Monday, 18 March 2019

Ludocards Best EU based POD review!:)

Warning; Selfpublishers Only! Following text may be to much to handle if you aren't one!:)
scroll down to see pictures of printed decks & boxes!:)
Keep reading if you are in to *print & selfpublish your own deck & wish to know more about BEST EU POD I've find so far!:))

As promised here is my full review of new EU (Italy) based Print on Demand company I discovered recently, official web page here;
printing & shipping quotes here;
& read all info at official faq page;

Disclaimer; My English is Not Perfect & I will only review *services I used & all info presented here are just my opinion at this time according to experience I have feel free to agree or NOT & feel free to correct me if I'm wrong & if you have any doubt or questions about info presented here feel free to note me or best visit official web page & ask directly!:) with that said here is my review on ludocards POD !:)

if you have any experience with POD especially as publisher (my fav are US based; drivethrucards & thegamecrafter & China; makeplayingcards & printerstududio) you can tell this web don't look similar & there is BIG DIFFERENCE how it works so I'll try sum most of its *perks in hope you'll find it useful deciding is this POD for you as there is plenty of HOW TO differences here that may require some time to get used to starting with web interface that may seems overly simplistic & occasionally lacking (I'm told upgrade & ludocard store is expected soon so hopefully it'll enable direct sales like other POD mentioned here, will update this review moment that happen sooner the better as imo web page is Window to World Costumers & Basic aka Only way people worldwide will get to see you present yourself so Good POD web page must provide best interface functionality & statistic?! (; check gamecrafter & drivethrucards for reference how POD web store should look/work Thank You!^^:)

back on topic;
"ludocards print service review & how it differs from standard POD we know (tgc/dtc/mpc/ps) & what you'll need to know to make it work for you;

1. Printing; ludocards will print *ANY number of cards & any size!:) BUT minimum number of Tarot size decks you can print with ludocards is 6!:) imo it's ok as it's always good to have spare or you can gift/sell what you don't need?:) & there is discount for larger quantities so that's good news for selfpublishers!:) & whatever number of decks you decide to print you can ship it 2 ways;

2. Shipping, options;
B) DROP SHIPPING OPTION (expensive!:) but will let you ship any number of deck you have printed/left in store to different addresses worldwide with tracking number & best available shipping provider (DHL my fav!^^ more info here; ) you will need to log in to your ludocards acc & click *Shipping button of your order & delete your default shipping address that is already there (Note; best contact costumer service in advance/before placing your order & ask to enable your drop shipping option!) also Shipping button let you see status of your orders & add different/new shipping addresses by filling Ship form that also let you review how many decks you are sending to which shipping addresses & how much you have left in store for each of decks you print with this company!:) then you Checkout to pay for that shipping & wait your mail to arrive!:) Note; if you are selling your deck on etsy or your web etc  you can ask for API that would help save you from filling shipping form for each order (but not paying shipping each time!:) so expect my update here once I figure how to add these!;) facepalm but if you are already in EU & don't have problem shipping it yourself A) Shipping option may be best!;) or 
C)  i'm testing at the moment!:) in short it's using A) to ship All your decks at once for free to pro shipping service that'll do further drop shipping job for you!:) will post more details & my full review on this awesome service in next post!:) so stay tuned!:) back on topic ludocards ,,,

& good news combined shipping (sending several decks to same address) is simple when you have only 1 type of deck published!:) but if you have published several decks (like me!:) & have people ordering i.e 1 of each (wishful thinking!^^ lol ;) you'll need to click *Shipping button & fill shipping form for each of your decks orders & add note if you wish these decks with *same shipping address combined shipping in 1 parcel & same time then pay for that 1 shipping bill, this as well may require you contacting costumer service & asking to combined shipping for specific address & decks you entered or even ask for paypal shipping invoice as in my case *Checkout button in some cases lead to paypal error notification!;// meaning shipping function need some improvement!;// & if you think this is complicated/turn off check out point 3&4 of this review!:) lol Point is combined shipping is best as it don't make big cost difference to ship 1 or 10 decks!:) I find it awesome especially if you have more than 1 deck selfpublished (like me!:) & this bring us to

3. Creating your (publisher) account on ludocards (unlike normal pod!x,x) is Only possible AFTER YOU PLACED YOUR 1st ORDER?! (think it require your payment as well?x,x facepalm) after that you will be mailed acc details to same email you provided while placing your order & can log in to your ludocards acc where you can review & modify your acc info & order details including Shipping details as well as upload print files!;) interface here is ok but need some improvement as your order is only marked by number like; Order no. XXXX & in case you published several decks it would help if you could add some name to it for easy reference & better overview?;)

4. Print file preparation aka; "How to set up your card images properly" is probably trickiest part as you are expected to upload several separate pdf files (after you log in to your ludocards acc & click *Orders & *Open file list button) ;
1pdf with all images of your cards front saved as pages,
1pdf with all backs images saved as pages or just 1 pdf page if all cards in your deck share same back design!:)
& 1 (or 2 pdf depending on your option) for box design or you opt for no box or blank/white box or *special request sturdy 2 piece full print inside & out box option I used!:)

You start preparing your print files by inserting your deck specifications (mm or inch, card size & number of cards in deck & your box option!:) & downloading your auto generated templates here; by

Note; even it say: "will print any size" best to pick 1 of offered preset or keep it within *normal EU sizes (aka your card size numbers should be whole cm & mm as it's easier to print precisely!:)

also even if it may sound complicated in my experience ludocards have good print control & you will be contacted by costumer service if they notice any possible printing mistake/disaster!:P ;)
but just in case be aware of mistake I noticed on their template generator page;
*Card design instruction button will tell you so called *bleed area (aka part of your card img that is cut out in printing process!) is 2mm on each card side but imo it's more likely standard 3mm as mentioned in their instruction pdf (I've asked costumer service to check with their printer service before uploading my cards pdfs for print & got confirmed it's 3mm but card generator template is still working with 2mm, will update this review moment it's fixed!x,x)

so here is how you determine your digital image card size in pixel & template you need to work; *your printed card size in mm (i.e standard Tarot is 70x120mm) +3mm of bleed area to each side adds total of 6mm to each of this numbers = 76x126mm converted to pixel = 898x1488px by 300dpi within this size you can see template red line mark 3mm from each edge representing line where your cards are expected to be cut in printing process (aka bleed) & another blue line 3mm from that one representing so called *safe area you should place all important card text & elements you wish to be visible after printing in case print end up off center (3mm drift is considered acceptable by most standard printers!:) you can download Tarot card 7x12cm & fitting 80 card special 2 piece sturdy box templates I've used here;

Tip; be sure to remove that guideline template before saving/exporting your img or pdf!:)
you can also use Scribus to prepare your pdf for print!:)

also if you already printed your cards with gamecrafter /other standard printer that use 900x1500px Tarot size template you can drop these img over ludocards 898x1488px & 300dpi template (i.e in gimp:) & export as; png img or single pdf I find guidelines are compatible!:)
& if your pdf files are to large or you wish to fix cmyk specifications you can open your pdf in Scribus & export as pdf with these settings; (see attach img!)

& that's it for cards!:)

same goes for box design (download template, export your box design as pdf & upload to your acc!) unless you opt for *firm 2 piece box in that case you need contact costumer service & ask for appropriate box template as well as paypal invoice for price difference as this *luxury box option cost slightly more than your default 2piece box you'll most likely mistake for this *sturdy version!;)

5) Print quality;
default card specifications options all have rounded corners & print on *special 330 gr/sqm casino quality triplex paper (i'm told this is 330 gsm black core silk smooth paper) assuring zero transparency. Easy to shuffle and resistant to worn-out.

& All (default) boxes options are printed on 300gr/sqm cardboard & gloss or matt lamination.
Note; this may be too thin for 2pice box design so you'll need asking for *sturdy box I used!:)

ludocards offers plenty of card sizes & shape options including round cards as well as special materials including linen paper, PVC, & special effects gold/silver foil, as well as accompanying booklets or leaflets or other particular items, you will need to contact costumer service for any *special request quote  HERE.

You can also request print proofs & digital file check service as well as designer service or sample deck, all info here;

best part; is an eco-friendly company
Ludocards entire operations are powered by solar energy & printing procedure follows the strict standards of environmental friendly codes: the papers are not only premium quality but also CE certified and rigorously selected and supplied by European paper mills; the inks for printing are of food level; nearly half of our production is artisan process that is made with hands. We try our very best to look after our planet earth.

6) Production Time; How quickly will ludocards print your deck & when you'll receive your order?
depends on timing of your order (i.e it will take longer if you start this *printing adventure before Christmas like I DID!:) as well as how good your *print ready pdfs are!:)

Standard production time is 15 working days upon receiving the payment Only if all files of artwork provided are “ready to print”! Express services is provided at extra cost. Processing time don't include time required for delivery, which varies from 1 to 5 working days subject to destinations.
Ludocards is not responsible for any delays caused by the couriers.

Delivery date for your products will be delayed accordingly at your own responsibility for any delays in production caused by the errors in file formats, incomplete file submission and any other issues resulting in “not ready to print” files.

so if you are planing kickstarter or other project with fixed timeline best to confirm with costumer service all your files are *print ready BEFORE placing your Order?:) that may save you unexpected delays I got myself in placing my order in December 2018 then having to change my card size several times to get it fit standard 7x12cm Tarot template after noticing card template generator flaw (mentioned above!:) I still had it shipped in time of expected schedule by new year2019!:) & it arrived fast to France!:) but my reviewer say *default 2 piece box don't seem firm enough so I requested box upgrade to *rigid box ludocards was testing different designs at that time & then they were upgrading shipping providers as well so I end up ready to publish these before March 2019!:)

Now I'm Happy with my ludocards Tarot size cards & firm box print quality & fast Shipping service (DHL my fav!^^)

my only remark/wishlist is;
1. web upgrade please!
2. fix card size template generator! (bleed area is 3mm not 2mm!)
3. ludocardsStore if possible!(sooner the better!;) &
4. drop shipping provider & cost calculation need improvement!
imo DHL offer best shipping & 16Euro lc charge per deck to ship in EU is too much!;//
as will do it for less than 11e per deck FLAT Shipping Worldwide!;)
so imo best check your local shipping rates(if you are in EU) or use & save yourself extra cost & nerves it'll take you to dropship with ludocards?;)

& with this I conclude my review!:) Congrats for reading this long*cough*hopefully not too boring* text!;D  hope you find it useful!^^:) here is your eye candy pic gallery of my printed Tarot size decks & boxes!^^:) & if you need more than pretty pic check this Awesome youtube review!:)
& table review of Print on Demand Companies I've used with my opinion on quality of their service;
Tarot deck 80c
& firm box!:)
drivethrucards gamecrafter makeplayingcards printerstudio ludocards
print cost &
& extra options

standard card quality linen stock option
& tuckbox

standard card quality linen & UV stock option +extra box & other option

standard + best selection of card stock options & effect including holo & gold edges etc+ box options including Tarot size tins!:) worth checking for printing 50+ decks 78Tarot card in generic tin for 14,5$!:)
too expensive otherwise!x,x

same as mpc
- effects & box options!x.x
best production price & quality for larger quantities!:)
+extra options!:)

best for printing 60 Tarot decks & up!;)
discount @ 5000 cards!:) 100 decks!

shipping cost & quality fast & ok for US & your home address, Not for International!x,x
check it here
Ok for US & International
extra options
UPS not perfect!x,x
ok pricing & service, charge extra for *insurance BUT tracking is lacking & your only protection is paypal ok

same as mpc
fastest shipping!:)
& FREE SHIPPING to your home address but only if you ship all your printed decks at once!:)
too expensive drop shipping!x.x
see here;
production time 5/7 days 3/15 days 5/12 days 3/5 days
shipping time ok ok ok ok Best!;)
traffic/exposure ok best not much no shop option yet!
costumer service Best & my fav!:)
Brian is King!:)
annoying & not always helpful?;) ok when you are asking about ordering info but in case yur parcel is lost or some issue better luck talking to wall?:) ok & helpful!:) ok & helpful!:)