Monday, August 24

Print on Demand: A Review

After considering the prolific Daniel Solis' Kigi for a while, I happened to catch a note of his on Google+ a couple of weeks ago stating that it was the final day of the sale he runs every summer. So I decided to jump in an order a copy of Kigi from Drive Thru Cards.


Kigi is a beautiful game (that much is clear from all the pictures I've seen of it) and it struck me as a good opportunity to check out how Print on Demand (POD) works from a customer's perspective while considering it as a publisher (since it's another option I've been considering for publishing Zombology).

The process
I ordered the game one Saturday night from the Drive Thru Cards website. Pretty standard stuff, it was easy to use and all went very smoothly. I bought Kigi ($9 sale price) and a plastic deck box ($1) which all seemed very reasonable. Shipping to the UK was $14.70 which was a bit galling, that's more than the game! Still with the exchange rate the whole thing came to about £16, which doesn't seem to bad for a small print run game.

I got an email on Tuesday telling me they had shipped the game, which is not bad considering they had to print it and cut it out first. Shipping took eight days - arriving on the following Wednesday in a little box which protected it nicely during transit.


  • The biggest advantage of POD from publisher's point of view is the lack of associated hassle and cost. If I make a hand-made game and sell it through my website there's a lot of time and effort required, plus a lot of upfront cost if I don't KickStart it. With POD all I'd have to do is upload the files and choose a retail price, no cost or effort involved.
  • The cards were very well made, better than I could manage by hand.
  • Shipping to the US/Canada will be quicker and cheaper than from me in the UK.
  • Cross-selling opportunities - people going there to by one of Daniel's or another designer's games might see an ad for Zombology and add it to their order.


  • Shipping to the UK (where a lot of my friends & family customers are) is exorbitant.
  • I prefer card games in tray and lid boxes with large format rules - I broke the plastic deck box the day I got it and having the rules on half a dozen cards is a bit fiddly, it's easy to get them muddled up.

If the shipping to the UK wasn't so high, I'd be very tempted by Drive Thru Cards. There are other options (e.g. The Gamecrafter) that might have more affordable shipping and different packaging options. I need to investigate those too.

In other news, I'm making decent progress on my German app, it's coming along very nicely. What I really need to do now is get a load of vocabulary into it. I need to start reading the data from a file, rather than hard-coding it in.

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