Print on Demand companies that can do boxed sets?


Validated User
I miss the old days of the boxed set that contained everything you needed to play a game.

Now, as far as moving product through bookstores goes, the boxed set has apparently gone the way of the dodo. They just don't want to stock them.

But if you're doing print on demand anyway, why not a boxed set, if the printer can handle it?

That said, I'm not sure which print on demand places can actually produce a box, and large folded maps.

Is it worth a thought, or should I just let the idea go?


RPGnet Member
Validated User
Not economical on several levels.

1. Boxed sets often included dice. Back in the day, dice were a novelty. You got the crayon to color in the numbers and everything. Today, every gamer has at least two full sets of dice, if not a basement full of them. That means if you wanted to shell out extra cost to include dice in the box, you'd be spending money -- and jacking up the price of the set -- by adding a feature most people didn't need. That's not adding value, it's making it harder to justify a purchase.

2. Boxed sets often included two (or more) books, one for players and one (or more) for game masters. Back in the day, that was pretty much all you needed to get started, and the onus was on the GM to purchase any modules and supplements that came out. The players could all share a book. Then someone figured out that there were 4 or 5 players to every GM, and that it made much more sense to sell books to the players instead of the GM. A boxed set doesn't really pull that off well. No group is going to buy 5 boxed sets. So you're selling a product that is designed to sell fewer copies.

3. Printing costs are slightly higher, and unnecessarily so. If you have two books, you've got two covers. Covers cost more than pages. Then you have the box. Full color. Then you have to wrap it in plastic. Now once it's wrapped in plastic players can't browse through the book to see if they want it. You sell fewer copies. Rinse, repeat.

I think the industry moved away from boxed sets because not using boxes made more sense overall, from an economic perspective.


New member
Box sets have come back (Dragon Age, Warhammer 3e, Dr. Who, S&W Whitebox, my own upcoming set, Crane's new one, 4e has box sets on the way in the fall, doesn't it?).

I can't imagine POD working for box sets though. In addition to printing all the individual elements, somebody's got to put it all together. That labor on a POD basis, above and beyond the printing costs, is going to be astronomical.

I'm using a local digital printer to print all the individual sheets and booklets, I've bought dice and pencils from independent sources, and once everything is delivered it's going to be a couple weeks of assembling the darn things myself.


RPGnet Member
Validated User
Box sets have come back (Dragon Age, Warhammer 3e, Dr. Who, S&W Whitebox, my own upcoming set, Crane's new one, 4e has box sets on the way in the fall, doesn't it?).
I am eager to see how this new round turns out. I like boxes. Dragon Age in particular is doing it in a weird way, with a series of box sets, each including PHB and GMG. We shall see how that works. As for 4e, I think they HAVE to put out a box set since from what I read there's all sorts of bits and pieces in there. As with Warhammer I think.

Warhammer is also a good example of the price issue. $100 is a far cry from what the Red Box cost me back in the day. Dr. Who is $60 IIRC. I can't speak to the others. I suspect it can be done cheaply if you have the quantity or are willing to take slimmer margins. Last I looked into it, it just wasn't really feasible.

YMMV, of course.


Registered User
Validated User
I've bought more box sets in the past 5 years than I did in the previous 20.

In the past 5 years I bought 4 box sets (Ptolus and 3 from Goodman Games).
In the 20 before that I bought only Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil.
Way back in the early 80s I bought multiple boxed sets for D&D, Gamma World, et al.


Sane Studios
Validated User
As they say, everything old is new again. I'm still in two minds over the recent resurgence of boxed sets. For the majority of my games, I'd still much rather have a hardback book. It takes up less space on the shelf, doesn't supply me with extraneous crap that I already own (like D6's for instance) and so on. To me, the only reason to have a boxed set rather than a hardback book is if it's cheaper to box up several softbacks, or if it uses fancy equipment (a'la Warhammer 3rd Ed) that can only realistically be held in a box.

However, while I tend to agree that POD boxed sets are going to be too pricey to manage in the long-term, you might try this site:



Registered User
Validated User
I've looked around at a lot of options for boxes (have not yet priced out, though), and haven't seen anything that is cost-effective and POD or close to POD. Best option I have found is 1000 units for about $3 each box. Then I would have to store them all in my garage and get all the other components shipped here and put them all together and ship them out. Going to be tough to move 1000 units with any business model that works with that sort of process.

My reason for wanting/needing a boxed set is that my game has cards, tiles, and books, all of which are necessary components. If I can't interest a distributor in the game, I plan to sell it via a website and through IPR, which does not need a box. But I'll need a box to sell at bricks & mortar retail.


Retired User
We have developed a process for making fully custom printed two piece telescoping boxes. It has been tested internally and we have found the process to be viable.

Presently we are working to finish several other equipment upgrades though before we begin offering boxes and shrink wrapping as a service.

It is also very likely that for 2 piece boxes that we will have a minimum of 50 or 100 (and more likely to be 100). The first 2 piece box would be a a full telescoping box at 7" x 4" x 1.25" and range from $1.25 up to about $3.00 depending on volume. We will also be acquiring a high speed shrink system so that we can also offer on site shrink wrapping along with the boxes, assuming we're printing all of the components that would be going into the box. This box will be suitable for a double deck card game.

We have a few experiments to run yet on the die cutting side, but after we launch that first box size, we hope to be able to offer die cut chipboard circles and counters on sheets that would fit that box size. And likely tiles also.

The next box size up after that will most likely be about 6" x 9" x 1.25" or thereabouts, so as to be suitable for small format board games.

We hope to have all of our upgrades done and be offering the first POD box option by late fall of this year.

Ryan S. Johnson
Guild of Blades Retail Group -
Guild of Blades Publishing Group -
1483 Online -
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