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Discussion about printing companies and how they add value to a kickstarter proj

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Medicus

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Hi,
I have been observing the kickstarter playing card market for quite a while now and since I started to hire an artist to draw me my own deck I also checked a lot of printing companies. And the more I learn about these things the more I wonder about how much influence a printing company name has on the success of a kickstarter campaign and if this is in all cases justified. Here is what I could find so far or I believe about their preceived value for a kickstarter campaign:
Most decks are produced by MPC, USPCC and EPCC/LPCC and a few by Gamblers Warehouse

USPCC seem to add most value to a campaign (see here http://www.playingcardforum.com/index.php?topic=7131.0;viewresults or just check comments on campaigns and reviews on youtube for kickstarter decks). 

EPCC/LPCC seem to offer best quality when I go through this and other forums. But this doesn`t seem to translate into a higher perceived value in kickstarter campaigns compared to USPCC.

MPC seems to add a very low perceived value to a campaign. Some people even argue you can`t do fancy shuffles with their decks because of their laser cut.

Gamblers Warehouse, I couldn`t find much about them which is really a pitty considering they are one of two(the other one being MPC) companies that not only print but also do fulfilment and got some fitting mechandise. And they claim to deliver cards in USPCC quality. But since nobody knows about them I would assume they offer little in value to a kickstarter campaign. At least they are not perceived as lower quality as MPC (could be wrong here).

Real Quality and Price Points
When I now consider only price and quality and not the strength of their brand name then I would say Gamblers Warehouse offers most. USPCC quality like decks, saving costs and problems for fulfilment is at the printing facility and you can easily add merchandise to your kickstarter campaign. And it is all located in the US where most if the customers come from (easily checkable when you click on community in any kickstarter campaign).

Worst seem to be USPCC in that regard. You have to order 10% more decks for they don`t know how much decks are destroyed in the production process (but you pay 100% even though u get 90% in worst case scenario). Then you have to ship those to a fulfilment center which cost money and is increasing the complexity of your project. And all that for the same quality of Gamblers Warehouse.

Best quality and customer service seems to be with EPCC/LPCC when I read through the forum. But since they produce in Taiwan they add not only the fulfilment problem to an order but also the transport over see and different countries to it (longer lead times, possible custom problems ect.).

And then there is MPC. Same advantages as Gamblers Warehouse but their card quality is a bit lower. But for that you can print a few decks for showcasing easily.

Please note that everything here is up for discussion and please feel free to correct me or add stuff. My overall goal is to get more information to make a smart decision for my kickstarter campaign.

Thanks
Chris
 

 

Eddie Hughlett

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Chris,

I would put Gamblers Warehouse in-house printed decks on par with MPC, maybe even a little below.  GW is where you want to go to have a 50th reunion deck printed or convention giveaway decks, not collectable or working magician decks. Most collectable GW decks are printed by USPCC or EPCC. I think your decision is getting harder week by week as the competition between EPCC/LPCC and USPCC over quality seems to have forced USPCC to up their game so to speak.  I do believe a year ago Expert or Legends was a step ahead of USPCC, but maybe not now. A choice of any of these three could give you a quality end result. Tough decision for sure. I do believe GW is currently the best with fulfillment. 
 

 

Medicus

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Thanks for the feedback Eddie. But is it possible that GW has 2 kind of card quality? When you ask them they say they produce bicycle quality cards if you order 1000 and more. Otherwise they use a digital printing for lower numbers which sounds more like what you describe with MPC quality.

But for the pereceived value of a customer, if most thing they only produce in MPC quality that would be terrible for a collectors deck.

It is not getting easier...
 

 

Don Boyer

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Thanks for the feedback Eddie. But is it possible that GW has 2 kind of card quality? When you ask them they say they produce bicycle quality cards if you order 1000 and more. Otherwise they use a digital printing for lower numbers which sounds more like what you describe with MPC quality.

But for the pereceived value of a customer, if most thing they only produce in MPC quality that would be terrible for a collectors deck.

It is not getting easier...

If you're talking about best value and best quality, it's not a hard choice at all.

USPC does have a century-plus-long reputation and is known for quality - BUT they're also more expensive in general, though you'd have to check with them yourself to be sure.  Using one of their venerable name brands can help to improve your sales, but will also add to your per-deck costs for the premium they'll charge you for using it and it's not a guarantee of success.

LPCC and EPCC have a reputation for a very good, very competitive price and a very high standard of quality.  It's difficult to go wrong using them.  My personal preference of the two is Expert, but both companies are quite good.  Both were built by catering to the Kickstarter crowd and specializing in making a high-end deck for serious users and collectors that's worth the premium they sell for in the marketplace.  Both companies are led by people well known not just to collectors, but to magicians and cardists as well - Lawrence Sullivan at Legends is a prominent magician based in Hong Kong, while William Kalush is a VP in 52 Plus Joker and the owner/operator of the Conjuring Arts Research Center as well as being a skilled magician and sleight-of-hand artist in his own right.  Both know the qualities a real "worker's deck" needs to have and that's exactly what they produce.
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EndersGame

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USPCC seem to add most value to a campaign (see here http://www.playingcardforum.com/index.php?topic=7131.0;viewresults or just check comments on campaigns and reviews on youtube for kickstarter decks). 

EPCC/LPCC seem to offer best quality when I go through this and other forums. But this doesn`t seem to translate into a higher perceived value in kickstarter campaigns compared to USPCC.

MPC seems to add a very low perceived value to a campaign. Some people even argue you can`t do fancy shuffles with their decks because of their laser cut.

Gamblers Warehouse, I couldn`t find much about them which is really a pitty considering they are one of two(the other one being MPC) companies that not only print but also do fulfilment and got some fitting mechandise. And they claim to deliver cards in USPCC quality. But since nobody knows about them I would assume they offer little in value to a kickstarter campaign. At least they are not perceived as lower quality as MPC (could be wrong here).

Thanks for getting some discussion on this started.  I have a few comments:

1. The poll you referenced was posted almost three years ago, back in 2014.  So I don't think it's fair to say on the basis of the results there that people prefer USPCC to EPCC/LPCC.  I suspect that since then EPCC/LPCC have won over more people with their quality, which is at least equal or better to that of USPCC.  If you were to run a similar poll today, you'd likely see EPCC/LPCC get a better response than in 2014.

2. I recently did a detailed comparison between the quality of USPCC decks versus EPCC/LPCC decks.  You might find it an interesting read - see this thread:
Analysing the quality/handling of a USPCC deck vs EPCC decks: four key elements

3. I'm not sure that Gamblers Warehouse should be mentioned alongside USPCC, EPCC/LPCC and MPC.  Aren't they more of a production/fulfilment company, rather than a printing company?  The in-house produced decks that I have by Gamblers Warehouse have been printed by different companies, including USPCC (recent example here), but also EPCC/LPCC (recent examples here and here).

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Don Boyer

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3. I'm not sure that Gamblers Warehouse should be mentioned alongside USPCC, EPCC/LPCC and MPC.  Aren't they more of a production/fulfilment company, rather than a printing company?  The in-house produced decks that I have by Gamblers Warehouse have been printed by different companies, including USPCC (recent example here), but also EPCC/LPCC (recent examples here and here).

Gambler's Warehouse also owns the Liberty Playing Card Company, a printer founded in Chicago in 1970.  Less than a decade later, they relocated to Arlington, Texas, and after another decade they acquired Western Publishing's playing card operations and brands.  Arguably, their most well-known product was the "Iraq's Most Wanted" deck in 2003.

There's even a bit of controversy around that deck.  The US military inadvertently used Hoyle jokers on the deck without obtaining USPC's permission; though the company didn't formally object to the military using their design, they did object to a private company using their design.  While I don't know what action if any was taken, I suspect that USPC didn't pursue anything legal against Liberty - they were simply printing it for the government.  Regardless, it raised the company's profile noticeably and resulted in an increase in their business, though to this day they're still more known for making company decks and ad decks than they are for making collectible decks - as noted, most of their production work in the field of collectibles has been farmed out to either Expert PCC or USPC.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liberty_Playing_Card_Company
(It's a very short read - half of what's in the article I posted in the paragraph above!)
« Last Edit: June 19, 2017, 04:54:43 AM by Don Boyer »
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Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured. Mark Twain