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The Gory Details of making Chaos Tiles
I'm a mathematician, not a retailer. When I was starting this, I thought that game shops would be happy with a $1 profit per game. NO. Since then, some kindly wise merchants (Ty and Tom) explained the Keystone Pricing system to me. Keystone pricing: Retail price = 2 * Wholesale price. It was news to me. I have my wholesale price listed below (more gory details below). I want my game to sell in stores, so I've raised the price accordingly. Complicating this is a national news story about my game. A news story listed the price as $12 + shipping at my website, or $12.95 at The Complete Gamer. Well, the shipping is $5.40 just for postage. The game weighs over three pounds! I ignored advice to make the game as light as possible -- I wanted sturdy, solid, indestructible heavy pieces. In order to help out game stores, I've raised the price from $18 to $20. The game is well worth that price. Several people have told me I should charge at least $30 for the game, but I'm ignoring them. Feel free to buy wholesale, if you'd like.
I had an idea for a game. First, I tried going to a laser cutter. That worked out okay, and I got two sheets of plexiglas cut. With the pieces, I was able to make large, beautiful patterns. Cost of laser cutting -- $200, four months. This took a lot of waiting time, and I never did get a large version of the game.
Since that company wasn't interested in making sets for general sale, I started looking for industrial firms that could make my product. It is surprisingly easy to find firms in the Orient. I negotiated with a Korean firm for awhile, but they weren't set up to do exactly what I wanted. Later I found a firm in Hong Kong that makes dominoes, dice, poker chips, and other materials for most of the world. I sent them a letter with a diagram of what I wanted, and they agreed to make it for me.
Each die cost $1300. Four dies. The pieces turned out beautiful, so I decided to go forward. $5200, and two months.
I needed a box to put the pieces in. Fortunately, the Hong Kong firm made a beautiful, 9-sided box for me, free. Blank, though
I didn't have the right software to design the box myself. I went to a graphics studio that could also do four-color separations. The hired a professional photographer to make the cover ($450). The fee for the design and four color separation was $1545.00. All the color plates then got shipped to Hong Kong for final assembly. This all took about two months.
Each nonagonal box was .40
Each nonagonal tray was .56
Each 90 piece set was 3.40
The minimum order was 3000 sets, so $13,080.00 for all the games.
To get the completed games from Hong Kong to Denver cost me $1424.15. Then I had to deal with warehouse fees, customs, and other things. A broker I hired ($250) handled the paperwork, the phone calls, and kept the prices down. Still, by the time it was delivered to my house, I had to pay another $1156.09
All told, $23055.24 to get my game made. That's actually pretty good, considering how unusual the game is, and the high quality of the components. I can try to establish the game and break even if I sell each game for $7.69. I'd like to make some profit, though, so I can fund my next project.
Toys R Us sent me some details
of what I would need to sell my game at their stores. Of all the
companies I wrote to, they were the most helpful.
1. $3 million in liability insurance. I'm still looking at the details on this, but I'm told this won't be too expensive.
2. A scannable UPC (Universal Product Code). That's $500 from http://www.uc-council.org.
If you can convince a game store near you to stock Chaos Tiles, I'll send you a free set (go here for details). Roger Phillips has discovered an infinite family of convex shapes with Chaos Tiles. I will call this the Neuquen Hexagon, based on the provincial shield of Neuquen.
Neuquen Shield, Neuquen Hexagon, Lid of game box