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Simple Rules, Simple Business

UV printing helps Turnup Games succeed in the business of boardgames. 




Simple Rules, Simple Business

STARTING A BUSINESS can be difficult, but husband-and-wife duo Leanne Gray and Iles Guran had a plan: to approach the process like playing one of the strategy games they aimed to manufacture. Careful planning and the right moves would enable them to overcome any obstacle, they reasoned.

So far, so good. Turnup Games in Waterloo, Ontario, is a design, prototyping, and production business that produces strategy games that are “timeless, thoughtful, and fun for all,” Gray says. The couple had been designing products together for more than 10 years before starting the company and launching their first game, SUM8, on Kickstarter in 2021. The game became an instant success, surpassing their funding goal by more than 700 percent and helping the new company relocate to a 1000-square-foot workshop. 

However, producing games is not as easy as playing them. After weeks of posting on their “idea board,” Guran and Gray work to create visuals and graphic assets to develop themes, characters, and the overall “feel.”

“This can be anything from simple hand-drawn paper mockups to fully 3D-printed and machined components to get a feel for the game,” Guran says. “It typically takes about three months from the initial idea to a fully playable game, although additional time is sometimes required to finalize production processes and methods.”  

Production and assembly equipment includes 2D and 3D printers, a milling machine, a laser cutter/engraver, and more.

Each of these resources has a role to play in facilitating the rapid prototyping and short-run production required to control the cost of iterating ideas and bringing new games to market. For example, UV printing on a Roland DG LEF2-300 enables imaging directly onto not only game pieces, but also packaging and marketing materials. This helps produce components that would otherwise be too expensive to manufacture in smaller numbers. “We also appreciated having matte and gloss ink options, which we use quite regularly in our design/prototyping processes,” Guran adds.


“We’re constantly looking for ways to share our products, and having in-house prototyping and production capability is a big part of our success,” Gray concludes.




Let’s Talk About It

Creating a More Diverse and Inclusive Screen Printing Industry

LET’S TALK About It: Part 3 discusses how four screen printers have employed people with disabilities, why you should consider doing the same, the resources that are available, and more. Watch the live webinar, held August 16, moderated by Adrienne Palmer, editor-in-chief, Screen Printing magazine, with panelists Ali Banholzer, Amber Massey, Ryan Moor, and Jed Seifert. The multi-part series is hosted exclusively by ROQ.US and U.N.I.T.E Together. Let’s Talk About It: Part 1 focused on Black, female screen printers and can be watched here; Part 2 focused on the LGBTQ+ community and can be watched here.

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