Pushing forward with Walkabout, I've reached a critical decision point. The game is very visual and symbolic rather than numeric and mechanical. Numbers just don't really play a part of the game system; they underlie it and regulate it from within, but players don't really interact with abstract figures. Colours play a more important role.
Each player has a pool of 12 tokens (3 black, 3 white, and 1 each red, blue, and green; to these they add three more tokens coloured by their choice of "people", "edge" and "dance"). Drawing from this pool of tokens determines base level of success.
There are communal pools also. One each for the circle of wayfarers and the community they are dealing with. There will typically be two of these communal pools, but there could be three (especially if the story involves the wayfarers wandering into the middle of a dispute between two communities).
I'd love to have the game printed up in colour, because it is so visual...and to highlight the colour significance in the game.
So I've been seriously looking at colour print options...and every colour print option seems to have it's own proprietary layout system, which makes it hard to swap from one printer to another if I find someone with better quality at comparable rates, or someone with comparable quality but cheaper. I've also been looking at other independent games, those that have succeeded and those that have failed (on kickstarters and elsewhere). It generally seems that successful projects are ones with consumer book prices roughly equal to the publishing costs I'm seeing for a colour printed book; that means no profit at all unless the book ends up wildly successful for an indie product (100+ copies) when decent bulk discounts apply.
$40 to $50 for a 120-160 page colour book. When I look up physical game shops (and classic online distributors like milsims.com.au), I see higher prices but such places need profit margins before they'll stock a game. They get profits, the printer gets profits, but as a publisher I'm out of pocket with small quantities, break even with moderate quantities and just make a little bit of money when bulk sales start coming through.
If I was to print in black and white, it'd be cheaper; but I honestly couldn't justify the higher price point. I'd reduce the book price by $10-$20. I'd break even with a lower quantity of books, but it would compromise my artistic integrity with regard to this project.