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Getting stores to sell your game

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questccg
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Hi all,

I am the creator of a kids card game (for ages 9-15) called "Quest Adventure Cards(tm)" (website: www.questccg.com).

The game is to be sold in booster packs of ten (10) cards per pack. My master packs are 100 individual boosters. Each pack retails for about $5.00 (store cost is $3.25).

I have been trying to get toy stores to sell my game without any luck. I am now focusing on "game stores" and so far have conducted one (1) in-store game demonstrations for kids to learn how to play our game. The demonstration went okay (only two (2) kids came to the demonstration), however I have tried to get the store to buy ten (10) packs (investment < $40.00) without any success.

Does anyone have any tips or strategies to help me sell my game? I know the kids that play the game like it (it has a unique card matching mechanism that kids really enjoy). However without any store shelves featuring my product, I doubt my product will have any success...

Some people "imagine" that if they sell the product, I am going to make a mint with it... To be really honest, I would make more money with a full-time job rather than trying to sell these cards... My interest in the game is for it to become popular enough so that I may release an expansion to the game and new editions. I would want the brand to be "recognized".

Thank you for your help/guidance.

vanrydergames
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Why is your wholesale cost

Why is your wholesale cost $3.25 for a pack of 10 cards? Even using a POD site your cost for 10 cards should be $1 or less...

$5 retail for 10 cards seems very high even for the best game.

Is there a starter pack? If not how do they get the rules?

I think there are a lot more details you need to provide to get a good answer back.

vanrydergames
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Why is your wholesale cost

Why is your wholesale cost $3.25 for a pack of 10 cards? Even using a POD site your cost for 10 cards should be $1 or less...

$5 retail for 10 cards seems very high even for the best game.

Is there a starter pack? If not how do they get the rules?

I think there are a lot more details you need to provide to get a good answer back.

guildofblades
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As a retailer and a publisher

As a retailer and a publisher of games, I can comment on a couple of things.

1) Getting a retailer to invest in a new trading card game is very difficult. Most of them are dead upon release, never achieving enough critical mass in attention to drive the sales of a collectible game. Retailers with any experience in trading card games know this and avoid new trading card games like the plague.

2) $5 per pack for 10 cards in pretty darn expensive. Much more so than any other trading card game I am aware of. Its another warning sign to me as a retailer that if I stocked the product, it would be very hard to sell.

3) A wholesale cost of $3.25 a pack is leaving the retailer with a much shorter margin than we get on most other games. Typical discounts for a store with our volume for most games from our distributors are 48-49% off the suggested retail price. Anything less than that better have a great publisher behind it with a huge fan following and be capable of driving sales through the store en mass. And still yet, if you drop the discount below 43-44%, no matter even if you are wizards of the coast or Konami, we still don't touch it. Passed on carrying the newest trading card game from Spinmasters because their wholesale discount was lower than that. Most retailers I know pass on it for the same reason.

So basically, trading card game from small publisher, high suggested retail price, low trade discount is three strikes....

Some ideas on how to mitigate some of those negatives:

1) Figure out how to lower your suggested retail price.

2) Figure out how to offer better trade discounts. in the 47-50% range.

3) If you are going to sell them by the booster box, figure out how to have much smaller booster displays, so stores can buy in much smaller quantities to test the game out. For instance, instead of 100 boosters, maybe have a display of say 12 or so. Its a packaging size other trading card game publishers have done to try and make it easier for retailers to take a chance on a new trading card game.

4) Product returnability. The simple fact is that new trading card games are often just a bad investment for retailers. Many sit never selling a single booster at suggested retail. And that is even true of games backed by weekday cartoons and major publishers. A retailer is taking a long shot whenever they stock and sell a new one. Most retailers I know just wait until its already proven some market sustainability. If you take more of the risk away for trying it, more of them will. That could be done with a returnability window on some to all of what they have brought in.

5) Product support. Fliers, posters, stickers, etc, things the retailer can get in with their shipment of product to better help them promote it to new walk ins to their store.

Yes, I do realize that many of the suggestions are neither cheap or easy to implement. But its just where the market is for trading card games right now. Even most such games published and backed by multi million and billion dollar companies fail to attain market traction. Just a difficult type of game to be publishing right now. The upside for a successful game can be in the tens of millions, if not hundreds of millions, but the hurdles to attain even sustainability are huge.

Ryan S. Johnson
GOB Retail - http://www.gobretail.com
GOB Publishing - http://www.guildofblades.com

questccg
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vanrydergames wrote:Why is

vanrydergames wrote:
Why is your wholesale cost $3.25 for a pack of 10 cards? Even using a POD site your cost for 10 cards should be $1 or less...

Well the $3.25 includes packaging (booster pack), costs involved in industrial printing (paper & ink), costs involved in laminating (high quality cards), costs involved in die cutting (rounded card edges), costs involved in collation of cut cards (labour intensive), costs involved in shrink wrapping collated cards, cost of printing packaging, and lastly costs involved in packaging (booster pack).

I deal with 4 different companies to get my product manufactured: the printer, the collation company, the packaging guy and his printer.

I wish I would have gotten my cards for $1 a pack... But this seems IMPOSSIBLE dealing with the companies I have dealt with. Just the collation company costs a lot because it is labour intensive to cut the cards and the collate them together.

The price point has NOT been a factor. One store said the approximate retail price for the item would be $4.95. The cards are bilingual something that few cards can say. If the stores need to import cards from France (because they want them in French), the price is rather high also...

questccg
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vanrydergames wrote:Is there

vanrydergames wrote:
Is there a starter pack? If not how do they get the rules?

There is no starter pack, we do have a "starter kit" which is basically 3 random boosters. Stores have commended us for the low price point for the game. Our game only requires players to purchase 3 boosters ($15) to play the game.

Rules to the game are available to be "downloaded" from our website (www.questccg.com) in a PDF format. We also have the full rule set available in the "Game" section. Potential players can choose either options. In addition we have a simulated online demonstration of a game... This simulation allows players to follow a complete game to better understand how to play the game. This demo is a Flash animation.

questccg
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guildofblades wrote:$5 per

guildofblades wrote:
$5 per pack for 10 cards in pretty darn expensive.

In our area it is not unlikely to find Pokemon TCG selling at $5.25 per booster (this is an example). Pokemon starter kits also retail for about $15.00. So from a price point I am competitive ($15 to play and $5 per booster).

guildofblades wrote:
A wholesale cost of $3.25 a pack is leaving the retailer with a much shorter margin than we get on most other games.

The margin is 53.9% (almost 54%) if you do the math correctly between the cost to the retailer and his retail price

guildofblades wrote:
So basically, trading card game from small publisher, high suggested retail price, low trade discount is three strikes....

As I have explained, the retail price is reasonable and comparable in our region (probably due to French language requirements), the profit margin to retailers is approximatly 54% (which is reasonable again). The only down size is that the game is from a small publisher...

guildofblades wrote:
If you are going to sell them by the booster box, figure out how to have much smaller booster displays, so stores can buy in much smaller quantities to test the game out. For instance, instead of 100 boosters, maybe have a display of say 12 or so. Its a packaging size other trading card game publishers have done to try and make it easier for retailers to take a chance on a new trading card game.

For some retailers, I am offering them the chance to purchase 10 boosters... This is rather low and in my mind "Mickey mouse" commerce. Just have a "store presence" (product on display for sale) is hard to acheive...

guildofblades wrote:
Product support. Fliers, posters, stickers, etc, things the retailer can get in with their shipment of product to better help them promote it to new walk ins to their store.

I am working on this: fliers to promote demo dates and the product itself. Poster I have done and the problem is MOST stores are already using up their space to shelve product... Having a large 20"x30" poster is not something they enjoy wasting space on. Instead I am trying to focus on fliers (8"x11") to announce demo days.

I am also conducting "in-person" demo days on-site. This allows potential buyers to try the game and see if they like it or not. So far the players have liked the game however that does not always translate to a sale...

guildofblades wrote:
But its just where the market is for trading card games right now... The upside for a successful game can be in the tens of millions, if not hundreds of millions, but the hurdles to attain even sustainability are huge.

I am not giving up on my "game"... I am still going to try to "sell" it to potential "game stores". I just wish someone had "ideas" to help with pitching the product, sales strategies to use, etc.

questccg
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guildofblades wrote:Getting a

guildofblades wrote:
Getting a retailer to invest in a new trading card game is very difficult. Most of them are dead upon release, never achieving enough critical mass in attention to drive the sales of a collectible game. Retailers with any experience in trading card games know this and avoid new trading card games like the plague.

Why is this? If I check to see how many CCGs are published in the last year, I find that there were only 10. This year to date only 3...

So it does not seem like a HUGE amount of CCGs are flooding the market. If we compare to 1995 (which is about 40 CCGs) then one could understand...

How do I get around the "avoid new trading card games like the plague"???

Many thanks.

questccg
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vanrydergames wrote:Why is

vanrydergames wrote:
Why is your wholesale cost $3.25 for a pack of 10 cards? Even using a POD site your cost for 10 cards should be $1 or less...

I am also protecting potential distributors... Having a distributor in the process requires for approximatly another 20% margin between his retailer and himself (the distributor). Otherwise no distributor is going to resell your product (insufficient margin).

bonsaigames
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You're NOT Pokemon

You cannot compare your product to Pokemon. Pokemon has video games, TV shows, and international marketing campaigns.
Your game may be as big someday, but not now.
You need to understand that the retailers are used to paying half of MSRP for a product. If you are selling something to them that they would try to sell for $5, then the wholesale price needs to be $2.50 or less. BTW, I'm still not convinced that you should charge $5, maybe $4 is a better starting price for your product because you will not be able to compete with Pokemon on brand or perceived quality, so you need a draw and price may be it. Look at Savage Worlds Explorer's Edition, this is a full color perfect bound RPG book they sell for $10. In all likelihood, they take a loss on production that they will make up in setting sales. Often publishers will take a loss on initial offerings to create a market they can sell to in the future.
Your production costs seem way out of line, so you may need to find new production partners.
No one would suggest that you abandon your game, but maybe you should change the format. TCGs are notoriously poor selling and many retailers are gunshy about them. Maybe you should look into FFGs LCG model.
Hope that helps.

vanrydergames
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Margin and the retail

Margin and the retail discount Guild of Blades was talking about are the same thing. You are thinking of markup as margin which is not correct. For example if a retailer gets a 50% on a $5 retail pack he gets it for $2.50 and sells it for $5.00. The markup is 100% and the margin is 50%

In your case he gets $1.75 out of $5.00 and the margin is 35%. 1.75/5.00
The markup, which is what you incorrectly identified as margin, is 53.8%

Also, even if those prices are standard in your area, you are comparing your game to a proven, higly successful, mass produced and mass marketed, multi channel product (pokemon). I am not sure that is a fair comparison no matter how good your game is...

I wish you all the luck, but GOB makes very good points and as you are finding the barriers to entry in the TCG world are substantial.

vanrydergames
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what he said

bonsaigames wrote:
You cannot compare your product to Pokemon. Pokemon has video games, TV shows, and international marketing campaigns.
Your game may be as big someday, but not now.
You need to understand that the retailers are used to paying half of MSRP for a product. If you are selling something to them that they would try to sell for $5, then the wholesale price needs to be $2.50 or less. BTW, I'm still not convinced that you should charge $5, maybe $4 is a better starting price for your product because you will not be able to compete with Pokemon on brand or perceived quality, so you need a draw and price may be it. Look at Savage Worlds Explorer's Edition, this is a full color perfect bound RPG book they sell for $10. In all likelihood, they take a loss on production that they will make up in setting sales. Often publishers will take a loss on initial offerings to create a market they can sell to in the future.
Your production costs seem way out of line, so you may need to find new production partners.
No one would suggest that you abandon your game, but maybe you should change the format. TCGs are notoriously poor selling and many retailers are gunshy about them. Maybe you should look into FFGs LCG model.
Hope that helps.

I was replying at the same time. Sorry for duplicating some of the points.

questccg
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Another model

bonsaigames wrote:
Maybe you should look into FFGs LCG model.

What are those, could you explain further?

One draw to my product is that it is "Collectible". However this is on a "per quest" basis (per booster). In the First Edition there are only ten (10) such boosters... So the product is collectible, however the cards you get are NOT random, instead you get all the cards you need to play one (1) quest.

It would be fantastic if in the future players could choose more than the initial ten (10) quests... The product could be very cool if a player could play quests 9, 24 and 31 (as an example).

questccg
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I know I am not Pokemon

bonsaigames wrote:
You cannot compare your product to Pokemon. Pokemon has video games, TV shows, and international marketing campaigns.

I understand, I am a small publisher who does not have the brand recognition that Pokemon has...

bonsaigames wrote:
BTW, I'm still not convinced that you should charge $5, maybe $4 is a better starting price for your product because you will not be able to compete with Pokemon on brand or perceived quality, so you need a draw and price may be it.

If the MSRP is $4.00 and I sell it to them for $2.00, I am selling the product at a loss... Imagine if I have a distributor, his price needs to be $1.50.

bonsaigames wrote:
Look at Savage Worlds Explorer's Edition, this is a full color perfect bound RPG book they sell for $10. In all likelihood, they take a loss on production that they will make up in setting sales. Often publishers will take a loss on initial offerings to create a market they can sell to in the future.

I cannot afford to take too big of a loss. The greater the loss, the less likely I will be able to continue to "design" newer editions...

bonsaigames wrote:
Your production costs seem way out of line, so you may need to find new production partners.

Maybe I should manufacture the product in the USA and have it imported to Canada! ;)

questccg
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Collation is costly nevermind packaging

vanrydergames wrote:
Even using a POD site your cost for 10 cards should be $1 or less...

Just printing cards is not enough! Regular printed card are succeptible to cracking and before not too long the cards look like cr@p.

Secondly someone needs to collate the cards. This is the BIG problem. It is a manual process... And it is costly. Next time around however I will negotiate a better rate but still the cost will be more than $1.

Next comes packaging (another cost), and in my case the artwork also (another cost).

So once you add every piece, the cost of producing the product is no longer $1.

questccg
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Volume discount

I am also offering a "volume discount". So if a retailer agrees to purchase a master pack (100 boosters), the price is reduced by $25.00. So instead of costing $3.25, the price of a booster is $3.00.
When you factor that in, that's a 40% margin.

bonsaigames
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Clarifications

questccg wrote:
bonsaigames wrote:
Maybe you should look into FFGs LCG model.

What are those, could you explain further?

One draw to my product is that it is "Collectible". However this is on a "per quest" basis (per booster). In the First Edition there are only ten (10) such boosters... So the product is collectible, however the cards you get are NOT random, instead you get all the cards you need to play one (1) quest.

It would be fantastic if in the future players could choose more than the initial ten (10) quests... The product could be very cool if a player could play quests 9, 24 and 31 (as an example).

Here's the link to FFG's LCG system http://www.fantasyflightgames.com/edge_npm.asp?eidm=14

Maybe we're running into a terminology issue here. When most of us talk about Collectable Trading Card Game, we're talking about a game like Magic: the Gathering or Pokemon which has card rarity and you have no idea what you are getting when you buy a booster.

If your game is such that 10 cards is all you need to complete the adventure that comes in that package and you could just play the game with the cards in a single pack of 10 cards, that isn't normally referred to as a "Collectable" Card Game. It sounds more like you're selling expansion packs or maybe Adventure Packs for a core rules set the players can download from your website. My advice would be to explain that to retailers, that each pack is an Adventure that can be played all by itself and people will buy more packs to play more adventures.

As far as manufacturing goes, the least expensive places are China right now. Read through the forums and you will find links to various manufacturers.

Hope that Helps and best of luck with your game!
Levi Mote
Co-Owner Bonsai Entertainment
www.bonsaigames.net

guildofblades
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As to pricing and volume

As to pricing and volume discounts.

As a retailer, we currently stock over 17,000 different items. And we have just a 1200 square foot store that also has gaming space and a print production area.

Most stores have very real limits on space. Given that, they have to make choices as to what they will stock. When making those choices, its often boils down to two things,

1) What will sell itself the easiest.
2) What can you make the most profit on

If your game is not yet offering name and brand power whereas it can sell itself very easily and a poor profit margin, 999 times out of 1000 a retailer will not stock your product. Why should they? If they are treating the business of running a game retail store as a real business, then decisions must be made based on what is most profitable (short and long term).

Would I still stock Magic the Gathering if I only got a 40% discount?

Begrudgingly, yes. Because the game has a huge fan base, is always picking up new players and virtually sells itself. But I can also make money reselling used cards in bundles. 70-80% margins on those. So I have a means to balance out their lower margins a bit.

Stock an unknown game with no existing brand power and fan base and a really poor margin? With no high margin variant of the game that I could sell on the flipside? No. There is no financial benefit for doing so.

Sometimes as a game manufacturer you have to go back to the drawing board with regards to how you produce, package and price your game because your first approach just isn't compatible with the marketplace. Sometimes your ultimate vision for the produce might need to meet a compromise or two in order to shoehorn the product into a cost structure that will meet market preconceptions.

I have board games that I would love to produce into lavish high end editions, but the costs of doing so would make then have to retail for $150 instead of the $40 or so they do now. Unfortunately, I know from experience that I would also run smack against a lot of market resistance trying to sell the game at $150. So instead we sell the $40 editions.

Ryan
GOB Retail

questccg
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Similar to a LCG

bonsaigames wrote:
Here's the link to FFG's LCG system http://www.fantasyflightgames.com/edge_npm.asp?eidm=14

In some ways my product is "similar" to a LCG because there is no rarity chasing. In an other way it is different in that you don't need to buy a "starter box". All you need is ANY three (3) packs (or quests) to play per player... And you can play up to four (4) players (in theory you could play more...)

bonsaigames wrote:
It sounds more like you're selling expansion packs or maybe Adventure Packs for a core rules set the players can download from your website. My advice would be to explain that to retailers, that each pack is an Adventure that can be played all by itself and people will buy more packs to play more adventures.

Right on! Each pack is an Adventure. More packs, more adventures. They are not "expansions", each pack is a set of "Adventure Cards" hence the name "Quest Adventure Cards(tm)", where the trademark is on "Adventure Cards".

bonsaigames wrote:
Hope that Helps and best of luck with your game!

I think by distinguishing the game from a traditional CCG is one important selling point. I will put more emphasis on this during my sales pitches.

Thanks.

questccg
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SMALL footprint

guildofblades wrote:
As a retailer, we currently stock over 17,000 different items. And we have just a 1200 square foot store that also has gaming space and a print production area.

The "nice" thing about our product is that is doesn't have a HUGE box only the small boosters... That size, it's is hard to say that any store cannot find the space to hang 10-12 packs on a wall or shelf somewhere...

The other thing is the box for the master pack (100 boosters) again is relatively small (9"x6"x6"). This is a SMALL corrugated box that occupies a small space in the inventory of a store.

So, again, I put the emphasis that my product has a very small footprint and takes up the least amount of space possible in any store. This is yet another selling point I will also need to emphasize during my sales pitches...

Thanks.

questccg
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Quest Adventure Series(tm)

questccg wrote:
Right on! Each pack is an Adventure. More packs, more adventures. They are not "expansions", each pack is a set of "Adventure Cards" hence the name "Quest Adventure Cards(tm)", where the trademark is on "Adventure Cards".

If you have a very creative parent, someone good at storytelling, then the cards have even greater value because they can tell a story...

One of my dreams is to produce a "political" comic book based on the cards. I call it a "Puzzle comic", because the goal would be to use your cards in conjunction with the comic book... Obviously you need to have collected ALL 10 First Edition sets. And when you "correctly solve" the puzzle, you can submit online your answer and if correct receive a promotional and exclusive card for your collection... I am calling it "Quest Adventure Series(tm)". It could be larger than your typical single but not as big as a graphic novel.

questccg
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Collation nightmare

bonsaigames wrote:
... When most of us talk about Collectable Trading Card Game, we're talking about a game like Magic: the Gathering or Pokemon which has card rarity and you have no idea what you are getting when you buy a booster.

I don't know how to design such a game (random cards). Does the printer need to do the collation. And if so, how do they sort out the type of cards that need to put in each booster. Logistically this sounds like a nightmare!

If the collation company had to follow such rules, the costs would be even HIGHER! Imagine telling them for every 6 common cards, there should be 3 uncommon and 1 rare (for a total of 10 cards). Well maybe it would be possible using 3 production runs. But the costs would for certain be higher...

questccg
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Consumer education

guildofblades wrote:
Stock an unknown game with no existing brand power and fan base and a really poor margin? With no high margin variant of the game that I could sell on the flipside? No. There is no financial benefit for doing so.

I feel that if people have that sort of reasoning then they are just excuses. As I mentionned earlier, my product does not take up a lot of space. A comic book takes approximatly four (4) times the space.

Secondly brand recognition has to be built over time. It's not possible to have an overnight success. Nor is it reasonable to expect so. Same goes for a fan base.

That's why I have decided on "educating the consumer" by hold in-store game demonstrations. At least this way kids get exposure to the game. I've done it once and it works. It may not lead to a sale but at least the kids who played (or learned how to play) had fun.

bonsaigames
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Forget the stores?

questccg wrote:

That's why I have decided on "educating the consumer" by hold in-store game demonstrations. At least this way kids get exposure to the game. I've done it once and it works. It may not lead to a sale but at least the kids who played (or learned how to play) had fun.

Maybe you are better off doing demos at stores and Cons and selling the product on your own web store.

As the saying goes, "Build a better mouse trap and the world will beat a path to your door."

guildofblades
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>>I feel that if people have

>>I feel that if people have that sort of reasoning then they are just excuses.<<

You may call them excuses, and sure, they are. But well reasoned ones based on the realities of running a game retail business. And they are considerations that any professionally run game store will take into account.

Truth is, you can ask publishers all day long on how to get your product into retail stores, but nothing will get you to what retailers feel is important faster than asking them directly instead.

Ryan
GOB Retail

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Retail is tough

guildofblades wrote:
You may call them excuses, and sure, they are. But well reasoned ones based on the realities of running a game retail business. And they are considerations that any professionally run game store will take into account.

What about giving a game a chance by stocking it and seeing how well it sells?

guildofblades wrote:
Truth is, you can ask publishers all day long on how to get your product into retail stores, but nothing will get you to what retailers feel is important faster than asking them directly instead.

Well as publishers are you saying that the only way to sell a product is offer higher margins?

Nobody I know wants to sell a product for a loss... Breaking even is a horrible outcome. Making a little, enough to say so, is the bare minimum. A little here and there could amount to a reasonable return on investment. So IMHO you need to make a little (even if it's like $0.25 per pack... The store will make $1.75-$2.00).

Maybe manufacturing in China might make for more competitive pricing... I say MIGHT, I'm not certain because I have not yet tried. Quality of the product is also important. I don't want cards that crack after you shuffle them a few times (and yes many commercial cards do this...)

Thank you for your input, I didn't know what to expect when it came to sales. Honestly, I'm still not certain. It's almost a foreign language...

questccg
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Publisher insider

I was hoping that some publisher would say: "I have a privilieged relationship with some retailers and if I feel your game is good, you'll not only get your product on store shelves, your product WILL SELL!"

Then again, a guy can dream! ;)

Thanks for all your input... It has given me some avenues and things to think about...

Best!

questccg
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Like some ungodly rash

questccg wrote:
...your product WILL SELL!

I just don't understand why new games get a bad reaction (like a rash or something). Now I know that I might need to offer some additional incentives for selling the product.

Kirioni
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Thoughts from a fly on the wall

First off, I thank the experts who have patiently shared their wisdom. Such careful well thought out advice and perspectives are worth their weight in gold.

For my two cents it seems that something in your design and marketing stance needs to change. To get into stores you need to meet the requirements that they set (profit margins etc...) However, this is not the only was to sell games and build an audience. As has been said already, you can sell directly, use free social media to market or even fund raise (ala kickstarter then their like) If you are truly committed to you dream you HAVE to be willing to compromise on small things for a greater goal (sell some copies at a loss, give some away to influential game reviewers) If you believe in your game you have to be humble enough to change pieces while maintaining the integrity of the design.

I recently self-published a small run of games, took three years, took compromising on ideal components as well as 100 other variables. In the end the margin was too small to get into retail, however I only have 29 left and am turning a profit (will be all told around $800) Along the way it was listening to the experts and putting my pride on the self that allowed me to see the game make it to the gamers and that is something I am indebted to the community for.

So if you want to see your game become something more, be ready to take harsh advice (given in kindness), be ready to look into other production methods, ways to cut corners while maintaining quality (i.e. packaging and shrink wrapping games yourself) in the end you still may not have huge (financial) success, but the learning and the journey is what is well worth it, having people try out your game and have fun, that is the ultimate pay off.

kos
Offline
Joined: 01/17/2011
The core issue is your production cost is too high

questccg wrote:
I just don't understand why new games get a bad reaction (like a rash or something). Now I know that I might need to offer some additional incentives for selling the product.

After reading through this thread and your responses, I think you should really go back and read guildofblades' comments again. They tell you precisely what needs to change in order to get this product on the shelf, but all you've done is argue that your product is good enough as it is. I'm not a game store owner, but guildofblades is -- he knows what goes on the shelf and what doesn't: the fact is that a completely unknown product with 35% margin will never get on the shelf.

You're offering 35% margin or 40% with bulk discount.
You need to offer closer to 50% margin or 55% with bulk discount.

What it boils down to is that right now your production costs are too high, which leads to your MSRP being too high and the retailer's margin too low. No amount of in-store demos, posters, buy-back incentives, pretty artwork, or any other tactics are going to make much difference until you address the core problem.

I don't know how you're getting your cards printed/laminated, but it sounds too expensive. Have you looked at POD printers such as TheGameCrafter or SuperiodPOD? You could print yourself a box of 1000 cards through TheGameCrafter for $95.25 plus postage, then have your "collation guy" sort and package them into boosters. If collating and packaging costs more than $1 per booster then I think there's something wrong there too.

10-card booster
Printing: $1
Collate and package: $1
Your profit: $0.5
Game Store Markup: $2.5
------------------
MSRP: $5
Margin to game store: 50%

Another option is to re-think the way that you package them. From your website I see that the players need 6, 9, or 12 boosters to play the game. Why not sell them in sets of 30 instead of 10? That should reduce your collation and packaging costs (comparatively), and also give them a different price point to the Pokemon boosters.

30-card booster
Printing: $3
Collate and package: $2
Your profit: $1
Game Store Markup: $6
-----------------------
MSRP: $12
Margin to game store: 50%

Play with the numbers any way you want, but if the game store's margin drops below 50% it won't get on the shelf. Similarly, the MSRP needs to stay below the price of comparative popular products (Pokemon, MTG) or the customers won't buy it.

Or go with a different business model such as online. But that's a whole other thread.

Regards,
kos

questccg
questccg's picture
Online
Joined: 04/16/2011
Such a HARD pill to swallow

kos wrote:
10-card booster
Printing: $1
Collate and package: $1
Your profit: $0.5
Game Store Markup: $2.5
------------------
MSRP: $5
Margin to game store: 50%

Hmmm... That works for a DISTRIBUTOR (no more secrets). That's my distribution price. The distributor then makes +20% margin (20%x 2.50 = 0.50) = $3.00. And he sells per master pack.

kos wrote:
Another option is to re-think the way that you package them.

This is tough. See for my packaging guy 10,000 units is peanuts. He would want double (2x) the order... He did it because he was nice (but it was a SMALL order for him). And for my printer it's the opposite, he'd do 1/2 the order if I felt I needed it (so 5,000 units).

I am trying to get a quote for my Expansion packs (which will only have 5 cards). I can't imagine getting this order fullfilled at a reasonable price. That's why I asked for quote from "Ningbo Lijia Industry Co., Ltd (China)" to see what I get.

You are all complaining about my current 10 card boosters... Imaging the 5 card ones! I also need to consider artwork (and a reasonable royalty for the work).

To be accurate my cost is more like this:
Printing and collate: $1
Package: $0.5
Artwork: $0.5
My profit: $0.5
Distributors cost: $2.5
Retail cost: $3.0
(MSRP: $5.0)

For my Expansion, I can't imagine getting the Packaging down (same amount of boosters). Maybe Printing and collate at $0.80. I will have a hard time getting the Artwork for $0.25 ($0.35 or $0.40).

So my Expansion is an even harder sell...
Printing and collate: $0.8
Package: $0.5
Artwork: $0.35
My profit: $0.35
Distributors cost: $2
Retail cost: $2.4
MSRP: $4.8!!!

Almost the same freaken price for 5 cards as 10 cards! No way that works!... NONE, zero, zip, nadda. This is really a nickle and dime business.

And I am doing it because I feel the product is good. And it has appealed to kids who have played the game (9, 10, 11, and 13). The Expansion is a really COOL aspect to the game (which is yet to come).

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