Maybe it’s time for board and RPG game publishers to start thinking about domestic manufacturing?

So before you click off, hear me out.

As has been discussed ad nauseum, the woes of freight costs from China continue to loom over the hobby space like a dark cloud. This problem is not going away any time soon, and in fact it continues to get worse by all accounts. With this, most publishers (smaller ones even moreso) are faced with very difficult decisions concerning current and upcoming projects. These hurdles are causing ripples across the entire industry, all of which ultimately will affect you, the consumer.

Maybe it’s time to look at shifting manufacturing? If not from China to the stateside, what about Mexico? They have a very robust manufacturing infrastructure. Manufacturing in Mexico accounts for over 17% of the country’s total gross domestic product. That’s 6% more than that of the US, and 7% greater than Canada’s. Overall, manufacturing is among the most significant contributors to Mexico’s GDP.

Mexico is a thriving hub for a variety of manufacturing industries including medical devices, aerospace and defense, electronics and of course the automotive industry, one of the most popular industry sectors with an export value of $173 billion.

So why not look to add game publishing to that list?

Granted, this kind of change would invariably cause a rise in prices across the board. But would the change in prices be worth it in the long run, if that change would remove the uncertainty that currently surrounds product delivery timelines? Would you the consumer be willing to pay a little more if you knew that a project would be delivered on time or at the very worst close to a projected time?

Keeping in mind the rising costs of Tabletop games has also been a point of conversation, but at what point do we have to admit that what has worked up until this point no longer does? Do I think ultimately that we’ll see an enmasse exodus from China manufacturing for games? Of course not. The larger publishing houses are set, and their margins allow them to better absorb what is going on currently.

But the smaller to mid level companies might at the very least kick the tires to see if this idea has any merit whatsoever. One of best small/mid level publishers in the market, Troll Lord Games, has been printing either in house or stateside for, well forever. And their pricing is about a bargain level as you can get. So it definitely can be done.

The question is, what would it take to make a switch like this?

I of course don’t have that answer, but if something isn’t working, the definition of insanity is….well you know.

As always, leave a comment with your thoughts. Until next time, LLAP!

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