The Costs of Producing an RPG

Or more to the point, the costs of producing the 6d6 RPG. These are a bit different from your average game which generally consists of a soft or hardback book. Like everything in 6d6, we take have an alternative approach.

This is a breakdown of our costs for producing a copy of Outbreakas seen in yesterday’s post Making A 6d6 Game.

Printing the Pages (78) £5.21
Producing the covers (2) £2.19
Producing the cards (240) £6.32
Ring Binders for book and card decks (9) £1.05
Packaging £0.16

Full details of these costs can be found on the spreadsheet.

On top of these costs we also have to pay the writer. Because we believe that writers should be paid a reasonable amount, we pay our authors 1/3 of the sales prices. At the £25 sales prices that means £8.33 which it means for every copy of Outbreak! sold, 6d6 makes £1.41.

Cutting Costs

Reducing costs is always a smart move for a business and for 6d6 it is critical. At current cost levels we cannot afford to place Outbreak! into the shops because there is no margin. We would have to sell it at a loss if we wanted shops to carry it. Whilst we can justify the pitiful £1.41 of profit as a loss leader to get people into the 6d6 RPG,we cannot afford to sell it at an actual loss.

One approach to saving money would be to change the format of the book. To use a traditional soft back book from a print-on-demand supplier but this has two problems.

Firstly it won’t save that much money. Even if the cover was effectively free, the book will still costs £5.21 and on top of this, there still needs to be all the cards. It would give me an extra £2.19 in profit but it is still not enough to allow retailers a decent margin or for me to drop the price and increase sales that way.

Secondly, one of 6d6’s aims is to be different from other RPGs. 99% of all RPGs look the same and 99% of all RPGs sell badly and I suspect there may be a connection. The ring binder approach makes us stand out, making us a 6d6 product instantly recognisable. Plus it makes it easy for us to include player handouts in products and for GMs to modify and tweak the product – something fundamental to 6d6’s philosophy.

Strength In Numbers

One of the chief goals of putting together the 2012: The Year We Make a Profit spreadsheet was to identify how many copies of the books I need to sell. With this information I can out-source production of the books and order an appropriate number of copies.

It is probable, given the small number of copies I will be selling of each title, that out-sourcing production will not save me money. It should, however, improve the quality of the products. If out-sourcing can do neither of these, then it is not worthwhile.

One area where I’m confident I can save money and improve quality is in the production of the cards. Currently they cost about £0.03 per card. By using a professional, just for printing the cards and not even cutting them, I should be able to improve the product. Getting costs down to £0.2 per card will save me over £2 per product. On it’s own, not much but when combined with other savings, it might just give me a big enough margin for retail distribution.

The Next Step

We need to finish work on 6d6 Shootouts because it has much fewer cards per deck but critically, we will need a much larger number of each deck. This makes it the product that will give me the quickest and biggest return from out-sourcing. Once the design is completes, we can approach suppliers with the broad spread of my requirement for both 6d6 Shootouts and the RPG and there should be at least one printer who provide some of what I need at decent price.

Realistically, with the 6d6 Shootouts work and Christmas, it will be early in the new year before I can make any real progress on bringing down the production costs.