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Board games & MSRP : two strange bed fellows!

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dantevious
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Joined: 02/24/2013

Hey designers,

Let's face it - prices for board games can be high, almost bordering on ludicrous! Take for example Mage Knight Board Game. Currently the price is $68 on Amazon (at the time of this post). I've played the game a few times with some friends at my local gaming club, but it was a 'shared' purchased by our members. We like the game, but none of us can afford this game as an individual purchase. In fact, we have a number of games that we've done a shared purchased. Board games are just too expensive - at least when it comes to the heavy weight games like Mage Knight, Descent, (1st ed.), Mice & Mystics, and so on - pretty much any games beyond card games like Dominion & LoTR LCG, you can expect a nice price tag for the consumer.

As designers, does that come into play when developing your game for market? : i.e. not just keeping the costs down for production, but for a low MSRP in the end, so everyone feels that their wallet or purse didn't get emptied! I'm designing a dungeon/adventure game on the same level of components as Descent. I feel by designing a 'solid' game, I can get by without having fancy plastic miniatures or nice components. That's the way I want to go with my game. Great quality game at a low price....

What are your thoughts.......

McTeddy
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Joined: 11/19/2012
Marketing ALWAYS comes into

Marketing ALWAYS comes into play when I design a game. This includes everything from the theme, the possibles sales locations and the final price tag. I'd recommend the same to anyone who is attempting to make money as a game designer.

That said, it's important that you don't underestimate the PERCEIVED value of fancy plastic miniatures and boatloads of components. One quick search on BGG and you'll see that there are MANY players who won't buy games that don't have fancy components and beautiful artwork. There are MANY people who will buy or pass on a game because a photo of the game and components isn't impressive.

No matter how good your game... no matter solid your mechanics... you are taking a risk. Not telling you to make a decision either way, just keep customer perception in mind no matter how irrational and wrong it may be. You're the designer so choose whatever method will best suit your own project.

questccg
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Joined: 04/16/2011
My opinion

dantevious wrote:
As designers, does that come into play when developing your game for market? : i.e. not just keeping the costs down for production, but for a low MSRP in the end, so everyone feels that their wallet or purse didn't get emptied! I'm designing a dungeon/adventure game on the same level of components as Descent. I feel by designing a 'solid' game, I can get by without having fancy plastic miniatures or nice components. That's the way I want to go with my game. Great quality game at a low price...

For me, what I look for first is being able to *create* a finished product. I want to be a part of the artwork, even if somebody else is the one *making* the artwork. I like the creative control to suggest ideas after I see drafts of cards. On some cards, I have an idea what the card should look like, on other I let the artist make a draft drawing and the comment on it. I'm pretty easy to work with unless I have a definite idea of what the card should look like.

That having been said, I like the *self-publishing* route or to have a *nice* prototype (with artwork). When it comes to MSRP, self-publishing is usually too COSTLY. So if a publisher decides to publish one of my works, well they will need to figure out how to manufacture the game so it can be sold to Brick & Mortar shops.

So my interest stops at *designing* a nice prototype for potential publishers. Obviously I want the game to be playtested - but more importantly I want to control what the product will *look like*. From there on, I leave the marketing, sales and distribution to the publisher.

hotsoup
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Joined: 08/28/2009
I usually try to make sure my

I usually try to make sure my games have pieces that are easily mass produced. Minis or odd components can seriously drive the price up. So cards, cubes, chipboard, dice etc. The way to stand out is to pay the money to hire a some fantastic artists/designers. I know that makes a big difference to me. I won't pay money for a game that looks ugly or has amateurish art, no matter how great the gameplay.

That being said, if you're looking for a way to save on board games www.boardgameprices.com is the place to start. Online shops like www.coolstuffinc.com sell most of their board games at 33%+ off. I buy from them frequently.

questccg
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Joined: 04/16/2011
MSRP and sales

hotsoup wrote:
That being said, if you're looking for a way to save on board games www.boardgameprices.com is the place to start. Online shops like www.coolstuffinc.com sell most of their board games at 33%+ off. I buy from them frequently.

Well if you can get 33% off their games, that must mean that the markup for those games is BIG. I have not been able to drive the price down for cards (even with a production run of 100,000 cards)... Doing some research (with information gathered from this site) I have found that manufacturing in China is about 10% the cost. So if you are quoted $10k for a production run in the US or Canada, in China it will be only $1,000. That's right... I have sent e-mails to companies in China and 10% seems to be the standard.

Maybe if the games are manufactured in China, then the margins for retail sales are higher.

Evil ColSanders
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Joined: 12/08/2010
Cost to make $50.00 board

Cost to make $50.00 board game:

Cost per game to manufacture: $5.00 - $7.00
Sold to distributors: $15.00 - $17.00
Sold to businesses: $25.00 - $30.00
Sold to consumer::: $50.00

Websites sell them for less because they have no brick and mortar store. No employees, rent, or utilities to pay. If in fact they DO have a store, it is because they now have a big chunk of the market and can afford to do that, such as walmart OR they are in a tax-free state, like Florida.

Companies like Mayfair Games, makers of Settlers of Catan, have rules saying you can't sell their games below a certain percent.

Steve Jackson Games prints the MSRP right on the box. Stores don't have to follow it... but it's there.

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