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Should publisher label their mechanics on their box?

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larienna
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Joined: 07/28/2008

I was shopping some games during a sale and I found it annoying that most of the information on the box given about a game is related to the theme of the game. But we all know that for most games, the theme is irrelevant, what most people want to know is what are the mechanics.

So I was wondering if publisher should label the 3 most important mechanics of their game on the box?

Else another solution I found on some box is to give rating to various categories. For example, on a ravensburger game, you can see the following rating:

Luck, Strategy, Communication, Knowledge, Creative, Action

I am not sure if there should be a better way to categorize game mechanics. Strategy seem pretty vague for me. For example I thought of:

Mind-games (which could include bidding and auction)
...

Too tired to think of other ones right now, sorry.

scifiantihero
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Joined: 07/08/2009
It seems like . . .

. . . the people who would really care are the ones who know about board game geek anyway, and know how to learn about games that might interest them. I'm a pretty picky buyer, though, so I'll research something before spending money on it (generally).

Most games tend to give a decent description (I'm speaking from the U.S.A, looking at games in game stores). But, when it comes down to it, theme probably sells more product than mechanics, and there is only so much space on a box to talk about stuff that would really be meaningful to people who might be reading this thread right now without going over the heads of the people who probably aren't.

So I guess I'm not sure how you are defining "most people" who consider theme to be "irrelevant," but I 'd bet that some marketing guys are disagreeing with you, or else we wouldn't have this thread!

:)

metzgerism
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larienna wrote:I was shopping

larienna wrote:
I was shopping some games during a sale and I found it annoying that most of the information on the box given about a game is related to the theme of the game. But we all know that for most games, the theme is irrelevant, what most people want to know is what are the mechanics.

So I was wondering if publisher should label the 3 most important mechanics of their game on the box?

Else another solution I found on some box is to give rating to various categories. For example, on a ravensburger game, you can see the following rating:

Luck, Strategy, Communication, Knowledge, Creative, Action

I am not sure if there should be a better way to categorize game mechanics. Strategy seem pretty vague for me. For example I thought of:

Mind-games (which could include bidding and auction)
...

Too tired to think of other ones right now, sorry.


Game mechanics are listed in each game's BGG entry. The mechanics that you describe are less definitive than the ones shown there (that range from Auction and Abstract to Resource Management and Crayon Rail). For more experienced gamers, this is a far more proper listing of mechanics than a "rating" on strategy/tactics/luck etc.

For the reason that I think BGG has it "right," I question the need for such a description on most boxes. It is up to the manufacturer to decide if additional information will help or hinder sales. However, if there ever was a proper format, it's on the Geek.

larienna
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I know it's on the geek. The

I know it's on the geek. The problem is that I need to note down the game name, go back home. Check the reviews and get back to the store.

Generally during sales, you must buy it now else you won't be able to buy it. So I thought that is some mechanics could be labeled on the box, it could allow people to easily sort out games they do not want.

metzgerism
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:P

Sorry to burst your bubble, but even if every game described it's own mechanics, a lot of the games that end up going on sale won't have these descriptions for a while.

It's not a bad idea, as I said, but I'm not willing to put in much more time than this. It'd be cheaper and faster just to get an iPhone (or an equivalent).

EDIT: And by the time this gets mandated on game boxes, we should all have phones with Firefox on them.

simpson
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Joined: 10/22/2008
Quote:But we all know that

Quote:
But we all know that for most games, the theme is irrelevant, what most people want to know is what are the mechanics.

Kind of a catch-all statement of opinion there. As a gamer, I'll try any game with any sort of game mechanic. What I don't do as a gamer is buy a game with an unappealing theme (pretty much any city-titled game or agricultural game). That tells me that I make consumer decisions based on theme.

I can certainly understand proper packaging. If its something you truly want, then why not start approaching publishers to adhere to an industry standard?

simpson

MichaelM
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My Thought On This

As a publisher myself... I place potential purchases into two different categories:

#1 - The Gamer - This is the type of person who really CARES what the mechanics are. This is also the type of person that will readily know how and search out what the mechanics are on the internet. I might lose a couple of impulse sales to a gamer who does not know the mechanics at that moment.

#2 - The Casual Player - This person is significantly more likely to purchase a game based on theme and appearance. In addition they are likely to walk into a store ask for a recommendation and take a recommendation immediately. This type of person I fear does not want that information or is likely to say "This game looked great, but I HATE auction games." I certainly know people like this.

For me, it is a question of balancing the numbers... The casual players vastly outnumber the gamers of the world. Since I am in business to sell games, not necessarily appease gamers, I will not be placing mechanics on boxes.

That is my thoughts.

Michael
Tasty Minstrel Games
My Blog Covering Game Publishing and Internet Marketing / Blogging

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