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Game with lots of dice: can it be reasonably priced?

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TechRat
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I've been working on a rather basic combat strategy game. The catch is that it uses 48 six-sided dice (four colors with 12 dice per color). My idea is dependent on the dice being part of the game so I can't take them out or reduce them any further. The game also includes a board, a deck of cards and some cardboard tokens. My rough price estimates, if I was to self-publish this, place the cost of materials per game to be around $17-$20 dollars. That seems high to me, though I'm new to all this and I don't have any point of reference. It's the dice that are driving the cost up (best price I could find without buying bulk would be about $8 for 48 dice). I'd also like to sell the game at a reasonable price point, hopefully $30-$35 dollars a copy. I'm hoping some of you more experienced folks can help me with some questions:

1. Is the cost of materials per game higher than normal for games of this type? If you have published games with similar components, how does it compare to your production costs?

2. Is my price point of $30-$35 appropriate given the production costs? Would it need to be higher?

3. Is it a good idea to even have a game centered around so many dice? Would it just be too expensive to produce to be worth pursuing?

Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!

truekid games
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i'm assuming these aren't

i'm assuming these aren't custom dice, just normal ones? what size, and what stops you from buying in bulk, if you need so many?

bluepantherllc
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48 Dice

If you want to self-publish a 200% markup might work.

If you want to get into distribution, you'll be selling at 60% off list to your distributor. On a $30 game, that means you'll get around $12.

SJ

veeds
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I use a lot of dice as well,

I use a lot of dice as well, depends on what your using really, if your custom dice, the cost of them is obviously going to be more than the other game I have in the works that uses tons of d6 only, and a couple of customer dice.

Dralius
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get it from the source

TechRat wrote:
(best price I could find without buying bulk would be about $8 for 48 dice).

You should be able to do much better purchasing from a dice manufacturer as long as you are buying in bulk.

My Koplow catalog is a little out of date but the prices for their 12MM D6 blow that out of the water.

e-mail info@koplowgames.com and let them know you are looking to publish a game that uses allot of dice and need bulk prices. If you buy in bulk they will be happy to deal with you. They don't sell direct to the public so at the very minimum plan on buying several hundred of each color. If you buy by the thousand you might get a real good deal.

TechRat
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Yes, they are normal

Yes, they are normal six-sided dice. Nothing custom; just different colors. I was looking at 16mm dice, though I could probably get away with 12mm.

I'm avoiding buying in bulk for the time being because I simply don't have the money to invest in bulk orders right now. Granted, I won't be looking at starting production for at least a year, so who knows what will happen between then and now. I'm just thinking ahead and assuming that I'll have to start small. For now my plan is for a really small initial run to sell online and in local game shops. If the game is well received I can put the profits towards larger runs and eventually bulk orders.

Clever Mojo Games
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Chessex

Admittedly, I'm a novice to the business, but I was recently able to get 2000 red and black 16mm d6 from Chessex for 11 cents each. I found one supplier who would go to 9 cents a die but he only had red and I needed both red and black.

So, at 11 cents each and with 48 dice per game that would put your component cost at $5.28 for the dice. A little lower than your initial $8 estimate, at least. :-)

TechRat
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Wow, thanks!

Thanks for all of the responses, everyone. I didn't expect so many replies so soon!

bluepantherllc wrote:
If you want to self-publish a 200% markup might work.

If you want to get into distribution, you'll be selling at 60% off list to your distributor. On a $30 game, that means you'll get around $12.

SJ

This advice really helps. I really didn't know how the profit margins were for board games. Noting this, if I could get total production costs down to around $15 a game, then sell the game for $40 (a little higher than I'd like, but not terrible), I could turn a $25 per unit profit if I self publish, or possibly a $1 per unit profit if I go through a distributor. Is 60% off for distributors a hard and fast rule? Would I be laughed at if I tried to negotiate for 50% off instead?

Dralius wrote:

My Koplow catalog is a little out of date but the prices for their 12MM D6 blow that out of the water.

I had looked at Koplow. They didn't list prices on their site. I'll have to contact them and get a quote. I wasn't planning to buy bulk at first, but it's worth a look.

Clever Mojo Games wrote:
Admittedly, I'm a novice to the business, but I was recently able to get 2000 red and black 16mm d6 from Chessex for 11 cents each. I found one supplier who would go to 9 cents a die but he only had red and I needed both red and black.

So, at 11 cents each and with 48 dice per game that would put your component cost at $5.28 for the dice. A little lower than your initial $8 estimate, at least. :-)

Hey, every little bit helps! I'll have to look into Chessex as well.

ReneWiersma
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I believe here is how it

I believe here is how it works (roughly).

Suppose you create a game that costs you $5 in materials per unit. You sell it for $10 to a distributor. The distributor sells it to shops for $20 per unit. The shop sells it for $40 to the public.

Typically, a game will sell in shops for six to ten times of the manufacturing cost per unit.

Of course, if you do direct selling, through a website or on game fairs, you make more money as any profit goes directly into your pocket and you can set the price yourself.

TheMob
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Without taking any stance on

Without taking any stance on the price...

...why so many dice? Does your game really need them? O_o

drewdane
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TheMob wrote:Without taking

TheMob wrote:
Without taking any stance on the price...

...why so many dice? Does your game really need them? O_o

I must agree. I would worry about a game with 48 dice. Could a player possibly make a decision that would be meaningful in a game with that much randomness? Every single one of the 48 is absolutely mandatory?

In the interest of full disclosure, dice and I do not have a very good relationship. If you need proof, check out our website: http://nodice.net :D

ReneWiersma
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drewdane wrote:I must agree.

drewdane wrote:
I must agree. I would worry about a game with 48 dice. Could a player possibly make a decision that would be meaningful in a game with that much randomness? Every single one of the 48 is absolutely mandatory?

"My idea is dependent on the dice being part of the game so I can't take them out or reduce them any further."

I guess that is your answer.

Also, more dice does not necessarily mean more randomness. You don't even know how dice are used in this game. Perhaps they are use more as markers than as randomizers, or as life-counters, score-keeping, etc.

TheMob
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ReneWiersma wrote:"My idea is

ReneWiersma wrote:
"My idea is dependent on the dice being part of the game so I can't take them out or reduce them any further."

I guess that is your answer.

Also, more dice does not necessarily mean more randomness. You don't even know how dice are used in this game. Perhaps they are use more as markers than as randomizers, or as life-counters, score-keeping, etc.

If it's score keeping or life counters, couldn't pen & paper do?
Who has the energy to throw 48 dice? :D

I didn't mean to judge... but rather ponder why is it really mandatory to have 48 dice? I think drewdane was also trying to help. I've yet to see a game that would need so many dice. :)

ReneWiersma
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TheMob wrote:If it's score

TheMob wrote:
If it's score keeping or life counters, couldn't pen & paper do?

Maybe the dice represent armies and the pips is the amount of life points left. Just guessing here... maybe he does really need to throw 48 dice, what do I know?

Quote:
I didn't mean to judge... but rather ponder why is it really mandatory to have 48 dice? I think drewdane was also trying to help. I've yet to see a game that would need so many dice. :)

Well, no offense, but I just think it is a little obnoxious to ask if he really needs 48 dice when he clearly states in his opening post that he *really* needs 48 dice ;) I must say I am a bit curious myself why he needs so many!

InvisibleJon
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An example...

TheMob wrote:
I didn't mean to judge... but rather ponder why is it really mandatory to have 48 dice? I think drewdane was also trying to help. I've yet to see a game that would need so many dice. :)
I can meet you half-way... RYB uses 24 (If you're playing with four players): http://www.invisible-city.com/play/32/ryb

TheMob
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True, it's bit like stepping

True, it's bit like stepping on somebody's toes... but I'm sure we'll be lead to the right path soon (sorry for opening the can of dice worms and leading this thread to perhaps wrong path... ;))

Sometimes when people say "it must be there", they really mean "I've thought it this way". Don't know if that's the case here.

Anyway, would be interesting to hear why 48 dice :)

EDIT:
@InvisibleJon: hehee, sweet! :)

TechRat
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ReneWiersma wrote:TheMob

ReneWiersma wrote:
TheMob wrote:
If it's score keeping or life counters, couldn't pen & paper do?

Maybe the dice represent armies and the pips is the amount of life points left. Just guessing here... maybe he does really need to throw 48 dice, what do I know?

Quote:
I didn't mean to judge... but rather ponder why is it really mandatory to have 48 dice? I think drewdane was also trying to help. I've yet to see a game that would need so many dice. :)

Well, no offense, but I just think it is a little obnoxious to ask if he really needs 48 dice when he clearly states in his opening post that he *really* needs 48 dice ;) I must say I am a bit curious myself why he needs so many!

Okay, okay. I wasn't going to go into detail but I need to get over this whole "new designer paranoia" so I'll explain a little more.

ReneWiersma wins the prize. The dice ARE the playing pieces. Each represents a soldier in your army. Each army has twelve soldiers (supports 2-4 players). There are further rules for movement, combat, etc., but the dice are not all rolled at once. In fact, during combat each player only rolls one die. The strategy comes in maneuvering your army to gain the largest combat bonus, increasing your chances to win each battle.

I'm still playtesting with friends and family right now, but so far it's going well. I'm hoping to try some blind playtesting soon.

TheMob wrote:

In the interest of full disclosure, dice and I do not have a very good relationship. If you need proof, check out our website: http://nodice.net :D

Well you'll be happy to know that I'm also working on two other designs right now that don't use any dice at all. I agree that too much randomness is a bad thing, but I think a little bit of randomness with the chance for the player to affect the odds can make things interesting.

BTW, I like your company name. Andrew "No Dice" Clay. Clever. :)

seo
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TechRat wrote:The dice ARE

TechRat wrote:
The dice ARE the playing pieces. Each represents a soldier in your army. Each army has twelve soldiers (supports 2-4 players). There are further rules for movement, combat, etc., but the dice are not all rolled at once. In fact, during combat each player only rolls one die. The strategy comes in maneuvering your army to gain the largest combat bonus, increasing your chances to win each battle.

It's hard to help without knowing all the details, but couldn't the dice be replaced with simple tokens or pawns, and just have one die (or one per player) to do the rolls?
If you need to keep track of values for each soldier, maybe you could have the values on each cell on the board, and place the pawn/token on top of the desired value or something.
That wouldn't change the game play, but will reduce the production costs a lot.

TechRat
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seo wrote: It's hard to help

seo wrote:

It's hard to help without knowing all the details, but couldn't the dice be replaced with simple tokens or pawns, and just have one die (or one per player) to do the rolls?
If you need to keep track of values for each soldier, maybe you could have the values on each cell on the board, and place the pawn/token on top of the desired value or something.
That wouldn't change the game play, but will reduce the production costs a lot.

Having the dice as the pieces is the main hook of the game, and the rules center around each piece having six possible values. I can't take the dice out without taking out most of what makes the game special.

Just to get things back on track, I'm not looking for alternatives to using the dice. I'm asking for advice on production costs and price points for a game with that many dice.

One thing I realized yesterday is that if I go with 12mm dice instead of 16mm not only will they be less expensive but I can then make the board smaller as well which should make it cheaper to produce.

TheMob
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Thanks for the clarification

Thanks for the clarification (don't call me a party spoiler but simply piling coins on top of each other would do...). Now just add a bonus attack in the end where one player can throw all the dice at once and win if he throws all six. XD

TechRat wrote:
One thing I realized yesterday is that if I go with 12mm dice instead of 16mm not only will they be less expensive but I can then make the board smaller as well which should make it cheaper to produce.

Okay... back to the topic.

1) Well smaller dice could do.
2) Also, perhaps you are able to find some dice shoppe that can sell you large amount of dice.

I suppose that's pretty much it...

Good luck with it. :)

SiddGames
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You could also potentially

You could also potentially reduce the maximum number of soldiers per army, for example dropping from 12 to 10 or 8 would be a cost reduction of 17% or 33% on dice (e.g., have you tested with smaller army sizes? Perhaps it would make decision-making more tense because players have fewer soldiers available to cover their territory). Just a thought.

Do larger dice cost the same as d6, in small or in bulk orders? Going with the thought above, if d8 or d10 cost the same, would the game still work the same with 10d8 or 8d10 per army rather than 12d6?

Hm, is it safe to assume you only have 1 unit type since they are all d6s? Now I'm wondering if players would like to have 10d6, 1d8 and 1d10 units available rather than 12d6 units, hehe.... Might throw a little wrinkle in there having a few units that are potentially able to get stronger than the others (elite units). Maybe the d8 is a cavalry unit that is allowed (at any time) to reduce its strength by 1 point to move 1 extra space.

Haha, okay, sorry to go off on a tangent...

drewdane
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TechRat wrote:BTW, I like

TechRat wrote:
BTW, I like your company name. Andrew "No Dice" Clay. Clever. :)

That was purely unintentional, I assure you. :p (Do you think the "Diceman's" lawyers will buy that excuse?)

Sounds like a good use of dice, then. As a recovering dice addict, I can say that 12mm is fine. If it saves you a couple bucks do it, and don't look back.

I also think you may be undercutting yourself on the retail price, a bit. Self published games are generally more expensive than those produced by the big boys, and I think people understand that. They know we can't compete with the likes of Hasbro (or even Steve Jackson) because we just don't have the capital, the customer base, or the distribution networks that they do.
Take a look at Deepthoughtgames.com That may not be a perfect example, because Deep Thought has a loyal following, and many folks pay the premium prices gladly, because they trust the publisher. Also, all of their games are component-heavy 18xx titles. But it does illustrate that you don't need to compete on price with guys who buy ink by the barrel.

doho123
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I can think of two games off

I can think of two games off the top of my head that have had a ton of dice:

Diceland: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/2937

Stack: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/5271

So, obviously it can be done. I remember talking to the guys who did Stack at GenCon, and asked,"What's to prevent me from just buying my own dice to play your game?"

His response was,"Well, we have a massive discount on the dice because of the sheer quantity we buy." And it was basically true. I think 52 dice come in a bag of Stack, and buying that amount of dice on my own was probably 180% than just buying the Stack bag (with nifty dice bag!).

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