Skip to Content

Cardboard coins or "real" coins?

18 replies [Last post]
adagio_burner
adagio_burner's picture
Offline
Joined: 07/30/2008

I am preparing to order the first large print run of my game, Conquest of the Fallen Lands. So far under 100 copies have been produced in a manual labor-intensive process, but I think I have gathered enough positive feedback and I can now take a risk and go for 4 or 5K copies.

During negotiations with the printer, a curious possibility came up. The game uses coins, and I was originally thinking of cardboard coins. It turns out that "real" metal coins can be minted for about $1 additional cost (per game). $1 is a lot when you are talking about manufacturing costs...

Thus the question: do you think it's worth it? How cool would be a game with "real" metal coins inside? Do you think the coolness factor will overweigh the additional cost? Do you think the game will see much beter with metal coins than with cardboard ones? The rest of the components will be made of cardboard, cardstock and glass (glass chips).

To tell you the truth I am tempted to go for the metal coins (I am as much of a businessman as I am a hippopotamus) but my friends and partners are much more cautios than I am... and then, the primary goal is not to lose too much money here :) So I thought I'd rather gather some opinions first and then make a decision.

Zzzzz
Zzzzz's picture
Offline
Joined: 06/20/2008
Cardboard coins or "real" coins?

Well the first thought that jumped into my head was, how many coins? And how much heavier are the metal coins? Because it might impacted your shipping costs. Thus adding another additional cost amount to your totals.

As for look, feel, theme, yeah I would love to see *real* metal coins. I think it would be great when compared to the cardboard coins. But I worry about the additional costs and how much value add players will get when using a *real* metal coin instead of the cardboard coins.

Have you tried to use real coin dollars, half dollars or quarters? To simulate what value add you might get from using these *real* metal coins?

NetWolf
Offline
Joined: 12/31/1969
Cardboard coins or "real" coins?

Metal coins may be a little over the top for a game that otherwise uses cardboard. I would say that your best option is a compromise of plastic coins. My main reasoning is that cardboard coins would probably get beat up pretty quickly where as something more solid would be more durable. Metal coins may be too much, and as Zzzzzz mentioned, the added weight will affect shipping.

Also, think of the cost: an extra $1 per game doesn't sound like much when you are printing on an individual basis, but at 4k-5k copies, that $4,000 to $5,000 extra dolars you're investing.

I would suggest the compromise of plastic coins for durability, weight, and cost-efficiency.

OrlandoPat
Offline
Joined: 10/16/2008
I agree that weight is the issue

I agree that weight is the issue. Also remember the multiplier: $1 of manufacturing costs translates into much more than $1 of MSRP.

Having said that, including metal coins would really help distinguish the game from others that are out there.

Nothing quite beats that feeling when you open a game box and see something really cool.

zaiga
Offline
Joined: 12/31/1969
Cardboard coins or "real" coins?

Puerto Rico uses cardboard coins and we all know Puerto Rico is the best game ever.

FastLearner
Offline
Joined: 12/31/1969
Cardboard coins or "real" coins?

Traditionally calculated, and additional dollar in manufacturing cost becomes an additional $7-$10 to the MSRP. While I would love a game with metal coints, I'd guess than an additional ten bucks will drive too many buyers (and retailers) away.

-- Matthew

adagio_burner
adagio_burner's picture
Offline
Joined: 07/30/2008
Cardboard coins or "real" coins?

Thanks for the replies... I guess the consensus is that cardboard coins are not too bad and I should stick with them.

I researched plastic coins but could not find a deal that would be acceptable. So that option is off the table.

Alright, since we are talking about production compromises: what would you think of a game that ships in a box made of 16pt cardboard? The printer can do a decent set-up box, printed full color on all sides, but they cannot print on cardboard any thicker than that. The alternatives are more costly (they'd have to order boxes somewhere else) so it's a tough choice.

Do you think selling the game in a sturdy 40pt setup box makes a lot of difference? Or will the customers be able to look past the somewhat inferior quality of the box material as long as I do deliver quailty components inside?

Xaqery
Xaqery's picture
Offline
Joined: 07/26/2008
Re: I agree that weight is the issue

OrlandoPat wrote:
Nothing quite beats that feeling when you open a game box and see something really cool.

I agree. Dread Pirate has amazing parts. metal coins, cloth board, velvet bags and a wooden box that closes with a magnet. Maybe the best compents of a game I have seen. The game is just ok but the great components keep it in the "we will play that some times column."

FastLearner wrote:
Traditionally calculated, and additional dollar in manufacturing cost becomes an additional $7-$10 to the MSRP

That seems high to me. I thought Whole sale was 2X manufacturing cost or $2 and MSRP was 2X that or $4 in this case? $4 is still a lot to add but great components make a great game better.

If I am right and I doubt I am the only question would be how much it increases shipping.

- Dwight

FastLearner
Offline
Joined: 12/31/1969
Cardboard coins or "real" coins?

Traditional wisdom in the boardgame publishing world is 7-10x. This takes into account everything from storage to marketing, shipping, returns, etc. The manufacturing cost is only a portion of the real overhead, hence 7-10x.

CodeFalcoN
Offline
Joined: 12/31/1969
Cardboard coins or "real" coins?

I think gameplayers just develop a mental 'tangibility' with solid elements of currency. Even to the point were they might be more thrifty about spending them just *because* their mind treats them as actually valuable. If that's an important aspect in your game maybe it might be worth considering, regardless of the added MSRP costs. I know I can't speak for the market, but variance in price is no object to me when the components are slick (well, within reason! I didn't rush out to buy Settlers 3D)

One technique I tried once was instead of individualizing coins, I cut cardboard 'coin piles' (basically with a cloud-shaped dye), e.g. "100 gold", and just boosted the minimum unit of currency in the game. That seemed to bring back the spirit of tangibility a bit. Or coin purses-shaped tiles might be as effective.

Just something to knaw on...

RobBartel
Offline
Joined: 12/31/1969
Cardboard coins or "real" coins?

By metal coins, I'm assuming you're referring to aluminum coins, correct? If so, weight becomes less of an issue as they might even be lighter than their cardboard or plastic counterparts. They also have the benefit of being more cost effective to produce (than other types of metal, at any rate - plastic and cardboard are still definitely cheaper).

I looked into this when considering a (purely theoretical) collector's edition of one of my pirate-themed games. The cheapest prices I could find online were at tokensdirect.com where you can order 50,000 tokens at 4.3 cents apiece. Anodizing them (i.e. adding color, which would have been required for my game) costs an unspecified amount extra. Custom dies are ~$200 each.

Have a look at their site and see if that might bring your costs down to a more manageable level.

Cheers,
Rob

markmist
Offline
Joined: 12/31/1969
Cardboard coins or "real" coins?

Just curious, who will be publishing and distributing your game? I'm seriously thinking about buying it.

adagio_burner
adagio_burner's picture
Offline
Joined: 07/30/2008
Cardboard coins or "real" coins?

By metal coins I meant real metal coins, similar to US nickels and quarters. The guys I am talking to seem to have a working relationship with a mint and could do it cheap (around 2 cents a piece) so that felt like a nice opportunity...

The folks from Uncle's Games should do the bulk of distribution. They also promised the use of their warehouse. The game was shown to a number of poeple at GAMA and we hope to get some initial preorders from big distributors like Alliance etc. But if you want to purchase the game, unclesgames.com is your best bet -- I hope it will re-appear there sometime in September.

No one answered my question about the box, so let me repeat it. My printer can do a box made of 16pt cardboard (.4 mm) -- that's the thickest they can handle (they print directly on cardbaord, and then cut). The question then is, how bad would it be to have a box made of this? Most games from big publishers ship in sturdy set-up boxes made of very thick cardbaord -- 40pt or more. Is it a must to have that? How many customers do you think will walk away because the box does not feel right in their hands?

markmist
Offline
Joined: 12/31/1969
Cardboard coins or "real" coins?

How were the first 100 boxes produced -with the 16pt cardboard? If that is the case, I would ask for feedback from people who have purchased the game.

I think that the box quality will make a difference in how the game is perceived. How much more costly are the nicer boxes?

FastLearner
Offline
Joined: 12/31/1969
Cardboard coins or "real" coins?

A cheap box makes the whole thing feel cheap to me, and I'd expect the price to be at least $5 or $10 less than a similar-seeming game, and I'd expect the bits inside to be cheap. For me, anyway, the box makes a significant difference, but I'm a very tactile-focused person, so I don't know how broadly it applies.

-- Matthew

jwarrend
Offline
Joined: 08/03/2008
Cardboard coins or "real" coins?

Quote:
I am preparing to order the first large print run of my game, Conquest of the Fallen Lands. So far under 100 copies have been produced in a manual labor-intensive process, but I think I have gathered enough positive feedback and I can now take a risk and go for 4 or 5K copies.

I'm very interested in how publishers arrive at the numbers of how many games they can sell. I suspect with self-publishers, it's more a matter of how many they can afford to produce than anything else. But I was talking to a publisher about one of my games and said, "I think it can sell X copies per year, maybe" and he came back and said "actually, we think it can sell Y copies per year". I wonder where he came up with Y...

Anyway, to answer your question, 5k copies is a lot to sell, and you need to make as much profit as you can off the early copies. I really don't think anyone is going to buy the game because of the metal coins alone, so it doesn't seem like a wise investment. On the other hand, this is your chance to produce the game in the way that you see it in your head, so if metal coins are what you're really looking for, I could see wanting to go for it. It's probably prudent to wait for the 2nd printing, but if you can settle for $1 less profit per game, it might be a good move.

Cardboard is a tougher call. I buy most of my games on line, so it's not really a selling point for me, but I do feel more satisfied with the "high end" cardboard boxes than the cheap boxes; it just feels like I've bought a product from a "better" company when I get the nice box. Probably won't matter that much once the game inside hits the table, as long as it has good components.

FastLearner wrote:
Traditional wisdom in the boardgame publishing world is 7-10x. This takes into account everything from storage to marketing, shipping, returns, etc. The manufacturing cost is only a portion of the real overhead, hence 7-10x.

Yeah, but those costs are somewhat fixed, and won't change whether he goes with metal or plastic coins. Say he is able to buy weightless coins that do nothing other than add $1 to the production cost of the game. With plastic coins, say the game costs $4 to produce, and the metal coins make it $5 to produce. Let's say he sets the MSRP to $30. So, he sells the game to distributors for $12. The only difference is that he only has $7 with which to cover shipping, marketing, storage, and make a profit, instead of $8 per game. But those costs don't go up (if the coins are weightless) just by the addition of the $1 manufacturing cost; it's just that they're harder to cover if the difference between your wholesale price and production costs are smaller. So, most likely, with the $5 cost, the most prudent thing would be to set the MSRP higher, at $35-36, so as to keep the same profit per game.

I think we're basically saying the same thing; it just sounds to me like you're saying that the costs are in some sense "indexed" to the production costs, which is not entirely accurate.

-Jeff

adagio_burner
adagio_burner's picture
Offline
Joined: 07/30/2008
Cardboard coins or "real" coins?

jwarrend wrote:
I'm very interested in how publishers arrive at the numbers of how many games they can sell. I suspect with self-publishers, it's more a matter of how many they can afford to produce than anything else. But I was talking to a publisher about one of my games and said, "I think it can sell X copies per year, maybe" and he came back and said "actually, we think it can sell Y copies per year". I wonder where he came up with Y...

That's easy. You first look at costs to produce a 1000 copies, and find them ridiculously high (so high that you will definitely lose money on each game sold). Plus no one wants to deal with 1K orders so your options become very narrow.

Then, you try to find out at which point the production costs go down, and find a huge drop at around 4-5K (that depends on whom you are talking to).

After that you wait till enough people tall you that the game is good enough to sell 5K copies. It's better if those people are not your friends and family but someone from the industry who knows what they are talking about. It's even better if they agree to put their money behind their words, that is, to invest in your game...

If all of this happens, you may gather enough courage to go on...

phpbbadmin
Offline
Joined: 04/23/2013
Cardboard coins or "real" coins?

In my humble opinion, I think Plastic Coins would be cool as well. In other words, if I had the choice of good box/plastic coins and lower quality box/metal coins, I just the former.

Just curious, do you need these coins in different denominations? I know plastic coins are easy to find, ( I just saw a cool bag of pirate coins in Wal Mart that I ALMOST bought) but finding them in the correct denominations might prove a little difficult.

-Darke

adagio_burner
adagio_burner's picture
Offline
Joined: 07/30/2008
Cardboard coins or "real" coins?

I used plastic coins for the games I produced so far. They are however too expensive for mass production, and many people did not like them as much. I tried to find a good deal on reasonable quality plastic coins and I could not. It's even harder to find a place that would do custom plastic coins for a reasonable price, and what is available very often does not fit the theme.

Syndicate content


forum | by Dr. Radut