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Pay what you want games

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The Odd Fox
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The thread on micro games got me thinking about "Pay what you want" games that sometimes come up on Kickstarter. Some of these have done well, ie: Coin Age, Wallet Battles, Templar Intrigue as well as others. They often seem to have a minimum pledge about ($3 is common) so they aren't always completely "pay what you want". I'm curious what you think of this kind of model. Could there be some good recognition for a designer to publish under this model before going on to "bigger and better things"?

questccg
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To be successful...

You have to ensure that your pricing follows the industry standard multiplier of 5x or 6x (depending on the game in question).

Less expensive games that take $3 USD or less to produce should follow the 6x multiplier and games more expensive to produce should follow the 5x multiplier.

Why is this at all relevant???

When you Kickstart the game, you can offer a perk such as FREE shipping... Since you are earning the MSRP on each game you sell.

BUT when your game is done on KS and you WANT to sell it via traditional distribution, you must have sufficient margins to make it profitable for each player along the supply chain.

Otherwise you will never have enough profits to make and sell via the traditional channel.

Why is this important???

Well your game may do well on Kickstarter... Or what if it does OK? You can still earn more sales via traditional retailing if your game is well received by the Kickstarter community.

Sales don't STOP when the KS backers are all fulfilled. Traditional distribution continues from that point and allows you to sell more games and spread the word of your game to traditional FLGSs.

Cheers.

BenMora
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Seems like such a huge risk

Seems like such a huge risk to me. I would imagine at BEST some backers would pledge a full retail equivalentm which means you are going to average somewhere much lower than MSRP.

Is the assumption that the minimum cost is the manufacturing cost? I'm wondering what kind of game besides simple card games have a mfg cost of $3 or less.

I am getting ready to launch a Kickstarter, and am considering putting the funding goal a moderate amount lower than what I need, so that worst case, I spend my own money to pay for the quantity of games required to meet the minimum print run, and then I'm in the hole temporarily with a supply of games on my hands to sell. I can't imaging the risk of a pay-what-you-want coming back to bite me. It's interesting though.

questccg
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"micro" games

BenMora wrote:
...I'm wondering what kind of game besides simple card games have a mfg cost of $3 or less.

@Ben: I think the idea is small, pocket-sized "micro" games. Like maybe 18 cards at most, with instruction that fit on one page and maybe a few components like a couple meeples and maybe a die or two.

I think that qualifies for a "micro" game.

Don't get me started about "packaging" ... not sure how these "micro" games are packaged and sold. But if it's $3 USD to make, got to be something not too expensive like a custom "Tuck box" which can have dice and components, plus a bunch of cards (as stated above).

Note: While I would encourage any designer to explore "micro" games, I would NOT suggest "pay what you want". There should be at least a minimum to cover the cost of production.

And then if you make $0 above that price, that too is ludicrous.

Offer a fair price like $20 USD ... I'm sure you'll have plenty of backers that would be interested in that sort of game. The mentality is: "It's only 20 bucks..."

Evil ColSanders
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I don't think it's a good

I don't think it's a good idea. Based on the talk of 3 dollar games and cheap tuck boxes, I'd me more inclined to do a "customized cost" where you pay for every little thing. Do you want a legit box or do you want it in a plain, white box? Dont Want figures because you don't like ours, have your own, or can't afford it? Don't buy them.there's a chit option. Stuff like that.

questccg
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My question is...

Who is "looking" to buy "cheap/inexpensive" games???

Take for example George Mackay's BAHOOCHIE! It was sold on Kickstarter for £6 (or $7.50 USD) had only 152 backers. It funded successfully because his goal was only £2,500 (he earned £2,813); and about $3,000 USD as a funding goal.

If PRICE was the motivating factor - then why didn't his game sell more.

And the art is real nice, the video somewhat reminiscent of "Exploding Kittens" with a nice soft background tune.

Like I said - if money was the issue, it should have sold over 500 copies! But yet it only got under 200 backers.

And meanwhile people are dropping almost $100 USD for some Mantic Miniature games such Zombie simulations, Gladiator re-creations, etc.

So I think PRICE is very much an issue. But not for all games - it seems. For some games, people are willing to pay more. For others they want it for less. To me it's all very "confusing". I'm glad my Publisher is handling these details otherwise I would be "going bananas" (so to speak).

It's strange how some things gain wide acceptance - while others you would think would get more - just barely make their target goal.

I'd like to hear someone else's opinion/thoughts...

Evil ColSanders
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I think you're right, Quest.

I think you're right, Quest. The only people looking for cheap games are "average people" either just getting into the hobby or have a budget. If you don't have disposable income, you should NOT be on kickstarter.

People spend big money on kickstarter because of:
1. The hype
2. The novelty
3. Kickstarter-only rewards.
4. The discount vs retail price for everything included.

In short, no one wants an inexpensive game because "it must not be that good if it's that cheap" or "I can just buy it when it comes out."

The Odd Fox
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Examples

Evil ColSanders wrote:
I think you're right, Quest. The only people looking for cheap games are "average people" either just getting into the hobby or have a budget. If you don't have disposable income, you should NOT be on kickstarter.

People spend big money on kickstarter because of:
1. The hype
2. The novelty
3. Kickstarter-only rewards.
4. The discount vs retail price for everything included.

Though not always for big money, I think people also invest in Kickstarter projects because they want to support innovation or the creative design process for individuals who can prove their metal.

I wanted to give two examples of Pay What you Want games that seem to have more to them. In both these cases it seems like it's a designer looking for a break out opportunity to show what they can do. Like many of you, I initially thought it would be mostly the less serious gamer's who'd be interested in this kind of endeavor, however, as I've begun digging below the surface it seems like there is a level of support that comes from the more serious gamers who want to support innovation.

Coin Age
*Pledge level $3 (free shipping)
*3 Cards, including rules (by the end of the campaign: 6 Cards, 1 plastic card punch out tokens, coin stickers)
*$65,195/9,055 (averages out to be $13-$14 per person)
*1,028 backers new to Kickstarter
*Jeff King (All us Geeks), JR Honeycutt (Seafall), Gamelyn Games (Tiny Epic...everything) among others invested in this project.

Under my bed
*Pledge level $1 (shipping $3)
*15 cards, including rules ($5 pledge required for 3 additional bonus cards)
*$9,500/1,214 backers (averages out to be $7-$8 per person)
*54 backers new to Kickstarter
*significant number of backers who previously backed more than 100 other projects
*Cardboard Edison, Alan Gerding (Two Rooms and a Boom) among others invested in the project.

Additional projects could have been listed as well but most of them make the same statement these two do.

questccg wrote:

__Note:__ While I would encourage any designer to explore "micro" games, I would NOT suggest "pay what you want". There should be at least a minimum to cover the cost of production.

I think I'm in agreement with you here, though I think in some rare cases a case could be made for why the model used by the two examples seemed to work for them.

I appreciate the discussion and the various points being made!

Evil ColSanders
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That doesn't even feel like

That doesn't even feel like "support". It's "eeeeeeh. I'll throw a dollar. It's a dollar and I get another tick saying I supported something." Those are also 2 examples. Those examples are droplets of water in a lake.

Also, I said that those are the main driving factors, Not the only driving factors.

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