Designer Diary #5: The Primary – Printers and Quoting

Thanks for checking out the fifth entry in our Designer Diary! This post has been way overdue and there is a lot to cover, but today I will focus on printers and quoting for our game, The Primary.


The Primary is a light, election-themed game where each player is a candidate during a United States presidential primary election. Over the course of the game, players campaign across the country – gaining influence, running advertisements, lobbying to Super PACs, and more – all in the hopes of winning the most delegates. Simultaneous action, area control, and action programming mechanics keep each round exciting until the very end!

Check out our previous Designer Diary entries for more insight into our game design process for The Primary.

The Primary


A lot has happened since my last Designer Diary entry and I’m not even sure where to begin. The game has been continually refined and the solo variant has undergone a lot of changes. Playtesting has continued to provide useful feedback, and a couple more people have provided some good remote playtests. I have done a few “rulebook swaps” with other board game designers, and that has proved very useful! A shout out to John Brieger (@dasbrieger) for the great idea!

So onto today’s topic: printers and quoting. I have been doing a lot of follow up work with a number of printers as the game design gets refined and components get added and removed from the game. I initially started out using James Mathe’s “Hitchhiker’s Guide to Manufacturing” to reach out to printers. From there, I provided the same exact RFQ (request for quotation) to each. The hope was to compare relative costing and here is what I found:


This was very eye-opening for a couple reasons. First, there was quite a difference in cost between the various printers. Second, it was interesting to see the exponential nature of the game cost vs quantity printed. Finally, it is important to note that some printers had different capabilities and components available – so the above chart is not a 100% apples to apples comparison. For example, most printers said plastic cubes were cheaper, but one claimed wood cubes were cheaper for them!


I’m sure this will sound like a broken record, but remote playtesting has continued to be a struggle. We get a few new playtesters signing up online via our website or Twitter every now and then, and even send some components to help out the setup, but the response rate on actual remote playtests continues to be very low. Does anyone have advice on how to get better remote playtesting engagement?


Protospiel Chicago is this weekend and I am rushing to finish up some last-minute prototyping and preparations. This is only my second protospiel, and this time, I’ll try to be there for all three days. I’m hoping to playtest some cool games and hopefully get some good feedback on The Primary.

Thanks for reading our Designer Diary! What else would you like to hear about? What did you find boring? Feel free to share your thoughts and comment below!

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