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Pandemic: The Cure – Experimental Meds» Forums » General

Subject: F2Z price gouging? rss

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Guillaume
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In Quebec this expansion will cost more than the original and AFAIK has few components compared to equally priced games.

Ex: http://www.levalet.com/ sells it for 65 CAD in french or english, boardgamebliss has it for 53CAD but with 9$ shipping.

F2Z has exclusive publishing rights to Pandemic and it seems they are raising prices year after year.

EDIT: Answered by Tom Lehmann himself here. TLDR: It's two expansions in one and quality custom dice are not cheap. The expansion includes 60 quality dice, featuring 24 unique faces (15 brand new ones), plus dice are molded not silk-screened.
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koraldon
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Re: F2Z price gounging?
Yeah, I like the base game but expansion price is really over the top and I hate the huge box.
 
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Y P
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Re: F2Z price gounging?
kelendil wrote:
In Quebec this expansion will cost more than the original and AFAIK has few components compared to equally priced games.

Ex: http://www.levalet.com/ sells it for 65 CAD in french or english, boardgamebliss has it for 53CAD but with 9$ shipping.

F2Z has exclusive publishing rights to Pandemic and it seems they are raising prices year after year.

F2Z is now under the Asmodee umbrella corporation, so unfortunately the price hike isn't a surprise.

Having said that it seems the US hasn't gotten the memo as it's actually cheaper here. Still an absurd price for such a small expansion, but not as bad as up north.
 
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Sanders
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Re: F2Z price gounging?
MentatYP wrote:
kelendil wrote:
In Quebec this expansion will cost more than the original and AFAIK has few components compared to equally priced games.

Ex: http://www.levalet.com/ sells it for 65 CAD in french or english, boardgamebliss has it for 53CAD but with 9$ shipping.

F2Z has exclusive publishing rights to Pandemic and it seems they are raising prices year after year.

F2Z is now under the Asmodee umbrella corporation, so unfortunately the price hike isn't a surprise.

Having said that it seems the US hasn't gotten the memo as it's actually cheaper here. Still an absurd price for such a small expansion, but not as bad as up north.


The price I am sure reflects having to make 10 different dice molds for the 10 different types of dice in the game (8 roles with unique dice, the hot zone dice and the purple dice).
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Christina Crouch
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Re: F2Z price gounging?
Whilst I'm not usually the first complain about pricing, I think this expansion was something like EUR30-35 at Essen, and I only paid £30 for the base game. It seems a bit of a high price. Usually expansions retail for roughly half to 2/3 the cost of the base game, so to find it for equal or higher than the base game seems a lot.

I don't know if its just the weak exchange rate, but the ZMan and Plaid Hat stuff that was being sold in the Asmodee booth seemed very expensive. I was checking prices for my FOLGS at home, and it wasn't really worth buying too much.
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Jean-Philippe Thériault
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Re: F2Z price gounging?
Custom dice. Aren't. Cheap.
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Rick Teverbaugh
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Re: F2Z price gounging?
Price isn't too high at all for what is in it.
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Guillaume
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Re: F2Z price gounging?
Sanders wrote:
The price I am sure reflects having to make 10 different dice molds for the 10 different types of dice in the game (8 roles with unique dice, the hot zone dice and the purple dice).

Dice masters game have even more custom dice and cost a third of this. It's price gouging of popular game IPs.
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Y P
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Re: F2Z price gounging?
Sanders wrote:
MentatYP wrote:
kelendil wrote:
In Quebec this expansion will cost more than the original and AFAIK has few components compared to equally priced games.

Ex: http://www.levalet.com/ sells it for 65 CAD in french or english, boardgamebliss has it for 53CAD but with 9$ shipping.

F2Z has exclusive publishing rights to Pandemic and it seems they are raising prices year after year.

F2Z is now under the Asmodee umbrella corporation, so unfortunately the price hike isn't a surprise.

Having said that it seems the US hasn't gotten the memo as it's actually cheaper here. Still an absurd price for such a small expansion, but not as bad as up north.


The price I am sure reflects having to make 10 different dice molds for the 10 different types of dice in the game (8 roles with unique dice, the hot zone dice and the purple dice).

I take it back. Didn't realize there were that many different dice in the expansion.
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Sanders
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kelendil wrote:
Sanders wrote:
The price I am sure reflects having to make 10 different dice molds for the 10 different types of dice in the game (8 roles with unique dice, the hot zone dice and the purple dice).

Dice masters game have even more custom dice and cost a third of this. It's price gouging of popular game IPs.


I suspect Wizkids also makes a lot more which should help bring down the cost. Also aren't those dice in those WizKids games a cheaper quality?
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Jean-Philippe Thériault
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kelendil wrote:
Sanders wrote:
The price I am sure reflects having to make 10 different dice molds for the 10 different types of dice in the game (8 roles with unique dice, the hot zone dice and the purple dice).

Dice masters game have even more custom dice and cost a third of this. It's price gouging of popular game IPs.


Dice masters is collectible. They can charge cheaper per dice on average because people will chase after rares. That's also how WotC was able to make D&D pre-painted miniatures worth making. A couple of rare chasers subsidize the rest of us who are fine with accumulating a ton of cheap commons.
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Jean-Philippe Thériault
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Sanders wrote:
kelendil wrote:
Sanders wrote:
The price I am sure reflects having to make 10 different dice molds for the 10 different types of dice in the game (8 roles with unique dice, the hot zone dice and the purple dice).

Dice masters game have even more custom dice and cost a third of this. It's price gouging of popular game IPs.


I suspect Wizkids also makes a lot more which should help bring down the cost. Also aren't those dice in those WizKids games a cheaper quality?


Yeah, that. They're cheap AF.
 
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ackmondual
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malibu_babe_28 wrote:
Whilst I'm not usually the first complain about pricing, I think this expansion was something like EUR30-35 at Essen, and I only paid £30 for the base game. It seems a bit of a high price. Usually expansions retail for roughly half to 2/3 the cost of the base game, so to find it for equal or higher than the base game seems a lot.


Well, the old adage "things change" seems to fit the bill here.

Before any of us became "modern board gamers", I reckon we wouldn't pay more than $20 for ANY single board game.

Then you have ideas how no bg should have more than x expansions

Or simply no board game should have ANY expansions (because some folks believe expansions are a sign of poor design, greed, etc. when they don't take into account higher base game costs otherwise, or how designers working with publishers need to agree to some of their wishes... they don't have COMPLETE control over their game)

How promos shouldn't exist because $5 for a few cards is such a piss poor value vs. base games and even still, expansions


... while we've been accustomed to expansions being cheaper than base games, that was never actually "a hard rule".
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Derek Yeung

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malibu_babe_28 wrote:
Whilst I'm not usually the first complain about pricing, I think this expansion was something like EUR30-35 at Essen, and I only paid £30 for the base game. It seems a bit of a high price. Usually expansions retail for roughly half to 2/3 the cost of the base game, so to find it for equal or higher than the base game seems a lot.

I don't know if its just the weak exchange rate, but the ZMan and Plaid Hat stuff that was being sold in the Asmodee booth seemed very expensive. I was checking prices for my FOLGS at home, and it wasn't really worth buying too much.


It's called the new world of corporate mergers and price gouging when mergers occur - Asmodee bought FFG - FFG prices went up. Asmodee buy ZMan - ZMan prices goes up.

We are having too little competition for the publishers - board games will be like the phone service monopoly here in the us.
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Adam P
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XDarkAngelX wrote:
Custom dice. Aren't. Cheap.


http://www.levalet.com/fr/roll-for-the-galaxy.html
More dice, same price.

Original game is cheaper, too.
Conclusion: Asmodee price inflation.
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Adam P
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DomerHoo wrote:

We are having too little competition for the publishers - board games will be like the phone service monopoly here in the us.

What phone monopoly? BTW-- that would be a good game: Phone Monopoly.
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Sanders
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adamredwoods wrote:
XDarkAngelX wrote:
Custom dice. Aren't. Cheap.


http://www.levalet.com/fr/roll-for-the-galaxy.html
More dice, same price.

Original game is cheaper, too.
Conclusion: Asmodee price inflation.


Those dice are all the same though. Again this game needed to make 10 different molds
 
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Corey Hopkins
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The expansion that I don't need to the game that I don't need is too expensive! #firstworldproblems
 
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ackmondual
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chopkins828 wrote:
The expansion that I don't need to the game that I don't need is too expensive! #firstworldproblems
Normally, this would hold water. However, when we're on a board gaming site, this isn't fair game. If you want to talk about how much worse it is not having access to clean water, an environment where death is literally around the corner, or worry about getting your foot blown off by a landmine vs. the cost of this game and its expansion, then there are internet forums to discuss those.
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M.C.Crispy
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Sanders wrote:
adamredwoods wrote:
XDarkAngelX wrote:
Custom dice. Aren't. Cheap.


http://www.levalet.com/fr/roll-for-the-galaxy.html
More dice, same price.

Original game is cheaper, too.
Conclusion: Asmodee price inflation.


Those dice are all the same though. Again this game needed to make 10 different molds
You sure the dice in the base game all used the same molds? A significant proportion of my dice are not the same shape/size as the others, which makes me doubt that the molds were all the same devil

I really hope that quality control on the expansion is better than on the base game.
 
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Tom Lehmann
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Hmm... F2Z/Z-Man/Asmodee-Canada does not discuss product pricing and production decisions with me, so I have no inside information about their costs, but I've been a publisher, done expansions for several games, and think I have some insight into what's going on here.

Yup, Experimental Meds costs the same as The Cure (Amazon currently lists them both as 49.99 USD MSRP) or possibly slightly more. Why? Because you're getting two expansions in one.

I do know that the original idea was to do two smaller expansions, each with 4 roles, 5 Events, and one challenge.

They would have each cost, roughly, $35 USD or $45 CAD (MSRP, internet discounts would make these prices lower). So, with Experimental Meds, you're saving roughly $20 USD or $25 CAD over buying them both separately.

Why were they bundled together? Because The Cure sales are good but not super and expansion sales go down dramatically with each expansion.

Using BGG registered game ownership as a rough proxy for proportional sales, the three Pandemic expansions have sold 36%, 11%, and just 3% of the base game's unit sales.

For comparison, the five Race expansions have sold 45%, 29%, 19%, 8%, and 3% of the base game's unit sales. Again, you can see the sharp decline in sales as more expansions get produced.

Roll's base game has 39% of Race's base game sales. Ambition, Roll's first expansion, has unit sales of 28% of Roll's base game sales. As Wei-Hwa and I work on figuring out what's in and what's out for the second Roll expansion, we're not all sure we'll get ever get to do a third one.

The Cure's sales are roughly 10% of Pandemic's sales. So, a first The Cure expansion would be 3-5% of Pandemic's sales and a second would be, maybe, 1-2% of Pandemic's sales.

I suspect -- but don't know -- that Z-Man looked at these sort of numbers and decided to bundle the two expansions together rather than release the first one and, quite possibly, *never release the second expansion* at all.

I applaud this decision. I would much rather see characters I helped design being played and enjoyed by you all than having them quite probably handed back to Matt and me several years from now with the comment, "We like them, but The Cure sales just don't support putting out a second expansion for it."

Is the Experimental Meds price reasonable from a cost standpoint?

Again, I don't have access to the actual numbers, but I've been a publisher and know something about the costs of custom dice. They're expensive, both in fixed costs and in total cost at the quantities present in The Cure and Experimental Meds.

The Cure has 85 custom dice, 11 different types. Experimental Meds has 63 custom dice, 10 different types. That's about the same.

But, part of the fixed cost is making all the custom die faces. Of the 66 die faces in The Cure, 20 of them are just pip faces, which are very cheap to make. The other 46 faces have 13 unique types.

Experimental Meds' 60 die faces includes just 3 pip faces (on the purple die) and 24 unique face types on the other 57 die faces. Of them, 9 can be reused from The Cure, but that still leaves 15 brand new unique faces that had to be made.

So, I can well believe the raw die cost -- the single most expensive part of both The Cure and Experimental Meds -- is about the same, if both of these products had the same size production run.

Why isn't Experiment Meds cheaper, given that it reuses the Treatment Center ring and continent disks from The Cure? Because the *fixed* cost of making all these custom dice is being spread over a much smaller print run (since expansions don't sell as well as base games). That is what is raising the per unit cost.

How can Roll for the Galaxy cost about the same and come with 111 dice? Because those dice aren't molded, but silk-screened, which is cheaper. We can do this because Roll dice get rolled in cups, once per round, not re-rolled over and over during a game by hands with trace oils that gradually eat away at silk-screen images. Further, Roll's print run is a lot larger than Experimental Meds, so it benefits from economies of scale.

The Cure has molded character and infection dice because these dice *do* get re-rolled over and over by hand every round (or get wear from being constantly mixed together in a bag). If The Cure tried to use silk-screened character and infection dice, their faces would deteriorate over time quite quickly.

(When Roll was announced, many BGGers -- who had never played the game -- gave us tons of grief over its silk-screened dice. They didn't believe that there would be this difference in wear due to how the dice are used in the game. After two years, it is clear that wear is simply not a huge problem for Roll.)

Is the Asmodee buyout of Z-Man affecting the price? Probably a little bit (5%?), as those investors obviously expect a return on their money. In time, this will probably matter less as economies of scale (sharing booths at cons, better distribution, co-marketing, etc.) kick in.

Is Z-Man abusing a "monopoly" position from Pandemic? No. The Cure competes with all the other fine dice games (such as Roll -- great, I'm competing with myself! ;-) in the marketplace. Jacking up prices artificially simply won't help this.

Will this strategy of bundling two The Cure expansions into one work?

I don't know. As Christina points out, customer expectations are that expansions should cost less than the base game. Whether customers will punish Z-Man for trying this by not buying Experimental Meds is unclear.

I think Experimental Meds is a fine buy. You really are getting two expansions in one, adding lots of variety to the base game. But, I do recognize that customers are price conscious in these tough times and that this strategy may not work. For those who do take the plunge, I hope Experimental Meds works for you. Enjoy!
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Y P
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Tom,

I really appreciate you taking the time to spell it all out for us. Very informative! It's great to get a peek behind the scenes on these types of decisions.

As for the Roll for the Galaxy expansions, if you don't think you'll get to do a 3rd one then by all means please throw everything into the 2nd one!
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Will M (Grey Areas Gaming)
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Thanks for the great explanation. My wife has bought me The Cure for my birthday (next week) - I can't wait to get going with it! I have a feeling Exp Meds will follow at Xmas (I'll make sure I drop enough hints!!)
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ackmondual
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Tom Lehmann wrote:
How can Roll for the Galaxy cost about the same and come with 111 dice? Because those dice aren't molded, but silk-screened, which is cheaper. We can do this because Roll dice get rolled in cups, once per round, not re-rolled over and over during a game by hands with trace oils that gradually eat away at silk-screen images. Further, Roll's print run is a lot larger than Experimental Meds, so it benefits from economies of scale.

The Cure has molded character and infection dice because these dice *do* get re-rolled over and over by hand every round (or get wear from being constantly mixed together in a bag). If The Cure tried to use silk-screened dice, their faces would deteriorate over time quite quickly.


Ask gamers and the BGG community... they'll conjure up Ghost Stories of faded Tao Dice and faded mb, or you'll hear tales of a King of Tokyo who managed to keep his attack by upgrading his mb to engraved.
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M.C.Crispy
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Tom Lehmann wrote:
...I think Experimental Meds is a fine buy. You really are getting two expansions in one, adding lots of variety to the base game. But, I do recognize that customers are price conscious in these tough times and that this strategy may not work. For those who do take the plunge, I hope Experimental Meds works for you. Enjoy!
Thanks for sharing your insights Tom. Experimental Meds won't be the first game that I've bought for which the expansion cost me as much as the base game (or close enough to not split hairs) and I'm sure that it won't be the last.

I will have no problem at all snapping up a copy of EM at whatever price it becomes available, because I trust the brand and the designer and know that I'll get plenty of value from my purchase. I've played a fair bit of "Cure" - it's my go-to "under an hour" game for the end of a session, so extending its scope with this expansion will ensure that I get even more value/plays from this great game.
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