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Very expensive games...

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CloudBuster
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Joined: 04/14/2009

Greetings!

I went to my local game store and I started paying particular attention to all the games and how they're packaged, pricing, etc. I was shocked to discover how expensive many of these game are! I've seen many, many posts regarding the pricing of games. How much should I charge? How can I keep production costs low, but maintain quality, etc. These questions are all over the place.

So...I walked over to a game called "Pitch Car". Basically it looks like a shuffle board type game. You've got a round, wooden puck, with a car painted on it and it looks like you flick it with your finger around a track that you build. The box is fairly large, and it's quite heavy. Care to take a guess at the price?

$180.00! <--Geez!

I don't know about you guys, but that's just way too steep for me. I know nothing about this game, but flicking a little wooden puck around a race track just doesn't seem worth $180 to me. Perhaps I'm way off base here and it's the most awesome game of flicking pucks I'll ever see/play.

Fine.

I STILL can't justify paying $180.00 for it. Not only that, they've got expansions! There's Pitch Car 2 for $55.00 (it adds some new pieces) and Stunt Race 4, for $60.00.

GAH! Okay...well I just checked it on boardgamegeek.com http://www.boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/150/pitchcar

It actually got a pretty high rating AND it looks like my game shop is WAY overcharging for it.

Here are some other really expensive games (once again...perhaps these are overcharged)

Planet Steam (German...English rules included in box, but I don't understand German, so I can't figure out what's going on. Looks very cool, though.) $125.00

Decent $90.00
Expansion: Sea of Blood $60.00
Expansion: Tomb of Ice $50.00

At the Gates of Loyarg ( I think I spelled that incorrectly) $80.00 This game weighs almost nothing, which makes me think the pieces are made of paper, or thin chip board. Eighty bucks? Really?

I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, "What's the point of this post? All you're doing is ranting and raving about games you haven't played and you're squawking about the price. If you don't like the price, find the game for less somewhere else!"

Good points! My question is: Am I missing something? Aside from the game store apparently overcharging for these games, I don't know if I've EVER paid more than $40.00 for a game. Should I just chalk it up to the old saying, "An item is only worth what people are willing to pay for it."? Is there a "perceived quality" based soley on price? If I get a game published, should I charge $60.00 for it in the hopes that someone will say, "Wow! Sixty bucks! This game must be awesome!"?

-CB-

Timppis
Offline
Joined: 01/09/2010
$180 is WAY too much on

$180 is WAY too much on Pitchcar. Even though it is probably the best ever dexterity game, it still sells at approximately $60 even here in Finland where it's 22% GST

So yes, they are ripping you off on that one.

Other than that, pricing from $25-100 depending on the scale and size and quality of the game is pretty normal I think.

The cost of the game is obviously a sum of many many parts. Even though Bohnanza or Titans are excellent games, they can hardly charge more than $30 because their production costs are significantly cheaper than that of Twilight Empire for example.

Production costs, marketing, retail, etc. etc.

Pricing of any product is always a sum of dozens of parts, and the pricing of your own game should reflect that.

But yes, they are ripping you off on the PitchCar

scifiantihero
Offline
Joined: 07/08/2009
This isn't an ad ;)

Go try www.tanga.com.

They have a new deal every day on a game. Sometimes it's silly, or lame, or card sleeves, but sometimes it's pitchcar or agricola or something cool!

Brick and mortar stores just have to charge suggested retail, or closer to it than someone with a warehouse.

I don't see how this relates to game design, since all you're doing is whining about something that wasn't researched very well, since it's fairly easy to find realistic prices online.

Hope your faith in the world is reaffirmed, though.

:/

bluepantherllc
bluepantherllc's picture
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Joined: 07/29/2008
It may not seem related but...

First - I recommend using www.boardgameprices.com. It's the closest thing to a centralized board game price resource I've found.

Second. Game design is related to game price.

Or perhaps it's the other way around - game price is a function of many things, but game design is a big driver.

Does your game need that extra deck of cards for random events? How many tokens does a player need to play - 80 each or 30 each? Do you need the player info mats to keep track of stuff or could one set of charts on the main board? How many stacks of $10 bills and other money are required for the game? Is that custom injection molded spaceship required? Or would cardboard counters with ship outlines on them work? So there are some decisions that clearly affect price.

Now some of the decisions on game design are in the hands of the designer (mechanics, general scope of play) and some are in the hands of the publisher (just how many creatures did that $90 copy of Descent come with anyway?).

The games we play look the way they do, in part, because we want them to. Let's get back to PitchCar. I've seen it for $85 in the US. That's a lot of money for a set of heavy mdf boards with a smooth overlay on top of them and a few disks with cars outlines imprinted on them. But it sells out. Every time it's in stock it sells out. People like it. They pay for it. I remember that when I'm thinking about my game designs and which ones should get published.

We're going to publish a flicking game later this year. It has 15 disks and 4 boundary markers. You can play it on any table where disks can slide. It will fit in your pocket. It will come in a nifty, cool looking tin box. And it will MSRP for $20-$25. It does not have a racetrack, but it has a very recognizable and playable theme. And there will be people who will say it's too expensive too.

Without getting into too much detail, when you see an MSRP of $50, your game publisher is getting maybe 40% (or $20) of that before paying for the "free" shipping to the distributor. So that means that in order to make a 20% margin (not 20% profit) on a product that costs $50 MSRP, the publisher has to get all that stuff into a box for a cost of $15 or less. The way go get all that gaming goodness in there for that price is to go with a larger volume. And a larger volume carries a larger risk. You're paying too much for that good game, in part, to cover the losses on the less than good games that got published at the same volume but didn't sell out.

There are other ways - remember Cheapass games? They sold barebones games in simple cardboard packaging - and expected you to provide things like money, chips, pawns, pencil, paper, etc. Their games were $5. I still have my "Kill Dr Lucky" - great game. It's now out in a reprint for $30-$40 from a regular publisher. It looks great, but I don't think I'll spend that kind of money to buy a game I already own.

CloudBuster
Offline
Joined: 04/14/2009
scifiantihero wrote:Go try

scifiantihero wrote:
Go try www.tanga.com.

I don't see how this relates to game design, since all you're doing is whining about something that wasn't researched very well, since it's fairly easy to find realistic prices online.

Thanks for the heads up on the website! Very cool!

This doesn't really relate to game design, which is why I put the topic in the Publication section. Although you're right about not researching it very well, I still think $60.00 to $80.00 for a board game is a lot of money, which was the main point of my post. I've played lots of board games, but my friend is a collector and player and most of the games I've played have been through him. I haven't actually been exposed to game prices in quite a while and I was shocked to see how much they're going for.

-CB-

Pe-ads
Pe-ads's picture
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Joined: 01/30/2010
Online is cheaper

Online buying is generally cheaper. It also depends which company you're buying from and how well the game is made. I believe FFG is expensive but good quality.

Plus, PitchCar is (a) made from wood and (b) out of print (I think?).

CloudBuster
Offline
Joined: 04/14/2009
bluepantherllc wrote:First -

bluepantherllc wrote:
First - I recommend using www.boardgameprices.com. It's the closest thing to a centralized board game price resource I've found.

Second. Game design is related to game price.

Or perhaps it's the other way around - game price is a function of many things, but game design is a big driver.

Does your game need that extra deck of cards for random events? How many tokens does a player need to play - 80 each or 30 each? Do you need the player info mats to keep track of stuff or could one set of charts on the main board? How many stacks of $10 bills and other money are required for the game? Is that custom injection molded spaceship required? Or would cardboard counters with ship outlines on them work? So there are some decisions that clearly affect price.

Now some of the decisions on game design are in the hands of the designer (mechanics, general scope of play) and some are in the hands of the publisher (just how many creatures did that $90 copy of Descent come with anyway?).

The games we play look the way they do, in part, because we want them to. Let's get back to PitchCar. I've seen it for $85 in the US. That's a lot of money for a set of heavy mdf boards with a smooth overlay on top of them and a few disks with cars outlines imprinted on them. But it sells out. Every time it's in stock it sells out. People like it. They pay for it. I remember that when I'm thinking about my game designs and which ones should get published.

We're going to publish a flicking game later this year. It has 15 disks and 4 boundary markers. You can play it on any table where disks can slide. It will fit in your pocket. It will come in a nifty, cool looking tin box. And it will MSRP for $20-$25. It does not have a racetrack, but it has a very recognizable and playable theme. And there will be people who will say it's too expensive too.

Without getting into too much detail, when you see an MSRP of $50, your game publisher is getting maybe 40% (or $20) of that before paying for the "free" shipping to the distributor. So that means that in order to make a 20% margin (not 20% profit) on a product that costs $50 MSRP, the publisher has to get all that stuff into a box for a cost of $15 or less. The way go get all that gaming goodness in there for that price is to go with a larger volume. And a larger volume carries a larger risk. You're paying too much for that good game, in part, to cover the losses on the less than good games that got published at the same volume but didn't sell out.

There are other ways - remember Cheapass games? They sold barebones games in simple cardboard packaging - and expected you to provide things like money, chips, pawns, pencil, paper, etc. Their games were $5. I still have my "Kill Dr Lucky" - great game. It's now out in a reprint for $30-$40 from a regular publisher. It looks great, but I don't think I'll spend that kind of money to buy a game I already own.

Hey!

Thanks for this post! An excellent, thoughtful, helpful answer to my query. Lots to think about. I hadn't considered the bit you mentioned regarding risk with a larger volume. I think I might pay a bit extra for a great game with quality pieces and high production values. On a very simple scale, when my Dad taught me and my friends how to play poker, we used really cheap, plastic chips. They worked fine, but as we got older and got jobs we decided to purchase some nicer, heavy clay chips. We also bought tables or portable table top poker covers to heighten the "poker experience". This was way before the home poker craze took off. We spent quite a bit of cash on nice chips. Now you can get really nice chips at bargain basement prices.

I've also seen a really interesting Settlers of Catan version that comes in a wooden case. All the pieces and tiles are made of some type of molded plastic and they give the game a 3-D look, rather than the flat, board game tiles from the original. Kinda fun to play on this version. It's different and seems to add that extra "something" to an already great game.

On the other hand, I DO know about Cheapass Games and they had a good idea with their "just provide rules and maybe a map or two and the players provide the rest" strategy. There's just something about getting a great deal on a fun product by using parts you've already got lying around the house.

-CB-

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