First and foremost, I must stress what I say below is based only on my limited experience. I may not have looked in all the right places or talked to the right people regrettably but that is the reality/pitfalls of being an independent games inventor. I guess I am saying you have to do your research such as it is and maybe talk to people like me who have had a stab at it before going too far in the wrong direction. A good starting point would be to join MeetUp to search for people with similar interests to yourself as there are many local groups of Board Game inventors/developers/enthusiasts out there that can help you and give you practical advice.
After coming up with the concept of an Oil Drilling board game based on my experience in the business as a Geologist I had a prototype built. Back in 1998, getting a finished board game made ready for sale was hard costly work comprising the playing board, counters and packaging i.e. top half with the name in colour with a logo and a bottom half to contain everything. I had to find a photographic lab to do the positives and negatives to present to the box manufacturer to produce in the smallest commercial quantity. You may also have to source counters and cards elsewhere to use on the board surface.
Then I took one to Olympia back in 1999 and showed it to a number of interested parties. Some were Distributers, each of whom said they would take a few dozen units and it was up to me to get them manufactured so I could give it to them to stock on their shelves around the country. Any they sold they would take about half the money and those they did not sell would be returned to me, the inventor. Unfortunately, I did not have the funds to manufacture these units. Naively, I mistakenly thought they would help with the costs once I had persuaded them of the commercial merits of my game. OOPs!
The larger manufactures all said it was cheaper for them if they were to come up with their own ideas whether good, bad or indifferent as they employed their own personnel to do just that! OOPs!
At the time, I didn’t find any small or medium sized manufacturers of board games to see if they would take the game over and do some sort of deal.
I do not know the current state of play TODAY but would strongly advise meeting with various groups of board game inventors/developers/enthusiasts and find out how the industry works NOW in getting your board game to the Market. As I am about to re-launch my own board game I will let you know of my progress in finding a games developer to turn it into a game app or a games manufacturer that wants to do a Deal. Hope this helps – watch this space as they say!