You only get one chance to make a first impression, and with tabletop games, the first impression starts with the box. The best way to start building your box is with the Panda Template Generator found here.
Two Piece Box
Make sure that your box is at least 15mm larger in each dimension than your largest component so that each component can be easily removed. The box also needs to be large enough to contain all of the components together. Your contact at Panda can help you determine the best box size for your game.
A magnetic box can make a great Kickstarter stretch goal or simply create a premium experience. Contact us for a template that matches your project.
If your game consists of only cards, the best container may be a lighter, one-piece tuck box. Just like the two piece box, you can generate custom templates for a tuck box with the Panda Template Generator found here. Does your tuckbox need a hang tab? Contact us for a template.
Do you have a product that is just a few cards and maybe a token? Foil packs are great for expansions and promos. Contact us for a template that matches your project.
Most game components are printed on paper. Below you will find all the information you need to ensure that your pieces are printed correctly.
Booklets & Paper Sheets
The rulebook is the most crucial part of your game, the part that has taken the most time and effort to get just right. A rulebook rarely takes the spotlight but still shines in its supporting role. Most rulebooks are saddle stitched, but we do offer perfect, spiral, and hardcover bindings.
Booklets / Saddle Stitched Booklets, also known as rulebooks, are usually saddle stitched (bound with staples). Booklets must contain at least 8 pages and consist of a number of pages that is divisible by 4. For booklets 64 pages, you will need to choose a different binding.
Single Sheet Paper Sheets are single sheets that can be folded to your specifications. A 4 page booklet would be a sheet folded in half. However, we can fold sheets in more ways than just in half.
Spiral Bound Our high quality spiral bindings allow your booklet to lay flat on the table. Our spirals are made of a thick, flexible plastic that keeps all the pages safely attached.
Perfect Bound / Softcover Perfect binding is recommended for booklets above 68 pages.
Hardcover Hardcover binding is a great option for RPG books and artbooks.
Panda’s card offerings go well beyond our standard bluecore. With 20 different standard sizes, three different paper cores, and a variety of finishes to jazz up your cards, Panda can turn an otherwise standard component into a highlight of your game. Ask for a Panda Design Toolkit to hold our cardstock options in your hands.
Your game board is the centerpiece of the tabletop gaming experience. Printing a custom back for your game board adds minimal cost and is an enormous opportunity. Should you have high ambitions for a giant game board, please note that the current maximum size for Panda manufactured game boards is 700mm x 1000mm.
Cardboard Mats may be used for individual player boards, token storage areas, scoring boards, or any number of purposes. These boards do not fold and they do not have wrapped edges. If your game requires a cardboard mat, making it square or rectangular will be the most cost efficient. Special shapes will require a die cut mold which will incur additional costs.
A punchboard is a versatile component that can be utilized to create a multitude of items such as tokens, tiles, trackers, dials, and even constructible cardboard components.
Dual Layer Punchboards: In some games, a double layer punchboard is a great solution. This type of punchboard is actually two layers of punchboard glued together. The top layer will have areas punched out of that can hold cubes, discs, meeples, or other components in a certain spot on that board.
Sometimes we need to hide our goods from the enemy! This is where a player screen, also known as a cardboard screen, may come in handy. Angled edges beyond the fold can make these stand up better. Player screens require an uploaded dieline file indicating trim and fold lines. If you need a template, contact us.
Do your players need to take notes during the game? A paper pad can be printed on one side or both, full color or black and white.
Are there stickers to be applied in your game? Or is your art so beautiful that it deserves to be a sticker too? Panda has stickers!
Sticker Sheets: Sticker sheets are “kiss cut,” meaning that the sheets that the stickers are on will be cut through the sticker part of sheet that has the artwork, but not through the backing paper
Sticker Cards: Sticker sheets can have a cardstock backing. They can come in any size, including standard card sizes.
Applied Stickers: Panda can also apply a sticker to the exterior of your game. This can come in handy if you have a special Kickstarter version.
There are many components that can go into a game. While many are common, some are unique. Below you will find information on our common game components. If you don’t see the component that you need listed here, contact your Account Manager to ask about it.
Roll for initiative and consider dice for your game. Dice are the ultimate randomizer, and they can make your game stand out. Come to us with your polyhedral vision. Size, shape, color, and iconography can all be customized to match your game. Wooden dice can fit the aesthetic of some games, but they are very difficult and costly to balance for a properly random roll. As a result, Panda does not currently offer wooden dice. Instead, we recommend using resin dice colored to mimic wood.
Standard: You can choose between any solid color for pips and body as well as a choice between sharp or rounded corners comes standard.
Molded: Molded dice are made in either acrylic or resin. Molded dice allow you to create a custom shape instead of the standard pips.
Wooden pieces, including cubes, meeples, discs, and other custom and standard shapes, add a great classic feel to a game. Nothing says "board game" like a road of wooden logs connecting tiny wooden houses. Wood is durable, cost effective, and produces a gratifying tactile experience. Most of Panda’s wooden components are made from high-quality birch; a durable and dependable wood. The birch pieces are then coated in any color you specify.
Common Shapes: The most common shapes for wood pieces are meeples, houses, pawns, cubes, rectangles, and discs.
Custom Shapes: Although we commonly use standard wooden shapes such as cubes and discs, all of Panda's wooden components are custom made. We don't have buckets of meeples waiting to be added to your game, so it is super easy to customize the shape, color, and size of your wooden pieces. Wood pieces shouldn’t be too small or too big. We do not recommend wooden pieces smaller than 6mm in diameter as they become very difficult to pick up and manipulate. In addition, our manufacturing process focuses on small board game pieces, so our production setup is not as well suited for larger wooden pieces (like a wooden box) or games that are primarily wood (like Jenga).
Panda has a few other basic components that don’t neatly fit into wood or plastic.
Sand timers add a sense of urgency to any game. Will your team be able to answer before the last grain falls? Sand timers are an essential part of many trivia games, and have found their way into drafting, dexterity, and other games where time is of the essence. Although most games that need a timing element use sand timers, we may have other timers available. Please ask your account manager if you are interested in a more unique option.
When requesting sand timers, you can specify the duration of the timer. We can make sand timers between 10 seconds and 15 minutes at 5 seconds increments. For example: 10 seconds, 15 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds… Timers under 30 seconds may run 3 seconds longer or shorter. Similarly, timers over 30 seconds may run 5 seconds longer or shorter. You can also customize the color of the bases and sand by specifying a Pantone color codes.
Writing implements like pens, pencils, and dry erase markers allow players to keep score, get creative, or modify a game. Pencils can be golf or standard size. Pens and dry erase markers come in standard size unless you request otherwise.
You can customize the color of the writing implements by specifying a Pantone color code. You can also specify the color for the ink in pens and dry erase markers. Erasers on the ends of the pencils or dry erase markers can also be included if requested. Don’t forget to add a printed design, such the game’s logo, along the side of the writing implement. This costs a bit more, but it makes the writing implement feel integrated into your game.
Glass Stones are round, flat-bottomed pieces like you might see in a Mancala game. They are great as counters, and thanks to their flat bottoms, won’t move around as much as other pieces.
Panda has many plastic pieces for you to choose from. These pieces are commonly used and readily available. All of these pieces have color options, and often you can choose a specific Pantone color for the plastic.
Plastic and Glass Shapes are exceptional in their versatility. There are many ways to describe them, but here's the terminology that Panda uses: Cubes come in a variety of sizes and are the most basic shape. Beads are round, flat-bottomed pieces like you might see in a Mancala game. They are great as counters, and thanks to their flat bottoms, won't move around as much as other pieces. Gems look a little bit like explosions, with varied surfaces and angles. They are great for games involving magic or energy. Diamonds, unsurprisingly, look like diamonds; not the geometric shape, but the stereotypical diamond a jewel thief steals from a museum. They are great in games involving gemstones or wealth collection. Panda also produces some less-common shapes, such as rockets and hearts, to help your game stand out. While most plastic shapes are made of acrylic, we may recommend glass or another type of plastic depending on the unique constraints of a particular shape.
2D Acrylic Shapes
Our 2D plastic shapes are made the same way that we make wooden shapes, but they are acrylic! If your game has a futuristic or shiny theme, you may prefer the gloss and expanded flexibility of acrylic. Just like wood, these shapes are sliced if the shape is sufficiently simple. More complex shapes can be laser cut. They can be silk screened and can be any Pantone color. Unlike wood, acrylic shapes can be translucent. Laser cutting is only available for shapes that are 10mm thick or less.
Plastic stands can be used to hold up cards or punch board pieces. They are a simple and cost-effective way to offer custom player pieces. Panda has several different molds to hold punch boards and cards of varying thickness. When you request plastic stands, please indicate what they will be holding to ensure we use the correct size. When designing your punch board pieces to be held in a stand, be sure to account for the space at the bottom of your design that will be covered by the plastic stand. Clear and black are the most common color requests, but you can customize the color by specifying a Pantone color code.
Counters & Discs
Plastic discs can range from tiny, thin tiddlywinks to larger, thicker, dealer chips. They make great coins, counters, or first player markers. Plastic discs are the simplest and cheapest option, and are available in a variety of thicknesses and diameters.
Rivets and Spinners Rivets are small round plastic pieces used to connect two pieces of punch board together. They can be used to create dials to track points or or other resources. Spinners are plastic arrows that can spin around for randomization.
The diameter of plastic rivets is 12mm; any important artwork should stay outside of the space covered by the rivet. The inner diameter is 8mm, so diecuts must have a 9mm hole for the rivet. We have available molds for 3.5, 4, 5, or 6mm thick cardboard. They can be applied to cardboard thickness within +-1mm. When you request plastic rivets, please indicate what they will be holding so we can ensure that you receive the correct size.
Storage & Organization
Now that you have picked out all of the components for playing your game, how will they be organized inside your box?
An insert tray not only keeps components from shifting around in the box, it also gives your gamebox a finished look. These trays can be simple or complex, cardboard or plastic.
Cardboard: The cardboard tray helps to keep your components organized and is another opportunity to print the lovely art for your game.
Plastic: A plastic insert tray is a vacuum formed plastic that keeps your game’s components in place. They are particularly useful for games containing minifigs.
Cloth Bags are ideal for keeping pieces organized or hidden. They can be made from five different materials: cotton, canvas, faux velvet, linen, and silk. Linen, cotton, and canvas are great for a rustic or antique feel, while velvet and silk suggest opulence.
All cloth bags can be made in the size and color that you specify. They all come with one drawstring standard, but you can request to upgrade to a second drawstring or even a zipper. Fabric preference may be as simple as personal taste, so be sure to consider the different decorative options available for each material. Nearly all materials can be silk screened or embroidered; however velvet bags do not silk screen well and can only be embroidered. Linen and canvas bags will be rough woven and have natural variances in the material.
Keep the contents of your game organized with zip bags, a plastic tray, or component containers! High quality zip bags cost only a few pennies each, but they go a long way towards customer satisfaction. With a bag for everything, set-up and clean-up are a breeze!
Vacuum formed component containers are another great option. These small plastic containers keep pieces organized when the game is put away, but also function as a bank or resource reserve during the game. The wells keep everything in place while allowing for easy retrieval of their contents. Component containers are under-utilized, and are therefore a great way to make your game stand out.
Plastic trays are an upgrade from custom fit cardboard trays. Vacuum formed plastic trays are the ultimate in customizable component containment.
Need a box inside of your box? The best way to start building your box is with the Panda Template Generator found at: pandagm.com/template-generator/
Tuckbox: If your game consists of only cards, the best container may be a lighter, one-piece tuck box. Just like the two piece box, you can generate custom templates for a tuck box with the Panda Template Generator found at: pandagm.com/template-generator/
Box Bottom: If your game consists of only cards, the best container may be a lighter, one-piece tuck box. Just like the two piece box, you can generate custom templates for a tuck box with the Panda Template Generator found at: pandagm.com/template-generator/
Two Piece Box: Why have just the bottom when you can also have the top? A small two piece box can hold treasures inside your gamebox.
Magnetic Box: A magnetic box can make a great Kickstarter stretch goal or simply create a premium experience. Contact us for a template that matches your project.
Take your game up a notch with custom shapes. They are a beautiful way to help your game stand out, but they do increase complexity, cost, and length of time to produce a game. Expect to provide detailed information about your custom piece and then expect multiple rounds of review and approval to ensure that the piece is created correctly.
When should I include custom plastics? That is a question that many board game publishers find themselves wondering. The decision to include custom plastics in your game is an exciting prospect that should be approached with careful consideration. Custom plastic figures are a beautiful way to help a game to stand out among the the hundreds of games that are released each year. However, custom plastics increase complexity, cost, and length of time to produce a game. Plastics also have a minimum order of 2500 units.
Snap Bases: To avoid the costs associated with reseting molds for different colered pieces, we offer plastic base snaps. They are colored round bases that snap snap onto the bottom of your plastic piece to denote player/faction in a way that is far more cost effective than casting additional miniatures.
Add some real treasure to your game with metal coins or explore the world of metal minifigs. Metal components are heavier than components made from other materials, so they have a great heft when picked up for that high-quality, premium feel. We typically use electroplated zinc to create our metal coins. Metal coins can be fully customized in size, shape, and design. Electroplating can produce any color, solid or translucent, on the zinc base.
Does your game need custom bits? Resin may be the answer. Resin pieces are made with a silicone mold, which makes them much easier to manufacture than plastic miniatures. However, as resin is brittle, custom bits must have strong structural integrity. The process for developing custom resin bits is very similar to the process for miniatures. First, you will need to submit your design. This is usually means sending us a physical sculpt, but we do accept STL files. We do not accept 3D printed samples. Our factory may make small adjustments to optimize for mass production. We recommend that polyresin pieces be kept to under 30 mm in diameter.