My Initial Experience with AdMagic (And the CMYK color format)

One manufacturer I am using to make copies of Crazier Eights is AdMagic.

What is AdMagic and why use them?

AdMagic is a manufacturing company that makes board games (such as Cards Against Humanity) and probably other things as well. They can manufacture things in the USA, but larger orders are manufactured in China. However, paying a manufacturer to order things from China can actually be quite expensive and problematic. You have to deal with customs, deal with shipping huge crates of stuff across the ocean, and so on. It can cost a couple thousand dollars to have things shipped by boat from China.

AdMagic is supposed to deal with the various issues related for dealing with these difficult issues for you, and they will likely have several things shipped together from China to save of shipping costs. That’s one reason that I decided to use AdMagic as a manufacturer for Crazier Eights. Another reason is that they gave me a pretty good quote (estimation for cost), which is around $5.50 for each deck when 500 are printed. Other similar companies include Delano and Print Ninja. (Delano also has order fulfillment, and Print Ninja gave a pretty good quote for foil cards.)

Some of my experience

I knew AdMagic prefers to have everything prepared for in a CMYK color format as many manufacturers do (which is explained here). I like to make images using the Gimp and Paint.NET, but those programs can only make images in the RGB color format. And don’t even bother trying to use the patches that claim to be able to do such a thing because it will not go well. They also want the images in PDF files, but the most commonly used word processing programs ( and Microsoft Word) can’t make PDF files that use the CMYK color formats either. You need a special program to convert image files into the CMYK color format (and that can make PDF files in the CMYK format). I decided to use Photoshop to convert the files into the CMYK format (as TIF files) and Scribus to make the PDF files. I made the PDF files with each page in the same size as the templates, and used templates made by the Game Crafter. One PDF file contains all the cards, one card per page, and the first page contains the card back. (The poker card template and the 72 card tuck box template.)

Information about converting files to the CMYK format with photoshop can be found here. The colors (especially the blue colors) will look more dull after conversion. Some people say you should try to edit the image to correct the colors after conversion, but I have not found a good way to do it.

Information about using Scribus to make CMYK PDF files can be found here. I have heard that there is no need to convert files using Photoshop before making a PDF with Scribus in this way, but other people claim that the quality is not necessarily the best.

Also, note that AdMagic says on the website that they can convert a PDF into the CMYK format for free, but I was also told that they would charge me $60 per hour of converting my files to the CMYK format. Not sure what is going on there, but I decided just to convert the files myself.

AdMagic approved the PDF files I sent them and sent me back “proofs,” which are based on the files they use for printing the game. Everything looked fine, but they didn’t send me the box art proof (at first). Then when I got the box art proof, I realized that they changed the template that I used a little. Not sure why they did that, but there must be a reason and I saw no reason to argue about it. They also added the text “made in China” next to the bar code on the bottom of the box.

There’s often a wait period for when you order for a game to be manufactured. At one point AdMagic told me, “From the final proof of approval, it takes approximately 65-75 days turn around time [for the game to be manufactured].” I’m not sure if that includes the time to ship the game, but that seems unlikely at this point considering that it can take at least a month to ship something by sea from China.

I was also told that I would get an estimate for when the game would be manufactured after approving the proofs (which was originally August 7th). I haven’t heard anything yet, but I would like to think it would be done by October 21st considering the approximate turn around time stated earlier.

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