Interview with LongPack Games

 

At Essen you usually meet up with publishers. You want to take a look at their new releases and discuss about their upcoming games. But what about the unseen heroes? The manufacturing companies that undergo all the trouble and the pressure of producing a game and meeting the publisher's needs and wants? 

We had the pleasure to do a different interview at Essen, at the booth of LongPack Games. We discussed with Daniel Zayas (US Sales Manager) and Ning Pan (Director of Business Development). 

Can you tell us a bit about the history of LongPack Games?

LongPack Games is based in Shanghai. We have 20 years of experience in production but only the last 5 we have started focusing on board games. The first request for a board game came around 10 years ago from South Africa and we didn't have a focus on them yet. We thought of it as a form of packaging, only a more difficult one. It was 5 years ago that we saw how much the market had opened and we decided to make that shift, as we saw the potential for packaging. 

2017 was a key year for us, since we doubled our turnover capacity. What we focus on now is to further increase our capacity without any impact on our quality.

We generally listen about the struggles of publishers and the struggles of designers. What are the struggles of manufacturers?

50% of the process is printing and packaging, so when we first entered this industry, we thought it would be easy, with all the experience we had, but it wasn't. For example the alignment for game boards can be very hard. We like to look at the small things, since they are the ones that make the difference. For instance the small gap we leave between tokens in order to be perfectly punched, and we experiment on such things all the time. Our minis and all plastic and wooden components are outsourced. This is a very difficult part of the process, because we need to coordinate with other factories too. We also have in-house knowledge with our engineers that create molds, and this helps a lot in the communication process as we know what we want and what will work for our clients. 

Why does a manufacturer attend cons? How is this good for your brand?

We attend cons such as Essen mostly for brand awareness. Of course we know that some of our customers will be there too. But also small and independent publishers attend such conventions, and they drop by and discuss their ideas which are still in early process. 

If you had to choose one project from the ones you created which would it be?

Kingdomino would be our pick (unanimous and spontaneous answer by all). We value our collaboration with Blue Orange and then the Spiel des Jahres came soon after. It was a very challenging project for us because we needed to make arrangements for two shipping containers to arrive on time within 10 days, and we made it work!

What are the challenges you face in your everyday work?

We need to be very well prepared for what clients will ask. Most ask for a price without having any specifications for their project. So the whole process has a lot back and forth, as we have to make recommendations most of the times. Also, something is ALWAYS going to go wrong. But there must be somewhere there willing to make it right, so that the client is happy

If you want to ask for a box sample with all the different components they can give you, don't hesitate to message them!

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