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"War of the Ring" Will it Sell?

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DarkDream
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Guys,

I am really curious about your thoughts about this war game. I went ahead and read the game rules (all 20 pages), and I thought they did a marvelous design job: http://www.fantasyflightgames.com/lotrwar.html

However, this game appears to be way *too* long and a little too complicated for the European gaming audience. I just feel, except for the hard core wargaming audience, games like these are just doomed.

I looked at the funagain.com website and here are some snippets of the some reveiws:

Mechanism: Some people say it is too complicated, and takes too long to finish. OK, it's true

Another one:

Quote:
Ok I have to wrap this up. Why only 4 stars? Besides the slight drawbacks mentioned above, there's the issue of playing time. Be warned. This isn't a quick "game night" game. I can see 3 hours being the minimum for skilled players. However, the length fits the scope of the game and the payoff is easily worth it, if you can afford to lose a Saturday. Sadly, since most of my gaming group consists of full-time professionals with families, I don't know if we will be able to place this game very many times. Which is sad -- when a work of art like this comes around, it makes you wish you had time to enjoy it.

While the boardgamegeek.com reviewers give in general more favorable reviews, most still comment on the length and the complication. The reviewers do attest to the theme matching the rules well and so on. The fact remains that I would say 8/10 of these guys would be considered in the hard core gaming category where most of them would be willing to sacrifice 4 hours to play the game and not be finished.

We will see, but I believe that the "War of the Ring" game is not going to sell anything close to the other Tolkien games out there.

Maybe I'm being pessimistic, but I believe games with such length and complication of rules are never going to capture wide and varied audiences. Even if it is a masterpiece, the average causual or new gamer is not going to get into it. Maybe in the days of old this would be ok.

I just think that if you are targeting a wider audience, there is a critical point in overall length and complexity of rules where you will loose a vast majority of people.

What do you guys think?

--DarkDream

phpbbadmin
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"War of the Ring" Will it Sell?

Well my $.02 is that Fantasy Flight has been known to run the gamut (puzzle games, wargames, kids games, beer & pretzel games, strategy games, euro games, ad nauseum) as far as the range of games they offer for sale. So it's hard to say what their target audience is. It may very well be that there target audience is hardcore gamers... But remember, target playing audience and targer purchasing audience need not be the same. They might get a lot of sales based upon the franchise alone.

-Darke

Zzzzz
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"War of the Ring" Will it Sell?

My thought on this,

Is the game being marketed at the general public? Has the game reached the shelf at a Target/Walmart/KBToys store? If not, I would guess that the more hardcore gamer is their target market, since more people will not search out a game like this if required to go to a special games/hobby store.

I will add that most of the general public is more likely to seek out the LoTR: Risk game, to fill the void of a war game containing this theme.

Now for another angle, was the idea behind this game an attempt to win over the miniature wargame area?

I have no clue, but the miniature market is large. if they win over people from this market, they could do very very well.

benedict
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"War of the Ring" Will it Sell?

Is this being marketed at the general public? No, because the general public isn't going to sit down and play a moderately complex long game like this. The game will appeal to German-style gamers (who don't mind a longer slightly more complex game, or who are Tolkien fans), as well as wargamers (who don't mind a slightly shorter less complex game, or who are Tolkien fans), and Tolien fans (who don't mind German-style wargame hybrids as long as the theme of the book is strongly maintained).

Will it sell? Boulder Games (an online game store) sold out of this game faster than any other game they have had for sale in their existence. I'm guessing that Fantasy Flight has a hit on their hands.

Phillip

Trickydicky
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"War of the Ring" Will it Sell?

Quote:
I just think that if you are targeting a wider audience, there is a critical point in overall length and complexity of rules where you will loose a vast majority of people.

Yes. I think as designers we have to be mindful of this critical point in our games. I think that this critical point is different for each type of game. For example, as mentioned in other threads Monopoly/LIFE can both be at least 2 hours, yet A LOT of nongamers have these games. The trick is to match the mechanics and theme to game length.

I think Benedict points out that Fantasy Flight did this quite well. There theme and mechanics are big enough selling points on their own that the game can be a little longer and still pull a pretty good chunk of the general audience. If the theme was something lame or the mechanics slow/cumbersome (not saying they aren't, it would just surprise me if they were) they would have a harder time selling a long game.

Just my 2cents on what we need to pay attention to as designers.

Scurra
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"War of the Ring" Will it Sell?

Length is such a subjective thing in a game though. Some games will only last 30 minutes but feel like hours; others can last for hours and feel like half that time*. (For instance, a playtest of one of my games last night lasted three-and-a-half hours but didn't feel like it - and I wasn't even playing!)
If the game can sustain interest, then the duration is almost irrelevant.

(*and some games last for hours and feel like hours - that'll be the one that begins with an M and ends with... you know.)

Trickydicky
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"War of the Ring" Will it Sell?

This was my point exactly. Game length really depends on your game. Another reason playtesting becomes so important. If its too long during a playtest it is probably too long!

DarkDream
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"War of the Ring" Will it Sell?

I sort of agree that game length is somewhat objective, but if you have played a game before and know it will take four hours to play a lot of people will say "no" even if they love the game because they don't have that amount of time.

The general point I was trying to make is that in this modern day world with all its distractions I don't think a lot of working people can afford to spend that time or willing to invest that time.

I just think with a general audience a game is more likely to be finianically successful if it quick, simply and easy. We will see how things work, but I am willing to predict that the "War of the Rings" will not be close as a best seller to Knizia's "Lord of the Ring" games.

In this modern day and age, a game like this, in my opinion, is already dead before even being sold if the target audience is a general one.

--DarkDream

jwarrend
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"War of the Ring" Will it Sell?

DarkDream wrote:
I
I just think with a general audience a game is more likely to be finianically successful if it quick, simply and easy. We will see how things work, but I am willing to predict that the "War of the Rings" will not be close as a best seller to Knizia's "Lord of the Ring" games.

I bet you're right, but it also retails for almost twice as much, and that's also a pretty big factor. I "predict" that it will not sell worse than they expect it to, but I'm not sure who they envision as their target audience, and it will depend heavily on who they're shooting for as to how they'll do.

Quote:

In this modern day and age, a game like this, in my opinion, is already dead before even being sold if the target audience is a general one.

You're probably right about this, but "LotR Risk" is the game of this style aimed at the general audience -- this one doesn't seem to be bound for Target. If it appeared on Target's shelves, though, I bet it would do ok. But who knows; Knizia's game didn't. The obstacle is probably more the "new" design. People like LotR themes, but would rather buy a reworking of Monopoly or Risk, which they know, then learn a new system. Too bad; this one sounds great. I can't wait to play it!

-Jeff

Anonymous
success...

Doesn't success really depend on how it's defined? Meaning, "Will it make FF money?" is different than "Will this game supplant Monopoly as the game with most boxes in homes?"

From what I've read about it they tried to cross the wargame and german game. So you can hit 2 markets at once.

Plus that time thing is a lot a bunk. Plenty of German gamers sit down and play 6 hours of games. Granted they'll probably play 4-6 different games during that time, but the amount of time doesn't magically shrink because they have kids and jobs etc.

I hope to play the game soon, as I haven't had the chance to play a decent war game in a while. :-)

Anonymous
"War of the Ring" Will it Sell?

jwarrend wrote:
People like LotR themes, but would rather buy a reworking of Monopoly or Risk, which they know, then learn a new system.

Well put! It's a shame that peopl etend to gravitate towards familiarity, they mis out on some really great gaming experiences.

Trickydicky
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"War of the Ring" Will it Sell?

Quote:
Well put! It's a shame that peopl etend to gravitate towards familiarity, they mis out on some really great gaming experiences.

Especially since familiarity means Monopoly and Risk!!!!!

Zzzzz
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"War of the Ring" Will it Sell?

Though I tend to agree with recent posts by SiskNY and Trickydicky,

I think we all need to keep in mind, what the game has to offer and the marketing behind the game. Though many people will be pulled to the familar, a new game like MTG made an impact on the market when it was released, so why cant this game do the same thing?

Since I have not played it, or even looked at the rules, I really have nothing to base my opinion of how well the game will do.

How do you assess if it will or it wont be the next big thing? I guess you listen for the buzz and see if it offers anything new to the gaming market. And even then you just never know!

Anonymous
War of the Ring

Hello,

In short: Yes, War of the Ring will sell. I work for a distributor and this game has sold more copies than any other... times two or three.

This is a big game. One that has a nice buzz and seems to play well. The target isn't the general public, it is the board gamer. And this seems like a game that *might* become as ubiquitous as Settlers in people's collection - this will be there regardless if it is actually played by the owner more than once.

Best regards,

Rainsford
Curious Games

Anonymous
is there a site...

Is there a site that shows stats on how many of a game are produced/sold?

People always throw around the word "hit" but I have no clue as to how many copies are considered "huge" compared to "decent" etc.

Anonymous
"War of the Ring" Will it Sell?

I am tolkien boardgame collector and I run a comprehensive tolkien boardgame website located here:

www.freewebs.com/tolkienboardgamecollecting

Due to the tolkien craze created by the movies, the game may sell just because it is about Lord of the Rings. People may buy it also to collect. In fact, many of the Lord of the Rings toys are selling very well. Is it because they are being played? Partially yes but also because a large number of fans are collecting them.

RookieDesign
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"War of the Ring" Will it Sell?

Being a sucker for games with good review, I asked a friend of mine to bring it from France for Christmas.
I hope I won't be decieved. I'm buying this game not on the theme, but on the good review this game has.

Unfortunatly, I was disapointed a couple of time. I hope this time this will not be the case.

FYI, the game that receive good reviews but in my opinion fell short of any interest: Alea/Rio Grande Princes of Florence (1st price Games mag in 2001) and Hans in Gluck/Rio Grande Amun-Re (Nominated German Game of the year 2002).

I relying on my feeling on this one. Wish me luck.

Scurra
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"War of the Ring" Will it Sell?

Your comment there crosses into the other thread about "immersion" - does the implementation of the theme make you more or less accepting of the game mechanics?

Princes of Florence and Amun-Re are, without doubt, great "gamers games" - they are intricate, subtle and do not reveal their secrets from just one (or even a couple) of plays. As a result, they are also intensely frustrating; someone described Amun-Re as "a really complicated scoring system in a box", which is what it is. But in both cases, there is no doubt that another theme could have been found for the game and it wouldn't really have mattered in relation to the immersiveness, or lack of it. (Having said that, I rather enjoy making fun of other players in PoF when they buy Freedoms - "you allow your employees to express their own opinions? How can they respect you for that? *I* don't mind my professionals having Religious Freedom; they can say what they like about God as long as they don't say anything bad about Me." :-)

War of the Ring, otoh, is an unashamed thematic celebration, with all sorts of specific rules included simply to ensure that the experience is as Tolkien-eseque as possible - which all anyone can ask for.

RookieDesign
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"War of the Ring" Will it Sell?

Scurra,

I understand the idea of immersion, but the point I wanted to make is the following.

If a game sell well, if it has a good review from Boardgamegeek (3rd best game ever) and Funagain (4 stars) is these representative of a good game. When I mean good game I expect a balance between Theme, Mechanic, length and for me strategy with a hint of luck.

As for Princes of Florence and Amun-Re, I think these games are flawed and should not deserve the attention they received. Both Theme are interresting, but the mechanics just doesn't work. Same thing for St-Petersburg that gets boring after you figure out how it work.

I guess the best way to figure out if a game is for you is to find a game critique with the same taste you have. It should be ok. Luckly for me, I think I've found him.

Sometimes, I would like to be carefull with my game buying and read on the game before buying it. Sometimes, it just impulse on the hype build up by the community and I get disapointed.

Anybody shared this feeling before ?

zaiga
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"War of the Ring" Will it Sell?

RookieDesign wrote:
As for Princes of Florence and Amun-Re, I think these games are flawed and should not deserve the attention they received. Both Theme are interresting, but the mechanics just doesn't work.

Well, that's an interesting statement. Could you explain why you think the mechanics in those two games are flawed?

- René Wiersma

Scurra
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"War of the Ring" Will it Sell?

I take your point. Then again, you have to remember that the world would be very dull if we all found the same things interesting. (One distressing side-effect of this is that of "dumbing down" - that in order to reach a large enough audience something has to be restricted to simple concepts that are easy to sell and/or understand.)

RookieDesign wrote:

As for Princes of Florence and Amun-Re, I think these games are flawed and should not deserve the attention they received.

What on earth makes you claim that? It's true on the level that says that Chess is flawed because the better player will always win, but it seems to be wrong on oh so many other levels.
(I also think you are partially wrong about St.P., but given that I've spent more games of that playing variant scoring rules it's hard to tell any more!)

RookieDesign
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"War of the Ring" Will it Sell?

For the sake of Zaiga and Scurra, I start another thread on the PoF and Amun-Re games. That I consider weak.

Flame Shield up.

Catch you all over there.

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