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[GDS] OCTOBER 2014 "Thinking inside the box" Comments and Questions

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richdurham
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Use this thread to ask questions or comment on the Game Design Showdown posted here

DifferentName
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Using the box

Ooh, I thought about using the box back in the gds with stacking, but didn't do it. Interesting idea to think about.

mulletsquirrel
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I have a few ideas but not

I have a few ideas but not sure if any of them are great yet. It is another tough challenge!

richdurham
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Tough is good!

I'll take that as a good thing; looking forward to seeing what everyone comes up with!

anonymousmagic
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After several brainstorms I

After several brainstorms I have yet to come up with something good. Let's hope this challenge doesn't have me stumped.

anonymousmagic
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You're supposed to use the

You're supposed to use the game's packaging in a non-trivial way. Is there anything particularly non-trivial you wish to exclude here or will you just leave that judgement to the voters?

bike
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Non-trivial

I would say that the scoring track of Dixit is not good enough. That is inside the box.

Totally off-topic I would like to draw your attention to my game on Kickstarter. It does not use the box at all. (Interesting thought though, the bigger the box of this cardgame the higher price people are prepared to pay for it - advice both from shopowner and printing house).

If you decide to pledge you are in good company since you join Richard. Here is the link:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1048664959/puerto-diablo-sail-disco...

We are currently halfway (both in time and money - very exciting).

richdurham
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Non-trivial is for the voters

I just mean to use the package in some major way. It'll be up to the voters to discriminate how "significant" it is.

MalthusX
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Classic Games

I find it easier to name more 'classic' games that use the box (or at least storage components) in the game than modern games.

Operation - Mostly kept on a shelf, with the pieces inside the game.

Concentration - Again, stored flat with the pieces inside.

Connect Four - This is the big one. The 'board' held the pieces for storage and was the central feature of the game.

I know these games mostly came in boxes on the store shelves, but I don't know of many who used them for storage.

mulletsquirrel
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So. Much. Unexplored. Territory!

This really gets a person thinking about different "containers" to store a game in...

We've had games in boxes for centuries! Maybe this is the start of the "next generation" of game containing devices...

BubbleChucks
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Bigger Boxes are Better?

I’ve never really understood the “bigger box = better” strategy that seems to be universally upheld and promoted. I think it carried more weight in the past than it currently does, but even so I’ve never really fully grasped the wisdom behind it.

As far as I can determine the supporting thought behind it relates to the following

People do tend to equate bigger with more value.

If P=Price, a small bag of apples is worth P and a large bag of apples is worth Px3. So if I get a medium sized bag with a small number of apples for P then I bought a bargain. On the surface my purchase appears to be good value because the box suggests that I received more than I actually did.

And this, I believe, is the thinking behind the bigger box strategy. People are fooled into thinking something has more value than it actually does because the container generates a misleading impression.

Bigger is more noticeable.

In a store, on the shelf, a bigger box is more likely to attract the attention of a customer than a smaller box that isn’t as visually pronounced. And if a customer notices a product then the chances of them purchasing that product increase.

So those are the conventionally accepted benefits supporting the wisdom for having boxes that are bigger than the requirements of the products inside them, as far as I can see. Their may be other reasons and if there are please point them out to me.

However, taking everything that occurs to me into account, I can’t really see the justification for the continued acceptance and universal promotion of the marketing strategy.

My considerations are as follows

When a person opens their big box purchase to reveal a superfluous amount of “hot air” they feel cheated. They realize that they didn’t actually receive more for their money, they where only deceived into thinking they where going to receive more. What they actually received was far less than they where led to expect.

This creates a level of dissatisfaction with the producer of the product and the product itself. And more importantly it could cause the customer to react skeptically to future offerings by the same product producer, “I won’t be fooled twice”.

The worst examples of the practice even involve a hike to the actual price as a consequence of the larger box (which to some degree reflects the larger prduction costs of larger boxes).

In these cases a customer opens their inflated box to reveal a much smaller game than they anticpated and realize that they paid more for the game than the material costs actually warrant - a double deceit.

The physical dimensions of a box have a storage and commercial cost for everyone in the supply chain.

Brick and mortar stores only have so much shelf space and storage space. Every area of shelf space is a profit zone. If I have a 30cm square shelf space I can store 6 big boxes in it (30x30x5). Or I can store 40 smaller boxes (15x15x2.5). So if my profit on a big box offering (containing a small game) is $5 the area can earn me $30.

In contrast the smaller boxes may generate $3 of profit for an area total of $120 in total. So even though the smaller sized boxes generate less profit per item (and they need not do since the game is essentially the same as the one in the inflated box) it makes more sense to stock the smaller boxes.

One downside to this is the visibility mentioned earlier. A simple way to offset this is to concentrate the visual appeal of the product with a storage solution that increases visual impact. It’s why lots of smaller products are offered in stand displays.

The overall space taken up by the smaller collective products is the same, but the uniformity of the display box, carton or whatever gives it the same or even more visual presence than an inflated box. As an added bonuses these carton can have point of sale counter placements or they can even be free standing to create new shop selling space.

The smaller size also allows a brick and mortar retailer to stock more products or a more varied range of products. In the area space previously given they could have 6 inflated game boxes for one game or 10 smaller boxes carrying 4 different games.

Transport costs. When a manufacturer ships a finished product they usually ship them on pallets. The more games you can fit on a pallet the cheaper the transport cost and the cheaper the transport cost the cheaper the end price the customers receive. Not to mention the “save the world” ecological benefits of not transporting boxes largely filled with empty air.

A lot of retail sales are now carried out online. When a customer makes an online purchase the size of the box a product comes in is largely irrelevant. Their attention is captured by product pictures which can be any size. The good retailers also show pictures of what is actually in the box, so any attempt to deceive customers by implying they will get more for their money because of the box size is redundant.

Going back to my previous point about shipping, when a customer makes an online purchase they have to pay for postage. Generally the postage costs take into account both size and weight so a box of empty air will increase the final cost a customer has to pay to get the game into their hands.

Finally, and this is more to do with my own preferences, I only have so much space on my game shelves. Buying a game is often a choice of what can I fit onto those shelves. If I add a game I sometimes have to make space by selling off an existing game. So the last thing I want as a game buying consumer is lots of artificially large boxes that take up far more space on my shelves than they need to do. And this certainly affects the games I choose to buy.

All told, I seriously question the validity of “bigger box is better” argument. I think it might be time to actually question the argument a little further than simply trotting out the age old justifications of conventional wisdom “this is what everyone does”, “this is how it has always been” and other arguments that refrain from actually questioning a standard of practice that might be outmoded.

Then again I might be completely wrong and customers might actually prefer big boxes of empty air and superfluous packaging surrounding their products.

bike
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Bigger is not better

What is a fair price for a product?

If I buy a bread the ingredients are more or less the same for every bakery. The time spend as well, so is the price.

If I buy a CD the quality of the music might differ (not talking about personal taste). On one CD the artist plays just 30 min acoustic guitar and sings, the other uses a whole orchestra and makes 70 min of music. You would expect the prices differ here, but no, a CD has a more-or-less fixed price. Regardless of the costs made. Some singer/songwriters write a song in 5 minutes, and some take 6 years. Hallelujah.
Could well be that all CDs are way overpriced, or orchestras underpaid, but I drift from the point, which is, the total amount of time/material spent on the project is not at all reflected in the price.

How is this with games? The inspiration moment... I forget about that, even though I rate games with innovative ideas high.
After that the game has to be properly playtested. A longer game takes longer (duh), but this also depends on the number of players choices. They more there are, the more balance testing is needed.
This all adds up to the hours spent.
Then there is the material, which should at least fit in the box.

I think that the hours spent have a more or less fixed price (percentage) which the author receives per game sold. Regardless if it took a lot of time, or a bit. Regardless if the game is great, or just ok. (A bad game only sometimes makes it).

So it is mostly material that decides the price. The time spent, or the quality of the game are not taken into consideration. Do good games sell out easier? To some extend yes, but this also depends on external factors like marketing, big/small company...

I do not think players get disappointed when they discover a lot of air in the box. Players get disappointed when the game is not good. I often hear Dominion has much air in the box, and was more expensive. But, since it is a good game, it is not a problem.

When we were deciding on the price for our game, and asked gameshops and others in the business for advice, the first reply was "How big is your box gonna be". Not "Does your game support 5 players?" or "How long does it take", or "How much artwork is in the game"? No... just boxsize. Of course we try to go for the reasonable available bigger version.

mulletsquirrel
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Although this is a very

Although this is a very interesting discussion, it has digressed from the topic of the design competition. Maybe it should move to a new thread.

Don't forget to get your game ideas submitted!

mulletsquirrel
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Excited.

When does voting start? I am curious to see the ideas everyone came up with!

richdurham
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Entries are in

Day late! Real life got in the way; when did it become so hard to find an hour?

mulletsquirrel
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richdurham wrote:Day late!

richdurham wrote:
Day late! Real life got in the way; when did it become so hard to find an hour?

I know what you mean.

Seems like there are a large variety of submissions this month! I am excited to see who comes out victorious!

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