Greetings friends. Welcome back to The BoozeGames’ guide on How to Make a Drinking Game (or any game). This is Part Four of our four-part blog series that aims to assist any tipsy (or not) game maker to understand the entire process of making their game. We have broken the process into ten steps. Part One discussed creation and the first four steps; everything from idea to graphic design. Part One can be found here. Part Two covered steps five and six which covered the lovely process that is everything to do with manufacturing. Part two can be found here. Finally, Part Three was step seven. It delved in to the legal considerations you should familiarise yourself with, and can be found here.
Now we come down to the home stretch. Part Four, below, will primarily deal with logistics and fulfilment. These will be steps eight and nine. Logistics and fulfilment mean how to get your game from the manufacturer to wherever it will be stored for distribution, and then how to distribute it to your customers. We will also briefly touch on marketing right at the end in step ten!
Enough intro. Shut up me. Let’s dive in shall we.
Step 7: Logistics - From Manufacturer to Your Storage
There are so many options of how you handle logistics and freight for your booze game that it can feel quite overwhelming. Let us try to take the edge off that.
For starters, unless you are shipping a very small quantity of items, air freight is going to be unfeasible financially so we’re not even going to bother talking about that. If you’re producing anything in bulk, you’re going to want to get it to you / your storage via ocean freight and trucking. Especially if it's coming from Asia.
Now, when it comes to shipping and overland options, there are many different possibilities out there. It is IMPERATIVE you find a good one, or your goods might be damaged, delayed, lost, or incur all sorts of extra fees. Personally, after spending some time wrapping my head around everything, I decided it the best option for us was to use a freight forwarding company that could handle absolutely everything from A to B.
What is a freight forwarder? A freight forwarder, or forwarding agent, is a person or company that organises shipments for individuals or corporations to get goods from a producer or manufacturer to a destination. They act as an intermediary between you and all the various logistics companies. Basically, they can take care of your crap from start to finish and are experienced and adept at dealing with international freight.
Think about it, do you really want to be researching trucking companies, shipping companies, filling out customs forms and paying customs tax, then figuring out trucking again? Dealing with each different entity along each step of the way? Or figuring out temporary storage every step of the way? It’s possible, and you can absolutely do this, but for us we wanted an end-to-end solution, with all costs covered up front, and to be able to go hands off and relax. We had also decided to sell exclusively on Amazon and in Australia, Canada, and the USA. This meant there was also prep work and labelling for Amazon we needed done as well.
Fortunately, there is a massive amount of freight forwarders and total end to end solutions that include any prep needed for your products. However, this also means there are many companies to be avoided. You should spend lots of time researching companies, reading their reviews, speaking to their customers, and doing your due diligence before making any commitments.
In the end, we went with FBABEE, and could not have been happier with how smooth the process was. Remember though, we wanted our partner to be able to prep for Amazon in multiple countries as well as everything else. If you’re simply shipping to your garage and plan on fulfilling products to your customers yourself, you will be able to find other options. Start through google, forums, reddit, and so on. Do thorough research.
SIDENOTE: If we had run a Kickstarter campaign and needed to essentially just get the initial print run from the manufacturer to customers, Quartermaster would be a great option. We heard great things about them, and had great dealings with them ourselves when we reached out to them – they were super upfront and honest about not being our best option for what we were looking for though. However, this was years ago now, and looking at their website now it appears that they're doing more than just the Kickstarter campaign fulfilment.
Remember, as mentioned previously, it’s certainly not essential to use a freight agent these days! If you want to save a bit of cash and exercise total control on your business operations, you can book and manage all the freight yourself. Probably the best option for this is using a freight marketplace. Currently, I believe the biggest two options are Freightos and Shipstation. Here’s a solid resource to walk you through dealing with Freightos.
Regardless of which method you end up going with, you’ll need to agree on freight terms. These are generally referred to as Incoterms (International Commercial Terms). They’re the internationally recognised freight terms for international ships. You can find a good breakdown of them here.
The most important things you need to consider are:
- Who pays the freight costs for each leg of the transportation?
- Taxes & fees – who covers any customs duty or taxes? (for international shipments)
- Risk – Who is responsible for damage goods and who covers insurance?
- Ownership – Who has title to the goods during transit?
Look, as I said at the end of the day for us it was perfect to delegate everything off to FBABEE, and we have no regrets about that. They delivered shipments to three different Amazon addresses in three different countries, a personal address, and a storage address without hiccup (except for the lovely 2021 shipping crisis causing some unavoidable delays). They were fantastic to work with. They communicated with our manufacturer beforehand, arranged pickup and covered absolutely everything from China to multiple locations worldwide while keeping us us updated consistently and being fantastic to communicate with.
Step 9: Fulfillment - From Your Storage to the Customer
First of all, congratulations. If you’re shipping to a customer, it means you’re selling, which is awesomeness. It means you’ve created a product from start to finish – which is something to be proud of, regardless of any sales or not. Hats off to you, we know first-hand how hard that is!
Now. How you get products to customers will, in large part, depend on where your products are stored and how you want to ship them. You have a lot of options. This aspect is why we decided early on to sell exclusively on Amazon and to use Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA). Why? Because they could provide us with both the storage and fulfillment we needed and automate this whole backend for us. Once we got the products to their warehouses, Amazon do the rest and we could just focus on getting people to click the buy button. We also wanted to sell in multiple countries, and not have to be physically present or have associates physically present to be doing post-office runs 24/7. It has meant we could continue to live an international untethered life and move around for our day jobs. On top of that, Amazon deliver to customers fast. It’s extremely hard to compete with their delivery speed without adding an extra express shipping cost. FBA will also deal with any returns for you quickly and efficiently, which is yet another time and stress saver.
That doesn’t mean working with Amazon will be without headaches. My god, there have been some headaches there! Amazon are notoriously difficult at times for sellers. We had multiple account issues for no real reason, had trouble setting up the account, had to go so far as paying people to sort our account, and we still can’t advertise on there! Still, there’s just no way we could have sold internationally and kept up our international lifestyle without using them, and when everything is in order it works easily, hands off, in all countries necessary, and can ship almost anywhere in the world on top of that. They deliver so damn fast, like we said, take away all that back-end stress, and customers know and trust Amazon.
NOW, this is NOT to say Amazon is anywhere close to your only storage and fulfillment option, they were just the best for us and the option we took. A quick google search on “fulfillment companies” or “storage and fulfillment company (insert country)” will give you a range of other options. There are stacks of fantastic companies out there that you can easily integrate with your Shopify store or other sales platform. If you’re going down this route, just use a similar vetting process as you did with freight forwarders (if you chose that option). Search, background check, speak with them, compare quotes, and so on and so forth. A great company we used for some storage and Amazon prep when they initially gave us low inventory limits was ShipHype. They also do direct to consumer fulfillment and a host of other back end work for you, and have outstanding customer service in our experience (much easier to work with than the aforementioned giant tech company).
Finally, you can always store and ship from your personal address. This is the classic option when building a new small business. If you are going to be located in the same place for the foreseeable future and are only selling in your country, we suggest you do this to set out with. This will add time and annoyance in regular trips to the post office, yes. It may add the annoyance of dealing with customer returns and so on, certainly. It also will slightly increase the cost of your product for customers (or yourself) through higher shipping costs... However, it has a lot of advantages for the early stage small business. You won’t have large account fees or storage fees, which is huge. That removes a lot selling pressure and gives you time to grow. You can also add a personal touch – want to add a funny note for a customer? Give an e-mail signup or point them towards your page? Want to do offers and add extra incentives or gifts to the package? You can now do all of this! Consider using a company like Sendle – they do carbon neutral, two-day shipping in Australia and the Western USA at a cheaper price than regular post. Our friend used them for his company for over a year and spoke well of them.
And that’s that. We’ve now taken you through steps one to nine. You should now be able to get all your insane booze games, adult games, or any gosh darn game from your head to a product to a customer.
Last thing we need to touch on? Growing those wonderful customers.
Step 10: A Word on Marketing
There are millions of books, blogs, podcasts, lectures, and just about everything under the sun out there about marketing. We are not the experts in this realm. When you go to market your booze games, adult party games or whatever your baby may be, we suggest you turn to those resources first. We’re still learning and improving ourselves.
Why have this section then? Well. What we can do for you is write a list of lessons we learned, mostly (but not entirely) from mistakes we made. Learn from us sucking. Beautiful stuff.
Hopefully you read these series of blog posts in their entirety before you started your project, because whilst selling the product to your customers is something you can’t do until it’s ready, making them want the product is something that you can begin to work on and think about straight away.
On that note, here’s seven pieces of advice:
- As soon as you are sure you’re going to go through with the project, take out social media for everything and begin connecting with your audience, posting, and documenting everything immediately. Don’t wait until the games in production or ready to sell to start, like the idiots writing this did.
- Photograph and document everything. Repeating this because it needs repeating. It gives you content for absolutely everything – forums, blogs, website, social media, etc. Worst case you have a good memory bank for later in life.
- Do not swear anyone who tests your game to secrecy. Do the absolute opposite. If they like it, encourage them to tell everyone they know.
- Learn about and consider SEO before and while you set up your website
- Amazon PPC campaigns work and are fantastic (hire a pro – check Upwork for cheap effective options), but don’t try to do them for any drinking games, Amazon will ban it no matter how hard you appeal.
- As of writing this in 2022 Instagram and Facebook ads now absolutely suck and are a money pit. They changed how they work this year. Maybe if you are a multimillion dollar company they work… but then.. why the hell are you reading this?
- Find what works and triple down on that. 80/20 principle (look that up).
Above: an early copy of The BoozeGames emerges into the wild...
Alright alright alright. This brings us to the end of our blog series on how to make a drinking game. Well, ok it was how to make any board game but remember how we said SEO? We need to rank higher on our relevant keywords. Shhhh. Stop judging us. Remember you can check out Part One, Part Two, and Part Three if you need to refresh (or if you just jumped in here and are now confused as hell).
As always, any questions just hit up firstname.lastname@example.org and we will do our best to help you out … As always, check out our homepage to check out the holy grail of mad drinking games… and as always… stop taking yourself too seriously, except when you need to.
We love you, I love you.
P.S. Here’s a couple more great resources that tackle everything to do with game making, if you feel there’s stuff we haven’t covered!