Game Component Manufacturing – Educate Me!
Sure, right now there just may not be any domestic option, forcing a publisher’s hand. But with more and more games being produced every year, is there finally a substantial enough need for this sort of service to be fulfilled here in the states?
Even if board printing and mounting and card printing/cutting/collating aren’t realistic to expect locally, what about all the other components? Custom molds for injection-molded plastic figures and bits, the omnipresent painted wooden cubes and discs, and custom-cut cardboard counters and pieces… There are bound to be businesses already set up and able to perform these functions. Is it simply a matter of scale? That the gaming industry needs pale in comparison to other businesses who need custom tooling or dies?
I wish a company would take the initiative and offer components – it’s sorely needed. Not only from the publishers themselves, but I’d suspect there would be some interest and demand (albeit rather small compared to publishers) for the casual gamer. It seems that everyone is a designer in their heart of hearts, and would love to have access to nice quality bits to develop their prototypes. Or as avid gamers who tinker with rules and customize games to suit their tastes, having a lot of extra bits on hand is always handy.
I know I’d buy hundreds of cubes myself, in a variety of different colors, to make each and every prototype I develop as professional-looking as possible. And I’d fill up my Bits Box – a large tackle box – with extra bits and pieces to serve as emergency stand-ins whenever something goes missing or we want to try out some house rules.