On Tuesday morning I finally finished all thirty game boxes, then it was just a case of waiting for the proof of principle artwork to arrive back from the printers. The proof of principle copy is a single copy printed using the same printing and finishing as the final copies, so that I can check everything works OK before splashing out on the full print run.
The proof of principle is costing me £50, but the remaining 29 copies in the thirty copy run cost £205, so the total cost is £255, just under £9 each. Once you discount the copy I'm going to keep for myself and the copy I'm giving to the font creator, I'm only losing £3, which is entirely acceptable.
I've not used these printers before, so I wanted to check out the quality before committing £250 to the cause especially as there's also something I'm doing for the first time: printing the box wrappers onto self-adhesive labels - I need to check that this works ok. For Border Reivers and It's Alive! what I did instead was to print onto laminated paper and then paint the other side of the paper with watered down PVA glue which I then stuck onto the naked boxes.
I collected the proof of principle from the printers last night and have already folded the rule sheet and checked that works OK. The next step is cut out the cards and the box wrappers and stick the wrappers on to see how that works.
Both the box labels and the cards have been laminated - not in the horrible thick plastic pockets that you can do at home or in the office, but professionally. Professional lamination applies a very thin coat of plastic to the paper which gives it a nice smooth feel and also protects the ink from handling and wear and tear - very important for a card game!
I'm moderately concerned that the lamination isn't as good as the stuff used on Border Reivers. My copy of Border Reivers was printed in July 2006 (nine and a half years ago!) and has been played at least a hundred times - it was the official demo copy during the year I was trying to sell out of Border Reivers and recently we've been playing it again at Newcastle Playtest while I work on a second edition.
The Border Reivers cards arrived as two sheets of A3 card that I cut the fifty cards out of using a steel ruler and a craft knife and all these years later they still look perfect - there's no sign whatsoever of the laminate peeling round the edges or any bubbles where it has failed to ahdere properly.
It's too soon to tell whether the new cards are as good, seeing as I've received unfinished sheets (SRA3) that haven't been trimmed so I'm seeing a different view to what I had of Border Reivers (plus my memory is terrible, so I can't really remember what the original sheets looked like for Border Reivers). What I need to do now is cut the cards and the box labels out tonight on my return from Manchester and see what the final thing looks like - if the laminate isn't good enough, I'll have to go back to the original printer, despite my recent poor customer service experience with them.
Tonight all will be revealed!