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Subject: What are you willing to pay for a game? rss

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Eric Salyers
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BGG Community -

As a start-up gaming company, of which I am part of, one of the challenges we face is knowing what the market will bear as a retail price for a board game. Our first title: Disaster Looms! we are launching on Kickstarter in the next 2-4 weeks. We have been meeting with distributors, and store owners - and one of their first questions asked is 'what price will your MSRP be'.

With consideration to production, logistics, order processing, art production, game design, and content development - there are a lot of costs that go into making a game and getting it into our hands as game players. Keep in mind that the game store and distributor get more than half of the retail price as their margin - not the manufacturers.

Thus - a $50 game pays around $20 total to the manufacture. This $20 covers all of the costs to design, produce, ship and sell the game. What's left over is profit that will be taxed... and finally the net profit. This is what get invested into making more games. I am not making out the retail store, or distributor as a villain. Both have brick & mortar facilities with employees and utilities and insurance and a hundred other costs associated with being in business. Without them - there is no need for game manufacturers.

Back to the point - it is with this net profit that a company like ours: Break from Reality Games, hopes to eventually be self-sufficient and not need Kickstarter funding.

So with this background - what is a game worth to you?

I am not asking for guidance on our price - manufacturing costs and the level of success on Kickstarter will dictate this to us ($50 - $60 MSRP is expected). The more games we sell equates to a larger batch of games we can produce - thus the less cost to do so per game.
 
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Mr. Blue
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I think $50 is probably the upper cap for a "good" game. If the game has truly extraordinary components, then a higher price may be justified, but at least for me, there's a bit of a psychological barrier at the $50 mark. But for a solid game with a mounted board, good chipboard chits, decent artwork, and/or wooden bits, the $40-$50 range seems about right. Much higher than that, and I think you price yourself out of the market by crossing that psychological barrier.

Good luck to you!
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TK Number 3
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I agree with Mr Blue. For a game I have researched and believe I will enjoy (even if I haven't had a chance to play it yet) my limit is usually $50. Once it starts to creep above that, even slightly, I have to be sure it is what I want, or would I get more fun out of two lower priced games. For lighter games, or ones I feel I won't play as often (perhaps they need a lot of players to be ideal) my for sure buy threshold is about $30.
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Jamie Jones
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It would really depend on the quality of the components and how good the game is. I have no problems paying more that $50 - if there's a fun game to be played there
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Matt Riddle
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mrblueesq wrote:
I think $50 is probably the upper cap for a "good" game. If the game has truly extraordinary components, then a higher price may be justified, but at least for me, there's a bit of a psychological barrier at the $50 mark. But for a solid game with a mounted board, good chipboard chits, decent artwork, and/or wooden bits, the $40-$50 range seems about right. Much higher than that, and I think you price yourself out of the market by crossing that psychological barrier.

Good luck to you!


all good points. $50 is a lot and prolly the upper limit. Its hard for indie publishers because it is going to cost more for them to make a game.
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Domenic
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It depends on if I'm making an impulse buy/pre-order or if I'm really convinced the game is something I want.

If I'm buying without real knowledge, $50 is probably the max, and lower prices have a real impact on whether I make the purchase or not. To be fair, so much info is available online, and particularly on BGG, that such purchases are fairly rare.

If it's something that I'm convinced I want -- high quality components, lots of positive reviews, looks like it fits in well with my gaming group, etc. -- you could probably go up to $79. Neither Agricola nor StarCraft came cheaply, but I'm pleased with both purchases. Higher than that and it still might happen, but there's a lot of competition, and even a good $90 game is going to get passed over several times as also-good but less-expensive games get picked up.

Of course, polling individual geeks is probably not the best way to get hard data. Searching on Amazon.com or other large retailers should show you what the going prices are for games at the quality level you want to make -- you have to be competitive with what others are doing. Nobody's going to pay an extra $20 retail just so that you can have an extra $4 so that your company can be more sustainable.
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Paul DeStefano
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My $250 for a crokinole board to my specifications is my most played game and well worth it.

$12 for Fluxx was way too expensive and I regret spending it.
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Eric Salyers
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dommer2029 wrote:

Of course, polling individual geeks is probably not the best way to get hard data. Searching on Amazon.com or other large retailers should show you what the going prices are for games at the quality level you want to make -- you have to be competitive with what others are doing. Nobody's going to pay an extra $20 retail just so that you can have an extra $4 so that your company can be more sustainable.


Thank for your input - I have done my research - and as stated I have a price that will be dictated by our manufacturing costs more so than what we would like to sell it for. What I was hoping to get, and have received so far, was some idea of what an upper limit is for many people. I had heard $50 from many store retailers as well.

A good follow up - is what makes a quality game to pay more?
Wood pieces
Plastic pieces
Detailed playing pieces
Awesome box storage
Baggies to store all the pieces in
Thicker playing surfaces (tiles, game board, player mat, etc)

What makes a $70 game worth it? Do you prefer to have higher quality games - or more games with maybe not as high a quality?

The worlds best selling table top game is Settlers of Catan. The best selling card game is Magic... these are extremely inexpensive to produce. The art for Catan is simplistic. It sells for an average price of around $40 (I think MSRP is $50). Magic - lord knows what an avg. player spends... (actually I am sure Hasbro knows)

I have over 100 game sin my collection. I really appreciate high quality, but I think I am much more just disdainful of low quality. Perhaps that is the trick... making games that are not poor quality?
 
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Spencer Taylor
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mrblueesq wrote:
I think $50 is probably the upper cap for a "good" game. If the game has truly extraordinary components, then a higher price may be justified, but at least for me, there's a bit of a psychological barrier at the $50 mark. But for a solid game with a mounted board, good chipboard chits, decent artwork, and/or wooden bits, the $40-$50 range seems about right. Much higher than that, and I think you price yourself out of the market by crossing that psychological barrier.

Good luck to you!


QFT. $50 for a good quality game is generally where I'll draw the line myself. I might be willing to shell out $60 for something really amazing, but beyond that it's really difficult to justify the purchase. For that kind of money I can buy a starter set for most miniatures games, or a whole heap of cards, or even more golf stuff.

This is where I feel Fantasy Flight loses me sometimes because I really like their games, but I just feel like I can't justly afford them half the time. If a board game ever sits at a MSRP of $100 then something has gone pretty crazy.
 
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Marcin Skupnik
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Quote:
A good follow up - is what makes a quality game to pay more?
Wood pieces
Plastic pieces
Detailed playing pieces
Awesome box storage
Baggies to store all the pieces in
Thicker playing surfaces (tiles, game board, player mat, etc)

What makes a $70 game worth it? Do you prefer to have higher quality games - or more games with maybe not as high a quality?

I'm an aberration, but the answer is neither of those things.
A game can have incredibly detailed plastic pieces, a thick gaming surface/board, and I will still say 'meh' and walk past it. To me, a game that costs more would need to offer a solid well made theme and the promise of being playable after a 100th time. Detailed pieces, box storage or baggies are mere gimmicks to that.

Now, I can keep on, cooing over games that have no boxes and were packaged in ziploc bags while being awesome. But I'd rather tell you what I want. A nice board is a plus to me, it doesn't have to be fancy, just durable and functional. In fact sturdy is what I want to have in my games, things that can break will break sooner or later, and I prefer a set of chits that will serve me in 10 years over fine cast figures that fall apart after falling down.
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Mark Andrews
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I'll pay $50. Granted, that gets me a lot of stuff since my FLGS has amazing prices, but there are no games, no matter how fancy, over $50 that I want more than those under $50, and given an equal budget, more games > less games.
 
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Johan Haglert
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jsalyers1 wrote:
With consideration to production, logistics, order processing, art production, game design, and content development - there are a lot of costs that go into making a game and getting it into our hands as game players. Keep in mind that the game store and distributor get more than half of the retail price as their margin - not the manufacturers.
I'd wish they didn't got nothing. And you could argue they aren't needed. BGG would sell me a game better than any store would do. If you want to keep a shitty system that's all up to you but I don't like paying big money and less money would mean more sales.
jsalyers1 wrote:
Thus - a $50 game pays around $20 total to the manufacture. This $20 covers all of the costs to design, produce, ship and sell the game. What's left over is profit that will be taxed... and finally the net profit. This is what get invested into making more games. I am not making out the retail store, or distributor as a villain. Both have brick & mortar facilities with employees and utilities and insurance and a hundred other costs associated with being in business. Without them - there is no need for game manufacturers.
The issue with sold from manufacturer would be that it would be harder to co-ship products I guess. I try to make deals on games but most companies seem to act like there is very little margin on their products. But what do I know.

Contradiction to my first claim =P
jsalyers1 wrote:
Back to the point - it is with this net profit that a company like ours: Break from Reality Games, hopes to eventually be self-sufficient and not need Kickstarter funding.

So with this background - what is a game worth to you?
I guess how much I will play it matter more than component quality. But considering the last 30 dollars doesn't depend on component quality I'd easily pay 10 dollar extra for a much better production.
 
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Hoyle A
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dommer2029 wrote:


A good follow up - is what makes a quality game to pay more?
Wood pieces
Plastic pieces
Detailed playing pieces
Awesome box storage
Baggies to store all the pieces in
Thicker playing surfaces (tiles, game board, player mat, etc)

What makes a $70 game worth it? Do you prefer to have higher quality games - or more games with maybe not as high a quality?


I own and play a lot of games. I'd much rather have two $25 games than one $50 game. The only time a particularly expensive game would end up on my list is if it were particularly good, and ALSO had particularly good components.

Certainly, I don't want a game to be ugly or have flimsy components (I'm looking at you, Pirates of Nassau) but as long as I can tell the parts from each other, I don't really care about components. I bought 500 baggies for $5, so I have enough of those.

So, really my short answer is to try to make the game good. If you need better components to do that, then go for it, otherwise don't bother. I'd prefer money spent on great graphic design than custom meeples. See: Eclipse, Alien Frontiers, etc.
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Lance Peterson
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BoardGameGeek » Forums » Gaming Related » General Gaming
Re: What are you willing to pay for a game?
I think that most people backing on Kickstarter are going to want some Kickstarter only bonus items for their $50. Otherwise, I'd just as soon wait and buy the game from an on-line store for $20 less. And these would be items that are part of the game and not t-shirts, magnets, bottle openers, hats, posters, or other junk "extras".
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Domenic
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jsalyers1 wrote:

A good follow up - is what makes a quality game to pay more?
Wood pieces
Plastic pieces
Detailed playing pieces
Awesome box storage
Baggies to store all the pieces in
Thicker playing surfaces (tiles, game board, player mat, etc)

What makes a $70 game worth it? Do you prefer to have higher quality games - or more games with maybe not as high a quality?

The worlds best selling table top game is Settlers of Catan. The best selling card game is Magic... these are extremely inexpensive to produce. The art for Catan is simplistic. It sells for an average price of around $40 (I think MSRP is $50). Magic - lord knows what an avg. player spends... (actually I am sure Hasbro knows)

I have over 100 game sin my collection. I really appreciate high quality, but I think I am much more just disdainful of low quality. Perhaps that is the trick... making games that are not poor quality?


It's tough to say as a general rule, but boardgaming is a tactile experience. The quality of the things that I'm touching and looking at has an impact on how much I enjoy the game. The more thematic the game, the more that thematic components are important. The fact that each MtG card has art that is probably in the $100+ range per piece is a real part of the justification of the sales price of the game. Likewise, StarCraft is worth the price because the sculpted plastic minis add to the flavor.

So, yes to all of the things you mention, but I want to reiterate the point that -- in addition to all of the high quality components -- the game needs to be well-received by the gamer community, fit my niche, etc. I think that if you're confident that the game itself is polished to a premium degree, then publishing it at a premium quality level could work out. It should be possible to establish a premium brand-name that way, much as FFG has.
 
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Luke Morris
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I pay far more than Americans do for games here in Japan. A regular price for a very regular game would be 6,000 yen or just over $60. Agricola was heavy so cost 9,500 yen.


Some of you are very, very spoiled.
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Brook Gentlestream
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The higher the price, the more you are competing against other games. This makes absolutely no sense, but I am likely to buy many more $30-50 games than I am to buy $70 games. I would say I would buy a $70+ game only once a year at most, where as something that is $30-50 may pique my interest on its own merits rather than other games priced at that range.

$20 is an impulse buy for me. If I like it, I'll take it. If I like 5, I'll take 5. But $50... I really have to think about that and weigh my options. It makes no sense, but there it is.

Btw, anything that's $50 or more, I'm likely going to try to buy through an online retailer. Anything that's $30 or less, I'll probably drive to the store. I'm not sure how that makes a difference to you or not, but again, there it is.
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Jayson Stevens
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jsalyers1 wrote:
Thus - a $50 game pays around $20 total to the manufacture. This $20 covers all of the costs to design, produce, ship and sell the game. What's left over is profit that will be taxed... and finally the net profit.


Your numbers seem way off.
If you're going through distribution into game stores, then...

$20 is what the distributor pays you for your games.
Out of that $20, you have to cover manufacturing, design, development, art, playtesting, safety testing, shipping, customs, marketing, royalties...

AND make a profit.

That remaining $30 is not your money.

Of course, on Kickstarter, and via direct sales that's a different story, but the expectation on KS (and other preorders) is that they're plaing less than MSRP anyways.

Still, your business plan has to account for being sufficiently profitable out of that $20.
 
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Steve S
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I think the most I've ever paid for a game is in the $40-50 range, and those are rare exceptions. I usually try to stay below around $30.
 
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Alessandro Maggi
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Am I the only one not considering the actual production value when judging if I'll buy that particular game?

I second the thought already shared that I'd buy cheaper game more easily, but of course only if I like them or I think I'll like them. The very same goes with big games: it's an harder decision, because I could get 2-3 small games I like instead of one big game, but ultimately I decide solely on the potential enjoyment and NEVER on how much it actually costed to manufacture the game.

When I get tons of well made stuff for my money I'm happy, no doubts, but I'm not buying furnishings, I'm buying a game, and even if that may be unfair I'm ready to pay more for a great game with less components than paying the same or less for a worse game with many more premium components.
 
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For me it depends on the type of game and the production values. Larger boxed games with a lot of parts - especially high quality ones - I expect to spend more on. For example, Defenders of the Realm and Mage Knight (two games I recently picked up) were fairly high priced, but they have a lot of high quality parts. These MSRPed for $60 or more but that is reasonable for what I'm getting.

For something smaller with fewer pieces I expect to spend less. Example again: Settlers of Catan MSRPs for around $40 and that seems reasonable.

For something on Kickstarter that I'm really interested in I'm willing to pay a premium for - especially if I get bonuses and the like. I also am willing to spend a little more if I'm supporting a young company that has a lot of potential.

So overall I guess I'd say it depends on my expectations and if I feel like I'm getting a reasonable value for my money. With Kickstarter companies have the ability to offer a lot of extra stuff to their early fans and I think a lot of people (myself included) will spend extra to be a supporter and to get cool stuff.
 
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Christian B.
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If it's a good game - whatever it costs!
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Joshua Woolls
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I think that the production value of the game is very important to me. I hate plastic pieces. I love wood. I do not care if they are super detailed, but I like them to be at least a little unique. I like may cards to be well made and to be a standard size. I get giddy when I pick up a box and it weighs a lot.

Now, for what I am willing to pay....

For an impulse buy, I am willing to pay 30-35 dollars. For a game that I know (or suspect based on reviews) is going to be something that I will play I am willing to pay 50-60. I am willing to pay more, but it better be a damn good game and I likely would need to play it before I would pull the trigger.

Unlike some, component quality is extremely important to me. If a game has bad components it can be the best game in the world and I will not play it. Someone earlier said that gaming is a tactile activity and I agree completely.

 
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Ben
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ChrB wrote:
If it's a good game - whatever it costs!

Agreed. I'm not the OPs demographic, but $200 for a good game is fine. I can't remember the last good game I've played that sells for less than $50 MSRP.

I appreciate good components (and in my view that usually means wood bits, thick cardboard, and simple, clear art). But for me the quality of the gameplay trumps all else. If Agricola was only available for $200, I would still own it at that price. If Ora et Labora was on Tanga for $9.99, I still wouldn't buy it. The game's the thing I'm buying, not the bits.
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Leo Zappa
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What is the target audience for this game? What kind of components are planned? Need to know these things first in order to provide any guidance on target pricing.

For me, I'm a wargamer and an Ameritrash/Thematic game player. I didn't blink paying $125 for Space Hulk, $100 each for Axis & Allies 1940 Pacific and Europe, games with mounted boards, sculpted plastic miniatures, and plenty of bits. I've also paid $60 to $90 for wargames with paper mapsheets and hundreds of cardboard counters, with deep, immersive rulesets that can deliver hours of great gameplay. If your game targets those markets and has the requisite play depth and component quality, you can charge $75 and up and be successful.

However, if you are publishing a Euro game with minimalist components and a relatively quick playtime, I'd question if you could charge $50 and be successful, unless reviews by playtesters confirm that the gameplay is out of this world.
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