Requesting a Quote
Requesting a quote from a manufacturer is a fairly universal process. Some manufacturers have quote forms on their website you simply fill out and submit. Sometimes you have to request the quote form. And sometimes they don’t care, just submit a generic, industry-standard looking form.
Throughout this process, you’ll update your quote a bunch. You’ll see what the manufacturer has to say, you’ll make adjustments to your design and then re-submit your quote. You can also submit two quotes at the same time, one being a premium version of the game so you can see the price difference with upgraded components.
Keep in mind that exchange rates between countries are always fluctuating. You might update your quote a month from now to find that the price has changed on components you didn’t even adjust.
There are a few terms on a quote request form that might be confusing. But we’ll go over each step and then end with a fully filled-out form.
1) Be sure to include your contact info. This step’s hard to mess up. You can also include your shipping destination, although most manufacturers won’t quote the shipping. It’s just not a thing for some reason (until you get to the end of production).
2) Be sure to request pricing for different quantities of units. You want to see the price for 1000, 2000, and 5000 units. It’s important to see how the price changes once economies of scale kicks in. The more units you order, the cheaper the individual price.
3) Next is the main part: listing all the components. You’ll give the component name, quantity, dimensions, material, printing specs, finishing, and any other notes.
With regards to playing cards, not all manufacturers make the exact same dimensions. After seeing your quote, they might recommend a similar-sized card they already have a mold for. Also ask how many cards come on a sheet. I was once quoted for a normal deck of poker cards, and with a blackcore the sheet contained 54 cards, but with whitecore the sheet contained 55 cards.
For 3D plastic components, if you already have the design file you can submit it to get a more accurate quote. If not, just give the general dimensions of the component to get an idea of what it’ll cost.
For the materials, you don’t have to be super specific. Just give the basics. The manufacturer will fill in the rest if necessary. For instance, I said my boards are 2mm thick and double-sided. The quote came back with this filled-in: 250g CCNB(2 sides) + 2mm greyboard. That’s their official jargon. The board is made from 2mm greyboard, and there’s a paper coating on each side that’s 250g thick. That’s their standard way of making that component. You can ask if there are ways to upgrade or downgrade that component.
4) For each component that requires artwork, you’ll need to describe the type of printing. Is the image full color? Grayscale? Front and back? This is done using a code. The code is comprised of only three separate numbers:
4C Full Color
0C No Artwork
The code is then arranged side by side to describe the front and back of the component. Examples:
4C/4C Full color on the front, full color on the back
4C/1C Full color on the front, grayscale on the back
1C/0C Grayscale on the front, no image on the back
Saying there’s no artwork (0C), would just result in the raw material being exposed. Sometimes a board only faces up and the back is never used. That being said, it’s actually inexpensive to print on both sides. You’re not saving that much money. Might as well add some flare.
For your own bit of knowledge, the four in 4C represents the four colors used in professional printing: Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black. Often called CMYK.
5) You’ll want to describe the finishing for each component with artwork. Such as matte, lamination, varnish, glossy.
6) The last section is general notes. This is where’d you mention if you want your playing cards holographic or something random.
But I would also take the time to clarify your color intentions. For instance, you may list you want five plastic miniatures. But are the miniatures all the same color? Or are they different and color-coded per player? That would affect your price.
Here is a quote I used for Plunder. You'll notice it says Version 5. The first quote I submitted was not this detailed but I learned along the way.