In Lesson #6, Dan takes a close look at what it means to work with a Chinese manufacturer and WinGo, in particular. He answers questions of many new game publishers about how to communicate, get the right costs, and produce a quality product.
Sorry it has been so long since my last post. Between working on manufacture/fulfillment of one kickstarter campaign, planning the launch of another, signing one of my games with another publisher, judging the Worker Placement design challenge through the Game Crafter, two kids, and a full time job, I have been VERY busy to say the least. No complaints here as these are all things I love, I just have not had the time to devote to writing a post here in a while (almost a whole month!!).
This post is going to take an in depth look at my experiences working with WinGo Industry Ltd as a manufacturer to print my first two major titles, Dino Dude Ranch and Dirigible Disaster. Dino Dude Ranch has been printed and fulfilled to backers while Dirigible Disaster has just completed mass production and should be on a boat by now.
In examining my collaboration with Wingo for the production of Dino Dude Ranch, I am going to discuss the following topics:
- Quality of Product
- Quality Control/Issues
- Overall Experience
Wingo at a glance-
- Location – Their factory and offices are both in Huizhou City, Guangdong Province, China. They also have an office in Hong Kong.
- Shipping Terms – FOB (Free on board, they cover export fees and delivery of the games to the boat of your choice in Shenzhen Port.
- Freight Forwarding Options – WinGo offered to coordinate freight forwarding for us but the cost was almost double the quote we received from another trusted freight forwarder so we declined WinGo’s offer to set this up and coordinated it ourselves.
- Fulfillment options – WinGo actually offers fulfillment of your campaigns to all of your backers. I chose to take advantage of this offer to have them fulfill the games to my Asian and Australian backers only.
Communication: Through my entire experience with WinGo, I worked directly with Ivan. Ivan responded as fast as would be reasonably expected considering our time difference and he was willing to go above and beyond in order to answer every one of my requests, from additional stretch goal pricing to help with questions regarding final file sizes and templates. There were some times where I had extended periods of radio silence but Ivan always made sure to point out that he was sorry for the delay and give some explanation as to why it took so long to get back to me. I understand that I am not their only customer and they have things come up such as illnesses or holidays that may prevent them from getting back to me quickly. Ivan’s English was very good and if there was ever an issue of his understanding a particular request of mine, he made sure to clarify, ask additional questions, and verify that we were always on the same page.
What I also loved about Ivan was that he always took the time to ask how I, my family, and my projects were doing. He seemed to generally care about my business and personal life and it is this extra attention that really strengthened our working relationship.
Costs: The costs for WinGo are extremely competitive (read this as inexpensive). I will be honest that I was initially worried about quality issues because the costs were so low (read ahead to find out that the quality ended up being REALLY good). I had received quotes from Whatz Games, AdMagic, PrintNinja, QPC, and Panda. Even with discounts and comparing costs at higher print quantities from other companies, WinGo’s prices were always the lowest for my quotes. Another nice feature with WinGo is that they have a lower MOQ (Minimum Order Quantity) than some other printers, so I was able to lower my Kickstarter campaign goals as I could base the bare minimum needed to fund off of a lower print order. All in all, WinGo’s prices were by far the best for the types of products that I needed. In interacting with other publishers, I have found that WinGo’s quotes are not always the lowest, but for the particular components and products I needed, they always came in at the lowest for me. Every project is different and each printer handles the project in their own way.
Quality of Product: I cannot impress enough how happy I am with the final product that I received. The box was very thick and sturdy. I think my favorite quote from one of my backers was “I think I can stand on this box and it will support me”. I received so many compliments from backers, retailers, and distributors complimenting me on how nice the final product ended up. Everyone who has had the chance to hold Dino Dude Ranch has had nothing but praise about the quality of all of the components. WinGo pulled through with not only the box, rulebook and cards, but they also produced amazing quality custom dice and custom cut wooden bits. The final detail within the dice faces and the clean sharp edges of the wooden bits left me quite impressed with the quality of work WinGo is capable of and it basically sealed the deal for me to want to use them to produce the next game I published (which also had multiple custom dice and custom wooden pawns). WinGo exceeded my expectations for the type of product they could produce, especially for the cost that they were charging me, and I am happy to say that I plan to work with them on future projects (and have already worked with them for another game after this one).
Timeframe: This is the first time I have had to experience printing in China, so I had no previous experience to base my expectations on. I believe WinGo took a reasonable amount of time getting the game printed. As I previously stated, I can appreciate that I am not their only customer and that I placed my order during their busy season. Here is a list of milestones throughout production that give a clear view of how long it took.
Timeframe for Dino Dude Ranch:
- Deposit paid – 7/14/2015
- Proof Copy received 9/1/2015
- Updated files submitted – 9/7/2015
- Mass Production completed – 11/15/2015
- Games delivered to warehouse – 11/23/2015
The timeframe of a month and a half to print the proof seemed about normal for me. I expected it to take about a month to do this and it was just about 2 weeks longer than that, which was ok in my book. We are also at the freighting stage for Dirigible Disaster and it is pretty much on the exact same timeframe we saw with Dino Dude Ranch. Although the proof copy timing has been right where I expect it, I was a little frustrated that Dino Dude Ranch took two and a half months to print and pack in the warehouse as I was initially told that it would only take around 30 days. There were some issues with the custom dice but WinGo contacted their supplier to make sure the dice were nothing short of top notch. The correction of the dice, a mistake I made that required them to remove one card from every packed game, and the fact that it was one of their busiest times of the year ended up causing the delay. Not a huge deal to me as I prefer delivering a quality game over rushing it out the door.
Quality Control/Issues: For the final printing, I only had one complaint myself; I was a little unhappy with the final box coloring as it appeared to have printed a little darker than I expected. Fortunately, my wife (and many other people that I talked to about it thought that the darker coloration looked just as good if not better than what we expected it to be. This was my only complaint about the final printing, but what sorts of errors did my backers and customers find? I have sold and shipped out over 600 copies of the game so far and have since heard back a total of 2 total complaints. The two complaints were 1.) One copy of the deluxe game only contained 18 of the wooden leaf bits instead of 20. 2.) One of the boxes had shrink wrap melted into the box. Both of the issues were minor and easily resolvable. Considering there have only been 2 issues in 600 games, I would say this is a phenomenal error rate.
Overall Experience: As you can from my ramblings, I have nothing but praise for WinGo. They gave me a great overall customer experience, a great cost, and a great quality product. They went above and beyond with fantastic customer service and communication and when they sent my product, they even included two cases of spare bits. I probably have 100 or more copies of each component (shrink wrapped card packs, dice, deluxe upgraded components that will work out well as convention giveaways, etc) and I am just blown away with how accommodating they have been through this entire process. I have already agreed to print my second major title with them and plan to stick with them for future projects as well.
I hope you found this helpful and will consider using WinGo for the printing of your game too. Quotes are free, so it cannot hurt to reach out to them and see if their pricing works for you.
Thanks for taking the time to read this and please stay tuned for my next post (that will hopefully be posted with less of a break between posts!).
Disclaimer: I am not an employee for WinGo Industry Ltd. They did not ask me to post a review about them and I have no interest or relationship to the company other than that they printed two of my games. I wrote this review on my own accord as I was extremely satisfied with the services I received in my collaboration with the company.