Print & Play games, do you like them?

Well, that was an interesting week! I have been printing, cutting, gluing, and trimming!

Yep, we have been exploring the weird and wonderful world of “Print & Play” games. It is surprising how much interest there is in this type of game. And while we struggle to sort things out with China for our card game, I can see why.

While I am on the subject of China, I have a couple of questions. Why are printers in the UK so expensive? I can only guess that the overheads in this country are so high that it forces print companies to quote the really silly prices they do.

I have been asked, “Why are you looking at China to print your games? You should be using British companies.” Well, basically, it would be financial suicide if we went with a UK printer. At 237 cards plus the box, plus life counters, plus dividers, and plus the rule book, it would cost more than we hope to sell the game for. One company I looked at was quoting over £7,300 plus VAT & delivery for 1,000 sets, just for the cards! The price went through the roof when I added the box and the rest of the stuff—another £7,000 plus VAT, etc., just to add a box to put them in. I never even looked at card dividers, life counters, and the rule book. It’s all a bit silly, really.

Anyway, what was I talking about?

Oh yeah, back to Print & Play games. We are hoping to release at least one Print & Play game on Kickstarter by the end of the year. We have a robot game lined up; the gameplay works well, and all the rules have been play-tested. They give a good, fun tactical game. Plus, there is a sports game as well. What is taking the time is all the design work for images for the cards, the board, etc. So, we were looking at getting something a little simpler finished first.

I was walking the dog two nights ago and had a thought—I do a lot of my thinking while walking my dog. Well, as I said, I had a thought. It doesn’t happen often, but when I do get a thought, it normally means a new game of some sort.

Now I have to say, at this point, I have five or possibly six games on the go at the moment, in my head and on my PC. All are in different stages of completion, so it’s not like I have nothing to do. But anyway, I had a thought two nights ago about a game. The game was to be linked to the wizards from the Fyndoria universe and based around our free Print & Play game, Crystalline Wars: Arcane Battlegrounds.

So, I came back from my walk and started working on the rules for the game. I did all the images for the draft game, created a couple of boards to play on, and made all the tokens needed to play. A normal night for me finishing around 3:30 in the morning.

The following day, I printed everything out and stuck it all to either thick board or foam board, ready to get some games in during the evening. Three of us sat and played four games, and it was great fun. We needed to work together to defeat the hordes attacking us, and to be honest, it was not bad for a first playtest.

I spent the next day making some tweaks to the rules based on the games we had, adding three extra attacker types and new boards. I printed, cut, and stuck them onto more boards and foam board, ready for the next few games.

I will be playing a lot of solo games over the next few days to make sure the game works just as well when playing solo. Actually, I know it will play fine solo because it is already a cooperative game; all players have to work together against the game.

I think now it is really down to fine-tuning the number of enemies and adjusting spells and items for the wizards. This part of the game design can be fun because you get to play with each new spell or item to make sure they work and are not too powerful or too weak. This means I am hopefully going to get lots of games in over the next few weeks.

As I said earlier, we are hoping to put this game up on Kickstarter as a Print & Play game, which will mean it will at least be cheap to buy. Eventually, when everything has been designed and is ready for release, I will start to put up some pictures of the game and will show how it plays.

What are your thoughts on Print & Play games, do you like them? would you buy one?

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  1. Vic

    Hi Mac!

    Print & Play is a great way for new players to dabble their toes in the hobby without the expense of having to buy a £30-£40 rule book, £200 worth of miniatures, £50 in paint/brushes/varnishes, spending hours/days/weeks painting their new miniatures … and THEN having to spend hours/days/weeks/months crafting terrain & scenery!
    And that’s all before they can play!

    But cost can be a factor.

    As you mentioned, printing – whether at a specialised print shop or at home – is stupidly expensive (I was quoted £140+ for a 128 page rulebook in colour, so that’s over £1 per page). I printed a print & play naval wargame recently – the download cost £17.95, and I had to buy cartridges for my printer … at £45 for the pair. So, in effect, that simple 20 pages of rules that I printed in b/w with 1 colour cover, along with b/w quick refs & 8 pages of colour counters, tokens & a map, cost me over £60.

    I could’ve bought a dozen miniatures & both rule books for General Quarters for half that price! But I’ve no room for the miniatures, which is why I opted for easily stored flat counters.

    But it’s not something I’m likely to do too often.

    • Mac

      Hi Vic,
      It really is a lot cheaper than buying a pre-made / printed product, but as you say there are costs associated with printing stuff yourself.

      But home printing now a days has improved a lot over the last year or two, my current printer prints out tons of stuff over a week, for instance with my robot game there was originally about 200 cards (double sided) plus boards, far too many for the final version, but I printed those out at least 6 times until I got the final set of cards and boards that are ready for the final design work.

      I have also printed out hundreds of pages of other stuff and my ink has hardly moved in my printer, and the new bottles of ink are really cheap compared to the old cartridge printers.

      I know how expensive it can be to get stuff printed at a normal print shop, but home printing is getting a lot better.

      Some of my normal rule books with all the extra pages of print out card sheets etc like The Last Drifters, I think I have printed all those out at least a dozen times, and most of the time full colour.

      I do take on board the cost of printing though and will definitely keep the price of any Print & Play games cheap, hey the first one we released was free!! can’t get much cheaper than that 😉

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