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How do I find out whether the game is marketable????

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Anonymous

Hey Guys,

My friend has just completed an amazing board game. That deals with strategy and dice play. Before we send it for production. We wanted to find out where we can figure out the number of games we can sell. Is there a website which shows the number of games sold for similar games.

thanks

Adam

FastLearner
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Joined: 12/31/1969
How do I find out whether the game is marketable????

Finding out if a game is marketable... well, that's tricky. Playtesting and market research are probably the only ways.

To get an idea of the quantity of games sold, a quick forum search here for "games sold" reveals several useful threads, including this one from a couple of days ago: http://www.bgdf.com/modules.php?name=Forums&file=viewtopic&p=10287

Dralius
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How do I find out whether the game is marketable????

From the people i have spoken to in the industry most first runs of games are done in small batches 500-1000, this includes the big euro game company’s. The reason is only a small percentage of games sell very well. This way they don't get stuck with a product that is not going anywhere. They can always have a second run of 5 to 10,000 if it is a run away hit. These of course dose not apply to company’s like Hasbro who produce in huge quantities. Card games are also a slightly different as they are sell for less requiring larger runs to make the effort worthwhile.

Caparica
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Re: How do I find out whether the game is marketable????

aschmidt wrote:
We wanted to find out where we can figure out the number of games we can sell. Is there a website which shows the number of games sold for similar games.

How much a similar game has sold is not a good indicator of how yours would sell. There are several factors, for example, being first to market is a big advantage (if it is a success, of course). It would be very difficult to break into the CCG market now, and MTG was “first to market”...
Playtesting can shed some light, and some simple marketing research like focus groups (that is less expensive then some 1000 people 10 questions marketing research) can answer a few questions if done properly.
Also it is important HOW your game will be marketed: at stores, via a distributor, on the internet and so on.

Caparica
www.2concept.com/games

Anonymous
How do I find out whether the game is marketable????

A big question regarding initial run size is what kind of company are you? Are you a well established game company with several channels of distribution? Please don't take this the wrong way, but your question leads me to believe that you aren't. It sounds like you are just getting started and that you have a game that you want to get published. It sounds like you're going the self-publishing route.

Your level of experience, capitalization and incorporation schema will influence your initial run decisions as much as the game's marketability. I am no expert, but there is enough material in other posts here in this Forum to give anyone with some time and determination a really good background to where others have trodden, fallen, and succeeded. There is a lot to do as a self-publisher or a small game company as MANY members of this Forum can attest. Many members are or plan to do exactly that. You need to be honest with yourself on exactly what a game publisher (especially if this is your first game) needs to do to get a game "out there" much less become a success.

As for publication, many print shops won't print your game (depending on type of game, components, etc.) in runs of less than 3-5,000. Some will do less (usually no lower than 1,000) but it will cost you far more per unit. You must keep in mind your MSRP. Research not just what numbers of units other similar games are moving, but MSRP of other similar games. The public won't pay more for a game than its perceived value, and a lot of that comes from relation to similar games in the market. You can't underestimate the "heft" factor!

Another considerations is your incorporation schema. If you're a small/sole-proprietor business with a spare room in your house that doubles as both an office and a warehouse, then you can probably afford to sit on a few thousand copies that don't move very quickly. If you're incorporated to make money and will look to publish other games, you don't want to overproduce a single game that won't move out of the warehouse by year-end. That will tie up valuable capital and other resources that could be better used elsewhere in your company.

In the end, it's all about connections. Once you get the game published, the work has only begun. You will need to be capitalized well enough to get to as many conferences and conventions as you can to get the word out about your game. A free online site will only result in a few sales per month. Meet with distributors, make relationships that will help sell your game and do whatever it takes to get people playing it. Do demos in whatever malls or game stores will let you. You can't get people excited if you don't first get their attention.

There are plenty of members here who have experience in game publication. They have written just about everything you need to know to get started.

Best of luck to you! Please post more about your experience so others can learn from you!

Anonymous
My Experience So Far!

So far we have tried using different governmental NFP's to help us in finding different ways to market the product. Some of the guys have been helpful unfortunately, most of them have no experience in game board experience. One guy new about game boards and he seemed too shady to deal with since it looked like he wanted to copy the game and sell it. (BTW how do you make sure that does not happen)

We have gone and spoken with two local board game retailers in Illinois and they were interested but wanted some information on unbiased play testing on the game.

Our plan was to produce 2000 games initially costing around 7 dollars a head (it is a huge game). Before, we push 15000 dollars into a dream that may never reach fruition, we want to make sure we are not about to max our credit lines for this game.

Most of the play testers mentioned in Designer Registry were producers - i am not sure to trust them since one company looked at another game my friend had produced three years ago and they came out with similar type of game later on.

Regards,

Adam

jwarrend
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Joined: 08/03/2008
Re: My Experience So Far!

aschmidt wrote:
One guy new about game boards and he seemed too shady to deal with since it looked like he wanted to copy the game and sell it. (BTW how do you make sure that does not happen)

Conventional wisdom is that you set your mind at ease -- this kind of thing doesn't, at least as far as I've heard, really happen.

Quote:

Most of the play testers mentioned in Designer Registry were producers

What is a "producer" in game terms? Do you mean that they are "designers"? If so, that shouldn't come as a surprise, since the list is, after all, a "designer registry".

Quote:

- i am not sure to trust them since one company looked at another game my friend had produced three years ago and they came out with similar type of game later on.

If this even happened, which I'm sorry to say I doubt without some tangible evidence, it was more likely than not a coincidence -- see this article for the perspective of a legitimate industry pro, Tom Jolly, on this very subject.

You obviously should only test your game with people you can trust, but my experience is that playtesting with designers is very safe because designers have enough ideas of their own and don't need to steal other people's ideas. I, personally, haven't ever heard of a case of someone's idea getting ripped off and published by someone else; there's just not really any money to be made in such an endeavor, and it's a tremendous amount of work to publish and sell a game that I just don't see it happening. That doesn't mean you should take out a full page ad in the NY Times and broadcast your idea, but being paranoid won't help either.

This is off topic, but you are probably the third or fourt person we've had come on the board on behalf of "a friend who has designed the best game ever." It's weird that the designers don't come here themselves for whatever reason. But my (very limited) experience suggests, from the very brief description you've given us (strategy game with "dice play") that, as nicely as I can put this, your friend's game is not as brilliant as you might think. (Note that I'm by no means saying this from the perspective of feeling that my own games are "brilliant"; quite the opposite. It's, rather, from the perspective of seeing many games, and designing a bunch, and realizing how very difficult it is to design an "amazing" game. I am skeptical of claims of someone to have, on their first try, designed an "amazing" or "brilliant" game because whenever I've looked further, precisely 0% of the claims have turned out to hold water. This is especially true for my own games, all of which I initially give the "brilliant!" moniker but I am always forced to temper this...)

I would strongly suggest, before you plunk down your own money in this project, that (a) your friend design several games, maybe as many as 10, before trying to bring a game to market. It's natural to be excited about one of your first designs, but there's a perspective that comes from maturity as a designer that enables you to evaluate your designs more critically. And (b) subject this one to a lot of scrutiny. There are plenty of people here happy to tell you why your game isn't as great as you think! But I can testify that they will also be very supportive as they do so, and will give you lots of suggestions you can implement immediately to make the game better.

There's no question you've got a game that you and your friends enjoy, and that's great. Selling a game to the public is a whole different story, and the game-buying public is absolutely brutal. Go slowly, playtest more than you think you need to, and prove to yourself (and to others) that the game is good; don't assume that it is, just because you've always enjoyed playing it.

There is a tremendous amount of knowledge about designing and publishing games stored in the archives of this site, and others -- the yahoo! group "BoardGameDesign", The Games Journal, and others, some of which can be reached from the "Web Resources" link. It's worth spending some time there to learn more about the industry. To my mind, the real question before you isn't so much "how many of these can we sell?", but "how can we make people want to buy this?" The onus is on you to get people to buy the game, not on the game buyers to behave according to a prediction based on some comparable game.

Best of luck with your project,

Jeff

Anonymous
Re: My Experience So Far!

jwarrend wrote:

Best of luck with your project,

Jeff

I don't like to simply make a pointless "me too" post, but I think Jeff's advice is completely correct. You should be far more scared of the difficulties of self-publishing than the possibility of the idea being stolen. It is possible your friend's game is superb and deserves immediate publication, but you need to enter into the making of that decision with as much impartiality and testing feedback as possible.

Richard.

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