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Choosing between two (2) games

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questccg
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I'd like to have the opinion of BGDF members as to which "avenue" is the better choice.

Specifically these are the two (2) game and choices available:

  1. Tradewars - Homeworld: the game is complete but I could invest time in making "Expansions" to the core set. How many? Well the count currently stands at six (6) different expansion ideas.
  2. Crystal Heroes: the game is an early prototype. I would need to find an artist once more playtesting is done. In the long run, this game seems to be more financially viable.

Those are my two (2) choices. And I cannot "afford" to do both. Both imply paying up-front for artwork and taking the "idea" into a real game (or expansion - whatever the case).

So basically I'm stuck between Expanding an already COOL game - but I have no clue if this will make it more profitable or more successful. Or designing a NEW game which might be more profitable in the long run.

What do you guys think???

Soulfinger
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Invest in #2 when you've

Invest in #2 when you've earned a profit from #1.

chris_mancini
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One one hand, you've got a

One one hand, you've got a finished game out there in TWHW, and fans of that game would be eager to buy expansions. I wouldn't necessarily count on the expansions making the game more successful, as the key is to get enough copies of the base game out there to build a fan base and justify development of those expansions. I'll let you know after I receive my copy from TGC ;)

On the other hand, until TWHW becomes a success (you make your money back and have an audience of enough fans to justify continued effort towards that game), you may as well focus on Crystal Heroes and add to your stable of completed games. More irons in the fire, so to speak.

For me, until you know you've got enough copies of the TWHW base game sold, Crystal Heroes is the choice...and I agree with Soulfinger, develop the game, but don't pour money into it until TWHW delivers a return or at least a break-even.

questccg
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Hmm...

Maybe I should "clarify" the question:

If you would be at the point that EITHER of these games require an investment of more MONEY - which do you think would be the better option.

That's my problem: both avenues require more investment in money (to produce more artwork...)

Just a different type of "product" being created:

  1. Expansion ideas - which add value to the core game (TWHW).
  2. A completely new game - which requires logo, card artwork, the works.

I unfortunately cannot afford to do both. I understand Soulfinger's opinion, he's saying "invest only once you break even (or see a profit)". My problem is that I don't know if that will ever happen.

I'm thinking about cutting my losses and go with a NEW game which might earn more money and require a lower investment. Something along those lines...

Option #1 makes it that TWHW is "fresh" and "new" again - because there are more elements to the game... So it can effectively lengthen the duration that the game becomes "viable"... so to speak.

Tedthebug
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Do you already have an artist?

If not, it might be possible to find art students that would be willing to work for credit, the opportunity to add a published game to their portfolio, & then payment as lump sum or a share after publication. That's what I'm doing at the moment as I know some art students that like playing what I'm working on & are offering to work that way. I'm therefore assuming there are probably other artists out there willing to work that way as well. If you find some that are you could publish the 2nd newer game while still working towards the expansions to the other.

stevebarkeruk
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Third choice

I don't think these two choices are really all you have to choose from.

1) Tradewars is not selling in large enough numbers to justify expansions. If there is almost zero demand for the base game, there will be zero demand for expansions. Yes, you have ideas and always wanted to do expansions. But if nobody is going to buy them, why are you even considering this?

2) Crystal Heroes has problems, in my opinion, as a business model (see other thread) and I think paying for more art is crazy when you've already sunk thousands into art for TW and seen no return on it.

Your third choice, honestly, is to stick with Tradewars but I don't mean expanding it, I mean trying to sell it. You seem to have given up on that, following the dismal crowd sale which you admitted you did almost nothing to promote.

If you want to recoup money for that game, well, you need to *sell* that game. Rather than putting money into art for expansions or art for a new game, put time (not money) into marketing. Figure out why FaceBook didn't do it for you (reasons other than "they ripped me off") and try to get some buzz going. More demos, more reviews. Why doesn't the game have a page on BoardGameGeek? Why not make some videos of you and local gamers playing the game and put them on YouTube? Maybe a series of videos with people playing a tournament of games? Do *something* to sell the game other than just leaving it sitting on the Gamecrafter and preparing to throw more money at more art.

questccg
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Third option!

@Steve: I understand what you are saying. Let me address some issues just to clear things up and make some facts known.

  1. Why is the game not on BGG? A: If I put the game on BGG, no publisher will consider reviewing my game. It would be a public entity. Granted TGC is public, the amount of traffic is less and I know of people who have had their TGC games picked up after selling on TGC.
  2. What kind of advertising did I do for TWHW before the sale? A: I put up a Facebook page, paid for promoting it (about $500 worth), spend 6 month trying to interest people. People were interested in the idea - but not in buying the game.
  3. What else did I do in terms of advertising? A: I spent another $500 in having my game reviewed by 6 different reviewers: Father Geek, Undead Viking, Purple Pawn, Across The Board Games, Board to death TV, and Club Fantasci.
  4. What am I trying to do with TWHW? A: I'm trying to find a Publisher who is willing to publish the game. What this means is market and produce the game at a lower cost. With economies of scale in the 3,000+ units produced, the cost is 70% lower and therefore affordable for the retail (FLGS) market.
  5. What else am I trying with TWHW? A: I'm trying to offer complimentary copies to some designers that I know. In return, I ask for an honest appraisal of the game on BGG. Four or five BGG entries about the game could help in attracting more customers.

So yeah I get the impression that you feel that I'm not "TRYING". Believe me this is furthest from the truth. I'm trying - but nothing is working.

All the designers got on "my case" because I was selling in 1 Player Box Sets. Everyone told me that nobody is going to buy into the concept that each player has his own deck... Unfortunately when it comes to TGC, it's difficult to get more cards in a deck unless I get a bigger box and those larger boxes will not fit into anyone's backpack...

But I have gotten a custom quote from overseas with a box slightly larger than the 1 Player Box Set (Not too much bigger)... But enough to hold TWO (2) Decks for TWO (2) Players! The problem is that it's about $10.00 per box with a MOQ of 1,000 sets. So yeah $10,000... I can't afford that either.

Again IF I plan and do a Kickstarter - this kills my possibility to shop the game around to potential Publishers. So I have this as a last resort in Q2 2017. But I seriously don't want to have to do a KS - because I have the "feeling" that it won't be successful based on the TGC "Crowd Sale" and how that went South.

Believe me - if I could get a KS with 1,000 backers - yeah that would be great. But people are nowadays struggling to get 100 backers. The market is sort of saturated and people have had "bad experiences" with some of the campaigns. So there is less money to go around.

As you can see I'm trying to work through the possibilities. I contacted a local Publisher who deals mainly in French games. They have the capabilities to TRANSLATE the game to French and sell in Quebec and France. They have another branch in Ontario to sell to the rest of Canada and a branch in Texas too. So they can sell to USA FLGSs also... But communication with them has been "poor". I've waited almost a month for a response - still no answers... I don't know if they are a bit interested, or if they just don't give a crap.

So I'm trying to hustle.

Last month I was at a CON, where I demoed the game to about 20 people. Everyone liked the game. One patron wanted to buy a copy of the game! I told her, the only way is via TGC - but it is pricey ($29.99 USD + $16.00 USD shipping to Canada). TGC is very cost prohibitive. The only people who can realistically buy the game is people living in the USA ($29.99 USD + $6.00 shipping in the USA). So about $36...

I also got a local store who is willing to SELL my game "on consignment". But it means he's willing to allocate SHELF SPACE. This too is GREAT. But the TGC pricing prohibits me from selling to local FLGS... My COST is $21.00 USD + $16.00 USD shipping!!! There are clear opportunities. The problem is a PRICE BARRIER with TGC.

And like I said, I can't at the moment afford $10,000 of overseas production to be able to have a cost of $10.00, a $13.50 distribution price and a retail price of $45 (for 2 Decks - 2 players). All I would be making is $3.50... That's LESS than TGC where I make about $6.00 a game.

So there's a lot going on... believe me I'm trying to find the best route possible. And I'm trying not to cut possibilities unless it's a "last resort".

Thank you for your time and interest in our game!

ElKobold
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To be honest, I think it's

To be honest, I think it's only worth thinking about expansions when you know that there's demand for your game.

I.e. you have to release it first.

questccg
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One last thing about COST

If I BUY it at $21.00 USD + $16.00 USD shipping the COST in Canadian dollars is = $49.00 CAD. Assuming that I make $0.00 the MSRP would have to be +50% or $98.00 CAD!!!

Do you see how "crazy" the pricing is?!?!

TGC is cool that they do one-off production. But even if I order 100 game sets, the cost is still $16.00 USD ($5.00 off) but the shipping is a killer! Because it's still $16.00 USD...

ElKobold
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questccg wrote: TGC is cool

questccg wrote:

TGC is cool that they do one-off production. But even if I order 100 game sets, the cost is still $16.00 USD ($5.00 off) but the shipping is a killer! Because it's still $16.00 USD...

This is why TGC is great for prototyping but if you really want to self publish a boardgame, there's not much alternatives to KS.

questccg
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Extending the Shelf Life of a game

ElKobold wrote:
To be honest, I think it's only worth thinking about expansions when you know that there's demand for your game.

There is another factor which you maybe did not consider:

-You can keep talking about your game... New things happening, more than just the core game set, etc.

Otherwise if you do NOTHING, the game is dead 3 months down the line. The time has come and past.

With Expansions, the core game set can always be "re-introduced" for the NEW people to the game. Sure the old people will maybe buy only the expansion, but the SHELF LIFE of your game is extended in that the CORE set can be sold again...!

That's why I am thinking about Expansions for TWHW.

Note: I currently have 6 Expansions "already defined". All that needs to be done are prototypes of each expansion and the games can be ready for playtesting. Funding some (maybe not all) of these expansions would definitely allow my game to gain popularity in terms of YEARS... I can keep talking about the CORE game for at least 2 to 3 more years...

ElKobold
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questccg wrote:-You can keep

questccg wrote:

-You can keep talking about your game... New things happening, more than just the core game set, etc.

I`m not a pro in marketing, but how I see it, "talking about your game" is but a drop in the ocean.

You need a full-fledged advertisement campaign to get things moving.

This is also why KS works and TCG doesn't as a selling platform.
Kickstarter has huge number of visitors so you get the exposure you wouldn't be able to afford otherwise.

Expansions are great and all, but if nobody knows about your game, nobody knows about the expansions either.

mcobb83
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I see from your comments you

I see from your comments you have done everything except use Kickstarter, which stands apart as a place that people go to buy games!

I also understand your argument that once it's there no publisher will pock it up. I assume that you have courted and queried half a dozen publishers. If you have, screw publishers. It's time to move on.

I have done very much research into marketing for more than just board games. Here is what I reccomend: first, getc happening on BGG. Then ask anyone and every one who has played it to positive post there.

Second, revitalize your Facebook page. Put up after action game reports. Make it look like people play the game and enjoy it.

Third, find a board games group (meetup.com should be able to help you with this). Go a few times and after you've met the group take your game to play. Drum up interest that way. Also, go to conventions when you can.

Fourth, use Kickstarter! Take the big plunge. Set your pledge levels with minimum profit from TGC prices (which are high) but prepare to go to a bigger manufacturer after you cross 400 units. I found boardgamemanufacturing.com to be less than 40% the cost of TGC, though there are other manufacturers out there.

If your Kickstarter sells this many units it's time to court distributors like Alliance Game Distributors. These are the people who put your game into catalogs and into stores. With prices lowered by bulk manufacturing you can use distributors to access mass market selling.

In short, take charge yourself. Then WHEN your game makes money, make expansions and follow the exact same pattern.

ElKobold
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mcobb83 wrote:Take the big

mcobb83 wrote:
Take the big plunge.

But keep in mind that success is not guaranteed. Even if you did everything right and your game is great.

Do not invest into KS unless you can afford to lose that investment AND cover potential unexpected expenses.

mcobb83
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True. But he has the

True. But he has the advantage in that his game is already made, so no expense there. The only thing he'd have to watch out for on KS is that his stretch goals don't over extend his budget. Beyond that it's an investment of time. Granted success us not guaranteed but I feel like it's worth the risk, particularly since there is no financial risk if he manages his pledge levels and stretch goals correctly.

ElKobold
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mcobb83 wrote:True. But he

mcobb83 wrote:
True. But he has the advantage in that his game is already made, so no expense there. The only thing he'd have to watch out for on KS is that his stretch goals don't over extend his budget. Beyond that it's an investment of time. Granted success us not guaranteed but I feel like it's worth the risk, particularly since there is no financial risk if he manages his pledge levels and stretch goals correctly.

Advertisement before launch costs money
There may be hidden production costs which you couldn't predict.
Launching a KS is both time and money. Even if we don't include artwork and such.

mcobb83
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I always considered paid

I always considered paid advertising to be less effective. There is no guarantee that it will reach your target audience. I have found Stegmaier's blog to be highly informative and very useful with regards to all aspects of kickstarting.

http://stonemaiergames.com/kickstarter/lessons/

mindspike
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Don't overlook publishers.

I know you've had difficulty getting publisher interest in Tradewars in the past, might I suggest that having it available on Game Crafter acts as evidence of viability?

I understand your concern that publishers may not want to touch a game that already has a public presence and sales history, but that has not been my experience. In my experience, a business looking to acquire new assets like to see sales history. They will be interested in the product if they believe that their resources will lead to more sales.

Regarding choice #1 or #2....

Which one are you more passionate about? If you don't have positive ROI projections for either project, I'd go with the one that you most want to spend your time on.

ElKobold
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mcobb83 wrote:I always

mcobb83 wrote:
I always considered paid advertising to be less effective. There is no guarantee that it will reach your target audience.

Yeah, right, especially banner on BGG won't.

chris_mancini
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EK did you buy a BGG banner

EK did you buy a BGG banner for your game before the Kickstarter campaign? The price kind of put me off, but if it's worth it, I'll reconsider...only so many dollars to spread around!

I'm very curious to know if anyone has seen a significant bounce from BGG to their campaign page, as I know you can see where your traffic is coming from (organic clicks, specific page links, etc.)

ElKobold
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chris_mancini wrote:EK did

chris_mancini wrote:
EK did you buy a BGG banner for your game before the Kickstarter campaign? The price kind of put me off, but if it's worth it, I'll reconsider...only so many dollars to spread around!

I think this should depend on the specific game. We had relatively high goal amount, so compared to this advertisement cost was reasonable.

chris_mancini wrote:

I'm very curious to know if anyone has seen a significant bounce from BGG to their campaign page, as I know you can see where your traffic is coming from (organic clicks, specific page links, etc.)

In my opinion, how we did it was far from perfect. We've messed up with the launch date and didn't manage to book the adds in time. So ours was not up until well into day 2 of the campaign.
I think it's better to run the add as as soon as you launch.

So in the end percentage was much lower than I've expected. Still, it was a noticeable amount.

The 1st by pledge % was Kickstarter itself. More than 60% in our case.
2nd was Facebook (oddly enough).
3rd was BGG
4th was reddit
5th was kicktraq
Each of the last four was 2-3%

I guess it is possible to run without adds, but adds will help you reach your goal faster. Though not by a huge amount.

If you don't have disposable income, or your project and goal are relatively small, probably you can do without adds. Adds won't bring you huge percentage of backers, but they certainly aren't useless.

Again, this probably also depends on the quality of the banners themselves and the KS presentation.

However, having participated in just one KS campaign it's hard for me to tell you if our experience was "as expected", or if it's usually better or worse than that.

Hope this helps.

questccg
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Choice #1

I just wanted to add that with Choice #1 we would be talking about 6 Game Expansions. They are more than just ideas - of course they need prototyping and playtesting - but these are ideas from the original game when there were more elements to the composition of the "core" set.

questccg wrote:
But personally I'd like to bring Joe's Premium Role Cards (#1), add the fourth scenario we removed from the original game set (#2), next would be the modifiers deck (#3), two (2) additional "core" Race Sets (#4 and #5) and of course the Planetary Expansion (#6).

That's why it's a hard choice, I doubt I have enough to fuel all 6 of these expansions... So maybe it is best to wait until the game has a wider adoption rate (so to speak).

questccg
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I agree

Soulfinger wrote:
Invest in #2 when you've earned a profit from #1.

I'm willing to TRY as many doors as possible... to get someone to partner with in terms of "bringing the game to market". I feel like a Snake Oil salesman... But I won't let that stop me.

I'm definitely looking to "partner" with people that can produce a Video and maybe offer some Graphic Design work to make the KS page more professional and appealing. I would like it if it would be a Game Publisher company... But working with other entrepreneurs is not out of the question either...

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