Hobby board games typically have small print runs. The most common numbers are 1500-5000 copies, at one or two print runs a year. Games can remain between prints for several months, or even easily go out of print.
Here’s what a print run size breakdown looks like.
- 500-1000: Home made. Part of production has to be done manually (by the publisher or the designer himself) to keep it cost effective.
- 1000-1500: Minimal. This is often the minimal number of copies printers or manufacturers require to schedule a job.
- 1500-5000: Print run size for most board games. Allows publishers to get volume discounts.
- 5000 +: Very successful title.
- 10000 +: Smash hit. For example, games ranked in Boardgamegeek’s top ten, or that got nominated for the Spiel des Jahres award.
The Spiel des Jahres is currently the most prestigious tabletop game award, and its winner is likely to sell between 350,000 and 500,000 copies. By comparison, mass-market board games like Monopoly or Scrabble have been continually selling at comparable numbers of copies every month for the last several decades.
References and Further Browsing
- Zev Shlasinger talks about print run sizes on Board Game University
- What is a boardgame print run like?, on Reddit
- Spiel des Jahres, on Wikipedia
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