Belle of the Ball Update: Rules Changes, Production Estimates, Kickstarter Plans


Many thanks to the good folks at Pruvop for hosting the most recent playtest of Belle of the Ball. Lots of excellent feedback!

» Follow the rules changes
» Download the Current Beta Rules PDF [Prototype H]
» Download the Print-and-Play Cards PDF
» Follow the conversation on BoardGameGeek.

Before I dive in any deeper, a disclaimer: All these plans and estimates are tentative, I just wanted to give you all an update on what the kind of planning is involved in producing even a simple card game like Belle.


PRODUCTION ESTIMATES
I've spent the past six weeks requesting estimates from various printers with and without experience producing board games. I tried to find the best deal that would allow us to set an MSRP of no more than $20. I really tried to find a domestic printer who could meet those requirements.

But when all the numbers came in, it was only feasible to go print overseas. Here is the best estimate I have so far.

2000 COPIES
108-Card Decks*           $4440
Color Rules Sheets         $420
Telescoping Box           $1560
Art**                    ~$4000
Kickazon Cut of 15k**     $1500
U.S. First Class for 2k   $2970
Mini-Expansions (SPOD)     $645
TOTAL COST               $14835
COST PER UNIT                $7.095 w/o expansion
                             $7.417 w/ expansion

5000 COPIES
108-Card Decks*           $6450
Color Rules Sheets         $700
Telescoping Box           $3350
Art**                    ~$4000
Kickazon Cut of 20k**     $2000
U.S. First Class for 2k   $2970
Mini-Expansions (SPOD)    $1290
TOTAL COST               $20060
COST PER UNIT                $3.75 w/o expansion
                             $4.01 w/ expansion

* Premium 300gsm Paper Card Stock - Plastic Coated - Smooth or Linen Finish

** These are one-time expenses. Without them, the total cost for 2000 is $9,335; $4.66 per unit w/o expansion. Total cost for 5000 is $14,060; $2.81 per unit w/o expansion



KICKSTARTER PLANS
Per the estimates above, the goal is $15,000 to produce 2000 copies of Belle of the Ball. Here are the pledge tiers I've outlined so far.

$20: You get a copy of the game months before it's available for the public! (International orders, please add $10.) See stretch goals for additional goodies!

$50: GUEST (96 Available): You get a copy of the game! Also, you can name one of the guest cards and get special sponsor credit in the rulebook! See details in the FAQ.

$75: RETAILER: For confirmed game retailers only (please contact us with proof)! Get SIX copies of the game shipped to your store's USA-based address at the same time as our non-retailer backers. This is at half MSRP, our standard retailer offering. A $15 shipping charge is included. Add $10 for each additional copy. Get as many as you like! If your customers are interested in getting the stretch goal rewards, see details in the FAQ.

$125: BELLE (8 Available): You get a copy of the game! Also, you can name one of the Belle cards and get special sponsor credit in the rulebook! PLUS, you also get a personalized Belle of the Ball t-shirt bearing your chosen County, Mood and Interest. See details in the FAQ.

STRETCH GOAL $20,000: Kickstarter Exclusive: Every backer gets 9 extra cards to add a little spice to your party. These will be printed and shipped separately from the main game.

STRETCH GOAL: Every extra 200 backers unlocks a new bundle of exclusive digital goodies for all backers. These include desktop wallpapers, production files, and exclusive streamcasts with the game designer.


CONTINGENCIES
This is the most ambitious Kickstarter goal I've ever considered, but I have a history of under-estimating potential funding. Ironically, this goal is ambitious to me, it's actually the bare minimum for the per-unit cost to be low enough to offer a reasonable price point for the customer.

"Worst Success" Scenario
At $15,000, we can manage the project as a DIY fulfillment operation. The quantity is small enough that we can store and sell them directly to the customer out of our apartment. We'll raise just enough to order 2000 units and then have some left over to sell in the long tail to compensate for any unexpected expenses. We'll just about break even.

Pivot Point
If we raise $20,000, we must decide whether we're a boutique studio (2000 units) or a full-on publisher (5000 units). We can manage 2000, but 5000 is way too big for us. Literally, there's not enough room in our apartment. We'd need to start connecting with distributors, warehouses and the like just to get orders out the door.

Point of No Return
At $40,000, we have no choice but to go into full-on publishing. That represents so many pre-orders that we need to order 5000 units just to have enough margin for lost shipments, damaged units, etc. There's literally not enough room in our home for that many units. For comparison, Carnival got ~1400 pre-orders, Farmageddon got ~2080 pre-orders and Creatures got ~3740 pre-orders, so I don't anticipate getting much higher than this.

It feels presumptuous to be concerned about raising that much money, crazier things have happened lately on KS, so I'm planning for all as many contingencies as I can.
Daniel Solis
Art Director by Day. Game Designer by Night.