So you want to become a fully-fledged board game designer? This post shows the outliers of what it costs to make a board game with ball-park estimates. There are numerous factors that will influence the overall cost of creating a board game.
This is a breakdown of a big question – How much does it cost to make a board game?
“It may cost you in excess of £4000 – £15,000 to make a board game. ”
- Cost break down for making a board game
- Price breakown when factoring art and design in your game
- How much does it cost to make an expansion for a board game
- How much does it cost to make a card game?
- What does it cost to self-publish a board game?
- How much to make a game on Kickstarter
- What about a monopoly type board game? Cost break down
- Prototype prices
- Cost table for a prototype
Cost break down for making a board game | what’s involved
There are many stages and factors that can influence the cost of making a board game, as already mentioned. It depends on the size of the game, components, whether it is for mass production, short-run or a prototype.
This is an Itinerary of processes and items that may be involved:-
- Planning – using bits of paper and card to see how the game might work. A paper mockup.
- Map all the components, get quotes from manufactures and board game prototypers
- Hiring designer to create all the visuals for the games. This could potentially cover, rules, cards, the box just to name a few
- Hiring or commissioning an illustrator
- Hiring a 3D artist
- Creating Miniatures ( if it has miniatures )
- Creating a prototype ( And then, potentially creating another prototype, then another… )
- Product photography for marketing/website
- Creating a website to sell and promote your game
- ( possibly ) Creating a crowdfunding campaign for your board game
- Finding playtesters
- Working with crowdfunding companies
- Find board game distribution companies
And then perhaps, more shows, and exhibitions to promote your board game! Creating a board game for many isn’t a project. It is a business.
There are many variables and factors to take into account when creating a board game. You can make a rough prototype for under £1000 if you don’t use any freelancers and do it yourself.
But doing this might prevent you from creating a worthwhile and retail appealing game. A not ‘good enough’ prototype in other words to ‘woo’ the big shops.
The more processes, skills and components you use, the more likely it is you will need to spend more money. Board games are not ‘little’ projects. If you have an ambitious project in your mind, brace yourself and your budget!
So… how much does it cost to make a board game? ( Rough Approximate )
How much does it cost to make a board game?
Based on some of the information mentioned above to create a board game, it may cost you in excess of £4000 – £15,000 to make a board game prototype that is retail-ready. In other words, ready to pitch and sell to the ‘big guns’.
To create a board game that is of a calibre so that you can pitch and sell it to certain high-street shops and end-users, this may cost In excess of £7,000 +. Give or take.
Pricing a board game has to be done on a case by case basis once a solid idea has been formed.
Certain criteria such as how much work, time, resources, hands it passes through and components there are will affect the cost.
For the ‘pure’ printing of a game prototype alone – a one-off copy. This can cost approximately £160 for a game without any miniatures. This would cover a board, cards, simple rules and box as an example. And that is to manufacture a single prototype to playtest and show.
That has yet to cover artist and designer fees, writers and the other creative parts and roles. If you use any of the creative services mentioned.
If you are also considering doing a Kickstarter campaign, you should also bear in mind that Kickstarter charges a 10% fee ( approx ) for a successful campaign.
Rememberer that when budgeting.
Prices of a board game when including an artist or a designer ( prototype scenario )
When Including professional designer and artist fees to make board game prototype, prices may vary between £1000 – £5000+ minimum. Prices will vary from one creative professional to another but this is a rounded ballpark to start at.
The more content there is in your game, plus bells and whistles, the more it will cost to design.
This doesn’t factor in 3D printers and sculptors and concept artist’s either if you are working with fiction and miniatures.
To make a board game, depending on the level ambition, scale and size, and intent. It will cost £1000’s.
If you are making a game with hopes for it to become a core part of your business, more money is likely to be needed to make a full game beyond the prototype.
What is the ‘minimum’ price for making a board game?
What is the minimum cost for making a board game? – Depends.
There are many factors that can influence the cost of creating a board game such as the board game size, the number of pieces, how many different people you hire, whether you want to crowdfund.
There are SO many factors and variables to consider.
But to answer – What is the minimum cost for making a board game? You may find the following answer useful.
In a hypothetical scenario – saying you create all of your own drawings, all of your own design, game mechanics, writing.
Don’t do a Kickstarter.
No marketing either.
You create your own website and packaging.
What is the minimum cost for making a board game? Hypothetically speaking you would be able to make a single board game prototype for £150 – £200 approximately. if you use a professional board game printer based either in the UK or Belgium,
Assuming you want to create more than 1 game – 3 game prototypes, this may cost around £500. If you are making a homemade project you might wish to consider reading how to make a fan game: how to make a fan game for HeroQuest
How much does it cost to make an expansion for a board game?
How much does it cost to make an expansion for a board game depends on the size of the game expansion.
For the cost to make an expansion pack for a board game or card game, you will need to consider what comes with the expansion.
For example: will the expansion game require more artwork? More writing? Additional miniatures? If so these are all things that will inflate or reduce the cost of making a board game expansion prototype.
How much does it cost to make an expansion for a card game ( Case 1 )
Create an extra set of cards, 28 + plus a new box for an existing game. The box ‘design’ has already been created. You will need 28 new illustrations, you need a prototype box, box artwork.
To create an expansion as based on the case above be looking at the following:-
- Create the 28 cards + double-sided ( commission rates back and front + 28 illustrations plus one single side the same) Illustrator/artist rates (X) 28 drawings + a new cover for the back.
- New jazzy box artwork work for new expansion ( artist rates )
- Design amend of the box ready for prototyping printing
28 card illustrations x £200 ( fictional fee ) = £5600. Then a single back design £200 + plus a box design update for the expansion of £500.
To answer how much does it cost to make a board game expansion? The fictional cost to make the card game expansion as based on “Case1” will be £6300 for the art and design stage.
This does not include your own time to conceptualise, rough out the cards, market the expansion pack or logistics and distribution.
* hypothetical numbers, individual artist & designers charge their own unique rates.
And price including miniatures? ( Case 2 )
You already have the prices for a hypothetical card game expansion pack. ( £6300 )
£6300 and now add a larger prototype packaging box and plus the resin miniature design. Allocated £2000 for both the create and print stage of this and this would place an expansion board game in the region of £8300 to create the artwork then the miniatures.
You should also take into account that ‘making’ an expansion for a board game is not the same as printing an expansion pack for a board game. “Making” involves the whole process, from concept to a printed prototype.
Just printing board game prototypes (£)
Ruling out the creation stage for budgeting and all other stages. You can have a board game expansion prototype – 1 game printed for relatively cheap.
- A card game with 56 cards and rules may only cost £40+
- A board game with a box, rules, meeples etc can cost in the region of £100+ to print
How much does it cost to create a board game on Kickstarter?
For the record, it should be noted that Kickstarter does not ‘make games’. The game developers and creators make the board games. Kickstarter is a platform that allows you to raise funds for the production of your board game.
In order to succeed in creating a successful board game on Kickstarter, you will need to invest money in the game prototype and marketing.
At the time of writing this, Kickstarter takes a commission from successfully funded campaigns. KS and its partners will take 10% at the end of a successful launch.
How much does it cost to create a board game on Kickstarter? Or more accurately – launch a board game on Kickstarter? Kickstarter charges 5% at the end of your successful campaign plus any additional fees charged from their payment partners. ( 10 % all told )
As a number to work with. If you have invested £20,000 to launch a game for argument sake. You would have to pay 10% in fees at the end of your campaign, as a theoretical figure to work with.
In other words, you would pay £2000 of £20,000 to the Kickstarter and its partners to create your game campaign and launch it on Kickstarter.
£20,000 – 10% fees = £2000 paid to Kickstarter ad partners. ( approx )
Prices to create a card game
The costs are variable depending on whether you go with creating a card game that is similar in style to Cards Against Humanity or you go with a deck of 56 cards which is more like Top Trumps in a slip box.
For the sake of making a smaller card game say of 56 cards, you may wish to look at this.
Card game in slip box 56 cards
The cost for making a small card game for either personal or professional use will be significantly different in scale to a board game. Assuming you want to make a visually super simple card game. Only words on 1 side, 1 back design and slip box you will need consider the following.
- 1 face design ( Freelance Design rate – fictional number – £300 )
- 56 words or phrases ( £300 – £400 – Writer and Editor )
- 1 slip / tuck box ( £400 )
* then also add manufacture cost ( check for card game printers in the UK )
To create a small card game such as the one mentioned you may be looking at the components criteria above as a minimum. It can cost more or less. Depending on the quality, artist rates and other factors.
Fictional budget to make small prototype ready card game = £1000
Card game with a hard box 112 cards plus a hard box
To make a card game prototype with 112 cards ( similar to Cards Against Humanity ) plus a hard box your costs may be ‘hovering around the low to mid-hundreds ( £ 100 – 300 ) for a retail and photo-ready prototype.
When considering the cost for creating a prototype you should also factor in the cost for creating the artwork to go onto the card game prototype.
Scope for art and design can vary drastically for your game. And it is also important to consider ‘how much artwork’ will need to be put in to bring your game to life. Some games such as simple, clean phrase games may require less artwork. Creating a narrative-heavy game with lots of characters and storytelling will require much more artwork.
Commissioning an artist to work on 1 piece of artwork compared 112 cards will affect the cost drastically. Just keep that in mind too.
This article goes into the details of what the value and cost of the HeroQuest box art were worth. Bear in mind that that was over 30 years ago for a commissioned painting.
What does it cost to self-publish a board game?
Self-publishing a board game can be rewarding and a good way of getting your game out there. It can also be VERY expensive to do yourself. Creating a board game is not for the faint-hearted. As with the general overview of how much does it cost to make a board game.
This is a snapshot of how much it may cost to self-publish a board game. Based on the cost breakdown written below.
Cost breakdown to self-publish a board game
- Create a game box top and bottom box
- Create cover artwork & box design
- Potentially hire a copywriter ( or do it yourself )
- Consider hiring a designer or illustrator ( Or do it yourself )
- Design a game board
- Components such as dice, meeples
- 56 Cards
This is a ‘typical’ snapshot of a board game and some of its components that may be included. Another step you will need to consider as to whether you wish to self-publish is if you want to use your own funds to create a board game or raise funds through crowdfunding.
To have a game like and its components listed above made in the UK, you may be looking at a price in the region of :
£5000 + plus print cost ( anything from £500 – £6000 ), Also remember to save some money for logistics, marketing a and other running business costs.
This is a lot to raise on your own and pour your savings into. Platforms such as Kickstarter have a very active board game community.
What does it cost to mass manufacture a board game? ( DIY )
Before offering an ‘A’ and ‘B’ scenario on how much it will cost to self-publish your own board game. This is how much it will cost you to manufacture or self-publish a game based on the components mentioned above – bare minimum.
- Buying the components from a prototypers
- Having your prototype printed and assembled
- Price for getting you prototype (s) samples mock-ups shipped to your home
- *Manufacturer Set up fees
Total cost to self-publish a game for mass-production approximation = (£6000 – £11,000 ). This is purely an approximation and a guess based on the number and figures supplied. For more accurate figures you should contact some board game designers, printers and artists. With these quotes, you can then build a budget for what you need.
The best way to find out the cost to make a game is to contact the board game makers and get quotes for accurate estimations and figures, instead of guessing and using ballpark figures.
What about a Monopoly type board game?
How much does it cost to make a monopoly styled board game will depend on where you get your game printed and in what quantity. To further break down what would it cost to make a monopoly type board game you will need to consider what comes in a box of a Monopoly game.
- The outer box / (packaging)
- 1x Large fold-out board
- Printed Monopoly Money ( 240 notes approx )
- 2 Decks of cards
- 32 Houses
- 12 Hotels
- 8 Tokens
- Instructions and box
- Plastic inner tray
Monopoly comes with a variety of parts and components, some of which would potentially need to be custom made. The more ‘typical’ and standard items that you can find in a game such as a monopoly are :-
- 1 large fold-away game board ( rough prototype price = £36.72
- 2 decks of double-sided cards ( Rough prototype price = £9.53 )
- 32 plastic houses ( Rough Prototype Price = £3 approximate )
- 12 Hotels ( Rough Prototype price = £1)
- Instructions ( Rough Prototype price = £A5 Folded = £1.59 )
- Box top and bottom = ( £57 )
Set 2 bespoke custom pieces
- Printed Monopoly Money ( check with printer, perhaps £100.00+ )
- Plastic Inlay ( £2.00 )
- Other The game pieces, plastic dice, meeples (£3.00)
Set up costs cost = approximate £20
The total cost to create a board game prototype like Monopoly will be £233.84 based on the criteria mention above.
That is all of the combined components of the game to create a board game prototype or to have a board game prototype made. This does not actually cover the creative stage of the game creation or factor in marketing.
These are only hypothetical numbers.
Hypothetical price break down of a board game like HeroQuest ( classic )
As another example of how much does it cost to make a board game, I wanted to use the Classic HeroQuest board game as an example. HeroQuest or ( Hero Quest ) was a classic game created in the late 1980s.
Without digressing too much about what is, you can read a bit about it here in this listing.
To the main point. How much would it cost to make a game like HeroQuest?
Creating plastic miniatures can be pricey. Aside from using a 3D printer or resin casting classic injection moulding can be expensive is a great way of creature miniatures for board games in bulk, the flip side to this is that it can be expensive to set up.
So, How much does it cost to make a board game like HeroQuest!?
For skeletal pricing on how much it may cost to make a board game like HeroQuest here are some of the key factors to consider :
- HeroQuest came with a board, a box, 2 books, dice a large deck of cards, punchboard game pieces.
- The original HeroQuest also came with a selection of miniatures that were injection moulded. To know exactly what came in the box, you can read more on the HeroQuest contents list here.
Keeping mind that the printed material alone almost exceeds what was is included in Monopoly. You will already be looking at a board game that was in excess of £240 before manufacturing miniatures.
Miniature creation can be pricey to print. But it is estimated that can print your own miniature for a prototype for as little as £5.
So if you were to create 20 miniatures at £5 you would be looking at £100+.
Combining the cost of both the printed graphics and artwork, this would theoretically cost you £340 to make a prototype.
If you were to round it up, £400.
You can look at injection moulding later on. Injection moulding doesn’t tend to lend itself well to prototyping due to the set-up costs.
Keep in mind that this cost only factors in the printing and making stage.
There is also the creative stage here which can cost £1000’s. The prototype is 1 stage in the whole process. It makes cost you £2400 to make a worthy to show game, £12,400, – £20,400. It depends on the amount that goes in.
Is making a board game expensive? ( is it expensive to make a board game?)
Making a board game can be very expensive. The most expensive part of ‘making’ and creating a board game, can be the creative stages. The more art and components you have inside a board game the more expensive it will be to make the board game.
Likewise, if your board game comes with a range of miniatures too this will further increase the cost. Designing, sculpting and casting miniatures, even as part of the prototyping process can add cost.
It should also be noted that making board game prototypes can be costly.
But it comes down to what you have in your game. Another contributing factor on how expensive your board game is depends on where you have it made and whether this is mass production or a prototype.
Is making a card game for retail expensive?
Assuming that you have taken this beyond the prototype or have ambitions to do so, yes – creating a card game for mass production can be expensive.
Costs such as manufacture, design, set up fees, marketing, packaging are all costs to be added together when you consider making a board game to sell.
To make a prototype alone, can be relatively cheap when it comes to making a card game prototype compared to a board game. This is a list of playing Card Printers based in the UK.
How much does it cost to make a board game prototype?
As a standalone part of a project, to isolate the price and not include the artwork stage. The cost to create a board game prototype can range from £50 – £300 on average for the game with only cards, boards, rules, tokens and a box.
The cost to produce a board game prototype with ‘resin’ sample miniatures can range from £400 to £2000. It depends on how many miniatures you want to produce for your prototype.
If you are 100% self-publishing and doing everything yourself aside from printing a prototype. You are looking at an approximate average of £100 – 800.
- Typically a party board game may sit around the £200 bracket.
- To make a sample with 40 or so miniatures, perhaps £2000, give or take.
That is a rough figure of how much it costs to make a board game prototype. Or a party game!
Food for thought on budget to design a board game or card game
As you may have come to realise is that the prices to make a board game, be it a prototype or a mass production straight off the production run vary in price. If it has miniatures too will influence the cost.
Mass production injection moulding, whether it is a card game, has a big box, little box, requires illustrations are all influences cost factors.
If you are still feeling boggled, below is a game priced and broken down into costs – an example budget.
A table breakdown of the elements | the cost to make a board game ( 1 game )
There are different levels and degrees to which you wish to make a game. You may wish to self-publish a game, make it so the game is suitable to show on Kickstarter or sell your board game straight to retail. Or, try to create it as a print-on-demand service.
Single board game prototype
|Item||*Low Price Range||*Higher Price Range||Notes|
|Game Board||£25 – £50||£40 – £50||Depends on board size|
|Game box||£20 – £40||£40 – £60||Can be expensive|
|56 Cards||£10 – £20||“”||Depends on card sizes|
|A5 Rule sheet||£1 – £2||£2 – £4||Double-sided will affect the cost|
|(Or) Rule book||£3 – £6||£ 20 +||Booklet printing is more expensive|
|Card Tokens||£2 – £5||£5 – £10||Templated Punch tokens|
|Plastic Components||£5||£10||Can cover this such as dice and pawns|
This table will give you an idea of the price breakdown for a board game prototype. This is a hypothetical board game prototype. But with the knowledge or working with printers, will give a budding board game creator an idea of what to expect if they want to create a board game.
Summary based on the table!
If you were to add all of the prices together from the table above. You could potentially be looking at a board game prototype in the lower and higher bands of:-
- Lower cost example of a single board game prototype ( small game ) = £63
- Cost of a single large board game prototype = £165
( Give or take )
The physical size of the box, components and volume all influence the cost. There are some ways of reducing cost when creating a board game for the market, but that’s a whole other topic. For the sake of a number to take away. To create a small game, it will most likely cost you £70 to print. A larger game, around £170.
Essentially, you will need to set aside a minimum of £100 if you are board game creating a prototype. In all likelihood, you will also need to create more than 1 board game prototype.
* Each printer will charge there own unique set of prices. It is best to email them for exact figures. This is a list of UK card printing companies as an example.
Cost of creating a prototype board game with miniatures
As the price table above illustrates you can create a board game prototype for under £100. “How much does it cost to make a board game with miniatures”, you will need to include the prices above plus miniature manufacture.
Manufacturing or printing miniatures can be costly and there is no easy way of avoiding this sadly. One of the more affordable methods of creating a short run is by using resin casting and 3D printing. These types of companies can print your miniature and offer high-resolution resin prototypes for photography and display.
You may be looking in a price region of £500 + plus the cost or the board game prototype printing £200. £700 combined together when deciding how much it cost to make a board game. Or, at least a prototype.
Your game budget | overall
The final answer on how much does it cost to make a board game all comes down to the size of your board game, what’s in the game, artwork, ( content ) volume and where you get the board game printed.
To make a small prototype board game you make be looking at prices in the region of £100 – 200 to print. Not factoring commissioning board game designers and artists. And, all the other creative fields involved in creating a game.
Creating family party games with fewer components tends to be cheaper to print and make. Creating board games with miniatures tends to inflate the cost substantially.
And printing and manufacturing a large board game prototype in essence is the same printing a small game – from a print perspective.
Mass production of board games becomes cheaper with larger volumes of purchase.
Many board game publishers get their board games made overseas. But, there are various board game makers in the UK and on the mainland of Europe if you wanting to keep the manufacture local.
Keeping prototyping especially close to home is helpful for the trial and error stages of making your game.
Other helpful tips
Making a board game can be challenging! You may also find some of these tips and resources valuable in your game creating journey:-
– Price calculator for creating a board game
Thank you for reading how much does it cost to make a board game. If you felt that this article was helpful please share. Dragon Bone Games. Information and source from experience, quotations and Cartamundi. * Prices are approximations and estimated numbers.