser engraved wooden dice, if you provide the image files. He's a friend of game designers! http://www.bluepantherllc.com/

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  12. Where do you get your blank dice and stickers from at those prices?

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  13. Koplow does bulk orders of blank dice and you can get blank round labels from Online Labels. Prepare for a cramped hand, though. :P

    http://www.koplowgames.com/
    http://www.onlinelabels.com/

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Daniel Solis
Art Director by Day. Game Designer by Night.