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Kanger
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Joined: 10/19/2015

I work with Legion Wargames (I'm a game designer) and my greatest worry is how to reach out to customers. We have not tried Kickstarter yet. So far, we are using a preorder system. The main problem is that quantity is so pitiful when it comes to sales of wargames, so I am venturing into the field of Eurogames.

But what should I do to reach out to the number of customers that Eurogames have?

Soulfinger
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Joined: 01/06/2015
What customer base are you

[Edit: Shoot, sorry. I just saw your separate introduction. My reply below may be no help at all. I'd misread and thought you were talking about taking Legion Wargames in a new direction, not changing the focus of your career as a designer.]

What customer base are you trying to reach? The problem with historic wargaming is that your audience is predominantly white, entirely male, and drawing very few new players -- the polar opposite of the Eurogame crowd. Games by smaller publishers in your market have traditionally sold 500 copies or less (the P-500 model certainly supports this). According to one set of research, 5% of the games account for 50% of the hobby. There has been a resurgence in miniature-based historic wargaming with games like Bolt Action and Flames of War, but this seems more driven by schisms within the Games Workshop community than any gateway into chits and hex-based gaming.

Legion Wargames has a great website, although I could see a hurdle with your logo if Spartan Games ever wanted to make a case for consumer confusion. Clean presentation of your products, excellent layout, and the game art looks great. If your customer service is as good as you claim then you have an advantage over some of your immediate competitors. The prices are prohibitive for anyone outside of your core demographic. I don't see a prominent entry level game to entice younger players, who can spend the same money on a flashier product with miniatures and hype from another manufacturer.

I feel like Eurogames are going to require a lot of rebranding. You'll need a different perspective, like you'd get from polling and play-testing with college-aged women, to really reshape your design theory to fit the nuances of the market.

Here is some solid gold market research. Seriously, give this guy money:
https://grognard.com/wargamerfiles/gamedata.pdf

Mostly worthless and dated article, but it includes survey statistics from 1990 which peg your audience as 28-45 years-of-age with no players under 22 and only 5% of respondents having gamed for less than five years:
https://wargamecenter.wordpress.com/2010/05/10/the-rise-and-fall-of-warg...

Kanger
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Joined: 10/19/2015
Thanks, I will certainly read

Thanks, I will certainly read that pdf. Just curious about one thing that you said. You mentioned that the wargamer crowd consists almost entirely of white males (you forgot "elderly" :-) although you touch on that later on). No denying in that, but you also said that the Eurogame crowd is the polar opposite. Would that mean a non-white female crowd (and young?)?

keshiekay
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Joined: 05/31/2015
Settlers

I know a ton of (typically) non-gamers (male, female, mostly in 20s) whose only experience of boardgames outside of Monopoly & Clue is Settlers of Catan. And they really like it.

So I certainly think that there's room for wider interest in Eurogames.

Soulfinger
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Joined: 01/06/2015
Kanger wrote:Thanks, I will

Kanger wrote:
Thanks, I will certainly read that pdf. Just curious about one thing that you said. You mentioned that the wargamer crowd consists almost entirely of white males (you forgot "elderly" :-) although you touch on that later on). No denying in that, but you also said that the Eurogame crowd is the polar opposite. Would that mean a non-white female crowd (and young?)?

Eurogames have a much broader appeal, compared to the narrow segment of historic wargames. They are the polar opposite in that just about anyone can find a game to suit them. Catan has been a gateway for female players into the hobby for two decades, and now it is at Walmart and Target. I'd be tempted to characterize Euro/Ameritrash players as being the tabletop demographic most receptive to diversity and new faces, unlike the CCG or miniature wargaming scenes in particular. There are female gamers in those later groups, but there are numerous accounts of gender discrimination. Eurogame communities are much less of a boy's club, which I think is due to their more casual and mainstream nature. People play them with their spouses and kids. My nephew sometimes brings a game to a local bar to find players, some of whom have never played a Eurogame before.

As far as race or ethnicity goes, I would say that Eurogames reflect a greater socio-economic diversity among the players. "Whiteness" is more applicable to historic wargaming as a sociological construct. The style of play and game culture are steeped in a particular slice of the middle-class Caucasian lifestyle that is by nature highly conservative. Players tend to have similar jobs, political beliefs, outside hobbies, etc. There is also some sense of privilege, in that many historic gamers are removed from the context of subject manner of many of the games that they play. It is a style of play that lends to cultural insensitivity.

For example, my mother and grandparents were held in a concentration camp, so I have ethical considerations when it comes to playing a game with Nazis in it. Few historic gamers seem to share my background or discomfort (in fact, I've been very disturbed by some of the rhetoric in defense of playing Nazis). Many historic wargames involve slaughtering someone's ancestors, and so I doubt that a game about "Kit Carson, attacking a large Indian camp along a river with a much smaller US force" is going to sound quite as appealing to Native American gamers.

The box descriptions and game scenarios are often biased in their perspective. "Zulus on the Ramparts!", for example, is a game about 140 British soldiers and auxiliaries repelling 4000+ crack Zulu warriors at the Battle of Rorke’s Drift. Imagine the tagline, "Can you write an equally glorious page in history as you confront these ZULUS ON THE RAMPARTS! ?" rewritten as "Can you drive the occupying British out of your homeland and turn this tragic loss into a heroic Zulu victory?"

Eurogames are not always, but usually, less ethnocentric in their presentation. The tone is more neutral. The conflicts between cultures are generally more economic in nature and military battles are more abstract with less glorification of violence. If historic wargames are your typical Xbox FPS then Eurogames would be Nintendo, which made a strong effort starting with the Wii to cater to women and gamers outside of the expected 18-35 white male demographic.

firstcultural
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Joined: 09/11/2014
My experience with wargames

My experience with wargames and eurogames suggests that many wargamers also play eurogames, so perhaps a good start would be making a game that is thematically about a historical event or conflict. That way you could reach out to your existing customers, who might then recommend it to people they know. One possibility might be about the years before a war, where players are trying to build up their economy but also trying to avoid actual war.

Soulfinger makes some great points on the demographics and cultural contexts of wargamers.

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