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On expensive games and specialty games

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The Magician
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Joined: 12/23/2008

Today a friend of mine showed me a game called Cash Flow. It is vary expensive- about $180. I didn't know simple board games can cost so much until he told me about specialty learning games. What exactly makes this work. How can they charge so much. Do they succeed?

The board game I am working on called "The Dream", a labyrinth game. It's actually a learning game as much as a fantasy adventure game. It's a specialty game in every way, because the group I am selling it to is obscure and narrow. But in that select group it has a strong potential for success. I have contemplated pricing it over $100 because I beleave this group of people will pay that much and I will probably need it since I probably will not be selling a lot of units.

Katherine
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Cashflow is a patented game,

Cashflow is a patented game, they can ask what they want and get away with it because buyers accept the price or go without, personally I chose to go without.

Is your game value at $100, or is that your price because you think people will pay that amount.

The Magician
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shazzaz wrote:Cashflow is a

shazzaz wrote:
Cashflow is a patented game, they can ask what they want and get away with it because buyers accept the price or go without, personally I chose to go without.

Is your game value at $100, or is that your price because you think people will pay that amount.


Hmmm, well mostly the reason I say $100 or more is because this game will only work in my limited group of people and it is only being designed for a limited group. It's not that I want to charge as much as I can. It's just that I may not be selling a huge amount. The game will be valuable to those who I will be selling to.

Let's take for example a specialty game about becoming a millionear. That's valuable to people if it teaches them how to get rich and when done playing it they have improved real world skills that help them get rich.

My game is comparable to that example.

stuka
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Pardon me?

What does it teach for 100 bucks? how to navigate a dungeon with shifting walls? Not sure about the practical value of that knowledge.

monica99
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Joined: 07/26/2008
unique artwork

To me, a really good game is like a piece of art, limited printed art, after spending years on my own creation around a $100 seems more than reasonable

The Magician
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monica99 wrote:To me, a

monica99 wrote:
To me, a really good game is like a piece of art, limited printed art, after spending years on my own creation around a $100 seems more than reasonable

That is a vary insightful point and is one of the main reasons I am going to charge a lot. I am an extremely tallented artist, not for my ability to capture exeptional realism, but for my ability to capture the soul of the people I paint, and ability to capture a mood. My ability is way beyond an artist who can just capture realism or accurately depict something. That is why my art has so much value and I am doing the art for my game myself. If anything els, it will be a breathtaking looking game.

The Magician
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stuka wrote:What does it

stuka wrote:
What does it teach for 100 bucks? how to navigate a dungeon with shifting walls? Not sure about the practical value of that knowledge.

The diamond of this game has nothing to do with the fact that's it's a labyrinth or anything else I have shared. That is just a setting and theme I have chosen for the game. Doesn't mean I don't need to learn how to design games and make them fun. That is why I came to this forum, to learn about designing games. And so many of you I am thinkful for sharing your great knowledge. I am learning a lot.

I don't plan to share what it teaches on this forum until it's complete. I'm not afraid of anyone stealing my idea, and beleave me, this game does something that no board game has ever done. I am 99.999999% sure of that. If it just so happens that it has been done, I still don't care. And it's not something I've shared on here. This is not some stupid idea I have that I think is just so special or unique for this forum. I just don't want to share it till my game is finished. Maybe some of you are thinking: "how can this upstart have an idea that no board game has done?" Well it teaches something that you won't learn at any university. I would be happy to share like I say, when it's done and copyrighted and what not.

The Magician
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shazzaz wrote:Cashflow is a

shazzaz wrote:
Cashflow is a patented game, they can ask what they want and get away with it because buyers accept the price or go without, personally I chose to go without.

Is your game value at $100, or is that your price because you think people will pay that amount.


What aspect of Cashflow was patentable about it. Was it the intelectual concepts of thinking like the rich or mechanics, etc? You may not have played it. Does anyone know?

Katherine
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Joined: 07/24/2008
You can find more info on the

You can find more info on the uspto website - search patent no 6106300.

The Magician
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What makes game worth patenting?

shazzaz wrote:
You can find more info on the uspto website - search patent no 6106300.

Wow! I may be visiting this several times in order to absorb all the info. Thanks vary much. So it looks like they Patented Cash Flow because it teaches something valuable and they didn't want any competition so they can charge a lot. Right? What a pain in the ass though that must have been. What kind of criteria grants a game worth patenting? What makes it worth it. May sound like naive question. I'm mining for information here. I want to explore this subject deeper.

Willi B
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Joined: 07/28/2008
depends...

(note: I am not a patent attorney.)

Most people will tell you that it isn't worth it... after many years of thought with many things of my own in consideration, I agree. This wasn't easy for me to arrive at, but it is an informed opinion and one that comes from studying the industry quite a bit over those years.

Patents, largely, are for people with too much money when it comes to the gaming industry. It tends to be 3 different types:

1) Mr. Sue-Happy: Tries to get loosely worded patents through and sue anything vaguely similar with a decent profit.

2) Archaic corporate protector of evergreen product/acquirer of competition: We the corporate must do everything according to the book of doing business... protecting those items that sell for us year in and year out. Have a big legal team and sue thieves. (This is reinforced when every person pitches them things like "it's like Monopoly, but different" games". They buy out competition instead of innovating them because they have more money and most people have a price.

3) Mr. I-have-the-best-idea-on-the-planet: This is where most of us come in.... we believe or hear that we should protect something and start spending money before we should... I'll get in to this more below.

The profits do not justify the ends largely.

Look at Richard Garfield's patents - "tapping" and "collectible". There are several games they could fight in court.... but don't. Largely, they are waiting for something to make millions upon millions before trying to enforce such patents.... and then, they are at a wash because they won't hold up half the time and the owner spent thousands of dollars obtaining them.

Defeat tapping - don't use it - put a counter on the card instead... same thing.

Defeat collectible - call it customizable.... same thing.

I read through Cranium's patent and though it was well written, I don't think it could hold up either.... using different "abilities" in a game - doesn't every RPG on the planet require both "acting" and "strategic analysis"?

One thing I noticed though is that if Hasbro develops patent envy they may make an offer for your company.... especially if you cut into their market share.

Take Dragon War by Robert Kraus (and others). Most people don't know this game. Mr. Kraus obtained a patent for a trading card board game in which the cards made up the board upon which the game was played. The game was largely panned for it's lack of innovation outside of the patentable concept (an unofficial 5.09 at BGG), but the patent was bought by Hasbro for an undisclosed sum.

I immediately thought of a short lived CCG that came before, called Sim City that had used that same mechanic 4 years earlier. So, in many ways, the #2 corporate is an under-informed #1 sue-happy guy. I thought of a couple of games to use this idea myself, but shied away and wonder now if I should.... in theory, doesn't Agricola use this now? Things that make you think!

Here's the thing....

If you have the next great thing and your patentable aspect has broad, money grossing appeal, then maybe you should look at those protections in a serious manner. But if it is not both BROAD and WORTH MILLIONS, don't do it immediately.... release your game and patent it off those profits if you still feel the need. IF you turn a profit of more than $2000, then you might have enough to start that process.... but if you don't, maybe you just saved yourself some money.

As I see nightmare patents get granted by an under-informed patent office, researched by incompetent/lazy patent attorneys, and taken out by under-researched designers. I see a system that I don't hold confidence in... and it makes me not want to waste the money. I rather have the confidence in myself that I can come up with several great ideas and games without worrying if I miss out on a real good one... that's what will set you apart in the long run... if you can do something great repeatedly and not be a one-trick pony.

Ask yourself this question:

Why do you want the patent? Is it because you think someone will get to the idea first? From your replies of 99.999999% surety, I'd say that isn't it. Is it because you have several more games in line using this patentable thing and want to make sure no one else makes those before you? Then maybe you should obtain the patent when you sell through your first print run and allow that to be your guide as to when and if you should patent the patentable element of your game.

Hope this helps.... and I'd love to see your finished product.

The Magician
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Joined: 12/23/2008
Thank you

I can't think you enough WilliB for posting this vary informative reply. Many I am sure will benifit from it.

I am preparing some photos of the paper prototype. At least what I got going on so far. Look for it eather in the thread about a labyrinth idea in game ideas forum or my game journals. To clarify about my "big idea", it's not the mechanics so much as what I am teaching in this game that I am not ready to post in public domain yet. There are no board games teaching this particular thing, actually things, there are several related skills. That is the unuque aspect; not that I have come up with some clever slick game mechanic that I want to patent.

Your response provides some perspective for me about patenting. thanks!

Katherine
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Joined: 07/24/2008
Can you sell products first

Can you sell products first and then patent using the profits? I was told that if something was commerciaslised prior to protection then it was fair game for anyone who wanted to make the same thing.

jwarrend
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Joined: 08/03/2008
Two thoughts on this, for

Two thoughts on this, for whatever it's worth.

1. People may be willing to pay $100+ for a game that teaches them to make money, for the same reason that people will pay hundreds of dollars for "financial systems" that amount to buying up foreclosed properties -- because people want to make more money. It does not follow from this that people will be willing to pay $100 for a game that teaches them something. Non-traditional gamers are a hard sell on any game, much less one with an expensive price tag. To get a gamer to pay $100 for a game, you have to consider what a gamer would want that would justify such a price tag.

2. Excellent art work is a given in board games and will not be enough to justify a high price tag. Generally, for a game to cost that much, the components have to be exceptional -- metal coins instead of plastic, sculpted painted miniatures made of pewter, etc OR it has to contain a LOT of pieces. Since many games that contain lots of plastic pieces can retail for $70, getting people to take a flier on a $100+ game will be a great challenge. And at that price, you have to also offer a ton of replay. Savvy gamers measure their gaming purchases in cost per hour. If I pay $70 for a game but play it 10 times, that's about $7 per play, less than the price of a movie ticket. So, you have to offer excellent gameplay, superlative components, and extensive replay. Gamers will shell out a lot for a game that is excellent but designing a game that is excellent is the non-trivial step in the process!

Willi B
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I don't think so Shazzaz

Just did quick research in Google patents and came up with Richard Garfield's "Method of building a deck of collectible cards" and it was filed in 2000 - seven years AFTER the game debuted.

Willi B
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Joined: 07/28/2008
Remember*

*I am not a patent attorney, but I don't think prior to commercialization is a requirement.

clearclaw
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The Magician wrote:That is a

The Magician wrote:
That is a vary insightful point and is one of the main reasons I am going to charge a lot. I am an extremely tallented artist, not for my ability to capture exeptional realism, but for my ability to capture the soul of the people I paint, and ability to capture a mood. My ability is way beyond an artist who can just capture realism or accurately depict something. That is why my art has so much value and I am doing the art for my game myself. If anything els, it will be a breathtaking looking game.

In short, why should I pay more for your labour-of-love soul-catching mood-evoking game with beautiful art when I can wander down to the store and buy someone else's labour-of-love soul-catching mood-evoking game with beautiful art for $20?

The Magician
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clearclaw wrote:The Magician

clearclaw wrote:
The Magician wrote:
That is a vary insightful point and is one of the main reasons I am going to charge a lot. I am an extremely tallented artist, not for my ability to capture exeptional realism, but for my ability to capture the soul of the people I paint, and ability to capture a mood. My ability is way beyond an artist who can just capture realism or accurately depict something. That is why my art has so much value and I am doing the art for my game myself. If anything els, it will be a breathtaking looking game.

In short, why should I pay more for your labour-of-love soul-catching mood-evoking game with beautiful art when I can wander down to the store and buy someone else's labour-of-love soul-catching mood-evoking game with beautiful art for $20?

Because it's not for you or gamers. It's for a group that spends a lot of time learning something vauluable to them (I am in this group). A person who plays this game solo, could be playing it for weeks or months, the time they normally use practicing the skill could be replaced by playing the game and developing the skill. This group I have in mind are not gamers. However they are used to games. Their brain's are wired for it. They play certain games. Many of my friends who are a part of this group I am selling to, are vary excited about the idea and can't wait for me to play test it with them.

Now, playing for weeks and months is a huge challenge. The challenge is totally worth it to me. Oh, but also haveing shorter games to choose from when playing multy player. I also have ideas for a few other small family or group games that a short and don't cost a lot. But this one is where I get indulge and make it the way I like games to be.

I am not nececarily set on charging $100 or more. That remains to be seen when I am finished with the game. It may not be necessary to charge so much.

MatthewF
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jwarrend wrote:1. People may

jwarrend wrote:
1. People may be willing to pay $100+ for a game that teaches them to make money, for the same reason that people will pay hundreds of dollars for "financial systems" that amount to buying up foreclosed properties -- because people want to make more money.

Yes, this. This is the only reason Cash Flow costs more than $100: people are convinced that it will make them money. The patent has nothing to do with it, other than scaring off some copycats.

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